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Haulage firm fined after worker is severely injured by vehicle he had just cleaned

An Aberdeenshire haulage firm has been fined after a driver was severely injured when he was knocked to the ground and run over by a tractor unit of a Heavy Goods Vehicle, that he had just cleaned. Risk assessments regarding vehicle movements around the site, prepared by external consultants, were deemed by inspectors to be inadequate.

Ian Mackie, 43, from Turriff, was one of a team of drivers who worked for R & J Milne operating out of its haulage yard in Norwood, Ardmiddle, Turriff. As part of their duties, drivers were regularly required to clean company vehicles in a 'wash bay' area.

In November 2010, Mr Mackie was one of five drivers who had cleaned a tractor unit. He was talking to a colleague near the front of the vehicle, when the driver of that tractor unit climbed into his cab, started the vehicle and began to pull out of the wash bay. As the vehicle turned left out of the wash bay, it struck Mr Mackie, who fell into his colleague. Both men were knocked to the ground and one of the front wheels of the tractor unit drove over Mr Mackie's right foot and leg. Another driver raised the alarm and the tractor unit was reversed off Mr Mackie. He suffered severe injuries, including the removal of the soft tissue of his leg, an open wound and broken bones in his foot, a fractured pelvis and cracked ribs.

Mr Mackie was in hospital for 13 weeks and had to have a metal plate inserted into his pelvis and a skin graft on his leg. He returned to work in April 2011 but has permanent scars along the length of his leg and to his hip and still suffers bad circulation, numbness and pain.

The second employee who was knocked over during the incident escaped physical injury.

Banff Sheriff Court heard this week that an investigation into the incident by the Health & Safety Executive found that there was no organised system to control vehicle movements within the yard around the wash bay area to segregate pedestrians from moving vehicles.

There was a 'Health & Safety Manual', prepared by a company of external consultants, which purported to deal with all health & safety issues and included various entries within the document that purported to be risk assessments dealing with transport issues. These largely took the form of various high-level statements which did not in any way amount to a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks involved in manoeuvring vehicles around the site.

R & J Milne, of Carden Place, Aberdeen, was fined £20,000 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

After sentencing, HSE Inspector Joanne Nicholls, said:

"Ian Mackie suffered serious, life-changing injuries in an incident that could easily have been avoided.

"The risks associated with workplace transport are well known and R & J Milne should have carried out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment to identify appropriate safety measures.

"A safe system of work would have ensured that if pedestrians were present, vehicles would not be allowed to enter or move in the same area. Other measures could have included specific pedestrian zones, stop boards in front of lorries and a key safe system.

"As no such measures had been identified or implemented, two men's lives were needlessly put at risk."

For more information and guidance about workplace transport log onto the HSE website at:

27th September 2012

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