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Non-causative resolution secured in fatal refuse collection incident prosecution

After an investigation stretching back to December 2017, Harry Vann, instructed by Crispin Kenyon and James Muller of Weightmans LLP, secured a non-causative resolution of HSE’s investigation into the refuse collection operations of Chelmsford City Council.

An employee of the Council tragically died when a Refuse Collection Vehicle, driven by an agency driver, reversed over him.  The driver was an experienced HGV driver and the evidence indicated the system of signals he had agreed with the two other members of the crew, including the deceased, was well understood.  The precise circumstances of the accident were unknown.

The expert evidence agreed shortly before trial was that it was not necessary for a reversing assistant to be used for the operation in which the crew was engaged at the time.  In those circumstances, HSE conceded that inconsistencies in policy and practice were not causative of the incident, contrary to the position it had pursued for over five years.  No previous accident involving a reversing manoeuvre had ever occurred.

In the circumstances, HHJ Godfrey found that Medium Culpability and a Low Likelihood of Level A Harm applied.

A fine of £80,000 resulted.


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