Canterbury firm fined following death of employee

2 August 2011

The family of a man crushed by a forklift truck bucket say his death has torn their lives apart.

The father and son of Darren Baker were speaking after scrap metal firm Ling Metals were fined £200,000 for failing to prevent his death.

Dad-of-three Darren, from Thanington, died in 2007 after a one-ton bucket full of crumbled rubber fell on his head.

The machine's health and safety certificate had expired and Ling Metals had ignored warnings from an engineer four days before.

Brother Stuart, 36, said: "Our lives have been torn apart. I've seen my father and mother in pieces for the last three years and I've had a nervous breakdown.

"Darren's daughter Lily was just nine months old when he died - just a baby.

"He'd always wanted a little girl but now she has to grow up without a daddy.

"But still justice hasn't been done. Someone should be held accountable for causing my brother's death.

"If your car failed an MOT but you still went out and drove it and ended up killing someone, you'd be going to prison for a very long time.

"What's the difference here? It's absolutely disgusting."

Canterbury Crown Court heard Darren had been helping lay a surface for an outdoor riding area in Minster on March 19, 2007.

The bucket came down on his head after machine driver Gavin Lucas failed to use stabilisers to move a load of crumbled rubber and the forklift toppled over.

A safety alarm which should have warned Mr Lucas of the impending danger wasn't working.

Darren was airlifted to hospital but died two days later. The machine was used again before being checked or serviced.

A certificate of thorough examination had expired the previous month and the machine was in such a bad state an engineer was unable to complete repair work.

Ling Metals director Robin Ling was in court on Friday as the company was given six months to pay £200,000 in fines and £11,384 costs.