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Kent case highlights delivery duty

05 October 2011

A cardboard box manufacturer in Kent has been fined after an incident in which a delivery driver suffered severe head injuries after a fall.

As a result, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) brought a prosecution against W.E. Roberts (Corrugated) Ltd which is based at Thames Works, Grove Road, Northfleet, in Kent.

The incident took place on 27 August 2009 when the worker was delivering flat-packed cardboard boxes to an address in Eastbourne.

The man was trying to pull a pallet of cardboard boxes across his trailer from the driver’s side to the curb side. The pallet strapping snapped and the worker fell nearly three metres backwards and 1.5m down onto the pavement.

As a result he suffered severe head injuries, which have had life-changing effects and have meant he is still not able to return to work.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Michelle Taylor said: “The company failed to adequately consider the risks that delivery drivers face when they are not on site. This led to this severe and entirely preventable incident which has had such a long-lasting and devastating effect on this worker.

“The outcome of this case reinforces the responsibility that employers have to all of their workers, wherever they are, not just those on site under constant supervision.”

At Dartford Magistrates’ Court, (on 28 September) W.E. Roberts (Corrugated) Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay costs of £12,190.


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