November 13, 2017

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£880k fine after ‘horrific’ machinery death

HSE Health and Safety ExecutiveA recycling company has been fined £880,000, and two people have been given suspended prison sentences, after an agency worker was killed when he was drawn into machinery.

Nottingham Crown Court was told how Karlis Pavasars, working at Mid–UK Recycling Limited at the Barkston Heath site near Ancaster, lost his life whilst cleaning near a conveyor.

The recycling line was started up and the worker was drawn onto the conveyor, along the line through a trommel and into an industrial waste shredder.

Management aware

The Health & Safety Executive investigation into the accident, which occurred on 19 July 2013, found that the fixed gate that fenced the area off and prevented access to the conveyor had been removed for a number of weeks prior to the incident. This meant that workers could freely gain access to the area. Management were aware that the gate was not in place just days before the incident.

Sentencing

Mid-UK Recycling Ltd of Summit House, Quarrington, Sleaford pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) and Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and has been fined £880,000 and ordered to pay costs of £100,000.

Christopher Mountain, Managing Director, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work Act. He has been given a 20 week prison sentence suspended for two years and fined £50,000.

Alan Munson former Operations Director, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 37 of Health and Safety at Work Act and was given a 20 week prison sentence suspended for two years.

After the hearing HSE inspector Dr Richenda Dixon commented: “This horrific fatality could so easily have been avoided by simply installing and maintaining physical guards around conveyors and ensuring that safe working practices were in place. Employers should make sure they properly assess, apply and maintain effective control measures to minimise the risk from dangerous parts of machinery”.

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SJP

Why are the courts handing out suspended sentences? Although this will be on record, there is very little chance they will commit another offence within two years that would see them serve their jail time.