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Employee injures hand after accident at recycling plant

A recycling firm has been fined £12,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,889.60 after one of its employees was injured whilst delivering waste metal.

The employee injured his hand when the counterbalance on a wheeled crane, used for unloading metal, hit the door of his van and caught his left hand.  The 40 year old man lost the top of his thumb and suffered injury to his hand and arm in the incident.

A Magistrates Court heard how the employee required skin grafts to his thumb and surgery to repair the damage to his forearm.  He has also had to have months of physiotherapy but is still unable to use his thumb or grip anything with his left hand.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act, 1974.

An HSE Inspector said:

“The accident rate within the waste and recycling industry remains one of the highest in any industry.  As in this case many of these incidents relate to contact between vehicles and pedestrians.

“…. failed to put in place control measures to ensure adequate segregation of vehicles and pedestrians despite having identified and acted upon this issue at another site belonging to their sister company. Had they done so the injuries to this worker, which have left him affected both physically and emotionally could have been avoided.

“Where duty holders fall short of industry standards, HSE will not hesitate to take enforcement action against those who create the risk”.

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