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August 9, 2021

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Waste management company sentenced after worker was reversed over by a loading shovel

A skip hire and waste management company and its managing director have been sentenced after a worker was seriously injured in a transport incident.

An employee was crossing the yard on Old Rochester Way, Dartford, while waiting for his Artic lorry to be re-loaded with processed waste when he was hit by a 21-tonne loading shovel which was reversing around a blind bend in the yard, Folkestone Magistrates’ Court was told. The employee suffered life changing injuries, from which he is still recovering, and has been unable to return to work since the incident, on 14 December 2018.

The HSE’s investigation found that the company and its managing director had failed to take reasonable steps to ensure that there was adequate pedestrian segregation in the waste processing yard so that both pedestrians and vehicles could circulate in a safe manner.  Although directors of the company were already aware of the risks to pedestrians due to previous workplace transport incidents occurring in the yard, they failed to respond appropriately and continued to ignore the advice of their health and safety consultant and HSE, leaving workers exposed to the risks.

Easy Load Ltd of Lee’s Yard, Old Rochester Way, Dartford pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) by virtue of Regulation 17(1) of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 and was fined £150,000 and ordered to pay costs of £7,454.20.

Tomas J Lee, Managing Director of Easy Load Ltd, of Chislehurst, Kent, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 37 of the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, and ordered to pay £549.40.costs.

 Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Susie Beckett said: “Workplace transport activities are one of the biggest risks in the waste and recycling industry. This incident, and the resulting life changing injuries suffered, were avoidable and occurred as a result of a fundamental management failing on the part of the company and its directors, who patently failed to address and control clear risks which had been brought to their attention.

“HSE will not hesitate to hold both companies and individual directors, board members, business owners to account where management failings are found to be at the root of any health and safety offending.”

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