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Employee dies after collapse of waste material covers him

Date:
7 November 2016

A Kent-based waste and recycling company has been fined after an employee died when wasted material collapsed on top of him.

Maidstone Crown Court heard how Neville Watson, aged 39 and a father of two, was working close to the pile of waste material after connecting a shredder to the loading shovel he was driving. He died of asphyxiation whilst under the pile of waste that appeared to be over eight-metres-high.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive into the incident, which occurred on 9 August 2014, found that New Earth Solutions Group Limited, failed to undertake and prepare risk assessments or safe systems of work for the creation and management of the stockpiles or adequate training.

New Earth Solutions Group Limited, of Black Moor Road, Verwood, Dorset, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, and was fined £80,000 and ordered to pay costs of £38,373.92. The judge indicated that is the company had not been in administration the fine would have been between £600,000 and £1.3million.

HSE inspector Guy Widdowson said after the hearing: “The request for Mr Watson to carry out the shredding operation was made without any form of structured training being in place.

“The company failed to ensure that Mr Watson was supervised by an employee trained in the task he was carrying out, particularly in light of the fact that he had never carried out the task before.”

For further information on safety in the waste industry visit: http://www.hse.gov.uk/waste/index.htm

Notes to Editors:

  1.  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
  2.  More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at: www.legislation.gov.uk/  and guidance at
  3.  HSE news releases are available at http://press.hse.gov.uk

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