Lax risk assessments led to death of Daventry bin man killed on the job by reversing lorry

A court heard how the town's former bin collection company, Enterprise, failed to plan routes that would have kept its staff safe.

Wednesday, 31st March 2021, 6:05 pm
Updated Wednesday, 7th April 2021, 11:09 am
A bin man in Daventry would not have been killed on the job if his company, Enterprise, had done its job properly and made effective risk assessments.
A bin man in Daventry would not have been killed on the job if his company, Enterprise, had done its job properly and made effective risk assessments.

A Daventry bin man would not have been killed on the job if his company had not been so lax on their risk assessments around lorries reversing, a court has heard.

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

But at Northampton Crown Court on March 31, a judge heard how the young bin man would never have been put at risk at all if his management company, Enterprise, had done their jobs properly.

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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."

In the accident at 9.45am, the 23-tonne bin lorry was reversing near the junction of Langdon Road 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.

But the court heard how with proper planning, the team picking up waste for Daventry town centre that day would have never had to reverse its lorry in the first place.

In fact, an alternative route that would have avoided reversing altogether would have added a total of one minute to the team's morning and meant Kane would never have been put at risk.

However, no plan was in place. Mr Green claimed that bin collection teams in Daventry town centre were "left to their own devices" by Enterprise and were not properly supervised.

When a member of staff assigned to creating the risk assessment that meant bin lorries would never have to reverse went on long-term sick leave, no one picked up the task afterwards.

Enterprise Management Services Ltd operated both Daventry and Northampton's waste collection from 2011 to 2018, during which time it was heavily criticised by residents, councillors and this newspaper. It was acquired by Amey in 2013.

Enterprise was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive over the death of Kane Beard. It later pleaded guilty to the failings.

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.