Recycling firm fined after man’s death fall from lorry

A wood waste company has been ordered to pay almost £250,000 after a worker was killed when he fell from a lorry trailer in South Yorkshire.

Paul Littlewood died after falling four metres from a walking floor trailer at R Plevin & Sons’ site in Hazlehead near Penistone in 2014.

Mr Littlewood had been manually un-sheeting a lorry at the waste wood recovery site.

Only one wire rope had been in place to stop his fall, Sheffield Crown Court heard. Plevin was found not to have carried out a sufficient assessment for sheeting and un-sheeting trailers.

R Plevin & Sons Ltd of Cheshire Street Mossley Ashton Under Lyne Lancashire pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 and Regulation 3 (1) of the Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999. The company was fined £216,000 and ordered to pay costs of £31,266.54.

HSE inspector Tim Johnson said: “The incident could have easily been prevented by providing either automatic sheeting or self-closing gates similar to those at the access point on Mobile Elevated Work Platforms, coupled with a double guard rail along the length of the work platform.

“It is a requirement to carry out suitable planning for significant risks such as working at height. The sheeting and un-sheeting of lorry trailers is clearly working at height and the company should have identified the risks and control measures necessary to prevent this fatal accident.”