Company Prosecuted Over Serious Injury To Employee

Edinburgh Firm In Dock Over Reversing Lorry Accident, Glasgow, Elaine Russell

27.08.2014

Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397
A pharmaceutical company based in Edinburgh has been prosecuted following a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation into an incident in which one of its staff suffered severe injuries after being trapped behind a reversing lorry.

Macfarlan Smith was investigated after the accident in September 2011, when employee Alexander Mackenzie was trying to signal the reversing lorry into a loading bay at the firm's site on Wheatfield Road in the Tynecastle area of the city.

However, the driver was focusing on another individual who was also signalling the vehicle and did not see Mr Mackenzie.

As a result, the lorry backed into Mr Mackenzie, crushing him against a wall and inflicting serious head, face and chest injuries. Luckily, he has since made a full recovery.

The HSE investigation revealed the company had failed to carry out an adequate risk assessment, had not established a safe system of work and had failed to ensure that the loading area was kept clear and free from instructions.

It also concluded that the accident could have been avoided if a safe location had been established for the vehicle to move into and visual contact maintained between Mr Mackenzie and the driver.

Macfarlan Smith accepted it had fallen short of its legal duties as it pleaded guilty in the hearing at Edinburgh Sheriff Court to breaches of Section 2(1) and Section 33(1)(a) of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974.

Commenting on the case, head of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service Health and Safety Division Gary Aitken said: "Macfarlan Smith Limited accepted liability and the Crown accepted their guilty plea to the contraventions of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974.

"Since this incident, the company has introduced new risk assessments and has put into practice safe systems of work.

"This was an entirely avoidable accident which resulted in the severe injury of an employee that has thankfully had no long-lasting effect."

HSE guidance on the safe manoeuvring of vehicles in the workplace emphasises the need to maximise driver vision, with large mirrors and a clear view out of the front helping to achieve this.