A Staffordshire based landscape gardener has been handed a suspended prison sentence and 180 hours of community service after a fatal accident at work.
Lesson Lavender from Stoke on Trent, was helping the landscape gardener to install a large oak post at a property in Keele when the fatal accident at work occurred in May 2010.
The men stood in the trailer that was used to transport the post and started to manoeuvre it towards a pre-dug hole. As they were lifting the post, the trailer shifted which caused Mr Lavender and the post to fall out.
Mr Lavender hit his head on the ground before the post struck his head. He later died in hospital from his injuries.
The Health and Safety investigation found that Eden Maddocks, the landscape gardener trading as Eden Creative Landscapes, had successfully used this method of work on other occasions. But, this time the oak post was larger and heavier than he had previously been used to.
Mr Maddocks told Mr Lavender that they would try to lift the post once and if it was too heavy they would wait for more manpower to arrive in form of the property owner and the electrician who was due on site.
Mr Maddocks was given a 6 month suspended prison sentence and 180 hours of community service after pleading guilty to health and safety breaches.
The investigation found that he had balanced the trailer with sandbags and provided stone chocks to stabilise the trailer during the lifting process. He had also used guide nails in the trailer to stop it sliding sideways during transportation, so it was clear that he had considered the potential stability issues and had taken some precautions to reduce the risks of the post overbalancing.
Swain & Co.’s personal injury lawyers say that unfortunately Mr Maddocks did not do enough and Mr Lavender pay with his life. This accident was a tragic and could have been avoided with better planning and a safer method of work.
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