Recycler JFC Plastics Ltd has been ordered to pay £240,000 in fines and costs following the death of a worker in 2005.
Formerly known as Delleve Plastics, the Health and Safety Executive prosecuted the company after employee Steven Bennett was killed at its former site on the Neills Road Industrial Estate.
Liverpool Crown Court heard that 31-year-old Steven Bennett was last seen alive by his colleagues in the early hours of 24 November 2005. The HSE investigation concluded that the most likely cause of his death was that he fell into a machine used to break apart bales of plastic bottles while checking to see if it was running smoothly.
The court was told JFC Plastics failed to take steps to prevent access to the machine while it was operating, and failed to ensure power to the machine was cut before maintenance work was carried out. The company also had an inadequate risk assessment in place and its training, supervision and monitoring of the work did not meet acceptable standards.
As a result, JFC Plastics Ltd of Goldicote Business Park in Stratford-upon-Avon pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
The company was fined £140,000 and ordered to pay £100,000 costs.
HSE principal inspector Tanya Stewart said: “This was a tragic death that could have been prevented if JFC Plastics had put more thought into the safety of its employees and the adequacy of its working practices.
“Employees regularly entered the machine to remove entangled wire, but there were no safeguards in place to prevent them carrying out this work while the machine’s parts were still moving.
“I hope this case will act as a warning to companies to think more carefully about the safety of workers who clean, maintain or repair machines or who clean blockages.”