Waste management firm Veolia has been fined £1m after a worker was run over and killed.
Canterbury Crown Court heard how, on 18 October 2013, Veolia ES (UK) Limited’s employee Mr John Head suffered fatal injuries when he was run over by a reversing refuse collection vehicle (RCV) whilst he was walking across the yard, at the Ross Depot Waste Transfer Station in Folkestone. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident found that multiple vehicles, including RCVs and articulated lorries, were manoeuvring around the yard with no specific controls.
The HSE says the company failed to adequately assess the risks involved in the yard and did not implement “industry recognised control measures” to protect employees.
Veolia ES (UK) Limited of Pentonville Road, London has been found guilty after a trial of breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The company has been fined £1 million and ordered to pay costs of £130,000.
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 adequately control manoeuvring vehicles, in particular reversing vehicles and restrict pedestrian movements around vehicles.”
A Veolia spokesperson commented: “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.”
Further guidance can be found at Vehicles at work