Warwickshire recycling firm to pay £11k after truck hits pensioner

Recycling firm R&S Recycling Ltd has been ordered to pay a fine of £5,000 after one of its lorries struck a pensioner near Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire.

The 77-year old woman was hit by one of the company’s waste collection vehicles while it was reversing outside the former Badger Nurseries, Mappleborough Green in June 2015.

Although the woman did not sustain any serious injuries, R&S Recycling Ltd has been successfully prosecuted by Stratford-upon-Avon District Council under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulation 1999.

The truck had been reversing into the public car park at Badger Nurseries following a collection of recycling waste by the Beoley-based firm.

R&S has been fined £5,000, but the total payout will rise to £11,757 when the fine, court costs of £6,637 and a £120 victim surcharge are combined.

During sentencing on 6 June, magistrates at Nuneaton Magistrates Court took into account the company’s finances, its reticence to cooperate with Stratford-on-Avon District Council and a previous prosecution following the death of a worker on its site back in 2011, although a lack of communication from Badger Nurseries was cited in mitigation.

R&S, based in Redditch, was fined £100,000 after a worker was killed by a falling bale of waste in 2011. An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found that the stacks were ‘uneven and too high’ and that the company was guilty of ‘failing to properly control the risks to employees working at the site, particularly with regard to the proper storage and safe stacking of waste materials’.

Following the trial, Councillor Mike Brian, portfolio holder for community and technical services at Stratford-upon-Avon District Council, said: "This was a very unfortunate incident which could easily have been avoided by the company carrying-out a risk assessment specific to this site and identifying the need to use a reversing assistant or collect the waste when the nursery was closed to the public.

“Reversing heavy vehicles is an inherently dangerous task which should be avoided where possible by arranging site layouts so that it’s not required.

"However, where it’s unavoidable measures must be taken to reduce the risk, such as the use of reversing assistants and, in areas where members of the public may be present, ensuring heavy vehicle movements are limited to times when the public don’t have access. I hope this prosecution sends a clear message that the district council will take action in order to protect and safeguard the public.”

Earlier this week the Waste Industry Safety and Health (WISH) Forum released a new guidance document on effective monitoring in waste and recycling collections, aimed at improving health and safety procedures in the waste management industry.

The guidance is designed to assist those monitoring whether health and safety procedures and policies are actually being followed during collections.

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