A recycling company, Mid-UK Recycling Ltd from Sleaford has been fined £880,000 and two company directors have been given suspended prison sentences after a “horrific” accident involving an industrial waste shredder, which resulted in death of an agency worker at the company's site in Barkston Heath.

On 19 July 2013, Karlis Pavasars was cleaning an area around an industrial waste shredder. When working near the conveyor belt that was feeding into the shredder, the machine started up, drawing the worker up along the line through a trommel and into the waste shredder.

After an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) it has been found that the fixed gate that was aiming to prevent contact with the conveyor belt was removed weeks before the accident took place, something which the company's management were aware of. 

The investigation also uncovered a number of other failings that made work around the recycling line unsafe, including lack of appropriate design and safety provisions for employees working on and around the machine, including separation of wheeled vehicles and pedestrians, failure to install and maintain appropriate guarding to prevent access to the machine, while it was in operation, as well as failure to appropriately train and supervise agency workers.

Mid-UK Recycling Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching sections of Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSW Act) on the duties of employers to their employees and persons other than their employees, and has been fined £880,000 and ordered to pay costs of £100,000.

Managing Director, Christopher Mountain and the former Operations Director, Alan Munson, pleaded guilty for breaching the HSW Act on the offences by the body corporate, and were both sentenced to a 20 week imprisonment suspended for two years. Christopher Mountain was also fined £50,000.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Dr Richenda Dixon said “This horrific fatality could so easily have been avoided by simply installing and maintaining physical guards around the conveyors and ensuring that safe working practices were in place. Employers should make sure they properly assess, apply and maintain effective control measures to minimise the risk from dangerous parts of the machinery”.

For more information see:

  • Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) SI 1998/2306.