DHL fined £50,000 at Old Bailey

In a case that should serve as a warning for any employer who parks vehicles on uneven or sloping ground, courier company DHL has been prosecuted for a serious injury to an HGV driver at their depot in Dunstable, Bedfordshire.

The driver had reversed his cab unit up to a trailer which was parked on a slope. He got out and walked round to connect the trailer but when he released the brakes the whole weight of the trailer was borne by the cab and the vehicle rolled forward. The driver tried to run to the cab door to apply the brakes, but fell under the wheel and sustained life-changing injuries.

The court heard that DHL had failed to assess the risks associated with parking on uneven or sloping ground. Suitable control measures could have been included the use of wheel chocks and an audible handbrake alarm. HSE said that this was “a horrific and entirely preventable injury caused by the failure of the company to recognise all hazards arising from routine operations” and that “the risk of large goods vehicles moving when parked on sloping ground when the brakes of the trailer are disengaged is foreseeable”. DHL was also ordered to pay costs of £15,698 after pleading guilty to breaching S2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

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