Glasgow & West Scotland

Glasgow bin lorry crash: Inspector denies 'hasty' decision

Harry Clarke and crashed bin lorry Image copyright Various
Image caption The inquiry has heard Mr Clarke was unconscious when the bin lorry crashed, killing six people

A safety inspector has denied that a decision to treat the Glasgow bin lorry crash as a road traffic accident was "hasty and ill advised".

Barry Baker, from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), said the incident on 22 December, in which six people died, was "clearly a road traffic accident".

He also told the fatal accident inquiry (FAI) that it was "investigated by the correct regulators".

The inquiry is examining the lorry and the health of the driver, Harry Clarke.

Mr Baker, 50, was giving evidence for a second day at the inquiry, which is taking place at Glasgow Sheriff Court.

The inquiry has already heard that Mr Clarke had a history of dizzy spells and fainting which he had not disclosed to the DVLA or on job application forms to Glasgow City Council.

Police investigation

The 58-year-old was unconscious at the wheel of the council bin lorry when it veered out of control on Queen Street, before killing six people and injuring 15 others.

The FAI heard that a meeting was held the day after the crash with representatives from the police, the Crown Office, the HSE and others.

It was agreed at this meeting that the crash was a road traffic incident and would be investigated by police.

Image caption (Clockwise from top left) Jack Sweeney, Lorraine Sweeney, Erin McQuade, Jacqueline Morton, Stephenie Tait and Gillian Ewing were killed in the crash

Mark Stewart QC, acting for the family of Erin McQuade, 18, and her grandparents Jack Sweeney, 68, and Lorraine Sweeney, 69, suggested that Mr Clarke's medical records were not obtained until 7 January.

He said: "So, this incident was written off within 30 hours by a group who convened without the benefit of what could have been significant information in relation to this particular driver, that could have had a bearing on the issue of contravention of the Health and Safety at Work Act?"

Mr Baker said: "I disagree with that. If there's a problem with medical fitness to drive, that's a matter for the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency).

"We would become involved if there were systematic issues."

Mr Stewart said: "The idea that this accident was categorised as a road traffic accident, it must seem that that was hasty and ill-advised?"

The HSE inspector replied: "No. I disagree that it was hasty. It was clearly a road traffic accident, it was investigated by the correct regulators."

The inquiry, now in its fifth week, continues.

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