The family of a driver who slipped and fell to his death from the top of a tanker lorry has received a significant sum in compensation.

Mansel Bell, 64, from Alston in Cumbria died as a result of his injuries a few months after suffering severe brain damage in the fall at his workplace, Turners (Soham) Ltd.

On the day of the accident he was cleaning the top of the tanker at the distribution firm’s Fosterely Garage in Weardale. It was normal practice for drivers to climb on top of their vehicles to clean them. No gantry was provided for the task.

No-one witnessed the accident but a coroner ruled that his injuries suggested he fell from the top of the lorry.

Severe brain injury left him with little speech and movement

He suffered a severe brain injury which left him with little speech and movement. He needed 24-hour care and sadly died two months later.

Mansel had worked as an HGV driver for more than 40 years and transported cement and liquids from Scotland to London.

His wife, Maureen, 66, said he was passionate about his job and extremely safety conscious to the extent that he bought his own safety boots believing the ones provided by his employers were not good enough.

The couple were the main carers for their grandson and Mansel had hoped to work until he was 70 to continue to provide for the family. He had just passed a medical test a few weeks before the accident which gave him a clean bill of health.

This news story was also published by News & Star.

Thompsons Solicitors made claim for compensation

Following his death Maureen contacted Mansel’s union, the GMB which instructed its lawyers Thompsons Solicitors to pursue a claim for compensation.

Thompsons secured a court judgment that Turners were liable for Mansel’s death. Damages were settled out of court.

Maureen said: “Mansell loved his work and had washed down his tanker a thousand times before. It was essential to wash off the cement otherwise it would damage the tanker.

“I don’t understand why Turners did not put in a gantry to make it easier for drivers to clean their vehicles. I understand Turners have now installed the equipment but it is far too late for Mansell. Had he been alive today he would continue to work and we’d be making plans for our retirement together.

“We have been through hell during the last 12 months and I would never want another family to endure what we have.”

We now call for all HGV depots to install gantries

Ged Caig from the GMB said: “Our condolences go to Mrs Bell and her family for this terrible accident. We now call for all HGV depots to install gantries so workers are not forced into the same dangerous situation as Mr Bell. His death was needless and highlights the need for employers to take all necessary steps possible to safeguard their workers.”

Andrew McDonald from Thompsons Solicitors added: “This is a tragic case where the simple investment by Mr Bell’s employers in a gantry would have avoided his death. He has left behind a loving wife and grandson who must now come terms with his loss. We are only too happy to have assisted them in their claim for compensation to help them cope financially.”