Ferry operator prosecuted after worker injured by moving vehicle

A ferry operator has been prosecuted after an employee sustained serious injuries when he was struck by a van being reversed out of a docked vessel.

The Magistrates Court heard that on 17 September 2017 a pontoon traffic marshal working for the ferry operator, was struck by a 3.5 tonne delivery van at the company’s port terminal. The van was being reversed off the vessel onto the pontoon area by a port service operative.

The vehicle reversed over the marshal’s head and body after the initial collision had knocked him down. The gentleman suffered multiple injuries that included numerous fractures to his skull, ribs and other bones along with the loss of sight in one eye. He has been left with double vision in the other eye and ongoing mental health problems.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found there was no consideration of physical segregation of pedestrian operatives from moving vehicles when vessels were being unloaded. The company had failed to adequately assess the risks to pedestrians from moving vehicles and consequently put in place effective control measures leading to a safe system of work.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £400,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6576.15.

The HSE inspector said after the hearing, “The injuries sustained by the gentleman, which affect him to this day, were easily preventable. The risks to pedestrians from moving vehicles is an obvious one which should have been identified and controlled.

“Had the company employed suitable control measures the life changing physical and emotional injuries which continue to impact the gentleman and his family would have been avoided.”