Fife firm found guilty of safety failings following worker’s death


A Fife plant hire firm has been found guilty of failing to carry out a risk assessment into the possibility of lorries being driven off while work was being done on them. 

Robert Purvis Plant Hire Limited was on a trial at Dunfermline Sheriff Court, following the tragic death of their employee Ian Bratchie, a 50-year-old grandfather. 

The mechanic assistant was crushed when the lorry he was working under was driven away in the company’s yard at Cartmore Industrial Estate, Lochgelly, in September 2015. 

A jury today found the company guilty of a charge that between 2nd April 2012 and 4th September 2015 at its premises in Lochgelly, it failed to make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to the health and safety of its employees to which they were exposed whilst they were at work, by failing to carry out a specific risk assessment for the control of vehicles under maintenance and in particular failing to assess the risk of vehicles being driven away whilst employees were carrying out work on them. 

There was a not proven verdict to a charge that between 2nd April 2012 and 4th September 2015 the company failed to ensure, as far as reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of their employees and in particular Ian Bratchie, now deceased. 

HGV driver Mark Elder previously told the trial of the horrific accident which occurred as he moved his lorry in the yard. 

He said there was no sign in place to indicate his lorry, in a parking area, was being worked on. 

He drove away without realising Mr Bratchie was working underneath.  

CCTV video of the incident showed Mr Elder (40) climbing out of the cab with his hands over his face. 

Mr Elder described his colleague as “a great guy” and they had worked together at the firm for over three years. 

He described how he felt “a bump” as he drove off, then someone sounding their horn before he looked back and saw Mr Bratchie fatally injured. 

The defence team will give submissions in mitigation to Sheriff Chris Shead tomorrow before sentencing.

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