A waste management company in Northern Ireland has been fined £25,000 after an employee at a recycling plant was crushed and seriously injured by the grab attachment of a mini-digger as he unloaded a refuse collection vehicle. An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) found that the employee who was driving the mini-digger was neither trained nor authorised to use it…



The waste management industry is one of the highest risk industries there is. As an employer, each company has a responsibility to ensure a competent workforce through the provision of suitable and adequate information, instruction and training. It should be strictly enforced that only suitably trained and competent employees are authorised to operate machinery and equipment. Safety Cloud can be used to record such training information and has the ability to provide reminders for refresher training and therefore ensure that certificates do not become expired.

The injured person was harmed while working at the rear of his waste vehicle. Unfortunately, he was struck by the attachment of the mini digger. To prevent such accidents, it should be ensured that adequate segregation is maintained between vehicles operating at the site and pedestrians. The safest place for drivers is often in the cab, or alternatively, drivers may be asked to stand and wait in a designated area until the loading/unloading process is completed. Appropriate supervision should ensure that safe practices around loading and unloading are followed. Managers are able to check that levels of supervision are suitable through the use of Safety Cloud’s site safety audits.