Ruislip business fined more than £130,000 for seriously injuring delivery driver

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Wholesale and general distribution company Davis & Dann Limited has been fined £120,000 and ordered to pay costs of £12,892 and a Victim Surcharge of £190 after pleading guilty to a health and safety offence at Southwark Crown Court on 14 April. The company, based in South Ruislip, had failed to comply with health and safety rules at its warehouse, causing significant harm to a visiting delivery driver.

The accident occurred on 8 June 2020, when the driver was hit by a reversing forklift truck in the car park/delivery area at the company’s leased warehouse and distributing centre at Kanta House, Victoria Road. The driver suffered lacerations to their head and right foot and more serious injuries to their legs which required surgery.

Davis & Dann initially failed to report the accident to the Health and Safety Executive, only doing so then days later when the council was informed that the injured driver’s employer had reported the incident.

The forklift truck driver claimed that they had checked behind themselves and sounded the horn on reversing, however CCTV highlighted that the driver had failed to carry out the required safety checks, despite being aware that the visiting delivery driver was in the vicinity.

A council environmental health officer carried out an inspection of the premises in July 2020 and found that it lacked effective physical or documented control measures in relation to workplace transport safety measures and traffic control at the site. 

The company had failed to carry out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment that would have identified the requirement to implement control measures to separate vehicles and pedestrians, where possible, in the car park and loading/unloading area. The car park had faded line markings and there were no warning signs advising that forklifts were in use. The visiting delivery driver had also not been provided with any instructions or information in relation to safety procedures to be followed whilst on site.  

It was also found that Davis & Dann Limited had failed to ensure that the employee tasked with drafting the company’s health and safety documentation was suitably qualified and had adequate experience.  

As a result of the health and safety failings observed, the council issued the company with two improvement notices on 16 July 2020. One requiring the company to implement measures to address workplace transport safety measures, and the other demanded that risk assessments should be carried out. Following a further inspection in November 2020 it was found that steps had been taken to improve compliance. 

On sentencing, the court considered the level of harm caused to the visiting driver, as well as the health and safety risk to employees and other workers, as well as mitigating for the company’s good compliance history and the improvements made at the premises. 

Cllr Jonathan Bianco, Hillingdon Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Property, Highways and Transport, said: “I hope that this case serves as a lasting reminder to all business owners of the importance of complying with health and safety regulations.

“A delivery driver received serious and life-changing injuries through no fault of their own and we will never hesitate to prosecute in circumstances like this to safeguard our residents, visitors and employees.”