Upwell company fined £50,000 with £22,000 costs and managing director given suspended sentence after worker crushed to death by a bus
PUBLISHED: 19:02 14 February 2019
A Fenland company where a worker was crushed to death by a bus has been ordered to pay £72,000 in fines and costs and its managing director given a suspended jail sentence.
Cambridge Crown Court heard how, on July 4, 2017, David Nelson was working in a vehicle inspection pit beneath a single decker bus at the company’s site at 35 Baptist Road, Upwell.
The rear of the bus had been raised off the ground and was supported on two bottle jacks, so that work could be carried out on the brakes. The coach fell from the jacks onto the employee, killing him instantly.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident found A D Hurst and Son Commercial Limited failed to plan and organise the lifting of the bus in a manner that ensured the safety of their workers.
The coach was inadequately supported, using only two hydraulic bottle jacks. It should have been supported so that it could not have fallen, using axle stands or other appropriate equipment.
A D Hurst and Son Commercial Limited of Baptist Road, Upwell, , pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and were fined £50,000 and ordered to pay costs of £22,282.54
The director, Alan Hurst, also of Baptist Road, Upwell, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was jailed for six months, suspended for 18 months.
Speaking after the hearing, the family of Mr Nelson said: “Our whole family has been devastated by the loss of our much loved and treasured David, our hearts are broken and our lives changed forever.
“We hope that this case will help to raise awareness that such tragic incidents and loss of life are totally avoidable and completely unnecessary, so that no other family has to go through the pain and devastation that we have to deal with. David was an amazing person and we miss him every day.”
A friend Duncan Lawton, who lives in Outwell, said that Mr Nelson’s memory would live on in the village.
“Never knew the man long enough, but his life lives on in his fantastic kids,” he said.
“He was a fantastic man, engineer, no such thing as ‘we cannot do that’.
“He left a legacy of some brilliant kids with a proper work ethic which is unusual today. He will be missed but his memory will live on.”
HSE Inspector Paul Unwin said: “This tragic incident led to the avoidable death of a much loved family man. His death could easily have been prevented if his employer had acted to identify and manage the risks involved, and to put a safe system of work in place.
“Employers should make sure that they properly assess and apply effective control measures to minimise the risk from dangerous work activities.”