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Waste-management firm fined after employee killed

HSE prosecution

Sanders Plant and Waste Management fined £500,000 after struck and killed by reversing wheel loader 

SANDERS Plant and Waste Management Ltd have been fined after an employee was fatally injured when he was struck by a reversing JCB loading shovel.

Newcastle upon Tyne Crown Court heard that, on 15 June 2015, a wheel loader 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 site operative George Richardson, who was fatally injured and died at the scene from his injuries.

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

Although 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, these measures had not been fully implemented, nor were they sufficient to manage the risk of collision between vehicles and pedestrians. There was also no risk assessment or traffic management plan considering the safe movement of vehicles across the site.

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

After the hearing, HSE inspector Laura Catterall said: ‘The HSE investigation found an inadequate assessment of the risks of vehicle movements in the waste shed and a lack of segregation of vehicles and pedestrians. 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 transport risk assessment should have identified sufficient measures to segregate people and vehicles and provide safe facilities.’

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