Health & Safety News

News added on 07.04.2021

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Risk assessment

Refuse worker fell under reversing lorry

A refuse collector died after falling under the wheels of a reversing refuse lorry while on a routine collection round. Was the waste company responsible for this accident?

A 22 year old was part of a four-person crew on a recycling collection round in Daventry, operated by waste contractor Enterprise Managed Services Ltd (EMS). He tripped and fell under the wheels of the refuse lorry as it was reversing. He suffered fatal head injuries.

The investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found that a suitable and sufficient risk assessment had not been carried out for the collection route and that there was a failure to adequately supervise the waste and recycling round.

Reversing poses a serious health and safety risk to pedestrians, especially in the case of large vehicles. A risk assessment for the use of vehicles should identify how to eliminate the need for vehicles to reverse. Where reversing cannot be avoided, the appropriate control measures must be put in place to ensure the safety of workers and others. Such measures would include visibility aids, reversing sensors and/or the use of a banksman.

EMS pleaded guilty to breaching its duty under s.3(1)  Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that those affected by its operations are not exposed to health or safety risks. It was fined £1.02 million and ordered to pay costs of over £60,470, plus a victim surcharge.

The waste contractor breached its health and safety obligations by failing to identify where reversing could be avoided on its collection route. It should have carried out a proper risk assessment to identify this and other hazards and to supervise the work. This lack of basic safety measures put workers and others at serious risk from large reversing vehicles.

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