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​Pensioner Death Leads to Council Court Appearance

Glasgow City Council has been fined after an accident resulted in the death of a pensioner. 

Malcolm McCullough died after he was hit by a reversing refuse vehicle in the city centre in August 2012. The 71-year-old suffered severe chest and pelvic injuries in the accident and the council was subsequently brought to Court over serious safety failings.

Despite the fact a system was in place that saw workers trained on the dangers associated with reversing, the two workers involved in the accident were found to be agency staff and had not yet attended the training session. 

This meant that there was no reversing assistant, whose role is to stand outside the vehicle and guide the driver in situations where reversing manoeuvres cannot be avoided.

After Mr McCullough was trapped underneath the vehicle, the truck driver continued to reverse as he did not realise, and the man was dragged some way along the road.

According to a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) work accident investigation, the warning beacon and siren were working correctly on the vehicle. However, there was a 2.2-metre blind spot that was not covered by the CCTV camera or wing mirrors.

HSE inspector Eve Macready said the use of a reversing assistant would have prevented the accident from taking place. 

"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," she added.

"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."

Glasgow City Council pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £20,000.

According to the HSE, drivers should try to avoid reversing wherever possible because of the risks associated with the manoeuvre. 

By Francesca Witney