Accident in Recycling Plant Results in £15,000 Fine

A £15,000 fine has been charged to a metal recycling plant operated by C F Booth Ltd by Rotherham Magistrates for an accident that was the consequence of serious health and safety failings.

Ryan Jackson (25) of Rawmarsh, South Yorkshire was working in the plant in December 2013 when the accident occurred. Ryan had only been employed at the plant a short while and was working alone when the machine on which he was working stopped functioning due a blockage in the system. Ryan attempted to remove the cause of the problem, under the impression that the machine would not restart once the debris was cleared.

How, once the blockage was cut out, the machine immediately started to work again. Ryan’s arm was caught by the cutting mechanism, and he suffered severe injuries to the area including a cracked shoulder blade, a shredded radial nerve and fractures to three other locations in his arm. He was immediately escorted to hospital where his injuries were treated.

In an attempt to repair the nerve damage caused by the incident, Ryan had to have a nerve removed from his calf and implanted into his shoulder to replace the one that had been destroyed by the machine. His fractured arm was rendered useless for several months following the procedure. He continues to take medication for the pain he endures.

After an investigation into the incident, it was revealed that a guard that had been placed over the tail drum had been removed, but not replaced. There was also a lack of emergency stop button near the area of the machine that had been blocked. The investigation deemed the guarding that had been around the conveyor belt leading into the cutting mechanism was inadequate. Therefore, the area in which Ryan had been working was largely unsafe.

The Health and Safety Executive subsequently prosecuted the owners of the recycling plant for violation of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. Magistrates at Rotherham Magistrates Court were informed that the plant had no management system to ensure that the guards were in place, as they were required to be. They also did not check whether proper safety procedures were being followed, or that any emergency equipment such as emergency stops or pull cords were in place and functional.It was further revealed that C F Booth Ltd had been given written advice from the Health and Safety Executive in May 2013 regarding the guards of the end drums on other conveyor belts of the site.

The defendants admitted that they had breached safety procedure, and as a consequence a serious accident had occurred in one of their plants. In addition to the £15,000 fine, they were required to pay costs of £1,595.