Labourer Injured At Leeds Recycling Firm Appeals For Information To Help Lawyers Investigate

Leeds Worker Suffers Serious Injuries After Being Buried By Mulch At Quarry


By Suzanne Rutter

A Leeds labourer who fractured his spine and was knocked unconscious after he was buried by a heap of environmental waste, has today backed an appeal to his ex-colleagues to come forward with information about what happened to help in his battle for justice.

Leslie Wagstaff, from Otley, had been working as a seasonal employee removing pieces of metal, plastic and litter from piles of green waste at management and recycling company Nutramulch Yorkshire Ltd, when the face of the 30-foot pile of mulch toppled forward and buried him at the firm’s Arthington Quarry site.

The 62-year-old was taken to Wharfedale Hospital and then rushed to Leeds General Infirmary where doctors gave him the devastating news that he had suffered a fractured spine, a significant foot fracture and crush injuries in the incident.

Leslie, who has been unable to return to work and is still suffering from his injuries even now, has now called on workplace injury law experts at Irwin Mitchell to better understand exactly what happened and to ensure action is taken to prevent similar tragedies in future.

The law firm is now appealing for his former work-mates to come forward with as much information as possible about how he came to be buried by the mulch on 9 May 2012 as he helped sift litter from the raw materials. 

Mark Aldridge, from Irwin Mitchell’s Leeds office representing him, said: “Employers have a duty to ensure their employees are properly protected from harm and this is particularly important in dangerous settings such as this.

“It was an incredibly frightening experience for Leslie and it’s had a long-term impact on his life as he is still suffering from pain in his ankle, psychological problems and is unable to work.

“We hope as many of his ex colleagues from Nutramulch will come forward with information about how this incident happened and if anything more could have been done by his employers to help protect him.”

Following emergency treatment at Wharfedale Hospital, Leslie was admitted to Leeds General Infirmary where he underwent surgery to rebuild his foot with pins and a metal plate. Leslie says he is still coming to terms with the debilitating injuries he suffered and is keen to get access to the vital rehabilitation he needs to he can get back to work.

Since the incident he has been unable to return to work and is still suffering from mobility and psychological problems, such as flashbacks, nightmares and depression.

He said: “The accident at Nutramulch was absolutely terrifying and I certainly didn’t expect to end up with such terrible injuries simply from collecting litter, plastic and waste from the agricultural mulch the firm was processing. It was horrifying and something I don’t think I will ever get over.

“It’s been hard to come to terms with how the accident has affected my life and it’s frustrating not being able to get back to work. I hope my ex-work mates from the firm will come forward with information about what happened, so I can finally get justice and start to move on with my life.”

Anyone with information about the working conditions at Nutramulch should contact Mark Aldridge at Irwin Mitchell’s Leeds office on 0113 394 6757 or email

If you or a loved one has suffered a serious back or spinal cord injury at work, our specialist serious injury solicitors could help you to claim compensation. Visit our Spinal Injury Compensation Claims page or Workplace Accident Claims page for more information.