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Veolia guilty of employee death

Veolia Environmental Services (VES) believes the death of an employee in 2007 was a result of a road traffic accident rather than its own failings, after a jury found it guilty of health and safety offences.

According to media reports, Damian Griffiths was picking up litter on a busy dual carriageway in East Peckham, London when he was bit by a van.

VES denied failing to ensure the health and safety and welfare of employees was at risk.

VES executive director Richard Berry said:  “We deeply regret the death of Damian Griffiths, an agency worker from our Tonbridge and Malling municipal contract back in March 2007.  No workplace accident is acceptable. Both legally and morally we have an obligation to take all reasonable steps to prevent such accidents.

“We are disappointed with the jury’s verdict and we believe that this accident was the result of a road traffic accident. 

“We take a proactive approach to a safe working environment and continually invest in training and equipment to reduce accidents and to generally develop a culture of environmental and safety awareness.  In addition, since this incident occurred, the Health and Safety Executive has endorsed clearer guidelines on what is required when litter picking operations are taking place along the roadside. “

Sentencing has been adjourned until 2 September.

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