Fatal incident on recycling site sees company fined £2m

  • Business Advice
Fatal incident on recycling site sees company fined £2m
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Peninsula Team, Peninsula Team

(Last updated )

 A recycling company was fined £2.15 million for poor safety management that led to the death of a worker on their site

The incident took place in January 2020, at Ward Recycling Limited’s premises on Windermere Road, Longhill Industrial Estate. Dean Atkinson, an agency worker on their site, was returning from the site’s welfare cabins to his workstation, passing through a mobile plant traffic area where two loading shovels were operating.

As he passed it, one of the loading shovels struck and killed Mr Atkinson. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Cleveland Police investigated his death, leading to a prosecution on charges of corporate manslaughter and breaches of health and safety regulations by Ward Recycling.

HSE’s investigation uncovered a lack of basic control measures for traffic management, notably a lack of segregation of vehicle and pedestrian traffic on site.

Loading shovels need to be segregated from pedestrian traffic, as the operator’s visibility is limited by the shovel. HSE’s assessment found that an area over 10 metres in front of the vehicle was obscured from the driver’s view.

Ward Recycling pleaded not guilty, but following a trial at Middlesborough Crown Court, they were found guilty of breaching Section 1 of the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007, Section 2(1) and Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Sentencing took place on 26 January 2024, when the company was fined £1.75m for corporate manslaughter and £400,000 for breaching health and safety regulations.

HSE Inspector Stephen Garner said: “This tragic incident could easily have been avoided if Ward Recycling had implemented simple control measures.

“Following the incident, it took the company less than a week to put in place an alternative traffic route to protect pedestrians.

“Had this been in place before the incident, Dean Atkinson would not have lost his life. Sadly, pedestrians being struck by vehicles on waste sites has caused many fatal accidents on waste sites and the industry should be well aware of the risks.”

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