Waste management company fined after worker is fatally injured

A firm has been fined £136,000 and ordered to pay £64,770 in costs following a fatal waste management accident.

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Personal Injury Solicitors in Derby

Health and safety breach injury claims

Work injury claims

An employee of the Derbyshire-based waste management firm sustained fatal crush injuries when hit by the bucket of a motorised loading shovel.

The incident occurred in June 2013, when the 24 year-old man was working at the company's site in Swadlincote.

A colleague found him in a crushed position, but with a faint pulse. He was lifted by air ambulance and taken to Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham but was declared dead in the early hours of the following morning.

A post-mortem examination gave his cause of death as cranial cerebral trauma, or serious head injuries.

The coroner's inquest

At an inquest in November 2014, the Coroner was told that the worker became stuck between the arm linking the cab of the vehicle and the bucket used to scoop material onto a conveyor belt. Co-workers did not witness the incident but realised something was ‘not right' when the items he should have been loading on to the belt stopped coming through.

The inquest, at Derby and South Derbyshire Court, was told the worker had been put through a full training programme on how to operate the vehicle.

However, in a later prosecution brought by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the Court learned that CCTV cameras at the site had captured more than 200 examples of unsafe working practices in the 10 days leading up to the accident alone.

These included dangerous operations with the shovel - such as workers being lifted in the bucket, and workers having to take evasive action to avoid contact with moving vehicles.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

Section 2(1) states:

‘it shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees'

A principal inspector from the HSE said that the company had failed to put in place basic legal requirements of training and supervision and that the death of the man was entirely avoidable.

Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher

Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher