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Waste firm fined over litter-picker's death

A waste and recycling company was today fined £225,000 after a worker was killed in a vehicle collision while collecting litter from a busy road.

Veolia ES (UK) Ltd was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive after the incident in Kent in 2007 when 20-year-old Damian Griffiths was litter-picking on a grass verge of the A228 with a colleague, who was driving a caged vehicle.

A large goods lorry travelling in the same direction collided with the caged vehicle, shunting it into Mr Griffiths. The LGV driver escaped serious injury but Mr Griffiths died at the scene.

Veolia ES (UK) Ltd, of Pentonville Road, London, was found guilty of breaching sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, at Maidstone Crown Court, in August this year, and was today fined £225,000.

HSE Inspector Caroline Penwill said: "Veolia failed to ensure Mr Griffiths' work activity was safe and properly planned. As a result of its failure a man has died. This has had devastating consequences for Damian Griffiths' family.

"Litter-picking near busy roads can be a high-risk activity if not properly planned. Veolia was responsible for managing these works, but in this case did not properly protect the roadside crew from oncoming traffic.

"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."