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Waste management company fined £650,000 plus costs after worker killed while cleaning

A waste management company has been fined after a worker was fatally injured while cleaning a large ballistic separator machine.

Aylesbury Crown Court heard how, in August 2016, a Viridor Waste Management employee climbed into the top level of the ballistic separator - a machine that sifts through and separates recyclable materials - to clean it, before it was suitably isolated from the power supply.

While the employee was inside the machine, the electrical power supply to the ballistic separator was turned on from the control room and the machine subsequently restarted, resulting in the employee being fatally injured.

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive into the incident, found that the company had failed to identify, via a suitable and sufficient risk assessment, the risks associated with the cleaning and clearing of blockages of machinery. The investigation also found the company had failed to put in place safe systems of work to ensure the safety of workers carrying out the cleaning task. There were inadequate guarding measures in place at the top level of the ballistic separators, which created ready access to the dangerous parts of machinery at the time of the incident.

Viridor, of Milton Keynes, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision & Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and Regulation 3(1) of the Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999, and has been fined £650,000 and ordered to pay costs of £34,197.14.

Speaking after the case, HSE inspector Emma Page said: "Every year, a significant number of serious or fatal injuries in the waste and recycling industry occur because machines are inadequately guarded and because activities such as clearing blockages and maintenance are being undertaken when machinery is running.

"To prevent and reduce the risk of serious or fatal injury adequate machine guards, isolation procedures and systems of work must be in place."


8th November 2018

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