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14th May 2018


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Appliance recycling firm fined after worker injured

A worker was injured by a falling stack of cookers and washing machines at one of the UK's largest electrical equipment recycle firms.

Environcom England recycles waste electrical equipment for some of the biggest electrical retailers in the country, but Grantham Magistrates' Court heard how a Polish agency worker suffered bruising to his back and chest after an unsafe stack of appliances fell on him.

When the Health & Safety Executive investigated the incident that happened in September 2009 at the firm's processing plant at Spittlegate Level, Grantham, it discovered appliances were piled five or six high, making the stacks unstable.

The incident was reported to HSE in late November but when an inspector visited the site on 3rd December to investigate, appliances were still stacked dangerously high. A Prohibition Notice was served immediately to prevent unsafe stacking.

Environcom England, of Hardman Street, Spinningfields, Manchester, pleaded guilty to two counts of breaching 3(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974. Yesterday it was fined £7,000 for the September offence and £10,000 for the further offence on 3rd December. The firm was also ordered to pay full costs of £5,915.20p.

After yesterday's hearing, HSE inspector Judith McNulty-Green said:

"The worker was extremely fortunate not to have been more seriously hurt and the company could have done so many things to prevent his injuries.

"Heavy machines like cookers and washers should never have been stacked so high. If they had been stacked on their sides it would have provided a broader and more stable base and stacking them against a wall would also have given much more stability.

"If the goods were kept behind a barrier or in a container, a collapse like this would not have injured anyone. Better still, the company could have co-ordinated delivery of goods better so the stacks did not build up in the first place.

"The range of simple, common sense measures that could have been taken to prevent heavy stacks of machines toppling over just goes to underline what basic mistakes Environcom made - its failures and this sentence should be a warning to other recycling firms to take safety seriously."


17th June 2011

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