Labourer thrown in the air like a rag doll’ in fatal accident

PUBLISHED: 15:04 03 December 2008 | UPDATED: 15:46 25 August 2010

A FREAK accident claimed the life of a young labourer when he was crushed by a skip lorry, an inquest heard.

A FREAK accident claimed the life of a young labourer when he was crushed by a skip lorry, an inquest heard.

Arjan Shehi, otherwise known as Arkan Berisha or Alex to his colleagues at the Hunts Waste Recycling Yard in Dagenham was killed after he was caught between a concrete staunchion and a reversing skip lorry.

The 22-year-old Albanian of Bexley Road, Erith, had only been working on the site for about a month before the accident on February 7 at 3.30pm, the inquest heard last month.

One of his colleagues, Anji Chapman, said he looked like a doll being thrown back against one of the concrete staunchions which separate the skip sheds.

She said: "All I saw was the impact. I saw Alex jump or fall backwards like a rag doll."

The ambulance was called and the young man was airlifted to the Royal London Hospital with serious injuries to his pelvis and legs.

He died of multiple organ failure due to multiple injuries at the Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel, six days later on February 13.

The jury was told that the site was run on a one-way traffic system, where arriving lorries pass through a weigh bridge and wait in an unsheeting area before reversing and unloading their waste into one of the skip sheds under the guidance of a banksman. Driver of the lorry, Gary Drain, 39, said on the day of the accident, he said he thought two men in high visibility vests were seeing to him when he reversed while watching the man who was directing him. He said: "I just saw the high visibility vest. I was right inside the bay and I heard 'Stop, go forward!' Then I pulled forward. Then I walked out of the lorry and then I saw a man lying there."

Since the accident, the company has adopted orange high visibility vests for banksmen, radios in each of the company's lorries and a minimum distance between pedestrians and traffic of 5metres as new health and safety measures.

Verdict: Accidental Death.

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