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Suspended jail term for director after worker's death

A waste company director has been given a six-month suspended prison sentence following the death of a worker crushed by carpet bales.

Liverpool Crown Court was told that Fresco Environmental employee Kevin Wright was processing waste carpet in March 2016 when one of the bales fell on him, causing fatal injuries.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company had failed to ensure proper controls were in place to reduce the risk of falling bales. There were no exclusion zones around the stacks, bales were poorly stacked and close to vibrating machinery.

It also found that the company’s managing director, Lee Heaps, failed to ensure that a safe system of work was in place for the processing of carpet bales, exposing his employees to avoidable risks.

Fresco Environmental, of Everite Road, Widnes, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974, and was fined £70,000 and ordered to pay £3,500 towards costs.

Heaps, of Burtonwood, Warrington, admitted breaching Section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was given a six-month custodial sentence, suspended for 12 months. He will carry out 100 hours of unpaid work and was ordered to pay £400 towards costs.

HSE inspector Helen Jones said the death could “easily have been prevented” had Fresco Environmental identified and managed risk.

“As managing director involved in the day-to-day running of the company, Heaps had a responsibility to ensure that his company provided a safe working environment for its employees. In failing to do so he exposed employees, including Mr Wright, to significant risk,” Jones said.

MRW has asked Fresco Environmental for a comment.

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