Mother’s grief after only son killed while working for major egg supplier

Mother’s grief

A mother has spoken about her grief after her only child was killed while working for Sunrise Poultry Limited in Loughborough.
Nineteen-year-old Ben Spencer had only been working for two weeks when he was crushed between a heavy goods vehicle (HGV) and a wall.
His mum Tracy says she would like nothing more but to ‘curl up in a ball’ after his death.

“My life revolved around Ben, because it has always been just me and him,” she said.  “We used to go out every day for a walk, go on family holidays, all of us with a caravan.  Sometimes I walk the dog at night to avoid running into people, I just can’t face a conversation with them.  Keeping my distance from everyone, I just can’t cope with the idea of feeling close to someone, even my family.  Dreams are of Ben when he was younger and I just yearn to be back there. Years watching him play football in the freezing cold, I’d just go back there in a heartbeat.”

The HGV was attempting a complex manoeuvre towards a narrow thoroughfare, as Ben Spencer was walking towards it.

HSE inspector at the scene of the tragedy

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that measures in place for segregating pedestrians and moving vehicles were wholly inadequate.
Sunrise Poultry Farms, pleaded guilty to breaching the (Health, Safety and Welfare) regulations and were ordered to pay a fine of £233,000 plus costs of £8,841.

Ben’s tragic death continues to have a significant impact on the lives of Tracy, as well as his friends and family. “I still can’t go in Ben’s bedroom,” Tracy said. “It’s still the same as the last day he went to work.  The bed unmade and I have tied the door shut so the dog can’t go in there. Trying to make myself go in there, but I just can’t walk across the threshold. When I leave the house I cry and I cry when I get back, because he’s not here.  When hearing noises, I look up expecting to see Ben coming round the back.”

“Sunrise Poultry was Ben’s first real job and with it came a conversation about the future, his own home, learning to drive and saving. If I could just curl up in a ball I would.”

Failing to segregate vehicles and pedestrians

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Enforcement Lawyer Andy Siddall said:

“The company admitted failing to segregate vehicles and pedestrians at its workplace and that resulted in the tragic death of Ben. Accidents like this simply shouldn’t happen and a mother shouldn’t have to hold the hand of her son as he lies dying in the workplace.”

“So please check your workplace transport risk assessments, think carefully, and ensure that everybody goes home safely.”

The HSE inspector continued: “Our thoughts today are with Ben’s family and friends. He was at the start of his working life. He should have returned home safely to them at the end of his working day, but because of the failings of Sunrise Poultry Farms Limited, he did not. Ben’s death could have easily been prevented if they had adequately assessed and controlled the risks associated with workplace transport, a leading cause of death in the workplace.”

Safety Aide can assist your business regarding Health and Safety, including Risk Assessments,  please get in touch on 08000 806 801.