Transport company fined £850,000 for failings that led to man’s death

A Leeds based company has been fined £850,000 after an employee sustained fatal injuries while undergoing training.

Hermes Parcelnet Limited pled guilty to health and safety breaches committed between 1 August 2018 and 19 March 2019 at Hamilton Sheriff Court on 23 May 2022.

The court heard that at around 10.15pm on 19 March 2019 at the company’s Eurocentral depot David Kennedy sustained crush injuries while undergoing training on the operation of a trailer mover.

Mr Kennedy was struck in the chest by the tiller head of the mover and pinned against a stationary trailer while using it to reposition a laden articulated trailer within the depot yard.

The 43-year-old was taken to hospital but died of his injuries two days later. 

The HSE investigation found that the company failed to ensure that their in-house trainer at Eurocentral was given enough instruction on how training should be delivered. No one on-site monitored whether the appropriate training was taking place.

The company’s training plan set out that towing a trailer should not take place until the second hour of the training. Mr Kennedy started his practical training around 30 minutes before the incident occurred. ln that time he was already involved in moving a laden trailer with the mover.

The company also failed to ensure that the trainer used two trained banksmen at all relevant times in the course of training. The trainer was at times in a position where it is unlikely that he would have been able to see and correct any mistakes.

Soon after the incident the company removed all trailer movers from service across its UK sites.

Alistair Duncan, Head of the Health and Safety Investigation Unit of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, said:

“David Kennedy lost his life in circumstances which were foreseeable and entirely avoidable.

 “By failing to identify the risks arising from providing training to employees in the operation of a trailer mover Hermes Parcelnet Limited put their employees at unacceptable risk.

“This prosecution should remind other employers that failing to keep their employees safe can have fatal consequences and they will be held accountable for this failure.

 "Our thoughts are with Mr Kennedy’s family at this difficult time."