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Black Country company fined £1.5 million over trailer death

By Dayna Farrington | Brierley Hill | News | Published:

A Brierley Hill logistics company has been fined more than £1 million after a worker died when he was trapped between a trailer and his vehicle.

Tuffnells Parcels Express Limited, where Leighton Jardine worked

Tuffnells Parcels Express Limited employee Leighton Jardine was fatally injured while attempting to attach a trailer to his vehicle on January 22, 2016.

Dudley Magistrates' Court heard that the trailer was parked on a slight slope, which was enough to allow it to roll forward trapping 60-year-old Mr Jardine, from Stafford.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident found safety management arrangements for coupling trailers to vehicles failed to take account of the slope.

Tuffnells Parcels Express Limited, of Wallows Industrial Estate, in Fens Pool Avenue, off Dudley Road, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety At Work Act 1974.

The company has been fined £1.5 million and ordered to pay costs of £32,823.35.

A spokesman for Tuffnells said they expressed sincere regret for the failings of the business in the tragic incident that led to Mr Jardine's death, and added they have since invested more than £5 million in health and safety improvements.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Karl Raw, said: "Had Tuffnells taken the slope into account, simple measures could have been taken that would have prevented this incident.

"Workplace transport remains a high risk environment, and this case serves as a reminder to industry that assessments of sites should be specific and identify the hazards unique to each yard. It is also a reminder that the slope a vehicle is parked on does not need to be steep for incidents to occur.

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“This was a tragic and wholly avoidable incident, caused by the failure of the company to adopt robust management action in both planning and monitoring of the workplace and workplace actions at this site.”

A spokesman for Tuffnells said: "We can confirm that Tuffnells has been found guilty of breaching section 2.1 of the Health and Safety Act 1974 and fined £1.5m.

"We wish to express our sincere regret and sorrow for the part played by the failings of the business in the tragic incident that led to the death of our valued colleague, Leighton Jardine.

"The company has cooperated fully with the Health and Safety Executive and acted immediately on remedial actions to improve practices and reduce risk.

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"We have invested over £5m since our acquisition of Tuffnells on a broad range of health and safety improvements across all our Tuffnells depots.

"The court considered that the efforts Tuffnells have made to improve health and safety compliance were laudable.  This commitment to continuously improving our systems, processes and training will continue.

"We send our deepest condolences and continue to offer any support we can to the family of Mr Jardine."

Dayna Farrington

By Dayna Farrington
Senior reporter based at Wolverhampton

Reporter for the Express & Star based at Wolverhampton.

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