London Waste Transfer Company Fined 100,000 After Fatality

A London-based waste transfer company has been fined 100,000 (approximately $182,000) by the United Kingdom's Health and Safety Executive following the agency's investigation into the death of a worker at a waste transfer site in 2004.

Sam Boothman, a 32-year-old tipper truck driver, was working for World's End (Investments) Waste Ltd. at the company's Pensbury Place, Wandsworth, waste transfer site on June 1, 2004. He had discharged his load at the transfer shed and had moved the truck to another part of the site to secure its tailgate when he was hit from behind by the bucket of a shovel truck driven by another employee, according to the Health and Safety Executive.

Boothman suffered "severe multiple crushing injuries" and died shortly after, according to the agency.

World's End Waste Ltd. pleaded guilty to violating Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act, which states: "It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees." The company was sentenced on May 27 at the Central Criminal Court, Old Bailey, and fined £100,000 and ordered to pay £4,982 in costs.

"Sam Boothman's family have lost a father, a husband and a son, and our sympathies are with them at this very sad time," said Margaret Pretty, principal inspector for the Health and Safety Executive. "The case shows everyone in the waste transfer industry the importance of planning for workplace transport and having safe systems of work in place. A one-way traffic system, the use of a banksman [a worker who stands near the vehicle to ensure safe maneuvering and reversing] and designated pedestrian walkways, all of which were subsequently introduced by the company, may have prevented this fatality."

The presiding judge, His Honour Judge Focke QC, said the "penalty should reflect public concern at an unnecessary loss of life."

"Companies must be deterred from operating in a slack way," the judge said.

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