WEST Yorkshire Police has backed an open letter about insecure loads after a man was killed by a rock falling from a lorry.

Steven Oscroft, who was 60, died when a block of concrete fell from a vehicle travelling in the opposite direction and smashed through his windscreen.

The 60-year-old was driving down Netherfield Lane, in Perlethorpe cum Budby, taking his two grandchildren out strawberry picking in Ollerton when the tragedy unfolded on July 7, last year.

His wife, Denise, was also in the car.

Mrs Oscroft and their two grandchildren were both unharmed, but Mr Oscroft died instantly.

The 60-year-old's widow and two daughters, Becky Marsh and Kelly Kirby, were left in a pure state of shock.

But as time went on, the shock turned to anger as they came to terms with the understanding that Mr Oscroft’s death could have been prevented had the concrete been better secured.

This was further confirmed on May 4 this year, when an inquest determined that Mr Oscroft died as a result of a road traffic collision after a piece of concrete fell from an uncovered part of a lorry from Paul Wainwright Construction Services, of Hucknall.

Assistant Coroner for Nottinghamshire Gordon Clow also said he would be preparing a "preventing future deaths" report and would be requiring Wainwrights to supply evidence that actions are being taken, including improved driver training and working practices.

He said he would also call for the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) to clarify legislation around securing lorry loads.

This outcome fuelled the family to seek serious changes within the industry in order to prevent anyone else experiencing the loss of a loved one in this way.

The family have released an open letter as part of their continuing work and coincides with the National Police Chiefs' Council's Commercial Vehicle Week of Action.

The letter has been supported by West Yorkshire Police and a number of other police forces across the country.

The DVSA, National Highways and the Office of the Traffic Commissioner have also backed the open letter.

Mr Oscroft's family released a joint statement alongside the open letter.

They said: "Steve was killed in totally preventable incident.

"Had the load in the tipper been adequately secured it would not have happened.

"We live every day knowing this, we could still have him here with us- we should still have him here with us.

“He was the centre of our family, he doted on each and every one of us and we miss him immensely.

"Nothing can bring Steve back, but we hope that his tragic death can somehow help raise awareness of the importance of securing your load and ensuring the same doesn’t happen to another family."

There were more than 16,000 obstructions in West Yorkshire between January 2017 and August 2021.

Roads Policing Officers will be out looking at load security this week and taking positive enforcement action against those who risk causing serious injury in a collision through the inadequate or poor securing of load being transported.

This not only effects HGVs, but includes all types of vehicles that are carrying additional loads either within the vehicle itself or in a trailer.

Chief Inspector Katy Woodmason, Head of Roads Policing at West Yorkshire Police, said: “Our officers see day in day out the effect of loads not being secured properly to vehicles.

"At the best it’s lane closures and disruption but at the worst it can result in serious injury to other road users.

“This open letter comes off the back of a campaign by the family of a Nottinghamshire grandfather who was killed on his way strawberry picking with his wife and two grandchildren.

"He died when a block of concrete fell from another vehicle and smashed his windscreen. 

“Everyone involved in carrying loads must ensure that they play their part in making sure loads are secured properly.”

The Open Letter:

"Nobody goes to work to intentionally harm or kill someone, but the reality is that unless you make sure the loads you carry are safe you are putting yourself and other people at risk during your journey and when you come to unload.

"Any item capable of being thrown from or bouncing out of a vehicle needs to be secured whatever vehicle it is being carried on, whether it’s a plastic bucket or wheelbarrow, steel beams or heavy plant equipment.

"Even small items can kill or seriously injure someone if they come off a vehicle at speed.

"Delays and disruption on the road network because of load debris cost the UK economy millions of pounds every year.

"Load shift incidents on the road and in the workplace are both foreseeable and completely preventable.

"Police forces, the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) and National Highways are working together to protect people, but we can’t do it alone.

"Drivers, vehicle operators, and those loading vehicles or trailers for others (consignors) must also play their part in preventing deaths and injuries.

"There is no excuse for sending dangerous vehicles onto the road network and putting people at risk.

"Appropriate enforcement action will be taken where individuals and companies are found to have recklessly broken the law.

"The Road Traffic Act 1988 and the Road Vehicles (Construction & Use) Regulations 1986 say you must make sure that anything transported on or in a vehicle or trailer is secured so that it does not move during the journey and put people at risk.

"The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 says that employers and the self-employed whose work puts others at risk must take steps to protect both their own employees and anyone else who could be at risk.

"Everyone has responsibilities to make sure that the load is safe and it’s not enough to simply assume the driver is the only responsible party once the vehicle leaves your site or rely on not having had something go badly wrong before.

"If you operate vehicles or load vehicles for other people, you must take steps to protect the driver, other road users, pedestrians, and anyone involved in loading or unloading.

"You must make sure drivers and people loading vehicles have the right training, information, and equipment to do their jobs safely.

"It is not enough to assume that the driver will make it right and your legal responsibilities do not end when the vehicle leaves your site.

"If you drive vehicles, make sure you know what you need to do.

"Challenge poor practice in the workplace where you can and ask for training if you are asked to take something out and you are not sure how it should be secured.

"Don’t assume it will be ok just because you’ve always done it that way.

"Check your securing equipment every time you use it and don’t use damaged equipment.

"Free load security guidance is available from DVSA and free workplace transport guidance and resources to help you assess risk are available from HSE.

"Other guidance from National Highways, industry associations, and trade unions is also available to help you make sure you’re operating safely.

"We all want our roads to be safe as possible and we all want to go home safely at the end of the working day.

"Play your part by making sure that everything you carry is secured and the vehicles you load are safe and legal before they set off."