Category: Employers' liability insurance
A tour bus operator has received a substantial fine after one of its workers was seriously injured while at work.
The employee, who asked not to be named, was working on an open-topped London bus owned by The Original London Sightseeing Tour Limited.
In order to get to the underside of the vehicle to reseat an airbag, the bus was raised off the ground by two feet, supported on its axles by wooden blocks and column vehicle lifts.
The 58-year-old worker was underneath the vehicle when one of the wooden block broke, causing the vehicles to crush him. The bus' axle broke the mechanic's pelvis and several ribs, forcing him to be hospitalised for two weeks, and miss six months of work. He still suffers pain.
While most companies are obliged to have employers' liability insurance to cover compensation costs should an accident occur at work, they are legally required to take steps to try and prevent such incidents occurring.
After conducting an investigation, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that appropriate risk assessments for the site had not been carried out, and The Original London Sightseeing Tour Limited had not included engineers in the risk assessment process.
The company could have used another set of lifts or one of a number of vehicle pits at another depot, it was found. The company was fined £10,500 and ordered to pay costs of £10,000.
Following the hearing, HSE inspector Jane Wolfenden said: "The use of wooden blocks in this way could easily have resulted in a fatality. It was foreseeable that the blocks were likely to give way, putting the lives of employees at risk.
"Had the company carried out an effective risk assessment that involved site engineers, this entirely preventable incident could have been avoided."
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