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DUMPER TRUCK DRIVER DROWNED ON LAKE PROJECT

Contractor failed to take precautions to stop dumper entering lake

Edward James Day (trading as E J Construction) of Longfield, Kent, was yesterday ordered to pay a £20k fine after a jury found him guilty of HSW Act Section 2(1) and CDM 2007 Regulation 37(6) offences.

The joint Kent Police and HSE prosecution follows an incident on 5 December 2007 when Mark Wilkin was driving a site dumper on a temporary roadway into a flooded quarry. The dumper came off the road and he drowned at the scene. Earlier in case the manslaughter trial was halted by direction of the judge.

Proper edge protection to road would have prevented death 

Melvyn Stancliffe, HSE Inspector, said: “This case demonstrated – as do so many site transport incidents – that reliance on a competent driver and a properly-maintained vehicle is simply not enough.

Workplace transport incidents are nearly always preventable. Had Mr Day ensured that the simple measure of providing proper edge protection to the site roads was in place then the risk of vehicles leaving the road could have been prevented.”

Judge direction halted manslaughter trial

Mr Day faced trial for gross negilgence manslaughter. The judge, Mr Justice Akenhead halted those proceedings earlier in the trial. 

Geoff Payne, Detective Inspector for Kent Police, said “We are pleased that Mr Day has been found guilty of charges relating to health and safety offences. This case highlights the need for employers to follow the strict guidelines that are set out to keep workers safe.

This is a tragic case and our thoughts remain with the family of Mr Wilkin. I would to thank them for their patience and understanding throughout the investigation.”

Dumper driver suffered from epilepsy

The dumper driver suffered from chronic epilepsy but only ever had attacks at night. Mr Justice Akenhead said medical evidence could not rule out a heart attack or epileptic fit before the tragedy. A pathologist said they were both possibilities.

The Judge went on to say:  “on the evidence, it seems, there was some medical problem. However, you took no suitable or sufficient measures to prevent vehicles going into the lake.”

Guidance and further information

HSE has published guidance on safe use of site dumpers. Further information on other site dumper incidents.

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