Fine after woman killed by bin lorry

A waste company has been hit with fines and costs of £300,000 after one of its lorries hit and killed a woman on her way to work.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Team Waste (Southern) of Turners Hill, Sussex, after the company was convicted of breaching safety rules leading to the death of Anne Smith in her hometown of Brighton.

The firm was convicted at an earlier hearing of failing to ensure Mrs Smith’s safety, however managing director Allan Taylor was cleared of the same charge.

Lewes Crown Court heard, earlier this week, that in March 2007 61-year-old Mrs Smith was hit by the lorry as it reversed up a street in Brighton’s city centre at 6.20am.

The driver did not realise he had struck Mrs Smith until her body lay about three metres in front of the vehicle, she died shortly afterwards.

The HSE investigation found the driver reversed the refuse collection vehicle without a banksman, also known as a reversing assistant, contrary to Team Waste’s operating policy.

The vehicle also had defective CCTV at the rear and the audible reversing siren was turned off, the driver believed such alarms were prohibited before 7.00am.

The company was fined £250,000 and £50,000 costs for the breaching health and safety rules leading to Mrs Smith’s death.

After the hearing HSE’s inspector, Sharon Humphrey, said: “Waste collection on public streets can be a high-risk activity if not properly planned.

“This incident could have been prevented had simple, low cost and readily available precautions been put in place.

“The HSE takes failure to comply with these provisions seriously and will not hesitate to take action.”

The driver was fined for driving without due care and attention at an earlier hearing, having been cleared of causing death by dangerous driving.

Luke Walsh

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