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Family in battle to stop other workplace tragedies

A DIGGER driver who was prosecuted after an engineer was killed on a building site has been spared a prison term, but the young man’s mum said no sentence would have made up for the loss of her son.

A DIGGER driver who was prosecuted after an engineer was killed on a building site has been spared a prison term, but the young man’s mum said no sentence would have made up for the loss of her son.

Shirley man Mark Handford, aged 22, died when the one ton bucket from an excavation digger fell as he helped to carry out levelling work on a construction site in Redditch on August 12, 2009.

Jonathan Gold, 48, of Wingfield Road, Coleshill, pleaded guilty to one count under the Health and Safety Act and was sentenced to seven months in prison suspended for two years. He must also carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.

Birmingham Crown Court heard Gold, who was working for a subcontractor on the site, was emptying the excavator bucket into a HGV, when another worker approached and he switched off the engine.

The lorry moved away and at that point, Gold should have restarted the engine and lowered and retracted the arm. Mr Handford wandered underneath the bucket and sustained fatal head injuries when it fell.

Judge Paul Farrer QC said: “The engine should not have been turned off with the arm in a raised position and you knew that.”

After the hearing, Julie Handford, Mark’s mother, said: “No sentence would have been enough for the devastation that has been caused by Mark’s death.

“We are pleased that Jon Gold has finally been held accountable for Mark’s death – it’s taken three and a half years.

“We wish he’d had a custodial sentence, but the judge said he was of previously good character.

“We can put the legal process behind us now and just carry on missing Mark. He was a wonderful son, brother and grandson. We miss him everyday.”

Father Paul said they wanted to raise awareness “to prevent any similar tragedies happening in future.”

The family will be attending a Workers Memorial Day at Birmingham St Philip’s Cathedral on April 28 to pay tribute to other victims of workplace accidents.

 

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