A clothing and textile recycling company has been prosecuted after a 76 year old worker was fatally injured by a reversing delivery vehicle.

The HSE Inspector is quoted as saying "Sadly, this is the most common cause of fatal injuries in this sector". 

This is a tragic and wholly avoidable loss of life.  In the work place the employer should allow time to consider how safely workers and vehicles mix. 

It saddens me the number of cases i see where a worker has been knocked down by either a reversing vehicle or, frequently, a Fork Lift Truck. 

On one case i was instructed upon the worker had been killed by a delivery van that was in a hurry to leave the premises. The deceased left behind a wife and young family.  I represented the family at the Inquest, and obtained insurance funding to support them into the future.  In almost all cases, there is an urgency to meet the cost of a funeral, to pay the mortgage on the house and provide for those left behind. 

In a second case a man was knocked down and run over twice by the same Fork Lift Truck causing him major trauma to his lower body.  He was evacuated by Air Ambulance to a Hospital Major Trauma Centre where he was treated for a long time before being discharged.  We were able to secure insurance funding to meet the cost of a private rehabilitation package to address his medical needs and, in the long term, support him in a return to work.  Furthermore, insurance funding was obtained to provide payments to the injured man to replace his lost earnings and reimburse ongoing expenses.

If employers invested in their processes within the work place then these incidents can be avoided that benefits both the employer as well as those who work for them. It, therefore, is right for the Health & Safety Executive to take a firm line on cases such as the one in the lniked article because without substantial fines how can company behaviour be modified.

Matthew Claxson is an expert in accessing rehabilitation for those who have suffered major trauma, and represents at Inquest the bereaved family. Matthew can be contacted on freephone 0800 157 7611 or by e-mail: matthew.claxson@mooreblatch.com