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Quarry Operator Sentenced Following Worker’s Death

An Arbroath quarry operator has been fined for serious safety failings after a dumper truck driver died when his vehicle reversed over a stop block to the quarry floor below.

Forfar Sheriff Court heard that Joseph Troup had loaded material from the extraction face onto his 35-tonne articulated dump truck and transported it to an area by the processing plant’s input hopper.

Mr Troup began tipping the load into the input hopper where material is transferred by conveyor belts to the processing plant to be turned into sand and gravel aggregate. In order to tip, the truck body is raised by pulling back the tipping lever, which is beside the gear lever in the driver’s cab, while revving the vehicle’s engine.

At the time of the incident, the assistant quarry manager heard the revving of Mr Troup’s truck. But as he looked up he saw the vehicle’s rear wheels on the metal bars which cover the top of the input hopper and realised it was reversing back over the hopper and the truck body was not raised at all.

As it reversed, the rear of the truck rolled beyond the end of the metal bars and fell backwards onto the quarry floor below.

Unfortunately, Mr Troup was not wearing a seatbelt and he was thrown from his seat as the vehicle fell backwards. He died instantly as a result of head injuries.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) was unable to identify the exact reason for the vehicle reversing. Mr Troup may have inadvertently pulled the gear lever into the reverse position when attempting to pull the tipping lever, since the two levers are side by side. The vehicle was able to move because the parking brake had not been applied.

HSE found that the stop block above the input hopper at the time was ineffective in stopping the reversing dump truck due to a combination of insufficient height and the ramping of sand and gravel used in the construction of the stop block.

The company was fined £200,000 after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 6 of The Quarries Regulations (as amended) 1999.

Quarrying remains one of the most dangerous industries to work in, says the HSE. Since 2000 more than 3,500 workers have suffered an injury reportable to HSE, 31 of which were fatal.

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