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Building firm fined after groundworker's death at housing development

PUBLISHED: 08:00 22 November 2019 | UPDATED: 08:00 22 November 2019

Chelmsford Magistrates' Court  Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

Chelmsford Magistrates' Court Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

A construction company has been fined following an incident in which a worker was killed when a dumper truck overturned.

David Green was fatally injured at the Summers Park Development site near Colchester on December 3, 2016.

Mr Green, a groundworker working for Rose Builders Ltd, was manoeuvring a nine tonne front-tipping dumper truck on a spoil heap to off-load top soil at the site in Lawford, Manningtree.

An earlier inquest, in March 2017, ruled the Clacton site worker's death was accidental after he was thrown from the truck at the housing development.

The 32-year-old, of Little Clacton, lost control of the truck, which toppled forward and came to rest upside down at the base of the spoil heap.

A colleague noticed the overturned truck and ran over to assist, but Mr Green had sustained a serious head injury during the fall and died on scene.

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A postmortem ruled the cause of death was a bleed on the brain and skull fracture.

Essex senior coroner, Caroline Beasley-Murray, highlighted concerns about the death and urged Rose Builders to improve its work safety measures.

This week, Rose Builders Ltd of Riverside House, East Lawford, pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 2 (1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 at Chelmsford Magistrates' Court.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found major deficiencies in the management of tipping operations on the spoil heaps.

The investigation established that the operation was not properly planned; drivers were not given instruction or training on how to safely operate vehicles and tip on spoil heaps, and the job itself was poorly supervised.

The victim did not have his seat belt fastened and the investigation confirmed that this was common practice on the site.

The company has been fined £225,000 and ordered to pay costs of £11,822.90.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Kasia Urbaniak said, "This was a tragic and wholly avoidable incident, caused by the failure of the employer to assess the risk related to tipping operations, implement safe systems of work, and failure to ensure that such systems were communicated to groundworkers and were followed."

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