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£120k fine for recycling company after safety failings led to worker being crushed to death

A Liverpool recycling company has been sentenced after one of their employees, Paul Andrews, was fatally crushed by falling plastic bales.

What happened?

Liverpool Crown Court heard how, waste plastic bales had been delivered to Centriforce Products Limited’s site at Derby Road, Liverpool and were stacked as free-standing columns in a yard. During the morning, a fork lift truck (FLT) driver noticed one of the columns consisting of bales, stacked three high, had partially collapsed obstructing his path. He subsequently used the fork lift truck to straighten and stabilise the stack before continuing on his way.

Some hours later Paul Andrews was working in the immediate vicinity of the stack when it toppled, with the middle and top bales, weighing over 500kg, falling and crushing him. The scene of the collapse was not discovered until nearly an hour later when efforts to revive him failed.

Paul is survived by his wife and his two daughters.

Why did this tragedy happen?

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found Centriforce Products Limited had failed to store waste plastic bales securely in such a way as to prevent the risk of collapse. The company had also failed to carry out a suitable assessment which would have identified risks to the safety of employees located within the danger zone of unstable stacks.

What sentence or fine did they receive?

Centriforce Products Limited of Errington Works, Derby Road, Bootle pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and has been fined £120,000 and ordered to pay costs of £10,540.95