Totternhoe Metal Recycling Limited (TMR) have been fined £12,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,889.60 after pleading guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. They were also ordered to pay a £120 victim surcharge.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted TMR after a 40 year old employee suffered damage to his hand and arm whilst delivering waste metal to the company's recycling centre. A wheeled crane was used to unload the metal from the van but whilst the van was parked, the crane's counterbalance hit the van's rear door and caught the employee's left hand.

As a result, the worker lost the top of his thumb and also damaged his arm. He required skin grafts to his thumb and surgery to repair the damage to his arm. Unfortunately, the worker is unable to use his thumb or grip anything with his left hand, even though the injury was sustained 15 months ago.

HSE inspector Emma Page said: “The accident rate within the waste and recycling industry remains one of the highest in any industry. As in this case many of these incidents relate to contact between vehicles and pedestrians.

“Totternhoe failed to put in place control measures to ensure adequate segregation of vehicles and pedestrians despite having identified and acted upon this issue at another site belonging to their sister company. Had they done so, the injuries to this worker, which have left him affected both physically and emotionally, could have been avoided.”

She added: “Where duty holders fall short of industry standards, HSE will not hesitate to take enforcement action against those who create the risk.”