Lack of safety puts vehicle rescue firm in court

A vehicle recovery firm has been prosecuted after a mechanic suffered a serious back injury when a seven-tonne lorry fell from a jack and trapped him underneath.

The 22-year-old Hull worker fractured two vertebrae in the incident at ABR Rescue Ltd’s workshop in Grindell Street. He was unable to return to work for three months.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which investigated, told Hull Magistrates that the firm had badly neglected the safety of its employees. It had failed to provide safe working methods and not addressed the very real risks of harm associated with working underneath vehicles.

The court was told the mechanic was fitting a brake chamber to the large goods vehicle (LGV). Its rear nearside wheels had been taken off and the vehicle was being supported by a single hydraulic jack – which itself was standing on a block of wood.

Another employee was working in the lorry’s cab and when he started the engine, the LGV rolled off or fell from the jack, trapping the mechanic underneath.

HSE said the LGV should have been supported using axle stands, and the remaining wheels should have been chocked to prevent it from rolling.

ABR Rescue Ltd  was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £3,760 after admitting breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

After the case an HSE Inspector said:
“This young mechanic was working underneath an inadequately supported and unchocked LGV whilst another employee was working in the cab. Jacks are for lifting, not support, and in these circumstances it was entirely foreseeable that when the engine was started the vehicle would fall.

“Because ABR Rescue had not looked properly at the risks of the job, they had not identified the measures needed to control those risks. However, the precautions that should be taken are well-known in the industry and if the company had fulfilled its duty of care, then a young worker would have been spared a serious injury.”