Waste management firm Cawleys has expressed its shock after a driver employed by the company died in Watford after becoming trapped under a waste collection vehicle.
Police are investigating after the man, who has yet to be identified, became trapped under the vehicle he had been driving at Woodside Leisure Park on the morning of October 14 2014. The vehicle caught fire as a result of the incident.
The driver – who is understood to have worked for Cawleys since 2011 – was freed by firefighters and airlifted to Watford General Hospital, but died later from his injuries.
The incident occurred in the car park of the leisure complex, where there is a Vue cinema, Hollywood Bowl and a number of restaurants.
Speaking last week, a spokesman for Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue said: “When we got there, there was a person trapped under the vehicle and the vehicle was well alight. And so we used air mats to try to release that person – these inflate and lift the vehicle. We had four engines at the scene. We finished all our operations at 8.20am.”
He added: “We know it was accidental.”
A spokeswoman for Hertfordshire Constabulary added: “The Health and Safety Executive has been informed and police are working with the HSE and Watford borough council and partner agencies to establish the facts of what has happened. HM Coroner for Hertfordshire has also been made aware of the incident.”
Speaking to letsrecycle.com today (October 20), Cawleys operations director Tony Goodman said the firm was still working with police to establish what had happened.
He said: “The fire was a result of what happened rather than a cause of the death. We are absolutely shocked by this. We don’t know really know what led to the incident and that is why it still sits with the police.”
In a statement, the HSE said that it was not investigating the incident due to the nature of where it occurred, although it may be called in to provide specialist assistance at a later stage. Instead the investigation is being handled by Watford borough council.
It is not yet clear if the fatality will be counted among the waste sector deaths recorded by the HSE in its annual statistics.
A spokesman said: “We are not investigating, at least at this stage, as because the incident occurred on the grounds of a private leisure company, responsibility falls on the health and safety team at the local council, Watford borough council”.
A spokeswoman for Watford borough council said: “We are very saddened to learn of this incident. We are working closely with the police and doing all we can to assist them with their enquiries.”