Painter Killed by Reversing Lorry

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Posted on 06 Mar 2014

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted EMC Contracts Ltd after a painter working on a project to fit out a new coffee shop at a cinema was struck by a reversing van outside the entrance to the cinema.

One of EMC’s employees had unloaded his van of construction materials and was reversing it to park up outside the cinema when it struck the painter who was crossing behind it.

An HSE investigation found the company did not have any control measures in place to keep vehicles involved in the construction work away from pedestrians outside the cinema. As a result, both workers and members of the public had been put in danger.

The company had written a method statement for the work, which identified the risk of pedestrians being injured by vehicles as a main hazard. However, it failed to state what measures should be taken to reduce or eliminate the risk.

EMC Contracts Ltd was found guilty of two breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £130,000 and ordered to pay £52,790 in prosecution costs.


Ensure all actions identified in risk assessments are implemented and safe systems of work put in place for all work activities.

In order of priority, follow a hierarchy of controls when reducing risks to the lowest reasonably practicable level by taking preventative measures. The controls are:

  • Elimination of a hazard - redesign the job so that the hazard is removed; 
  • Substitution of a hazard to a less hazardous one;
  • Engineering controls through using engineering solutions to eliminate or reduce a hazard;
  • Administrative controls through use of safe systems of work, risk assessments, safety sign usage; and
  • Personal protective clothes and equipment used as a last resort

Information on how to prevent injuries involving workplace transport is available on the HSE website.

The articles published on this website, current at the date of publication, are for reference purposes only. They do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Specific legal advice about your own circumstances should always be sought separately before taking any action.

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