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'Patchy and inadequate' supervision resulted in death of worker

06 April 2021

Northampton Crown Court heard that lack of supervision and appropriate risk assessment had resulted in the death of a worker in Daventry, Northampton.

The man had been working as part of a four-man crew in April 2016, collecting refuse bins at the time of the incident.

An investigation conducted by Northamptonshire Police and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) stated that the man had tripped or fallen under a reversing lorry, receiving fatal head injuries as a result.

The incident was deemed to be accidental by the investigation, but the recent court hearing was told that the man had been acting as a reversing assistant at the time of his death.

He had actually been standing in a blind spot for both the lorry's reversing camera and its mirrors.

After falling under the reversing lorry's wheels, he had died at the scene after receiving severe head injuries.

The court was told that HSE guidance stipulates that refuse lorries should only be reversed if there is no other option and also that a route should have been planned that did not require the lorry to reverse.

It was told that the staff member that would normally conduct risk assessments and adjust route planning had been on long=term sick leave.

Further evidence stated Daventry collection teams were often "left to their own devices" with "patchy or inadequate" supervision.

Enterprise Managed Services, which manages waste and recycling collections in Daventry, issued a plea of guilty to a breach of Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work, etc, Act 1974 and received a fine of more than £1m.

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