Fine over bin lorry death

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BASSETLAW Council has been fined £25,000 after one of its bin lorries knocked down and killed a Langold pensioner.

Derrick Baines had been out shopping on his mobility scooter on 10th July 2008 when he was hit by a reversing bin lorry on Mellish Road, Langold, Nottingham Crown Court heard.

The 76-year-old who lived on that road suffered multiple injuries and died later in hospital.

Bassetlaw Council admitted breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act at an earlier hearing.

Adam Farrar, prosecuting, told the court the lorry, which was on a missed bin collection, only had a one-man crew.

“The driver got to Mellish Road at 10.45am. He knew it was a cul-de-sac and wouldn’t be able to turn round so elected to reverse into the street,” he said.

The court heard Mr Baines was riding his scooter in the middle of the road as the lorry reversed. It is thought he tried to negotiate his way round it but was hit.

“The driver was unaware of the collision and reversed the vehicle a further eight meters,” said Mr Farrar.

“He became aware something had happened when he saw some shopping fall into the road. The police concluded the driver of the lorry was reversing slowly and carefully.”

“The only thing that would have prevented the accident was there being someone there watching while her reversed,” he added.

The court heard that since the accident missed bin collections are carried out by a two-man crew.

After the hearing HSE inspector David Butter said:

“If the council had staffed the refuse collection lorry appropriately then Mr Baines would probably still be alive today.”

“Very large vehicles such as this have a number of blind spots and it was impractical to expect a lone driver to reverse safely without the aid of a colleague walking behind to check the path was clear.”

“These lorries are fitted with flashing lights and a reversing warning system but the council needed to take into consideration that system was not adequate and another worker should have been present and could have prevented this needless loss of life.”

A spokesman for Bassetlaw Council said: “The council would like to take this opportunity to once again express its profound sympathy to the family of Derrick Baines and all affected by his death.”

“The court accepted the council was well organised and motivated in its Health and Safety management and that the issue which contributed to the accident was the single weak link in an otherwise comprehensive system.”

“The court acknowledged there is substantial mitigation in this case, including good Health and Safety management, a previously good record and the comprehensive review of procedures that followed the accident.”

“The court also stated that the council’s culpability was very low.”