Judge fines Environment Agency over death of crane driver at Mepal

THE Environment Agency has been fined �200,000 for failing to comply with health and safety rules resulting in the death of crane driver Simon Wenn, near Mepal.

Cambridge Crown Court also ordered the agency to pay �28,548 costs after it pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act.

The 43-year-old father died when his dragline crane overturned into icy water from the side of the fen drain in December 2010 while he was attempting to clear the waterway.

An inquest in June this year returned a verdict of accidental death by drowning after hearing that the experienced crane driver, from Three Holes, near Wisbech, had been trapped in the cab of his vehicle after it overturned during de-silting work to manage flood risk in the area.

Emergency services battled in vain to save him but he was declared dead at the scene.

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After the hearing, Environment Agency regional director Toby Willison, said: “Simon was a popular and highly valued member of our operations team whose loss continues to be felt by friends and colleagues at work.

“He was hard working and conscientious applying himself to whatever task was asked of him.

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“We take health and safety very seriously and immediately after the accident we mounted a full independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident.

”We have also worked closely with the Health and Safety Executive, emergency services, our employees and the wider construction industry to develop new procedures for working on mats which did not exist before.

“These are being used within the Environment Agency and we have shared them with the Construction Plant Association to try to ensure that no-one else suffers a similar accident.”

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