Trucking company GCS Johnson fined £140k after Darlington dad killed by falling machinery at depot

Anthony Clark, from Darlington, pictured with grandson Jake, was killed by falling machinery at a depot in Richmond in 2018. Credit: HSE

A North Yorkshire trucking company has been fined after a dad-of-two was killed while unloading a lorry.

Father-of-two Anthony Clark, from Darlington was helping to move a large piece of machinery from one trailer to another when it fell on him, killing him instantly.

Following the death of the 51-year-old, who worked for North Yorkshire company GCS Johnson Limited, the firm has been fined £140,000 after pleading guilty to breaching health and safety regulations.

The incident happened at the company's depot at Barton Quarry industrial estate in Richmond on 17 August 2018.

Speaking following the court hearing, Elaine Clark, Mr Clark's sister, spoke of the devastating impact of her brother's death.

“He absolutely should not have died at work that day.

“He should still be here but he’s not. And that leaves a huge void in all our lives that nothing will ever replace" she said.

Mr Clark, who had two grandchildren, was an avid Sunderland fan and had recently got engaged to his fiancé Marie. He is also survived by his brother Graham.

Ms Clark added: “Mum has lost her son. Marie has lost her fiancé. Graham and I don’t have our baby brother anymore. His daughters don’t have their dad. His grandchildren will never get to know their Grandad.

“None of us get to see his smile. None of us get to hear him laugh. He doesn’t get to ride his scooter with his mates. Or go to watch Sunderland every week. He will never get old like the rest of us.

“Nearly five years on, family events that should be joyous occasions are tainted by our Anthony not being there. And that will never change.

“I can only repeat, he absolutely should not have died at work that day.”

Anthony Clark, pictured with his brother Graham, was an avid Sunderland fan and had recently become engaged. Credit: HSE

Following Mr Clark's death, a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that when the workers were transferring the load for shipment, the machinery was in two parts and the smaller section fell free during the lifting operation.

This caused the part of machinery to strike Mr Clark, resulting in immediate fatal injuries.

After the hearing at Leeds Magistrates' Court, HSE inspector Julian Franklin said: “You can tell from the moving tribute from Anthony’s sister, Elaine, how popular he was and the severe impact his death has had on the family.

“If the load had been examined carefully prior to the lift being carried out, the team would have identified that it was in two pieces. As it was, the lifting method used was not suitable for a load of that size and shape, and a lifting plan should have been prepared.

“This terrible incident could so easily have been avoided by simply implementing the correct control measures and safe working practices.”

The firm was fined £140,000 and ordered to pay £18,355.07 in costs at the court hearing.

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