Mid-UK Recycling Pleads Guilty Over “Horrific” Worker Death

Nottingham Crown Court

Mid-UK Recycling Ltd has pleaded guilty to two offences in relation to an incident which occurred at its Barkston Heath site in July 2013, in which an agency employee working for the company at the time, died.

The incident, which was ruled accidental, saw Karlis Pavasars, 55, killed after presumably falling into a recycling shredder.

Mr Pavasars was identified by DNA from his toothbrush after parts of his body were found in a shredding machine at the site.

During the inquest, jurors were told that the Peterborough man moved to the UK from Latvia in 2009 and began working for the organisation in June 2013.

The recycling plant sorts waste via a series of conveyor belts so it can be turned into fuel pellets.

Chris Mountain, MD of Mid-UK Recycling Ltd – “We have recognised that while we thought our processes were rigorous, there were clearly gaps in our systems which allowed this to happen”

Dr Dominic Swan, of the Health and Safety Executive, said at the time of the inquest that in his opinion the death was due to a lack of guarding around a conveyer leading to the shredder.

He said: “What actually happened to Mr Pavasars is unknown, but if the machinery had been guarded he would not have ended up in the shredder, or on the conveyer,” he added.

Mid-UK Recycling Ltd was fined £880,000 plus costs of £100,000.

Managing Director Chris Mountain also pleaded guilty to two offences relating to the same incident. He received a 20 week custodial sentence suspended for 2 years and a fine of £50,000.

The company released the following statement: “Mid-UK Recycling Ltd is extremely sorry that this incident occurred and for the failings in some of its processes which existed at that time.

“The company has always strived to maintain health and safety of the highest standards and is therefore devastated that on this occasion, those standards were not being met.”

Chris Mountain, MD of Mid-UK Recycling Ltd, said: “We are extremely sorry that this accident occurred and our thoughts remain with Mr Pavasars’ family. We have recognised that while we thought our processes were rigorous, there were clearly gaps in our systems which allowed this to happen.

“It is a hard lesson learned but since 2013 we have worked extremely hard to make sure we have as much as possible in place to prevent such a tragic incident ever happening again.”

Since the incident in 2013 Mid-UK Recycling Ltd says it has invested heavily in improving its health and safety systems and has strengthened its management team to ensure there is a strong health and safety culture across every area of the business.

It says it has employed a full-time experienced health and safety manager, as well as a director with responsibility for health and safety. Last year it achieved the OHSAS 18001 accreditation for its health and safety management systems. In addition, all its managers have received the IOSH Management Safety training.

In terms of on-site changes, the company says it has introduced a new traffic management system and safety walking routes for pedestrians. It also carries out regular internal audits and spot checks on health and safety, as well as employing an external auditor to carry out health and safety reviews.

The hearing took place at Nottingham Crown Court on Friday November 10.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Dr Richenda Dixon commented: “This horrific fatality could so easily have been avoided by simply installing and maintaining physical guards around conveyors and ensuring that safe working practices were in place.

“Employers should make sure they properly assess, apply and maintain effective control measures to minimise the risk from dangerous parts of machinery”.


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