Volvo Group fined after employee fractures spine at UK depot

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Volvo Group UK Limited has been fined £13,333.33 after an employee was seriously injured at its truck rental and repair depot in Glasgow after the company had failed to supply him with basic safety equipment.

Glasgow Sheriff Court heard how, on 7 June 2016, the employee at the Cardonald depot had been testing the brakes of a low-loader truck unit and trailer using a pit jack when it slipped and crushed him against a set of steps.

He did not apply the truck handbrake or use any wheel chocks – wedges of placed closely against a vehicle's wheels to prevent it rolling.  

While he was adjusting the brakes at the first axle, the truck unit rolled forward causing the jack to slip off the axle of the trailer. It rolled towards him and struck him on the body, crushing him against a set of steps in the pit and fracturing his spine.

HSE found that Volvo Group UK Limited had failed to provide enough wheel chocks for its employees. The company had also failed to provide information, instruction, supervision and training of its employees in their use. Volvo Group also failed to provide a suitable induction of the employee in safe working practices.

Volvo Group UK Limited, of Wedgnock Lane, Warwick pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 and Section 33(1)(a) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, and was fined £13,333.33.

Speaking after the hearing HSE Inspector Jennie Stafford said: “Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working and to provide the necessary information, instruction and training to their workers in the safe system of working.”

“If a suitable safe system of work had been in place prior to the incident, the life changing injuries sustained by the employee could have been prevented.”

According to the company’s annual financial statement, Volvo Group UK posted profits of £22.8m in 2017 and £14.9m in 2016. It sells and markets truck and bus products, services and marine and industrial engines and is headquartered in Warwick.

Volvo Group UK was fined £900,000 in December 2016 after an employee suffered head injuries after they fell off a damaged stepladder while repairing a truck cab at an Enfield, London site.

Incident photo: HSE


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