County Durham firm fined for worker injury

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A WASTE company has been fined after one of its workers was seriously injured when a vehicle reversed over him.

The 25-year-old, from Blackhall, was working in a sorting shed at First Skips Ltd in Shotton Colliery when the incident happened on October 8 2009.

The victim, who has asked not to be named, was sorting recyclable material by hand from the area where dry waste was deposited.

A telescopic materials handler, a form of fork lift truck, was being operated close by and the driver reversed the vehicle into the area where the man was working.

The vehicle struck the employee and knocked him to the ground.

As a result of the collision, the worker suffered a broken shoulder, two fractured toes and a cracked rib.

He was off work for several months but has since made a full recovery.

Victoria Wise, prosecuting on behalf of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), told Peterlee Magistrates’ Court the company had failed to ensure that a safe system of work was in place for the hand-sorting of recyclables near moving vehicles.

This was despite the fact that this activity made up a substantial part of the company’s daily undertaking.

First Skips Ltd, also known as First Waste, of Thornley Station Industrial Estate, was fined £3,350 and ordered to pay £3,528.70 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act.

Speaking after the case, HSE inspector Ms Wise said: “The injured worker was lucky not to be killed as a result of this incident, which could have easily been avoided had the company implemented a safe system of work that segregated moving vehicles from pedestrians.

“There is no excuse for not having a safe system of work in place.”

No-one from First Waste was available for comment.

Twitter: @EchoEastDurham