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£1.275 million fine for recycling plant after key system was overridden

A waste recycling company has been fined after an employee lost part of his arm in a conveyor belt.

Lincoln Crown Court heard that the employee of Mid-UK Recycling Ltd was working as a line operator in the building known as Unit 4 MRF (Material Recovery Facility). On the morning of the incident, blockages had occurred on this line and waste had become wrapped around the axle stopping a lower conveyor. It was whilst removing waste from this axle that the employee’s glove got dragged into the in-running nip between the belt and the powered roller of the conveyor. This resulted in his left arm being amputated above the elbow.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive revealed that the company had failed to prevent access to dangerous parts of the conveyor. The castell key system had essentially been bypassed allowing the system to be operated in automatic mode with persons still inside the enclosure.

Mid UK Recycling Limited (now known as MUKR Limited) of Summit House, Quarrington, Sleaford, Lincolnshire, NG34 8RS pleaded guilty to a breach of section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act (1974) and was fined £1.275 million and ordered to pay costs of £45,065.59