15 May 2013
A Burton-on-Trent tyre collection and recycling company has been fined after a teenage worker was seriously injured when he was hit by a falling stack of tyres.
Lewis Peach, 19, had to be airlifted to hospital when several bales of compressed tyres collapsed. The bales, each weighing nearly a tonne, bounced on to him and one trapped him by the leg.
The Health and Safety Executive today (15 May) prosecuted Saltire Recovery Ltd after an investigation into the incident at the firm’s site at Cascade Works in Wellington Road on 4 July 2012.
Stafford Magistrates’ Court was told that Saltire Recovery Ltd, which grades and sorts tyres for resale, failed to ensure a safe system of work was in place for stacking the bales of shredded and compressed tyres.
Mr Peach, of Burton-on-Trent, broke his pelvis, his left foot, ankle and leg, right arm, hand and wrist and fractured two bones in his neck. He also suffered deep cuts to his left leg. He was in hospital for 11 days and is still off work.
HSE found the bales had not been stacked safely and were unstable. There was no safe system of work for stacking them, which needed particular skill due to their irregular size and shape.
Magistrates heard that there was no inspection regime to identify an unstable stack and the company had failed to prevent pedestrian access to the area.
Saltire Recovery Ltd, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 by failing to protect its employees. The company was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,722.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Dr Marie-Louise Riley-Roberts said:
"Mr Peach’s injuries were extensive and he was fortunate he was not killed in this incident.
"Saltire Recovery Limited failed to take the simple and effective measures that could have prevented this happening. Their failings had existed for a considerable time and it is a matter of luck that an incident such as this had not happened before.
"In addition to having no safe system for stacking these very heavy bales, there was no inspection procedure to identify any instability and close access to the stacks was not prohibited.
"Employers who neglect their duty to protect workers will continue to be held to account where they fail to do so."
HSE guidance on stacking bales is available at www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg125.pdf
Notes to editors
- The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice, promoting training, new or revised regulations and codes of practice, and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. www.hse.gov.uk
- Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 states: "It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees."