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Sussex waste management firm fined £250,000 after reversing truck causes death

A Sussex waste management firm has been fined £250,000 after one of its waste trucks killed a member of the public.

Team Waste (Southern) was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after it  was  found to have breached health and safety laws. In addition to the £250,000 fine it was ordered to pay £50,000 in costs.

In the early morning of 5 March 2007, Anne Smith from Brighton, was hit by the waste truck as it reversed up Cranbourne Street in Brighton city centre. The driver did not realise he had struck Smith until her body lay about three metres in front of the vehicle. She  died shortly afterwards.

Following an investigation into the incident, the HSE found that the driver reversed the vehicle without a banksman, otherwise known as a reversing assistant. This was against Team Waste’s operating policy. The vehicle also had defective CCTV at the rear and the audible reversing siren was switched off. The driver believed such alarms were prohibited until after 7am.

Lewes Crown Court heard that Team Waste had failed to ensure that control measures identified in its own risk assessment were put into practice.

HSE inspector Sharon Humphrey said: “Team Waste (Southern) failed to ensure the safe collection of rubbish. As a result of its failure an innocent woman has died unnecessarily. This has had devastating consequences for her family.

“Waste collection on public streets can be a high-risk activity if not properly planned. The law requires employers to assess the risks to its employees and members of the public.

“This incident could have been prevented had simple, low cost and readily available precautions been put in place. Detailed guidance, which is freely available from HSE outlines the requirements of the law and provides advice on the practical measures to take.”

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