A waste recycling company has been fined after a worker was struck by a reversing vehicle.
Waste and recycling is statistically one of the most dangerous workplace sectors. According to the Health & Safety Executive (HSE).
- 14 people were fatally injured in the industry in 2016/17.
- An average of 5,000 waste workers suffer injuries and 6,000 have work-related illnesses every year.
The court heard that in this case, a worker was walking along a road between a warehouse and sorting shed when a telescopic fork-lift reversed into him.
The man suffered multiple injuries.
Moving vehicle risks ignored
An investigation by the HSE found the company failed to protect employees on foot from the risks of moving vehicles and in particular:
- the site lacked physical measures such as pedestrian walkways, and
- management arrangements to control vehicle movements were insufficient.
The HSE found the firm fell ‘far short’ of the appropriate safety regulations.
While the company had a one-way system in place, an inspector said it ‘wasn’t sufficiently implemented to keep people and vehicles apart’ and there were ‘unwritten rules’ for pedestrians on-site.
Skippy Waste Services Ltd pleaded guilty to breaking the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.
It was fined £35,000 and ordered to pay £1,852 in court costs.
The judge said the company ‘fell short of the standards recognised in the industry. The machines are so large… if they were to come into contact with someone there must be a risk of death or serious injury’.
The company previously had an unblemished safety record.
Transport biggest cause of fatal injuries
The HSE say the fatal injury rate in the waste industry is some 15 times greater than the all-industry average and the biggest cause is workplace vehicles.
Last year there were 137 fatal accidents in workplaces with 31 of those involving moving vehicles.