Recycling firm fined £2,000 for employee injury


A recycling firm in Bolton has been ordered to pay a total of £3,500 after an employee was ‘badly injured’ when he was struck by a steel beam weighing over 100 kilograms (kg).

Skip hire and waste management company J Doyle Ltd was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £1,500 last Friday (15 November) after Trafford Magistrates’ Court found the firm guilty of breaching the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998.

Planning failure

The company was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an investigation found it had ‘failed to make sure the work to lift beams was planned, supervised or carried out safely'.

Trafford Magistrates’ Court heard that a worker, who does not want to be named, sustained a fractured ankle, a cut to his shin, and bruising and swelling to his shin, ankle, and foot after a six-metre-long beam slid from a forklift truck in the yard at J Doyle Ltd, Gaskell Street, on 18 July 2012.

The 52-year-old victim from Horwich was off work for three months and now walks with a limp.

The incident had reportedly occurred as another worker at the site had been trying to load the steel beam into an empty skip so it could be delivered to a customer. As he did this, it slid from the forks on the forklift truck injuring the delivery driver.

An HSE investigation found the company had used this method of lifting steel beams on previous occasions, but had ‘failed to plan the work properly’.

“Risks ignored”

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Emily Osborne said: “The injuries suffered by J Doyle’s employee are still affecting him today, more than a year after the incident, and have caused him a considerable amount of pain.

“The firm should never have allowed a long steel beam, weighing over 100kg, to be lifted on a forklift truck in this dangerous way. The work was not planned and the risks ignored.”

J Doyle Ltd now reportedly uses an HIAB crane on the back of a flatbed truck to deliver beams to customers.

Osborne added: “If they had lifted the beam using this equipment at the time of the incident then the employee’s injuries could have been avoided.”

Injury’s down, death’s up

Despite this prosecution marking the latest in a line of similar cases relating to injuries in the waste sector, the most recent HSE statistics indicate that waste sector industrial injuries are falling.

The provisional ‘Health and Safety statistics 2012/13’ found that there were a total of 2864 injuries in the waste and recycling sector; 2141 in the ‘waste collection, treatment and disposal activities; materials recovery’ sector (of which 500 were ‘non-fatal major injuries’ and 1,632 were ‘over-7 day injuries’), and 51 in the ‘remediation activities and other waste management services’ sector (of which, 17 were deemed ‘non-fatal major injuries’).

Despite the fall in injuries however, figures released earlier this year (and confirmed in the 2012/13 annual statistics) found that there were almost double the number of fatalities between April 2012 and March 2013 than there were the year before. Ten workers and three members of the public suffered fatal injuries in the waste and recycling sector in 2012/13 which represents a rise from the five-year average of 4.7 (per 100,000 employees) to 8.2.

To curb the number of incidents occurring at waste sites, the HSE has published the ‘Waste Industry Safety and Health (WISH) blueprint 2013-15’, which outlines 24 ‘immediate action points’ that need to be taken to provide clearer training and safer workplaces.

Read the full ‘Health and Safety statistics 2012/13’.