A recycling company has been fined £880,000, and two people have been given a suspended prison sentence after the death of an agency worker who was drawn into machinery while cleaning in the area.
Nottingham Crown Court heard how Karlis Pavasars working at Mid –UK Recycling Limited at the Barkston Heath site near Ancaster lost his life whilst cleaning near a conveyor. The recycling line was started up and the worker was drawn onto the conveyor, along the line through a trommel and into an industrial waste shredder.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident that occurred on 19 July 2013 found that the fixed gate that fenced the area off and prevented access to the conveyor had been removed for a number of weeks prior to the incident, which meant that workers could freely gain access to the area. Management were aware that the gate was not in place just days before the incident.
The investigation also found the company failed to design and provide a recycling line which was safe for those that worked on and around it, including separation on wheeled vehicles and pedestrians. The company also failed to maintain adequate guarding of the line to prevent access to it while it was in operation and failed to train and supervise agency workers.
Mid-UK Recycling Ltd of Summit House, Quarrington, Sleaford pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) and Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and has been fined £880,000 and ordered to pay costs of £100,000.
Christopher Mountain, managing director, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work Act. He has been given a 20 week prison sentence suspended for two years and fined £50,000.
Alan Munson former Operations Director, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 37 of Health and Safety at Work Act and was given a 20 week prison sentence suspended for two years.
After the hearing HSE inspector Dr Richenda Dixon commented “This horrific fatality could so easily have been avoided by simply installing and maintaining physical guards around conveyors and ensuring that safe working practices were in place. Employers should make sure they properly assess, apply and maintain effective control measures to minimise the risk from dangerous parts of machinery”.
*On 15th December 2017, the fine given to Christopher Mountain was reduced to £34,000.
Notes to Editors
- The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. We seek to prevent work-related death, injury and ill health through regulatory actions that range from influencing behaviours across whole industry sectors through to targeted interventions on individual businesses. These activities are supported by globally recognised scientific expertise. www.hse.gov.uk
- More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at: www.legislation.gov.uk/
- HSE news releases are available at http://press.hse.gov.uk