Workplace Transport Safety

Published date20 June 2023
Subject MatterEmployment and HR, Health & Safety
Law FirmWeightmans
AuthorAndrew Brammer

Andrew Brammer, Partner in our Regulatory team considers the lessons to be taken from a recent workplace transport safety case.

The recent successful prosecution of two major transport companies has brought into sharp focus the catastrophic consequences of the failure of employers to discharge their duties and obligations in respect of workplace transport safety.

On 30 August 2019, Mr Neil Roberts, a depot manager for Turners (Soham) Limited, was struck and killed by an HGV reversing out of a parking space in the transport yard at the premises of The Haulage Group Limited in Birmingham. An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) resulted in criminal proceedings being brought against the two companies, concluding in a fine of '300,000 and costs for The Haulage Group Limited and '1.9m and costs for Turners (Soham) Limited.

The HSE inspector that led the investigation stated that Mr. Roberts' death was "completely preventable", and "If the companies had acted to identify and manage the risks involved, and to put a safe system of work in place, this incident would not have happened." The Inspector went on to comment that "The principle of ensuring pedestrians and vehicles are kept apart is well known and the measures needed to ensure separation and control the risk need not be complicated."

Echoing the comments of the HSE Inspector, I suggest the baseline action an employer might take to manage workplace transport should include the following:

  • carry out a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks from workplace transport activities that clearly and simply identifies who is at risk from what activities and why. If the risk cannot be eliminated completely, then the risk assessment should identify steps and measures needed to reduce the risks to as low as reasonably practicable
  • non-employees must not be overlooked and the employer must ensure they are not exposed to a risk of harm from your business including (but not...

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