$413,000 Fine in Garbage Truck Backover Fatality
A waste hauling company was fined that amount in connection with the 2007 death of a pedestrian, Anne Smith, when one of its trucks backed over her in Brighton, England.
A very large fine, £250,000, was issued to Team Waste (Southern) Ltd after the company was convicted at trial of violating health and safety laws. The case stemmed from the March 5, 2007, death of Anne Smith, 62, when one of the company's garbage trucks backed over her in a Brighton street at about 6:30 a.m. The fine is equivalent to $413,000 in U.S. dollars, and the company also was ordered to pay £50,000 in court costs.
The truck's rear TV camera was defective, and its audible backup alarm was turned off because the driver, Colin Bullard, believed such alarms were prohibited before 7 a.m., the Health and Safety Executive's investigation showed. HSE prosecuted the company and secured the conviction.
A co-worker of Bullard who should have acted as a spotter when the truck was backing up was sitting in the truck's cab with him when the truck hit Smith, according to trial testimony.
The company was found guilty of violating section 3(1) of the Health and Safety etc. at Work Act 1974.
"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," said Sharon Humphrey, the HSE inspector. "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."