Safety fears have been raised at Sheffield recycling sites after a trade union claims to have found ‘dangerously overloaded’ skips, children accessing sites unchallenged and discarded debris and glass.
A report from the GMB claims workers and the public are being put ‘in danger’ by health and safety breaches.
Follow-up inspections by Sheffield Council of the sites run by waste firm Veolia’s sub-contractor The Green Company are understood to have resulted in a planned £70,000 fine for the firm over health and safety issues.
The fine is yet to be formally approved by council bosses but the GMB says it understands inspectors have recommended the penalty.
Green Co runs five city recycling sites at Beighton Road, Woodhouse, Blackstock Road, Gleadless, Manchester Road, Deepcar, Greaves Lane, High Green and Longley Avenue West, Shirecliffe – used by thousands of people each year.
The GMB, which has been involved in a long-running dispute with Veolia over workers’ rights at the centres, says the fine is due to be levied within weeks.
The report said concerns were first raised in November 2014, when a child was seen cycling on to the Douglas Road site unaccompanied and unchallenged.
It said a ‘dangerously overloaded’ skip had been seen at the Blackstock Road site last month, as well as a JCB with a smashed door window still being used.
The report added an adult and child were seen taking trade waste on to the Douglas Road site, while a footpath outside the site where the public park cars was ‘covered in debris and glass’.
The GMB report, sent to Sheffield Council and Veolia, said: “The GMB believes that Green Co are not adhering to basic health and safety guidance or legislation.
“The continuation of this company running these household waste recycling sites has put and continues to put both the public and the current workforce working on site, in danger.”
GMB officer Peter Davies, called for the council’s report on the sites to be published.
He said: “These are public sites and the public are going on them.”
A Sheffield Council spokesperson said: “We are committed to high standards of health and safety at our Household Waste Recycling Centres and we are in talks with Veolia to ensure these are delivered.”
A Veolia spokesperson said: “The health and safety of visitors and staff at all our sites is our top priority.
“We have not received a performance penalty from Sheffield Council and we continue to work in partnership with them and The Green Company to maintain high levels of health and safety at our Household Waste Recycling Sites in Sheffield.”