Waste firm fined £500,000 following worker’s death

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A waste collection and recycling firm has been fined £500,000 following an accident in which a worker died after being struck by a reversing telehandler.

The Health and Safety Executive, which later investigated the accident, said the worker - an employee of United Grab Hire waste company - was struck by the machine while crossing a yard at the company’s premises at Rivington Farm, Peeks Brook Lane, Horley.

He suffered multiple injuries and later died in hospital.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found the company had failed to address the management of large vehicle movements on its site and had not carried out an on-site health and safety inspection.

In addition the driver of the telehandler involved in the incident had not received any training in operating the vehicle.

United Grab Hire Ltd of Rivington Farm, Horley, pleaded guilty at Brighton Magistrates Court to breaching health and safety regulations and was fined £500,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,968.42.

United Grab Hire director Mark Howland also pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc and was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, and ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid community service.

Speaking after the hearing, Health and Safety Executive inspector Russell Beckett said: “This was a wholly avoidable incident, caused by the failure of the company and its director to take simple steps.

“Vehicle movements cause numerous serious injuries and deaths in the waste and recycling sector and in this case, were not controlled even at a basic level at this company’s site.

“ The company failed to have adequate pedestrian segregation measures such as walkways or crossing points in areas where pedestrians walked routinely.

“Reversing of large vehicles near to pedestrians was commonplace. This was a dangerous mix which led to this tragic incident involving a much-loved husband, father and grandfather losing his life.”