Waste firm fined £260K after worker crushed in horror machine trap accident in South London

The man sustained severe injuries after becoming trapped in the Flex X Track Large Screener machine (pictured)  ( HSE)
The man sustained severe injuries after becoming trapped in the Flex X Track Large Screener machine (pictured) ( HSE)

A waste and recycling company has been fined £260,000 after a worker was crushed when a machine was mistakenly turned on during maintenance work.

Grzegorz Poreba, an employee at Cappagh Public Works Limited, was left severely injured after he became trapped between a conveyor and a metal bridge at the work site on Riverside Road in Wimbledon on September 11, 2020.

The 48-year-old had entered the machine to make repairs to the mesh of the hopper.

However, Mr Poreba was thrown into the conveyor after the machine was mistaken turned on, leaving him trapped against a metal bridge.

He suffered multiple injuries and required 23 screws and two plates inside his body during surgery. He has not been able to return to work since.

“The whole accident has turned my life upside down,” he said.

“I cannot walk or stand for longer than an hour and a half.

“It has been very hard. If I could turn back time, I could only wish that the accident had never happened. The doctors have been trying to regain my physical and mental health.

“The only success so far is that I am not in a wheelchair.”

An investigation by the Health and Executive (HSE) found that Cappagh Public Works Limited had failed to properly keep the machine isolated from power supplies.

The isolator switched had been broken and therefore did not work.

Cappagh Public Works Limited, of Waterside Way, London, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act.

The company was fined £260,000 and was ordered to pay £4,358 costs following a hearing at Westminster Magistrates Court on October 20.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Pippa Knott said: “The fine imposed should underline to everyone in the waste industry that the courts, and HSE, take a failure to ensure that maintenance work is completed safely extremely seriously.

“Grzegorz is lucky to be alive and the incident has left a lasting impression on him.

“We will not hesitate to take action against companies which do not do all that they should to keep people safe.”