A waste and recycling company in Kent, where an employee was buried alive under rubbish, has escaped a £1.3m fine due to the company being in administration.
Neville Watson, an employee at New Earth Solution Group Limited, was using a shredding machine, which is normally operated remotely from the cab of a loading truck, when he had to get out of the cab to position the shredder. It was at this point that the 8m high pile of waste material he was working on collapsed on him, causing him to die of asphyxiation.
Following the incident the HSE found that company had carried out no risk assessments and had not prepared a safe system of work for managing waste stockpiles. During their investigation they also found that Mr Watson had never used the shredding machine before and was not under the supervision of an employee trained in the task he was carrying out.
New Earth Solution Group Limited, of Dorset, pleaded guilty to breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, and was fined £800,000 plus costs of £38,373.92. If the company had not been in administration, the fine could have been £1.3 million, the Judge indicated.
New Earth Solutions Group successfully filed for administration on 21 July 2016 with over £10m in unpaid debts.