Head Of Training, The Healthy Work Company

January 12, 2015

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£160k in fines for waste company following skip loader incident

A nationwide waste management company has been sentenced for safety failings after an employee suffered multiple injuries when he was crushed between a truck and a skip at a site in Essex.

The 29-year-old worker, who was put into an induced coma following the incident, has since been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and has been unable to return to work. The incident has also had profound effects on his family, partner and children, HSE has reported.

The worker from Canvey Island, who wishes to remain anonymous, was caught between the skip loader truck and the skip he was preparing for pick-up at the-then May Gurney household waste recycling centre in Canvey Island on 26 January 2013.

The skip loader was manoeuvring into position for the pick-up but struck the worker as it was being driven through a narrow route between the full skip and a fence.

The operative suffered life-threatening injuries including having all his ribs broken; back and shoulder injuries; injuries to the top of his left leg; a chip to the back of his skull and a number of cuts and bruises.

He was taken to the Royal London hospital where he suffered two collapsed lungs and was put into an induced coma for three days. He was in hospital for a total of 17 days and needed considerable physiotherapy after he regained consciousness, after which he spent eight weeks at his parents for further monitoring and care.

HSE prosecuted Kier MG Ltd at Chelmsford Crown Court on 8 January after an investigation found that the company didn’t have sufficient procedures in place to keep workers safely away from vehicles moving around the site.

The court was told that the company, which acquired May Gurney in July 2013, had put in place strict measures to segregate visitors from moving vehicles but had not extended them to ensure the safety of its workers.

Kier MG Ltd, of Tempsford Hall, Sandy, Bedfordshire, was fined a total of £160,000 and ordered to pay costs of £9,809 after pleading guilty to breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and a breach of regulation 17(1) of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992.

After the case, HSE inspector Edward Crick, said: “This was an entirely preventable incident caused by Kier MG Ltd’s failure to recognise the hazards to workers arising from skip loading operations at their Canvey Island recycling centre, despite tackling the hazards to members of the public.

“The consequences of this were devastating for a young man, who will now have to cope with life-changing injuries for the rest of his life.

“The risks to pedestrians when they are near operating work vehicles are very serious, but also well-known within industry. There is no excuse, therefore, for companies to disregard vital elements of workplace safety.”

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