In the early hours of the morning, when it was dark, a contract tipper driver was carrying out his pre-start vehicle checks. These included opening the automatic tailgate to check for contaminants from the previous load. He then activated the switch in the cab to close the tailgate. Due to the engine only just being started, the lack of build-up of air in the tanks delayed the closure of the air activated tailgate and the clasps which secure it in place. The clasps closed as the driver was cleaning the tailgate, severing the middle finger on his left hand, which later had to be amputated in hospital.
- When the vehicle air tanks are fully charged, the operation of the tailgate clasps closing takes approximately 4 seconds. On this occasion it took 11 seconds.
- This is a task the driver carried out daily and had not recognised the risk previously.
- The swift actions of the site personnel helped getting the injured person the emergency assistance he required.