Mid Wales

Sundorne Products fined after worker lost both legs

Mold Crown Court
Image caption The trial at Mold Crown Court started in April

An employee at a landfill site in Powys had to have both legs amputated above the knees after he was hit by a shovel loading machine, a court has been told.

Emrys Hughes, 65, worked as a tractor driver in Llanidloes when he suffered near fatal and life-changing injuries on 16 November, 2015.

Mold Crown Court heard he would never walk again.

Sundorne Products (Llanidloes) Ltd admitted a health and safety charge and was fined £180,000 and £7,650 costs.

The court heard Mr Hughes was walking in the yard but was in the blind spot of the mechanical shovel driver.

He was struck with force as the vehicle was being driven at some pace to get a momentum to load refuse.

It was described as "an accident waiting to happen" because the yard had no system to separate pedestrians and moving vehicles and no pedestrian walk ways.

Life changing

Mr Hughes was in intensive care for weeks afterwards, and stayed in hospital until April last year.

His partner had to give up work to care for him, and they moved to a specially adapted bungalow.

"My life has changed considerably since I lost my legs," he said in a victim impact statement.

Prosecutor Craig Morris said the company fell well below the required standard and failed to implement practises recognised in the industry to keep pedestrians and vehicles apart.

An investigator viewed CCTV footage from the yard for the previous two weeks and saw about 90 instances where there were moving vehicles close to pedestrians in the yard, with nothing to stop them being there at the same time.

Judge Niclas Parry said that the financial penalty was not intended to reflect "the devastating injuries" he had suffered, and said the events were "truly shocking".

The court was told Sundorne Products cooperated with the Health and Safety Executive, pleaded guilty at an early stage and was "truly remorseful", continuing to support Mr Hughes.

It installed pedestrian fencing and had appointed a health and safety manager following an audit.

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