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Worker awarded £3.75 million in damages

A local authority has lambasted the practice of load shifting after a recycling worker was awarded £3.75 million in damages from an incident which left him severely disabled. 

The manoeuvre is used by driving the collection vehicle at speed before braking hard, which leads to the load shifting up the body of the vehicle.

However, an employee of Lichfield District Council (LDC) used the technique with disastrous consequences, causing the lorry to overturn.

Richard Taylor who was 19 at the time of the accident in February 2005 was left paralysed and now needs round the clock care.

An LDC spokeswoman said: LDC would like to express its deep regret and sympathy to Mr Taylor for the dreadful injuries that he sustained in the most unfortunate accident and wish him well for his future.

The council would however like to make it clear that it did and does not condone any practice of so called load shifting either by its own employees or by agency workers engaged by refuse collection on the councils behalf. Such an activity is obviously highly dangerous and must not be carried out under any circumstances.

The two other people in the refuse vehicle at the time of the accident- the driver and a supervisor- have been convicted individually of criminal offences arising out of the incident and have both been dismissed from their employment with the council.

After full and extensive investigations by the police and Health and Safety Executive, the council itself wasnt found to be criminally liable.

The spokeswoman added: The councils insurers, Zurich Municipal, also join with the council in expressing its sympathy to Mr Taylor. Zurich Municipal are pleased that its very pro-active approach to handling claims has led here to an early settlement which will allow Mr Taylor to put the litigation behind him and ensure that his various needs can be fully catered for.


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