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Recycling company fined for health & safety breach

A court has fined Community Waste more than £7,500 for a serious health and safety breach following a forklift truck incident in which a worker was severely injured. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) brought the prosecution after an investigation into the incident in October 2006 at the companys Milton Keynes materials recycling facility (MRF). The company pleaded guilty to charges under Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, which states: "It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees." Forklift truck driver Andri Halonka was injured at the MRF when the vehicle overturned and he suffered a compound fracture to his left arm. The heavy goods vehicle he was loading and unloading moved while the forks were still inside the trailer. Halonka was not wearing a seatbelt and although a risk assessment had been carried out, the court said that the company failed to identify the significant factors that led to the accident in their assessment. HSE prosecuting inspector Karl Howes commented after the hearing: "This painful accident could have been avoided if the company had put the right measures in place to stop the forklift truck overturning. Community Waste should have made sure the HGV didn't move in the process of loading and unloading, and Mr Halonka should have been wearing his seatbelt to minimise personal injury.

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