Local Council fined following death of employee

Date published: 14 June 2024

Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council was sentenced today at Antrim Crown Court for a health and safety offence, following the death of a 51-year-old employee in Limavady on 6 November 2018.

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The Council pleaded guilty to failing to ensure the health, safety and welfare of its employees and was fined £75,000.

The prosecution followed the death of John Winton who on the 6 November 2018 was struck by a bin lorry as it was reversing in the Mount Eden area of Limavady. Mr Winton sustained fatal crush injuries and sadly died at the scene.

Speaking after the hearing, HSENI Principal Inspector Anne Boylan said: “This tragic accident could have been avoided had the Council managed the risks associated with domestic bin collections.

“Comprehensive information and guidance, specific to the waste industry was readily available at the time of the incident. This guidance set out clearly the risks associated with bin collections along with reasonably practicable control measures for managing those risks.

“Tragically for the Winton family, the Council failed to implement the necessary control measures.”

Employers are reminded of their responsibility to manage the risks associated with waste collection activities. Suitable and sufficient risk assessments, safe systems of work, training, supervision and monitoring are all essential controls to ensure that unsafe practices do not develop.

Where the practice of “Task and Finish” is employed, a programme of monitoring should be in place to ensure that bin collection crews do not rush to complete the work and that safe systems of work are followed.”

PPS Senior Public Prosecutor Michael McDaid said: “Mr Winton tragically lost his life when he was struck by a bin lorry whilst working for Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council.

“Prosecutors in the PPS’s Fraud & Departmental Section worked closely with the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland to build a robust prosecution case. This resulted in the Council chief executive formally entering a guilty plea and accepting responsibility for the Council’s shortcomings in relation to refuse collection at the time of the incident.

“PPS are committed to working with our enforcement partners to prosecute alleged health and safety offences, where the Test for Prosecution is met. The outcome of this case must serve as a stark warning to employers to implement comprehensive health and safety measures to prevent individuals from being endangered and avoid any further tragic loss of life.

“Mr Winton was a much-loved father who is sorely missed by his family and all those who knew him. This case demonstrates the devastating consequences that arise when the correct protocols are not in place.”

Further information and guidance on health and safety in the waste industry can be found on our website at the following link:

Notes to editors: 

  1. Breaches and fines for Causeway Coast & Glens Borough Council are as follows:
    a) Article 4(1) of the Health and Safety at Work (Northern Ireland) Order 1978, fine of £75,000
  2. For media enquiries please contact: HSENI Press Office on 028 9024 3249 or email media@hseni.gov.uk. For out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer on 028 9037 8110

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