A FAMILY building firm has been fined £225,000 for breaching health and safety law after a father-of-four was crushed to death when his dumper truck overturned.

David Green, 32, was pulled from underneath the upturned vehicle after it fell from the top of a mound of soil at a building site in Lawford.

Mr Green was carrying out work on Rose Builders’ Summers Park development of 150 homes in October 2016.

Following an investigation, the firm was charged with two counts of breaching health and safety law.

Briony Clarke, prosecuting on behalf of the Health and Safety Executive, outlined how Mr Green was not trained to the level required by Rose Builders to operate the truck.

The court heard the company had not carried out effective risk assessments into how dumper truck operators safely navigated the large mounds of soil on the site.

“The spoil heap being worked on was 11ft to 12ft high, post incident it was found to have different gradients, some edges were steeper than others,” said Ms Clarke.

“No-one witnessed what happened to Mr Green.

“Had Mr Green been wearing a seatbelt there would have been a high probability this could have been avoided.

“Most on site say there was no communication about the wearing of seatbelts.”

She added: “Those spoken to said they used their personal judgement of how to tip safely, including how close they get to the edge and whether to wear seatbelts.

“There is no reason why tipping couldn’t have taken place at ground level - tipping on ground level would have eliminated the risk presented in this case.”

Mr Green was initially employed by Rose Builders as a ground worker, but soon began operating tipper trucks despite not having the required training.

“The policy in place at the time stated all dumper trucks and 360 excavator operators must be trained to CPCS standard,” said Ms Clarke.

Keith Morton QC, mitigating, said it was company policy for drivers to wear seatbelts and pointed out Mr Green was regarded by his colleagues as a competent driver of dumper trucks.

“There is no legal requirement for plant operators to hold any particular qualifications,” he added.

“It is wrong to assume a card demonstrates competence.”

He added: “The plain fact is there is a cultural problem in the construction industry in that many operators find seatbelts inconvenient and do not wear them.”

He highlighted the safety steps the company has undertaken since Mr Green’s death, which include installing a light on vehicles to clearly show when a driver is wearing a seatbelt.

Mr Morton said: “This was a personal tragedy for Mr Green’s family, but also for his colleagues.

“Mr Rose took the lead in overseeing the company’s immediate response.

"That included closing the site, holding a minute’s silence and meeting members of Mr Green’s family and providing the Health and Safety Executive with all they required from the outset.”

In fining the company, district judge John Woollard said the penalty was not to be taken as a valuation of Mr Green’s life.

“David was clearly - from all I have read, heard and seen in this court - a young man who all of us would have liked to have known personally,” he said.

“You mustn’t think I am trying to place a value on his life, far from it.

“The value of his life is incalculable and I wouldn’t dream of doing so.”

He instead said the fine was to punish the company for its “systematic failures” to put in place safeguards which could have prevented the accident.

He also acknowledged the firm’s lack of previous convictions, otherwise effective health and safety measures and solid character references.

“This is a company which has been in operation for over a century and it has never sustained convictions of a similar nature,” he said.

Rose Builders must pay a fine of £225,000, court costs of £11,822 and a statutory surcharge of £170.

'David was family-orientated and popular'

Heartfelt victim statements painted the portrait of a beloved husband and dad-of-four who was “spontaneous and talented.”

In a statement, heard at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court, David Green’s widow Jade described how she had coped after losing her childhood sweetheart.

She said: “He was a family-orientated man, very spontaneous, he would book days out to surprise us all.

“He was an active man, always taking the kids to the park, and was very popular.”

The court heard David began working in the construction industry in 2015 and before then had trained as a carpenter.

As a young man he had been a hugely talented sportsman, scouted by Manchester United and playing with the Bobby Charlton Soccer School.

Jade said: “David loved football, he supported Manchester United and was a talented footballer himself.

“He played as a striker and was scouted by Manchester United when he was 15 years old and playing at Clacton.

“He got through to the last stage of the trial when he broke his arm and was unfortunately not successful.

“He started playing golf in the last five years of his life, which he really enjoyed.”

The court heard how his widow had been left to struggle to pay for their mortgage as a single parent. She now works three jobs to get by.

She said: “My future was with David and I signed up for this life. I did not sign up to be a single parent.”

About 350 people attended David’s funeral.

This display of love was a testament to his good and kind nature.

David’s only daughter was inconsolable following her dad’s death.

Jade said: “He loved her being his only girl. I cannot comfort her.”

When David died in October 2016, Pauline Green lost her only son.

She said: “David was a real joker and was always smiling.”

The court heard the family has commenced civil proceedings against the firm.

In a statement following the sentencing hearing, Steven Rose, owner of Rose Builders Ltd said: “We deeply regret the tragic death of David Green.

“He was a respected and valued member of our site team who is deeply missed.

"Our thoughts remain with Mrs Green, her family and friends.”