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Metal recycler fined £15,000 after worker’s jaw shattered

Bedfordshire based Ampthill Metal Company has been fined £15,000 and asked to pay £21,718.05 in costs after a driver’s jaw was shattered by a locking mechanism on the vehicle he drove.

Dean Bridges’ jaw was broken in three places and lost three teeth when trying to open the rear doors of a roll-on roll-off container, in September 2009.

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) the handle of the container sprung out, striking him in the face. Bridges was off work for two months on full pay and required 47 stitches and his jaw to be wired.

An HSE investigation found that three similar incidents had occurred on company premises in the period between 2006 and 2008.

The company pleaded not guilty to a breach of section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, and was found guilty by Bedford and Mid Beds Magistrates’ Court.

HSE inspector, Emma Rowlands said: “The risk of being struck by skip container doors within the waste industry is well known. Mr Bridges suffered serious facial injuries as a result of this incident, which was entirely preventable.

“HSE will not hesitate to prosecute companies who fail to take their health and safety obligations seriously.”

Speaking on behalf of Ampthill Metals Shaun Clarkson told MRW: “We challenged it [the HSE investigation] and the court found us guilty, a number of operators certainly in the scrap industry want to be looking to their local HSE offices and officers to look for guidance on the discharging of roll-ons.”

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