A young man’s first day in employment at a new firm ended in tragedy after he sustained fatal crush injuries in a dumper accident.
Dulverton-based Daniel Whiston, 20, was driving a four-tonne machine riddled with severe faults on October 27 over five years ago, when it overturned on a sharp bank.
This Monday, Exeter Crown Court sentenced his Wedgewood Buildings bosses, company directors Robert Plume and William Friend.
They each received a year-long prison sentence. This was suspended for 24 months. In addition, they were ordered to each undertake 180 hours’ community service within the next 12 months.
Their firm was employed to increase the size of a farm pond. This entailed transporting and excavating spoil across the site.
Mr Whiston had only had around half-an-hour’s tuition on the dumper by the colleague who worked with him on the day of his death.
Work accident probe exposed faults
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation into Mr Whiston’s fatal accident at Tiverton-based Sweetings Farm uncovered safety failings in addition to the lack of training.
It was found that the employee who trained him was unqualified to teach and supervise him.
The dumper was defective, with its steering, braking, handbrake and various other parts all faulty, the HSE inspectors found.
In addition, Wedgewood had not undertaken any adequate risk assessments for such work, nor was a safe working system in place. The raised track was also found to be overly narrow for such a dumper to be placed and tip spoil down safely, the court heard.
Friend, of Swimbridge, and Plume, from South Molton, each admitted to breaking Health and Safety legislation. In addition, they were each told to pay £25,000 costs.
If you have been involved in a workplace accident that wasn’t your fault, call Accident Advice Helpline for free, no obligation advice on making a claim on 0800 689 0500 or 0333 500 0993 from a mobile phone.
Date Published: December 25, 2014
Author: David Brown