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August 9, 2013

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Suspended jail sentence for waste-site fatality

An HGV driver was killed at a waste site in Cambridgeshire after the driver of a loading shovel reversed into him.

Mark Nyland, 34, was hit by the tracked loader as he was closing the doors at the rear of his HGV at the Milton Landfill Site, on 5 January 2012.
 
The loader driver, Kenneth Miller, was sentenced at Cambridge Magistrates’ Court on 8 August after an HSE investigation into the incident.
 
The court heard that Mr Miller, who was an employee of Waste Recycling Group Ltd (WRG Ltd) at the time of the incident, had been helping Mr Nyland to dump the waste from his trailer. Mr Miller towed the trailer to a ‘safe area’ so that Mr Nyland could sweep out the back and tail-bar area of his HGV.
 
Mr Miller returned to the loading shovel to level off the ruts in the ground, using the bucket of the loader in a series of forwards and backwards movements. As he reversed at an angle, the vehicle hit Mr Nyland and crushed him against the back of the trailer, causing fatal injuries.
 
The HSE conducted a thorough investigation into Mr Nyland’s death and found no breaches of health and safety law that could justify prosecuting the site operator (WRG Ltd). However, the regulator found that Mr Miller, a plant operator at the site, hadn’t taken reasonable care while operating the vehicle involved in the accident.
 
Kenneth George Miller, of Linton, Cambridgeshire, was sentenced to a 24-week prison sentence suspended for two years, and was ordered to pay a contribution towards costs of £600 after admitting a breach of section 7 of the HSWA 1974. He will also be tagged with a domestic curfew between 10pm and 6am for three months.
 
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Roxanne Barker said: “The HSE took the rather unusual decision in this case to prosecute an individual rather than a company because it was clear that Kenneth Miller had totally failed to take the care that was necessary when operating a large vehicle on a busy waste site.
 
“Reversing vehicles have been the cause of many fatalities in the workplace over the years and the risks are well known in industry, and obviously companies have a duty to assess risks and implement safety precautions for their sites. But, equally, employees have a duty to take reasonable care for the safety of others, particularly when they are operating dangerous machinery.”
 
Mr Miller pleaded guilty, fully cooperated with the investigation and offered an apology to the family in court.
 

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