Two waste companies have been fined tens of thousands of pounds in separate prosecutions brought by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after accidents in which workers suffered limb injuries.
KT Recycling of Preston was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay costs of £13,000 after a worker who was attempting to remove waste material had his hand trapped between the conveyor belt and drive roller of a magnetic separator. He was left with lasting damage to his arm.
The HSE found that guard plates had been removed several weeks earlier and not replaced, and the company had no procedures to check the guard plates were correctly fitted, failed to provide suitable training in safe use of the machine, and failed to adequately supervise operatives.
KT Recycling pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
HSE inspector Anthony Banks said: “This incident could easily have been avoided if the company had put procedures in place to ensure that guard plates were maintained correctly and their use was properly supervised.”
Alness-based William Munro Construction (Highland) was fined £30,000 after a worker was injured by falling nearly 3m into a compactor chamber after which a ram crushed his legs.
He was trying to use a wooden bar to clear a blockage in an infeed hopper while the machine was in automatic mode at Beechwood waste transfer station.
It was too large to dislodge so he got into the hopper and jumped up and down on the blockage to free it. This also failed and another worker climbed up the outside of the hopper and jumped in too.
The blockage then gave way and the worker fell into the compaction chamber, activating a ram that crushed his legs before he could escape.
An HSE probe found blockages occurred because large cardboard boxes would catch on a lip between the wooden superstructure and the metal structure of the hopper.
No safe system to isolate the machine from the power was in operation to deal with blockages safely.
The company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.