HGV driver fractured skull after falling from company lorry

Andrew Smith, 50, was hit with a lorry loader crane and fell nine or ten feet to the ground in March 2018.

HGV driver fractured skull after falling from company lorry SNS Group
HGV: Driver fell from company lorry and fractured skull.

A HGV driver may never work again after falling from his company’s lorry and fracturing his skull.

Andrew Smith was hit with a lorry loader crane at Shawfield Timber Limited in Glasgow on March 12, 2018.

The 50-year-old fell nine or ten feet to the ground landing on his head and upper body, knocking him unconscious.

Mr Smith suffered a punctured lung, a fractured eye socket, multiple rib fractures and a fractured shoulder.

Mr Smith now suffers from seizures and has lost his HGV licence and career as a result.

On Friday, Shawfield Timber Limited pled guilty at Glasgow Sheriff Court to failing to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their employees.

Prosecutors stated the company failed to provide information, instruction, training and supervision on the task of loading and unloading materials onto and from vehicles using a loader crane.

Sheriff Martin Jones QC fined the company £46,000.

The court heard Mr Smith – an experienced driver – was tasked to collect plastic decking using a flatbed lorry.

Mr Smith put five pallets on the lorry which shifted during transit from Greenock to Shawfield as they were wet.

Mr Smith used the loader crane – which is controlled by a wrist remote – to remove the pallets.

He jumped on top of the flatbed lorry and attached the sling of the crane to the pallets.

Prosecutor William Duffy said: “He walked towards the top pallet at the rear of the lorry, holding the control in his hand.

“He reached down towards the pallet, the boom of the crane suddenly moved towards him.

“He was struck to the left shoulder, knocking him from the rear of the lorry onto the road.

“He landed upon the left side of his head and upper body which rendered him unconscious.

“Mr Smith was aware he should not operate the remote while on the flatbed.”

It is suspected the incident was caused by Mr Smith “inadvertently engaging the crane while bending down.”

Mr Smith was taken to hospital where he remained for five weeks, however no surgery was required.

Mr Duffy added: “He is expected to make a full recovery with the exception as a result of the head injury, he will have a greater risk of seizures.

“He also suffers from losses of concentration, memory, confidence and low mood.

“He has not worked since the incident and lost his HGV licence as a result of the seizures he now suffers.

“It is unknown whether he will ever be able to return to any line of work.”

An investigation into the company by South Lanarkshire Council discovered the company held no risk assessment documentation.

There were also no systems of work or lifting plans for loading or unloading procedures.

Mr Duffy added: “No formal training was provided to new drivers, who were employed on the basis that they were ‘fully qualified and ready to go’.

“No one in the company had been trained on health and safety.”

The company have since hired a health and safety consultant and developed a health and safety policy statement.

A risk assessment and safe systems of work have also been compiled and implemented.

Andrew Park, defending, told the court: “The company expresses regret over the accident caused to Mr Smith and apologises for what occurred.”