The driver of a loading shovel has been sentenced by magistrates to a 24-week prison sentence (suspended for two years) after he reversed his vehicle into a lorry trailer causing fatal injuries to the trailer driver at the Milton Landfill Site in Cambridgshire on 5 January 2012. He will also be ‘tagged’ with a home curfew between 10pm and 6am for three months.
Mark Nyland, 34, from Nottinghamshire, was struck by the tracked loader as he was closing the doors at the rear of his HGV in a ‘safe area’.
The court was told that Kenneth Miller, an employee of Waste Recycling Group Ltd, was helping Mr Nyland to dump the waste from his trailer. Mr Miller towed the trailer to a ‘safe area’ so that Mr Nyland could sweep out the back and tail bar area.
Mr Miller 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. During this task the vehicle crushed Mr Nyland against the back of the trailer.
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”
Lighthouse Comments: It is after reading such cases such as the above really puts into perspective that we are all accountable for Health and Safety at Work. Employees are often of the mind set that Health and Safety is a nuisance and that the employer takes all the accountability. This is obviously not the case. You can only lead a horse to water you cannot make him drink it.