Recycling company fined £2 million after agency worker killed



A recycling company has been fined £2.15 million after being found guilty of corporate manslaughter following the death of an agency worker at its site in Hartlepool.

Dean Atkinson, 32, was struck and run over by a loading shovel at Ward Recycling Limited’s premises on Windermere Road, Longhill Industrial Estate in January 2020.

Ward recycling
Ward recycling site in Hartlepool.

Atkinson had been returning from the site’s welfare cabins to his workstation on the picking line. He was walking across a traffic area at the site where mobile plant equipment operated when a loading shovel struck and killed Atkinson.

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector Stephen Garner said Atkinson’s death could have been prevented had Ward Recycling implemented an alternative traffic route for pedestrians at its site on Windermere Road.

Atkinson’s death prompted investigations from HSE and Cleveland Police with Ward Recycling later being prosecuted by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). The company was found guilty of committing corporate manslaughter and breaching health and safety regulations after a trial at Middlesbrough Crown Court.

This tragic incident could easily have been avoided if Ward Recycling had implemented simple control measures.

The HSE’s investigation found Ward Recycling, which went into liquidation in 2021, failed to protect pedestrians from the mobile plant operations it was carrying out at the site. The HSE said there were no suitable traffic management arrangements in place, meaning pedestrians were at risk of being struck by moving vehicles, including loading shovels.

HSE inspector Stephen Garner commented: “This tragic incident could easily have been avoided if Ward Recycling had implemented simple control measures. Following the incident, it took the company less than a week to put in place an alternative traffic route to protect pedestrians.

“Had this been in place before the incident, Dean Atkinson would not have lost his life. Sadly, pedestrians being struck by vehicles on waste sites has caused many fatal accidents on waste sites and the industry should be well aware of the risks.”

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