Wolverhampton recycling firm fined £100k after worker requires double amputation
Wolverhampton-based Jack Moody Recycling Ltd has today been fined £100,000 after a worker was left with life-changing injuries following an incident with moving machinery.
Shrewsbury Crown Court heard how, on 5 December 2014, James Hurst, who was working as a litter picker at the time, was struck by a shovel loader while standing next to a brick wall at Lodgewood Farm, Telford, where Jack Moody Recycling recycles green waste materials.
Following an investigation led by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), it was found that the loading shovel driver had initially thought that he had hit the brick wall and did not realise that he had struck Hurst. When the driver climbed down from the cab to check the machine for damage, he found Hurst seriously injured on the floor.
Hurst, who was in his thirties, was airlifted to hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery. He was discharged from hospital on Christmas Eve after having both of his legs amputated below the knees.
Hurst died in September 2016, but his death was unrelated to his injuries.
Prosecutor Alex Stein told the court that the incident occurred due to the loading shovel driver being “blinded by the sun”, and that the subsequent investigation found that risk assessments carried out by the firm had been “inadequate”.
James Leonard, representing the defence, stated that safety procedures were put in place by the firm to prevent accidents but recorder Martin Jackson told the court that despite first carrying out a risk assessment in November 2011, which was renewed annually from that point, the assessment had failed to adequately take into account the need to take measures to segregated pedestrians and vehicles.
Jack Moody Recycling pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 after failing to ensure the health, safety and welfare of James Hurst while he was in the company’s employ. The company will also have to pay £17,641.62 in court costs and a £120 victim surcharge.
Part of the Jack Moody Group, the company carries out composting, anaerobic digestion, biomass and intert material processing for commercial and domestic clients.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector David Kivlin said: “This is a heartbreaking story where a worker suffered horrendous injuries. It is vital that organisations have proper risk management in place when pedestrians and large industrial machinery are working closely together.
“The waste and recycling sector, which is made up of around 120,000 workers, has a statistically higher rate of workplace injury and work-related ill health than other sectors. In trying to address this issue, HSE is currently in the middle of targeting the sector with an inspection initiative that will look at certain activities to ensure effective management and control of risk.
“We are calling on anyone working in the industry to take the time to refresh their knowledge of our advice and guidance, available for free on our website. Every worker has the right to return from work safe in the knowledge that their employer takes their health and safety seriously.”