Rubbish firm fined £250k over Brighton charity worker's death

Posted On 26 Apr 2011 at 5:55 pm

A rubbish collecting company has today been fined £250,000 after a woman was killed by one of its dustcarts in Brighton.

Team Waste was also ordered to pay £50,000 costs at Lewes Crown Court.

The fine follows the death of Anne Smith, 61, a charity worker from East Street, Brighton.

She died after a Team Waste dustcart reversed into her in Cranbourne Street, Brighton, between West Street and Churchill Square, at 6.20am on Monday 5 March 2007.

Team Waste, of Burleigh Oaks Farm in East Street, Turners Hill, near Crawley, was convicted of failing to ensure Mrs Smith’s safety at Hove Crown Court last month.

The case was brought by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) which also prosecuted Allan Taylor, Team Waste’s managing director, on the same charge. He was cleared of the offence by a jury.

The HSE said: “The driver did not realise he had struck Mrs Smith until her body lay about three metres in front of the vehicle.

“Mrs Smith died shortly afterwards.

Defective

“The HSE investigation found that the driver reversed the refuse collection vehicle without a banksman (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 7am.”

HSE inspector Sharon Humphrey said: “Team Waste (Southern) Ltd failed to ensure the safe collection of rubbish.

“As a result of its failure an innocent woman has died unnecessarily.

“This has had devastating consequences for her family.

“Waste collection on public streets can be a high-risk activity if not properly planned.

“The law requires employers to assess the risks to its employees and members of the public.

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

“Detailed guidance, which is freely available from HSE, outlines the requirements of the law and provides advice on the practical measures to take.

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

The driver of the dustcart, Colin Bullard, 41, of Southall Avenue, Moulsecoomb, was fined £2,500 in 2008 for driving without due care and attention.

He was cleared by a jury at Hove Crown Court of causing death by dangerous driving.

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