The senior investigating police officer involved in a case that has today led to a recycling firm being fined £200,000 for the death of one of its workers has described the tragedy as "completely avoidable."

It follows the death of 23-year-old Dale Mcclelland, who was killed on November 16, 2017 after becoming trapped within a baling machine he was operating at H&A Recycling Limited on Cardrew Industrial Estate.

Charges were brought against the company following a complex three-year investigation into Mr Mcclelland's death by Devon and Cornwall Police and the Health and Safety Executive, in extensive liaison with the Crown Prosecution Service.

Today it was sentenced at Plymouth Crown Court to pay a £200,000 fine with additional costs of almost £46,000.

It is believed that this is the first prosecution for corporate manslaughter within the Devon and Cornwall area under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007.


Senior investigating officer Detective Inspector Steve Hambly, from Devon and Cornwall Major Crime Investigation Team, said the investigation showed a number of systematic failings over staff safety, training, risk assessments and supervision.

Of particular concern to all agencies involved was the way in which machinery had been used, including the baling machine involved in Mr Mcclelland's death.

Footage shown in court showed some members of staff play fighting and racing in vehicles around the factory floor. It is not suggested Mr Mcclelland was one of them.

DI Hambly added: “This three-year investigation is a testament to the hard work and good working relationships between different agencies, and positive liaison with the CPS.

"It serves as a warning to all employers that the safety of their staff should be at the very heart of the way they do business. It was not acceptable to expose Dale to the risks that were uncovered during this investigation.

“The investigation team would like to acknowledge that Dale’s family and friends have conducted themselves with dignity and displayed great patience throughout this very long, technical and challenging investigation.

"This result can never bring Dale back to them, but the sentence today does say to all that Dale’s death was completely avoidable and should not have happened.”

Falmouth Packet:

Dale Mcclelland had been due to get married last year

It is as police release footage of workers play fighting with machinery and even riding a motorbike around the factory.

Following the hearing HSE Inspector Simon Jones said: “The guarding standards that were found at the recycling plant during the investigation were some of the worst that I have seen in 20 years.

"All employers should ensure that machinery is always properly guarded and maintained and that employees receive adequate training to allow them to work safely. If the baler at H&A Recycling Ltd had been properly guarded and maintained, then this terrible incident would not have happened.”

Today his family paid tribute to a "family man with a heart of gold" and urged all companies to ensure standards of health and safety were the highest they could be.

They said: “Dale was an amazing son, dad, brother, fiancé, uncle, grandson, nephew, godfather, cousin and friend.

“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.

“Dale was a very family-oriented man and he will forever be 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.”