Motor vehicle repair company fined after work experience student crushed by vehicle

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The mechanic went to the driver’s side opened the door and turned the ignition on from outside of the vehicle.

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A Motor Vehicle Repair (MVR) company was fined after a 27-year-old man gaining work experience at the garage, was crushed to death by a vehicle.

Trafford Magistrates’ Court heard that in December 2014, Muhammed Zohaib Yasin, had been working at, Just Mercedes Limited, watching another employee carry out repair work on a Vauxhall Corsa.

Mr Yasin was at the front of the vehicle as he added some antifreeze to the engine. The mechanic went to the driver’s side opened the door and turned the ignition on from outside of the vehicle. The vehicle shot forward trapping and crushing the young man, who later died from his injuries.
An investigation carried out by HSE Inspectors found no defects with the vehicle, but it had instead been left in gear with the handbrake off.

HSE found that the employees of Just Mercedes Limited had not been given any specific instructions on selecting gears and use of the handbrake when parking vehicles, on or off vehicle ramps. No specific instructions had been given to employees on operating the ignition from outside of the vehicle. There was no system in place for safe storage of keys. 

HSE inspector Lisa Bailey said after the hearing: “Had the company ensured employees were trained and instructed on moving vehicles around the garage safely then this tragic incident might not have occurred.”

Just Mercedes Ltd, of Shentonfield Road, Sharston Industrial Area, Wythenshawe, Manchester, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) and Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, and were fined £33,000 with £12,000 costs.

Employers must have Safe Systems of Work (SSW) for their employees. Your own Risk Assessments should identify work-related hazards and specify appropriate risk control measures. Workers should be informed as to the outcome of any risk assessment and be instructed as to any SSW that is developed. You should ensure that Workshop Supervisors are aware of any SSW that you have designed; and they should monitor the workforce so as to ensure compliance with the SSW.

Managers and Supervisors must recognise that any person on a Work Experience Program will have very little by way of skills, knowledge, training and experience and will therefore require close supervision; as will all trainees, including apprentices. You should refer to the HSE publication HSG 261 which can be downloaded FOC from the website of the HSE for detailed further information on health and safety in the MVR sector.

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