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Skip hire company fined £60,000 after worker fatality

A Blackburn skip hire company and its owner have been ordered to pay £80,000 in fines and costs after a 21-year-old worker was crushed and killed.

Amin Qabil was using a skid steer loader vehicle to move rubbish at the time of the incident at Blackburn Skip Hire on 21 August 2010.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the vehicle was unsafe to use and that Qabil had not received formal training.

HSE brought the charges against Blackburn Skip Hire and its owner Zarif Mohammed, to which both pleaded guilty.

Blackburn Skip Hire was fined £60,000 and ordered to pay £19,000 in prosecution costs. Mohammed was ordered to carry out 160 hours of unpaid community work in the next 12 months and to pay costs of £1,000.

Preston Crown Court heard that the firm had bought the second-hand skid steer loader at an auction in Doncaster, but had failed to ensure its safety features were working correctly.

The restraint bar had been disabled, which meant the controls could still be operated when no one was sitting in the cab. The minimum engine speed had also been increased, and a fault meant the vehicle could reverse unexpectedly.

Qabil’s body was found with severe head injuries just after midnight when the owner of a neighbouring business noticed the gates to the site were still open.

The HSE investigation concluded that the most likely explanation for Qabil’s death is that he caught a lever as he climbed out of the cab and was crushed against the vehicle when the bucket on the front was raised.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Matt Greenly said: “The company and its owner had a legal and moral duty to look after the safety of Mr Qabil, but sadly their failings led to him losing his life.”

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