A FORMER Rotherham recycling firm has been fined £500,000 after being found guilty of corporate manslaughter following the death of a worker three years ago.
Waste processing machine operator Michael Whinfrey (42), was killed working at the Sterecycle plant at Templeborough when a door failed and blew out under pressure in January 2011.
Sterecycle, which denied the charge and was not represented in court during a five-week trial, is in liquidation.
Det Sergeant Rob Platts, who led the investigation, said the verdict recognised the systemic failings of a company who had a duty of care to its employees.
“The company was aware of a longstanding issue with the autoclave doors and made no effort to repair the problem properly, putting the lives of their employees at risk,” he said.
Mr Whinfrey’s partner of 28 years, Margaret Crofts, said: “I have had to cope on a daily basis of not knowing or understanding what actually happened to Michael.
“With this guilty verdict now in, I know that through the negligence and incompetence of Sterecycle the company, Michael, through no fault of his own, was unlawfully killed.”
Sentencing, Mr Justice Jay said: “I have absolutely no doubt that this case has been one of the most difficult and demanding of its type that has confronted the criminal justice system.”
Former maintenance manager Kevin Goss (57), was found not guilty of perverting the course of justice.
Goss, former operations manager Steven Weaver (38), and former operations director Paul Greenwell (51), were earlier cleared of health and safety breaches.
We want to continue holding local authorities to account, attending court and council meetings, as well as providing breaking news, competitions and offers – but it costs money. Online advertising does not cover costs, therefore we feel the need to ask for your help in ensuring we can provide the best possible coverage, online and in our printed products.
For as little as £1, you can support the Rotherham Advertiser – and it only takes a minute.
Click here to support local news.