The widow of a man who died after he was dragged under a lorry while collecting rubbish from a leisure park in Garston said lessons must be learnt from the tragedy.
Bev Coleman spoke out after the inquest into Pete Coleman’s death concluded last month. Pete died after suffering fatal head and pelvic injuries at the Woodside Leisure Park in 2015. Several members of the public and the emergency services tried in vain to rescue him.
Bev called on her husband’s employer, waste management firm F & R Cawley Limited, to make safety improvements after the inquest heard that the vehicle Pete was trapped under had defective brakes and wiring.
Speaking after the hearing she said: “It has been incredibly difficult to hear the findings of the inquest and ultimately how Pete’s death perhaps could and should have been prevented. I am grateful that Watford Borough Council have assured the Coroner that their investigation into the defects in the vehicle contributed to Pete’s death is ongoing. Safety must always come first.
“I would also like to thank the brave members of the public and all the emergency services who tried to rescue Pete.”
A jury was told that Pete was working alone when the incident happened just after 6.30am on October 11. He got out of the cab to collect two commercial bins and had applied the handbrake.
However, the vehicle which was unroadworthy because of a brake defect, moved off when Pete operated its lifting mechanism.
Pete became trapped under the rear wheels as the truck’s axles continued to rotate. After around seven minutes the vehicle caught fire and there was an explosion after another five minutes.
Pete was trapped under the vehicle for around 90 minutes before he was taken to Watford General Hospital where he died.
The hearing was also told that a safety feature of the vehicle’s lifting equipment had been bypassed.
The jury returned a verdict that Pete’s death was caused by an accident in the course of his work which had been contributed to by the faults in his vehicle.
Pete also leaves behind son Paul, 27, daughter Lisa, 16, and grandchildren nine-year-old Harvey, Jack aged seven, Ruby aged four and two-year old Michael.
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