May 29, 2019

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Viridor fined after worker suffers life-changing injuries

A worker’s hand was seriously injured by defective hydraulic cutters, leading to a £131,000 fine for a recycling and waste management company.

On 8 October 2017, an employee of Viridor Waste Management Limited was working on a fridge dismantling line at the company’s St Helens site.

When the hydraulic cutters he was using stopped working properly he reported the defect, but the procedure to make the equipment safe was not then followed. The cutters were left close to where he was working, and when he moved them out of his way, the defective cutters amputated the top of the index finger of his right hand and partially severed another finger.

Investigating, the HSE found that although defects with the cutters were common, problems were not always reported and the procedure for lock-off and isolation was being inconsistently applied.

Viridor Waste Management Limited of Rydon Lane, Exeter, pleaded guilty to breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £133,000 with costs of £4,204.85

HSE Inspector Catherine Lyon said after the hearing: “The life changing injuries caused by this accident could have been avoided if the procedure for the safe lock-off and isolation of equipment had been followed.

“Employers should ensure their safety procedures remain effective by monitoring their use and checking that they are being fully implemented.”

Waste disposal: Highest fatality at work rate of any industrial sector

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