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Veolia fined £1m after employee killed by refuse vehicle

Veolia ES (UK) has been fined £1m after one of its employees was run over and killed by a refuse collection vehicle (RCV).

The London-headquartered waste giant was found guilty of breaching health and safety at work legislation and also ordered to pay costs of £130,000.

Canterbury Crown Court heard that John Head suffered fatal injuries on 18 October 2013. He was struck by a reversing RCV while walking across a yard at Ross Depot Waste Transfer Station in Folkestone, Kent, and pronounced dead at the scene.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found that multiple vehicles, including articulated lorries, were moving around the yard with no specific controls.

The court heard that the company failed to assess the risks involved in the yard adequately and did not implement industry-recognised control measures to protect employees.

HSE inspector Kevin Golding said: “This should be a reminder to all industries, but in particular the waste industry, to appropriately assess the risks and implement widely recognised control measures to control manoeuvring vehicles and restrict pedestrian movements around vehicles.”

A Veolia spokesperson said: “Veolia fully respects the decision of the jury and today’s sentencing. We deeply regret the events that resulted in the death of our long-standing employee, John Head, and apologise to his family and friends.

“This incident occurred in October 2013 and the site and business has since made significant changes and improvements to the way we operate, as we continually strive to improve the safety of our operations and most importantly our employees.

“We take health and safety very seriously in respect of our staff, our customers and the communities in which we operate, and we are committed to achieving the highest standards across all our sites.”

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