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Young worker's death

Posted: Wednesday 16th, October 2013

Waste recycling firm sentenced over young worker's death

Date: 25 September 2013

A Bridgend recycling firm has been ordered to pay £250,000 in fines and
£53,100 in costs after a 21 year-old worker was crushed to death when he was
struck by a skip lorry on a weighbridge he was cleaning.

Geraint Eagle, of Nant–Y-Moel, near Bridgend, was cleaning sensors on the
weighbridge at the waste site run by Nolan Recycling Ltd at The Old Quarry,
Stormy Down, Pyle, when the incident happened on 2 December 2010.

Cardiff Crown Court heard today (25 September) that Mr Eagle, who had only
worked at the site for six months, suffered fatal head injuries when he was hit by
the lorry as he lay on the bridge to chip mud off the sensors – completely unseen
by the driver.

The incident was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which
prosecuted Nolan Recycling for serious safety breaches.

The court was told that Mr Eagle had been told to clean mud off the sensors on
the weighbridge and, as he had not done the job before, he worked alongside a
more experienced worker who also looked out for traffic. However after taking a
break, he returned to work alone.

A skip lorry drove onto the weighbridge where Mr Eagle was lying prone and
chipping away at the hard mud. He picked up his tools and moved out of the way.
The driver briefly got out of his cab and went into the site office, returned and
drove on, unaware Mr Eagle had returned to his work on the weighbridge.

The lorry hit the young worker, and he died at the scene. Geraint Eagle had been
in a total blind spot to the driver when he decided to return to his work.

The HSE investigation uncovered a series of failings by Nolan Recycling Ltd. The
company failed:

to appreciate the risks associated with the site
to give full instructions, guidance and training to staff
to monitor and supervise staff, particularly Geraint Eagle
to devise a transport policy to segregate people from vehicles, and
to provide a system of proper maintenance for equipment like the weighbridge
to prepare a health and safety plan
HSE said there was nothing to stop lorry drivers driving on or off the weighbridge
despite the maintenance work taking place. A suitable risk assessment for the work
would have identified the potential dangers of lorries mixing with pedestrians on
the site.

Nolan Recycling Ltd of The Old Quarry, Stormy Down, Pyle, pleaded guilty to a
breach of Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The
company was fined a total of £250,000 and ordered to pay £53,100 in costs.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector, Sarah Baldwin Jones, said:

"This was a horrific incident with tragic consequences. It left Mr Eagle’s girlfriend
without a partner, and his son, born eight months after the incident, without a
father.

"There were multiple failings at the site, which should have been obvious and
could easily have been addressed.

"Nolan Recycling Ltd should have closed the weighbridge while the work was
taking place, had a clear written risk assessment for the maintenance work and
had policies in place to separate site workers from moving vehicles. They should
also have provided proper training to Mr Eagle and his colleague who was
supervising his work.

"There can be no excuse for companies in the waste industry not taking
reasonable steps to safeguard their workers as there is a wealth of information and
guidance from trade bodies as well as the HSE."

Mr Eagle’s father, Paul Eagle, who also lives in Nant–Y-Moel said:

"We all miss Geraint very much. This tragedy has had a huge impact on the
family.

"I hope other businesses will learn lessons from this and put workers’ safety first. No
other families should have to go through what we have been through."

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