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Suspended prison sentence after waste driver killed at landfill site

The driver of a loading shovel has been given a suspended prison sentence after reversing his vehicle into a lorry trailer at a waste site, crushing and killing its driver.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said it had unusually prosecuted an individual rather than a company because it was clear the accused had “totally failed to take the care that was necessary”.

Cambridge Magistrates’ Court was told that Kenneth Miller, an employee of Waste Recycling Group, had been helping Mark Nyland, 34, from Sutton in Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, to dump the waste from his trailer at Milton Landfill Site, Milton, on 5 January 2012.

According to the HSE, Nyland was hit by Miller’s tracked loader as he was closing the doors at the rear of his HGV after emptying it of waste and sweeping out debris in a ‘safe area’ on the site. He suffered severe multiple injuries.

The court was told that Miller had failed to take reasonable care while operating a large and potentially dangerous vehicle.

Miller, of Linton, Cambridgeshire, admitted a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was given a 24-week prison sentence, suspended for two years. He was also ordered to pay a contribution towards costs of £600 and is being tagged with a home curfew between 10pm and 6am for three months.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Roxanne Barker said: “This was an entirely preventable tragedy that devastated Mr Nyland’s partner, parents and family.

“HSE took the rather unusual decision in this case to prosecute an individual rather than a company because it was clear that Kenneth Miller had totally failed to take the care that was necessary when operating a large vehicle on a busy waste site.

“Reversing vehicles have been the cause of many fatalities in workplaces over the years and the risks are well known in industry, and obviously companies have a duty to assess risks and implement safety precautions for their sites. But equally, employees have a duty to take reasonable care for the safety of others, particularly when they are operating dangerous machinery”.

  • Section 7 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 states: “It shall be the duty of every employee while at work - (a) to take reasonable care for the health and safety of himself and of other persons who may be affected by his acts or omissions at work; and (b) as regards any duty or requirement imposed on his employer or any other person by or under any of the relevant statutory provisions, to co-operate with him so far as is necessary to enable that duty or requirement to be performed or complied with.”

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