One of Britain’s largest vehicle manufacturers has been ordered to pay a £900,000 fine – plus legal costs – for breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act.
The accident occurred on the 8th February 2015 at Jaguar Land Rover’s West Midlands manufacturing site. One of the vehicles – a Range Rover Sport model – was being driven by an employee towards the start of the production line. This is ordinarily routine, occurring approximately forty-eight times an hour.
However, in this case, the driver of the vehicle was not experienced in the procedure as they were covering a shift for a sick co-worker. When the vehicle approached the production line, its driver lost control and rammed into the car directly ahead of him. This had a domino effect, resulting in a four-car pile-up.
Tragically, another production line worker was caught in between two of the cars. His leg was crushed, and despite emergency medical attention, later had to be amputated. Two other employees were also injured, but to a lesser extent.
The Health Service Executives (HSE) investigated Jaguar Land Rovers after the accident. The HSE inspectors found that the site managers did not ensure that the task of delivering cars to the production line was in the hands of someone familiar with the task. They also concluded that the separation between the workers and the production line was not sufficient to prevent accidents.
The vehicle manufacturers were subsequently prosecuted by the HSE for four different breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act. The case was heard at the Birmingham Crown Court earlier this month, where the company was fined £900,000 for their failures and ordered to pay £450,000 in court costs.
HSE Inspector John Glynn commented that “A worker has been left with life-changing injuries that were completely avoidable, it was only good fortune that prevented this from being a fatal accident. Jaguar Land Rover knew the risks of driving vehicles onto production lines and the possibility of shunt accidents, but failed to protect their workers.”