Conwy man killed after getting caught in recycling machinery

A man has died at a North Wales recycling plant after getting trapped in machinery, police have said.

Alarms were raised at Recycle Cymru, a commercial waste disposal company in the North Wales county of Conwy, at around 7.30pm on Thursday evening (30 November).

Rapid response units and police, ambulance and fire crews were called to the site on the Tir Llwyd Industrial Estate in Kinmel Bay, but the man, Norman Butler, 60, was pronounced dead at the scene. 

UPDATE: At the opening of the inquest into the incident, coroner John Gittins said that the provisional cause of death was given as massive blood loss due to amputation of his left foot. The full inquest is due to begin in May 2018.

"I am absolutely devastated and shocked," said Stephen Jones, Managing Director of Recycle Cymru. "He had been working for us for about three months and he loved the job. He was a fantastic guy. My feelings go out to his immediate family. We are working with the authorities to find out what happened."

Police are now investigating the incident and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has been notified and is assisting North Wales Police with its inquiries.

The waste and recycling sector is one of the most dangerous in the country. According to figures released by the HSE in July, the number of people fatally injured in the industry more than doubled between 2015/16 and 2016/17, with 14 people killed.

Two weeks ago a 23-year-old man was killed after falling into an industrial baler in Redruth, Cornwall, while in August a worker died after at an explosion at a recycling plant in the West Midlands town of Oldbury.

Despite being a relatively small sector in terms of employment, the annual average fatal injury rate over the past five years is ‘around 15 times as high’ as the all-industry rate. This makes it the second most dangerous industry, ahead of construction, whose rate is four times as high as the all industry rate, but less than the agricultural industry, whose rate is around 18 times as high.

HSE statistics released in November, meanwhile, show that an average of 5,000 workers in the UK waste industry sustain injuries a year, with 6,000 suffering from work-related illnesses.

In September, in an attempt to improve the sector’s health and safety record, the HSE published a plan for increasing health and safety in the waste and recycling industry, identifying reducing fatal injuries from moving vehicles and incidence of musculoskeletal disorders and lung disease among employees as priorities. 

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