The death of a worker has led to European Metal Recycling (EMR) having to pay fines and costs of £370,000.
EMR was prosecuted by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) after Linas Mataitis from Mitcham in south London was struck by the bucket of a wheeled loading shovel at EMR’s site on Scrubs Lane, Willesden, during a shutdown clean-up on 18 July 2010.
He sustained fatal injuries after being pushed and pinned against a steel column by the large vehicle.
Linus was from a team of temporary workers that were clearing and scraping dirt near to the conveyors that feed the shredder.
A subsequent HSE investigation found that although EMR had a documented procedure for cleaning dirt around the conveyors, which mentioned the use of a Bobcat excavator, it did not cover the shutdown operation when the safety gates were open, when more vehicles were operating nearby and when there was increased pedestrian movement.
As such, there were inadequate arrangements for safely managing the movement of people and machinery.
HSE also established that the loading shovel was being driven by a partly trained operator who may have been unauthorised to use it.
EMR was fined £300,000 and ordered to pay a further £72,901.
HSE inspector Jane Wolfenden said: “Linas’ tragic death was entirely preventable. EMR, as one of the world’s largest recycling companies, should have been fully aware of its health and safety duties, and the clear risks presented by vehicle and pedestrian movements.
“A risk assessment isn’t a paper exercise where a ‘one size fits all’ approach is acceptable, and the company should have properly planned for the shutdown operation where the level of risk was significantly increased – implementing safe systems of work to suit.
“The same can be said for training, instruction and supervision, where there was no clear direction or protocol for monitoring new or inexperienced workers.
“As a consequence of the company’s failings, Linas’ family continue to grieve the loss of a son, brother and partner.”