Worker crushed to death when new colleague started recycling compactor in error

A worker died inside a recycling compactor when it was accidentally turned on by a new colleague.

Dale McCelland was killed at the H&A Recycling plant in Redruth, Cornwall in November 2017, a court heard.

The 23-year-old had got inside the machine after it got blocked and a colleague – who was new to the job – then inadvertently switched it on.

The plant’s safety standards were branded by judge Mr Justice Garnham as “positively Victorian”.

The firm admitted corporate manslaughter and was fined £200,000.

Neither worker involved had received adequate training, the court was told.

Plymouth Crown Court heard the victim would have died almost instantly.

The judge commented: “That’s the only blessing in this case.”

The court heard the machine did not have adequate safety controls and staff used to unblock it when it became jammed by kicking it.

Health and Safety Inspector Simon Jones said it was one of the most dangerous places he had inspected in 18 years.

Mr Garnham said: “This strikes me as utterly astonishing. It’s positively Victorian.”

The court was shown mobile phone footage of staff at the plant lying on conveyor belts with rubbish.

They were also spotted skidding forklift trucks and riding motorbikes between heavy moving vehicles, with no supervision.

The victim had a one-year-old daughter and was due to marry his partner Cody in 2019.

Prosecutor Simon Laws read a statement from Cody.

“On Dale’s death I would say that I died inside too,” she said.