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Waste Company in Court over Worker’s Death

A waste management company has been fined for safety failings after a worker was killed when he was struck by a vehicle at a Watford waste transfer station.

Patrick Murphy had worked as a groundsman at the site since 2004 and was struck and run over by a JCB loading shovel as he was clearing litter at the site. He unfortunately died from his injuries at the scene.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found the company failed to organise and control the workplace to ensure that pedestrians and vehicles could circulate and operate safely.

The court heard that the site handled household waste and material for recycling which was delivered to the site by refuse collection vehicles. The vehicles would be driven across the manoeuvring yard, referred to as “the apron”, to a large warehouse known as the tipping hall. There were also two loading shovels working on the site, moving the tipped waste around and it was one of these which struck and killed Mr Murphy whilst he was litter-picking out on the apron.

The company was fined a total of £200,000 and ordered to pay costs of £65,000 after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) and Regulation 17(1) of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 and to breaching Regulation 5(1) of the Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

“There are significant risks associated with operating large construction type vehicles on waste sites, particularly when, as in this case, the vehicles have restricted visibility,” explained HSE Inspector Roxanne Barker. “These risks are well known and easily controlled using reasonably practicable precautions.”

“Every year many people are killed or seriously injured in incidents involving workplace transport, and there is no excuse for companies that neglect this risk,” she added. “Pedestrians, whether they are employees or not, should be kept separate from these types of vehicles through physical barriers or safe systems of work that are clear and well supervised.”

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