An environmental services company has been fined £225,000 and ordered to pay costs of £95,000 following the death of an agency worker on 2 March 2007.  

The fatal accident occurred during a litter-picking operation on the verge of the A228 in Kent. A contractor working for the environmental services company was driving a litter-picking van and pulled out from the verge into the main carriageway. The van was hit by an HGV which caused the van to go back down the verge, crushing the deceased. A court found that the environmental services company had failed to implement a safety zone around the verge.  

In sentencing, the Judge held that the environmental services company were aware of the relevant guidelines which stated that a 1.2m safety zone should be maintained around the verge. Furthermore, the Judge considered the environmental services company’s health and safety training to be inadequate and the company’s risk assessment ineffective.  

Following sentencing, HSE Inspector Caroline Penwill, said: “The company was responsible for managing these works, but in this case did not properly protect the roadside crew from oncoming traffic. Other road users were also put at risk. This is unacceptable. Those responsible for managing roadside jobs must ensure that safe systems of work are in place, and measures are taken to safeguard workers and members of the public.”

The case highlights the obligation on companies to follow published industry and HSE guidelines to ensure compliance with health and safety law.