Recresco fined £50,000 after worker's hand severed in Cheshire

Philip Grace and son Image copyright Potter Rees Dolan
Image caption Philip Grace, pictured with his son, said the injury had affected his ability to play sports with his family

A recycling plant accused of having the safety record of a "Dickensian workhouse" has been fined £50,000 after a worker lost a hand in an accident.

Liverpool Crown Court heard 43-year-old Philip Grace was asked to repair part of a moving conveyor belt at Recresco Ltd in Ellesmere Port in January 2014.

When his arm became snagged, his right hand was severed by a roller.

The firm, which admitted health and safety breaches, issued an apology and said systems had improved.

It is the second time the company has been sentenced for a serious accident in the workplace in the past 12 months.

In a separate incident, Rescresco Ltd was fined £180,000 in December after a forklift truck driver was crushed to death when his vehicle overturned in 2010.

Lawyers for Mr Grace, from Liverpool, who was employed at the time as a welder, said he was told the plant was not prepared to stop production whilst he carried out the repairs.

It was against normal company procedure for the conveyor belt to remain moving, the solicitor added.

Systems improved

Mr Grace was taken to Whiston Hospital where efforts were made to try to reattach his severed hand without success.

The company accepted the incident was the result of human and systemic failings and said lessons had been learned.

A statement issued on behalf of the firm said: "Recresco Limited extends its sympathies and apologies to Mr Grace and his family. The areas which were identified as of concern were rectified very rapidly."

Mr Grace said he pleased the prosecution was over.

"I hope that Recresco will continue to improve its safety standards so that none of my former colleagues will go through what I have," he said.

The injury had affected his ability to play sports with his young son, Mr Grace, a keen golfer, said.

Richard Edwards, of Potter Rees Dolan solicitors, said the company must "take a long and hard look at itself".

He said: "The death of one employee in 2010, and now this horrendous injury to Phil, stands as a record that some might say belongs to a Dickensian workhouse rather than a 21st century recycling plant."

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