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Waste management company fined after worker killed

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

Aylesbury Crown Court heard how, on 8 August 2016, a Viridor Waste Management Limited (Viridor) 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. Whilst 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 and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident,  found 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 Colts Holm Road, Old Wolverton, Milton Keynes, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and Regulation 3(1) of the Management of Health and 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.”

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain's national regulator for workplace health and safety. We prevent work-related death, injury and ill health through regulatory actions that range from influencing behaviours across whole industry sectors through to targeted interventions on individual businesses. These activities are supported by globally recognised scientific expertise.
  2. More about the legislation referred to in this case
  3. Latest HSE press releases

Updated: 2018-10-31