A cleaning company has been fined £175,000 after one of its employees was killed by an industrial waste compactor in Bolton.

An employee’s neck was broken when the lid on the large metal container slammed down on him at the Royal Bolton Hospital in Farnworth in 2006.

ISS Mediclean, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an investigation found the company had allowed porters to load the waste compactor in an unsafe manner.

The HSE concluded that the most likely explanation for the 58-year-old’s death was that he leaned against a lever while leaning over the waste compactor, causing the lid to snap down.

The manufacturer’s recommendations for the compactor stated that it should be loaded from the front, away from the controls, but the court was told it was standard practice for porters to load it from the side.

ISS Mediclean Ltd, part of the ISS group which employs more than 43,500 people around the world, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 after failing to provide a safe system of work for its employees.

The company was fined £175,000 and ordered to pay £42,000 in prosecution costs.

An HSE Inspector said: “ ISS Mediclean, should have done more to make sure that the employee and his colleagues were using the waste compactors safely. The lids snapped down instantly when the levers were operated so the employee had no chance of getting out of the way.

“The industrial waste compactors clearly had the potential to put lives in danger so the company should have carried out a proper risk assessment to make sure its employees stayed safe.”

 

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