Veolia Environmental Services, a waste management firm, has been ordered to pay £5000 in fines and costs of £12,243 by City of London Magistrates Court following an incident where an agency worker at its incineration depot on Landman Way in Deptford sustained severe burn injuries on 29 December 2009. The agency worker, who wishes not to be named, was cleaning ash from a filtration hopper at the plant when he suffered 17 per cent burns to his body. The ash fell on him when he was trying to unblock part of the machine with the aid of a rod.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out an investigation which discovered that the policies and procedures that Veolia had in place for dangerous tasks of this nature were not actually being put into action. As a result, a worker who was vulnerable was put at risk because of the lack of adequate information and supervision provided to him. This agency worker who was Eastern European did not speak much English and as a result was not given sufficient briefing on company work practices before starting work.
Following the hearing, Kerrie Williams, a HSE inspector, stated that the worker was unable to carry out work in a safe manner due to the lack of basic information he received. She then went on to say:
“Veolia operates a high hazard site in Deptford and as such should ensure its systems are sufficiently robust to ensure people are not placed at unnecessary risk.”