Thurso-based haulier W D Cormack & Sons has been fined £8,000 after one of its drivers was left severely injured after falling from a trailer that he was loading.
Perth Sheriff Court heard that driver Colin Sutherland, 53, sustained a fractured skull and broke his pelvis, three ribs and a wrist in the fall, which has also left him with limited sensation in his face and ongoing mobility problems.
The fall occurred whilst Sutherland was loading the trailer with bags of grain at Thormean Granary in Milnathort on February 9 2016.

W D Cormack & Sons admitted a series of failings including not providing Mr Sutherland with a safe system of work.

Sheriff William Wood said: “This was an offence at the higher end because there was an inadequate, or no, written system in place to properly record health and safety procedures or outcomes.

“The risk of harm from a fall from height is death. Culpability falls between medium and high range. There was a failure to have a proper system of reporting and proper system of work.

“No award I could make by compensation would cover the harm he suffered. Mr Sutherland is clearly fortunate not to have suffered more permanent injury.”

Read more
Fiscal depute Nicola Gillespie said W D Cormack's drivers were expected to make the risk assessment themselves before loading the trailers.

“There were no defined procedures for securing loads. Ladders were provided to drivers to access trailers, so it was anticipated they would need to go on the trailer and engage in work at height.

“There were 54 bags of grain weighing 500 kilos each. The bags were to be two rows wide and two rows high.”

She said Mr Sutherland had to stand on the top row of bags to secure the load and fell 2.88 metres to the ground after losing his balance.

The driver has returned to work for W D Cormack & Sons since the accident and the firm’s solicitor Shahid Latif told the court that the company was “very regretful” over the incident and concerned at its impact on the driver. He added that the company had at no point disputed their responsibility.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Norman Schouten said: “This incident could have been avoided by implementing effective measures to control work at height on trailers. Load securing systems, which allow drivers to secure loads from the ground, can be easily fitted to curtain-siders.

“Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standard.”