Updated: Man killed by bucket loader in UPM Shotton paper mill collision
North Wales Police (NWP) were called to the mill on Deeside Industrial Park at 12.05pm yesterday (6 February), after the man, now confirmed as contract worker Austin Thomas, was hit by the vehicle in the recovered fibre warehouse, which is used to store paper prior to recycling.
The company’s emergency response team were first onto the scene, and paramedics were called immediately, but the man was announced dead at the scene.
UPM Shotton, part of the UPM Paper group, manufactures recycled newsprint and it site includes a materials recycling facility (MRF), paper machine and biomass combined heat and power unit, employing 200 staff.
Just last week (30 January), a fire broke out in an ‘isolated part’ of the MRF, causing the whole facility to be temporarily shut down.
Detective Chief Inspector Neil Harrison said: “A man is currently in custody helping police with inquiries, and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have been informed as the collision did not occur on a public road. An investigation is ongoing to establish the full circumstances of this tragic incident.”
North Wales Police and the HSE are on site and are carrying out interviews with all witnesses and staff. The recovered paper warehouse is closed until further notice.
The plant’s General Manager David Ingham said: “At this time we are investigating the full details of the incident, working closely with the emergency services and the HSE. Our immediate thoughts are with the individual’s family and colleagues.
“We will provide full support to all staff involved and investigate fully with all parties.”
UPM has said that the man, a contract worker, was killed by a large bucket loader being driven by another contract worker to transport paper from the warehouse to the plant's recycling lines.
The company said: “North Wales Police subsequently arrested the driver of the bucket loader, who assisted them with their enquiries. The driver has now been released without further charge.
“The HSE has concluded interviewing of witnesses and reviewed materials relating to the incident. North Wales Police has handed the case to HSE for sole investigation. UPM will continue to fully support.”
Ingham added: “We have had many individuals and companies, from within the UK paper industry and beyond, who have made contact with us to express condolences to the bereaved and solidarity with all employees who have been affected by the tragic accident.”
UPM and Downton, who are contracted to provide warehouse services for UPM Shotton, have now fully reviewed all procedures following the incident. UPM says that the HSE has also been consulted and have approved these procedures.
More information about fatalities in the waste sector can be found in Resource’s previous article.