Waste management firm Viridor pleaded guilty to causing a “life changing injury” to one of its employees, resulting in a fine of £400,000.
Folkestone Magistrates’ Court heard that, on 27 February 2017, an employee of Viridor Waste Management Limited was crushed by a reversing 22.5 tonne shovel loader driven by an on-site contractor at Viridor’s Crayford Materials Recycling Facility site in Crayford.
The injured employee (Mr McGechie) was working on foot in the area in his role as banksman, assisting a lorry to manoeuvre into a bay while a shovel loader reversed out of the bay independently, knocking him to the ground and driving over the lower half of his body.
He suffered “very serious internal injuries and multiple serious fractures, both with significant life changing effects,” according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
This incident is a reminder to the waste and recycling industry as to the importance of good workplace transport control which can often be achieved by simple pragmatic steps to avoid such incidents from occurring
An investigation by the HSE found that Viridor Waste Management Limited “failed to organise the workplace in such a way that pedestrians and vehicles could circulate in a safe manner”.
This prosecution is the fourth in four years for this company, the HSE says, two of which related to fatal incidents.
Viridor Waste Management Limited of Crayford Creek, Dartford, was found in breach of Regulation 4(1) of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 by virtue of Regulation 17(1). The company was fined £400,000.
Speaking after the case HSE inspector Megan Carr said “This incident is a reminder to the waste and recycling industry as to the importance of good workplace transport control which can often be achieved by simple pragmatic steps to avoid such incidents from occurring.
“HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”
In a statement to the court, Viridor’s Managing Director sincerely apologised to Mr McGechie and his family for the injuries he suffered. The company accepted that, despite having specific procedures in place to safely manage vehicles on site, on this occasion they were regrettably not followed. The court recognised this and noted Viridor’s support of Mr McGechie and his family.
A spokesperson said the incident had had a profound impact on Viridor, adding: “We take our health and safety responsibilities very seriously. Absolutely nothing is more important than the safety of our people.”