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Negligent Welsh recycler jailed after fatal incident

Ceo of Recycling Cymru Ltd in East Wales, Stephen Jones, has been sentenced to serve 9 years in prison for manslaughter and gross negligence after one of his workers died on site.

Norman Butler was doing maintenance on a baler when he got trapped inside the machine.
On top of the prison year sentence, Jones will be banned from performing any duties for the recycling firm until he gets out. Recycling Cymru has been fined £120 000 (EUR 140 730).

Butler had only been working at the recycling plant for a month when the fatal accident (in late 2017) cost him his life, Wales Online reports. The worker was removing a blockage from the machine when his foot got caught and was eventually severed, causing him to bleed to death.

The judge was appalled to hear the man did not have a copy of the 78-page safety manual and was ordered to operate the machine unsupervised. Health & safety regulations were described as ‘shockingly bad’ as safety protocols were ‘for show’ while the workplace was ‘chaotic’ and ‘cluttered’.

More than 3 000 recycling and waste workers are injured in the UK every year, according to the European Trade Union Institute. This represents roughly 1 in every 20 workers – a number said to be ‘four times higher than the average for all industries’. For instance, incidents happen twice as often compared to the construction and manufacturing sector.

At least 140 000 people work in the UK waste and recycling industry, making up less than 1% of the country’s working population. And yet, the industry accounts for nearly 3% of all reported injuries to employees.

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