A UK waste recycling firm recently found guilty of breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 has been fined hundreds of thousands.
Suez Recycling and Recovery, in Billingham, was prosecuted after a worker sustained serious injuries while attempting to dislodge a blockage from a disposal chute with a pole.
Worker Leonard Allison suffered serious burns after the blockage fell into an unprotected “quench” pit full of hot water, which caused steam and ash to shoot up at him through the chute.
After the incident, a comprehensive health and safety inspection of the premises was undertaken.
Several recommendations were made by investigating officers, but only a select few of these were taken on board, Teesside Crown Court was told.
A spokesperson for the company told the court that it had been “carrying out a full reassessment and coming up with a series of improvement measures”.
They added that the company had been making a “real effort” to “fulfil its [health and safety] obligations”.
Judge Deborah Sherwin acknowledged the fact that, aside from the incident in question, Suez Recycling and Recovery had a good safety record.”
However, the Judge said it was evident that “there were breaches that had existed over a number of years prior to [event] and afterwards.
“The risk of an accident such as this was an obvious one,” she added.
The company was subsequently fined £220,000 and ordered to pay costs of £12,695.
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