Latest HSE prosecution heralds focus on Recycling Sector
A recycling company and its two directors have been prosecuted after multiple safety failings. In a follow-up press release the HSE promised a review into health and safety standards in waste and recycling businesses across the country and a programme of unannounced inspections starting in October. The Waste and Recycling industry had already been identified as a priority area in the HSE’s 19 new sector plans announced in September.
Northampton Crown Court heard how Monoworld Recycling had failed to manage risks when its staff worked at height, failed to suitably maintain work equipment and failed to control risks from electrical systems.. An investigation by HSE found employees were instructed to carry out work at height even after a Prohibition Notice was served and staff felt pressurised to complete their work even when they had raised concerns about their safety.
The investigation also found fork lift trucks were left with broken lights and windscreen wipers, marring drivers’ visibility. Emergency stop buttons on machinery were marked as broken but not repaired over a long period of time.
Monoworld Recycling has been fined £83,000 and ordered to pay costs of £7,000 and the two directors received fines, suspended sentences and community service. Speaking after the case HSE inspector Neil Ward said: “The Company’s failings in this case have put their workers at risk from serious personal injury. It was clear the overall approach to business risk was haphazard at best, with a culture of negligence, for which the two directors were ultimately responsible."
Rick Brunt, Head of Waste and Recycling at the HSE, said: “The waste and recycling industry continues to have one of the poorest health and safety records. This inspection initiative will look at certain activities to ensure effective management and control of risk."