The HSE has been challenged at the Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) over the decision not to treat the investigation into the Glasgow incident as a health and safety matter, a decision taken the day following the incident in which six people lost their lives.
Six people were killed and fifteen injured when the driver of a bin lorry lost control in Glasgow City Centre on 22 December 2014. The FAI, known as a Coroner’s Inquest in the rest of the UK, considered the driver’s medical background, fitness to hold a licence and his employment and training record, the vehicle involved and the safety of the route taken.
Fatal incidents in the workplace are investigated by the Police and HSE jointly with the HSE considering health and safety offences and providing technical expertise to support the Police under the Work Related Death Protocol. In this instance, it was concluded that the investigation ought to be treated as a road traffic collision and thus investigated solely by the Police.
Whilst giving evidence to the FAI, the HSE Inspector was challenged over the decision taken in a meeting with the Police and Prosecutors to treat the matter as a road traffic investigation, before the driver’s medical records had been obtained. The FAI heard the driver suffered from dizzy spells and fainting not disclosed to the DVLA or his employer.
When questioned the Inspector accepted that if a driver had medical issues such as epileptic seizures or heart attacks identifiable from his records that it may give rise to a breach of health and safety legislation.
The Crown Office (which prosecutes criminal cases in Scotland) confirmed in February that no criminal charges would be brought in relation to the incident.