British firm Mid-UK Recycling Limited was fined £880,000, or about $1.1 million, for its role in the 2013 death of an agency worker who became trapped in machinery at its facility in Ancaster, the UK’s occupational safety regulator, The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), announced in a Nov. 10 press release.
A worker was cleaning a conveyor at the site on July 19, 2013 when the recycling line became operational and they were drawn into the conveyor and then moved down the line through a trammel before ending up in an industrial waste shredder.
HSE investigators found the company removed a fixed gate intended to prevent entry to the conveyor had been removed several weeks before the incident, allowing workers access to the equipment. The agency found the firm’s management was aware the fixed gate was not in place leading up to the death.
“This horrific fatality could so easily have been avoided by simply installing and maintaining physical guards around conveyors and ensuring that safe working practices were in place,” said HSE Inspector Dr. Richenda Dixon in a statement. “Employers should make sure they properly assess, apply, and maintain effective control measures to minimize the risk from dangerous parts of machinery.”
Mid-UK Recycling entered a guilty plea in the Nottingham Crown Court to violations of Section 3 (1) and Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. In addition to the fine, the firm was also ordered to pay costs of £100,000.
Two employees were also sentenced by the court. A managing director, Christopher Mountain, plead guilty to Section 37 of the Safety at Work Act and was sentenced to a 20-week term in prison suspended for two years and to pay fines totaling £50,000. Former operations director Alan Munson plead guilty to the same violation and received a two-year suspension on a 20-week prison sentence.