City firm fined after lorry crushed worker’s skull

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A SHEFFIELD parcel delivery firm has been ordered to pay £169,000 in fines and court costs after an employee was seriously injured when his skull was crushed by a reversing lorry.

The incident happened at the Tuffnells Parcels Express depot in Essex.

Chelmsford Crown Court heard the firm, whose head office is at Shepcote House, Shepcote Lane, Sheffield, admitted breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act and was fined £150,000 and £19,000 costs.

Early on March 2010, Simon Mason, aged 22, from Romford, Essex, was working the night shift as a warehouse porter.

An articulated 45ft trailer was being reversed into an open loading bay while Mr Mason waited to unload it.

Mr Mason noticed the trailer was not positioned straight in the bay, so thinking it had stopped moving, he put his head around the back of the trailer to shout instructions to the driver.

But, just as he did, the trailer reversed further, crushing Mr Mason’s head against a brick wall.

Mr Mason suffered severe head injuries requiring constant care for months and had to undergo several operations.

The court was told he returned to work in February but is still suffering some long term effects.

During an investigation the Health and Safety Executive found Tuffnells had not assessed, controlled, or properly managed the risks arising from vehicle and equipment movements at the West Horndon depot.

The firm had also failed to provide a safe system of work for its employees.

HSE Inspector Glyn Davies said: “Working with moving vehicles is a high risk activity which causes significant numbers of major and fatal injuries every year in this country.”