Shattered jaw leads to firm’s £15,000 fine

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A worker at one of the UK’s leading metal recycling firms had his jaw shattered by the locking mechanism of the waste container on the vehicle he was driving.

Heavy goods driver Dean Bridges, of Becketts Close in Maulden, had his jaw broken in several places and lost three teeth while attempting to open the rear door of the RO-RO (Roll-on Roll-off) container he was driving at Ampthill Metal Company Ltd’s Station Road industrial Estate site in Ampthill, Bedfordshire.

The injury happened as Mr Bridges removed the locating pin from the handle holding the rear door of the container shut. The handle sprung out, striking Mr Bridges in the face.

Bedford Magistrates’ Court heard Mr Bridges, 41, received 47 stitches and needed his jaw to be wired. He was unable to work for two months or eat solid food for three after the 22 September 2009 incident.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found the company had failed to ensure Mr Bridges’ safety and found three similar incidents had occurred at the company’s premises between 2002 and 2008, all involving workers being struck by container doors or container door handles.

Ampthill Metal Company Ltd pleaded not guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Etc. Act 1974. After a two-day trial this week the firm was found guilty by magistrates and fined £15,000 with £21,718.05 costs.

After the hearing HSE inspector, Emma Rowlands, said: “Mr Bridges suffered serious facial injuries as a result of this incident, which was entirely preventable.”