Glasgow & West Scotland

Glasgow City Council fined after bin lorry kills OAP

Glasgow Sheriff Court
Image caption Passing sentence, Sheriff Sam Cathcart said an accident was "foreseeable"

Scotland's largest council has been fined £20,000 after a pensioner was killed by a bin lorry being driven by a worker who was not fully trained.

Malcolm McCulloch, 71, was hit by the reversing vehicle in Glasgow city centre on 10 August 2012.

He suffered chest and pelvic injuries and later died in hospital.

Glasgow City Council admitted health and safety breaches after it emerged that workers in charge of the lorry had not received adequate training.

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."

He said that in this case Mr McCulloch was hit and died from the injuries he sustained.

Reversing training

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."

Glasgow Sheriff Court was previously 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 they should use assistants.

The training gave advice about where an assistant should stand, how they should check it was safe to move and how to indicate to the driver when it was safe.

On the day of the accident, the bin lorry was being driven by agency worker Shaun Kerr.

He was accompanied from the depot at Shieldhall in Govan by labourer Paul Livingstone, a council employee.

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

On 10 August 2012 - a year after the deadline - neither Mr Kerr or Mr Livingstone had received relevant training about reversing.

The accident happened at about 11:15 in Holm Street, near Wellington Street.

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.

Victim dragged

At this time Mr McCulloch was walking from Wellington Street turning left on the pavement of Holm Street.

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.

Mr McCulloch was struck by the nearside of the lorry, towards the back. He fell underneath 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.

The 71-year-old was taken to Glasgow Royal Infirmary where he later died from chest and pelvic injuries.

The court was told it was the opinion of the crash investigator that Mr Kerr was "careless" when reversing with restricted views.

Glasgow City Council pleaded guilty to breaching health and safety legislation by failing to ensure all employees using the refuse collection vehicles had received adequate training and as a result the accident happened which caused Mr Malcolm's death.

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

'Needless' accident

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

Following the case, Health and Safety Inspector Eve Macready, said: "Our investigation has found there was a blind spot for the driver even when using the camera, but if a reversing assistant had been used this would have prevented the incident.

"Reversing vehicles poses one of the biggest hazards in the refuse collection industry and there is plenty of guidance available on how to reduce the risks.

"The fact that the driver and his colleague had not been trained meant they did not have the skills necessary and were not fully aware of the need to use a reversing assistant - as a result Mr McCulloch has needlessly lost his life."

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