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A UK wood recycling company was hit with a massive AUS$342,000 fine after a worker was killed due to poor OHS practices.

The Manchester-based business accepted that it had failed to carry out a number of safety measures that would have easily prevented the tragedy.

Upon investigation, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company had no segregation methods or structures in place to maintain a safe barrier between its vehicles and workers. They failed to introduce such measures even after workers had reported near misses on multiple occasions.

As a result, the employee was run over and killed as he was walking between a pile of wood and a skip. He was hit by the load shovel of a vehicle that was moving materials across the site, and died at the scene.

HSE Inspector Bruno Porter lamented the nature of the death and condemned the negligence of the company, noting that “solely relying on drivers or workers noticing each other is not adequate control.”

“This was an entirely preventable death caused by the company failing to have a system to allow vehicles and pedestrians to move safely around each other,” he said in a November 12 statement.

“The risks of serious injury and, all too frequently, death, resulting from the failure to control the safe movement of vehicles and pedestrians are widely recognised.”

He also explained that the waste industry has a high injury rate, mostly due to the presence of large, dangerous vehicles.

The situation is similar here in Australia. According to the latest figures from Safe Work Australia, the electricity, gas, water and waste services industry has resulted in five work fatalities this year as of November 11. This is already one more than the whole of last year.

To reduce the chances of tragic and preventable work fatalities, it is wise to introduce OHS training courses to your workplace so everyone is following best practices when it comes to safety.

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