Network Rail has been fined £1.2million following the death of a grandad who was crushed while carrying out maintenance work.
Long-serving employee Kevin Mauger was crushed by a railway track weighing six tons while working at a rail depot in Hampshire.
The 53-year-old from Eastleigh, had five children and eight grandchildren. His wife Rachael says her husband was the core of their family and that his death has left ‘a hole that can never be filled’.
He had been carrying out maintenance on Network Rail’s rail production line at the Long Welded Rail Depot off Dutton Lane in Eastleigh on 30 November 2020.
As he was cleaning the inside of a butt-welding machine – a machine that welds two sections of rail tracks together. The machine’s conveyor system was on the wrong setting and that meant a section of rail track entered the machine while Kevin was inside. He was crushed and died at the scene.
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found Network Rail failed to ensure there was a safe system of work while carrying out maintenance on its rail production line. Network Rail also failed to provide an adequate risk assessment for this type of maintenance.
Kevin’s wife, Rachael, said: “Kevin died on my dad’s birthday and my birthday is the day after, which was also the day our son had his first child, our youngest grandson. Kevin never got to meet him. This has completely devastated our son.
“Our family have been terribly affected by Kevin’s death. One of our daughters feels she cannot give her own children the Christmas me and Kevin gave her as a child as she now finds Christmas really difficult without her dad. Our eldest daughter has had issues with her car but cannot bear to sell it as her dad helped her buy it.
“Our youngest daughter is devastated her dad will not be there to give her away when she gets married. My second-eldest daughter is still living with me as she feels she cannot leave me. She also no longer enjoys going to watch football as this was something she and her dad did together. Kevin’s passing has had a big impact on all our grandchildren too, who miss spending time with their grandad so much.
“Kevin was the core of our family, he was the one everyone turned to for help. His death has left a hole that can never be filled.”
Network Rail Infrastructure Limited, of Waterloo, London, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £1.2million and ordered to pay £11,410 in costs at West Hampshire Magistrates’ Court in a written judgement given on 8 August 2023.
Repsol Sinopec Resources UK Limited has been fined £535,000 after a worker sustained life changing injuries following the uncontrolled collapse of a crane.
Greig Philip Harwood, 40, and John Divers, 69, contracted employees of Enermech Limited, were injured while working on the Fulmer Alpha North Sea oil platform on 11 September 2017. Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard that the 13 tonne, 45 metre long crane boom fell to the deck without warning, with flying parts hitting both men.
Mr Harwood, who was 34 at the time, suffered a fractured jaw and lacerations to his chest. He had his jaw wired together and three titanium plates fitted. He could not eat solid food for around four months. He also suffered psychological damage and was diagnosed with anxiety, trauma and depression as a result of this trauma and has stopped working in the offshore industry. He continues to have physical symptoms where he cannot open his mouth fully and has no feeling in his lower jaw due to nerve damage.
John Divers, who was 63, also suffered physiologically and required counselling sessions. He could not face working offshore for 12 months.
By less than half a metre, the crane boom missed a high pressure flare line, a fuel gas line and the main oil line. If any of these had been hit it could have resulted in a serious hydrocarbon release.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company had failed to carry out a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks of the work and had failed to maintain the crane braking systems and equipment in a safe condition before work commenced.
Repsol Sinopec Resources UK Limited of Holburn Street, Aberdeen pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) and Section 2(1) of the of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and were subsequently fined £535,000.
A Warrington-based construction company has been fined £90,000 after exposing people to asbestos during a renovation project in the Hanley area of Stoke-on-Trent.
Despite failing to attend Staffordshire Magistrates’ Court on 24 August 2023, Esskay Construction Ltd was found guilty in its absence.
Nathan Cook, prosecuting on behalf of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) told the court how the regulator received a concern on 31 August 2021 about asbestos disturbance. The concern related to a refurbishment project under the control of the company at an address in Brunswick Street in Hanley.
Representatives from the local authority had attended the site and discovered significant amounts of asbestos-containing debris to the front and rear of the building and along the public highway.
An inspector from HSE then went to site and served two Prohibition Notices – prohibiting all work within, and access to, 12 Brunswick Street and the surrounding area, other than by a licensed asbestos removal contractor for the purpose of making safe. A licensed asbestos removal contractor was then appointed to carry out a clean-up operation.
However, further investigation by HSE found that Esskay Construction Ltd had failed to appoint a competent person to carry out a refurbishment and demolition asbestos survey of the premises prior to carrying out work on site. The company then allowed refurbishment to commence without knowing where the asbestos-containing materials were, resulting in them being disturbed and potentially exposing workers and members of the public to harmful asbestos fibres.
Esskay Construction Ltd of Mandarin Court, Warrington, Cheshire, failed to attend court but were found guilty in their absence, to breaching Regulations 5, 11 and 16 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. Esskay Construction Ltd were fined £90,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6,009 and a victim surcharge of £190.
A farm has been fined £60,000 following the death of a father-of-three who was electrocuted by an overhead power line.
Patrick ‘Paddy’ Rice was fatally electrocuted on 13 May 2021 while operating a tipper lorry at VB Farms LLP’s Littlecombe Farm in Crediton, Devon.
Paddy’s mother says her family have been “traumatised and deeply shocked” since the 43-year-old lost his life.
Employed by Langford Plant Hire, Paddy, who was from Crediton, was delivering stone that was going to be used to repair farm tracks by VB Farms LLP, when the hydraulic arm of the tipper lorry came into contact with an 11kV overhead power line.
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation into the incident found VB Farms LLP failed to carry out an assessment of how the work could be completed safely and did not consider the dangers involved with working near an overhead power line.
Overhead power lines typically carry electricity at voltages similar to the 11 kV in this case, but can go up to 400 kV. Britain’s workplace regulator is also concerned about a nationwide trend of farm machinery getting bigger, increasing the risk of contact with power lines.
Fran Rice, Paddy’s mother, said in a statement presented to the court: “Paddy was an extremely practical person. He had loads of friends and was very popular and liked adventures.
“Since the loss of Paddy, we are all traumatised and deeply shocked. It has all been hazy. We find it difficult to talk about what happened, Gordon, Paddy’s dad, does not talk a lot about it. We are living in a life that is carrying on and ours isn’t, we are not fitting in, we go out and want to enjoy what we do but it is never quite there.”
Michele Webber, Paddy’s partner, said in her victim personal statement: “When the accident happened, I was off work for about five months. My memory is terrible since it happened and I am stuck on the day of the accident. I feel like I have no purpose or joy and no future.”
VB Farms LLP, of Love Street, Chester, was found guilty of breaching Regulations 3(1) and 4(3) of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 following a trial at Exeter Magistrates’ Court. The company was fined £60,000 and ordered to pay costs of £11,715 on 17 August 2023.
The partner of a man who got stuck and crushed under a vehicle at a motor repair company and later died has spoken of her struggles coping with her loss.
Kenneth (Kenny) McCord, 56, died following an incident on 16 July 2020 at JJ Tyres & Recovery based in Bootle, Merseyside.
Joseph Jones, the owner of JJ Tyres & Recovery in Bootle, was jailed for ten months at a hearing at Liverpool Crown Court on 4 August 2023.
The court heard that Mr McCord was assisting in the removal of the flat rear bed of a tipper van – to salvage spare parts – when the hydraulic system of the tipper bed was released without the support arm being in place. The flatbed then fell and crushed him while he was working underneath it.
Mr Jones and two other employees on site managed to get Mr McCord out from under the tipper bed and the chassis of the vehicle. He appeared shaken but was still able to talk and have a drink of water.
Shortly afterwards Mr McCord’s condition started to rapidly deteriorate, and an ambulance was called. He was taken to Aintree hospital where it was found he was suffering from significant internal injuries caused by the crushing. Mr McCord underwent surgery but later died from his injuries.
Nicola McCall, Kenny’s partner of more than 20 years, said: “I feel like this was a terrible accident that could have so easily been avoided.”
An investigation by the HSE found sole trader Joseph Jones had no risk assessments, safe systems of work or lifting plan. The company did not provide staff with adequate training or made them aware of the dangers associated with removing the flat bed from a vehicle.
The investigation also found that if the support arm which props the tipper bed while in the raised position had been in place at the time, this incident would have been avoided.
Joseph Jones, of JJ Tyres & Recovery, Lodwick Street, Bootle, Liverpool pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) and Section 33(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. Mr Jones was jailed for ten months at Liverpool Crown Court on 4 August 2023. This HSE prosecution was supported by HSE enforcement lawyer Radha Vaithianathar.
Nicola McCall and Kenny lived together in Bootle. The 51-year-old said: “My life has changed massively since Kenny’s death.
“Since his death my health has not been good, and I’ve struggled to come to terms with his loss as he was such a big part of my life.
“Emotionally I was a mess, I struggled to talk about the incident, I would cry constantly and still do, and wouldn’t leave the house in case I met somebody that we both knew, and it would bring up all my feelings again.
“I miss the silly things that Kenny used to do like always tormenting people in fun ways and cherish the videos that I still have of him on my phone.
A manufacturing company has been fined after a worker became entangled in a machine and has been left paralysed from the chest down.
The man, from Worcester, had been working for Mountfield CNC Ltd at the firm’s site at Berry Hill Industrial Estate in Droitwich when the incident took place on 4 January 2022.
He had been setting up a CNC machine when he became entangled with the machine’s rotating saw.
This has led to the 65-year-old man suffering a fractured neck resulting in him becoming paralysed from the chest down.
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation into the incident found Mountfield CNC Ltd failed to take effective measures to prevent access to dangerous parts of the CNC machine. The machine was fitted with interlocked guards, but the interlocks had been defeated before the incident – allowing the machine to move without guards in place. The company should have identified the need for effective interlocking guards and monitored safeguards to ensure they had not been tampered with.
Mountfield CNC Ltd, of Unit 2 W Stone, Berry Hill Industrial Estate, Droitwich, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £18,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,094 at Kidderminster Magistrates’ Court on 27 July 2023.
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