The workplace health and safety regulator urged drivers to apply parking brakes and use (or retrofit) warning alarms to avoid a repeat of an incident when a 20-year-old man died.
Road worker Dale Pentney was crushed by an HGV tractor unit which unexpectedly rolled backwards as driver Anthony Steven Smith was in the process delivering materials for repairs to the A21 in Kent.
At Sevenoaks Magistrates’ Court, Smith was given a suspended prison sentence. He pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving and a breach of section 7 of the Health and Safety at Work Act.
The court heard Smith, 48, of Philadelphia Road, Porthcawl, Newport, Wales, was an experienced HGV driver and was in the process of connecting his tractor unit to another parked trailer when it rolled backwards.
Two men working with Mr Pentney were able to jump out of its way but Mr Pentney was unable to do so and was trapped between the two vehicles. He sustained major head injuries and died at the scene.
A joint investigation by Kent Police and HSE found that Smith failed to apply the parking brake of the tractor unit before he left it. He also failed to follow recognised industry coupling procedures.
Smith was sentenced to 12 weeks’ imprisonment (suspended for 12 months) and disqualified from driving for 12 months.
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