A worker with learning disabilities has won his case against Croydon Council and Veolia after being crushed by a dust cart

The man, working as a vehicle workshop cleaner at Veolia, was hit by a reversing 17-and-a-half tonne dust cart in May 2016.

He suffered multiple fractures to his right fibula, femur, knee, ankle, wrist and hand. He also suffered an injury to his right hand requiring a skin graft.

Due to the man's learning disabilities, heightened supervision was required of him.

Southwark Crown Court heard he was known to have a history of standing in the path of moving vehicles, an issue known to both duty holders which they failed to address adequately.

It was later found that council had relied upon a historical ‘agreement’ from 2003 whereby their previous waste contractor had agreed to supervise the workshop cleaner.

Veolia did not recognise this ‘agreement’ however, nor did it require the services of the workshop cleaner but, nevertheless, the worker continued to operate within their workshop and had done since their contract began.

The court also heard both the council and Veolia failed to take into account the specific capabilities of this vulnerable worker and to take reasonably practicable steps to ensure his safety working within a high-risk environment.

Speaking after the hearing, Health and Safety inspector Megan Carr said: “This serious workplace transport incident could have been avoided if both duty holders had taken the appropriate safety precautions when planning this activity.

“Failing to identify the risks led to this man suffering serious life changing injuries.”

The council pleaded guilty to breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and has been fined £100,000 and ordered to pay costs of £10,842.83.

Veolia ES (UK) Limited pleaded guilty to breaching section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and has been fined £250,000 and ordered to pay costs of £11,359.83.

The council accepted the court's findings. A spokesman said: "We fully accept the Health and Safety Executive’s findings and the court’s decision.

"We are extremely sorry that we let our employee and his family down.

"Since this accident we have continued to support him, and we have also reviewed and improved all relevant health and safety practices so this never happens again.”