The Health and Safety Executive is warning the recycling industry to keep pedestrians well away from vehicles after the prosecution of a Lancashire skip hire contractor.
Peter David Marquis of Bryers Farm, Lea Lane, Lea, Preston was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay £4,631.60 in costs by Preston Magistrates Court after pleading guilty to an offence under Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
The court heard that the incident happened on 21 December 2007 at Marquis' waste transfer station at Railway Sidings, Kirkham, Lancashire.
During the incident a 17 year-old employee was crushed under a 13 tonne excavator at a waste transfer station.
Employees were carrying out a process called 'totting' – sorting out recyclable materials from skips. They were working on the floor of the transfer station while the excavator and a loading shovel worked close by. The excavator tracked back and crushed the teenager, breaking his femur and pelvis and causing serious internal abdominal injuries.
HSE Inspector Stephen Garsed said: "While nothing can make up for the appalling life-changing injuries suffered by the teenager, Mr Marquis has accepted full responsibility for the incident from the outset and has not attempted to blame others.
"This incident occurred because Mr Marquis and his staff did not see the risk of people working close to machines. Risk assessments must be based on the best available information. There is ample advice on the HSE website about health and safety in the waste industry. It is now so easy to find that there can be no excuse for not knowing the standards to meet or for not making sure that risk assessments and operating procedures follow best practice."