The human price of dangerous work

Badly managed ‘green’ industries cause human tragedies as readily as their non-green industrial counterparts.

Bert Reeves, 62, was fatally injured when a skip lorry at a waste recycling company reversed over him at a transfer station on 21 June 2007.

Shanley and Sons Ltd was fined £80,000 and ordered to pay costs of £25,000 at a 25 September 2009 hearing in Swindon Crown Court.

 The prosecuting team with official health and safety watchdog HSE told the court the site was chaotic and congested with a lack of communication and was rife with dangerous working practices.

Bert’s widow, Frances Reeves, told the court what the firm’s neglect had meant to her family. “Life for me can never be the same. I feel that his death was so preventable. If Shanley’s had taken the time to ensure that safety rules were in place, that the yard was being managed so that people were out of the way when vehicles operated, then Bert would not have been able to have been killed.”

 She added: “As a family, we believe that if there is any good that can come of this, it will be that we’ve helped to spread the message that waste and recycling sites are incredibly dangerous places…

 “If managers of these sites listen to this message, and act, hopefully we can stop other families from being ripped apart. Nobody should have to go through the things that we’ve been through.”

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