Romney Marsh firm fined £180,000 for worker's death

A Kent firm has been ordered to pay more than £180,000 after a worker was killed has he unloaded bags from a tipper lorry.

Brian Peek, 57, from Ashford, died when his neck became trapped between the bucket of a small crane and the lorry.

Mr Peek was pronounced dead at the scene, in Wittersham.

Moores Turf & Top Soil Ltd, of Callington Court Farm in Romney Marsh, admitted breaching the Health and Safety Act, at Canterbury Crown Court.

The incident happened at a residential address in Wittersham in November 2006.

Following an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the court heard the firm had more suitable equipment, such as a flatbed lorry and forklift truck, but sent the crane-mounted tipper instead.

'Badly maintained'

Mike Walters, the HSE's principal inspector, said: "Brian Peek's tragic death could and should have been prevented.

"The lifting equipment on the lorry was badly maintained and simply wasn't safe for use.

"It was also unnecessary because the firm had better equipment more suited to the job, which could have been used instead.

"Had Moores Turf & Top Soil taken time to properly assess the risks associated with the delivery of bulky bags of hardcore and aggregate, it would have become clear that a safer method of working was necessary and could be used. "

The company was fined £85,000 and ordered to pay £97,791 in costs.

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