25 February 2019 by Elizabeth Slow

UPM fined after ‘fatal crush’ at Shotton paper mill

Paper manufacturer and recycler UPM was one of two companies to have been fined £350,000 this month after a worker suffered fatal crush injuries at the company’s Shotton Paper Mill in 2017.

Last week, Mold Magistrates Court heard how on 6 February 2017, a 29-year-old employee of C M Downton (Haulage Contractors) Ltd was fatally crushed when he was struck from behind by a Volvo shovel loader whilst working at the paper mill.

UPM’s Shotton paper mill

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), had concluded that there was no safe system of work to segregate pedestrians and vehicles and that drivers had “limited visibility” when driving large shovel loaders.

UPM-Kymmene (UK) Limited of Irvine, Ayrshire pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and last week was fined £350,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6,711.90. The firm was also ordered to pay £170 victim surcharge.

C M Downton (Haulage Contractors) Limited of Moreton Valance, also pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 2 (1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £350,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6,613.90. The company was also ordered to pay £170 victim surcharge.

” This is a reminder to all employers to properly assess and apply effective control measures to minimise the risks from moving vehicles in their workplaces.”


Mhairi Duffy
HSE

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Mhairi Duffy, said: “This death would have been prevented had an effective system for managing workplace transport been in place. This is a reminder to all employers to properly assess and apply effective control measures to minimise the risks from moving vehicles in their workplaces.”

At the time of the incident, UPM named the employee as contract worker Austin Thomas (see letsrecycle.com story). A comment has been requested from UPM.

‘Extremely saddened’

When contacted by letsrecycle.com, a spokesperson for C M Downton said the company was “extremely saddened by the death” and expressed its “continued condolences”.

“Austin was a highly regarded and valuable member of the Downton team working at UPM’s Shotton Paper Mill,” the spokesperson said.

“The Company immediately accepted its responsibility for any circumstances which may have contributed to the events leading up to Austin’s fatal accident. Immediately after the accident, working closely with the HSE, it took steps, alongside UPM, the owners of the premises, to address any concerns.”

The Shotton paper mill, run by Finnish forest products giant UPM, is one of the largest newsprint mills in the UK. The plant at Deeside processes around 360,000 tonnes of paper per annum.

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