Workman crushed to death by van

TRAGIC ACCIDENT: Carl Green, 45, who died when he got trapped underneath a van at Portway, Preston
TRAGIC ACCIDENT: Carl Green, 45, who died when he got trapped underneath a van at Portway, Preston

A workman was crushed to death when he was struck by a reversing van outside a cinema, an inquest has heard.

Carl Green, 45, of Steeley Lane, Chorley, was working on a project to open a Costa Coffee shop in the Odeon cinema, in Port Way, Preston, when he was struck by the vehicle.

During the jury inquest at Preston Coroner’s Court yesterday, health and safety investigators revealed there were no safety procedures in place to keep moving vehicles separate from pedestrians.

Deputy coroner Simon Jones heard an area had been allocated on the paved pedestrian walkway to the left of the cinema foyer, where the workers’ four vans were parked.

During July 27 2010, Mr Green was struck by a Citroen Relay van which was being reversed by Michael Hoyle, who was working on the site as a floor layer.

A post-mortem examination revealed he had died of multiple crush injuries.

Mr Hoyle, who worked for EMC Contracts which was leading the shop fitting project, said he could not see his colleague in his rear view mirror.

He said: “I had to pull forward so I was more in line, so that I could reverse back.

“I checked for pedestrians as I pulled forward checking both sides.

“I was checking the left and right hand mirrors.

“It was about 100 yards then I heard a bang.

“I stopped the van and I heard Mr Harrison (site foreman) shout, ‘It was Carl’.

“I got out the van and I saw Carl trapped underneath.

“I got under the van and held his head and tried to calm him down.”

The jury of five men and four women also heard from the site foreman Paul Harrison who said he tried to warn Mr Green of the danger.

He said: “By the time I turned round, I tried to shout, ‘Watch out’ but by the time it came out the van had hit him.”

After the accident Susan Ritchie, a Health and Safety Executive inspector, issued a deferred prohibition notice, banning vehicles from driving in the pedestrianised area.

Further investigation, including a reviewing of interviews, CCTV and paperwork by senior HSE investigator Steven Parncutt, revealed procedures had not been put in place to keep pedestrians separate from moving vehicles.

Mr Parncutt said in projects where vehicles could come into contact with pedestrians, ideally the vehicles should be removed, or if not segregated.

But he said at very least someone should be employed to help vehicles reverse.

He said: “Absolutely minimum is providing a banksman as an operative who will assist moving vehicles at walking pace.”

The jury returned a cause of accidental death.