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Stagecoach Devon fined after employee crushed by bus receives life-changing injuries

Transport unions call for ‘lessons to be learned’

TRANSPORT unions have called for “lessons to be learned” after a bus company was fined £380,000 following an incident which saw one of its employees crushed by a bus.

David Heathfield suffered “life-changing injuries and six fractures in his lower arm” when he was trapped between a reversing bus and a stationary vehicle at Stagecoach Devon’s Torquay depot on October 3 2019.

At Plymouth magistrates’ court on Tuesday, the company pleaded guilty to breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was ordered to pay costs of £18,000 on top of the hefty fine.

The Health and Safety Executive said that the firm had failed to put a “suitable and sufficient risk assessment in place” at the depot, where it was common for bus drivers to reverse without a banksman to guide them.

The site’s sole banksman was often occupied at the top of the depot where most buses were parked, creating unsafe conditions elsewhere, the inspectorate found.  

Mr Heathfield, who was at court to hear the outcome of the case, required six titanium plates and 65 metal staples between his wrist and elbow following the accident. 

After the ruling, RMT regional organiser Barry West said that the worker has been left “severely incapacitated” by the crush, which has “affected him mentally, emotionally, physically and socially.

“The workplace safety arrangements were wholly inadequate at the depot and I hope that this outcome will mean that Stagecoach Bus will start to listen and engage effectively with us.”

A spokesperson for the firm said: “Safety is our absolute priority and our thoughts continue to be with [Mr] Heathfield.

“We will continue to take steps necessary to protect health and safety.”

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