legal scales of justice

Reason Transport is facing charges under the Health and Safety at Work Act following an HSE investigation into the death of HGV driver Petru Pop in November 2016.

Pop died while making a delivery to a residential address in High Wycombe on behalf of Reason Transport.

He was crushed to death beneath a 1.1-tonne pallet of tiles which he was attempting to unload from the truck.

Family firm Reason Transport was a Palletways member at the time of the accident.

The Coventry-based haulier left Palletways and joined Palletline in May 2018.

An HSE spokeswoman told “Following HSE’s investigation into the death of Petru Pop, a prosecution is being brought against Reason Transport UK Ltd.

“The company will face charges under section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act.”

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The court case is set to open on 3 April at Reading Magistrates Court. However the HSE spokeswoman said the case could be delayed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 places general duties on employers and the self-employed towards people other than their employees.

Section 3 (1) states that “It shall be the duty of every employer to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in his employment who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety.”

HSE has been working with the pallet network sector since 2015 to create industry guidance to address rising industry concern about the lack of weight limits on pallets designated for tail lift deliveries, particularly to domestic addresses.

In 2018 after conducting an investigation into pallet weights for tail lift vehicles, HSE recommended no limit on pallet weights and a requirement that drivers make a risk assessment of the safety of each tail-lift delivery.

The recommendations were passed to the pallet weight working group, which put together draft guidance, which has yet to be published.