Firm fined for multiple failings at waste site

A waste and recycling site was in such a dangerous condition that visiting health and safety inspectors had to issue eight notices which had to  immediately halt a range of work activities a court has heard.

The site was subject to a routine visit by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Inspectors on 20th May 2013 when a number of serious safety issues were discovered including access to unguarded dangerous machinery, exposure to risk of electrocution and areas contaminated by asbestos containing materials.

The firm were prosecuted by the HSE at a hearing on the 27th February 2015.

The court was told about the catalogue of dangerous points which were on the site.

One of these failures was a ‘man basket’ on a fork lift truck which allows workers to carry out work at height. The error was that the basket was not secured to the forks of the truck and there was no cage behind the basket to stop workers becoming trapped with the fork lift truck mast.

There were no suitable guards to prevent workers getting caught in the moving machine parts of a granulator, two compactors, a shredder and a paint mixing drum, and electrical cables were found trailing through liquid, leading to a risk of electrocution.

In addition, exposed and damaged pipe lagging, which included different asbestos containing materials. This was in a poor state and exposed workers at the site to the risk of contamination. This was allowed to continue by the firm despite an earlier report by a specialist that had identified the presence of asbestos in the area and recommended its urgent removal.

The firm pleaded guilty to a breach of health and safety regulations, one single breach of control of asbestos regulations and a breach of work equipment regulations and they were fined a total of £35,000 and ordered to pay £20,000 in costs.

There were no suitable guards to prevent workers getting caught in the moving machine parts of a granulator, two compactors, a shredder and a paint mixing drum, and electrical cables were found trailing through liquid, leading to a risk of electrocution.

In addition, exposed and damaged pipe lagging, which included asbestos containing materials, was in a poor state and exposed workers at the site to the risk of contamination. This was allowed to continue by the firm despite an earlier report by a specialist that had identified the presence of asbestos in the area and recommended its urgent removal.

Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 states: “It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees.”

Regulation 4 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 requires duty holders with a legal responsibility for non-domestic premises to manage the risk from any asbestos that may be present and this includes that “the measures to be specified in the plan for managing the risk must include adequate measures for ensuring that information about the location and condition of any asbestos or any such substance is (i) provided to every person liable to disturb it, and (ii) made available to the emergency services.”

Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 states: Every employer shall ensure that measures are taken which are effective – (a) to prevent access to any dangerous part of machinery or to any rotating stock-bar; or (b) to stop the movement of any dangerous part of machinery or rotating stock-bar before any part of a person enters a danger zone.”

Source: HSE