A Liverpool recycling company has been ordered to pay over £130,000 in fines and costs after one of its employees, Paul Andrews, was fatally crushed by plastic bales.
The case against Centriforce Products Limited, which dates back to an incident in 2017, was heard at Liverpool Crown Court, following an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive.
The Court heard how, on 24 May 2017, waste plastic bales had been delivered to Centriforce Products Limited’s site at Derby Road, Liverpool and were stacked as free-standing columns in a yard.
HSE notes that during the morning, a fork lift truck (FLT) driver noticed one of the columns consisting of bales stacked three high, had partially collapsed obstructing his path. He subsequently used the fork lift truck to straighten and stabilize the stack before continuing on his way.
Some hours later Paul Andrews was working in the immediate vicinity of the stack “when it toppled, with the middle and top bales, weighing over 500kg, falling and crushing him,” HSE says. The scene of the collapse was not discovered until nearly an hour later when efforts to revive him failed.
An investigation by HSE found Centriforce Products Limited had failed to store waste plastic bales securely in such a way as to prevent the risk of collapse. The company has also failed to carry out a suitable assessment which would have identified risks to the safety of employees located within the danger zone of unstable stacks, HSE reports.
Centriforce Products Limited of Errington Works, Derby Road, Bootle pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and has been fined £120,000 and ordered to pay costs of £10,540.95.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Rohan Lye said: “This appalling incident could so easily have been prevented if Paul’s employer had acted to identify and manage the risks involved, and put a safe system of work in place. Their failure to do so has left Claire without her husband and two daughters without their father.”
“Employers should make sure they properly assess and apply effective control measures to minimise the risk from dangerous work activities and prevent future tragedies.”Rohan Lye
“Employers should make sure they properly assess and apply effective control measures to minimise the risk from dangerous work activities and prevent future tragedies.”
A statement issued by the directors of Centriforce says: “We are very sorry for this tragic accident to Paul Andrews. We offer our deepest sympathies and full support to Paul’s family and friends.
“Paul was a very popular colleague and his death has affected us all profoundly, both personally and professionally.
“The safety of our workforce is always our primary concern. We have invested significantly in health and safety and will continue to do so.”
Mr Andrews is survived by his wife Claire and his two daughters.
According to its website, Centriforce Products Limited is a UK-based plastics processor and reprocessor.