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Trade union blasts HSE over worker's death

The fatal crushing of a waste transfer site worker was the result of failings by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), a trade union official said this week.

World's End Waste was last week fined £100,000 for the death of Sam Boothman at its site in Wandsworth last year (see mrw story).

The waste management and recycling trade has the worst fatality rate of any UK industry and Battersea and Wandsworth Trade Union Council senior manager Geoff Martin said: "Although we are pleased that World's End Waste has been successfully prosecuted and hit with a hundred grand fine, this case highlights the scandalous lack of any pro-active health and safety in this area by the HSE."

He added: "I would have expected the HSE inspectors to have made regular site visits rather than waiting for a man to die.

"This is an industry where bad practice is rife, there should be a regular inspection regime of all waste transfer facilities as a matter of routine."

However, an HSE spokesman said Boothman's employers were responsible for his safety and added: "HSE does have a programme of proactive inspections, but we are a limited resource and we can not visit every workplace."

Martin also attacked laws preventing trade union officials from inspecting sites and added: "If we had statutory powers to inspect non-union companies, lives like that of Sam Boothman could be saved."

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