Category Archives: Accidents in Recycling Plants

Lincoln Man Loses Arm in Recycling Plant Accident

A man in Lincoln has lost his arm in an incident at a recycling plant in Scunthorpe due to the failure of his employers to implement adequate health and safety measures. The man, who was 23 at the time of the incident, had his arm severed at the shoulder on March 8, 2011 after attempting to clear a blockage on a conveyer, which is a piece of a metal sorting line.

The man, who worked at a picking station, was busy with his work – which involved taking pieces of copper off the conveyer – when he discovered that something was caught. He attempted to clear the blockage with the use of a stick, common practice at the plant, but his right arm was caught by the machine.

The man was hospitalised for a week, however surgeons were not able to reattach his arm. Consequently, he could no longer work at the former City Scrap Ltd in Scunthorpe. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated the incident; it discovered numerous dangers at the site which led to the company’s prosecution at Scunthorpe Magistrates’ Court.

Some of the concerns raised about City Scrap included the absence of and/or inadequate guarding around moving machine parts, no emergency stop buttons provided on processing lines, an absence of a safe system of work and insufficient training given to employees. The HSE gave City Scrap Ltd of Dale Street in Lincoln four Prohibition Notices and also to a further notice related to working at a height. On April 17 the company was fined £20,000, in addition to being ordered pay £8,964 in costs following a guilty plea for violating Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Andrew Gale, a HSE Inspector, said on the matter –

“A young man suffered horrific, life-changing injuries in an incident that was easily preventable. City Scrap Ltd should have had fixed guarding, properly secured, to prevent access to dangerous moving parts. In addition safe procedures should have been in place for clearing blockages, including isolation of power to the machinery. The waste and recycling sector has one of the worst records for injury incidents across all industries and yet the dangers of working with machinery and in the waste business are well known. Employers must ensure they take effective measures to address these risks and properly train their staff to carry out tasks safely.”

Car Recycling Company Plead Guilty to Unsafe Work Practices

Donald Ward Limited, a recycling firm which trades as Wards Recycling, has been fined after Thomasz Hac, a worker at the company, sustained severe injuries when he came to be trapped in a car-crushing machine onJune 17, 2009. It is a car recycling company, so Mr Hac and his coworker were trying to unblock the fragmentiser which is a machine that crushes and shreds scrapped cars in order to be recycled.

The frameteiser stopped abruptly due to the blockage. Both workers went inside the machine and noticed that the blockage was due to a car that had become stuck in the upper part of the machine. Mr Hac was trapped by this car when it slid down and trapped him as he was attempting to clear the blockage.

Health and Safety Executive prosecution, Rubina Zaidi, stated that inadequate training had been provided to employees regarding the best method of getting rid of a blockage. She went on to say –

“The blockages happened around once a month and there was only one member of the team who was fully trained in the mechanics of the fragmentiser. He was on holiday and a deputy was not left in charge. This accident could have been prevented. Mr Hac should have been told that they were not to enter the machine.”

Mr Hac sustained serious crush injuries to his kidneys, spleen and liver. Furthermore, his shoulder blade and four ribs were broken. He subsequently spent four days in intensive care and five days on a hospital ward after the accident occurred. He returned to work afterwards, but has since left the company.

The HSE discovered that there was no safe system in place to clear blockages. The company was found guilty by Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court and was then ordered to pay a fine £20,000 and also costs of £19,970.

Wards Recycling has implemented changes to its working practices as a result of the accident. Unblocking the machine is now a three-person job, which makes it safer for all employees involved. Company spokesperson, David Travers QC, insisted that the company was aware of the severity of the incident. He stated –

“The guidelines were found to be inadequate and this has since been rectified, with a number of new measures being put in place.”

HSE inspector, Sarah Jardine, had this to say –

“The company should have foreseen the risks and devised a safe way of removing blockages that didn’t involve workers being put in the way of something that was likely to move. As a result of the company’s failings, a man has suffered terrible injuries.”

Birmingham Recycling Plant Prosecuted for Worker’s Broken Arm

Hawkeswood Metal Recycling , a scrap metal recycling firm, is likely to be ordered to pay ample fines by Birmingham Crown Court following an incident where a worker’s arm was caught in a piece of machinery at their factory in Birmingham. The worker in question, Ansumana Jammeh suffered, a broken arm when his right arm was trapped between a conveyor belt and a piece of equipment at the plant which is located in Aston Church Road, Nechells.

The unfortunate accident happened when Mr Jammeh was in the midst of sorting scrap metal when a piece of metal fell in between the roller and the belt, which subsequently caused the belt to bob up and down. He first attempted to remove this metal with the end of a mop and when that was not successful, he reached in to remove it with his hand.

However, his hand was subsequently trapped in the mechanism and he was unable to reach the machine’s emergency stop button. His co-workers did not immediately notice what had happened so it was several minutes before help was sought for Mr Jammeh. A protective guard should have been covering the machinery according to the law, however there was not one.

Mr Jammeh had been employed by the firm for six months was awarded an undisclosed amount of compensation from Hawkeswood Metal Recycling. Wayne Hawkeswood pleaded admitted guilt on account of the company to one charge of breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Regan Peggs, the defending solicitor, said that since the unfortunate occurrence, the company had obtained newer and safer equipment to replace the old unsafe machinery and the company had gone “above and beyond” what the Health and Safety Executive had recommended.  Birmingham Magistrates Court adjourned the case for sentencing at Birmingham Crown Court on July 26.

Recycling Firm Fined £10,000 After Worker Breaks Foot

Countrystyle Recycling Ltd has been fined £10,000 by Maidstone Magistrate’s Court following an incident where a 19- year old worker’s foot was broken by a 16-tonne shovel. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted the recycling firm for its failure to implement a safe work system at its site in Kent.

The accident in which a 16-tonne shovel which crushed Mr Brown’s foot resulting in 16 bones occurred on February 22 2010. Daniel Brown was busy sorting waste when the tyre of a 16-tonne shovel ran over his right foot. The incident rendered Mr Brown unable to work  and all hopes were lost for his potential motocross career. Recurring foot pain and arthritis are still issues that he must deal with.

An investigation conducted by the HSE discovered that there was no system of segregation between moving vehicles and pedestrian, apart from informing employers verbally to stay clear. The HSE issued an Improvement Notice at the beginning of its investigation to segregate vehicles and pedestrians in a proper manner.

Countrystyle Recycling Ltd admitted guilt to violating section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 in relation to the incident. The firm was ordered to pay fines of £10,000 in addition to £6,221 in costs.

Stephen Green, a HSE inspector, stated –

“The injured worker was lucky not to be killed as a result of this incident, which could have easily been avoided if the long list of failures with this vehicle and systems had been addressed earlier.

“HSE has plenty of helpful guidance that could have been followed, and if the company had implemented a safe system of work, segregating moving vehicles from pedestrians, then a young man wouldn’t have broken a bone for every tonne of weight that rolled over his foot – 16 in total. There is no excuse for not having a safe system of work in place.”

Following the prosecution, a statement issued by Countrystyle stated –

“The Group takes health and safety matters seriously and has significantly strengthened its safety procedures in light of this incident.”