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Recycling company fined after worker suffers head injuries

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A Maidstone based recycling company has been fined after a 34-year old worker suffered life threatening head injuries.

Folkestone Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 30 September 2015, the 34-year old employee of Countrystyle Recycling Ltd instructed another colleague to use a telehandler to move paper at the company’s site in Maidstone, Kent. The telehandler was left running while the employee left the cab unattended, the boom of the telehandler was elevated and was lowered by another employee who entered the cab of this vehicle. The boom struck the head of the injured person as he was standing below this raised boom.

The injured person suffered serious brain injuries and has not returned to work since this incident.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the company failed to suitably plan the management and overseeing of workplace transport activities on site. The investigation also found employees of Countrystyle Ltd had not received the appropriate level of training in order to safely operate the telehandlers on site.

Countrystyle Recycling Ltd of Ashford Road, Kent pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The company also pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 17(1) of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992.

The company has been fined £666,700 and ordered to pay costs of £8,424.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Bose Gabriel said: “This incident could have been prevented had Countrystyle planned this workplace activity beforehand and identified the risks associated.

“Duty holders must ensure they devise and carry out safe systems of work at all times. Workplace transport incidents are very serious and usually result in life threatening injuries, as highlighted in this case.”

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