15 May 2019 by Elizabeth Slow

Morpeth waste firm fined £500,000 after employee fatality

Northumberland-based Sanders Plant and Waste Management Ltd has been fined £500,0000 after an employee was fatally injured when he was struck by a reversing loading shovel.

The penalty was handed down by Newcastle Upon Tyne Crown Court this week, and dates back to an incident in 2015 at the company’s site in Morpeth.

The prosecution was brought by the Health and Safety Executive

The Court was told that on 15 June 2015, a wheeled front-loading shovel was being operated in the main waste processing shed at the company’s facility.

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the vehicle, driven by another employee, was loading waste into both a trommel and a parked haulage vehicle. During the course of this operation the vehicle struck a site operative, George Richardson. Mr Richardson was fatally injured and died at the scene from his injuries.


Following an investigation, the HSE said that it had found evidence “of a lack of pedestrian and vehicle segregation” in the waste shed meaning that pedestrians and vehicles “could not circulate in a safe manner”.

The company had carried out a risk assessment prior to the incident that identified some control measures to reduce the risks from operating the loading shovel and a fork lift truck on site, HSE noted. However, these control measures “had not been fully implemented nor were they sufficient to manage the risk of collision between vehicles and pedestrians.” There was also no risk assessment or traffic management plan considering the safe movement of vehicles across the site, according to HSE.

Sanders Plant and Waste Management Limited of 40 Butterwell Drive, Pegswood, Morpeth pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £500,000 with costs of £14,041.96.


After the hearing, HSE inspector Laura Catterall said: “The HSE investigation found an inadequate assessment of the risks of vehicle movements in the waste shed and a lack of segregation of vehicles and pedestrians. There are more than 5,000 accidents involving transport in the workplace every year, and, like in this case, sadly, some are fatal.

“There are more than 5,000 accidents involving transport in the workplace every year, and, like in this case, sadly, some are fatal.”

Laura Catterall

“A properly implemented transport risk assessment should have identified sufficient measures to segregate people and vehicles and provide safe facilities.”

Kerry Richardson speaking on behalf of Mr Richardson’s family, said: “More than anything my whole family don’t want anyone else to lose their life and another family to go through what my family has gone through and is still going through.”

Sanders Plant and Waste Management Ltd says it currently operates throughout Northumberland and Tyne & Wear and provides a range of waste management and plant hire services.

When contacted by letsrecycle.com, Sanders Plant and Waste Management Ltd was unavailable for comment.


To post your comment, please login or signup.

Login Sign up