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Fines for operator of dangerous recycling yard

A recycling site was said to be in such a dangerous condition that inspectors immediately issued notices to halt a range of activities, a court has heard.

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspectors made a routine call at the site run by waste treatment firm Mekatek at Amex Park in Camarthen on 20 May 2013 and at once raised serious safety issues, including unguarded dangerous machinery, risk of electrocution and areas contaminated by asbestos-containing materials.

Mekatek, of Terminus Road, Sheffield, admitted a breach of health and safety regulations, asbestos regulations and work equipment regulations and was fined a total of £35,000 and ordered to pay £20,000 in costs.

Swansea Crown Court was told by the HSE that the site’s dangerous aspects included a ‘man basket’ on a forklift truck which was not secured to the forks of the truck and had no cage to prevent workers becoming trapped.

There were no suitable guards to prevent workers getting caught in the moving parts of a granulator, two compactors, a shredder and a paint-mixing drum. Electrical cables trailed through liquid, leading to a risk of electrocution.

Exposed and damaged pipe lagging, which included asbestos-containing materials, was in a poor state and exposed workers at the site to the risk of contamination.

HSE said this had been allowed to continue even though a specialist had earlier identified the presence of asbestos in the area and recommended its urgent removal.

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