April 26, 2022 1.29 pm

Teenager crushed to death by works van during job on new Boston housing estate

The trial is set to last three weeks

An 18-year-old ground worker died after he was crushed by a works van while clearing out a drain on a new housing estate, a jury heard today. (Tuesday, April 26)

Josh Disdel, 18, from Holbeach, was working at the White Bridges site off St Thomas Drive, in Boston, when he was hit by a van being driven by a work colleague on the morning of Friday, July 13, 2018.

The teenager, who was just a few weeks into his job, was driven to Boston Pilgrim Hospital by his colleague, Jamie Stevens, but died later the same day after being transferred to the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham.

The Health and Safety Executive has since brought a prosecution. Two individuals and one company are standing trial at Lincoln Crown Court accused of health and safety at work breaches.

A second company has admitted breaching health and safety.

P&R Plant Hire (Lincolnshire) Ltd, who employed both Mr Disdel and Mr Stevens, and were sub-contractors on the housing estate project, have pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to failing to ensure the health and safety at work of one its employees.

Brent Woods, who was a construction manager for P&R Plant Hire (Lincolnshire) Ltd, denies a single charge of failing to take reasonable care to ensure the health and safety of Josh Disdel and Jamie Stevens.

D. Brown (Building Contractors) Ltd, who were the main contractors on the housing estate project, deny failing to ensure the health and safety of a person other than an employee.

Darrell Tripp, who was site manager for D. Brown on the White Bridges project, also denies failing to ensure the health and safety of a person other than an employee.

The prosecution allege it was Mr Woods who distributed the job to Mr Disdel and Mr Stevens, after Mr Stevens attended at the Holbeach office earlier that morning.

Craig Hassall QC, prosecuting for the Health and Safety Executive, said Mr Stevens was asked to collect Mr Disdel on his way to White Bridges.

Mr Hassall alleged the pair were tasked to lift up manhole covers on the new estate to clean the drains.

The jury heard work on three manholes was completed and Mr Disdel was lying with his body half way into a fourth manhole when Mr Stevens moved his van so another vehicle could use the road.

Mr Stevens was unaware Mr Disdel was working on that particular manhole, and trapped his colleague in the collision, Mr Hassall told the jury.

The Health and Safety Executive allege no risk assessment or method statement was ever created for the job undertaken by Mr Disdel and Mr Stevens.

They also claim Mr Disdel had never undergone any training for working in the road or in a confined place, and that there was no management of traffic or site induction for Mr Disdel.

Mr Hassall said the procedures put in place by all of the companies had been abandoned by the time Mr Disdel carried out the job.

“The abandonment of those procedures cost Josh Disdel his life,” Mr Hassall added.

The trial continues. It is expected to last three weeks.