21-year-old killed after being hit in head by arm of JCB.. A major international recycling company has been fined £200,000 after a young employee died as a result of head injuries he sustained at a paper balking site in Tipton.
The 21-year-old accident victim was killed instantly when the arm of a JCB loader made contact with his head causing massive crush injuries on 12 June 2008.
The HSE prosecuted the recycling company after discovering that the young employee had been driving the JCB vehicle for three months without having received any kind of formal training or being made aware of driver safety issues.
Wolverhampton Crown Court heard that on the day of the tragedy the accident victim had been unsupervised and was working alone loading scrap paper onto a conveyor.
After completing the loading job, the young man raised a safety bar that was across his lap in an attempt to isolate the machine. He then leaned out of the vehicle but the safety bar had not caused the loader to stop functioning and the arm of the loader dropped suddenly and crushed the man’s head against the JCB.
The subsequent HSE investigation determined that as well as failing to train and supervise the young employee, the company had not assessed or checked the loader in the eight months prior to the accident whereas it should have been serviced at least twice during this period of time.
HSE inspector David Evans spoke after the hearing:
“He was a young man who should have had a long life ahead of him. Instead, he was killed in an entirely avoidable tragedy.
“Despite knowing his lack of experience, the recycling company left him unsupervised to operate the loader. Furthermore, the vehicle was dangerous because it had not been properly maintained.
“The company’s risk assessment should have identified these issues but did not cover the use of this machine.
“Transport at work is one of the biggest causes of deaths in the workplace, often through insufficient training or poorly maintained vehicles. There is no excuse for such basic failings, especially as free advice is available from HSE.”
The recycling company based in Maidenhead, Berkshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) and Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was hit with a fine of £200,000 in addition to costs of £77,402.