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£300k fine after dad killed by shovel loader

04 March 2024

A RECYCLING company in Wales has been fined £300k after a father-of-two was killed by a shovel loader.

Anthony Bilton, from Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, lost his life on 4 September 2019 when he was run over from behind by a Volvo shovel loader at Atlantic Recycling Limited’s Atlantic Ecopark site in Cardiff.

The 59-year-old had been on his way to undertake routine maintenance tasks when the tragic incident happened, while walking across the wood processing yard.

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector Rhys Hughes said Atlantic Recycling failed to ensure pedestrians and vehicles were separated at its site.

The HSE investigation also found that although a risk assessment had been produced prior to the work commencing, it was not suitable nor sufficient and did not include work taking place in the wood yard. Additionally, the risk assessment should have identified there was a risk to pedestrians where there were moving vehicles.

Every workplace must be safe for the people and vehicles using it and traffic routes must be suitable for the people and vehicles using them. HSE has guidance on workplace transport with advice on keeping traffic routes safe and separating people from vehicles.

Anthony’s son, Jason, says his life was “torn to shreds” following the passing of his dad.

He said: “It took over three hours for me to be notified that my dad had been killed in a work accident. I started to become concerned when he weren’t home from work at his usual time and failed to answer the phone. I remember thinking about popping by his workplace to see him whilst on my journey home from Telford, where I’d been for the past few days, but decided against it as I was exhausted from traveling.

“Had I gone to see him, I would’ve arrived at Atlantic Recycling between 3:30-4pm, he was killed around 4:10pm. Every day I deal with thoughts that: ‘If only I’d stopped to see him, he could still be alive today.’

“There will never be real closure for my dad’s death as it should never have happened, not the way it did. My life was torn to shreds within a few hours and to this day I’m still dealing with the consequences and emotional impact.”

Atlantic Recycling Limited, of Newton Road, Rumney, Cardiff, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £300,000 and ordered to pay £29,917 in costs at Merthyr Tydfil Magistrates’ Court on 28 February 2024.

HSE inspector Rhys Hughes said: “This tragic incident led to the death of a father of two and could have been prevented. Atlantic Recycling Ltd should have identified, and controlled the risks involved with using large plant and vehicles in line with HSE guidance.

“A safe system of work should have been in place, ensuring that pedestrians and vehicles were segregated. This is sadly a common cause of fatal incidents in this sector. The most effective way of protecting pedestrians in any workplace is to make transport routes entirely separate.”

This prosecution was brought by HSE enforcement lawyer Matthew Reynolds and supported by HSE paralegal officer Helen Jacob.