Inspectors visited a waste and recycling site and uncovered a catalogue of health and safety failings, a court has been told.
Swansea Crown Court heard conditions at the site run by Mekatek Ltd in Carmarthen, South Wales, were so dangerous that Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspectors needed to issue eight notices to stop various working activities.
The company, of Terminus Road, Sheffield, was fined £35,000 and ordered to pay costs of £20,000 after admitting it breached health and safety regulations, control of asbestos rules and work equipment regulations.
The court heard HSE inspectors visited the site at Amex Park, Johnstown, in May 2013.
Their findings included dangerous unguarded machinery, areas contaminated by materials containing asbestos and workers at risk of being electrocuted.
The HSE, prosecuting, said workers at the site were exposed to the risks of asbestos by exposed and damaged pipe lagging, despite the firm having previously received a report recommending its removal.
Electrical cables were discovered trailing through liquid, leaving workers at risk of electrocution. Inspectors had also found, the court heard, no suitable guards to stop employees getting caught up in the dangerous moving parts of various machines.
Following the court case HSE inspector Clare Owen described the conditions found at the site as “extremely poor”.
She said it was lucky nobody had been killed or seriously injured as a result of an accident at work at the site.
The inspector said the company’s approach to running the site was totally inadequate, adding that the issues identified by the inspectors were quite clear and should have been immediately obvious.
Source: Health and Safety Executive
Date Published: March 4, 2015
Author: Jonathan Brown