Cheltenham Magistrates’ Court heard how 29-year-old Shaun Carter was driving a forward tipping dumper truck on Tuesday 31st May 2016 onto the top of a spoil heap on a house-building site in Cirencester. The dumper became stuck on the edge of the spoil heap, and as Mr Carter jumped off the vehicle, it flipped over and struck him. He sustained serious head injuries and died at the scene.
An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident found that it was practice on this and other sites for dumpers to access spoil heaps with no barriers to prevent over-running. To compound the situation, an excavator had removed some of this particular spoil heap creating a sheer face.
Tonic Construction Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 2 (1) of The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. It was fined £200,000 plus a victim surcharge of £170 and ordered to pay costs of £5,565.80.
HSE inspector Sue Adsett said after the hearing: “Risks associated with the creation of spoil heaps had not been suitably and sufficiently assessed. Either the company should have decided on a safer method which avoided the need for the dumper to access spoil heaps (as they have done after the accident), or they should have introduced stricter management arrangements which would have included bunds at a safe distance from the edge.”
For its part, Tonic Construction responded to the incident by driving an industry initiative to have enclosed safety cabs fitted to forward-tipping dumper trucks. This also led to the Construction Plant-hire Association producing new guidance on the safe use of these machines.