On 11 January 2011, Travis Hale, 45, employed as a driver by Punchards Haulage Limited (Punchards), was tasked with transporting four concrete panels from Derby to a construction site in Edinburgh.

The panels had been designed by VTK Structures Limited (VTK) and manufactured by Hanson Packed Products Limited (Hanson).

When Mr Hale arrived to collect the loaded trailer, his employer, Punchards, had provided three straps to secure the load. Shortly after Mr Hale’s journey he was contacted and asked to pull over to check his load. At this stage he was joined by the designers, VTK, whose employees advised fitting more straps.

As Mr Hale loosened one of the existing straps, a panel weighing approximately one and a half tonnes fell off the trailer and killed him.

The HSE concluded that there were insufficient straps to secure the load and that all three companies ought to have cooperated to ensure that the load was secure.

The case was heard at Derby Crown Court. Punchards (the employer) of Bramshall, Staffordshire, and VTK (the designer) were each ordered to pay fines of £140,000 and costs of £37,016 after pleading guilty to an offence under Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Hanson (the manufacturer) of Maidenhead, Berkshire, were fined a total of £80,000, and ordered to pay costs of £37,016 after pleading guilty to an offence under Regulation 3(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

The HSE’s Inspector Stuart Parry said: “VTK and Punchards should have provided Mr Hale and other drivers with better means of securing panels, such as Toast racks or A frames. They did not do so and this failing led to the tragic death of Mr Hale.”