Firm who crushed employee fined £25,000

Published: 22 January 2018

A Colnbrook haulage firm who crushed a young employee with an HGV has been forced to pay £25,000 after a prosecution by Slough Borough Council.

In January 2015, the employee, just 17 years old at the time, was in the yard of Holmes of Heathrow Ltd, when a reversing HGV crushed him against the gate and office building.

The incident caused severe injuries to the young man’s mouth, face and shoulders, which required hospitalisation in intensive care for a number of days and reconstructive surgery.

At the hearing at Reading Crown Court, Holmes of Heathrow Ltd, pleaded guilty to offences under the Health and Safety at Work Act including:

  • failing to take all reasonably practicable steps to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their employee
  • failing to undertake a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to which their employee was exposed (specifically given his age and limited experience)
  • failing to ensure the employee was provided with adequate health and safety training
  • failing to provide enough supervision of the employee’s work.

The court fined Holmes of Heathrow Ltd £14,000 and ordered them to pay the council costs of £11,000.

Councillor Pavitar K Mann, cabinet member for regulation and consumer protection, said: “Through no fault of his own this poor lad ended up with horrible injuries from a very traumatic experience.

“No company, in particular one with movements of large vehicles in a restricted space, should be cavalier in their attitudes to the safety of their employees.

“Unfortunately in this case, it was only this life-changing incident that shed light on Holmes lack of care and I hope this prosecution and fine serves as a deterrent to other companies who have employee safety low on their list of priorities.”

She added: “We will continue to take action against companies that flagrantly put employees at risk.”