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Firm fined £200,000 for safety failings

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A wood recycling company has been sentenced for serious safety failings after a worker was killed after being struck by a loading vehicle and run over.

Raymond Thomas Burns, 43, of Eston, who worked as a load inspector for UK Wood Recycling Ltd at its site in Wilton, Redcar, was walking between a wood pile and a skip in the yard when he was hit by a load shovel.

The incident, on December 19, 2008, was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which prosecuted the company at Teesside Crown Court on November 12.

The court heard that Burns had been working around a large wood pile being used to feed a hammer mill where the wood was smashed to chips.

The shovel vehicle was moving material from one part of the site to another. As he crossed to a skip, Burns was struck and run over by the load shovel and died of his injuries at the scene.

HSE found that no segregation measures had been put in place by UK Wood Recycling to separate vehicles and pedestrians working on the site.

Workers were unprotected from the dangers of constantly moving vehicles – despite previous incidents where vehicles had collided, and workers reporting other near misses.

UK Wood Recycling, of Lumb Farm, Little Moss, Droylsden, Manchester, was fined £200,000 and ordered to pay a further £34,000 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 17(1) by virtue of Regulation 4(1) of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992.

After the case, HSE inspector Bruno Porter, said: “A conscientious and hard-working man has lost his life in this senseless way.

"There was simply an acceptance by UK Wood Recycling of the established working pattern. Solely relying on drivers or workers noticing each other is not adequate control.

“This was an entirely preventable death caused by the company failing to have a system to allow vehicles and pedestrians to move safely around each other.

"Ideally, this segregation is achieved by the vehicles and pedestrians having separate traffic routes. If they share a route or area then physical barriers should be used to keep them apart, or other means of preventing moving vehicles and people being in the same place at the same time.

“The waste industry has a very high injury rate, and most of the fatal and major injuries relate to transport issues. The risks of serious injury and, all too frequently, death, resulting from the failure to control the safe movement of vehicles and pedestrians are widely recognised.”

 

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