• Robert Spicer

Death of worker: Viridor Waste Management Ltd fined £650,000

Death of worker: waste management company fined

Health and Safety Executive v Viridor Waste Management Ltd (2018) Aylesbury Crown Court, October 26

Statutory reference: regulation 11of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) and regulation 3 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (MHSWR).

Viridor Waste Management Ltd has been fined after a worker suffered fatal injuries while cleaning a ballistic separator.

The facts

  • In August 2016 an employee of Viridor climbed into the top level of a ballistic separator. This machine sifts and separates recyclable materials. The worker went into the machine to clean it before it was isolated from the power supply.

  • When he was inside the machine, the power supply was turned on and the machine started. The worker suffered fatal injuries.

  • The company had failed to identify, by using a suitable and sufficient risk assessment, the risks of cleaning the machine.

  • It had failed to put in place safe systems to ensure the safety of workers carrying out the cleaning task.

  • There were inadequate guarding measures in place at the top level of the machine. This created ready access to dangerous parts of machinery at the time of the incident.

The decision

Viridor was fined £650,000 plus £34,000 costs under regulation 11 of PUWER and regulation 3 of MHSWR.

An HSE inspector commented after the case that every year, a significant number of serious or fatal injuries occurred in the waste and recycling industry because machines were inadequately guarded and because activities such as clearing blockages and maintenance were undertaken when machinery was running

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