Recycling firm fined £300,000 after man killed by shovel loader



Welsh recycling company Atlantic Recycling has been fined £300,000 after a father-of-two was killed by a shovel loader in 2019.

Anthony Bilton, from Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, was killed on 4 September 2019 when he was run over from behind by a Volvo shovel loader at Atlantic Recycling Limited’s Atlantic Ecopark site in Cardiff.

The 59-year-old was walking across the wood processing yard to undertake routine maintenance tasks when the incident happened. Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector Rhys Hughes said Atlantic Recycling failed to ensure pedestrians and vehicles were separated at its site.

The HSE investigation found that although a risk assessment had been produced before the work commenced, it was “not suitable nor sufficient” and did not include work taking place in the woodyard. Additionally, the risk assessment should have identified there was a risk to pedestrians where there were moving vehicles.

Anthony and Jason Bilton
Anthony and Jason Bilton

After the verdict, Anthony Bilton’s son Jason said: “It took over three hours for me to be notified that my dad had been killed in a work accident. I started to become concerned when he wasn’t home from work at his usual time and failed to answer the phone.

“There will never be real closure for my dad’s death as it should never have happened, not the way it did. My life was torn to shreds within a few hours and to this day I’m still dealing with the consequences and emotional impact.”

Atlantic Recycling Limited pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £300,000 and ordered to pay £29,917.47 in costs at Merthyr Tydfil Magistrates’ Court on 28 February 2024.

Following the sentencing, Atlantic Recycling commented: “We appreciate there is no mitigation or size of fine that will ever make up for the loss that they have suffered. Atlantic Recycling apologises unreservedly to the family and friends of Mr Bilton, for this tragic incident and the loss they continue to live with every day.

“Atlantic Recycling has cooperated throughout the investigation with the Health and Safety Executive. The court observed that there were ‘very significant mitigating features’ and favourably contrasted the conduct of Atlantic Recycling with that of many other companies.”

HSE inspector Rhys Hughes said: “This tragic incident led to the death of a father of two and could have been prevented. Atlantic Recycling Ltd should have identified and controlled the risks involved with using large plant and vehicles in line with HSE guidance.

“A safe system of work should have been in place, ensuring that pedestrians and vehicles were segregated. This is sadly a common cause of fatal incidents in this sector. The most effective way of protecting pedestrians in any workplace is to make transport routes entirely separate.”

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