Savanna Rags International Limited, a clothing and textile recycling company, have been prosecuted following the death of a 76-year-old employee. The woman was fatally injured by a reversing delivery vehicle on 26 April 2016.

Mansfield Magistrates' Court heard that the woman had been walking towards the smoking shelter in the rear yard during her afternoon break when a delivery vehicle being driven by a visiting driver reversed towards the rear yard. She was struck by the rear of the vehicle and sustained fatal injuries.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation showed that the company had not made suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks arising from vehicle movement. It was custom and practice for vehicles to reverse from the weighbridge that was also used by employees to access the factory. No measures were in place to adequately separate pedestrians from moving vehicles and there was no safe system of work to ensure that vehicles could safely manoeuvre.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations SI 1999/3242, and the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations SI 1992/3004. The company was fined £650,000 and ordered to pay full costs of £3,300.25.

Following the hearing, HSE Inspector Aaron Rashad said:

“This was a tragic and wholly avoidable incident, caused by the failure of the company to undertake a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks arising from the movement of vehicles and implement safe systems of work. This meant the company failed to put in place a number of simple safety measures including segregating vehicles and pedestrians and reducing the need for vehicles to reverse. Sadly, this is the most common cause of fatal injuries in this sector. HSE is currently in the middle of targeting waste and recycling premises with an inspection initiative that will look at certain activities to ensure effective management and control of risk.”

He further called on people working in the industry to refresh their knowledge of HSE advice and guidance, adding that “every worker has the right to return from work safe in the knowledge that their employer takes their health and safety seriously.”

For more information, see the: