Page last updated at 18:52 GMT, Monday, 23 March 2009

Company fined after worker death

The company pleaded guilty to a charge under the Health and Safety at Work Act

A waste company in Sunderland has been fined £15,000 after one of its workers was killed when he was hit by a 20-tonne dumper truck.

David Liddle was struck by the vehicle as he walked across the yard operated by Alex Smiles Limited in Deptford, in December 2007.

The driver of the truck, James Johnston, has already pleaded guilty to manslaughter by gross negligence.

He could not see what was in front of him and drove by "instinct".

His employer, Alex Smiles, appeared at Newcastle Crown Court today, pleading guilty to breaching Health and Safety at Work legislation.

The death of David Liddle was a tragic accident that could and should have been avoided.
Paul Simpson, prosecuting

The company was also ordered to pay £5,000 towards prosecution costs.

Northumbria Police and the Health and Safety Executive carried out an extensive investigation into the cause of Mr Liddle's death, resulting in the case being passed to the Crown Prosecution Service.

'Tragic accident'

Paul Simpson, prosecuting, said: "On 20 December, as the country was preparing for the Christmas holiday, David Liddle lost his life.

"He went to work that morning, but did not return home.

"James Johnston drove a 20 tonne vehicle overloaded in such a way that he could not see in front of him.

"In his words, he 'drove by instinct'. The consequences that afternoon were catastrophic not only for David Liddle, but also for Johnston.

"The death of David Liddle was a tragic accident that could and should have been avoided."

Dr David Shallow of the Health and Safety Executive, said: "In this case, there was a clear failure by Alex Smiles to manage site traffic safely and they pleaded guilty to a serious criminal offence."

Print Sponsor

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific