Firm whose truck crushed boss’s legs is fined £55,000

Royal Court. Picture: JON GUEGAN. (37062542) (37739742)

A SKIP hire firm whose managing director had his legs crushed by a runaway truck in “an accident waiting to happen” has been fined £55,000 for breaching health and safety rules.

Paul Skinner’s legs were broken in two places following the incident at the Skinner Skips workshop in October 2022 and he spent four weeks in hospital in the UK.

Mr Skinner – who is still using a walking stick almost 18 months after the accident – appeared in the Royal Court yesterday on behalf of the company.

The Royal Court heard yesterday that Skinner Skips had been testing the brakes of a Volvo truck in its workshop at Bradford Farm in St Peter when the health and safety breach occurred.

The rear of the vehicle was lifted off the ground with a trolley jack, while the engine was turned on and the handbrake released.

When the vehicle was lowered again, however, the handbrake was still released, the engine was running and the vehicle was in gear, and it began to move forward.

Crown Advocate Carla Carvalho, prosecuting, said Mr Skinner ran after the truck and jumped in, attempting to stop it.

But he did not manage to get all the way into the cab in time, and when the truck struck another vehicle the driver’s door was forced shut, trapping and crushing his legs.

Advocate Carvalho said a lack of risk assessments and staff training on health and safety were to blame.

She said: “The firm’s level of culpability is high.

“The defendant did not have a specific risk assessment for the work.”

The firm was found guilty of breaching health and safety rules following a trial in January.

Advocate Carvalho added that it did not have any previous convictions for health and safety breaches.

Advocate David Steenson, defending, said: “Mr Skinner could not have been more candid and upfront in accepting that this was his fault.”

But he argued: “This was a unique set of circumstances that could not have been foreseen.

“This was not a case of flagrantly disregarding an accepted industry standard. It was a learning curve for the company.”

However, Deputy Bailiff Robert MacRae said: “There had clearly been no risk assessment for this kind of work. It was, in the court’s judgment, an accident waiting to happen.

“It was an isolated incident but it arose from an unsafe method of working.”

In addition to the fine, the firm was ordered to pay £5,000 towards prosecution costs.

The Jurats sitting were Robert Christensen and Michael Berry.

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