Paul Andrews was working in the immediate vicinity of the stack at Centriforce Products’ Derby Road site when the free-standing column toppled over on 24 May 2017. The middle and top bales, which weighed more than 500 kg, fell on Andrews, crushing him. The scene of the collapse was not discovered until nearly an hour later when efforts to revive the employee failed.
Liverpool Crown Court was told that, after the waste plastic bales had been delivered to the site, they were stacked as free-standing columns in a yard. During the morning, a forklift truck driver noticed one of the columns consisting of bales, stacked three high, had partially collapsed obstructing his path. He then used the truck to straighten and stabilise the stack before continuing on his way. Some hours later, Andrews began work around the stacks.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found Centriforce Products had failed to store the plastic bales securely in such a way as to prevent the risk of collapse. It also did not carry out a suitable risk assessment, which would have identified the risks of working near unstable stacks.
Centriforce Products, of Errington Works, Derby Road, Bootle, pleaded guilty to breaching s 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act. It must also pay £10,541 in costs.