A transport firm has been fined £400,000 after one of its drivers was killed when he was knocked off his trailer by his vehicle-mounted crane.

Timber merchants Arnold Laver & Company was found to have made a number of health and safety failings which led to the death of Robert Gifkins in November 2020.

The driver had been making a timber delivery to a company in Whaddon near Salisbury and he had climbed on the trailer bed to sling the load and attached it to the vehicle-mounted crane.

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Gifkin was struck by the crane when he moved the load using his remote control before falling from the vehicle onto the ground.

He was taken to hospital and subsequently died on 17 December 2020.

An HSE investigation found that the risks associated with this type of work had not been properly assessed and the risk of falls had not been adequately prevented or controlled.

The company had also not provided the driver with sufficient training and instructions on the safe operation of the remote crane controls.

At a sentencing hearing at Salisbury Magistrates’ Court, the Sheffield company pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act.

It was fined £400,000 and ordered to pay costs of £19,841.99.

Speaking after the hearing HSE Inspector Leo Diez said: “Falls from vehicles can be overlooked by employers when considering risks from work at height. Simple control measures would have prevented this accident.”

In a victim personal statement from Gifkins’ family, his mother Betty Gifkins, said: “The pain of losing a son is only made worse by the fact this is the second son I have lost.

“I try not to think of him in the hospital as this only adds to my sadness. I miss him every day.”