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Published Wed, Aug 17th 2011

Company fined £80,000 for crushing employee

A worker employed by Lowmac Alloys Ltd recycling centre in Ayr, was crushed between two skips causing severe injuries.

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A worker employed by Lowmac Alloys Ltd recycling centre in Ayr, was crushed between two skips causing severe injuries. On the 26th August 2009 the employee was standing between two skips when an 18 tonne shovel loader pushed one of the skips towards the other, crushing the employee.

The loader driver did not hear the employees screams for help at first, but when he did, it took him two attempts to lift the skip out of the way. An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that traffic management had not been properly assessed at the site in Ayr and the company had not maintained a safe system of work as there were no barriers or road markings to separate pedestrian workers from shovel loaders or other workers on site.

The shovel loaders were also found to be too big for the area they were working in. Drivers had never been trained or given health and safety instruction. There was also only one portable toilet on site that was unhygienic and had no running water.

As the toilet was so filthy, workers told the HSE that the preferred to urinate in the yard. This was why the employee was between the skips.

HSE inspector Aileen Jardine said: "'The employee' suffered horrendous injuries that will affect him for the rest of his life, but this incident was entirely avoidable.

"If Lowmac had taken simple steps to protect their staff, carrying out a proper risk assessment and taking measures to separate employees from their heavy vehicles that operated on site, this would never have happened.

"And if the company had shown basic consideration for the welfare of their employees by providing a toilet that was fit to use, 'the employee' would not have been left in such a vulnerable position."

Lowmac Alloys Ltd of Ayr, admitted breaching S.2 of the Health and Safety at Work Etc Act 1974 and was fined £80,000   

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