Serco has been fined £240,000 after a man was killed when the lorry he was a passenger in crashed into litter picking vans blocking a lane of a dual carriageway in Norfolk.
Tony Skerratt, 44, from Enfield, was in the passenger seat of a Wren Kitchens lorry when it hit the vans, which were obstructing the inside lane of the A11 near Attleborough, between Norwich and Thetford. The incident happened at around 12.45pm on February 26, 2019.
The vans had been moving along the road slowly, stopping from time to time to allow bags of rubbish to be collected. The litter picking was being carried out by Serco employees. Serco had been contracted by Breckland District Council to carry out the work.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found Serco Limited failed in its health and safety management of litter picking activities on high-speed dual carriageways.
It had not provided its employees with appropriate work instructions to ensure the litter picking activity was safe. It also failed to supervise and monitor the high-risk activity to ensure it was carried out safely.
In a statement, Mr Skerratt’s family said the pain of their loss was as tender now as it was on the day of the incident.
They said: “The pain the family feels is as tender as the day we heard the worst possible news imaginable.
“The court case has been ongoing for so long, the wounds are unable to heal until justice is served. Tony was the youngest of four children and the only son to mum and dad. They grieve for the loss of their son – the pain of losing a child is something you can never recover from.
“It wasn’t Tony’s time to go, otherwise we would of had the chance to say goodbye.”
Serco Limited, with head offices based at Bartley Wood Business Park, Hampshire pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £240,000 and ordered to pay costs of 37,074 at Norwich Crown Court on 23 June 2023.
HSE Inspector Saffron Turnell said: “This was a tragic incident where the death of a member of the public could have easily been prevented had Serco Ltd implemented and monitored the robust management systems required to ensure such a high-risk activity could be carried out safely.
“The company’s failings put its employees and those using the dual carriageway at significant risk and this incident has left a family grieving the loss of much loved son, brother and uncle. Our thoughts remain with the family.”