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Horrific death of worker leads to heavy fine and suspended prison sentences
In July 2013, Karlis Pavasars was cleaning near a conveyor on a recycling line at Mid-UK Recycling, Barkston Heath. The recycling line was started up and the agency worker was drawn onto the conveyor, along the line through a trommel and into an industrial waste shredder.
The Health & Safety Executive investigation, found that the fixed gate that fenced the area off and prevented access to the conveyor had been removed for a number of weeks prior to the incident. This meant that workers could freely gain access to the area. Management was aware that the gate was not in place.
The investigation also found that the company failed to design and provide a recycling line which was safe for those that worked on and around it, including separation of vehicles and pedestrians; failed to maintain adequate guarding of the line to prevent access to it whilst it was in operation and failed to train and supervise agency workers.
The company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) and Section 2(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £880,000. The managing director and former operations director both pleaded guilty to breaching Section 37 of Health & Safety at Work Act and were given 20-week prison sentences suspended for two years.
The waste & recycling industry is a known high risk industry and for this reason HSE is currently targeting the sector with an inspection initiative that will look at specific activities, especially machinery guarding and workplace transport to ensure effective management and control of risk.
"This horrific death could have been avoided by simply installing and maintaining physical guards around conveyors and ensuring that safe working practices were in place," says an HSE spokesperson. "Those using machinery in the W&R industry should remind themselves of the relevant health & safety guidance relating to machinery guarding and isolation procedures and check that you are operating legally and safely."
16th November 2017