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UK waste recycling company fined £220,000 after worker scalded

09 June 2017

A waste company was sentenced on June 7 after one of its workers received severe burns to his upper body and face. Teesside Crown Court heard how the worker was injured on 17 October 2014 when he was seriously scalded by hot ash and water at the Stockton-on-Tees site of SUEZ Recycling and Recovery Tees Valley Ltd.

The plant processes waste and turns it into energy by burning it. Following a blockage on one of its lines the injured person opened two hatches on a chute which takes the burnt waste away. He used a metal pole to dislodge the blockage. In doing so the waste dropped into a pit filled with water and a plume of hot ash and steam erupted from the hatches causing severe burns to his upper body and face as he turned to escape.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the company failed to adequately consider the risk that workers were exposed to during this task. This meant the system of work they had wasn’t sufficient to stop the incident happening. It was also found the company failed to implement appropriate systems to manage and supervise this workplace activity. This meant the limited measures they had put in place were not followed.

SUEZ Recycling and Recovery Tees Valley Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

The company was been fined £220,000 and ordered to pay costs of £12,695.65.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Victoria Wise said: “Problems often occur in production and it is essential that companies recognise and understand them to prevent them happening or introduce engineering controls and systems of work that prevent people being injured.”


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