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Gething donor’s firm under investigation following second worker’s death

09 Jul 2024 4 minute read
Atlantic Recycling. Photo via Google

Martin Shipton

A company in the group that donated £200,000 to Vaughan Gething’s leadership campaign is under investigation for the second time following the death of a worker on its premises.

South Wales Police and the Health and Safety Executive are investigating the death of a man following an incident at the Atlantic Recycling site in Cardiff.

At approximately 12.45pm on Monday, July 8, emergency services were called to a report of an injured man at the site on Newton Road, Rumney.

The man died of his injuries and his family were informed.

‘Robust investigation’

Detective Sergeant Richard Hill, from South Wales Police, said: “We would like to offer our condolences to the family of the man who sadly lost his life. Our aim now, together with the Health and Safety Executive, is to carry out a robust investigation and establish the cause of this tragic incident.”

Formal identification is due to take place today.

Atlantic Recycling is part of the Dauson Environmental Group owned by businessman David Neal, who has received two suspended prison sentences for dumping toxic sludge in the Gwent Levels protected landscape.

Former Cardiff councillor Ashley Govier, one of Mr Gething’s closest supporters, has said that he could not have secured his narrow victory over Jeremy Miles without the £200k given to him by Mr Neal’s company.

A waste industry source told us: “This is a tragic loss of life and demonstrates how health and safety must be paramount at any workplace. This incident occurred on the premises of David Neal’s company and clearly the correct procedures were not followed. It is an extremely serious matter.”

‘Dark day’

A Labour insider said “The Labour movement began so people would be safe at work. This is a dark day for all of us: a family has lost a loved one and that should be at the forefront of all our minds. This is the second time in recent years that someone has died working for this employer. A clear message needs to be sent that we stand with working people and with the families of the bereaved.

“The rules around donations are there to promote transparency, not to absolve the recipient of association with the donor. They enable all of us to judge who has donated and decide whether this is a suitable person. It is crystal clear this is not a suitable person for Labour politicians to work with, never mind bankroll their campaigns. This money must be returned in full.”

We asked the Welsh Government whether the First Minister had any comment to make. A spokesperson said: “it would be inappropriate to comment whilst the HSE investigation is ongoing. Our deepest sympathies are with the family and friends of the man who lost his life in this incident.”

A spokesperson for Dauson Environmental Group said: “Dauson Environmental Group can confirm an incident occurred on Monday 8th July 2024 involving a contractor carrying out maintenance at the Atlantic Recycling site in Cardiff. We are continuing to support the emergency services and regulators with their ongoing investigations at this time.”

Fined

In February 2024 Atlantic Recycling was fined £300,000 after admitting health and safety laws broken when Anthony Bilton, 59, was run over by a shovel loader on Atlantic Recycling Limited’s site in Cardiff in 2019.

Mr Bilton, from Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, was about to carry out routine maintenance tasks when he was run over from behind by a Volvo shovel loader in September 2019.

The father-of-two was walking across the wood processing yard at the time at the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that the risk assessment was not suitable nor sufficient and did not include work taking place in the area.

Atlantic Recycling Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

The company was fined £300,000 and ordered to pay £29,917.47 in costs at Merthyr Tydfil Magistrates’ Court.

After the case, Atlantic Recycling released a statement saying it “apologises unreservedly to the family and friends of Mr Bilton, for this tragic incident and the loss they continue to live with every day”.

“We appreciate there is no mitigation or size of fine that will ever make up for the loss that they have suffered.”


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John Ellis
John Ellis
4 days ago

There seems to be a bit of a pattern here, and one which the First Minister, seemingly by his own free choice, has inevitably become entangled.

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