Scrapyard fined £200K after worker death

A Coventry scrapyard has been fined £200,000 after one of its employees was killed when he was hit by a reversing skip lorry.

Easco (Midlands) Ltd was also ordered to pay £55,000 costs after pleading guilty to breaching health and safety laws.

Ronald Barnacle, 58, who was working as a burner at the company’s site in Longford, was killed when he was hit by the vehicle in June 2005.

Company bosses admitted they had failed to make sure pedestrians were protected despite previous warnings from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) at other Easco sites.

The HSE is now urging scrap and recycling businesses to ensure they are complying with the Health and Safety Act.

HSE inspector Jenny Skeldon said: “In this case, particularly between March 2004 and December 2005, there were inadequate precautions in place to segregate pedestrians from vehicles, despite previous warnings from HSE at other sites within the Easco group.

“Had basic health and safety precautions been observed, it is most unlikely that such a fatality would have occurred.”

SITA UK, which bought Easco last year, said in a statement: “Firstly, we would like to offer our condolences to the family of Ronald Barnacle.

“Since SITA UK took over the running of Easco in May 2007, the issues raised by the HSE have now been resolved.

“A detailed action plan to raise health and safety standards has also been implemented to help prevent a similar incident happening again.

“SITA UK works to exceptionally high standards and we will ensure that our Metals Recycling Division (formerly Easco) meets the high standards of health & safety achieved in other parts of the organisation.”

In 2006, HSE launched an information service to give specific guidance on safety within the waste industry following an eight-week period where nine people died as a result of incidents in the waste and recycling industry. Seven were struck by vehicles.

Transport is the second biggest cause of work-related deaths in the UK, killing about 70 people every year.

More HSE guidance on transport health and safety can be found here.

Kate Martin

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