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Mother’s grief after only son crushed to death

29 November 2023

A MOTHER has spoken about her grief after her only child was killed while working at Sunrise Eggs in Loughborough.

Nineteen-year-old Ben Spencer had only been working for Sunrise Poultry Farms for two weeks when he was crushed between a heavy goods vehicle (HGV) and a wall on 12 April 2021.

His mum Tracy says she would like nothing more but to ‘curl up in a ball’  after his death at the site in Sileby.

“My life revolved around Ben, because it has always been just me and him,” she said.

The HGV was attempting a complex manoeuvre towards a narrow thoroughfare at the Seagrave Road premises as Ben Spencer was walking towards it.

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, of Seagrave Road, Sileby, Loughborough, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 17 of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 and was ordered to pay a fine of £233,000 plus costs of £8,841 at a hearing at Leicester Magistrates’ Court on 22 November 2023.

Ben’s tragic death continues to have a significant impact on the lives of Tracy, as well as his friends and family.

“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.”

Speaking after the hearing, HSE enforcement lawyer Andy Siddall said, “The company admitted failing to segregate vehicles and pedestrians at its workplace in Sileby 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.”

HSE inspector Alex Nayar said: “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.”