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Bus company prosecuted after worker is crushed

A tour bus operator has been fined after a mechanical engineer suffered serious injuries while working underneath one of its vehicles.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted The Original London Sightseeing Tour Limited for failing to prevent the incident, which happened on 21 October 2009.

Westminster Magistrates' Court heard the 58-year-old employee was working underneath the vehicle at a bus depot at Ferry Lane, Rainham, Essex while reseating an airbag on one of the firm's open topped London buses. The vehicle had been raised approximately two feet off the ground and was supported on its axles by wooden blocks and column vehicle lifts. The worker was being assisted by a colleague who was raising and lowering the bus using the vehicle lift control on his instruction. However, one of the wooden blocks broke and the axle dropped onto the mechanic breaking his pelvis and several ribs. He was hospitalised for two weeks, could not work for six months, and still suffers from pain.

The HSE investigation found risk assessments for the site had not been properly reviewed, nor were site engineers involved in the risk assessment process. Had this been done, the company could have used another set of vehicle lifts available at the time of the incident or taken the tri-axle buses to another depot where there were numerous vehicle pits.

The Original London Sightseeing Tour Limited, registered at Admiral Way, Sunderland, Tyne and Wear was fined £10,500 and ordered to pay costs of £10,000 for breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.


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