Waste contractors Biffa has pleaded guilty to two health and safety charges at Newbury Magistrates Court after a man was killed whilst dumping grass cuttings.
Dennis Krauesslar, 59, was killed on 10 September 2007 as he emptied garden waste at the site in Pinchington Lane.
A Biffa employee was using the digger to clear waste in a pit and brought the shovel down on Mr Krauesslar who had been emptying garden waste into the pit, crushing him against the pit's wall. He died a few hours later in hospital. One witness told the jury that the bucket of the digger overshot and came down over the wall.
Health and Safety Executive prosecuted
The Health and Safety Executive prosecuted Biffa for failing to conduct the use of a loading shovel for green waste in such a way as to ensure, as far as reasonable practicable, that the public was not thereby exposed to health and safety risks and for failing to make a suitable and sufficient public health and safety risk assessment.
Biffa admitted both counts. The case was adjourned to crown court for sentencing.
Following the guilty pleas Linda Krauesslar and her daughter Victoria said they will never forgive Biffa.
Linda said: “It was Biffa's inadequate systems that put the public in danger and killed a loving and devoted husband and father. Dennis just went to the local tip, a normal regular task which people do all the time, but he never came back. We cannot come to terms with how Dennis lost his life in such a horrendous way. We are completely devastated by his death.”
Biffa admitted liability for death
An inquest into Dennis’ death found factors contributing to it included a lack of site staff and signage to warn members of the public, the digger driver's possible lack of visibility, no formal safety systems in place for when the digger was being used and a lack of risk reporting between Biffa staff.
Henrietta Phillips of Thompsons Solicitors, who acts for the Krauesslar family said: “Biffa has already admitted liability for Mr Krauesslar’s death and has now pleaded guilty to two health and safety charges. Their measures fell far short of the appropriate safety standards and as a result a loving family lost a dad and husband.
“This case proves that health and safety isn’t an issue to be taken lightly. People can and will die if companies fail to keep their standards up to scratch.”
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