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Devon firm fined after man seriously injured at recycling plant

Date:
20 January 2014

A Devon company has been fined after a man was seriously injured by a reversing vehicle at a recycling centre in Exeter.

Exeter Magistrates’ court heard today (20 January) that Leeses Limited hired the telehandler in September 2012, but did not have it fitted with a reversing camera. This failure to ensure that the driver’s direct field of vision was adequate seriously compromised safety.

On 4 October Marvon Van Rijk and four other pedestrian workers were sorting through recycling waste at the company’s site at Kenbury Wood, Exeter when he was hit by the reversing telehandler. He suffered serious and life threatening leg injuries, requiring immediate emergency surgery and ongoing surgical treatment.

Leeses Limited were prosecuted following an almost identical incident at the same site in October 2011.

Leeses Limited of 14 Oak Tree Place, Manaton Close, Matford Business Park, Exeter pleaded guilty to beaching Regulation 28(e) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. They were fined £33,000 and ordered to pay £13,389 in costs.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Simon Jones, said:

“Marvon Van Rijk was hit by the reversing telehandler while he was in the blind spot of the vehicle. Leeses Limited failed to ensure that all vehicles on their sites had their blind spots eliminated and Mr Van Rijk suffered serious and life changing injuries as a result.

“The telehandler, a large and powerful machine, was operating in close proximity to workers sorting through recycling waste. Despite having a known blind spot, the telehandler had to undertake numerous reversing manoeuvres and it was only a matter of time before it hit one of the workers.

“The dangers of blind spots on reversing vehicles are well known within the waste and recycling industries. The easiest way to eliminate such blind spots is to install reversing CCTV which is easy and inexpensive to fit. It is regrettable that Leeses Limited did not learn the lessons from an almost identical incident and subsequent prosecution by HSE at the same site just 20 months ago.”

Further information on work site safety can be found on the HSE website at www.hse.gov.uk

Notes to editors

  1. The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to prevent 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. For further information please go to: www.hse.gov.uk
  2. Regulation 28(e) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 states: “Every employer shall ensure that, where self-propelled work equipment may, while in motion, involve risk to the safety of persons— where the driver’s direct field of vision is inadequate to ensure safety, there are adequate devices for improving his vision so far as is reasonably practicable.”
  3. Further HSE news releases are available at www.hse.gov.uk/press

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