Injury and ill-health is an all too common occurrence at work, with some workers exposed to unacceptable risks as a result of health and safety failings by their employers.
Waste and Recycling Sector Injuries
One sector where employees are frequently exposed to the risk of serious injury is the waste and recycling sector.
Figures from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) show that every year in this sector, 5% of workers suffer from an illness they believe to be work-related, and a further 5% sustain a work-related injury.
Tragically, the sector also experienced six worker fatalities in 2015/16, and has seen 30 fatalities over the past five years.
Worker Suffers Serious Crush Injuries
When injuries at work occur, it is the responsibility of the HSE to investigate and determine the cause of the incident.
In one recently reported case in the waste and recycling sector, the HSE was called upon to investigate when a worker was seriously injured after being crushed by about 400kg of cardboard.
The 49-year-old had been working on a recycling site in the West Midlands when he was crushed under bale stacks of falling cardboard. He suffered a cracked skull and a brain haemorrhage from the incident and was placed into a coma for ten days in hospital.
The HSE’s investigation found the company failed to establish a safe way to stack bales. This resulted in unstable and heavy bales that eventually fell and injured Mr Ahmed.
The company appeared in court where it pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 10(4) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. It was fined £160,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,917.
“This incident highlights the need for employers to devise and implement safe systems of work in relation to storage of baled materials,” commented HSE Inspector Mahesh Mahey. “If the company had safe systems of work in place Mr Ahmed would not have been seriously injured.”
Worker Requires Leg Amputations
In a second incident, a Welsh landfill company was prosecuted for health and safety failings after a worker sustained life-changing injuries when he was run over at the site.
The worker was walking across the yard at the site when he was hit by a large shovel loader. He was seriously injured and needed both legs amputated at the mid-thigh and was hospitalised for six months.
An investigation by the HSE found the company did not have any controls in place to protect workers from the high volume of vehicles and traffic on site. Although they had previously identified the risk and how they could prevent workers being hit by vehicles, they did not put the measures in place.
The company pleaded guilty in court to breaching Section 2 and Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work (1974) Act and was fined £180,000 and ordered to pay costs of £7,657.
Our personal injury lawyers have many years of experience helping people deal with the challenges that can result from a work-related accident. We offer a free consultation to let you know about all of the options for getting compensation, care and rehabilitation as soon as possible. To arrange a free consultation, or to find out more about our no win no fee service, call us on 01412496903 or contact us online.