17 May 2013
Tyre company could face legal action after workplace injury
A Burton-on-Trent tyre collection and recycling company could be open to legal action after a worker was seriously injured by falling objects.
Lewis Peach, 19, was working for Saltire Recovery when several bales of compressed tyres collapsed on top of him as he walked past.
The bales, each weighing a tonne, fell straight onto the teenager - with one crushing and trapping his leg.
Mr Peach broke his left foot, ankle, leg, pelvis, right arm, hand and wrist. He also fractured two bones in his neck and suffered deep cuts to his left leg - causing extensive blood loss that could have killed him.
The young worker was airlifted to a local hospital, where he was kept for 11 days.
Despite an extensive physiotherapy regime Mr Peach has been unable to return to work and has suffered significant mental anguish.
A later Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found bales of compressed tyres, which are extremely heavy and dense, had not been stacked safely and were prone to instability in windy weather conditions.
Additionally, there was no safe system of stacking the objects - even though inspectors concluded the job needed to be done by "skilled" and experienced workers.
There was no set inspection regime within the company to identify unstable stacks and no safe pedestrian zones set away from hazardous tyre piles had been put into place.
After hearing HSE evidence, a judge at Stafford Magistrates Court fined Saltire Recovery for a breach of a health and safety guideline after the firm pleaded guilty. With legal charges factored in the final cost to the business is £12,722.
HSE inspector Dr Marie-Louise Riley-Roberts said: "Mr Peach's injuries were extensive and it was fortunate he was not killed in this incident.
"Saltire Recovery Limited failed to take the simple and effective measures that could have prevented this happening. Their failings had existed for a considerable time and it is a matter of luck that an incident such as this had not happened before."
Posted by Chris Stevenson