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Health and safety body investigates Rochester bin lorry death

By Amy Nickalls

A homeless man who was scooped into a bin died shortly after the incident, KentOnline can now reveal.

Russell Lane, of no fixed address, suffered leg and pelvis injuries after getting stuck in a refuse truck on January 8.

The 47-year-old was sleeping in a disused roll of carpet when, despite carrying out the necessary checks, Veolia staff did not spot him before emptying the bin.

The emergency services were called to Rochester High Street
The emergency services were called to Rochester High Street

Police have now confirmed he died in hospital on February 17.

Spokesman James Walker said: “Following his death, Kent Police was asked to investigate if there were any suspicious circumstances.

“This investigation has since concluded that there are no suspicious circumstances and a report is being prepared for the coroner.”

The Health and Safety Executive, the body who works to prevent work-related death, injury and ill health, has confirmed it is looking into the circumstances of the incident.

At the time, Veolia confirmed its Sleepsafe procedure, which protects people who sleep in bins, was followed but Mr Lane did not wake up and was covered by the carpet.

In a statement, the company said: "We were saddened to hear of this tragic death and our thoughts and condolences remain with the family of the deceased.

"Health and safety is our absolute priority and we are continuing to cooperate with the relevant authorities while the investigation is ongoing."

The emergency services in Rochester High Street
The emergency services in Rochester High Street

Medway Council’s head of environment Sarah Valdus said: “This was a tragic incident and we are continuing to support our contractor, Veolia, with their investigation.”

Medway has a large number of homeless people, with charity Shelter saying 1,059 people in the Towns are homeless and 14 people were living on the streets as of November last year.

Several charities have been set up to help those in need but Mr Lane was not known to local agencies.

Speaking to KentOnline, Stuart Tranter, ward councillor for Rochester West, said: “It’s absolutely tragic that somebody should end up in that situation.

"Mercifully, it’s very rare but its horrific when you do hear about it."

If you knew Mr Lane and would like to pay tribute to him get in contact by emailing medwaymessenger@thekmgroup.co.uk.

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