Mid UK Recycling has been fined more than £1.2 million after an employee lost part of his arm in a conveyor belt at one of its Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs) in Lincolnshire.
According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Lincoln Crown Court heard that on 26 April 2015, an employee of Mid-UK Recycling Ltd was working as a line operator in the building known as ‘Unit 4 MRF’.
According to the HSE, blockages had occurred on this line and waste had become wrapped around the axle, stopping a lower conveyor.
The employee attempted to remove the waste from this axle and his glove got dragged into the in-running nip between the belt and the powered roller of the conveyor. This resulted in his left arm being amputated above the elbow.
An investigation by the HSE found that Mid UK “had failed to prevent access to dangerous parts of the conveyor”.
The HSE said the castell key system had “essentially been bypassed” allowing the system to be operated in automatic mode with persons still inside the enclosure.
Mid UK Recycling Limited (now known as MUKR Limited) pleaded guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act (1974) and was ordered to pay costs of £45,065.59 along with the fine.
Speaking after the hearing, HM Inspector Scott Wynne said, “This incident could so easily have been avoided had the company ensured that the system designed to keep people away from dangerous machinery was properly maintained. Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”
Mid UK Recycling had its head office and key MRF based in Caythorpe, Lincolnshire, and also operates from five other sites in the area. Mid UK was founded as a family business in December 1997, and said that it grew to a £37m turnover business employing over 420 staff before it was sold. The sale was in a post-administration sale to the Beauparc group in June 2019.
The case was heard at Lincoln Crown Court on 16 October.