Insolvent company still prosecuted for safety failings

An insolvent recycling company has been fined for Health & Safety breaches that resulted in an employee being fatally crushed.

The worker was found dead inside a bailing machine’s compaction chamber. A Health & Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found the man had ‘most likely’ fallen down a loading hopper when trying to clear a blockage.

The investigation found the tragedy could have been prevented had the employer developed and instructed workers on safe ways to clear blockages. Climbing up the baler to do so ran the risk of falling into the chamber or surrounding concrete floor.

Guilty  

RRS London Waste Papers Ltd was found guilty of breaching the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

It was fined £250,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6,639.

The HSE said the risk should have been identified. And that employers should properly assess and apply effective controls to minimise the risk from dangerous machinery.

Seen to do something

However, the insolvency practitioner who took over RRS London Waste Papers Ltd when it was voluntarily struck off said the HSE was warned ‘at the beginning of proceedings’ that the company was heavily insolvent and could not possibly pay a fine.

But the insolvency firm says it understands why the HSE ‘pushed forward with proceedings, as they need to be seen to be doing something’.

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