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Kent firm fined after shredder incident

A Kent-based recycling company is considering an appeal after it was fined following a worker being injured while repairing a shredder.

In October 2013, a plant mechanic employed by Countrystyle at its Ridham plant near Sittingbourne was injured when the metal plate forming the roof of the shredder hammer drum became detached.

The man was kneeling on a conveyor belt inside the shredder when it restarted and he was thrown from the machine. He suffered a fractured right leg and left arm.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company did not have adequate or suitable systems in place, including failing to enforce the ‘safe stop’ process which should be followed when using dangerous machinery.

The HSE said the company had allowed poor practice to become the norm.

The firm was fined £300,000 and ordered to pay £8,903 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

A company spokesperson said: “Following the submission of a guilty plea in this case, the company is surprised by the extent of the fine imposed, which seems disproportionate to the circumstances of the offence and the actual harm suffered.

“Accordingly, the company is considering the possibility of an appeal with its legal advisers.”

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