Widnes firm sentenced over tipper truck death

11 February 2014

A Widnes-based manufacturer has been fined £100,000 after a worker was crushed to death when a tipper truck overturned.

Plasmor (Halton) Ltd was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an investigation found the company failed to have a safety system in place for the delivery of raw materials, despite several tipper trucks coming onto the site every day.

Liverpool Crown Court heard on the 11th February 2014 that David Astley had taken a truck of limestone dust to the plant on Tanhouse Lane in Widnes on 13 July 2013. The dust is used by the company to manufacture concrete blocks and slabs for the construction industry. The 56-year-old, from Ellesmere Port, was tipping the load onto the site when another driver arrived at the plant with a second load of limestone. The second driver was told to empty his truck in the same place but, as he lifted the trailer, it overturned and fell on top of Mr Astley’s cab, causing his death.

The court was told the tipper trucks arriving on the site could weigh up to 44 tonnes and the risk of vehicles overturning is well known in the manufacturing and construction industry. The HSE investigation found Plasmor had failed to carry out a risk assessment for the work and should have made sure vehicles were kept a safe distance apart. The person who directed the drivers onto the site had also not received suitable training.

Plasmor (Halton) Ltd, of Wormersley Road in Knottingley, was fined £100,000 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £28,634 after pleading guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Jane Carroll said: "Mr Astley sadly lost his life because Plasmor hadn’t considered the risks facing drivers who arrived on the site. "The company should have known there was a danger of tipper trucks overturning, and created exclusion zones to minimise the risk of anyone being injured. Instead, two drivers were allowed to empty their trailers next to each other. "Plasmor has since changed its procedures so staff are properly trained and tipper trucks are kept at least 20 metres apart. If this system had been in place at the time of the incident then Mr Astley’s death could have been avoided.” More information on the safe use of tipper trucks and other workplace vehicles is available at