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22nd September 2021

Skip Hire MD Landed Suspended Sentence Following Serious Accident

Land fill and waste management

What’s Happened?

The managing director of a skip hire and waste management firm has recently received a six-month suspended prison sentence, with the company itself being fined £150,000 following a serious accident in the company’s yard.  

An employee of Easy Load Ltd was crossing the firm’s yard which is based in Dartford when he was hit by a 21-tonne loading shovel, which was reversing around a blind bend in the yard. As a result, the employee, unfortunately, suffered life-changing injuries, from which he is still recovering, and he is unable to return to work.

HSE Investigation

As is expected for accidents of such severity, an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) was undertaken whereby it was found that Easy Load and its managing director, had failed to take reasonable steps to ensure there was adequate pedestrian segregation in the waste processing yard so that both pedestrians and vehicles could circulate in a safe manner. 

Moreover, the HSE investigation identified that the directors were already well aware of the risks to pedestrians from vehicle movement due to previous incidents occurring in the same yard. However, despite this, they had failed to put in place safety measures, and it transpired they continued to ignore the advice of their health and safety consultant, leaving workers exposed to potential risk.

In Court

Easy Load Ltd attended Folkestone Magistrates Court where the company pleaded guilty to breaching The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations and was fined £150,000 and ordered to pay costs of £7454.20. The company’s managing director pleaded guilty to breaching section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, and ordered to pay £549.40 in costs.

Speaking after the hearing, the HSE inspector involved in the case said: ‘Workplace transport activities are one of the biggest risks in the waste and recycling industry. This incident, and the resulting life-changing injuries suffered, were avoidable and occurred as a result of a fundamental management failure on the part of the company and its directors, who patently failed to address and control clear risks which had been brought to their attention.

‘The HSE will not hesitate to hold both companies and individual directors, board members and business owners to account where management failings are found to be at the root of any health and safety offending.’

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