HSE prosecution case study – £800,000 fine for driver death


A wine and drinks supplier was fined £800,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,614.30 after a visiting HGV driver was struck by a forklift vehicle. The incident took place while the driver was waiting for his trailer to be loaded at the company’s depot on the 19th August 2020. The driver sustained severe head injuries, from which he never regained consciousness. He later died from his injuries.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the wine company had failed in a number of areas. Specifically, visiting drivers were not given clear site safety information, there was no pedestrian and vehicle segregation in the loading area, and the company’s risk assessment was out of date.

On 25th January 2023, the company pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

What Could Have Been Done?

The wine company’s failure to keep visiting drivers safe on-site demonstrates what can go wrong should employers not abide by HSE regulations.  In contrast, employers must fulfil their safety obligations by ensuring risk assessments include anyone who may come into contact with hazards, are fit for purpose and are regularly reviewed. Additionally, it is critical that employers implement a safe system of work with clear controls for both staff and visitors. Such instructions should be disseminated to the entire workforce, including any visiting third parties.

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Contains public sector information published by GOV.UK and licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0. The content of this publication is of general interest and does not purport to be a comprehensive analysis of all matters relevant to its subject matter. The content should not, therefore, be regarded as constituting legal advice and not be relied upon as such. In relation to any particular problem which they may have, readers are advised to seek specific advice from their own legal counsel. Further, the law may have changed since first publication and the reader is cautioned accordingly. © 2023 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.

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