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Sussex recycling company fined after incident caused serious injuries to workers

12 March 2018

An explosion and fire at a recycling site that injured eight people, five seriously, resulted in the prosecution of Ereco EMEA Corporation.

Based in Sussex, the incident occurred at the company's site in Hobbs Industrial Estate, Lingfield, Surrey on 3 October 2011.

The site was used for the storage of print toner and the incident saw one worker placed in an induced coma and remain in hospital for 15 weeks, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Concerns over safety in the recycling sector have been raised a number of times by the HSE.

Following the incident in question, a joint investigation by the HSE and Surrey Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) found that there was no adequate safe system of work to reduce risk from dangerous substances at the site.

The investigation also found that Paramount Waste Extraction failed to consider the possibility of the machinery it designed to shred and process toner cartridges could be overloaded.

Portsmouth Crown Court handed a fine of £30,000 to Ereco EMEA Corporation of Lewes Road, Forest Row, East Sussex after it pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to a breach of Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work, etc, Act 1974 and failing to take fire precautions as specified within the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

Costs of £30,000 were also awarded against the company.

Paramount Waste Extraction of Redehall Road, Smallfield, Surrey pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work, etc, Act 1974, receiving a fine of £16,000 and the same amount in costs.

The HSE stated after the hearing that designers and suppliers should ensure risks, including foreseeable misuse, should be taken into account when designing systems.

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