Sources claim council crews were shown how to stop lorries AFTER horror crash.
Bin lorry crews were given lessons on how to stop vehicles in an emergency only hours after the George Square tragedy, it’s been alleged.
Council insiders claim depot bosses in Glasgow held hastily arranged training sessions on Tuesday morning for refuse workers who don’t normally drive. It was feared they wouldn’t know what to do to avert a similar tragedy.
The revelation has led to questions about whether the horrific crash in Glasgow on Monday could have been avoided.
The lorry, which had two other council workers as well as the driver in it, careered out of control for up to 300 metres along a busy pavement before ploughing into the side of a hotel. Witnesses have said that they saw the driver slumped over the wheel of the vehicle as it knocked down shoppers in Glasgow’s bustling city centre.
There has been intense speculation as to why the lorry’s two other crew members had not intervened to stop the wayward vehicle. But claims have emerged that they had not been shown how simply pulling the hand-brake on the dashboard would have stopped the 26-tonne lorry.
It is also believed bosses at Glasgow’s other refuse depots began showing their non-driving staff how to perform the emergency stops on Tuesday less than 24 hours after the crash had left six people dead and another 10 injured.
A council insider said: “It’s horrific. If any of the crew had simply pulled the hand-brake it would have stopped the lorry. It’s as simple as showing staff where it is and how to pull it. But very few of the non-driving staff if any knew about it. They are being shown now but tragically it’s too late for the people killed on Monday.”
Police are currently investigating the accident but have ruled out any suggestion it was intentional. Officials from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency are examining the vehicle to see if there were any mechanical faults.
Another source has told The Sunday Post that, unlike a car, pulling the handbrake would have cut the lorry’s engine.
He said: “If they aren’t drivers they wouldn’t have been shown it. The crew would have been sitting behind the driver and not alongside him. There is a bar between them and the driver and the brake is on the dashboard like lorries of a similar size. They could simply reach over and pull it.
“But you don’t know what’s happened. It might not have been immediately apparent that the driver was not in control. And the guys might have had seatbelts on, which would have slowed down their reaction.”
Glasgow City Council refused to comment on what training they had given their refuse collection staff on stopping wayward vehicles. But the authority’s poor training of bin men has previously been slammed after it led to a pensioner’s death in 2012.
Last April, the council was fined £20,000 after Malcolm McCulloch was killed by a bin lorry driven by a worker who was not fully trained. The 71-year-old was hit by a reversing vehicle in Glasgow city-centre in August 2012. At a hearing after his death, Glasgow Sheriff Court was told Mr McCulloch would still be alive if staff had been better trained in reversing.
When the accident happened neither member of the two-man crew had received adequate reverse training a year after a risk assessment deadline was imposed by the council.
Local SNP MSP Sandra White said: “It is important that we await the outcome of the police investigation that is underway.”
It’s unknown if the 57-year-old driver on Monday had any existing medical complaints. But to be a certified Class 2 driver over the age of 45 he would only need to undergo a medical examination every five years. It is the same rules for all professional lorry and bus drivers. Train drivers up to the age of 55 also face medical assessments every five years. Over the age of 56 they get them every two years. Taxi drivers in Glasgow have to complete health checks every three years when they renew their licence while commercial pilots get them every 12 months over the age of 40.
A spokesman for Glasgow City Council said: “There is an on-going Police Scotland investigation into the crash. As such it wouldn’t be appropriate for us to comment.”
Two teenagers are among the four casualties, all described as being in a stable condition, still being treated in hospital following the crash.
In Glasgow Royal Infirmary area 14-year-old girl, an 18-year-old woman and a 64-year-old woman. A 57-year-old man is also stable at the Western Infirmary in Glasgow.