‘No health and safety meetings’ at Norfolk firm were worker was killed

PUBLISHED: 13:38 12 March 2019 | UPDATED: 13:38 12 March 2019

James Criddle, who died in an industrial incident in Besthorpe. Picture courtesy of Kevin Copplestone.

James Criddle, who died in an industrial incident in Besthorpe. Picture courtesy of Kevin Copplestone.

Kevin Copplestone

A digger driver at a firm where a worker suffocated when his clothing became caught in a machine told a court there had been no health and safety meetings at the site.

James Criddle, 29, from Watton, was working at Baldwin Skip Hire in Besthorpe on May 15, 2017, when the fatal accident happened involving waste-screening machinery, which had only just been bought for £18,000 on eBay but was not fitted with the required safety guard.

Robert Baldwin, 47, of Silver Street, Besthorpe, has pleaded not guilty to the manslaughter of Mr Criddle by gross negligence and a charge involving neglect in failing to discharge a duty.

Giving evidence on Tuesday (March 12) Marius Gazauskas, a digger driver at Baldwin Skip Hire said he had not been to safety meetings at the site.

Julia Faure Walker, prosecuting, asked him if he had ever attended any health and safety meetings at Baldwin Skip Hire.

Speaking through an interpreter, he said: “No”.

Mr Gazauskas, who has worked there for three years, was asked if he attended any health and safety meetings about the “machinery on site”.

He had not and said they only had inductions and then would “carry on”.

Mr Gazauskas was asked if he knew of any training given to Mr Criddle about the new machinery that had arrived in May 2017.

He said: “If I’m truthful I don’t know.”

On May 15, the day Mr Criddle died, Mr Gazauskas was asked if he had seen him walking towards the office “as he appeared to have an injury to his hand”.

The witness replied “yes”.

He told the jury of nine women and three men that he did not see Mr Criddle in his cab later that day but was to find out “something serious had happened” to him.

In cross examination Mr Gazauskas was asked by Mathew Gowen, defending, if he ever had any reason to be concerned about the supervision.

He replied: “No”.

The court has heard the prosecution asserts that as managing director of the company, Baldwin failed in his duty of care towards Mr Criddle and was “grossly” negligent.

The jury has been told that the company, Baldwin Skip Hire, had already pleaded guilty to a charge of breaching health and safety duties to an employee.

The trial continues.

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