• NTP Services

Shunter's death leads to huge fine for firm.


Failure to train staff in safe trailer coupling procedures or to implement health and safety advice has resulted in a company being fined £90,000 after the death of an employee.

The death of the employee happened in January 2011 whilst they were attempting to couple a tractor unit and semi-trailer. The company was fined after it was found that the employee did not normally driver articulated vehicles and had not received training on coupling lorries and trailers and that there was no evidence of written instruction on the procedure of how to carry out the task.

The shocking death and large fine has highlighted the need to ensure staff are properly trained to carry out their duties in a safe and efficient manner.

Shunter training is often overlooked however, as an employer you have a responsibility to ensure that your shunter drivers receive training on how to carry out their duties correctly and safely. Proof of this training must be evident and recorded on each employees file, its also vital that refresher training is given on a yearly basis to ensure your employees are performing their duties correctly and adhering to company policy.

The sad death of the employee at could possibly been prevented had the firm taken the advice of the health and safety adviser who visited the site and highlighted the lack of a risk assessment and procedure / training on coupling tractors to trailers or the risk of runaway vehicles just a month before .

All employers need to be aware that they have a legal responsibility to ensure their staff are trained to carry out their duties correctly regardless of their position within the company. Its of paramount importance for higher risk roles such as Shunter that formal training is given, this not only protects the employer by providing evidence that they ensure their staff are skilled in the duties they are asked to preform but also ensures the employee carries out their duties correctly, in a safe manner and feels confident in doing so.

We need to remember is that whilst the job at hand may seem simple enough to complete its not always as easy as it looks and as employers its our responsibility to ensure our staff know how to do the job correctly and to the standard we expect in a safe and efficient manner.

NTP can help employers ensure that their staff are able to complete their duties correctly by providing shunter training tailored to suit your business. We cover everything the employees needs to be successful in their role.

Shunter training is not just for dedicated shunter drivers though, if you ask another employee in a different role to shunt something onsite then they need training on how to carry out the task correctly, so if this is the kind of thing happens at your site its important they are trained too.

The idea is to cover your back and protect both yourself and your employees by making sure they know what they are doing. The firm who were issued the fine were very lucky not to end up with a corporate manslaughter charge and jail sentences!

You can find out more about our shunter training here and if you need any assistance or confidential advice they give us a call on 01406 424500 / 01406 424922. We are more than happy to help. We want everyone to be compliant and avoid these kind of fatalities!


139 High Road, Whaplode, Spalding, Lincolnshire, PE12 6TX. Company No. 10315367  

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