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Council worker seriously injured in refuse truck accident

A council worker has been left with life-changing injuries after being crushed by a refuse vehicle.

Derek Maitland, 37, of Castlemilk, Glasgow, required extensive surgery to repair damaged arteries and had to most of his colon and small bowel removed following the incident in Glen Turret, East Kilbride.

He can no longer eat and digest food as normal and requires to be fed intravenously.

The incident was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and South Lanarkshire Council was prosecuted at Hamilton Sheriff Court.

Mr Maitland was one of a three-man crew and had been driving a glass recycling vehicle when the side lifter jammed in an upright position.

Mr Maitland unplugged the side lifter’s pendant control unit and took it into the vehicle’s cab to dry out. This had been done in the past when unexpected stoppages had occurred.

A short time later he went back outside to reconnect the pendant control unit , but it appears the vehicle’s engine had been left running, which meant power was delivered to the mechanism. The hoist activated and lowered, trapping him by his torso against the vehicle.

HSE determined that the incident occurred as a result of a combination of inadequate risk assessment, the lack of a safe system of work, and a failure to provide adequate information, instruction, supervision and training.

Following the incident the council carried out a review and amended its system of work to prevent a recurrence.

South Lanarkshire Council, of Almada Street, Hamilton, was fined £50,000 after pleading guilty to three breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

HSE Inspector Eve Macready, said: “Mr Maitland is clearly fortunate not to have died as a result of this incident and the surgery that was required was truly lifesaving. He has, however, been left with serious, life-changing injuries and only time will tell what complications may arise in relation to his medical condition.”

If you have suffered personal injury at work, call PM Law solicitors in Sheffield on 0114 2965444

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