Worker crushed between two skips while urinating
A recycling company has been fined £80,000 after a worker suffered life-changing injuries when he was crushed between two skips while urinating in the yard.
Ayr Sheriff Court heard that Lowmac Alloys Ltd’s site had only one portable toilet, which had no running water. Employees found the toilet to be so filthy that they preferred to use the site’s grounds – a practice accepted by management.
It was for this reason, that Steven Graham, 46, was standing between two skips when the incident happened on 26 August 2009. As he stood there a shovel loader, which weighed more than 18 tonnes, hit one of the skips and pushed it towards the other, crushing Mr Graham between them. He was taken to hospital and treated for a broken pelvis and other severe life-changing afflictions. He has been unable to return to work owing to his injuries and still has difficulty walking.
HSE inspector Aileen Jardine told SHP that the company had carried out an insufficient risk assessment for traffic management at the site, which meant that no barriers or road markings were in place to separate pedestrians and vehicles. The investigation also found that the shovel loader was too big for the area in which it was operating. Drivers had not been trained in how to use the vehicles, and they were left to work unsupervised.
Inspector Jardine said: “Mr Graham suffered horrendous injuries that will affect him for the rest of his life – but this incident was entirely avoidable.
“If Lowmac had taken simple steps to protect their staff, carrying out a proper risk assessment and taking measures to separate employees from the heavy vehicles that operated on site, this would not have happened.
“And if the company had shown basic consideration for the welfare of their employees by providing a toilet that was fit to use, Mr Graham would not have been left in such a vulnerable position.”
The company was issued three Improvement Notices on 1 September 2009, which required it to provide a formal system to separate pedestrians and vehicles, install suitable welfare facilities, and train workers how to safely operate shovel loaders.
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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