Waste management firm fined after fatal accident

News Article

A waste management company in Northumberland has been fined after an employee was fatally injured when he was struck by a reversing JCB loading shovel.

A court heard how on 15 June 2015, a wheeled front-loading shovel was being operated in the main waste processing shed at the company’s waste recycling facility in Morpeth.

The vehicle, driven by another employee, was loading waste into both a trommel and a parked haulage vehicle. During the course of this operation the vehicle struck a site operative, Mr George Richardson, who was fatally injured and died at the scene from his injuries.

An investigation conducted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that there was a lack of pedestrian and vehicle segregation in the waste shed meaning that pedestrians and vehicles could not circulate in a safe manner.

The company had carried out a risk assessment prior to the incident that identified some control measures to reduce the risks from operating the loading shovel and a Fork Lift Truck on site. However, these control measures had not been fully implemented nor were they sufficient to manage the risk of collision between vehicles and pedestrians.

There was also found to be no risk assessment or traffic management plan considering the safe movement of vehicles across the site.

Sanders Plant and Waste Management Limited pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £500,000 and ordered to pay £14,041.96 in costs.

Jeremy Sirrell a partner at Palmers and health and safety expert said: “There are more than 5,000 accidents involving transport in the workplace every year, and, like in this case, sadly, some are fatal.

“A properly implemented risk assessment would have identified sufficient measures that would have provided safe facilities for workers by segregating movements of people and vehicles.”

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