Operator fined after worker hit by flying scrap metal

A London-based waste operator has been prosecuted after a worker was stuck by a flying piece of scrap metal at its site.

The unnamed man suffered serious injuries to the head and face in the incident that took place at Metal & Waste Recycling’s site in Cradley Heath, near Stourbridge in the West Midlands, in December 2013.

He had been attempting to replace a seal from a hydraulic cylinder on a scrap metal baling ram when a piece of metal flew off the machine and struck him across the head, causing a bleed to the brain and a shattered right cheek and eye socket. He was placed in an induced coma in hospital to aid his recovery.

The Health and Safety Executive found that the company had not provided its employees with suitable work equipment, had failed to devise a safe system of work, and had not carried out a suitable risk assessment.

The company - which is based at Albert Works, Kenninghall Road, Edmonton, and holds O-licences authorising up to 86 vehicles and 27 trailers - was fined £20,000 with £2,548.73 in costs after pleading guilty to health and safety breaches at Sandwell Magistrates’ Court on 26 January.