Wind may have caused an unsecured parking barrier to swing back on to a van and crush a young man to death, an inquest heard.
William Page, 22, of Belper Road, Stanley Common, was due to become a dad for the first time before he died on the morning of February 28 last year.
The engineer was leaving an industrial estate on Digby Street, Ilkeston, when the tragedy happened.
An inquest jury at Derby coroners’ court today concluded Mr Page – who was described as a ‘lovely lad’ – died as a result of an accident.
Michael Goodwin, a specialist mechanical engineer with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which investigated the case, told the court Mr Page did not remove a lock pin and insert it into two lugs upon entering the site, meaning the metal barrier was insecure.
He said: “It’s well-known that such barriers, if not locked in fully, have the potential to swing back in due to wind.”
He added that the weight of the unsecured barrier would also have caused it to swing back in by half a metre.
PC Nigel Varney, a forensic collision investigator with Derbyshire police, said CCTV footage showed Mr Page arriving at the industrial estate at 8.19am.
He got out of his vehicle and went to one of the units to collect the keys for the five-metre-length barrier. He then unlocked it and entered the site to carry out work on his car.
At 10.22am, as Mr Page was leaving the industrial estate, the yellow and black coloured barrier smashed the transit van’s windscreen then came into contact with him.
He was pronounced dead at the scene after suffering a crush injury to his chest and abdomen.
PC Varney said Mr Page’s van was travelling at about 8mph and weather conditions were fine and dry with good visibility but there were some gusty winds.
HSE inspector Lyn Spooner said a company took ownership of the industrial estate in 2012 and that the barrier had been in situ before the firm acquired the site.
The barrier has now been removed.
Mr Page’s father Brian told journalists after the inquest: “I’m so sad.
“He was such a lovely young lad.”
After his death, Mr Page’s girlfriend Rachael Cross said: “Will would always say ‘forget about yesterday and think about tomorrow’. He was just so cheeky, making jokes with people and making them smile.”