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Landscape gardener crushed by ‘unsafe’ skip loader

Posted in: Employer Negligence Workplace Injuries Wrongful & Accidental Death 

A self-employed businessman has been given a suspended jail sentence for supplying unsafe construction equipment that led to the death of a father-of-six who was working on a garden in Reigate, Surrey.

Ken Pinkerton, a 47-year-old landscape gardener, was crushed-to-death when a one-tonne skip loader he was using tipped over onto its side. He had hired the loader, a type of dumper, along with a mini-digger from the self-employed businessman, who was prosecuted for serious safety failings at Guildford Crown Court.

Key flaws identified by HSE with the skip loader included:

  • it had no seat belt,
  • the roll-over protection could not be operated, and
  • a missing spring meant the engine cover couldn’t be secured.

In addition, the owner had failed to provide any user information for the construction equipment he had supplied.

He pleaded guilty to breaching Section 6(1)(a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. He was given a nine months’ prison sentence, suspended for a year, and ordered to pay £10,000 compensation to Mr Pinkerton’s partner.

Passing sentence, Mr Recorder Nelson QC said: “It is just tragic that six children lost their dad. The deceased would likely have survived had there been a seatbelt and rollover bar.


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