A waste recycling company has been fined after an employee lost part of his arm in a conveyor belt.
Lincoln Crown Court heard on 26 April 2015 that the employee of Mid-UK Recycling Ltd was working as a line operator in the building known as Unit 4 MRF (Material Recovery Facility). On the morning of the incident, blockages had occurred on this line and waste had become wrapped around the axle stopping a lower conveyor. It was whilst removing waste from this axle that the employee’s glove got dragged into the in-running nip between the belt and the powered roller of the conveyor. This resulted in his left arm being amputated above the elbow.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive revealed that the company had failed to prevent access to dangerous parts of the conveyor. The castell key system had essentially been bypassed allowing the system to be operated in automatic mode with persons still inside the enclosure.
Mid UK Recycling Limited (now known as MUKR Limited) of Summit House, Quarrington, Sleaford, Lincolnshire, NG34 8RS pleaded guilty to a breach of section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act (1974) and was fined £1.275 million and ordered to pay costs of £45,065.59
Speaking after the hearing, HM inspector Scott Wynne said, “This incident could so easily have been avoided had the company ensured that the system designed to keep people away from dangerous machinery was properly maintained. Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”
Mid UK Recycling Ltd was fined £880,000 in 2017 after agency worker, Karlis Pavasars, died when he was dragged through a waste-sorting trommel and then through industrial waste shredder.
The inquest in 2015, which ruled that the death was accidental, heard that his injuries were so extensive that he had to be identified by DNA taken from his toothbrush.
[Source HSE: https://press.hse.gov.uk/ public sector information published by the Health and Safety Executive and licensed under the Open Government Licence]