Biffa handed £190,000 fine following worker’s death
Monday 08 June 2009 Waste Management News
Winchester Crown Court has handed Biffa Waste Services a £190,000 fine and ordered it to pay £50,000 in costs after a worker died from crush injuries at its waste transfer station in Hampshire.
The waste management company was fined at the end of last month (May 29) following the death of contract worker Charlie Smith, who suffered fatal crash injuries on February 2 2006 at Biffa's Eversley depot.
Mr Smith, 52, had been selecting and removing potentially valuable items from waste in a practice known as ‘totting', when he was struck by a large shovel loader which had been moving backwards and forwards through the area Mr Smith was working in. Mr Smith later died in hospital.
Biffa pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 at a hearing at Winchester Crown Court on April 27 2009. The Act states that it is the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in his employment who may be affected thereby are not exposed to risks to their health and safety.
Representing Biffa, Keith Woodward, director of health and safety management, said: "We again offer our sincere condolences to Mr Smith's family and friends. Biffa places the highest priority on the safety of its own employees and of everyone else who is affected by our operations.
"All of our facilities are operated under strict safety procedures and all staff receive thorough safety training appropriate to their roles. Very regrettably, in relation to Mr Smith's role, we now know that the training and procedures we had in place three years ago were insufficient to prevent his tragic death," he added.
Mr Woodward also said that following the accident, Biffa has carried out a group wide review of all its operations and introduced "more robust systems" to keep people and mobile plant segregated at all times.
"We were happy to accept the court's suggestion that a portion of what we were ordered to pay should go directly to the family," he added.
Nina Judkins, Health and Safety Inspector, said: "This was an extremely serious incident resulting in the tragic death of a man. This incident could have been avoided if the working practices had separated moving vehicles from people on foot."