A Black County recycling company was prosecuted and fi ned £13,000 after a man fell unconscious while working in the chute of a fridge recycling machine at the company’s site in Lye.
The court heard that the worker regularly entered the chute to clear blockages. As fridges have the potential to explode, nitrogen gas was pumped into the chute to reduce the explosion risk. After climbing into the chute, the worker passed out due to low levels of oxygen and required to be rescued by a colleague.
HSE found that the company had not assessed the risk to its workers posed by the nitrogen gas. Furthermore, the company had failed to assess the risk of working in the confi ned space of the chute.
The Company was prosecuted for breaches of the confi ned Spaces Regulations 1997 and Regulation 3(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. The case highlights the importance of identifying potential risks in the workplace and compliance with risk assessment procedures.