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Waste firm fined over 'horrific' accident

A recycling firm has been fined after a worker lost an arm on an unguarded conveyor system in “horrific incident that was entirely preventable”.

Vladislavs Golovacs, an agency employee, was trying to clear a blockage from a belt used to transfer waste at a quarry in Longfield, Kent, on 20 December 2010.

The man did not stop the machine before attempting to remove the debris and his arm became trapped and was torn from his body below the shoulder.

Golovacs was airlifted to hospital for an emergency operation, but surgeons were unable to re-attach his arm. He has been unable to return to work since.

Quarry owner Pinden, registered to Waldens Depot, Waldens Road, Orpington, Kent, pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £11,506 in costs.

HSE Inspector, Andrew McGill, said: “This was a horrific incident that was entirely preventable had appropriate guarding been fitted, and had Mr Golovacs been properly trained in how to clear a blockage.

“He knows to his cost that dangerous moving parts should be properly restricted when in operation, and isolated if access is required. However, it was the responsibility of Pinden Limited to ensure that happened - which it clearly didn’t on this occasion.”

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