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Waste processing company and director fined after worker’s death

Date:
29 September 2017

A North West based waste processing company, and its managing director, have been fined after a worker was crushed to death.

Liverpool Crown Court heard how, on 1 March 2016, Fresco Environmental Limited employee, Kevin Wright, was processing waste carpet to be re-baled when one of the bales fell from a stack onto him, causing injuries from which he later died.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the company failed to ensure proper controls were in place to reduce the risk of bales falling and injuring workers. There were no exclusion zones around the stacks of bales, bales were poorly stacked and in close proximity to vibrating machinery. It also found that the company’s managing director, Lee Heaps, failed to ensure that a safe system of work was in place for the processing of carpet bales thereby exposing his employees to avoidable risks.

Fresco Environmental Ltd, of Everite Road, Widnes, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974, and was fined £70,000 and ordered to pay £3,500 towards costs.

Company director, Lee Heaps, Brockvale Close, Burtonwood, Warrington pleaded guilty to breaching Section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was given a six-month custodial sentence, suspended for 12 months, and is to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay £400 towards costs.

HSE inspector Helen Jones said after the hearing “This tragic incident could easily have been prevented had Fresco Environmental acted to identify and manage the risks involved. As managing director involved in the day to day running of the company, Lee Heaps had a responsibility to ensure that his company provided a safe working environment for its employees. In failing to do so he exposed employees, including Mr Wright, to significant risk.”

More information on bale handling can be found here: http://www.hse.gov.uk/textiles/bale-handling.htm

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It helps Great Britain work well by applying a broad range of regulatory interventions and scientific expertise, to prevent 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. hse.gov.uk
  2. More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at: legislation.gov.uk/
  3. HSE news releases are available at http://press.hse.gov.uk

 

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