On the 16th of November 2020, Robert Gifkins, who was working for Arnold Laver & Company ltd, was delivering timber to a company in Whaddon, near Salisbury. After climbing onto the bed of his training to sling the load and attach it to the vehicle-mounted crane, he used the crane’s remote control to move the load but was unfortunately struck by the crane and fell from the vehicle to the ground. Mr Gifkins was taken to hospital but subsequently died on the 17th of December 2020.
An investigation was carried out by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), who found this incident was the result of health and safety failings by the company. The risks associated with this work at height had not been properly assessed and the risk of falls had not been adequately prevented or controlled. The company had also not provided Mr Gifkins with sufficient training or instruction on the safe operation of the remote crane controls on the vehicle.
A sentencing hearing at Salisbury Magistrates’ Court occurred on the 13th of October, where Arnold Laver & Company Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act. Passing sentence on the 9th of November, almost a year after the incident, they were fined £400,000 and ordered to pay £19,842 in costs.
After the hearing, HSE inspector, Leo Dies gave the following statement, “Falls from vehicles can be overlooked by employers when considering risks from work at height. Simple control measures would have prevented this accident.”
Betty Gifkins, Mr Gifkins’s mother gave a victim’s personal statement, “The pain of losing a son is only made worse by the fact this is the second son I have lost. I try not to think of him in the hospital as this only adds to my sadness. I miss him every day.”