Friday, January 16, 2015

20-year-old dies first day on the job, directors receive suspended sentence

20-year-old Daniel Whiston was allowed to drive a 4-tonne dumper during his first day on the job and only after 30 minutes of training from a fellow worker. He died after the fully-loaded dumper toppled down an embankment. It was later found to have serious defects with the steering as well as having a handbrake and front brakes that didn't work.

The location of Daniel's death was Sweetings Farm near Tiverton. He was working for Wedgewood Buildings Ltd in October 2009, who were contracted to excavate a pond which was being expanded. The HSE investigated following the death and found the only other worker on site was not qualified to train Daniel or supervise him. No risk assessment was carried out, no safe system of work was used, and we've already mentioned the faulty dumper.

Wedgewood Buildings Ltd directors William Friend and Robert Plume were prosecuted and pleaded guilty to breaching section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. They were ordered to do 180 hours community service, pay £25,000 each in costs, and had a 12 month custodial sentence suspended for 2 years. That's of little help to Daniel or his friends and family, especially when you consider how easily this tragedy could have been avoided through proper training.

A trained workforce is a safe workforce!

Source: British Safety Council

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