Worker killed within hours of starting job

A vehicle recovery and repair company has been sentenced after a new worker suffered fatal crush injuries during maintenance work on the first day of his new job.

On 24 November 2014, Albert Road Recovery and Repair employee John Glenn, 56, was killed when a rigid vehicle fell suddenly from an inadequate axle support prop at Middlemarch Business Park in Coventry.

Birmingham Magistrates’ Court was told that a cable reel drum jack was used to support the vehicle, which was not an appropriate piece of equipment for the task being undertaken.

A suitably rated axle stand should have been used, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) confirmed to IOSH Magazine.

HSE investigators revealed the company failed to:

  • adequately induct the new starter into the business
  • adequately instruct and supervise him on his first day
  • provide him with suitable tools and equipment
  • provide approved vehicle repair equipment.

Now dissolved, Essex-based Albert Road Recovery and Repair was found guilty of breaching s 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act. It was fined £20,000, the highest amount available to this court, as the incident took place before an amendment was made to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012, to remove the limit of fines imposed in magistrates’ courts.

Describing the incident as completely avoidable, HSE inspector John Glynn said: “This incident led to the tragic death of John Glenn and occurred within hours of him starting his new job.

“Not only did the company fail to adequately induct the new starter into their business, it failed to adequately instruct and supervise him on his first day and provided him with completely unsuitable tools and equipment. Had the company considered the risks properly, they would have had safe systems of work and approved vehicle repair equipment in place.”