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Company fined £10,000 over 'avoidable' injury

A recycling company has been fined £10,000 after a teenager had his foot broken by a 16-tonne shovel.

The Health and Safety Executive prosecuted Maidstone-based Countrystyle Recycling for failing to have a safe system in place at their site in Folkestone, Kent.

Maidstone Magistrates’ Court was told that on 22 February 2010, Daniel Brown, 19, was sorting waste at the recycling plant in Park Farm Close when a tyre of the shovel ran over his right foot.

Mr Brown broke 16 bones and was reported to be suffering with pain and arthritis. He had given up a possible career in motocross, having won races at national level and negotiated a potential sponsorship package. He has not been able to return to work.

The HSE said its investigation found no system was in operation to ensure moving vehicles and pedestrians were segregated. Employees were told verbally to stay clear of manoeuvring vehicles.

A statement said: “At the time of the incident it was raining, and the windscreen wipers on the shovel were inoperative. The heater in the cab was broken so the windows tended to steam up, reducing visibility. The shovel also had a broken wing mirror, no reversing lights, no reversing CCTV or convex mirror and would not always go into gear. Moreover, a screwdriver was used to start it and the roof beacon and lights would regularly blow bulbs.”

HSE inspector Stephen Green said after the case: “The injured worker was lucky not to be killed as a result of this incident, which could have easily been avoided if the long list of failures with this vehicle and systems had been addressed earlier.”

Countrystyle Recycling Ltd of Ashford Road, Lenham, Maidstone, Kent, pleaded guilty to breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 in relation to the incident. The firm was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £6,221 in costs

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