Former waste contractors fined £1m over death of Daventry bin man that 'should not have happened'

Enterprise, which used to empty the bins for Daventry and Northampton, was rapped with the seven-figure fine for failing to come up with a risk assessment that would have kept Kane Beard safe.

By Alastair Ulke
Wednesday, 31st March 2021, 5:26 pm
Updated Wednesday, 7th April 2021, 11:10 am
Northampton and Daventry's former waste contractor has been fined £1m over the death of one of its bin men who was killed on the job.
Northampton and Daventry's former waste contractor has been fined £1m over the death of one of its bin men who was killed on the job.

A contractor has been fined £1 million after its "failure to complete a risk assessment" led to a bin man being crushed to death by a reversing lorry.

Kane Beard died on the job in April 2016 when he tripped and fell under the wheels of a reversing bin lorry at the junction of Ashby Road and Langdon Close in Daventry. He was 22.

At Northampton Crown Court today, Wednesday March 31, his employers, Enterprise Management Service Ltd, were fined £1.02m after a judge heard how the young man's death could have been prevented if it had not failed to carry out risk assessments.

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His Honour Judge Rupert Mayo said in sentencing: "In my judgement, it is the failure of Enterprise Management Services Ltd [EMSL] to install and maintain and effective supervision structure.

"I make it clear as day that Kane's life was beyond price. The amount of any fine should not be seen to place a value on his life."

Bin lorry teams are advised by the Health and Safety Executive to only ever reverse if there is no other option, the court heard.

In the accident at 9.45am, the 23-tonne bin lorry reversed near the junction of Langdon Close and Ashby Road, with Kane acting as a 'reversing assistant' to guide it.

However, he was in fact stood in a blind spot to both the mirrors and the lorry's on-board camera. In a matter of seconds, he reportedly tripped and fell under the lorry's rear wheels. He died at the scene.

The court heard how if Enterprise had completed a risk assessment, it could have created a route that meant the bin team would have never had to reverse at all and Kane would never have been put at risk.

However, the judge heard how Enterprise had made no such plan because the member of staff tasked with this had gone on long-term sick leave and no one had picked it up.

Further, the company was criticised for failing to supervise its teams in Daventry properly to make sure they didn't make "bad habits" on the job - such as reversing bin lorries.

Prosecutor Mr Timothy Green also told the court that a running theme in interviews with staff was that the teams in Daventry were "left to their own devices" by Enterprise and were no properly managed.

He said: "The accidental running over would have been avoided if Enterprise had planned for a route that would have avoided reversing at all.

"The failures go beyond an absence of risk assessments, and an investigation revealed that supervision of the route was patchy an inadequate."

Enterprise, which pleaded guilty to the breach that led to Kane's death, was the environmental services contractor for both Daventry and Northampton from 2011 to 2018.

A risk assessment created since the accident prevents bin lorries from reversing on Langdon Close.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story stated that the bin lorry was reversing out of Langdon Close. This was incorrect and the lorry was reversing down Ashby Road with the intent to drive into Langdon Close. This has been rewritten to reflect this.