Council fined £15k after car struck litter-picker

Manchester City Council has been fined £15,000 after a worker suffered serious injuries whilst litter picking on a city road.

The 60-year-old from Stretford, who has asked not to be named, had been trying to cross Princess Parkway, a busy road with a 40mph speed limit, when he was struck by a car on 9 July 2013.

Manchester Crown Court, Minshull Street, heard today (24 September 2014) that the worker sustained serious injuries including four broken ribs, a punctured lung, a cut to the liver, a fractured right eye socket, fractures to his face and a broken pelvis. His injuries were so severe that he has still not been able to return to work.

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive found that Manchester City Council did not have a safe system of work in place and had not identified being struck by a car as a risk associated with litter picking work. Staff had not been given any information about controlling or informing traffic about them working on or near the road.

Following the incident, HSE served an Improvement Notice on the council requiring it to look again at its risk assessment and control procedures.

Manchester City Council, of Albert Square, Manchester, was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay £3,830 in prosecution costs after pleading guilty to a breach of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Emily Osborne said: "A council worker suffered serious injuries that could easily have been prevented had suitable actions to reduce risk been taken.

"Any work requiring people to be close to moving traffic needs to be properly assessed. Workers need to be protected and motorists need to be made aware that there may be people working in the road ahead.

"As a result of the incident and the Improvement Notice, the council has implemented further controls including updating health and safety training, providing more signs and implementing a new monitoring and review process."

A Manchester City Council spokesman said: "This was a terrible accident in which [the council worker] was hit by a motorist travelling at nearly twice the legal speed limit, who has since been prosecuted for careless driving. Our thoughts remain with [the council worker] and we are continuing to support him with a view to helping him return to work.

"It remains our priority to ensure that our litter pickers are kept as safe as possible as they go about their work. This is the first time such an accident has affected one of our litter pickers, who regularly maintain nearly 1,000 miles of roads across the city, but we are doing everything within our control to reduce the chances of this happening again."

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