8 August 2013
The driver of a loading shovel has been sentenced for safety failings after he reversed his vehicle into a lorry trailer at a Cambridgeshire waste site, crushing and killing its driver.
Mark Nyland, 34, from Sutton in Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, was hit by the tracked loader as he was closing the doors at the rear of his HGV after emptying it of waste and sweeping out debris in a ‘safe area’ on the site. He suffered severe multiple injuries.
The incident at Milton Landfill Site in Butt Lane, Milton, on 5 January 2012, was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which today (8 August) prosecuted Kenneth Miller, the loader driver, at Cambridge Magistrates’ Court.
The court was told that Kenneth Miller, an employee of Waste Recycling Group Ltd, had been helping Mr Nyland to dump the waste from his trailer. Mr Miller then towed the trailer to a ‘safe area’ so that Mr Nyland, an HGV driver for a haulage company in Shepshed, Leicestershire, could sweep out the back and tail bar area.
Mr Miller then returned to using the loading shovel to level off the ruts in the ground using the bucket of the loader in a series of forward and reverse movements. As he pulled backwards at an angle, the vehicle crushed Mr Nyland against the back of the trailer, causing fatal injuries.
HSE found that Kenneth Miller had clearly failed to take reasonable care while operating a large and potentially dangerous vehicle.
Kenneth George Miller, of Tower View, Linton, Cambridgeshire, was sentenced to a 24-week prison sentence suspended for two years and ordered to pay a contribution towards costs of £600 after admitting a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. He will also be tagged with a home curfew between 10pm and 6am for three months.
After the hearing, HSE Inspector Roxanne Barker said:
"This was an entirely preventable tragedy that devastated Mr Nyland’s partner, parents and family.
"HSE took the rather unusual decision in this case to prosecute an individual rather than a company because it was clear that Kenneth Miller had totally failed to take the care that was necessary when operating a large vehicle on a busy waste site.
"Reversing vehicles have been the cause of many fatalities in workplaces over the years and the risks are well known in industry, and obviously companies have a duty to assess risks and implement safety precautions for their sites. But equally, employees have a duty to take reasonable care for the safety of others, particularly when they are operating dangerous machinery"
HSE statistics for 2012/3 show there were ten fatal injuries to waste and recycling workers compared to an average of six deaths in the past five years.
Notes to editors
- The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice; promoting training; new or revised regulations and codes of practice; and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. www.hse.gov.uk
- Section 7 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 states: "It shall be the duty of every employee while at work-(a) to take reasonable care for the health and safety of himself and of other persons who may be affected by his acts or omissions at work; and (b)as regards any duty or requirement imposed on his employer or any other person by or under any of the relevant statutory provisions, to co-operate with him so far as is necessary to enable that duty or requirement to be performed or complied with."