A fire authority has been fined after a firefighter was trapped underneath a car in a training exercise, breaking his legs in more than a dozen places.
The firefighter was setting up a simulated road traffic collision with colleagues at Stockton Fire Station, South Road, Stockton on Tees on October 19 2020 when the incident happened.
The crew had attempted to put a car on its side to perform a ‘roof flap’ procedure in which the roof structure is removed to allow greater access. Hydraulic spreaders were used to raise the car off the ground. When the spreaders had reached their widest and had tilted the car as far as possible, the crew tried to push the car the remaining way on to its side.
While doing this, the car fell back down towards them, hitting the firefighter and trapping him underneath the car chassis, causing serious injuries to both his legs, including fractures to his left fibula and tibia, an open fracture and dislocation to his left ankle, and 12 fractures to his right leg and foot. He was in hospital for two weeks.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the authority had not assessed the risks posed by the activity and therefore failed to implement a documented safe system of work.
Cleveland Fire Authority, of Endeavour House, Queens Meadow Business Park, Hartlepool, pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £600 with £7,304 costs by Teesside Magistrates’ Court on December 7, 2022.
A company has been fined after an employee became seriously ill when he contracted a blood infection while working at a lake contaminated with sewage.
He was working for Adler and Allan Ltd, a supplier of environmental risk services, during a clean-up operation at a lake near Churchbridge, Cannock, Staffordshire, in June 2019.
Dead fish had to be cleaned out of the lake after it was contaminated with sewage when a nearby pipe burst. The employee worked at the lake for two weeks before contracting Leptospirosis (Weil’s Disease) and became seriously ill. The infection led to the man having a rash across his whole body meaning he had to limit contact with his family. His kidney and liver also had to be monitored. He was given antibiotics and did not make a full recovery for around four months.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found there was a serious risk of ill health to employees at the site as there were inadequate hygiene provisions in place to suitably guard against bacteriological and pathogen infection.
During around the first two weeks of the job, there were no on-site toilets or welfare units available to the company’s employees. This led to workers using a local supermarket to wash and go to the toilet. There was also a lack of supervision at the site, with the company also failing to conduct a suitable risk assessment and implement an appropriate system of work.
Adler and Allan Limited of Station Parade, Harrogate, Yorkshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety Act 1974 and Regulation 20(1) of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992. The company were fined £126,100 and ordered to pay costs of £43,494 at Cannock Magistrates’ Court on 29 November 2022.
The wife of a man left severely disabled by a workplace accident says he is a “stranger in her husband’s body”.
Sue McFarlane’s partner John suffered life-changing brain injuries falling 2.5 metres from a delivery vehicle to a concrete floor at the vehicle parts company where he worked. John, 57, a dad of four and grandfather of three, was in a coma for 24 days. He had a fractured skull, fractured ribs, a broken collar bone, and broken and dislocated fingers.
Sue is now John’s registered carer. He can never work or drive again and is classed as 80% disabled. She spoke after Autoneum Great Britain Ltd, which employed John at its site in Stoke-on-Trent, was fined £30,000 over the accident on 5 June 2018.
Sue, 57, who lives with John in Newcastle-under-Lyme, said: “Not only has the accident had a devastating impact on his life but a devastating effect on all those around him, none more than his children, stepchildren, grandchildren, the whole family. “He will never be the John we all loved before this happened, just a shell of what he once was.”
Before John fell, he and a visiting driver had climbed on to the top deck of the delivery vehicle at the Autoneum site and were trying to move a pallet, which had moved while being transported, towards the open edge where it could be reached by a forklift truck. The banding they were using to move the pallet by hand snapped and John fell to the concrete floor.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Britain workplace regulator, found that whilst a risk assessment was in place it was not suitable and sufficient and there was no safe system of work for unloading vehicles or dealing with pallets that had moved in transit. Employees had not been adequately trained or instructed and supervision and monitoring was not adequate to identify the risk that existed.
Autoneum Great Britain Ltd, of Stanley Matthews Way, Trentham Lakes, Stoke on Trent Staffordshire pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at work etc Act 1974 and was fined £30,000 and ordered to pay £10,126 costs at Cannock Magistrates Court on December 2, 2022.
A plumbing and heating engineer has been jailed for 20 weeks after carrying out illegal gas work.
Peter Read, who traded as A.C.E Plumbing and Heating in Portsmouth, was contracted to install a new gas central heating boiler for a customer in January 2020. A few days later the customer experienced problems with the boiler. On inspection by an engineer on the Gas Safe Register, the installation did not meet current standards. Further repair work was then required by a Gas Safe Registered engineer to ensure that the installation was in a safe condition.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found Peter Read was not competent to carry out gas work and not on the Gas Safe Register at the time he carried out this work. Mr Read had previously been prosecuted by the HSE in April 2016 and had been found guilty of carrying out unregistered gas work. He was fully aware of his legal responsibilities when carrying out gas work.
Peter Read of Seafield Road, Portsmouth, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 3(1) and 3(3) of the Gas Safety Installation and Use Regulations 1998 and section 22 of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974. He was handed a custodial sentence of 20 weeks at Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court on 2 December 2022.
A chemicals company has been fined £800,000 after a worker suffered life-changing injuries in an explosion.
The employee of International Paint Limited spent eight days in intensive care on life support and has been left with all-over body scarring, partial blindness to one eye, hearing damage, and damage to a knee and shoulder. He was off work for 16 months.
The explosion at the company’s premises in Gateshead on 4 August 2020 caused significant damage to the building. The employee, who was 49 at the time and from South Shields, was making paint in a large mixing vessel, which involved the use of flammable liquids. As he was emptying resin pellets from a large bulk bag into the vessel an electrostatic spark was generated, igniting flammable vapour within the vessel, causing a large explosion.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) identified that the company failed to put sufficient measures in place to control the risk.
This included a failure to use a correctly working extraction system to remove the flammable vapours and effective electrical earthing of the bulk bag to prevent the build-up of electrostatic charge that led to the static spark discharging.
International Paint Limited, of Stoneygate Lane, Gateshead pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £800,000 with £14,032 costs at Newcastle upon Tyne Magistrates’ Court on November 30, 2022.
A demolition firm has been fined and one of its directors ordered to do 250 hours of unpaid work after a 20-year-old worker was crushed.
Ace Demolition Services Ltd had been contracted by Southend Borough Council to demolish Futures Community College, in Southchurch Boulevard, Southend-on-Sea. Shannon Brasier, who was 20 years old at the time, was working with a colleague to load a fuel hose into the rear compartment of a 21-tonne excavator, when the excavator moved round and crushed her between the excavator and a mobile fuel tank. Ms Brasier, from Dagenham, suffered life-changing injuries, including to her neck, skull and face, which she was fortunate to survive.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Ace Demolition Services Ltd failed to implement suitable controls to segregate pedestrians and construction plant, allowed two pairs of keys to be used during the refuelling process and allowed operatives to act as signallers/banksman for the excavator without having received adequate training.
A director, John Gilligan, was responsible for supervising the refuelling and drove the excavator before the refuelling was complete. The incident happened on 28 July 2020.
Ace Demolition Services Ltd and John Gilligan, of Fox Burrows Lane, Writtle, Chelmsford pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) and 37(1) of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974. Ace Demolition Services Ltd was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay costs of £9,731 at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court on 24 November 2022. John Gilligan was given a 12-month community order with a requirement to undertake 250 hours of unpaid work.
A Welsh health board has been fined after three employees were diagnosed with Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS).
Powys Teaching Health Board required its employees to routinely operate handheld power tools such as lawn mowers, strimmers and hedge cutters without carrying out an assessment of the risks from exposure to vibration. There was no monitoring, or any estimate of exposure to vibration, even though employees, particularly during the summer months, operated handheld power tools for several hours a day.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the health board had failed to properly assess the levels of exposure to its employees and that information, instruction and training given to staff was limited.
It also found that the health board had ignored requests from its own occupational health department to conduct a risk assessment.
The lack of monitoring, assessment, training and health surveillance has allowed employees to operate handheld power tools for a significant period, in some cases several decades, without having the necessary measures in place to reduce the risk. This led to three employees being diagnosed with Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome.
Powys Teaching Health Board of Glasbury House, Bronllys Hospital, Bronllys, Powys, Wales, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. They were fined £160,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,599 at Wrexham Magistrates’ Court on 22 November 2022.
A Wakefield roofing company has been fined and its sole director given a suspended prison sentence after a dad-of-two was killed when he fell 12 metres through a skylight.
Jonathan May, 39, from Horbury, Wakefield, who was a subcontractor for Davis Industrial Roofing Limited, was working on a storm-damaged warehouse roof at F&G Commercials Limited, Carlton Industrial Estate in Barnsley with two others on 18 December 2016, when he fell. The work involved the replacement of more than 300 skylights on a fragile asbestos cement roof. The skylights had been damaged in a hailstorm.
An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found Davis Industrial Roofing Limited had failed to provide an appropriate risk assessment, method statement, and suitable and sufficient fall protection measures for the roof work to be carried out safely. The investigation found even though reasonably practicable precautions were available, poor planning had resulted in a risk assessment and method statement that was not suitable and sufficient. The work was poorly supervised and carried out unsafely.
Melvyn Davis, the sole director of the company, who had drawn up the risk assessment and method statement and had regularly visited the site to monitor progress, had failed to provide suitable and sufficient fall protection measures and consented to the use of an unsafe system of work. This constituted a personal neglect for safety during the roof work.
Melvyn Davis, of Field Place, Wakefield, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 37(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was sentenced to eight weeks imprisonment suspended for 12 months and ordered to do 15 days of rehabilitation activity at Sheffield Magistrates’ Court on 16 November 2022. Davis Industrial Roofing Limited, of Field Place, Wakefield, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay costs of £12,557.
A Hertfordshire construction company has been fined after a worker fell through a skylight while working on a six-storey house. The man fell over three metres and received serious head injuries that led to him being in a coma for six weeks.
MH Costa Construction Limited had been completely renovating the property at Moore Park Road, Fulham, London, which included building a basement and an extension. On 30 November 2018, the worker, along with others, was working on the extension’s flat roof when he fell through an opening created for the installation of a skylight. The opening was covered with loose planks and work was in progress immediately by the opening.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found it would have only taken a small movement to dislodge the planks. The worker either fell or stepped onto a plank, which then tipped, causing him to fall to the basement below. The company’s risk assessment records did not consider how to prevent falls through the opening. Additionally, there was no scaffolding or other measures to prevent falls off the sides of the flat roof. HSE also found other areas where workers could fall, as well as issues relating to manual handling, trip hazards, hazardous wood dust and the storage of flammable materials. There was also no evidence the injured worker had been provided with any formal health and safety related training.
MH Costa Construction Limited of Beauchamp Court, Victors Way, Barnet, Hertfordshire, pleaded guilty to a breach of Regulation 13 (1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015. They were fined £96,000 and ordered to pay £18,965.66 in costs at Southwark Crown Court on 14 November 2022.
A transport company has been fined £400,000 after one of its drivers was killed after being knocked off his trailer while loading and unloading it.
On 16 November 2020, Robert Gifkins, who worked for Arnold Laver & Company Ltd, was delivering timber to a company in Whaddon near Salisbury. He had climbed onto the bed of his trailer to sling the load and attach it to the vehicle-mounted crane. While moving the load using the crane’s remote control he was struck by the crane and fell from the vehicle to the ground. Mr Gifkins was taken to hospital and subsequently died on 17 December 2020.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that this incident was the result of health and safety failings by the company. The risks associated this work at height had not been properly assessed and the risk of falls had not been adequately prevented or controlled. The company had also not provided Mr Gifkins with sufficient training and instruction on the safe operation of the remote crane controls on the vehicle.
At a sentencing hearing at Salisbury Magistrates’ Court on 13 October, Arnold Laver & Company Ltd, Bramall Lane, Sheffield, pleaded guilty to breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act. Passing sentence today (November 9) they were fined £400,000 and ordered to pay costs of £19,841.99.
A scrap metal company has been fined for safety breaches after a worker lost parts of four fingers while operating poorly maintained machinery.
On 27 March 2020, a man working for Infinity Metals Limited suffered amputations to multiple fingers while operating the machinery at Vickerdale Works, Arthur Street, Stanningley, Pudsey, Leeds.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that while the employee was operating the crocodile shear, he leant over the machine while it was in motion to clear metal and caught his right hand in the machine. This caused him to suffer an amputation to four of his fingers.
Infinity Metals Limited, of Spur Road, Quarry Lane Industrial Estate, Chichester pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £26,680 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £7,005.50 at Leeds Magistrates’ Court on 9 November 2022.
An agricultural firm has been fined after an employee lost a finger when his hand became trapped in a machine.
A male worker at CYO Seeds Ltd was cleaning a machine at a site in Shipbourne, Tonbridge, Kent, on 10 February 2021, when his glove was caught by a rotating device. His handed became trapped and his right index finger was amputated.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the company had removed part of the outer casing of the machine and had replaced it with a sliding cover. The cover was easily removable and exposed dangerous parts of the machine when it was running. When cleaning the machine at the end of the working day, it was common practice to run the machine for a short period of time with the sliding cover removed.
CYO Seeds Ltd, of Chilton, Oxfordshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. They were fined £15,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,300 at Oxford Magistrates’ Court on 8 November 2022.
Logistics company Eddie Stobart has been fined after work at one of its sites exposed staff to asbestos.
The firm was fined £133,000 for a series of failures that took place while excavation work was carried out at its rail and container freight port in Widnes. Asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) were disturbed by the building work, putting staff at risk.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found an asbestos survey had not been carried out, the workers involved hadn’t received any training in relation to asbestos, and Eddie Stobart failed to report the incident correctly.
Manchester Magistrates Court heard that in early 2018, an area of the company’s Mersey Multimodal Gateway in Widnes was earmarked for the storage of empty containers. As the ground had become damaged by heavy lift loaders used to move containers, it was decided to scrape away the top layer to reach an older, more level surface below.
This work took place over several months and subsequently the remnants of old buildings containing asbestos were present in the surface material. Underground basement cavities were also found and excavated and then backfilled with rubble. Several workers complained about the dust created by these processes and what it may contain.
An investigation by HSE found an asbestos survey had not been carried prior to the work beginning to determine if any of the excavated material contained asbestos. A risk assessment had not been carried out nor suitable control measures put in place to prevent or reduce exposure to asbestos or prevent the spread of asbestos containing materials from the site. The workers involved in the excavation work hadn’t received any training in relation to asbestos. It was several months after the work had been completed that testing was carried out and the subsequent survey identified ACMs in the mounds of spoil, as well as scattered around the footprint where the work had taken place. The company then failed to report the incident under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR) within the 10-day timeframe required.
Eddie Stobart Ltd, of Stretton Green Distribution Park, Langford Way, Appleton, Warrington, Cheshire pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 5 of The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 and Regulation 11(1) of The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. The company was fined £133,000 and ordered to pay costs of £9,260 on 4 November 2022.
Two companies have been fined after a heavy goods vehicle (HGV) driver suffered fatal chest injuries while unstrapping a load on a trailer.
Andrew Bayley-Machin, 41, of Park Drive, Cheadle, Stoke-on-Trent was fatally crushed when he was hit by a pack of steel gates that fell approximately three metres from a load on a flatbed trailer. The vehicle had been loaded with the gates at Joseph Ash Ltd of Stafford Park 6, Telford and driven by Mr Bayley-Machin to the premises of his employer LM Bateman & Company Ltd in Cheadle Road, Cheddleton, Staffordshire when the incident happened on 20 June 2018.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that arrangements for planning and restraining loads were inadequate to ensure that the stability of goods was independent of the load straps so that release of the straps did not allow the load to fall from the vehicle.
LM Bateman and Company Limited of Island Works, Cheadle Road, Cheddleton, Leek, Staffordshire pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 2 (1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. They were fined £120,000 and ordered to pay costs of £16,334 and a victim surcharge of £100 at North Staffordshire Justice Centre on 7 November 2022. Joseph Ash Limited of Westhaven House, Arelston Way, Shirley, Solihull, West Midlands pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 2(1) and 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. They were fined £239,000 and ordered to pay costs of £17,834 and a victim surcharge of £100 at North Staffordshire Justice Centre on 7 November 2022.
A company that tests ventilation systems has been fined for putting hundreds of workers at risk of serious lung diseases. Airtec Filtration Ltd was used by businesses across the UK to test extract ventilation systems, which reduce exposures to airborne contaminants in a workplace.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the firm, which is based in St Helens, Merseyside provided its customers with inaccurate test results, potentially leaving staff in those businesses unaware of the risks they faced.
In one incident, when assessing a car manufacturing business, the Airtec engineer failed to identify the presence of rubber fumes, which are carcinogenic and can lead to cancer. In another, a baking company used flour and other respiratory allergens, which the engineer identified inadequately as food dusts. The Airtec engineer failed to provide any other information to highlight the presence of asthmagens, which can lead to occupational asthma.
Between 2018 and 2019 Airtec Filtration Ltd were providing Through Examination and Tests (TExT) of local exhaust ventilation (LEV) systems, which are designed to control substances dangerous to health. The company claimed their work met the requirements of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH) 2002. However, the testing the testing reports provided to businesses were insufficient as hazardous substances were not adequately identified, and the local exhaust ventilation tests were not carried out correctly.
HSE inspectors visited multiple sites, where testing was undertaken by Airtec and at each one a number of significant and common failings were found. As a result, Airtec was served with an Improvement Notice on 23 October 2019. The Improvement Notice required Airtec to provide training to their engineers to ensure that they had adequate knowledge, training and expertise in the assessment, evaluation and control of risk arising from exposure to hazardous substances, so as to not expose persons who might be affected, to a potential health risk.
An investigation by HSE found that Airtec was aware of the need for a competent person who held professional qualifications to carry out the testing but did not provide the necessary training for their engineers.
Airtec Filtration Ltd, of Manor Street, St Helens pleaded guilty to contravening Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £2,666 and ordered to pay costs of £4,074 at Manchester Magistrates’ Court on 4 November 2022.
Three companies have been given six-figure fines after a driver was crushed between a reversing HGV and a forklift truck in a warehouse beside Heathrow Airport.
An employee of Davies Turner Air Cargo Limited was collecting a consignment from Airworld Airlines Ltd’s site at the X2 Hatton Cross Centre, which is alongside the airport, in August 2017. A vehicle, operated by Saints Transport Limited, which was collecting a consignment from Unilode Aviation Solutions UK Limited, also based at the X2 Hatton Cross Centre, reversed causing the employee to become crushed between the rear of the vehicle and the forklift truck, resulting in serious injuries. The X2 Hatton Cross Centre is owned by Brixton (Hatton Cross) 1 Limited and is managed by Segro Administration Limited.
HSE visited the X2 Hatton Cross Centre and an investigation found the site layout did not segregate those working or visiting the site, so far as reasonably practicable, from being struck by moving vehicles. None of the defendants had taken responsibility for managing traffic. Neither did they communicate, co-operate or co-ordinate with one another.
Segro Administration Limited, of New Burlington Place, London pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 Section 3(1). Airworld Airlines Ltd, of High Street, Sunninghill, Ascot, and Unilode Aviation Solutions UK Limited, of Hatton Cross Centre, Heathrow, Middlesex, both pleaded guilty to breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 Sections 2(1) and 3(1). Segro Administration Limited was fined £320,000 and ordered to pay costs of £17,584, Airworld Airlines Ltd was fined £120,000 and ordered to pay costs of £17,605, and Unilode Aviation Solutions UK Limited was fined £110,000 and ordered to pay costs of £10,878 at Southwark Crown Court on 1 November 2022.
A family-run plant hire company has been fined after a member of the public was crushed at its Cambridgeshire site.
On 30 January 2020, a FDS (Cambridge) Ltd employee was moving and processing a stockpile of concrete and brick rubble using an excavator at the company’s site on Ely Road, Little Thetford, Ely, Cambridgeshire. A member of the public then came onto the site in a vehicle and was removing building waste from their trailer when they became trapped against the trailer by the reversing excavator, sustaining multiple fractures to both of their legs.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that members of the public should not have been able to get onto the site unchallenged. Additionally, they should not have been permitted to park near an operating machine which the company should have either barriered off or put suitable arrangements in place to ensure that it had ceased operating whilst people were in the vicinity.
FDS (Cambridge) Ltd of Ely Road, Little Thetford, Ely, Cambridgeshire pleaded guilty to contravening Regulation 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The company were fined £18,000 and ordered to pay £9,354.58 in costs at Peterborough Magistrates’ Court on 4 November 2022.
A Cornish scaffolding company has been fined £24,000 after a worker was injured when he fell through a fibreglass skylight.
The 37-year-old scaffolder was working for Worden Scaffolding, part of GK Worden & Son Limited, on a commercial project at an industrial unit in Liskeard on 22 July 2019. The company had been tasked with installing edge protection on the unit’s asbestos cement pitched roof, which had fibreglass rooflights running along it. The scaffolder was walking up the apex of the gable end of the roof when he stepped on and fell through a rooflight, landing on a concrete mezzanine floor about 3m below. He suffered a complex fracture to the wrist and hand, a broken rib and a bruised kidney.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that another scaffolder from Worden Scaffolding had also been exposed to similar risks of working near fragile rooflights at the same site in the months before. In both instances, HSE found the work was not properly planned, appropriately supervised or carried out in a safe manner when the incident occurred. The workers were on the roof without edge protection, crawling boards, harnesses, lanyards or nets. The company had a duty to control how the work was carried out, including staff instruction.
GK Worden & Son Ltd of St Ann’s Chapel, Gunnislake, Cornwall, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 4(1) of the Work at Height Regs 2005, and was fined £24,000 and ordered to pay costs of £14,000 at Plymouth Magistrates’ Court on 1 November 2022.
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