A skip hire firm has been fined for safety failings after a worker was hit on the head by a falling skip.
During a hearing today (10 September) at Newcastle Magistrates’ Court, magistrates learned that on the day of the incident (20 December 2010) the worker, who wishes to remain nameless, was sorting through waste that was covered in layers of frost, resulting in the accumulated debris becoming frozen and difficult to move.
The skip was subsequently turned upside down by a colleague so as the waste could be released, but as the skip was being righted it fell, hitting the worker directly on the head. His injuries were described to the court as being ‘serious’, and have left him unable to work despite the incident occurring over two and a half years ago.
The Newcastle-based company, N A Park Ltd, pleaded guilty to breaching safety regulations relating to work equipment, and has been ordered to pay a £5,000 fine as well as £2,000 in costs.
HSE inspector Andrew Woodhall – “Anyone with responsibility for equipment should ensure that they are aware of what it is actually being used for, and when tasks are required to be carried out they should provide the correct equipment for that job.
Following the hearing, HSE inspector Andrew Woodhall said: “This was a wholly avoidable incident that resulted in serious injury. It could have been prevented if N A Park Ltd had provided suitable work equipment for lifting and turning waste skips.
“Anyone with responsibility for equipment should ensure that they are aware of what it is actually being used for, and when tasks are required to be carried out they should provide the correct equipment for that job.”
The case highlights a growing need for the waste and recycling industry to tackle health and safety issues, a problem that has blighted the industry for a number of years and has even resulted in a warning from the HSE.
Upon launching a voluntary health, safety and welfare pledge earlier this year, CIWM president John Skidmore said: “The law requires organisations with more than five employees to have health and safety management policies but just having a policy is not enough.
“We want to encourage waste and recycling industry to really focus on their internal practices and systems to increase employee health and wellbeing, whilst cementing a long-term drive towards eliminating work-related incidents. It should be a core business imperative; after all, good health and safety practices save lives and save money.”