Recycling company fined £200,000 after death of worker
A wood recycling company has been fined for serious safety failings following the death of a worker who was struck by a loading vehicle and run over.
Raymond Thomas Burns, 43, of Eston, worked as a load inspector for UK Wood Recycling Ltd at its site in Wilton, Redcar and was walking between a woodpile and a skip in the yard when he was hit by a load shovel on 19 December 2008.
Teeside Crown Court heard that on the day of the incident Mr Burns had been working around a large wood pile being used to feed a hammer mill where the wood was smashed to chips. The shovel vehicle was moving material from one part of the site to another. As Mr Burns crossed to a skip he was struck and run over by the load shovel and die of his injuries at the scene.
The HSE investigation found that no segregation measures had been put in place by UK Wood Recycling Ltd to separate vehicles and pedestrians working on the site. Workers were unprotected from the dangers of constantly moving vehicles — despite previous incidents where vehicles had collided, and workers reporting other near misses.
UK Wood Recycling Ltd, of Lumb Farm, Little Moss, Droylsden, Manchester, was fined £200,000 and ordered to pay £34,000 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 17(1) by virtue of Regulation 4(1) of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992.
Bruno Porter, the HSE inspector investigating the case, said: “This was an entirely preventable death caused by the company failing to have a system to allow vehicles and pedestrians to move safely around each other.
“Ideally, this segregation is achieved by the vehicles and pedestrians having separate traffic routes. If they share a route or area then physical barriers should be used to keep them apart, or other means of preventing moving vehicles and people being in the same place at the same time.”
With employees who drive for business more likely to be killed at work than deep sea divers or coal miners, driver safety is a vital business consideration.
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