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Recycling company heavily fined after worker killed in accident at work

by Redmans Solicitors on November 22, 2013

A Redcar-based firm has been heavily fined by the Teeside Crown Court after a worker was killed in an accident at work in 2008.

Mr Raymond Burns, 43, was working for UK Wood Recycling Limited when the accident occurred on 19 December 2008. On the day in question Mr Burns was walking between a wood pile and a skip in the yard of the firm’s site in Wilton when a load shovel pulled out from behind one of the wood piles and hit him. He was struck and run over by the vehicle and was fatally injured. He died of his injuries at the site.

The Health and Safety Executive were subsequently notified of the accident and investigated the matter. This investigation found that there were the following health and safety breaches by the company:

  • A failure to put in place segregation measures to separate vehicles and pedestrians, resulting in an unsafe system of work being implemented
  • A failure to conduct an adequate risk assessment

Prosecution of the company was therefore recommended by the HSE.

The case came before the Teesside Crown Court on 12 November 2013. UK Wood Recycling Limited pleaded guilty to a breach of Regulation 17(1) of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 and was consequently fined £200,000, as well as being ordered to pay £34,000 towards the costs of bringing the prosecution.

HSE Inspector Bruno Porter stated after the judgment: “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.”

Chris Hadrill, an employment law solicitor at Redmans, commented on the case: “Businesses have a duty to comply with health and safety regulations to ensure that all reasonable measures to protect employees from injury have been taken. The Health and Safety Executive clearly felt in this instance that this particular hadn’t company hadn’t taken sufficient steps to prevent injury to its employees.”

Redmans are unfair dismissal solicitors and offer employment law advice to employees and employers

Please note that Redmans Solicitors were not involved in any capacity in the above matter

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