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Waste-management company fined after worker badly injured

New Earth Solutions (West), trading as Mid-UK Recycling, were fined £200,000 and ordered to pay £12,466.60 in costs
New Earth Solutions (West), trading as Mid-UK Recycling, were fined £200,000 and ordered to pay £12,466.60 in costs

Worker suffers burns to body and face, broken arm, fractured ribs, and dislocated kneecap

A WASTE-management company has been fined £200,000 after a worker suffered burns to his face and body, as well as other serious injuries, after a metal crowbar he was using came into contact with a live electrical conductor.

On 14 July 2021, the man was moving heavy-duty electrical cables with the crowbar whilst on a mobile elevating working platform (MEWP) when the bar came into contact with the live conductor, causing an electrical explosion. As well as suffering serious burns, the explosion caused the man to fall from the MEWP and sustain a broken left arm, fractured ribs, and dislocated kneecap.

 

The worker had been contracted by New Earth Solutions (West) Ltd, trading as Mid-UK Recycling, to work at the firm’s recycling plant at Copper Hill Industrial Estate, in Barkston Heath, Lincolnshire.

An investigation by Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident found this task was not part of the normal workload for the injured worker and that he had not received any training with regards to undertaking electrical work.

Moreover, the task had not been properly planned or risk assessed and the electrical cables were not isolated before the work began. In addition, the level of supervision provided was inadequate and safety devices on the electrical supply had been set inappropriately, prioritizing continuity of supply over safety of the electrical circuit.

New Earth Solutions (West) Ltd, who pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, were fined £200,000 and ordered to pay £12,466.60 in costs at  Lincoln Magistrates’ Court on 10 May 2024.

HSE inspector Tim Nicholson said: ‘This incident could so easily have been avoided by properly planning the task, ensuring that all workers involved were suitably competent, and making sure that electrical conductors were isolated before the work began.

‘Companies should be aware that the HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.’

 

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