Monday, 17 November 2014

Greenwich waste firm’s ‘dismal’ safety record

Murphys (Waste) Ltd, a waste firm in Greenwich, was fined £7,287 (inc. costs) after repeatedly putting its employees at risk of injury or death, from use of heavy machinery that was in a dangerous condition.

The circumstances were:

  • The HSE served 10 enforcement notices on Murphys between 2009 and early 2014. 
  • The most serious breaches related to defects in machines which presented a ‘risk of death or serious personal injury to employees and people on site’.
  • During an annual inspection by an engineer in Oct 2013, several defects were found with the loading shovel. The worst was extensive damage to the bolts fixing the front bucket to the machine, which could have led to the bucket falling off and crushing anyone nearby.
  • Murphys was advised not to use it until repairs were carried out but ignored this.
  • When the HSE visited in January 2014, they found it in use and served a prohibition notice.
  • In a visit just days later, HSE identified a 360 degree excavator being used without either its left-side mirror or rear mirror in place, severely restricting visibility of the driver while moving about the site, again posing a risk to other workers. HSE served a further prohibition notice on the company.
The HSE inspector said:
“Murphys (Waste) has a dismal record of compliance with safety legislation and seemed to be content with repeatedly exposing its employees to unnecessary danger. This is a waste management company that takes bulk material from construction sites and uses heavy earth-moving plant. The risks associated with the waste industry are well-documented and widely recognised, but it is one of the most dangerous sectors. No company in the industry should be failing to address these risks and no worker should be regularly exposed to such uncontrolled dangers.  All work vehicles and equipment must be kept in an efficient condition and in good state of repair.”

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