Bourne firm BW Riddle ordered to pay £70,000 for safety breaches

BW Riddle, South Fen Road, Bourne
BW Riddle, South Fen Road, Bourne

A metal recycling firm in Bourne has been prosecuted for safety breaches after a worker was left with broken ribs when he fell from a sloping conveyor belt.

The worker, 49, from Deeping St Nicholas, suffered multiple rib fractures following the incident at BW Riddle in South Fen Road, Bourne on February 7, 2013.

Lincoln Crown Court heard on Monday that the worker was carrying out maintenance on the conveyor belt, leaning over the top end while working on the bearings. When the main power was switched on again, the whole line, including the belt, reactivated.

The man fell from the belt onto a heap of scrap metal below, and then onto the concrete floor, breaking ribs on both sides of his body.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found the conveyor belt had not been isolated.

The court was told HSE had taken previous enforcement action against the company. In August 2010 it was found there were no formal procedures for isolating the conveyors during maintenance. An improvement notice was issued and complied with. Further enforcement action was taken in 2010 relating to failing to prevent access to dangerous parts of machinery, and again in 2011.

BW Riddle, which has been established 50 years and has sites in Boston, Corby and Peterborough, was fined £70,000 and ordered to pay £18,000 in costs for breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company had pleaded guilty at a previous hearing.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Neil Ward said: “The incident could easily have resulted in a death and only luck saved this worker from more serious injury.

“Had the company put in place the correct, formal procedures for locking off and isolating the conveyor belts, this incident could have been prevented entirely.”