Council in court over waste truck death

A council has found itself in the dock after a member of the public was killed by one of its rubbish trucks.

North Tyneside Council is being prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following the death of Brian Kindred near his home in Camperdown, on the outskirts of Newcastle.

Mr Kindred was hit by the waste and recycling collection vehicle as it was reversing, in May 2006.

The council pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act at North Tyneside Magistrates' Court on Friday and the case will now be referred to Crown Court for sentencing.

HSE Inspector Stephen Britton said: "Had the council followed the simple and straight forward control measures that have been specifically designed for the waste and recycling industry such as, training their operators to warn the driver about pedestrians walking close to the vehicle, Mr Kindred would not have died."

North Tyneside Council has declined to comment on the case until a sentence has been passed.

Waste and recycling is a notoriously dangerous industry. Shortly before Mr Kindred's death, the HSE received reports of nine deaths over the space of just two months, including another member of the public who was hit by a waste truck (see related story).

The case was not the only reason why the council appeared in court on Friday - it was also fined £17,500 and ordered to pay £3,911 in costs after a school caretaker was exposed to asbestos dust while sweeping the boiler house at a primary school.

The council pleaded guilty to five breaches of the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations.

HSE Inspector Stephen Britton said: "The boiler house had been quarantined due to the presence of asbestos, and although the previous caretaker and headteacher were aware of the contamination, the replacement staff were not informed.

"There were no signs indicating that the area had been quarantined and the caretaker only became aware of the risk of exposure after an asbestos removal company visited the school to undertake work."

Commenting on the asbestos case, council chief executive Andrew Kerr said: "As a council we have worked closely with the support of the HSE in the two years since this incident to implement a robust management approach."

Kate Martin



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