Tees

Durham recycling worker Simon Hogg's death an accident

A lorry and a sign for the John Wade Group site
Image caption Safety procedures were bypassed by workers to save time, the hearing was told

The death of a recycling worker who was trying to repair waste separation equipment when it was switched on was an accident, an inquest has found.

Colleagues turned on a rotating drum, known as a trommel, at Stonegrave Aggregates in Aycliffe, County Durham, unaware Simon Hogg, 47, was inside.

A co-worker suffered "life-changing" injuries in the same incident in December 2015, the inquest was told.

The inquest heard safety procedures were sometimes bypassed to save time.

After the hearing the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said prosecutions could follow.

Overtime shift

The inquest was told Mr Hogg, from Hurworth, suffered multiple injuries when the 6ft 6in (2m) diameter trommel began to turn as he and colleague Ray Garrett, 46, attempted to remove a blockage.

Mr Garrett was successfully released from the machine, but it was a further five minutes before staff discovered Mr Hogg among the waste paper.

The two men were near the end of a Saturday morning overtime shift and were working on an experimental project to shred paper for animal bedding.

The trommel was off when they went inside it but two colleagues, who did not know they were there, switched it back on.

One of them using a pole to poke a button, the inquest heard.

After the four-day hearing a the jury returned a verdict that Mr Hogg's death from torso injuries was an accident.

After the hearing, Insp Michael Kingston from the HSE said: "Investigations are continuing by the HSE.

"This incident should be a warning to businesses of the risks associated with close machinery interventions and their duty to ensure that robust, effective power isolation systems and procedures are in place."

The families of Mr Hogg and Mr Garrett declined to comment after the hearing.

The company has said additional safety measures have since been introduced at the plant.

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