Family of man who died at work say 'pain will never go away'

The heartbroken family of a young dad killed in a horrific accident at a dangerous recycling plant today said the pain of his loss “would never go away”. Dale McClelland, aged 23, was crushed to death in a compactor amid a string of major health and safety failings by his employers, a court heard. His fiancee Cody paid tribute after H&A Recycling of Redruth was sentenced for corporate manslaughter three years after the tragedy.

A judge at Plymouth Crown Court said that some of the practices at the plant in November 2017 would not have been tolerated by Victorian factory owners. Mr McClelland was killed when a colleague switched on the machine not knowing he was inside, a court heard. He had got inside the compacting and baling machine at the Cardrew Industrial Estate to remove a blockage while the new untrained recruit operated the controls.

Colleagues only realised Mr McClelland was inside when they called his mobile phone and heard it ringing. A statement released by the family said: “Dale was an amazing son, dad, brother, fiance, uncle, grandson, nephew, godfather, cousin and friend.

Dale McClelland, who died in a tragic baling accident at work

You can stay up-to-date on the top news near you with CornwallLive’s FREE newsletters – find out more about our range of daily and weekly bulletins and sign up here or enter your email address at the top of the page. “He was kind-hearted and would go out of his way for anyone he met.

He had a heart of gold and was always the life and soul of the party.” The couple had just moved into a new home and celebrated the first birthday of their daughter Sophia-Grace when the accident happened. The statement issued through the police went on: “Dale was a very family-orientated man and he will be forever missed and always loved by all of his family and friends.

It is a pain in our hearts that will never go away. “As a family, we hope this horrendous situation makes other companies step up and make sure that their health and safety is at the highest standard it can be.” The company, which has since sold the recycling unit where the accident happened, also admitted a string of breaches of health and safety rules.

It was fined GBP200,000 and ordered to pay the costs of GBP45,691 costs to prosecutors the Health and Safety Executive. High Court Judge Mr Justice Neil Garnham told the family that nothing he could do or say would ease their suffering. The amount of the fine reflects the size of the company, which made only GBP25,000 profit last year.

Family of man who died at work say 'pain will never go away'Cody McClelland (centre) pays tribute to her late fiance Dale McClelland surrounded by members of his family

The judge did not award compensation, but said a claim could be pursued through the civil costs.

Cody McClelland, who was due to marry Dale last year, told the BBC outside court: “No amount of money is going to bring Dale back. No amount of money is going to justify the actions of H&A, so I don’t think any of us are going to be happy at the outcome because we have not Dale at home with us. “He was the glue that held us all together to be honest, I can’t say anyone had a bad word to say about him because he just laughed about everything.”

HSE inspectors Simon Jones said that the health and safety breaches were some of the worst he had seen in 20 years of visiting work places. The bailing machine with its compactor chamber to compress waste was not fitted with a locking device which could disable it if someone went inside, the court heard. The guard rails were inadequate and unsupervised and untrained workers regularly climbed into and on to the machine to remove blockages.

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Across the plant, CCTV showed an employee driving a fork lift truck to get a wheel spin and others riding down chutes into piles of rubbish.

Two employees were seem fighting and one worker hid in rubbish going on a conveyor belt and leapt up to surprise his colleagues, the court heard. Fourteen people worked at the Materials Recovery Facility, the section of the business which separated and bailed up materials for collection or disposal. It has since been sold.

Directors Allan Holmes and Geoffrey Alway, who worked in an office across the road, said through their barrister that they were “shocked and appalled” by what was going on.

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The bosses, who were in court, said they had entrusted the day-to-day running of the facility to managers.

Justice Garnham said he recognised the “genuine remorse” the men had felt.

The company had no previous health and safety breaches on its record, co-operated with the investigation and pleaded guilty at the first opportunity.

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