Inquest into death of serviceman exposes health and safety inadequacies
Coroner Elizabeth Earland ruled that RAF Senior Aircraftman Kinikki Griffiths was killed in Afghanistan when an armoured vehicle with defective brakes rolled and crushed him, as he assisted in repairing a fluid leak underneath it.
The vehicle was being driven by Corporal William Wortley who did not hold a full driving licence and was not qualified to drive the Jackal, a six-and-a-half-tonne armoured vehicle.
At the inquest, Corporal William Wortley claimed that the vehicle began to roll forward despite applying the handbrake moments earlier.
Kinikki Griffiths and a colleague were beneath the vehicle checking a fluid leak during the accident. His colleague managed to escape, but Kinikki was trapped and suffered fatal crush injuries on 16 July 2010.
Following the incident all Jackal vehicles were recalled, and many were found to have deficient brakes.
Coroner Elizabeth Earland advised she would write to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to request a review into training methods for drivers.
David Robinson, serious injuries solicitor and military claims specialist at Thompsons Solicitors, said: “The findings of the inquest into the tragic death of Serviceman Kinikki Griffiths highlighted a catalogue of errors which, if addressed, could have prevented this needless loss of life.
“It is difficult to comprehend why an unqualified driver, with no training to use this type of vehicle, would feel comfortable taking control of a six-and-a-half-tonne armoured vehicle. It raises serious concerns about the levels of training that servicemen and women receive, and general attitudes towards health and safety rules and regulations.
“Echoing Coroner Earland’s guidance, it is vital that the MoD is committed to delivering sufficient training and regular vehicle and equipment safety checks to best protect those working in, what is already, an incredibly hazardous and dangerous environment.”
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