Somerset firm fined after worker crushed under bales

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A worker had his lower body crushed when a stack of bales, each weighting a quarter of a tonne, collapsed on him as he sorted waste in a processing shed in Somerset.

Aleksandras Fomenkouas, 40, who lived in Bridgwater at the time, suffered serious injuries in the incident on 8 September 2011 while working at the recycling and processing yard of Cannington Enterprises Ltd.

Taunton Magistrates heard today (12 October) that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated and brought a prosecution against Cannington Enterprises Ltd for its failure to ensure his safety.

The court was told that Mr Fomenkouas was sorting plastic waste in the yard for use in the company’s anaerobic digester, while another employee nearby was moving plastic carton bales with a forklift truck. Shortly after a bale was removed, the stack became unstable and collapsed on top of Mr Fomenkouas, knocking him to the ground and crushing the lower half of his body.

Cannington Enterprises Ltd of Swang Farm, Cannington, Bridgwater pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £7,000 and ordered to pay costs of £7,614.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Ian Smart, said:

“This serious incident could have led to a fatality and was entirely avoidable.

“Stacks of baled material can become unstable and workers should not be near them. The stability of the stack is obviously crucial and needs to be regularly checked.”

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