North Wales logistics firm Williams Haulage Limited has been fined £100,000 after a Hungarian lorry driver fell from a loading bay and fractured his skull, resulting in his death.
Williams Haulage, which is based in Cynwyd in Corwen, was fined £100,000 and ordered to pay £8,400 costs after admitting to failing to manage risks posed by the operation of the loading bay.
A court in Llandudno heard that Jozsef Kovacs, aged 63, had been preparing a trailer before leaving Williams Haulage's site at Deeside Industrial Estate in North Wales on 16 March 2020 and heading for a site in Germany.
Kovacs, who was not employed by Williams Haulage, was trying to reach the top of his lorry, with one foot on the loading bay and the other on the back of another lorry.
However, he fell approximately 1.25 metres onto the concrete floor below, when the adjacent lorry was driven away. He sustained severe head injuries and died at the Royal Stoke University Hospital on 16 May 2020.
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The court was told that a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation into the incident found Williams Haulage had carried out a risk assessment that identified the risk from falls and introduced control measures, but these had not been used in practice.
The investigation also found that there was a lack of supervision and monitoring by Williams Haulage to check that these control measures were being used by its staff.
Additionally, it was revealed that insufficient consideration had been given to visiting drivers, particularly where English is not their first language.
Solicitor Nathan Cook for the prosecution said the company had breached its duties in managing the site. Defence lawyer Joseph Hart said “more robust” measures have been put in place to remedy the safety issues at the company, adding that the firm had a good health and safety record and a long history of employment and investment in the local area.
Kovacs’ daughter Agnes said in an impact statement: ”Our father’s death has caused great devastation for the whole family. It’s taken a big financial toll.”