Henry Chambers had been working for Bin Busy Recycling Limited at an aggregates site run by another company in Charlton, London, when the incident occurred on 5 July 2019.

The 65-year-old, from Dartford, had been unloading glass bottles from the refuse vehicle at an unloading bay at the site before he became trapped between the vehicle’s tailgate and hopper. He sustained multiple crush injuries and died in hospital four days later.

Mr Chambers’ wife, Gail, said: ‘The Christmas before Henry died, we had just celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary. It was a 40-year marriage which shouldn’t have ended as abruptly as it did.’

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation into the incident identified multiple faults with the refuse vehicle’s lifting equipment, with some parts excessively worn and even missing. The equipment had not been thoroughly examined by a competent person after Bin Busy purchased the vehicle in April 2017.

HSE inspector Gordon Carson said: ‘Regular proactive maintenance and inspection of work equipment is vitally important to ensure equipment does not deteriorate to the extent that it puts people at risk or, as was tragically the case here, causes fatal injuries.

‘Bin Busy failed to effectively maintain the lifting equipment on this refuse vehicle or arrange for it to be thoroughly examined in accordance with specified timescales.’

Sign up here to receive our free weekly news bulletin.