A Berkshire haulier has been heavily fined after he was found guilty of breaches of health and safety legislation leading to the death of a long-serving employee.
Mr Brian Gutteridge, 67, commenced employment with J Mould (Reading), a Reading-based haulier company, over twenty years ago and worked until his death as X. “J Mould (Reading”) is a trading name of a sole trader, Mr John Mould. On 9 November 2010 Mr Gutteridge had finished work at J Mould (Reading)’s site and was walking back to his car. He was obliged to cross a main road to reach his car from the site. As he did so he was hit by a tipper lorry which was parked at the side of the road. This caused Mr Gutteridge serious injuries and he died at the site. A health and safety investigation was subsequently commenced by the Health and Safety Executive. This investigation resulted in criminal proceedings being undertaken against Mr Mould in the Crown Court.
Southwark Crown Court heard that Mr Mould had previously been advised by an independent health and safety consultant that pedestrian-vehicle interactions could pose a grave risk to the safety of employees and that Mr Mould had failed to put in place a formal workplace transport risk assessment. It further heard that there were no designated cross points on the main road and there was confusion as to where the pedestrian walkway started and who had right of way on the road. Mr Mould pleaded guilty to breaches of s.2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, Regulation 3 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, and Regulation 17 of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1999. This resulted in him being fined £40,000 for the breaches (the maximum possible in the circumstances) and being ordered to pay £17,060 in costs.
The Health and Safety Executive stated afterwards that Mr Mould “failed to properly manage workplace transport prior to Brian’s tragic death” and that “had vehicle-pedestrian interactions been better controlled and managed then Brian would not have been killed. It demonstrates the need for proper risk assessments, to undertake regular reviews and to be wary of complacency”.
Mr Mould’s criminal defence solicitors did not comment on the matter after the finding.