• Robert Spicer

Death of worker in baler: company and director sentenced

Death of worker in baler: company and director sentenced

Health and Safety Executive v Gaskell’s (North West) Ltd and Jonathan Gaskell (2018) Liverpool Crown Court, October 29

Statutory reference: ss. 2 and 37 of the Health and Safety at Work, Act 1974 (HSWA)

A waste and recycling company and its director have been sentenced after a worker was killed in a baling machine.

The facts

  • In December 2010 Zbigniew Galka, an employee of the company, was working at its site in Bootle.

  • The company used a machine to compress waste materials into small bales. The machine had a defeated interlock system which enabled workers to enter it while it was still working.

  • Galka entered the machine to clear a blockage. The machine activated and he suffered fatal injuries.

  • The safety interlock system had been defeated two months earlier. Poor maintenance meant that it required frequent operator intervention.

  • The machine could be operated while its guarding was open. This meant that it could operate, and production could continue, with the operator at serious risk of injury.

The decision

  • The company was fined £700,000 plus £99,000 costs under s.2 of HSWA.

  • Jonathan Gaskell, the company’s director, was sentenced to eight minths imprisonment under s.37 of HSWA.

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