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Posted by David Cant on October 22, 2012
A business involved in plant and demolition has had its HGV license suspended because of the director’s failure to disclose health and safety convictions to the Traffic Commissioner.
In May this year, Birstall Plant and Demolition Services Limited was also fined ten thousand pounds after an HSE prosecution following an incident when a worker sustained burns while cutting a metal gas pipe which was unsafe.
The conviction took place at a construction site where the firm wasn’t the main contractor but the Traffic Commissioner was not notified as the terms of holding a HGV operator license requires. Another separate conviction that was not declared to the commissioner was that of a worker who drove a van with a bulging tyre.
At a public inquiry that took place on September 26th before Kevin Rooney, the Traffic Commissioner for North East of England, Virginia Walker, the company director, said that she was mainly involved in the administration and accounts department and she left the transport department to her competent transport manager.
Non Disclosure of previous Health and Safety Convictions
She admitted to having limited information of the HSE prosecution saying that the firm assumed that the main contactor had made the site safe. She also said she was not conscious of the employee’s conviction and neither did she bother to attend the ensuing court hearing.
After the transport manager left the company in March at short notice, the director replaced him with her son, who did not have the required qualifications or experience to perform this role.
In his written verdict, the haulage- industry regulator said that the director had a staggering lack of information about regulated industries saying that, “she admitted to having had very little involvement with the transport operation. “Her knowledge of the extremely serious incident which her firm was prosecuted by HSE demonstrates further her lack of management and control of her business.”
During the inquiry, Vehicle and Operator Services Agency, who had visited the Birstall Demolition and Plant Services this year in April, also provided evidence to the commissioner. The vehicle examiner reported that the company did not have a satisfactory system of maintaining its fleet, with its vehicles not presented for routine Health and Safety inspection in time on eight occasions.
The traffic commissioner was also presented with the evidence of prohibitions given to the vehicles, confirming that nine mechanical faults notices has been documented since the operator’s last outward show at a public investigation, in may 2010. During this hearing, the firm made a promise that it would undertake an independent review of its maintenance systems which was not done and Mr. Rooney described this action as compromising the trust stuck between operator and regulator.
The traffic commissioner also looked at the matter of two fixed penalties- for failing to show tachograph records that record the driver on duty and another for an overloaded vehicle.
The company director said that termination of the firm’s license would lead to the collapse of its business. The company was imposed with a two week suspension of its license and its fleet was cut to four vehicles from seven indefinitely with Mr. Rooney saying that the company had escaped license revocation “by the least of margins”.
The traffic commissioner also noted that all the drivers of the company had completed a Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) which was mandatory. Walker had also appointed a qualified transport manager and she was now in control.
Mr. Rooney also warned the company that any other failure to keep the promises would lead to termination of its license.