Suspended sentences handed to recycling directors for shredder death
Monday 13th November 2017
From the archive: Just so you know, this article is more than 3 years old.
Latvian Karlis Pavasars was working for Mid-UK Recycling at the firm's Barkston Heath site near Ancaster in Lincolnshire when the incident happened on 19 July 2013.
Pavasars, an agency worker, was cleaning near a conveyor that fed the shredder when the recycling line was started up and he was drawn in. Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigators found that the fixed gate that prevented access to the conveyor had been removed weeks before the incident, allowing workers free access to the area. Managers were aware that the gate was not in place a few days before the incident.
An inquest on 10 July 2015 ruled the incident accidental. Pavasars was identified by DNA from his toothbrush after parts of his body were found in the shredding machine. The HSE inspector at the time of the inquest, Dr Dominic Swan, said the death was due to a lack of guarding around the conveyor.
"Other contributory factors were the lack of control and management of personnel in the shed, poor risk assessments, lack of procedures for undertaking maintenance, cleaning and clearing of blockages and lack of supervision of personnel," he told the inquest.
Mid-UK Recycling, which specialises in producing fuel for energy-from-waste plants, pleaded guilty at Nottingham Crown Court to breaching ss 3(1) and 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act. It was fined £800,000 and ordered to pay £100,000 in costs.
Managing director Christopher Mountain pleaded guilty to breaching s 37 of the Health and Safety at Work Act. He was given a 20-week prison sentence, suspended for two years, and fined £50,000.
Former operations director Alan Munson pleaded guilty to the same charge under the act. He was also given a 20-week prison sentence, suspended for two years.
Mountain said: "We have recognised that while we thought our processes were rigorous, there were clearly gaps in our systems which allowed this to happen."
The firm said that since 2013 it has invested heavily in improving its systems. It has employed a full-time OSH manager, as well as a director with responsibility for safety and health. Last year, it said it had achieved OHSAS 18001 accreditation and all its managers have received the IOSH Managing Safely training.
The company added that it has introduced a new traffic management system and safety walking routes for pedestrians. It also carries out regular internal audits and spots checks, and has employed an external auditor to carry out reviews.
The victim’s employer, R&A Kay Inspection Services, and process equipment cleaning contractor Central Industrial Services (CIS) were also fined for their role in the accident on 3 December 2013. Teesside Crown Court was told that CIS had been assisting Sembcorp Utilities UK with the pressure test at its biomass-fired Wilton power station, near Redcar, North Yorkshire. Dennis Chadwick was on site to verify the test.
Team leader Debra Thorpe required 13 operations on her leg after being hit by the vehicle at the Owlett-Jaton warehouse on the Stone Business Park in Opal Way, Stone, Staffordshire on 28 September 2016.
Newcastle-under-Lyme Magistrates’ Court was told that the Instrument and Control Services employee was moving the control panel on 2 February 2016. The unit, which weighed between 650 and 750 kg and was top heavy, toppled over and pinned the engineer to the ground. He sustained a pelvic fracture that split apart the left and right sides of his lower pelvis. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the company had not risk assessed the task and had not provided a safe system of work or proper instruction and training.
Safi Qais Khan died at Master Construction Products Skips’ (MCPS) site in Birmingham after he became entangled in a poorly maintained trommel, also known as a sorting screen, in which waste is filtered as it descends a perforated drum. The machine was missing essential guards to prevent entrapment, it had no emergency stop button and was located on uneven ground that was strewn with waste, said the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). MCPS did not have a safe system of work for the trommel.
Mark Goodge had been using an emery cloth to clean by hand steel shafts on the lathe at Marcantonio Foods’ factory in Barking, Westminster Magistrates’ Court was told.Goodge’s gloves became entangled in the lathe and his lost four fingers on his right hand, broke several bones in his left arm and sustained a dislocated wrist.The Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) investigation found Marcantonio had no safe system of work for cleaning the metal shafts.
Explore Manufacturing, which prefabricates concrete components for the construction industry, was fined £2m. Select Plant Hire, a supplier of transport pallets, was fined £1.8m.Nottingham Crown Court was told on 16 October that Explore employee Richard Reddish was working in a mobile elevating working platform (MEWP) in the finishing area of the company’s Worksop factory when the accident happened on 8 July 2014.