Waste industry prosecution

Recycling company fined £1.2m after worker hit by a wagon

A Yorkshire metals recycling company has been fined £1.2m after a worker was injured after being struck by a wagon at a processing site.

On 10 August 2020 an employee of CF Booth Limited was walking across the site yard in Rotherham when he was struck by a moving 32-tonne skip wagon. The man was not wearing his hi-vis jacket and did not see the wagon approaching. The wagon driver did not see the employee prior to the collision due to concentrating on manoeuvring the vehicle around some low-level skips which had been placed on the corner near where the employee was crossing the yard.

Following the incident, the man sustained a fractured skull and also fractured his collar bone in two places but has since made a full recovery.

The incident took place at CF Booth Limited’s site in Rotherham

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that at the time of the incident the site was not organised in such a way that pedestrians and vehicles could circulate in a safe manner. A suitable and sufficient workplace transport risk assessment was not in place for the segregation of vehicles and pedestrians. The company had failed to take steps to properly assess the risks posed by the movement of vehicles and pedestrians. The incident could have been prevented by adequately assessing the risks and implementing appropriate control measures such as physical barriers and crossing points.

Every workplace must be safe for the people and vehicles using it and traffic routes must be suitable for the people and vehicles using them. HSE has guidance on workplace transport with advice on keeping traffic routes safe and separating people from vehicles.

At Sheffield Magistrates’ Court on April 25 CF Booth Limited of Clarence Metal Works, Armer St, Rotherham, pleaded guilty of breaching Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. They were fined £1.2million and ordered to pay costs of £5,694.85.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Kirstie Durrans said: “If CF Booth Limited had assessed the risks and ensured vehicles and pedestrians could circulate in a safe manner, this incident could have easily been avoided.

“Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”

This HSE prosecution was brought by HSE enforcement lawyers Karen Park and Kate Harney, and supported by paralegal officer Rebecca Forman.

Complisafe find that pedestrian and traffic management solutions are sometimes difficult changes that simply have to be made to get people off of the ground and protected. A banksmen and some painted lines is simply not enough. Our experience includes navigating clients through significant process and operational changes to make long term improvements as well as working with the HSE post incident to come up with practical and compliant working practices.

One of the key areas of our Health and Safety Inspections in the waste industry is to focus on observing driver and pedestrian behaviour whilst carrying out daily operations. Talking to operatives is key to understand actions and decision making whilst using and moving around plant and yards.

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