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Investigations begin after Viridor employee found dead at recycling facility

Investigations are under way after a worker was found dead at a Milton Keynes materials recycling facility (MRF) operated by waste management company Viridor after an incident on Monday afternoon (8 August).
 
Viridor has confirmed that the 42-year-old man, who has not yet been named, was an employee at the recycling facility. 
 
Thames Valley Police first received a report of an ‘unexplained death’ at the recycling plant in Colts Holm Road, Old Wolverton, shortly before 5.30pm on Monday. According to reports in the local media, the man had just finished his shift and was due to leave the site when the incident happened. 
 
A statement read: "Officers and the ambulance service attended the scene where a man, aged in his forties, was found deceased. His next of kin and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have been informed. 
 
"The death is being treated as unexplained but not believed to be suspicious and a file is being prepared for the coroner."
 
Viridor is working with the authorities, who are undertaking a full investigation into the incident. Counseling support is also being offered to other colleagues working at the site to help them deal with the tragic situation. 
 
Ian McAulay, Chief Executive of Viridor, said: “The entire Viridor team are deeply saddened to hear of the death of our colleague.  Our thoughts are with him, his family, friends and colleagues at this difficult time.”
 
The Milton Keynes MRF, which has been run by Viridor since 2011, was built 23 years ago. It currently runs 24 hours a day processing 100,000 tonnes of material a year from Milton Keynes Council’s municipal waste collection service.
 
UPDATE (12 August): The employee has now been named as Rafal Swiadek, who worked at the facility as a mechanical machine cleaner. An inquest carried out by the coroner has heard that Swiadek's body was found in a ballistic waste separating machine after he did not turn up for a taxi he had booked to take him home from work.
 
The inquest heard that CCTV footage showed Swiadek climbing into the machine, 'possibly to clean' it.
 
The inquest has now been adjourned while ivnestigations are completed.

Death comes a month after Birmingham tragedy

This incident comes just over a month after five men were killed during a wall collapse at a scrap metal recycling facility in Birmingham. 
 
Six men were trapped after a 4.5 metre wall holding back tonnes of scrap metal collapsed. One man was able to be dragged from the rubble and was treated at hospital with a broken leg, the other five men died at the scene. 
 
The reason for the collapse of the wall is of yet unknown, but an investigation is currently underway. 
 
Meanwhile in April, four deaths were reported involving collisions with waste vehicles, including two incidents where a pedestrian was hit by a refuse vehicle, one in which a car collided with a refuse vehicle and one involving a member of a bin crew being hit by his own vehicle.
 
Although statistics released by the HSE show that last year (running from 1 April 2015 until the end of March 2016) deaths in the waste and recycling industry had fallen in comparison to the previous year, it is still one of the most dangerous sectors in the UK. 
 
In 2015/16 six people were fatally injured, which is a significant decrease from the 11 deaths in 2014/15. However, last year the rate of fatalities in the waste and recycling sector was 5.71 deaths for every 100,000 people working in these industries. The five-year average is 5.59. 
 
The only sector to have a higher rate is the agricultural industry, with 9.12 deaths per 100,000 people. 
 

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