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Jail for 3 bosses covering up details of a fatal fall to 25 yr. old worker
Benjamin Edge (Ben) fell from a roof he was working on, without safety equipment and in windy conditions.
 
The Police and HSE found that MA Excavations Ltd, contracted out the work to brothers Christopher and Robert Brown, directors at SR and RJ Brown Limited. Mark Aspin, director at MA Excavations Ltd said he believed the Browns were ‘competent’ but he did not check their qualifications.
 
Robert Brown wrote a ‘grossly inadequate’ risk assessment before the job but did not show anyone. After Ben was rushed to hospital he then typed up another risk assessment.
 
Peter Heap, who had been working alongside Ben was asked by Christopher Brown to go home and collect harnesses to make it look like the accident was Ben’s fault. “Foolishly, weakly and criminally” he went along with what he was told to do the court heard.
 
The Browns maintained that the harnesses had been there before the incident, although they did admit falsifying the risk assessment. SR and RJ Brown Limited was fined £300,000 at Crown Court for corporate manslaughter.
 
Directors Christopher and Robert Brown were jailed for 20 months for perverting the course of justice and H&S offences. Mark Aspin, 37, was sentenced to a year in jail for H&S offences.
 
MA Excavations Ltd was fined £75,000 after pleading guilty to two H&S breaches.
 
Employee Peter Heap, 34, was sentenced to a four-month suspended sentence for fetching the safety harness to try and conceal the truth.
 
Shabbir says: In one of the most tragic stories I have read in 28 years of health and safety, Ben leaves behind a 3 year-old daughter, a mother & father, twin brother, partner and friends.


Electric shock leads to £600,000 fine
Gloucester Crown Court heard that the 61-year-old man, while trying to replace a traffic light pole, came into contact with a live underground cable. The electric shock set him on fire causing burns to his hands, arms, stomach, face, legs and chest.
 
The man was sub-contracted by Amey to carry out the works.
 
HSE found that Amey did not provide adequate information on the location of underground services in the area, nor adequate supervision or management of work.
 
Amey LG Limited pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 25 (4) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015. The company was fined £600,000 and ordered to pay costs of £15,498.
 
Shabbir says:
The case highlights the extreme risks of working underground, and very real danger of severe electric shocks from hidden services.


Care home fined after boy drowned in disused quarry
The Old Bailey heard how two 16-year-old boys - residents at Castle Lodge Care Home - were taken on a day trip to Bawsey Country Park - a disused sand quarry containing parkland and flooded pits.
 
The boys went into the pit water despite the no swimming signs. One became trapped in weed on the pit bottom and drowned.
 
The HSE investigation found the two support workers with the boys had very little experience and did not try to stop the children entering the water.
 
No risk assessment was carried out and Castle Homes’ procedures were ineffective in ensuring the safety of the children while on trips outside the home.
 
Castle Homes Limited was fined £80,000 and ordered to pay costs of £20,000.
 
Shabbir says:
As ever, risk assessments (or lack thereof) played a big part in this case - I can never overestimate their importance.


Coffee experiment nearly kills two students
Date: 25 January 2017
The University of Northumbria at Newcastle has been fined after two students fell seriously ill following a laboratory experiment.
 
Newcastle Crown Court heard how students were learning about the effects of caffeine as part of a sports experiment. Part of the course included a practical exercise where volunteer students would take quantities of caffeine to demonstrate the impact.
 
Two of the volunteer students drank a solution with 100 times the amount that should have been taken as part of the experiment. They immediately suffered from dizziness, blurred vision, vomiting, shaking and rapid heartbeat. They were rushed to hospital intensive care unit where their conditions were considered life threatening. Dialysis was required to rid their bodies of the excessive levels of caffeine.
 
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the protocols set out for the experiment were not followed. The instructions were to use 200mg tablets but as they were not available the students were provided with caffeine in a powered form and miscalculated the amount of powder to use and overdosed the two volunteers.
 
University of Northumbria pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and were fined £400,000 and ordered to pay costs of £26,468.22.
 
Caffeine is most popularly known as a constituent of coffee but it can be very dangerous and life threatening where pure caffeine powder is consumed.



British Airways PLC has been prosecuted for not protecting their workers’ from hand arm vibrations.
Paisley Sheriff Court heard how employees working within the composite workshop at the Glasgow base, who in the course of their work used hand held power tools to carry out repairs on various components, were exposed to the risk of Hand Arm Vibration (HAVs) a condition that can cause symptoms such as tingling, pins and needles, numbness and pain in the affected persons hands.

The condition can affect sleep when it occurs at night and cause difficulties in gripping and holding things, particularly small items such as screws, doing up buttons, writing and driving.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) highlighted the company’s failure to make a suitable and sufficient risk assessment to control the effect of exposure by workers to the vibrations from hand held tools. 
Potentially this exposed the work force to the risk of injury whilst working within the workshops.

British Airways PLC, Waterside, Harmondsworth, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 5 (1) of the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations (2005) and was fined £6,500.



A self-employed garage mechanic was fined today after a member of the public was injured when picking up his vehicle from the premises.
Stevenage Magistrates’ Court heard the injured man’s car was parked in front of a vehicle inspection pit. The garage owner was showing the customer a part fitted under the bonnet when the man attempted to walk around the garage owner and fell into the inspection pit.
 
A construction company has been fined after a 58 year old worker suffered serious injuries when the fork lift truck and attached man-riding cage that he was working from overturned and he fell to the floor.

Worsley Projects Limited trading as Egan Projects, had been employed by Edmundson Electrical to carry out refurbishment work on a new unit that they had leased. This included installing new IT cabling between the new unit and the existing building.

Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard that on 23 June 2015, the new cabling was being attached to existing cabling approximately 7 metres above road surface, with plastic cable ties. The work was nearly complete when the fork lift truck and man-riding cage overturned in an area where the road was sloped. The employee grabbed the existing cabling as the overturn occurred but then fell to the floor and suffered serious injuries to his pelvis, vertebrae and right hand.

The HSE investigation found Worsley Projects Limited trading as Egan Projects had produced a risk assessment and method statement and decided that the work be carried out using a fork lift truck and attached man-riding cage.


Self-employed builder electrocuted at work
A worker died and two others were badly injured at a construction site in Putney, when a temporary platform collapsed.

Southwark Crown Court heard how, on 29 October 2012, a carpenter and a steel-fixer had been standing on a temporary wooden platform above a stairwell opening on the 9 floor of a construction site when the platform suddenly gave way beneath them. 

They fell around sixteen metres down the opening. Both men landed on the partly-constructed concrete staircase below, where the carpenter sadly sustained fatal injuries. The steel-fixer survived the fall but was so seriously injured that it took almost 3 years for him to recover sufficiently to be able to return to work.
An engineer’s assistant who was working in the stairwell on a lower level was hit by falling debris and also sustained serious injuries.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that similar platforms had been constructed on other floors throughout the construction site, by using timber joists supported by unsuitable joist hangers with plywood fixed on top. The platforms, which were part of ‘temporary works’ were neither built to an agreed safe design, nor was the quality of the build checked by those in control of the site, even though they were crucial to the safety of workers on upper floors.

Karen Morris, HM Inspector of Health & Safety, said “The risks of falling from height are well-known, and the risk of joist hanger failure is well-documented. This tragic incident illustrates what can happen if temporary works are not properly organised. All those who have a role in planning and managing work on site must take responsibility for ensuring that serious risks are properly controlled.”
St James Group Limited, of Berkeley House, Portsmouth Road, Cobham, Surrey, the Principal Contractor, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 22(1)(a), Construction (Design and Management) [CDM] Regulations 2007, and was fined £600,000 and ordered to pay costs of £14,935.54.

Mitchellson Formwork and Civil Engineering Limited, of Mitchellson House, Horton Trading Estate, Horton, Slough, Berkshire, the contractors responsible for constructing the platforms, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 13(2), of the Construction (Design and Management) [CDM] Regulations 2007, and was fined £400,000 and ordered to pay costs of £14,935.54.

RGF Construction Limited, of Howard Road, Seer Green, Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, a site agent who assisted with managing the work, was found guilty at an earlier hearing on 4 July 2016 of breaching Regulations 13(2), and 28(2) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007. The company was fined £20,000.

Date:29 September 2016
The owners of Alton Towers have been fined £5million with costs of £69,955.40 following a rollercoaster collision which left 16 people injured, a number of them seriously.

Two young women on the Smiler ride suffered leg amputations and others suffered severe injuries when their carriage collided with a stationary carriage on the same track on 2 June 2015.

Stafford Crown Court heard that on the day of the incident engineers overrode the Smiler’s control system without the knowledge and understanding to ensure it was safe to do so.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found no fault with the track, the cars, or the control system that keeps the cars apart from each other when the ride is running.
Investigators found the root cause to be a lack of detailed, robust arrangements for making safety critical decisions. The whole system, from training through to fixing faults, was not strong enough to stop a series of errors by staff when working with people on the ride.

Following the incident Alton Towers made technical improvements to the ride and changed their systems.
Merlin Attractions Operation Ltd of 3 Market Close, Poole, Dorset pleaded guilty to breaching section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act etc, 1974 and were fined £5million with costs of £69,955.40.



An engineering company in Knowsley has been fined after an employee was badly injured when he was struck by a metal structure during a lifting process.
The 46 year old worker from Skelmersdale sustained serious flesh wounds and a fractured arm in the incident on the 30 June 2014. Knowsley Engineering Services Ltd was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an investigation found the company had failed to ensure that the lifting operation was suitably   planned, supervised or carried out safely.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that the worker and a colleague were attempting to manoeuver the structure out of the premises using a fork lift truck. Whilst trying to raise the structure from its supporting trestles it twisted, and swung towards the worker, entering the cab of the fork lift truck and striking him.
The company had not carried out a risk assessment and no formal training had been provided for the employees. Knowsley Engineering Services Ltd pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £30,000 and ordered to pay costs of £7,670.

Speaking after the hearing HSE Inspector Imran Siddiqui said: “Had the company taken basic steps such as providing suitable training so those undertaking the lift were in a more informed position to assess and then adequately manage the risks, this incident would have been avoided. 
If you want more information on the safe use of lifting equipment, including forklift trucks, visit this site: www.hse.gov.uk/pUbns/indg290.pdf