Two companies have been fined after an HGV driver fractured one of his neck vertebrae when pallets were being unloaded from his vehicle.

Leeds Magistrates’ Court heard how the delivery driver, an employee of Brighouse Pallet Services, was struck by one or two falling pallets whilst they were being unloaded by a fork-lift truck (FLT) operator at Seal It Services’ premises in Elland, West Yorkshire.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that both companies failed in their duty to provide a safe system of work.

They had failed to put in place simple control measures to ensure that all delivery drivers who visited the Seal It Services site were moved to a safe location for waiting, whilst HGV trailers were being unloaded by FLTs.

Brighouse Pallet Services pleaded guilty to breaching a section of the Health and Safety at Work Act and was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay £4806.60 in costs.

Seal It Services pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act and it was fined £50,000 and ordered to pay £4,654.90 in costs.

HSE inspector David Welsh said: “Loading and unloading of HGVs by FLTs are among the most dangerous transport activities in the workplace.

“People can be hit by falling objects, struck by FLTs, or fall from vehicles.

“All such incidents can result in serious personal injury and the risks involved must be managed by all those who have legal duties for the safety of delivery drivers, both their employer and the sites they deliver to.

“This incident could so easily have been avoided by implementing the simple control measure of keeping the delivery driver out of the area where the FLT was operating to maintain a safe system of work.”