Recycling worker died after falling into machinery and severing foot | Metro News

2022-06-25 06:21:18 By : Ms. wubai store


A recycling plant worker bled to death after his foot was cut off when he fell and got stuck in machinery, a court has heard. 

Norman Butler, 60, from Prestatyn, died on November 30, 2017, after getting trapped inside a baler at Recycle Cymru Ltd in Kinmel Bay, Conwy. 

Craig Hassall QC, prosecuting, told jurors at Mold Crown Court that safety guidance at the facility was ‘shockingly bad’. 

Managing director Stephen Jones, 60, denies Mr Butler’s manslaughter by gross negligence. He and the company also face a number of lesser health and safety offences. 

The court heard father-of-three Mr Butler had only worked for the firm for around a month by the time he died. 

His job was to collect cardboard waste in his van and drive it back to the plant to be compressed into large cubes ready to be recycled.  

On November 30, he arrived back at 4pm, jurors were told. 

The cardboard would be placed onto a conveyor belt which rose up toward the ceiling before being dropped into a hopper container sitting some 11ft off the ground. 

It would then go down a chute into the hydraulic baling machine to be crushed into square bales tied with wire, the court heard. 

But Mr Hassall explained that sometimes the hopper would get blocked and staff, including the managing director, would walk up the conveyor belt to clear them. 

He said employees would grab hold of a rope tied to one of the ceiling beams at the top and ‘jump’ up and down on the cardboard to force it into the hopper.  

Witness Paul King told jurors he arrived at the plant three hours later, at 7.18pm, and saw Mr Butler’s van parked up outside. 

After noticing the baling machine was on, he quickly spotted blood seeping from it. 

He said: ‘I opened the side door of the chute. Mr Butler was trapped inside. I realised he was dead.’ 

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Mr Hassall told the court Mr Butler died from blood loss after his left foot was severed. 

‘He would have been trapped with no-one to rescue him,’ he added. 

The court heard Jones had a duty of care toward Mr Butler and breached it by failing to ensure he was properly trained to operate the machinery. 

Mr Hassall said Jones did not even have the safety manual for the baler and lied to a Health and Safety Executive inspector the day before the accident by saying he was the only person to operate the baling and sorting machines. 

Jones, of Rhos-on-Sea, claims he spotted Mr Butler on his way back to the plant and insists he thought the employee would simply park up as he had been told not to work alone. 

The prosecutor told jurors it is ‘irrelevant if Mr Butler made an error of judgement himself’. 

Jones is also accused of failing to ensure that employees did not climb the conveyor belt, guard against falling into the baler, and ensuring that Mr Butler did not work alone. 

Mr Hassall said these breaches of his duty of care were ‘substantially’ the cause of Mr Butler’s death.  

Jones and Recycle Cymru Ltd deny the offences.  

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