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Waste firm fined £150,000 for safety failure

Health and Safety Executive

Waste-management company sentenced after worker seriously injured by reversing loading shovel

A SKIP-hire and waste-management company and its managing director have been sentenced after a worker was seriously injured in a transport incident.

Folkestone Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 14 December 2018, an employee was crossing Lee’s Yard in Dartford, Kent, while waiting for his articulated lorry to be re-loaded with processed waste when he was hit by a 21-tonne loading shovel that was reversing around a blind bend in the yard. The employee suffered life-changing injuries, from which he is still recovering, and is unable to return to work.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company and its managing director had failed to take reasonable steps to ensure that there was adequate pedestrian segregation in the waste-processing yard so that both pedestrians and vehicles could circulate in a safe manner.

Although directors of the company were already aware of the risks to pedestrians due to previous workplace transport incidents in the yard, they failed to respond appropriately and continued to ignore the advice of their health and safety consultant and the HSE, leaving workers exposed to the risks.

Easy Load Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) by virtue of Regulation 17(1) of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 and were fined £150,000 and ordered to pay costs of £7,454.20.

Tomas J. Lee, managing director of Easy Load Ltd, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 37 of the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, and ordered to pay £549.40 in costs.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Susie Beckett said: ‘Workplace transport activities are one of the biggest risks in the waste and recycling industry. This incident, and the resulting life-changing injuries suffered, were avoidable and occurred as a result of a fundamental management failing on the part of the company and its directors, who patently failed to address and control clear risks which had been brought to their attention.

‘The HSE will not hesitate to hold companies, individual directors, board members and business owners to account where management failings are found to be at the root of any health and safety offending.’

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