Three firms fined more than £1.4m after HGV fatally injures security guard
Image credit: HSE. The entrance with the security building (brick built) on the left
Three companies must pay fines totaling more than £1.4m after a security guard was struck and dragged underneath a heavy goods vehicle (HGV) at the Port of Immingham.
Lyndon Perks sustained multiple injuries and died at the scene following the incident on 9 September 2015.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found Perks, who was employed as a security guard at the container terminal in North East Lincolnshire, had approached the articulated vehicle as it was entering the port’s east gate.
The 50-year-old was not visible to the driver, either on his approach to the HGV or as he walked in front of the vehicle. Perks was dragged underneath the lorry as it turned towards a warehouse.
According to The Grimsby Telegraph, an inquest jury in May 2016 returned a conclusion of accidental death.
Judge Paul Watson told Hull Crown Court that Perks had stepped forward to flag down the HGV driver, so he could carry out security checks and, because it did stop, assumed that the driver had seen him.
“He walked across the front of the lorry, presumably to go to the driver’s side to speak to him, when the lorry pulled forward and made its turn into the DFDS Seaways’ area of the terminal,” the judge added.
“As it pulled forward, Perks was tragically run over and died immediately from the injuries he sustained.”
The HSE found that the Port of Immingham’s operator Associated British Ports (ABP) and DFDS Seaways had failed to carry out a suitable and sufficient workplace transport risk assessment, and had not considered the risks that vehicles entering, leaving and manoeuvring in the gate area posed to others.
ABP also required the security guard at the terminal’s gate to stop traffic and check pedestrians and vehicles entering the terminal but failed to provide the means to do so safely as there was no signage indicating that drivers should stop and report to security, and no safe facilities. ABP notes on its website that the Port of Immingham is Britain’s largest port by tonnage, handling 55 million tonnes each year.
ICTS (UK), which employed Perks, failed to provide adequate training, and the risks of stopping traffic without any physical protective measures in place had not been considered.
The Grimsby Telegraph reported that ICTS (UK) did not make it clear that the “security officer’s role did not include seeking to actively stop vehicles in the course of entering the gates”.
Associated British Ports pleaded guilty to breaching s 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act. The port operator has been fined £750,750 and must pay £9,782 costs.
DFDS Seaways pleaded guilty to breaching ss 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act. The company has been fined £166,670 and must pay £9,766 costs.
ICTS (UK) pleaded guilty of breaching s 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act. The security guard’s employer has been fined £500,000 and must pay £9,339 costs.
After the hearing, HSE inspector Carol Downes said: “HSE found inadequate consultation between parties and no assessment of the risks to the segregation of vehicles and pedestrians. A properly implemented transport risk assessment should have identified sufficient measures to separate people and vehicles, and provide safe facilities.”
The court was told that changes have since been made, including platforms for security guards, a new gate and security system, walkways and traffic lights.
Judge Watson said “all three companies have taken appropriate action to deal with such failings as this case has identified”.