A tire company based in Ellon has been fined £9800 due to violations of health and safety regulations that were uncovered during an investigation into an employee’s tragic death.
Kairdson Tyres Limited, which provided vehicle recovery services to Police Scotland, admitted its guilt at Aberdeen Sheriff Court on Thursday for not ensuring that their employees were adequately trained, informed, and instructed to carry out vehicle recovery work safely, with proper planning and supervision.
The company was also found to have failed in performing an appropriate and thorough risk assessment and in providing a wind measuring device crucial for the secure operation of the hydraulic crane during vehicle recovery work. The incident occurred on October 27, 2018, on the B999 Pitmedden to Potterton road in Aberdeenshire, amidst rain and strong winds. The fatality involved Robert Garvock, a senior recovery operator, who was attempting to recover a stolen vehicle that had overturned on an embankment.
Using metal chains attached to the front and rear axles, Mr. Garvock was situated on the nearside of the recovery vehicle cab, operating hydraulic controls as the vehicle was lifted out of the ditch. During this process, a police officer and one of Mr. Garvock’s colleagues alerted that the lorry was tilting towards its nearside. Suddenly, the lorry tipped onto its nearside, causing the cab to descend on Mr. Garvock, resulting in his tragic death. Although the Health and Safety Executive investigation identified multiple shortcomings by the company, these deficiencies were not the direct cause of Mr. Garvock’s demise.
It’s important to note that the company no longer engages in recovery operations that require lifting activities. Upon the conclusion of the criminal proceedings, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service will initiate a mandatory fatal accident inquiry to comprehensively investigate the circumstances surrounding Mr. Garvock’s passing. The inquiry aims to uncover lessons learned and ways to prevent similar incidents in the future.
Mr. Garvock’s family has been informed about the decision to hold a fatal accident inquiry, and they will receive updates regarding significant developments. In response to the sentencing, Debbie Carroll, who leads health and safety investigations for the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, emphasised that Kairdson Tyres Limited’s failure to implement appropriate safety measures placed their employees at an unacceptable risk of severe harm or death. This prosecution serves as a reminder to employers that they bear the responsibility of ensuring reasonable health and safety measures to safeguard their employees, and any negligence will be subject to accountability.