Directors prosecuted after young worker crushed by dumper

A 20 year old man has died on his first day at work for a new company when a massive four tonne dumper he was driving toppled over on a bank and crushed him.

The young man was allowed to drive the dumper which had a number of serious defects before the fatal incident in October 2009.

The HSE investigated the incident and prosecuted the employers company directors. The court heard that the directors had been contracted to expand a pond on the farm.

The young man received around 30 minutes of training from a more experienced colleague who was also operating an excavator and filling a dumper.  During the afternoon, the excavator operator, who was the only other worker on site saw the fully-loaded dumper driven by Mr Whiston topple off the side of the causeway and down the 60 degree slope, turning over and crushing him underneath.

The HSE’s investigation found a number of serious failings on the site:

  •  The excavator driver was not trained to teach Mr Whiston how to use the dumper and was not competent to supervise him.
  •  The dumper had a number of serious defects, including steering failure, defective and inoperative front braking and a non-functioning handbrake with worn-out parts.
  • No suitable or sufficient risk assessments had been carried out for the work and no safe system of work was used.
  • The causeway used by the dumper was too narrow for a front-tipping dumper to be positioned and safely tip the load down the embankment.

The court found the directors guilty of a breach of health and safety legislation and both were given 12 month custodial sentences, suspended for two years, and 180 hours of community service, to be completed within a year. They were also ordered to pay costs of £25,000 each.

Source: HSE