Worker crushed ‘within seconds’ after FALLING into industrial shredder

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A worker was crushed to death ‘in seconds’ after falling into an industrial shredder while trying to unblock it, a court has heard.

What led to the incident

David Willis, had been sent into the machine at Timmins Waste Services (TWS) in Wolverhampton by his yard manager Brian Timmins to clear a blockage on September 15, 2018.

However, the 29-year-old became caught in the device after it suddenly restarted and he was completely crushed so that his remains were never found, Wolverhampton Crown Court was told.

How it could have been avoided

Prosecutors allege that Mr Willis’s boss, who was operating the diesel-powered machine, should have made sure it was switched off when the worker went inside but ‘it was clearly not’.

It is also claimed that upon realising his employee had died in the shredder, Timmins continued working before taking an 80-tonne container of recycled waste, believed to have Mr Willis’s remains inside, to a landfill.

Timmins, of Fair Lawn, Albrighton in Shropshire, denies manslaughter and perverting the course of justice, while TWS is charged with corporate manslaughter.

Was his death due to systematic failures?

Wolverhampton Crown Court was told on Monday November 13 that there were ‘systematic failures’ which led to Mr Willis’s death.

The court heard that Timmins had been operating the shredder at the company’s yard in Mander Street, Wolverhampton, when it stopped ‘abruptly’ on September 15, 2018.

What CCTV told the jury..

Prosecutor Christine Agnew KC told the jury that Timmins approached the machine to investigate and then used a digger to lift Mr Willis up on top of the shredder, with CCTV evidence showing him working inside it.

She said: ‘Waste material can then be seen being ejected from the machine, demonstrating that the machine was still operational, still working whilst Mr Willis continued to work within.

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‘All of the guidance in relation to the operation of the shredder provided by the manufacturer stipulates that if someone is working inside the shredder it should be switched off.

‘The reason is obvious – to avoid death or serious injury. It clearly was not switched off at the time David Willis was unblocking it.’

When Mr Willis disappears inside the machine, Timmins is seen on CCTV looking around the yard and inside the shredder’s ‘hopper’, which guides the waste towards the machine’s blades, before calling Mr Willis’s phone.

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Ola Alabi
Ola Moses is a certified writer, He writes technically and creatively. He is the CEO of WORDSWORTH, a house where writing is made easier for all. He is a content creator at EsB TV, since 2019. He is a young man that showcases professionalism in all that he does, he was announced as Child and Green Foundation Person of the Year 2018, one of his many lists of honours.

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