North West farmer fined after man electrocuted
Date: 13 December 2017
A North West Farmer has been fined after a man was electrocuted when the arm of a loader crane (HIAB) hit overhead power lines.
Liverpool Crown Court heard today that Edward Evans and his friend had been collecting scrap metal from the farm by prior arrangement when the incident took place.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which occurred on 17 January 2015, found that the scrap metal had been left under live 11kz overhead power lines (OHPLs).
Edward Evans and his friend had driven the HIAB over to where the scrap was, parked up under the OHPLs and exited the vehicle. Whilst operating the crane to pick up and move the scrap metal into the back of the HIAB, the grab touched the OHPLs and got tangled in them. Edward Evans was electrocuted and died. His friend also received an electric shock whilst trying to rescue him.
JH Willis & Sons of Marsh Lane, Cheshire pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 and have been fined £85,000 and ordered to pay costs of £11,823.50.
Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Jane Carroll said:
“This tragic incident could easily have been prevented if the farm partnership had acted to identify and manage the risks involved with overhead power lines on their land, and to put a safe system of work in place.
“The dangers associated with OHPL are well known and a wealth of advice and guidance is freely available from HSE and other energy suppliers. Duty holders must make sure they properly assess and apply effective control measures to minimise the risk from overhead power lines”
Recycling company fined after worker suffers head injuries
Date: 12 December 2017
A Maidstone based recycling company has been fined after a 34-year old worker suffered life threatening head injuries.
Folkestone Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 30 September 2015, the 34-year old employee of Countrystyle Recycling Ltd instructed another colleague to use a telehandler to move paper at the company’s site in Maidstone, Kent. The telehandler was left running while the employee left the cab unattended, the boom of the telehandler was elevated and was lowered by another employee who entered the cab of this vehicle. The boom struck the head of the injured person as he was standing below this raised boom.
The injured person suffered serious brain injuries and has not returned to work since this incident.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the company failed to suitably plan the management and overseeing of workplace transport activities on site. The investigation also found employees of Countrystyle Ltd had not received the appropriate level of training in order to safely operate the telehandlers on site.
Countrystyle Recycling Ltd of Ashford Road, Kent pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The company also pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 17(1) of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992.
The company has been fined £666,700 and ordered to pay costs of £8,424.
Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Bose Gabriel said: “This incident could have been prevented had Countrystyle planned this workplace activity beforehand and identified the risks associated.
“Duty holders must ensure they devise and carry out safe systems of work at all times. Workplace transport incidents are very serious and usually result in life threatening injuries, as highlighted in this case.”
NHS Trust and Imperial College London fined after death of worker
Date: 12 December 2017
Chelsea & Westminster NHS Trust and Imperial College London have been fined after the death of a lone worker.
Southwark Crown Court heard how Damian Bowen was asphyxiated whilst working with liquid nitrogen at St Stephens Centre Laboratory, Fulham Road, London owned by Chelsea & Westminster NHS Trust. He lost his life whilst decanting liquid nitrogen which he was using to freeze blood samples for transport.
Imperial College London undertook work for the International Aids Vaccine Institute in the rooms it occupied in the same laboratory suite. Imperial College London rented the room and owned the liquid nitrogen store there.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident, which occurred on 23 October 2011, found the local exhaust ventilation provided to extract dangerous substances, such as liquid nitrogen, had been switched off.
The investigation found that Mr Bowen’s death could have been prevented if the extraction system had been switched on.
Chelsea & Westminster NHS Trust pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) and Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and has been fined £80,000 and ordered to pay costs of £23,069.19.
Imperial College London pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) and Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and has been fined £70,000 and ordered to pay costs of £23,069.19.
After the hearing, HSE inspector Anne Gloor said: “Liquid nitrogen, rapidly expands as a gas, replacing the oxygen in a room and creating a situation where life cannot be sustained.
“Mr Bowen was working alone with liquid nitrogen in a small room without any extraction. If the extraction system had been switched on, Mr Bowen would not have died. There should have been a system in place to prevent the extraction being switched off, a proper system of maintaining the equipment and clear arrangements for preventing lone working with liquid nitrogen”.
BBC Studioworks and two others fined after contractor seriously injured
Date: 5 December 2017
Three companies have been fined after a contractor to BBC Studioworks Ltd fell more than 10 metres at Elstree Film Studios.
Harrow Crown Court heard how Eric Ihoeghinlan, an employee of Gabem Management Ltd, fell through a lighting grid hatch while recovering electrical cables for BBC Studioworks Ltd during a de-rigging operation. He sustained multiple injuries including a blood clot to the brain, fractured pelvis and ankles, and a ruptured spleen. Due to the brain damage caused, it’s unknown if the man will ever work again.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident which occurred on 18 November 2014, found the hatches of the lighting grids and the ends of one, did not have any edge protection.
BBC Studioworks Ltd pleaded to breaching Sections 2 and 3 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and was fined £200,000 and ordered to pay costs of more than £6,000.
Elstree Film Studios Ltd was found guilty of breaching Section 3 of Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and Regulation 11 of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 in relation to Studio 7. The company was fined £16,000 and ordered to pay costs of more than £39,000.
Elstree Light and Power Ltd was found guilty of breaching Sections 2 and 3 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, was fined £30,000 and ordered to pay costs of more than £39,000.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE Principal inspector Graham Tompkins said: “The employee’s injuries were life-changing and he could have easily been killed. This serious incident and the devastation caused could have been avoided if basic safe guards had been put in place.
“Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work related fatalities in this country and the risks associated with working at height are well known”.
Local authority fined after social workers assaulted
Date: 29 November 2017
A local authority has been fined after two of its social workers were assaulted on a home visit by the mother of a vulnerable child they were visiting.
Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 3 July 2015, two social workers employed by London Borough of Brent visited the home of a vulnerable child to carry out a child safety plan assessment. While note-taking, both social workers were struck over the head with a metal object by the mother, resulting in one of them being knocked temporarily unconscious. While both received serious wounds to the head, the social worker knocked unconscious was later diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
The investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found the local authority failed to follow its corporate lone working policy or violence and aggression guidance. No risk assessment was completed and staff were not trained accordingly. London Borough of Brent also failed to add an aggression marker to make the social workers aware of the hazards posed by the mother who was known to have a history of violence.
London Borough of Brent of Brent Civic Centre, Wembley pleaded guilty of breaching the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, section 2(1) and were fined £100,000 and ordered to pay costs of £10,918.88
After the hearing, HSE inspector Neil Fry commented: “Violent and aggressive incidents are the third biggest cause of injuries reported to HSE from the health and social care sector.
“The local authority in this case failed to adhere to and implement its own systems and procedure for the management of lone working and violence and aggression against social workers. This risk could have been reduced in a number of ways including carrying out the visit in a controlled environment, such as the local social workers’ office.”
Company director receives suspended prison sentence after lorry touches overhead power lines
Date: 2 November 2017
The director of a London-based waste contractor has been fined and handed a suspended sentence after a lorry contacted 132kV overhead power lines (OHLs) in North London.
Southwark Crown Court heard how, on 10 June 2013, Hanly Waste Services Limited had been contracted to construct a bund (an earth hill) on a farm, directly underneath overhead power lines. A lorry tipping on top of the bund came into contact with the overhead power lines causing arcing which damaged both the wires and the lorry. Fortunately, the driver was unhurt, although contact with power lines can result in death.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident found that the company put no controls in place to prevent vehicles coming into contact with overhead power lines. Hanly Waste Services Limited had received advice from UK Power Networks, the power network operator, about working near overhead power lines on a number of occasions both before and after the incident as the company had continually failed to implement controls and reduce the bund level to achieve minimum statutory clearances.
Donal Hanly pleaded guilty to breaching Section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay costs of £7,068.34. The judge also imposed a six month prison sentence suspended for 12 months and a Director Disqualification order for a period of seven years.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Gabriella Dimitrov said: “This was a very serious incident and it is fortunate nobody was injured. The incident could easily have been avoided by introducing control measures and safe working practices. Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”
Health care provider fined for health and safety failures
Date: 30 October 2017
A Bedford based health care provider has been fined after it failed to act on concerns raised by an occupational health nurse.
Southwark Crown Court heard how on 28 June 2014 an employee, Lynne Betts, raised concerns with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) relating to the running of the internal occupational health service of Ramsay Health Care (UK) Operations Ltd. The HSE investigation found the company failed to appoint sufficient occupational health professionals to run the service which compromised the health and safety of its employees, patients and general members of the public, putting them at risk of suffering ill health or of acquiring an infection. HSE served four Improvement Notices as part of the investigation.
The HSE investigation into the concerns found that Ramsay Health Care (UK) Operations Ltd also failed to provide adequate health surveillance for its workers. As a consequence of this, a nurse working at Boston West Hospital, Lincolnshire, was diagnosed with occupational dermatitis on 12 January 2015, which later spread from her hands to her arms and legs.
Ramsay Health Care (UK) Operations Ltd of Hassett Street, Bedford pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and have been fined £550,000 and ordered to pay costs of £36,320.44
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Emma Page said: “Healthcare providers should be aware of their legal duty to protect the health and safety of their employees as well as their patients and service users. HSE will not hesitate to hold those accountable who do not fulfil their legal obligations.”
Worker suffers life changing injury after pressure test failure
Date: 13 October 2017
Three companies, Sembcorp Utilities (UK) Limited, Central Industrial Services (Northern) Ltd and R & A Kay Inspection Services Ltd, were sentenced today after an employee suffered serious fractures to his leg.
Teesside Crown Court heard that on 3 December 2013, the injured person, Mr Dennis Chadwick, an employee of R & A Kay Inspection Services Ltd, was taking part in a pressure test of a boiler at Sembcorp’s Biomass power station at Wilton, Cleveland. CIS Industrial Services was assisting in the pressure test undertaken by Sembcorp. Mr Chadwick was there to verify the test.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuting told the court, a valve on a pressure test rig was pressurised above the safe working limit and failed, causing the hose and metal fitting assembly to whip round, striking Mr Chadwick on the right leg, causing serious compound fractures.
Sembcorp Utilities (UK) Limited of Wilton International, Middlesbrough, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) and Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The company was fined £1,350,000 and ordered to pay costs of £33,000.
Central Industrial Services (Northern) Ltd of Skippers Lane Industrial Estate, Middlesbrough, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) and Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £125,000 with £2,000 costs.
R & A Kay Inspection Services Ltd of Coniscliffe Road, Darlington, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £37,500 with £33,000 costs.
The injured person, Mr Dennis Chadwick said “It has been nearly four years since I was injured. My life changed that day and the impact on my family and me has been immense. In July I had my leg amputated from the knee down and I will now have to learn to walk with a prosthetic but I am determined to get my life back.”
After the hearing, HSE principal inspector Victoria Wise said: “All three companies failed Mr Chadwick. If appropriate pressure relief had been fitted and the companies had put in place a system of work that was safe then Dennis would not have exposed to the harm he suffered.
“After three years of repeated surgery, unfortunately his leg had to be amputated below the knee. Dennis did not leave home that day to become a casualty of work.”
Construction firm fined after worker fell from height
Date: 9 October 2017
West Hill Projects Ltd has been fined more than £95,000 after a worker fell from height.
Hammersmith Magistrates’ Court heard that on 5 December 2016 the individual was working next to a large opening in a flat roof on Wandle Road in London. He fell about 3.3m through the opening to the ground below and suffered four fractured vertebrae, a fractured rib and a scalp wound. He was unable to work for several months following the incident.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that West Hill Projects Ltd had failed to take any measures to prevent people on site falling through the opening in the flat roof. People had been working in the area in the days beforehand and the company had not properly planned the project.
West Hill Projects Ltd of Seymour Road, London pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. The company was fined £95,604.80 and ordered to pay costs of £988.80.
Speaking after the incident HSE Inspector Owen Rowley said: “The risks associated with work at height are well known throughout the construction industry. West Hill Projects Ltd failed to control the risk on site and one of its workers suffered serious injuries as a result.
“It is vitally important that those in control of work at height implement suitable and sufficient measures to prevent falls. The simple step of installing edge protection around the opening could have prevented this incident from occurring.’
Company and director sentenced after work left seriously injured
Date: 6 October 2017
A Swindon-based scaffolding company and its director have been sentenced after a worker was left with life-changing injuries.
Swindon Magistrates’ Court heard how the worker was erecting scaffolding on 19 December 2016 when the structure came into contact with 33KV overhead power lines. The father of five received an electric shock which led to the amputation of his left arm above the elbow, right arm below the elbow and both of his feet. The 32-year-old also suffered severe burns to his legs and back, damage to his vocal chords, and was in an induced coma for six weeks.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the scaffolding should not have been built to that height so close to overhead power lines. The company and its director failed to ensure a safe system of work was in place for erecting a scaffold under overhead power lines.
Boundary Scaffolding Limited, of Unit 10 Kendrick Industrial Estate Swindon SN2 2DU, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £80,000 and has been ordered to pay full costs of £1415.10.
Company director Jonathon Lee Griffiths-Clack, of 12 Grosmont Drive, Swindon, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 as well as Section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. He was sentenced to six months in prison, suspended for 12 months. He has been ordered to repay costs of £1545.30.
In a statement the injured man Jamie Mines said: “I can’t quite put into words how it feels to wake up with no hands. I had five-month-old twin girls at the time of the accident, all I could think of when I woke up was the things I wouldn’t be able to do, for example I wouldn’t be able to hold my babies’ hands again, I wouldn’t be able to draw, play catch or teach my girls any of the things that I had learned with my hands.
“There’s so many things I can’t do it’s hard to imagine, but to never feel anything with my hands again is what I struggle with the most.
“Sitting here now in my wheelchair nine months after the accident and I still don’t walk, for a man who was very active before the accident it has been extremely difficult! I was a keen a sportsman as well as someone who enjoyed his job and was really hands on with my babies. How my life has changed is almost indescribable.”
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Ian Whittles said: “This incident could have been prevented had the company and its director properly planned a safe system of work and ensured the scaffolding was erected in line with HSE regulations. Due to their failings, a young father of five has been left with life-changing injuries and the lives of an entire family have been changed forever.”
Road haulage company fined after worker killed
Date: 5 October 2017
An Essex-based road haulage firm has been fined after an employee was crushed between two articulated vehicles and subsequently died from his injuries.
Southend Magistrates Court heard how an HGV driver employed by YCT Limited suffered fatal injuries when his vehicle rolled forward out of control whilst he was coupling the HGV tractor unit to a trailer.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident, which occurred on 20 October 2015, found that YCT Limited failed to implement safe systems of work or monitoring arrangements to ensure that its drivers were consistently undertaking coupling and uncoupling operations safely, in line with widely available industry guidance. As a result of this, a culture developed whereby its drivers were not always applying trailer parking brakes.
YCT Limited, previously of Port Centric House, Thurrock Park Way, Tilbury, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company has been fined £170,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6,268.80.
Speaking after the case, HSE inspector Jessica Churchyard said “This tragic incident led to the avoidable death of a young man, and was caused in part by the failure of his employer to implement and monitor safe systems of work to prevent vehicle runaways.
“This death could have easily been prevented if his employer had acted to identify and manage the risks involved, and followed the industry guidance.”
Kitchen-fitting company fined after worker injured
Date: 5 October 2017
A kitchen-fitting firm has been fined after an employee’s fingers were severed whilst using an unguarded circular saw.
Liverpool Magistrates’ Court heard how, on the 27 June 2016, an apprentice of Kitchencraft (Wirral) Limited was working unsupervised on an unguarded table saw when his left hand came into contact with the blade. The apprentice suffered injuries including a laceration to this thumb while two of his fingers were completely severed. Despite his fingers later being reattached, the apprentice has been left with a lasting injury to his hand resulting in him having to reassess his future career.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found training had not been provided to the apprentice on the safe use of the saw and he had not been appropriately supervised. The company failed to ensure a suitable guard was provided and used, or that the employee was supplied with an adequate push stick or holder to use in conjunction with the saw.
The HSE investigation also found that Kitchencraft (Wirral) Limited did not have Employers Liability Compulsory insurance in place at the time of the incident.
Kitchencraft (Wirral) Limited of Edith Road, Wallasey, Wirral, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and Section 1(1) of the Employers’ Liability Compulsory Insurance Act 1969.
The company was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £1,000 in costs, the company was also ordered to pay a £17,000 compensation order.
HSE inspector Catherine Lyon said after the hearing: “Had the company in this case simply provided the appropriate guarding on the saw, this incident could have been prevented.
“Good management of health and safety applies to all duty-holders, including small companies, and every employer must ensure they have Employers Liability (Compulsory) Insurance in place. Where employers are found to be in breach of this requirement, they will be held to account by HSE.”
Council fined after worker diagnosed with HAVS
Date: 3 October 2017
Wrexham County Borough Council has been fined after a 57-year old man was diagnosed with Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS).
Mold Magistrates’ Court heard how the employee of the council’s StreetScene department had been diagnosed with HAVS in September 2015.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the council failed to address the issue of HAVS following an audit in February 2011 which identified a failure to assess the risk to employees from vibration. The council had developed a number of policies dating back to 2004 to tackle the risk of HAVS, however it was found these policies were not implemented.
Following the introduction of HAVS occupational health surveillance for users of vibrating tools a further eleven diagnoses of HAVS or Carpal tunnel syndrome have been reported.
Wrexham County Borough Council of the Guildhall, Wrexham pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
The council has been fined £150,000 and ordered to pay costs of £10,901.35
Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Mhairi Duffy said: “This employee now suffers from a long term, life changing illness. The council should have implemented the policy they
devised following the audit in 2011.
“Workers’ health should not be made worse by the work they do; all employees have the right to go home healthy at the end of the working day.”
Waste processing company and director fined after worker’s death
Date: 29 September 2017
A North West based waste processing company, and its managing director, have been fined after a worker was crushed to death.
Liverpool Crown Court heard how, on 1 March 2016, Fresco Environmental Limited employee, Kevin Wright, was processing waste carpet to be re-baled when one of the bales fell from a stack onto him, causing injuries from which he later died.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the company failed to ensure proper controls were in place to reduce the risk of bales falling and injuring workers. There were no exclusion zones around the stacks of bales, bales were poorly stacked and in close proximity to vibrating machinery. It also found that the company’s managing director, Lee Heaps, failed to ensure that a safe system of work was in place for the processing of carpet bales thereby exposing his employees to avoidable risks.
Fresco Environmental Ltd, of Everite Road, Widnes, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974, and was fined £70,000 and ordered to pay £3,500 towards costs.
Company director, Lee Heaps, Brockvale Close, Burtonwood, Warrington pleaded guilty to breaching Section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was given a six-month custodial sentence, suspended for 12 months, and is to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay £400 towards costs.
HSE inspector Helen Jones said after the hearing “This tragic incident could easily have been prevented had Fresco Environmental acted to identify and manage the risks involved. As managing director involved in the day to day running of the company, Lee Heaps had a responsibility to ensure that his company provided a safe working environment for its employees. In failing to do so he exposed employees, including Mr Wright, to significant risk.”
Company and directors fined after multiple safety failings
Date: 28 September 2017
A recycling company and its two directors have been prosecuted after multiple safety failings.
Northampton Crown Court heard how Monoworld Recycling had failed to manage risks when its staff worked at height, failed to suitably maintain work equipment and failed to control risks from electrical systems.
After several visits from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) a total of 15 enforcement notices were served on the company and three served on each of the two company directors, in less than two years. The notices covered a range of topics including work at height, work equipment and electrical matters. An investigation by HSE found employees were instructed to carry out work at height even after a Prohibition Notice was served and staff felt pressurised to complete their work even when they had raised concerns about their safety.
The investigation also found fork lift trucks were left with broken lights and windscreen wipers, marring drivers’ visibility. Emergency stop buttons on machinery were marked as broken but not repaired over a long period of time.
Monoworld Recycling Ltd of Irchester Road, Northamptonshire pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005, Regulation 5(1) of the Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and Regulation 4(1) of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 and has been fined £83,000 and ordered to pay costs of £7000.
Mr Dhanesh Ruparelia of Irchester Road, Northamptonshire pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and Section 33(1) (a) of Section 37(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was sentenced to 26 weeks imprisonment suspended for 12 months, he has also been fined £10,000 and ordered to pay costs of £7000.
Mr Nimaye Ruparelia of Irchester Road, Northamptonshire pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and Section 33(1)(a) by virtue of Section 37(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and has been ordered to complete 150 hours community order as well as being fined £7500 and ordered to pay £7000 in costs.
Speaking after the case HSE inspector Neil Ward said: “The Company’s failings in this case have put their workers at risk from serious personal injury. It was clear the overall approach to business risk was haphazard at best, with a culture of negligence, for which the two directors were ultimately responsible.
“The HSE took proactive action, throughout its dealings with Monoworld, and tried to work with the company when concerns were first raised.”
Company fined after chemical incident
Date: 26 September 2017
An oil storage company has been fined after contractors cut into a sealed pipe causing an explosion inside a tank.
Liverpool Crown Court heard that on 19 January 2015, contractors of ESL Fuels Ltd cut into a sealed pipe using a grinder. The pipe, which was attached to a tank, was being used as part of a waste oil recovery process at their North Blend Tank Farm. Flammable gases within the pipe ignited, resulting in an explosion within the tank and the tank lid and vent pipe being partially detached and projected over a raised walkway.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company was having difficulty with the waste oil recovery process which was foaming out of the vessel and filling its bund. The company’s tests were inadequate and failed to identify the cause of the problem which was generating flammable carbon monoxide gas. A decision was taken to connect the vessel by pipework to an emergency relief dump tank to prevent a potential catastrophic overpressure in the tank but the safety implications of this modification and its design were not risk assessed. HSE also found systemic failings with the company’s management of contractors and an inadequate Permit to Work system, with the contractors being unaware that the tank and pipework were in use and may contain flammable gas, when carrying out hot work that was a source of ignition.
ESL Fuels Ltd, based at the Stanlow Oil Terminal near Ellesmere Port, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) and Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and has been fined £100,000 and ordered to pay costs of £17,000.
Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Matthew Lea said: “Even though nobody was injured this incident could have been prevented if the problems with the process and the subsequent design modification had been properly investigated, risk assessed and dealt with, and if the work of the contractors had been adequately controlled.
“The contractors were unaware that they were working on live plant in the North Blend Tank Farm nor how it could impact on their safety.
“HSE has brought this prosecution because failures took place that could have resulted in death or serious injury and we believe every person should be healthy and safe at work.”
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.
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.
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.