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Viridor fined over severed finger

Waste management company Viridor must pay fines and cost of £137,000 after being prosecuted when a worker’s hand was injured by defective hydraulic cutters.

Sefton Magistrates’ Court heard how, in October 2017, employee Alan Tabern was working on a fridge dismantling line at Viridor’s St Helens site.

He reported a defect in the cutters, but the procedure to make the equipment safe was not followed, and the cutters were left near to where he was working. They cut off his index finger and part of another finger when he moved them.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the procedure for lock-off and isolation was being applied inconsistently.

Viridor pleaded guilty to breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £133,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4204.85.

HSE inspector Catherine Lyon said: “The life-changing injuries caused by this accident could have been avoided if the procedure for the safe lock-off and isolation of equipment had been followed.”

A Viridor spokesperson said: ”Viridor takes its health and safety responsibilities very seriously. Nothing is more important than the safety of our people and Viridor regrets the accident and injury suffered by Alan Tabern.

“Prior to this, Viridor had site-specific risk assessment and safe operating procedures with training for staff at the St Helens site. In addition, in 2008, the company retrofitted additional safety measures and introduced task-specific risk assessments and procedures, along with further training on safe behaviours.

“Viridor has also implemented a comprehensive strategy for health and safety called ‘HomeSafe’. This is designed to raise standards, prevent harm and create a culture of safety, targeting 4,600 people across the company.

“The district judge at Sefton Magistrates Court acknowledged the company’s genuine regret regarding the accident ,and recognised HomeSafe as one of the many considerable steps taken by Viridor to raise health and safety standards.”

This story was updated at 16.41 to include the comment from Viridor.

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