A major recycling firm has been fined hundreds of thousands after one of its workers was struck by a 7.5 tonne telehandler. 

Court heard that Sita UK Limited had failed to provide adequate segregation between pedestrians and moving vehicles at a waste transfer station in Darwen, Lancashire.

As an employee was walked across an outside sorting area, he passed behind a stationary telehandler.

The vehicle began to reverse and struck the worker, who was knocked to the floor and then run over by the rear wheel. His injuries were so severe that he spent the following two months in hospital.

The incident prompted a full investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The watchdog found that while the company had identified the risks, it had failed to introduce suitable controls which would have safeguarded the workforce.

Berkshire-based Sita pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £200,000, with £11,998 costs.

HSE inspector Stuart Kitchingman said: “Employers need to look carefully at their workplaces regularly to make sure that pedestrian routes are clearly marked and physically separated from vehicle routes wherever possible.

“The employee could have easily been killed and still has severe mobility problems as a result of the accident. He is unlikely to be able to work in the near future.”