Brighton woman mown down by refuse truck

A charity worker was mown down and killed by a dustcart as it reversed along a pedestrianised street.

Anne Smith, 62, died shortly after the collision in Cranbourne Street, near Churchill Square, Brighton, a court was told yesterday.

The 12-ton truck did not have its reversing alarm on and CCTV cameras covering its blind spot were not working as it slowly backed from West Street into Cranbourne Street.

Driver Colin Bullard was unaware that Mrs Smith, of East Street, Brighton, was there until her body appeared from under the truck.

His loader, Allan Parsons, was still sitting in the cab and had not got out to guide the vehicle back as it collected commercial rubbish at around 6.25 am on March 5, 2007.

At Lewes Crown Court it is alleged that the company failed to ensure risks associated with reversing were properly controlled.

Refuse contractors Team Waste Southern Ltd and its managing director Allan Taylor, based at Turners Hill, near Crawley, deny breaching health and safety regulations.

James Agerous, prosecuting, said Taylor has overall responsibility for the health and safety of everyone who works for the company or anyone who might be affected by its work, including pedestrians.

Mr Agerous said: “Mrs Smith was walking up Cranbourne Street when she was struck from behind by a refuse collection vehicle as it reversed.

“It seems that neither Mr Bullard or Mr Parsons were aware there had been a collision until she became visible at the front of the vehicle.

“Health and Safety Executive investigations after the accident showed that it had a substantial blind spot of about 50 meters to the rear.”

Mr Agerous said Team Waste should have devised and enforced systems of work to control the risks involved when reversing its vehicles.

He added: “Every year a large number of workers and members of the public are killed in accidents involving reversing vehicles at work.

“The prosecution case is that Team Waste had not done enough to control the risks associated with that activity.

“As director Mr Taylor had personal responsibility to ensure that happened. The buck stopped with Mr Taylor.”

The jury was told that driver Colin Bullard was convicted of careless driving after Mrs Smith's death and will not give evidence.

The trial continues.

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