The mechanic fractured his right leg and left arm at the firm’s Ridham, Kent site on October 7 2013, after the metal roofing to a hammer drum in a shredding machine had become detached. The mechanic was kneeling on a conveyor belt to fix the machine when it restarted, and he was subsequently thrown from the machine.
Thrown from the machine
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) statement said: “An investigation by HSE found that the company did not have adequate or suitable systems in place to protect the health and safety of their employees, including failing to enforce the ‘safe stop’ process which should be followed when using dangerous machinery.
“The company had allowed unchallenged poor practice to become the norm.”
The recycling firm pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. It was told to pay the mechanic £8,903 in costs as well as the £300,000 fine.
A Countrystyle Recycling spokeswoman said: “Following the submission of a guilty plea in this case, the company is surprised by the extent of the fine imposed which seems disproportionate to the circumstances of the offence and the actual harm suffered.
“Accordingly, the company is considering the possibility of an appeal with its legal advisers.”
The Kent-based company converts food waste into a range of horticultural and agricultural products. It works with food manufacturers, such as ready meal maker Bakkavor. It processes catering waste, commercial fruit and vegetable waste and liquid food waste.
Meanwhile, soup firm Baxters Food Group was fined £70,000 by HSE on September 22 after a worker’s hand became mutilated in a pie machine.
More than 20 food and drink firms have been fined for health and safety failings over the past 12 months. The FoodManufacture.co.uk photogallery has the full list of companies, injuries and punishments.
Countrystyle Recycling health and safety fine – at a glance
- Firm fined £300,000 and ordered to pay £8,903 in damages
- Worker thrown from conveyor belt while fixing shredding machine
- Fractured right leg and left arm