22 October 2019 by Joshua Doherty

HSE probes two separate sector fatalities

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is investigating two separate fatalities which occurred in the waste and recycling sector earlier this month.

One of the deaths happened at Viridor’s materials recycling facility in Northamptonshire on 10 October and the other incident was at Veolia’s Great Yarmouth decommissioning facility seven days later.


According to Northamptonshire Police, they were called at about 10am on 10 October to reports of “the sudden death of a man in his sixties” at Viridor’s materials recycling facility in Earls Barton.

The incident – which unconfirmed reports have said is believed to have involved a lorry driver –  is not being treated as suspicious. The Northamptonshire Coroner confirmed to letsrecycle.com that the case is currently in the post-mortem stage.

The facility is located in Earls Barton, around eight miles east of Northampton.

In a statement, a spokesperson from Viridor said: “Viridor can confirm that an incident involving a third-party contractor took place on the morning of Thursday, 10 October, at its Earls Barton Materials Recycling Facility in Northamptonshire. Tragically, the person involved suffered fatal injuries.

“We take our health and safety responsibilities very seriously. Nothing is more important than the safety of those working at our sites, whether this is our own staff or contractors who work with our teams.

“We are currently working with the police and the Health & Safety Executive. Our thoughts are with the family, friends and colleagues of the deceased at this difficult time.”

Viridor operates the MRF in Earls Barton following a 2010 deal which saw it acquire the business from Reconomy. The Earls Barton site is understood to also have a special focus on the recycling of paper and card handling 52,000 tonnes of material a year.

The HSE said it is “aware” of the incident and is assisting the police who are leading the investigation.


Elsewhere, investigations are also continuing after one man died and another was seriously injured following an “industrial accident” at Veolia’s decommissioning site in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.

An oil rig being being lowered into position at Veolia’s plant in 2017

The incident took place shortly before 11am on Thursday, 17 October involving two Veolia employees.

Police confirmed that the man who died was in his sixties, while a man in is forties remains seriously injured and was taken to a local hospital for treatment.

Commenting on the incident, John Abraham, Veolia’s chief operating officer, water & industrial customers, said:   “At 10.50am on Thursday 17th October, the emergency services were called to attend an incident at Great Yarmouth’s outer harbour involving two Veolia employees. With deep sadness I can confirm that one employee has since passed away and another remains seriously injured and our thoughts are with their families and colleagues on site at this time.

“As a company we take health and safety extremely seriously. A thorough investigation is currently underway and we are working closely and fully co-operating with the relevant authorities.”

The Norfolk Coroner’s Office confirmed to letsrecycle.com that it is investigating. The police said the case has been passed to the HSE.

On its website, Veolia describes the site in Great Yarmouth as a “purpose built” facility which manages “the deconstruction and recycling of both topsides and jacket structures that comprise around 1,600 tonnes of materials and assets”.



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