Cheshire-based company TIP Trailer Services has been fined £500,000 and ordered to pay costs of £56,938 after one of its employees suffered severe injuries from being crushed between 2 lorries in 2013. Mrs Rose was acting as a banksman at the time of the incident in Nuneaton, providing assistance to a lorry driver who was reverse parking on a slope. The trailer of the lorry was decoupled without the driver applying the parking brake. This caused the trailer to roll backwards down the slope and trap her between the 2 vehicles.
Mrs Rose punctured a lung and broke 13 bones in her back, shoulders and ribs. The accident also left her with serious head injuries and impaired vision. She suffered from a heart attack and was kept in intensive care for ten days. Mrs Rose required a body brace for 4 months and was confined to a wheelchair for months afterwards. She is still undergoing physiotherapy.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation into the incident revealed that TIP Trailer Services allowed vehicles to park on a slope without chocks or any other devices to prevent them from rolling. There was also no system in place to check whether the lorry drivers were correctly applying their parking brakes. As the slope involved in Mrs Rose’s accident ended on a public road, there was also risk to passing motorists and pedestrians outside of the site.
HSE inspector Elizabeth Hornsby said after the hearing at Warwick Crown Court:
“Mrs Rose suffered severe life-changing injuries. Her family was told she would not survive the night but due to her level of physical fitness and her sheer determination she has fought back and is now on the road to recovery.
“It was common practice for drivers to park on a slope within the compound, which should never have been allowed as it was inevitable that sooner or later a driver would fail to put on their handbrake. This totally avoidable incident could and should have been prevented with nothing more than common sense.”