A workshop owner has been condemned for running an "amateurish, shambolic" vehicle repair garage after an employee was crushed while dismantling a Ford Transit.
Joseph Jones, boss of JJ Tyres & Recovery in Bootle, had no risk assessments, safe systems of work or lifting plan in place and hadn't made staff aware of the dangers associated with with removing the flatbed from a Ford Transit tipper truck, Liverpool Crown Court was told.
In a prosecution by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the court heard that as Kenny McCord was working on the Transit tipper a colleague removed a support arm meaning the tipped bed was only supported by the hydraulic system. When it failed, McCord was crushed between the flatbed and the Transit's chassis.
Jones used a forklift truck to free McCord who, according to the HSE "appeared shaken but was still able to talk and have a drink of water". But as his condition deteriorated rapidly, the business called an ambulance.
McCord died at Aintree Hospital from his significant internal injuries.
Jones admitted breaching two sections of the Health & Safety at Work Act and was jailed for 10 months, plus ordered to pay £40,000 in costs.
Sentencing, Judge David Swinnerton said: ”I describe it as an amateurish, shambolic backstreet operation. Some people like to refer to regulations as red tape, but this indicates precisely why regulations exist: to stop injury and the loss of life in the workplace.
”No sentence can reflect the value of a life. But I take the view that a message really has to go out that if you run a small backstreet operation you have to follow the rules, regulations and procedures for the safety of your employees.”
Lee Hughes, prosecuting, said it has been an “obviously preventable and foreseeable” tragedy, adding: ”This would not have happened if the tipper was suitably supported by a prop while Mr McCord was working underneath.”
AM recently reported that the HSE was concerned by the number of deaths in the motor vehicle sales and repair sector since 2017 and it had reminded workshop bosses to take their responsibilities seriously.
After the hearing, HSE inspector David Bellis said: “We found that had the support arm been applied, the collapse would not have happened.
"‘This will only take me a minute’ is a phrase we hear all too often, yet it is crucial the correct equipment is used when working under vehicles."