Sister speaks out after Dagenham employer fined £750k for fatal industrial accident
PUBLISHED: 07:00 30 December 2015
The sister of a warehouse operative who was killed at work has spoken of her continued heartache, days after the company was fined £750,000.
William “Billy” Ridge was working near a piece of unguarded machinery at Hanson Aggregates in Chequers Lane, Dagenham, on September 25, 2013, when a high-speed conveyor belt trapped his arm.
Realising he was missing, his co-workers searched the depot and found him trapped in the machinery but were unable to free him. The 26-year-old suffered terrible injuries and died at the scene.
His employer, building materials giant Hanson Packed Products Ltd, was fined £750,000 on December 16 after pleading guilty to contravening the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 in relation to unguarded machinery and for failing to discharge its duty.
However William’s sister, Sylvia Ridge, says she is still struggling to come to terms with her loss.
“Some days I just go on his Facebook profile to have a look at some pictures and just think ‘I can’t believe you’re not here’,” the 30-year-old nursery nurse said.
“I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it.
“To think Billy won’t be there when I get married and won’t get to see my children – I don’t think I’ll ever get over it.”
One of five siblings, the former Barking Abbey pupil was sharing a three-bedroom house in Meadow Road, Barking, with his older sister and mum Grace at the time of the accident, and contributed substantially to the bills.
Solicitors at Fieldfisher are working to claim compensation for Grace, who had to move to Dagenham Heathway after the accident because she could no longer afford to live there.
Sylvia believes the circumstances of her brother’s death have made it harder to deal with.
“It’s something that should never have happened.
“I just can’t put it into words – it has been devastating. Nobody should lose their life doing their job, but he did.”
Sylvia, who is now living in Epping Forest, says her fun younger brother, who loved Christmas, will always be missed.
“He was always so easy to talk to,” she added. “If I was upset he would give me this special cuddle which no one can ever replace.”