Two companies have been fined a total of £794,658 after a driver was run over and killed by his own lorry.

Gary Walters was working for haulier Larkins Logistics Ltd when the incident occurred on 11 October 2010. He was collecting a trailer loaded with structural concrete products from Bison Manufacturing Ltd in Derbyshire and failed to apply the brake in his cab. However, because Bison's drivers had not applied the brake to the trailer, the vehicle moved off as he was coupling the two parts together. Mr Walters is thought to have gone round the front of the vehicle in an attempt to get into the cab and apply the brakes, but was run over.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that drivers working for Bison did not routinely apply the trailer brakes to make sure the units were safely parked. Police examined ten other trailers at the site, and found none had the brakes applied, and no other manual system of restraint (chocks or hooks) were in place.

Derby Crown Court heard there had been a number of other instances of lorries rolling away and Larkins' drivers had not been properly trained to assess the use of trailer brakes in the yard. Both companies had identified the risks to workers, but failed to implement appropriate control measures. Their method of working ignored published safety guidance, which meant that drivers and other employees were all at risk.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Judith McNulty-Green said, “This was not an isolated incident – sadly there are deaths and serious injuries to drivers every year in similar circumstances. It happened out of poor practice and was entirely preventable. Bison Manufacturing Ltd failed to implement a safe system of work for the storage of trailers with the brakes applied. They and Larkins Logistics Ltd also failed to implement and monitor working procedures for coupling and uncoupling trailers in the yard, and they failed to do it despite previous incidents.

“Had they done so they would have realised trailer brakes were routinely not being applied, taken appropriate action and a man would not have lost his life so needlessly.”

For more information, see: