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September 11, 2013

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Moores Turf & Topsoil ordered to pay £180,000 over death

Brian PeekA company in Kent has been ordered to pay over £180,000 in fines and costs after a worker was killed by dangerous lifting equipment on a tipper lorry.

Brian Peek, 57, sustained fatal injuries while unloading bags of hardcore and aggregate for Moores Turf & Topsoil Limited on 20 November 2006.
The lorry was fitted with a small crane and clam-shell bucket, which Mr Peek was using to grab the bags and lower them to the ground.
As he unloaded the final bag, he leant over the back of the lorry the crane slew round and trapped his neck between the bucket and the back of the lorry’s tipping body. Mr Peek was pronounced dead at the scene.
Following an investigation by the HSE, Canterbury Crown Court heard that the equipment supplied to Mr Peek was in a poor state of repair and the system of work employed to unload bulk bags of aggregate and hardcore was unsafe.
The court heard the incident could have been prevented had more suitable equipment been provided for the unloading task, such as a flatbed lorry and forklift truck. Moores had such equipment available for use, but chose to send the crane-mounted tipper instead.
On 9 September, Moores Turf & Topsoil Limited, of Callington Court Farm, Romney Marsh, was fined a total of £85,000 and ordered to pay a further £97,791 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the HSWA 1974. 
Following the sentence, HSE principal inspector Mike Walters said: “Brian Peek’s tragic death could and should have been prevented. The lifting equipment on the lorry was badly maintained and simply wasn’t safe to use. It was also unnecessary because the firm had better equipment more suited to the job, which could have been used instead.
“Had Moores Turf & Topsoil taken time to properly assess the risks associated with the delivery of bulky bags of hardcore and aggregate, it would have become clear that a safer method of working was necessary and could be used.”

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Graham Peters
Graham Peters
6 years ago

what really annoys me is the time that a civil action by any relatives takes to be completed by yhe legal powers that be such as lawyers/solicitors/courts etc; and the fact that these fines go straight into the treasury “coffers”, the same with any fines for environmental breaches. But then again this country is “going to the dogs” in many other ways as well.

6 years ago

Graham, I agree and I think the fine would be much better used as compensation to the victim’s family.

I am aware of rare instances where judge has ordered that instead of a fine the guilty party pay compensation – so it can be done.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x