Preston recycling company fined £5K for health and safety offence

A recycling company in Preston, Lancashire, has been fined £5,000 by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an employee was injured in one of their factories in September 2009.

The worker, a 60-year-old man who lives in the city, was putting waste cardboard onto a metal conveyor belt when the incident occurred at the Smurfit Kappa factory. A van reversing towards him forced the man onto the conveyor belt, causing him to suffer broken ribs.

The HSE prosecuted Smurfit Kappa at Preston Magistrates’ Court, where it was found that the company had committed a health and safety offence. By not ensuring that pedestrians and moving vehicles were kept away from each other and that separate areas were clearly marked, Smurfit Kappa breached Regulation 17 of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 which state:

“Every workplace shall be organised in such a way that pedestrians and vehicles can circulate in a safe manner.”

The recycling company was fined £5,000 for the offence and ordered to pay £4,204 in court costs. The payment of these sums would be paid by Smurfit’s professional insurance (employers’ liability or commercial legal expenses), provided the company had a relevant policy in place.

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