Company guilty of failing to provide safe working environment…
A recycling company has been fined £240,000 after an employee was killed at their factory in St Helens.
The 31-year-old accident victim was last seen alive on the morning of 24 November 2005 and the HSE investigation into his death reported that the most probable cause of death was a fall into a piece of equipment that was used to break apart bales of plastic bottles.
The HSE went ahead with the prosecution of the company after discovering that no measures had been taken to prevent access to the machine while it was operating. On top of this the company failed to implement measures to cut power to the machine while repairs were carried out on it. The company was also criticised for not having an adequate risk assessment and not meeting the required standards in terms of training, supervision and monitoring of work with dangerous machinery. These factors may well have contributed to the man’s death.
The recycling company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 which states that the employer is obliged to ensure the safety of employees who are operating company machinery. The court imposed a fine of £140,000 and ordered the company to pay £100,000 in costs on 28 September 2012 at a hearing at Liverpool Crown Court.
HSE Principal Inspector Tanya Stewart spoke after the judgement had been delivered:
“This was a tragic death that could have been prevented if the companyhad put more thought into the safety of its employees and the adequacy of its working practices.
“Employees regularly entered the machine to remove entangled wire, but there were no safeguards in place to prevent them carrying out this work while the machine’s parts were still moving.
“I hope this case will act as a warning to companies to think more carefully about the safety of workers who clean, maintain or repair machines or who clear blockages.”
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