Tuesday, June 2, 2015

News: Rotherham recycling firm prosecuted over young worker’s injury

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Rotherham-based, C F Booth, one of the largest independently run recycling companies in Europe, has been sentenced over serious safety dangers on a conveyor after a 25-year-old worker had his arm broken in three places when it was drawn into unguarded machinery.

The £200m turnover company specialises in metal recycling and metal ingot manufacturing of both ferrous and non ferrous metals for UK import and export.

Ryan Jackson, from Rawmarsh, also suffered a cracked shoulder blade and had a radial nerve shredded to the bone in the incident at the firm's large site on Armer Street on December 4 2013.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) identified a guard by the tail drum where Mr Jackson was operating had been removed and there was no emergency stop button. In addition HSE found guarding on the whole conveyor was insufficient.

Rotherham Magistrates heard this week that Mr Jackson, who was relatively inexperienced, had been on his own at the time and was attempting to remove a blockage from the conveyor. He had believed the machine would need an electrician to restart it once it had cut out due to the blockage.

However, once he had cleared the debris, the machine started running and his arm was drawn in and badly injured.

HSE told the court that the tail drum of the conveyor had previously had a mesh guard but this had been removed at some point before the incident. There was an emergency stop cord down one side of the conveyor but nothing immediately to hand by the tail drum.

C F Booth Ltd had no management system to check that guards were in place and that emergency stops and/or pull cords were working. The company had also received written advice from HSE in May 2013 relating to the guarding of end drums on other conveyors on site.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Carol Downes said: "This was a horrifying incident that has left Mr Jackson with perhaps a permanent physical impairment. It also had a profound psychological impact on him at a crucial time for a young family.

"Incidents of this kind occur all too frequently in the recycling sector and the onus is on companies, like CF Booth Ltd, to acknowledge the dangers posed by unguarded machinery in general, and tail end drums of conveyors in particular, and to take action. The company had been warned before and there can be no excuse for its subsequent failings.

"Employers have a duty to ensure that machinery is properly guarded and should take steps to ensure that guards remain in place. HSE will continue to prosecute when worker safety is compromised."

C F Booth Ltd was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,595 after pleading guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

C F Booth website

Images: C F Booth

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