An Essex-based hazardous waste disposal company has been fined after a worker suffered serious injuries at its sorting and recycling site.
On 7 February 2014, a director of Cohart Asbestos Disposal reversed over a worker while operating an excavator at the firm’s Archers Field site in Basildon.
The employee sustained serious crush injuries to his right leg which later had to be amputated, Basildon Crown Court heard.
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that the company had failed to ensure effective communications between the operator of the excavator and people working in the yard.
A visibility assessment on the excavator also revealed that the operator had a blind spot of up to 8m directly behind the vehicle.
Further, the excavator’s reversing alarm and beacon were not working, a mirror was missing from the side of the cab, and there was no camera or mirror on the rear of the vehicle.
Cohart Asbestos Disposal was fined £40,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,674 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.
After the case, HSE inspector Edward Crick, said: “Potentially fatal risks arise from operating heavy plant on waste sites, particularly if, as in this case, the vehicle operator’s visibility is restricted.
“This worker suffered life-changing injuries after the company failed to put in place effective measures to protect pedestrian workers from its heavy plant operations.
“Every year many people are killed or seriously injured in incidents involving workplace transport, and there is no excuse for employers to neglect this risk. Pedestrians, whether employees or others, should be kept separate from workplace vehicle movements by using physical barriers or safe systems of work that are clear and well supervised.”