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Sita fined £210,000 following driver death

Sita UK has been fined more than £200,000 after a driver was killed at its  landfill site in Cranford, Northamptonshire in 2007.

Refuse truck driver Gary Carter was crushed to death between his lorry and a bulldozer when he went to the site to unload his vehicle

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Sita for exposing Carter to health and safety risks. It was ordered to pay a £210,000 fine and full costs of £38,000.

The incident happened when, like all lorries emptying at the site that day, 38-year-old Carter needed assistance on and off the tipping area due to the wet weather and soft ground conditions. He discharged part of his load after being towed to the tipping area by a bulldozer.

In order to continue tipping, he had to move the vehicle forward but it had become bogged down in the soft ground. The driver of a compactor, which was spreading the rubbish behind his lorry, radioed Carter to say he would drive up behind his lorry and push it forward with his own vehicle. At the same time the bulldozer reversed up to the front of his vehicle to give it a tow.

At this point Carter was attaching a tow rope from the bulldozer to the front of his lorry, but he was crushed to death between his lorry and the back of the bulldozer as the compactor and bulldozer both tried to help him move his stuck vehicle. Carter died at the scene.

Northampton Crown Court heard that Sita had introduced new working arrangement a few days before the accident without being properly risk assessed. Furthermore, Sita had not defined supervisory roles for staff on the site and site rules on pushing lorries were ambiguous.

HSE Inspector Roy Bush said: “Every company has a legal responsibility to take care of people working on their site, whether they are employed by them or not, in whatever circumstances they are asked to operate.

“Assessing risks, mitigating them wherever possible or stopping work as appropriate is the least people should expect from companies. Employers need to ensure that staff understand their roles and responsibilities in making sure sites like this operate to clear site safety rules. In this case, the prosecution shows that this has not happened.”

A statement from Sita said: “We would like to reiterate our condolences to his family and friends.

“We have co-operated with the authorities throughout their investigations and we are pleased that the Judge accepted the mitigation presented on behalf of the company. That said, we acknowledge that this accident should have never happened and we have taken numerous measures to ensure that a similar incident does not happen again”

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