A FAMILY-RUN waste firm is facing a bill for nearly £7,000 after a director’s son was hit by a forklift truck while sorting rubbish.

Darren Decosemo suffered a broken shoulder, two broken toes and a cracked rib while working at First Skips, in Shotton Colliery, County Durham, on October 8, 2009.

He was struck by a reversing truck driven by company director Dean Thomas – the business partner of Mr Decosemo’s father, Michael.

Yesterday, the firm, also known as First Waste, admitted breaching health and safety legislation.

Magistrates at Peterlee fined the company £3,350 and ordered it to pay £3,543 in costs. The court heard that the firm, which has 12 staff, will have to lay off a worker and could struggle to win big contracts.

The incident happened when Mr Decosemo, from Blackhall, was picking out recyclable items from a waste delivery.

The 25-year-old, who was knocked to the ground, was off work for several months and although he has made a full recovery, no longer works for the company.

Victoria Wise, prosecuting for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), said he was lucky not to be killed and said the incident could have easily been avoided.

The court heard that after the incident, First Skips, which previously had a clear safety record, cooperated fully with the HSE investigation and improved its health and safety procedures.

Richard Voke, the firm’s lawyer, said its bosses had suffered emotional difficulties as a result of the accident and endured an “ongoing punishment” since.

Sentencing, magistrates chairwoman Nicola Gregory said: “This was a very serious accident with a level of serious personal injury and at the time the safety procedures fell below the required standards.

“(However) First Skips have demonstrated a clear commitment to rectifying and improving the health and safety environment.”

After the hearing, a company spokesman said: “This was an unfortunate accident that has affected us profoundly.

“We are grateful to the magistrates for recognising that we have demonstrated a clear commitment to rectifying any health and safety issues.”