Chilling footage of dad two minutes before he was crushed to death at scrap metal plant


Stuart Towns, 34, was manhandling large pieces of metal which were blocking a conveyor belt when they smashed on top of him causing horrific head injuries and tragically died at the scene

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CCTV shows worker moments before death at a scrap metal plant

Chilling footage shows a dad just minutes before he was crushed to death at a scrap metal plant.

A scrap metal company has been fined more than £2million after bosses were found guilty of hundreds of safety breaches.

Stuart Towns, 34, was manhandling large pieces of metal blocking a conveyor belt when they smashed on top of him causing horrific head injuries.

A safety gate which prevented workers from going into the area unless the machine was turned off, had been broken.

Mr Towns, a forklift truck driver, had been working for Alutrade Ltd in Oldbury, West Mids for three months when he was killed on July 24, 2017.







Stuart Towns (5) walking towards the hopper a few minutes before his death
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CCTV footage shows Mr Towns walking into an area underneath a hopper, which housed powerful engines used to feed a conveyor belt with scrap metal for processing.

Moments later, his body was discovered by distressed colleagues as he suffered catastrophic head injuries and died at the scene.

Alutrade Ltd admitted corporate manslaughter at Wolverhampton Crown Court last month and today, the company and three of its bosses were fined more than £2million.







Staff risking their lives in the hopper
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Managing director Malcolm George, 55, and fellow director Kevin Pugh, 46, along with health and safety manager Mark Redfern, 61, admitted breaching health and safety laws.

George, of Bromsgrove, Worcs., was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay £7,109 costs. Pugh, of Sutton Coldfield, West Mids., was fined £5,318 and ordered to pay £3,854. Redfern, of Rowley Regis, West Mids, was fined £2,635.







Stewart Towns lifted into place by the MD the week before his death to clear metal
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CCTV also showed appalling health and safety breaches just days before the tragedy and four days earlier, Mr Towns had been told not to work so close to the hopper by Mr George.

Just 40 minutes before the tragedy, he was spotted on CCTV working dangerously close to the machinery but Mr George said nothing.

A major investigation by West Midlands Police and the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) revealed hundreds of safety breaches.







Stuart Towns had been working for Alutrade Ltd just three months when the tragedy happened
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Managing director Malcolm George was fined
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They included workers jumping up and down on metal in a hopper to clear blockages, a forklift truck driven by Mr George being used to lift Mr Towns 18ft into the air to clear a blockage, with no safety rigging.

In addition, staff were also caught on camera walking on a conveyor belt to clear blockages.

Detective Inspector Hannah Whitehouse said: “Stuart’s death should never have happened, but sadly it was an incident waiting to happen. He and other staff at Alutrade Ltd were operating in a culture where dangerous working practices were regularly overlooked.

“You do not need a detailed understanding of health and safety legislation to know from watching the footage that workers were frequently allowed to risk their lives.







Kevin Pugh was also fined
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Health and safety manager Mark Redfern admitted breaching health and safety laws
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West Midlands Police/SWNS)

“The company put profit before health and safety and it cost Stuart his life.

“I hope today’s convictions and hefty ends act as a deterrent to anyone else involved in the industry who hasn’t got their workers’ safety as the top priority.”

Mr Towns’ family said: “After five years we now feel we can start to focus on the happy times we shared as a family with Stuart.

“We hope that lessons can be learned from the way that Stuart died and hope that no other family goes through what we have been through.







Stuart Towns isn’t challenged despite working too close to the hopper
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“It’s now time for us to focus on the good memories we have of Stuart.”

HSE inspector Jan Willets said: “Serious injuries to workers in waste and recycling are too common; and robust health and safety management by employers would reduce the risk.

“If the gates preventing access to the conveyor had been repaired, workers would not have been put at risk and Stuart Towns’ fatal injuries could have been prevented.”

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www.mirror.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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