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Council fined over bin lorry deaths

Posted in: Road Traffic Accidents 

A council has been fined a total of £120,000 after two women were killed by reversing bin lorries.  The first incident happened in June 2010 when a bin lorry reversed on a single-track lane in Grasmere, hitting and killing 54-year-old Mary Cook from Nottingham.  The second incident happened in March 2011, killing 58-year-old Dorothy Harkes from Ulverston.  South Lakeland District Council pleaded guilty to both breaches of health and safety at Carlisle Crown Court.

“the council had not done all it should have”

An investigation carried out by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the two deaths found that the council had failed to identify and tackle the risks surrounding reversing vehicles. HSE’s principal inspector for Cumbria and North Lancashire, Mark Dawson, said that both of the responsible drivers admitted to having played a part in the two deaths, however, he continued: “But our investigation found the council had not done all it should have to protect the public and their employees from the danger of reversing rubbish trucks.

Chief executive of South Lakeland District Council, Lawrence Conway, said that the council accepted that its risk assessment process did not meet the requirements of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. 

The council was ordered to pay £50,000 in prosecution costs on top of the compensation bill.

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