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Devastated Mother Makes Emotional Plea To Employers – ‘Do All You Can To Keep Your Workers Safe’

Experts Help Family To Spread Safety Message


THE DISTRAUGHT mother of a young man who was killed instantly when he was crushed by over a ton of paper as he unloaded a lorry is calling for employers to do everything they can to keep workers safe so that no other family will ever have to go through ‘the unbearable pain’ she and her loved ones are suffering.

Haulage driver John Davies was just 25 when he was killed as he opened the curtain side of a lorry he had driven from St Helens based haulage firm John K Phillips Group Ltd to Crystal Windows in Essex on 29 October 2008.  As he opened the curtain of the lorry to unload it, two pallets of paper fell from it, landing on top of John and crushing him.

Workplace Injury experts at Irwin Mitchell are helping the Davies family in their campaign to spread workplace safety messages.  Keith Cundall, who is based at the firm’s Manchester office, represented the family at inquest in October 2009.

He said: “It’s hard to believe a man in the prime of his life could go to work and never come home again and John’s family are understandably still in shock having lost him so unexpectedly. The thought that his death could have been avoided is almost too much for them to bear and the Davies family are determined to spread safety messages far and wide, so that John’s death won’t be in vain.”

Commenting on her family’s ongoing ordeal, Linda describes how she was “in a state of complete shock” when she heard the news of John’s death. She said: “The past few years have been unimaginably difficult for me and my family and we still find it impossible to understand how John went into work one day and never walked back through the door.

“This isn’t, and never has been, about placing blame for us, we just want employers nationwide to sit up and take notice of what we’re saying and to do everything they can to keep workers safe.

“You never think these things will happen to you – I certainly didn’t – but they do and far too often, and the consequences are devastating.”

The inquest into John’s death (October 2009), and a HSE investigation, revealed that although John, a HGV1 qualified driver, had passed an ADR course which trained people how to best drive heavy goods vehicles in varying road conditions, it is not thought that any of the theoretical training he had received covered safely securing loads. Instead, drivers at the firm where John worked were taught how to secure loads by via a buddy system.

Keith from Irwin Mitchell continues: “It was revealed at the inquest that drivers at the firm John was working at often dealt with different sizes and shapes of loads to secure. With this in mind, a buddy system may only be of any benefit if the person providing the training showed the new employee precisely how to secure various different loads.

“It is important that training given to employees over something as critical as safely securing heavy loads is comprehensive, and if necessary both theoretical and practical in nature.

“Since John’s death and the inquest, his former employers have introduced a drivers’ retraining programme which looks at procedures for loading and unloading, a move Irwin Mitchell and the Davies family firmly welcome and applaud.

“We would urge other companies to similarly keep the training of their employees up to date, and to learn lessons from John’s story to prevent future, needless tragedies.”