Recycling Firm Fined £650k After 'Wholly Avoidable Incident' Kills Worker

A clothing and textile recycling firm has been fined £650,000 after an elderly worker was struck by a reversing delivery vehicle, sustaining fatal injuries.

On 26th April 2016 the worker, who was employed by Savanna Rags International Limited, was walking from a weighbridge towards the site’s smoking area, located in the rear yard. A delivery vehicle, operated by a visiting driver, began reversing from the weighbridge towards the rear yard, striking the woman with the rear of the vehicle.

Following the incident, an investigation carried out by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the company had failed to devise and follow a sufficient risk assessment for the site in relation to moving vehicles. It was found it was customary for vehicles to reverse from the weighbridge although this was also used by employees to access the factory. Investigations also showed the company had failed to devise and implement an adequate means in which to segregate pedestrians and moving vehicles and no safe system of work had been devised to ensure the safe manoeuvring of vehicles.

HSE Inspector, Aaron Rashad, commented on the case “This was a tragic and wholly avoidable incident, caused by the failure of the company to undertake a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks arising from the movement of vehicles and implement safe systems of work. This meant the company failed to put in place a number of simple safety measures, including segregating vehicles and pedestrians and reducing the need for vehicles to reverse.”

He continued “Sadly, this is the most common cause of fatal injuries in this sector. HSE is currently in the middle of targeting waste and recycling premises with an inspection that will look at certain activities to ensure effective management and control of risk. We are calling on anyone working in the industry to take the time to refresh their knowledge of our advice and guidance, available for free on our website. Every worker has the right to return from work safe in the knowledge that their employer takes their health and safety seriously.”

Savanna Rags International Limited pleaded guilty of breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and safety at Work Act 1974, Regulation 3(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, and Regulation 17(1) of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992. Savanna Rags International Limited was fined £650,000, with further costs of £3,300.25.

Source: SHP Online, £650k fine after elderly worker killed, 31st October 2017. Read the full article online.

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