Folkestone Magistrates’ Court heard that, on 27th February 2017, Viridor employee Frank McGechie was crushed by a reversing shovel loader driven by an on-site contractor at a waste recycling site in Crayford. The injured employee was acting as a banksman, assisting a lorry to manoeuvre into a bay, when the loader reversed out of the bay independently, knocking him to the ground.
The 22.5-tonne machine then drove over the lower half of his body, causing serious internal injuries and multiple serious fractures, both with significant life changing effects.
An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found that Viridor had failed to organise the workplace in such a way that pedestrians and vehicles could circulate in a safe manner.
This prosecution is the fourth in four years for this company, two of which related to fatal incidents.
Viridor Waste Management Limited of Crayford Creek, Dartford, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 by virtue of Regulation 17(1). The company was fined £400,000.
HSE inspector Megan Carr said after the case: “This incident is a reminder to the waste and recycling industry as to the importance of good workplace transport control which can often be achieved by simple pragmatic steps to avoid such incidents from occurring. HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”
In a statement to the court, Viridor’s managing director apologised to Mr McGechie and his family for the injuries he suffered. The company accepted that, despite having procedures in place to manage vehicles on site, on this occasion they had not been followed.
A Viridor spokesperson later added: “We take our health and safety responsibilities very seriously. Absolutely nothing is more important than the safety of our people.”