Recycling Firm Fined After Dad Killed by Shovel Loader

A recycling company in Wales has been penalised with a £300,000 fine following an unfortunate incident where a father-of-two lost his life due to a shovel loader accident. Anthony Bilton, from Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, met with a fatal accident on September 4, 2019, at Atlantic Recycling Limited’s Atlantic Ecopark site in Cardiff when he was struck from behind by a Volvo shovel loader.

The 59-year-old was on his way to carry out routine maintenance tasks when the tragic incident occurred in the wood processing yard. An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed that Atlantic Recycling failed to ensure proper separation between pedestrians and vehicles on its site.

Furthermore, it was discovered that although a risk assessment had been conducted before the work commenced, it was deemed unsuitable and insufficient. Notably, it did not encompass activities in the wood yard, and the assessment failed to identify the risk to pedestrians in the presence of moving vehicles.

HSE inspector Rhys Hughes emphasized the importance of ensuring workplace safety, where every workplace should be secure for both people and vehicles, with suitable traffic routes. The HSE provides guidance on workplace transport to assist in maintaining safe traffic routes and segregating people from vehicles.

Anthony’s son, Jason, shared the profound impact his father’s passing had on his life, expressing regret over not stopping by his workplace on the day of the incident. Jason spoke of the ongoing emotional consequences and the lack of true closure due to the preventable nature of his father’s death.

Atlantic Recycling Limited, located in Rumney, Cardiff, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company received a £300,000 fine and was directed to pay £29,917.47 in costs at Merthyr Tydfil Magistrates’ Court on February 28, 2024.

HSE inspector Rhys Hughes underlined that this tragic incident could have been avoided if the company had followed HSE guidance, implementing a safe system of work that segregated pedestrians and vehicles. He highlighted the commonality of fatal incidents in this sector and stressed the necessity of entirely separate transport routes for protecting pedestrians in workplaces. The prosecution was led by HSE enforcement lawyer Matthew Reynolds, supported by HSE paralegal officer Helen Jacob.