21 April, 2020
A waste management company has been fined £400,000 after an employee was crushed by a reversing 22.5 tonne shovel loader driven by an on-site contractor. The injured employee was acting as a banksman, assisting a lorry to manoeuvre into a bay while another vehicle reversed out of the bay independently. He was knocked to the ground and driven over. He suffered serious internal injuries and multiple serious fractures, both with significant life changing effects.
The HSE investigation found that the workplace had not been organised in a manner which allowed pedestrians and vehicles to circulate in a safe manner.
Viridor Waste Management Limited was found in breach of Regulation 4(1) of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 by virtue of Regulation 17(1). The company was fined £400,000.
It was reported by the HSE that this prosecution was the fourth in four years for this company (two of which related to fatal incidents). The Sentencing Guidelines specifically refer to the failure to make appropriate changes following prior incident(s) exposing risks to health and safety. It is therefore likely that the level of the fine reflects the company's history of prosecutions by the HSE.
Speaking after the case HSE inspector Megan Carr said "This incident is a reminder to the waste and recycling industry as to the importance of good workplace transport control which can often be achieved by simple pragmatic steps to avoid such incidents from occurring. HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards."
A waste management and packing company has been fined after a worker was seriously injured after being struck by a falling bale of compacted wastepaper weighing approximately 500kg and becoming trapped underneath it.
The HSE has reported that its investigation revealed that the method of storing bales was unsuitable and bales were stacked in single columns up to five high with no support or 'tying in' to aid stability. The investigation also found that the practice of removing contamination from bales by hand created voids in lower bales contributing to the risk of stack instability.
Recycled Packaging Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £20,000.
After the hearing, the HSE inspector Jane Scott acknowledged that "in the waste and recycling sector the risks associated with falling objects are well known. This incident could easily have been avoided by providing a segregated workspace for operatives to clean bales before they are stacked and safe bale stacking procedures".
Further advice and guidance can be found on the HSE website here.