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Henry Williams Group fined £8,000 after truck driver impaled by barrier

  • 23 April 2012
  • By Roger Brown

A Darlington engineering firm has been fined £8,000 after a steel bar smashed through the windscreen of a truck and impaled its driver through the chest.

In a prosecution brought by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Darlington Magistrates’ Court was told how Jason Ripley, 42, was delivering timber to Henry Williams Group in Dodsworth Street in the town in August 2008.

A horizontal swing barrier on the site, which consisted of a 6m long, 60mm diameter steel tube, had been left open by a Henry Williams Group employee to allow Ripley access to the unloading point.

However, as he drove towards the open barrier on his way through, the end of the horizontal bar was not visible as it had partially swung back into the carriageway and the surrounding foliage, and its face-on position made it difficult to see.

The court was told how the tube hit the front of the lorry, breaking through the windscreen, and penetrating Ripley’s chest on the right side.

Ripley received three smashed ribs and damage to one lung, which caused a three to four inch diameter exit wound in his back.

He was off work for 10 weeks but has since made a full recovery.

Henry Williams Group pleaded guilty to one breach of Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was also ordered to pay costs of £7,424.80.


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