• Robert Spicer

Sheffield recycling site death: exploding gas cylinder: Walter Heselwood Ltd fined £120,000

Recycling site death: £120,000 fine

Health and Safety Executive v Walter Heselwood Ltd (2016) Sheffield Crown Court, February 2.

Walter Heselwood Ltd, a scrap metal recycling company, has been fined following the death of a worker.

Significant points of the case

  • In June 2009 Tony Johnson was working at the company’s site in Sheffield. A pressurised gas cylinder was put through a shearing machine. It exploded and a large section struck Mr Johnson on the head. He suffered fatal injuries.

  • The company had no effective health and safety management system in place. It had failed to adequately assess the risks involved with processing different types of scrap material. It had also failed to put in place a range of measures to reduce risks.

The company was fined £120,000 plus £40,000 costs under sections 2 and 3, HSW Act, for failing to ensure the health and safety of employees and non-employees.

A spokesperson for the HSE is reported to have commented after the case that companies processing different materials should have good documented systems to ensure that materials such as pressurised cylinders are sorted and dealt with correctly.

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