A recycling company has been fined for safety failings after a worker lost his arm after trapping it between a roller and the belt of a moving conveyor at a site in North East London.
Domingos da Conceicao Freitas, 28, had to have his dominant right arm amputated following the incident at MSK Waste Management and Recycling Ltd, in 2012.
Kent-based company MSK was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an investigation identified that the conveyor system posed a clear risk because it was missing important safety guards.
Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard (23 October) that agency worker Freitas was working on a picking line to sort waste and transfer materials to different bins.
HSE Inspector Gabriella Dimitrov – “Incidents of this kind occur all too often in the recycling sector, and the onus is on companies like MSK to acknowledge the dangers posed by unsafe machines and risky methods of work for clearing blockages, and to take action”
A blockage occurred and he asked by a supervisor to clear it while he and others took a break.
Magistrates were told the incident could have been prevented had the guards been in place, and had there been a safer system of work for clearing blockages that was properly relayed to all workers.
MSK Waste Management and Recycling Ltd, registered to Station Road, Sidcup, Kent, was fined £10,000 and was ordered to pay a further £5,944 in costs plus £5,000 in compensation after pleading guilty to a single breach of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.
After the hearing HSE Inspector Gabriella Dimitrov said: “Mr Freitas has been left with a permanent, life-changing injury as a result of an incident that could easily have been avoided had the conveyor been properly guarded.
“Incidents of this kind occur all too often in the recycling sector, and the onus is on companies like MSK to acknowledge the dangers posed by unsafe machines and risky methods of work for clearing blockages, and to take action.
“We will continue to prosecute when worker safety is compromised.”