Britain’s largest bus operator has been convicted of breaching health and safety obligations over the death of one of its London drivers.
First Group faces a £400,000 fine plus costs after a jury at Southwark Crown Court on 16 December unanimously found its subsidiary Centrewest London had breached health and safety obligations towards driver Robert Cherry.
Robert was crushed to death on 18 May 2004 when he was trapped between two buses at a depot in Uxbridge.
Robert had been collecting water to top up his vehicle’s engine when the gear stick of the bus in front slipped and the vehicle reversed into him.
He was pinned between the first bus and the one behind, which was in turn thrown back into a third vehicle. He died at the scene.
The court heard that Centrewest London kept 119 buses at the Uxbridge depot, which should have had a maximum capacity of 65 and that there had been numerous minor collisions before the fatal accident.
A Health and Safety Executive investigation found the bus that struck Robert had a defective gear selector, meaning it was in a different gear to that indicated to the driver. Four other buses at the depot were found to have the same problem.
Centrewest London had denied breaching health and safety obligations.
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