Recycling firm handed £117k court bill after worker suffered life-changing injuries in Telford
A recycling firm has been handed a court bill of more than £117,000 after a worker was struck by a 36-ton machine, causing life-changing injuries.
James Hurst was working as a litter picker for Jack Moody Recycling at Lodgewood Farm, Redhill, when he was struck by a loading shovel as he was standing next to a brick wall, Shrewsbury Crown Court heard.
Prosecutor Alex Stein said Mr Hurst lost both of his legs just below the knees due to the accident in December 2014.
Mr Hurst, who was in his 30s, was airlifted to hospital where he had emergency surgery and was released on Christmas Eve.
The court heard he died in September last year but his death was not related to his injuries.
Mr Stein said the incident at Lodgewood Farm happened when the loading shovel driver became "blinded by the sun".
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the driver initially thought he had just hit the wall and had not realised he had struck someone.
The driver climbed down from the cab to check for damage and found the employee badly injured on the floor.
Mr Stein said the investigation found that risk assessments carried out by the firm were "inadequate".
Jack Moody Recycling pleaded guilty to failing to ensure the health, safety and welfare of James Hurst on December 5, 2014.
Mr James Leonard, representing the firm, said the company had made significant efforts in relation to the risks it did identify and there were safety procedures in place.
The court was told the firm has an annual turnover of £6m and the site in Telford recycles green waste materials.
Mr Hurst had been employed by the company for about two years.
Recorder Martin Jackson said it had been noisy at the scene of the accident and workers had to communicate using hand signals.
He said the firm had first carried out a risk assessment in November 2011 and it is reviewed each year.
But he said it had failed to recognise the need to take measures to segregate pedestrians and vehicles.
Mr Jackson said: "There was potential there for catastrophic, if not fatal injuries."
The company was fined £100,000 and will have to pay £17,641.62 costs and £120 victim surcharge.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector David Kivlin said: “This is a heart-breaking story where a worker suffered horrendous injuries.
“It is vital that organisations have proper risk management in place when pedestrians and large industrial machinery are working closely together.
“The waste and recycling sector, which is made up of around 120,000 workers, has a statistically higher rate of workplace injury and work-related ill health than other sectors.
“In trying to address this issue, HSE is currently in the middle of targeting the sector with an inspection initiative that will look at certain activities to ensure effective management and control of risk.
“We are calling on anyone working in the industry to take the time to refresh their knowledge of our advice and guidance, available for free on our website. Every worker has the right to return from work safe in the knowledge that their employer takes their health and safety seriously.”
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