Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Mobile Sweepers (Reading) boss fined over worker death

A road-sweeping company's director has been fined for safety offences after a worker was killed.

Malcolm Hinton, 56, died in 2012 when a raised hopper for collecting dirt fell on him at a Mobile Sweepers (Reading) Ltd depot in Headley, Hampshire.

Mervyn Owens was fined £183,000 after he admitted a charge under Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act.

A police and Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found the hopper was in poor condition.

'Wholly avoidable'

Mobile Sweepers also pleaded guilty to a charge under Section 1 of the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007. The company was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay £4,000 in costs.

Mr Hinton was crushed on 6 March 2012 when the hopper fell back after losing hydraulic pressure.

An investigation found a prop designed to take the weight of the hopper when it was in the raised tipping position could not be used due to poor maintenance.

Speaking after sentencing at Winchester Crown Court, HSE principal inspector Steve Hull said Mr Hinton's death was "wholly avoidable".

"Planned, preventive maintenance procedures should be in place for all work vehicles to ensure they are kept in good condition," he said.

Owens was also disqualified from holding the position of company director for five years.

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