Council admits safety failings following pensioner’s bin lorry death09 July 2012
A pensioner was killed when a reversing bin lorry struck his mobility scooter and dragged him more than eight metres down a road.
Nottingham Crown Court heard that Derrick Baines, 76, was returning home from the shops when the vehicle struck him on 10 July 2008. Basssetlaw District Council was collecting rubbish from Mellish Road in Nottingham as it had missed a bin collection during routine rounds.
The vehicle was manned by just a single worker, and as it reversed it collided with Mr Baines, who was driving his mobility scooter along the road. The bin lorry continued to reverse and Mr Baines, who was trapped underneath the scooter, was dragged eight metres by the truck until the driver noticed shopping spilling into the road. Mr Baines was taken to hospital and died a few hours later owing to crush injuries.
On 28 November 2008, the HSE issued an Improvement Notice to the council to review its risk assessment to minimise the risk to staff and members of the public during collections.
HSE inspector David Butter said the incident could have been avoided if another member of staff had accompanied the driver to act as his reversing assistant. He said: “If the council had staffed the refuse-collection lorry appropriately, then Mr Baines would probably still be alive today. Very large vehicles such as this have a number of blind spots and it was impractical to expect a lone driver to reverse safely without the aid of a colleague walking behind to check the path was clear.
“These lorries are fitted with flashing lights and a reversing warning system but the council needed to take into consideration that the system was not adequate, and another worker should have been present and could have prevented this needless loss of life.”
Bassetlaw District Council appeared in court on 3 July and pleaded guilty to breaching s3(1) of the HSWA 1974. It was fined £25,000 and ordered to pay £12,987 in costs.
In mitigation, the council said it had complied with the Improvement Notice and now ensures that more than one member of staff mans full-size waste-collection vehicles.
After the hearing a spokesperson for the council said: “The court accepted the council was well organised and motivated in its health and safety management and that the issue, which contributed to the accident, was the single weak link in an otherwise comprehensive system. The court also stated that the council's culpability was very low.”
Join SHP Online
- ✔ Download free reports and research
- ✔ Access free Digital magazine
- ✔ Email newsletter briefings