The incident happened when 24-year old Barry Collins and his brother visited a site run by metal recyclers James Huntley and Sons to look at car parts. As Mr Collins sat in the vehicle parked onsite, the crane operator began working and when Mr Collins’s brother Joey, tried to explain to the driver that Barry was in the car, he misunderstood and thought he was being asked to pick the car up.
Barry Collins suffered major neck and shoulder injuries when the crane picked up the vehicle, and he was crushed instantly.
The Health and Safety Executive inspector Roger Upfold said: “This was a truly tragic miscommunication that led to a man’s death. Had simple measures been in place to control site access and let members of the public know where they should and shouldn’t go, this awful incident would probably never have happened.
“Recycling sites are dangerous work environments. As such, warning notices, communication of site rules, and the use of high visibility clothing, should all be used to set clear expectations for the behaviour of visitors.”
Onsite and around-site warning signs to indicate public areas were not in place at the time of the incident and there were no published site rules or formal systems of work.
The HSE prosecuted James Huntley and Sons for breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and flouting the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. Fined £50,000, the firm was also ordered to pay costs of £34,373.80.
A report carried out for the HSE called ‘Mapping health and safety standards in the UK waste industry’ showed the number of fatal incidents was over ten times the national average in 2001-2002.