Health and Safety News

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County Durham firm fined after worker struck by waste vehicle

First Skips Ltd. has been prosecuted for safety failings after a worker was seriously injured when a vehicle reversed into him.

The 25-year-old, from Blackhall, was working in a sorting shed at the waste and recycling company in Shotton Colliery when the incident occurred on 8 October 2009.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reports that he was sorting recyclable material by hand from the area where dry waste was deposited. A telescopic materials handler was being operated close by. As the driver of the vehicle carried out his operations, he reversed into the area where the other employee was working. The vehicle struck the employee and knocked him to the ground.

The worker suffered a broken shoulder, two fractured toe bones and a cracked rib. He was off work for several months but has since made a full recovery.

Victoria Wise, prosecuting on behalf of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), told Peterlee Magistrates' Court the company had failed to ensure that a safe system of work was in place for the hand sorting of recyclables near moving vehicles, despite the fact that this activity made up a substantial part of the company's daily undertaking.

The company, of Thornley Station Industrial Estate, Shotton Colliery, was fined £3,350 and ordered to pay £3,528.70 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

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