Family demand lessons are learned from port death

A SUFFOLK port worker's family have called for lessons to be learned after his employers were ordered to pay hundreds of thousands of pounds in fines and costs after he died in an accident at work.

A SUFFOLK port worker's family have called for lessons to be learned after his employers were ordered to pay hundreds of thosuand of pounds in fines and costs after he died in an accident at work.

Sixty-year-old Brian Vince, of Lanercost Way in Ipswich, was part of a team unloading and loading a roll-on-roll-off ferry at the Port of Ipswich when he was struck by a reversing vehicle on a ramp linking the quay with the vessel in March 2007.

Associated British Ports, which operates the Ipswich port, admitted failing to ensure the health and safety at work of Mr Vince and was fined �266,000 and ordered to pay costs of �74,442.

During a sentencing hearing at Ipswich Crown Court Mark Watson, prosecuting for the Health and Safety Executive, claimed there had been an “obvious risk” to the safety of 60-year-old Mr Vince from vehicles reversing across the ramp to the ferry.

He described existing safe systems at work procedures at the time of Mr Vince's death as “inadequate” and said that after the accident it had been straight-forward to change them. “They fell significantly short,” he said.

He said that drivers loading and unloading trailers on and off the ferry did not have to wait for a signal from a ramp man, the position held by Mr Vince, before they moved on and off the ramp.

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In addition the ramp man would move around the ramp during the loading and unloading operations and was vulnerable due to blind spots on the vehicles moving the containers.

Sentencing ABP Judge John Devaux said Mr Vince had not been doing anything abnormal or unusual at the time of his death and there had been an “unacceptably high risk” of him being hit by a reversing trailer.

He said that following Mr Vince's death working procedures had been overhauled and vehicles were not allowed to move on to the ramp until the ramp man had given a positive signal.

Jonathan Ashley-Norman for ABS described Mr Vince's death as tragic and said he had been a long standing and popular member of the team at Ipswich.

He said ABP had accepted liability for what happened at an early stage and accepted by its plea that it hadn't done all that was reasonably practicable to ensure Mr Vince's safety.

Mr Ashley-Norman said that ABP had taken steps after Mr Vince's death to overhaul working procedures in relation to the movement of vehicles on the ramp leading on and off ferries and took health and safety matters seriously.

After yesterday's hearing Mr Vince's wife Patricia said; “My wish would obviously be to turn back time and bring my husband Brian back.

“But knowing that this is not possible, my children and I would like reassurance and comfort that this will never happen again - therefore ensuring that no family has to endure the pain, suffering and loss that we have.”

“My husband was a wonderful person who cannot be replaced, who had his life ahead of him before it was sadly cut short. His death following this tragic accident should not be in vain and that is why my family and I seek a fair and satisfactory conclusion to this case.”