Recycling company found guilty of failing to identify risks to employees

A Waste Management Firm has been fined £7,000 and ordered to pay £3,000 in costs after admitting a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The recycling company was prosecuted after an HSE investigation found the company to be at fault after an employee shattered his jaw when he was hit by a piece of plastic pipe thrown up from a bandsaw.

The accident happened when an employee cut down an old gas pipe for recycling using a bandsaw, which the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation deemed to be inappropriate for the shape and size of the pipe. As he fed a section of the pipe into the saw, the teeth of the blade got stuck on the pipe and rotated it round. The saw ejected the pipe and a piece flew out at speed hitting the man in his throat and under his chin sustaining a broken upper and lower jaw.

The HSE investigation found that the bandsaw had been the cause of two previous instances when plastic piping was ejected whilst being sawn and hit staff members. The Waste Management firm had failed to identify the risks of using the bandsaws to cut across cylindrical material, such as the rotation and ejection of pieces from the saw and no measures were put in place to ensure the machine was used safely.

An HSE Inspector said the company:

“should have properly investigated how the bandsaws operated and fully understood the risks of use that were outlined in the instruction manual. That simple exercise would have demonstrated the need to put effective controls in place to safeguard their employees.

“The use of simple clamps or wedges, or the use of alternative cutting equipment, would have allowed the job to be safely carried out and avoided the life-changing injuries that this worker suffered.”

The employee has had numerous operations over the last four years including a bone graft from his hip to help reconstruct his jaw. He still has problems eating and feels ‘pins and needles’ caused by irreparable nerve damage.

Companies who put their employees at risk need to be made responsible for their negligence.  If you have been injured in your workplace then please call our specialist solicitors now on 0800 089 4444 to ensure these accidents don’t happen again. You may be entitled to work accident compensation for any pain or distress you have received as a result of your injury.