A waste management company has been fined £500k after an employee was killed when he was struck by a reversing JCB loading shovel.
Newcastle upon Tyne Crown Court was told that on 15 June 2015 a wheeled front-loading shovel was being operated in the main waste processing shed at Sanders Plant and Waste Management Limited’s waste recycling facility in Morpeth.
The vehicle, driven by another employee, was loading waste into both a trommel (a large waste separation and sifting machine) and a parked haulage vehicle. During the course of this operation the vehicle struck site operative George Richardson.
He was fatally injured and died at the scene from his injuries.
The HSE’s investigation found evidence of a lack of pedestrian and vehicle segregation in the waste shed meaning that pedestrians and vehicles could not circulate in a safe manner. The company had carried out a risk assessment prior to the incident that identified some control measures to reduce the risks from operating the loading shovel and a Fork Lift Truck on site. However, these control measures had not been fully implemented nor were they sufficient to manage the risk of collision between vehicles and pedestrians. Furthermore, there was no risk assessment or traffic management plan considering the safe movement of vehicles across the site.
Sanders Plant and Waste Management Limited of 40 Butterwell Drive, Pegswood, Morpeth pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. It was fined £500,000 with costs of £14,041.96.
HSE inspector Laura Catterall commented after the hearing:
“The HSE investigation found an inadequate assessment of the risks of vehicle movements in the waste shed and a lack of segregation of vehicles and pedestrians. There are more than 5,000 accidents involving transport in the workplace every year, and, like in this case, sadly, some are fatal.
“A properly implemented transport risk assessment should have identified sufficient measures to segregate people and vehicles and provide safe facilities.”
Kerry Richardson speaking on behalf of George’s family also said:
“More than anything my whole family don’t want anyone else to lose their life and another family to go through what my family has gone through and is still going through.”