Council fined £20,000 over pensioner's lorry death

GLASGOW City Council has been fined £20,000 after a pensioner was knocked down by a lorry being driven by a worker who was not fully trained.

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Council was fined at the city's sheriff court

Great grandfather Malcolm McCulloch, 71, was hit by the reversing vehicle and dragged along the ground and later died from chest and pelvic injuries.

Risk assessments in place at the time by the council record that "reversing assistant training was to be completed by all refuse collectors by August 2011".

But on August 10, 2012 - a year after the deadline, neither agency worker Shaun Kerr, who was driving the vehicle or council employee Paul Livingstone had received relevant training about reversing.

Glasgow City Council pled guilty at the city's sheriff court to flouting health and safety legislation by failing to ensure all employees using the refuse collection vehicles had received adequate training.

And, that as a result Mr Kerr drove without the aid of a reversing assistant, hit Mr Malcolm, reversed over him and dragged him, which caused him to die of his injuries.

Passing sentence, Sheriff Sam Cathcart said: "It seems to me, reversing into an area where there is no clear view in Glasgow city centre without the assistance of a reversing assistant, it is entirely foreseeable that serious injury or worse may be caused to a member of the public."

The sheriff added: "I want to make it clear that the amount of the fine I impose is not, and is not intended to be, in any way a reflection of the value of Mr McCulloch's life."

The court was told that between March and December 2011 the council provided reversing assistant training to its refuse collection drivers.

During the training staff were told that if reversing cannot be avoided to use assistants, and gave advice about where an assistant should stand, how they should check it's safe to move and how to indicate to the driver when it is safe.

Procurator fiscal depute Louise Beattie told the court: "Mr Kerr had not undertaken reversing assistant training. He had been assessed as to driver safety but his training had not encompassed reversing maneouvres."

The court was told agency drivers did not get reversing assistant training and that Mr Livingstone, a council employee for 21 years, had not received the training either.

Miss Beattie said that on the day of the incident the men were working together, Mr Kerr as the driver and Mr Livingstone as the labourer and they left the depot at Shieldhall in Govan around 8am.

The court heard that because there was no room to turn the lorry at the end of Holm Street where the bins were, Mr Kerr reversed the lorry from Wellington Street into Holm Street around 11am.

Miss Beattie said that as he moved the lorry back, Mr Kerr did not think he needed to use the CCTV camera at the back of the vehicle until he was closer to the bins and reversed up to them.

When he reversed into Holm Street he looked at the camera and mirrors but did not see anybody.

Miss Beattie said: "Mr McCulloch was struck by the nearside of the vehicle, towards the rear. He fell underneath the vehicle and was dragged some way along the road as Mr Kerr continued to reverse to the end of Holm Street."

The court heard that when the refuse workers got out of the vehicle, Mr McCulloch was spotted.

Mr Kerr saw him in front of the lorry on the road and ran to his aid.

Miss Beattie added: "Passers by stopped to help and he(Kerr) can remember one passer by finding Mr McCulloch's wallet which contained his wife's mobile number."

Mr McCulloch's wife, Jessie, was called and arrived at the scene and he was taken to hospital.

He was found to have suffered cuts and bruises and chest and pelvic injuries and later died.

Defence counsel Emma Toner said that changes had since been put in place by the council since the incident.

She said all employees - including agency workers - are trained and records of training are kept up to date.

Transport Tragedy

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