The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) first attended the site of Swansea-based waste disposal firm Crofty Point Metals in July 2013 after being notified of a fire and used gas cylinder explosions. The fire was the result of deliberate arson and followed two similar incidents.
Swansea Crown Court was told last week that the HSE had been contacted by South Wales Fire Service on 9 July 2013 following the third incident at Crofty Point's site on the Crofty Industrial Estate, Penclawydd, Swansea on 26 June 2013.
The HSE made four visits to the site between 17 July 2013 and 28 July 2014 and gave verbal and written advice on site security fencing to prevent the public gaining access to the premises, maintenance of a JCB excavator and thorough examination and testing of lifting equipment.
Site owner Robert Michael Collis and Crofty Points Metal failed to take action following the visits.
The HSE served two improvement notices requiring excavator training and introducing adequate welfare facilities, which were later complied with.
The court was told that the HSE returned to the site on 28 July 2014 and, two days later, served three more improvement notices. The notices related to site security fencing, maintenance on the same JCB 360 excavator and thorough examination and test on lifting equipment on a skip vehicle used on the public highway. An improvement notice was also served on Collis for thorough examination and test of the skip vehicle's hoist.
On 30 September 2014, inspectors told Collis and the company they had not complied with the four improvement notices served on 30 July. Further HSE visits up to and including 7 December 2016 resulted in little improvement.
On the final visit, the HSE found the site was unattended with the gate left open and was full of waste and debris, including loose gas cylinders. There was no clear demarcation to enable workers to walk around safely. No maintenance had been undertaken on the excavator and no safety checks had been carried out on the lifting equipment on the skip vehicles.
Crofty Point Metals, of Crofty Industrial Estate, Swansea pleaded guilty to breaching s 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act. The firm was fined £15,000 for each breach. In addition to the £30,000 fine it was also ordered to pay £8,000 in costs.
Robert Michael Collis of Dyffryn Road, Swansea, pleaded guilty to s 2(1), 3(1) and 37(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act. He was sentenced to eight months' imprisonment in relation to the offences. A further four months were added in relation to environmental offences brought by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) with a previous suspended sentence added to be served concurrently. Collis was also disqualified from being a director or manager of a company for seven years.