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Firm in court after employee left with broken ribs

A metal recycling company based in Lincolnshire has been fined after one of its employees fell from a conveyor belt and was left with broken ribs.

What happened?

The 49-year-old worker had been leaning on the top end of the conveyor belt in order to carry out important maintenance – as he was doing so the main power was switched on and the whole line, including the belt, was reactivated.

He fell from the belt and landed first onto a heap of scrap metal below, then onto the concrete floor, breaking ribs on both sides of his body in the process.

An investigation into the incident later found that the conveyor belt had not been isolated, and previous action against the firm had already been taken after it was found that there were no formal procedures for isolating the conveyors during maintenance.

What was the outcome?

BW Riddle was found guilty of breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, and was fined £70,000 and ordered to pay £18,000 in costs.

HSE inspector, Neil Ward, said:

“The incident could easily have resulted in a death and
only luck saved this worker from more serious injury.

“Had the company put in place the correct, formal procedures
for locking off and isolating the conveyor belts, this
incident could have been prevented entirely.

“However, it is clear that while BW Riddle had complied with
previous enforcement action, the firm neglected safety
again and again, and disregarded lessons that
should have been learned from previous
HSE interventions.”

If you have been affected by an accident at work, and you would like expert advice, contact Hampson Hughes Solicitors today on 0800 888 6888 or email

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