Biffa Waste Services has been fined more than £250,000 after a member of the public was crushed to death at a civic amenity site it runs in Newbury.
Dennis Krauesslar died on 10 September 2007 when he was tipping his garden waste into a covered pit where members of the public disposed of their waste at the time. The 57-year-old was crushed by a motorised loading shovel used to flatten and drag the waste away from the tipping area after the bucket of the shovel struck him. The civic amenity site is now closed.
Speaking after the hearing, Biffa company secretary Keith Woodward said: I would like to reiterate our condolences to Mr Krauesslar family and friends. The accident which caused Mr Krauesslars death was preventable. But despite the steps which we put in place at the site to ensure the health and safety of members of the public and our staff, we failed to prevent it. For this we are truly sorry.
We have learnt lessons from this accident which we hope will mean that in future no other persons will have to endure the grief suffered by Mr Krauesslars.
Biffa Waste Services pleaded guilty to not ensuring that members of the public were not exposed to risks to their health and safety, and for failing to carry out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment of the garden waste tipping area to ensure people were suitably protected. The firm was fined £280,000 and ordered to pay full costs of £54,906.
HSE head of operations for the south-east Mike Wilcock said: This tragic incident could have been avoided if sensible precautions and working practices had been in place to prevent the loading shovel working in such close proximity to members of the public.
Companies operating such sites must carefully assess their arrangements to ensure that they keep vehicle and pedestrians separate whenever possible.