Grantham

Recycling firm fined over £1.2m after employee loses arm

A Lincolnshire-based waste recycling company has been fined after one of its employees lost part of his arm in a conveyor belt.

Lincoln Crown Court heard earlier this month how the Mid UK Recycling Ltd employee was working as a line operator in April 2015 in the building, known as Unit 4 MRF (Material Recovery Facility) in Caythorpe, Grantham.

While removing waste from an axle his glove got dragged into the in-running nip between the belt and the powered roller of the conveyor. This resulted in the employee’s left arm being amputated above the elbow.

Mid UK Recycling Limited (now known as MUKR Limited), of Summit House, Quarrington, Sleaford, pleaded guilty to a breach of section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act (1974). The company was fined £1.275 million and ordered to pay costs of £45,065.59.

The company that was prosecuted no longer exists. The firm was taken over by administrators this summer and sold within 24 hours.

The business and assets of the company were sold to New Earth Solutions (West) Limited, a subsidiary of the waste recycling group Beauparc, on June 12, 2019. The new company is New Earth Solutions (West) Ltd T/A Mid UK Recycling.

The investigation

On the morning of April 26, 2015 blockages had occurred on this line and waste had become wrapped around the axle stopping a lower conveyor. Whilst removing waste from the axle, the incident occurred.

The Health and Safety Executive launched an investigation, which revealed that the company had failed to prevent access to dangerous parts of the conveyor.

The castell key system had essentially been bypassed allowing the system to be operated in automatic mode with persons still inside the enclosure.

After the hearing HM inspector Scott Wynne said: “This incident could so easily have been avoided had the company ensured that the system designed to keep people away from dangerous machinery was properly maintained.

Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”

Previous fines

This is not the first time the company has been hit with a fine. It was fined £100,000 in June 2018 after admitting breach of environmental and planning regulations following a serious fire at its premises.

In 2017, two directors at Mid UK Recycling Limited were handed suspended prison sentences after an agency worker was killed on the site, with the firm receiving a fine totalling almost £1 million.

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