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Waste company fined over worker’s life-changing injuries

Date:
8 January 2015

A nationwide waste management company has been told to pay nearly £170,000 for safety failings after an employee suffered multiple injuries when he was crushed between a truck and a skip at a site in Essex.

The 29-year-old worker from Canvey Island, was caught between the skip loader truck and the skip he was preparing for pick-up at the-then May Gurney household waste recycling centre in Canvey Island on 26 January 2013.

The skip loader was manoeuvring into position for the pick-up but struck the worker as it was being driven through a narrow route between the full skip and a fence.

The operative, who does not wish to be named, suffered life-threatening injuries including having all his ribs broken; back and shoulder injuries; injuries to the top of his left leg; a chip to the back of his skull and a number of cuts and bruises.

He was taken to the Royal London hospital where he suffered two collapsed lungs and was put into an induced coma for three days. He was in hospital for a total of 17 days and needed considerable physiotherapy after he regained consciousness, after which he spent eight weeks at his parents for further monitoring and care.

He has since been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder by his GP and has not been able to return to work. The incident has also had profound effects on his family, partner and children.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Kier MG Ltd at Chelmsford Crown Court today (8 January 2015) after an investigation found that the company didn’t have sufficient procedures in place to keep workers safely away from vehicles moving around the site.

The court was told that the company, which acquired May Gurney in July 2013, had put in place strict measures to segregate visitors from moving vehicles but had not extended them to ensure the safety of its workers.

Kier MG Ltd, of Tempsford Hall, Sandy, Bedfordshire, was fined a total of £160,000 and ordered to pay costs of £9,809 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. 1974 Act and a breach of Regulation 17(1) of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992.

After the case, HSE Inspector Edward Crick, said:

“This was an entirely preventable incident caused by Kier MG Ltd’s failure to recognise the hazards to workers arising from skip loading operations at their Canvey Island recycling centre, despite tackling the hazards to members of the public.

“The consequences of this were devastating for a young man, who will now have to cope with life-changing injuries for the rest of his life.

“The risks to pedestrians when they are near operating work vehicles are very serious, but also well-known within industry. There is no excuse, therefore, for companies to disregard vital elements of workplace safety.”

For more information about working safely around workplace vehicles, visit http://www.hse.gov.uk/workplacetransport/index.htm

Notes to Editors:

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related 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. 1974 Act 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.”

Regulation 17(1) of the Workplace [Health, Safety and Welfare] Regulations, 1992 states: “Every workplace shall be organised in such a way that pedestrians and vehicles can circulate in a safe manner.”

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