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Company director killed by falling pallet

  • 30 April 2013
  • By Roger Brown

RR Transport has been fined £22,000 after the director of a plastering company died when a pallet containing more than a tonne of render fell on top of him during a delivery.

In a prosecution brought against the Redruth, Cornwall-based company by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Plymouth Crown Court was told that the incident took place in March 2009.
Phillip Ring, 37, from Plymouth, was hit by the falling pallet at Yelverton Business Park in Crapstone, near Plymouth.

The court was told that the delivery that resulted in Ring’s death should have been offloaded at a nearby construction site in Crapstone using a forklift truck or telehandler.

However, restrictions regarding access to the site and a lack of mechanical handling equipment meant the driver ended up unloading the pallet by hand at the business park using the pallet truck and tail lift on his lorry.

At some point during the delivery, he lost control of the load and it fell from the tail lift, crushing Ring who was standing on the road at the back of the vehicle. 

RR Transport, which is authorised to run 50 vehicles, was also ordered to pay £30,000 in costs after pleading guilty to a breach of Regulation 3(1)(b) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations.

Following the hearing, HSE inspector Jo Fitzgerald said: “While HSE does not say that RR Transport’s failings caused Mr Ring’s death, by failing to assess the risks properly, the company did not have a number of important steps in place, which would have made their operation safer.”

The HSE said that at the time of the incident RR Transport did not have a clear and consistent system for drivers to follow for using tail lifts.


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