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Waste operator fined over dangerous machines

A waste company in Greenwich has been fined £6,000 and ordered to pay £1,287 in costs after repeatedly ignoring enforcement notices about defects in its heavy machinery.

Murphys Waste Ltd received 10 enforcement notices from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) between 2000 and early 2014, with the most serious breaches related to defects in machines which presented a “risk of death or serious personal injury to employees and people on site”.

The company admitted two offences under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

The HSE told the court the latest two failures, relating to a loading shovel and a 360 degree excavator, had prompted the prosecution of the company in light of its poor safety record.

During an annual inspection by an engineer in October 2013, several defects were found with the loading shovel. The worst was extensive damage to the bolts fixing the front bucket to the machine, which could have led to the bucket falling off and crushing anyone nearby.

Murphys Waste Ltd was advised not to use it until repairs were carried out but were later found to have kept it in use until a visit by the HSE in January 2014, when a prohibition notice was served to halt any further use of the vehicle.

After the hearing, HSE inspector John Crookes said: “Murphys Waste has a dismal record of compliance with safety legislation and seemed to be content with repeatedly exposing its employees to unnecessary danger.

“This is a waste management company that takes bulk material from construction sites and uses heavy earth-moving plant. The risks associated with the waste industry are well-documented and widely recognised, but it is one of the most dangerous sectors.

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