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Customer fatally crushed

Posted: Tuesday 28th, January 2020

Carlisle company fined after customer fatally crushed
17th January 2020

A Carlisle auto-salvage company was fined after a customer was
trapped and fatally crushed when a lift truck he had purchased was
being loaded onto his own recovery vehicle.

Carlisle Crown Court heard that on 15 February 2018, a lift truck
purchased from Michael Douglas Autosalvage Ltd was lifted using the
company’s skip lorry onto a recovery vehicle at Stainton Road, Etterby.
The metal ring on the lift truck that the winch wire was attached to
failed, causing the lift truck to fall and trap Mr Paul Spence against the
skip lorry.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that
the company had failed to ensure that this complex lifting process was
properly planned by a competent person and that it had failed in its duty
not to expose customers to risk. A competent person would have
identified that this loading method with this equipment was
fundamentally unsafe.

The Company Michael Douglas Autosalvage Ltd of Stainton Rd,
Etterby, Carlisle pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 3(1) of the Health
and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £23,000 and
ordered to pay costs of £8,000.

Sandra Spence, Mr Spence’s widow said:

“Paul was taken too early, in a tragic way, and didn’t deserve his life to
end this way. There is a big empty hole in my heart, he was a very
loving husband and father. Paul always had a smile on his face and
lived for his family.”

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Matthew Tinsley

“This incident could so easily have been avoided should the lift have
been properly planned and appropriate equipment and safe working
practices been employed as a result.

“Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take
appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the
required standards.”

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