Automotive group McLaren has been fined £650,000 after a father-of-five from Portsmouth fell to his death carrying out an inspection. David Oldham’s widow, Patricia, says she has been “robbed” of her husband following the tragedy. The couple had been married for 14 years and lived in Hereford.
Fifty-five-year-old David worked for Zurich Management Services Limited. He was carrying out a structural inspection of McLaren’s Paddock Brand Centre, a hospitality unit used by its Formula One racing team, when he fell from one of the upper floors. He later died of his injuries. The incident happened on 18 October 2016, while the structure was undergoing maintenance at one of McLaren’s warehouses on Vanwall Road, Maidenhead.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found McLaren had failed to properly assess the risks and to put measures in place to prevent workers falling from height at its Paddock Brand Centre.
Falls from height remain the biggest cause of fatal accidents involving workers. In the five-year period between 2017 and 2022, 174 workers in Great Britain – a quarter of those killed in accidents at work – tragically fell to their death.
David’s wife Patricia Oldham said: “Davey was my husband for a short 14 years, although we had been together for 18 years. We had a happy time together and loved each other very much. He took care of me and I in turn took care of him.
“Our relationship was the kind that we could silently communicate to each other from the other side of the room. We used to work together and that is how we met and became good friends. Our wonderful, blended family consists of five grown up children, Chris, Dale, Nikki, Andy, and Simon. We have seven grandchildren and even a great-grandson! Dave loved his family and spoilt all of the grandchildren.
“A few months before he was killed at McLaren’s Paddock Brand Centre, we had taken all the grandchildren on holiday to Spain. We had an amazing time, especially poignant now given these circumstances.
“Dave was the kind of man who would help anyone if he could. He had such a big heart. His passion was golf, of which he enjoyed playing a round with his boys as well as myself and even to the extent of taking his grandchildren to the driving range. He used to like to keep fit and liked running, he did runs for charity.
“He used to make me laugh so much. Together we planned our retirement, where we would travel and see what new experiences we could explore together.
“I have been robbed of my husband, but poor Dave lost his life.”
Following a trial at Reading Crown Court, McLaren Services Limited, of Chertsey Road, Woking, Surrey, was found guilty of breaching Sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £650,000 and ordered to pay £110,132 in costs at Reading Crown Court on 31 March 2023.
An East Yorkshire garden landscaping supply company has been fined £600,000 after an employee died while loading a lorry. Brian White, 59, was working for Kelkay Limited when he was operating a forklift truck at the company’s site on Heck and Pollington Lane, Pollington, East Yorkshire, on 15 June 2018. Brian was fatally injured when the lorry he was loading was moved by the driver, pulling the forklift truck over and trapping him underneath.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found Kelkay Limited’s risk assessment failed to take into account the possibility of lorries moving while they are being loaded. HSE also found that the systems of work provided for ensuring that vehicles were not moved during loading activities were inadequate.
Kelkay Limited, of Heck And Pollington Lane, Pollington, East Yorkshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £600,000 and ordered to pay £20,848.71 in costs at Grimsby Magistrates’ Court on 30 March 2023.
Brian’s eldest son Barry said: “Not a day goes by without me thinking of my dad and how we have lost a massive part of our family. He was our rock who we could turn to for advice and help. We have lost a friend and a father and a grandad all in one go.
“He was a well-known part of the local area and his loss has affected many people around the community.
“We miss him so much. It still upsets me to this day and we will always remember him. Rest in peace dad.”
Brian’s partner Joan said: “Brian went to work on that day but didn’t return home through no fault of his own.
“We had made plans for the future together but then everything was turned upside down on that day.
“My life was then a total disaster from that day.”
A Peterborough company has been fined £500,000 after a young father was killed in an explosion at a firework factory. Twenty-four-year-old Brendan Ledgister was working for Le Maitre Ltd when one of the products he was using ignited and caused an explosion on 2 October 2018.
Brendan, who lived in Peterborough, had only become a father eight months before and was described as “kind, gentle and funny”.
Brendan’s father Gladstone Ledgister said: “It was the worst day in my life. My only son and best friend died. The suffering is still embedded in my mind and will never leave me until I die.
“He was such a nice boy, he was kind, gentle, funny, and happy – and its all been taken away from us – especially from his daughter. She didn’t even know him.”
Peterborough Magistrates Court heard how Mr Ledgister was making a pyrotechnic composition when one of the products ignited causing a significant explosion. He suffered serious burns in the explosion and died of his injuries the following day.
An Investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) determined that the system of work for working with explosive materials was not safe. The tools he was provided with were unsuitable for handling the explosive materials and the facility in which he was working was not of an appropriate standard. The company also failed to provide him with adequate training and he was not appropriately supervised.
Le Maitre Ltd (now known as LM140121 Limited) were found guilty of breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act as, on and prior to the 2 October 2018, they failed in their duties to ensure so far as reasonably practicable the health, safety and welfare of their employees, and hence were found guilty of under section 33(1)(a) of the Act. The company were fined £500,000 and ordered to pay costs of £ 20,788.65.
A major pipeline transportation company has been fined £2.3million for safety breaches after its employees were exposed to risk of serious injury and even death while working on a leaking pipeline containing petrol under pressure.
Workers at Exolum Pipeline System Ltd, formerly known as CLH Pipeline System (CLH-PS) Ltd, were excavating a suspected pipeline leak in the woodland adjacent to the B1398 and M180 near Holme, North Lincolnshire, between 7 to 10 March 2018. The employees were working in an area where a previous repair had taken place.
The risks arising from the excavation work and exposure were significant. An unknown defect on the previous repair of the pipeline which contained petroleum under high pressure had the potential to form a flammable cloud extending over several metres from the work area, causing those in the immediate vicinity to potentially be covered in a heavy spray of petrol and engulfed in petrol vapour. If ignition had occurred before the area could be evacuated, then there would have been a very high risk of death or serious injury.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident found that Exolum Pipeline System Ltd failed to properly identify and control the risks associated with carrying out a pipeline repair.
Exolum Pipeline System Ltd, of King William Street, London, was found guilty of an offence contrary to Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and an offence contrary to Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 following a trial at Grimsby Crown Court. The company was fined £2.3million and ordered to pay £157,431 in costs at Grimsby Crown Court on 24 March 2023.
A Kent waste company has been fined £150,000 for several health and safety breaches. City of London Magistrates’ Court heard that a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspection in August 2020 found that employees of BSP (Knockholt) Limited manually sorting through waste in its yard near Orpington were at risk of being struck by heavy machinery moving next to them. It also found that there were inadequate rest facilities for employees to use during break times.
Two improvement notices were served on the company in September 2020, and a date for compliance in October 2020 was set. However, a further site inspection in February 2021 found that the company had not complied with either notice.
At City of London Magistrates’ Court on 22 March 2023, BSP (Knockholt) Limited, which went into liquidation in October 2022, was found guilty of failing to comply with two Improvement Notices. It was fined £140,000 for failing to comply with a notice served under regulation 17(1) of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, regarding segregation of vehicles and pedestrians, and £10,000 for a notice served under regulation 25(1) of the same regulations regarding welfare facilities. Costs of £2,459 and a victim surcharge of £190 were also awarded.
A London company has been fined £175,000 after a worker suffered serious head injuries that saw him hospitalised for seven months. The man, who was 35 at the time, was working at a domestic property on Elmfield Avenue, Crouch End, London, on 3 March 2019 when he sustained head injuries during concrete pumping operations carried out by sub-contractor Singh Will Mix It Ltd.
A concrete pump operator was cleaning the pump’s hose after it had been used to pump concrete for a ground floor extension at the property. As the pump operator was doing this, the pump became blocked, leading to a sudden release of pressure and causing the hose to whip and strike the worker in the head. The pump operator was not qualified to operate the machine.
The injured worker spent seven months in hospital following the incident, suffered brain trauma, and continues to have difficulties with his speech, memory and movement.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found Singh Will Mix It Ltd failed to ensure workers had the necessary skills, knowledge, experience and training to carry out the work and they failed to have appropriate health and safety systems in place to carry out the work safely.
Singh Will Mix It Ltd, of Larkshall Road, Walthamstow, London, was found guilty of breaching Sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 following a trial at Southwark Crown Court. The company was fined £175,000 and ordered to pay £75,722 in costs at Southwark Crown Court on 15 March 2023.
A DOG walker was thrown 8ft into the air by a cow which then repeatedly trampled on him as he tried to crawl away, breaking six ribs of his ribs and leaving him with damage to his lungs and spleen.
Steve Adams, from Coleshill, Warwickshire, was on holiday with his wife Jane near Sidbury, East Devon when they went for a walk with their Springer Spaniel, named Lisa. They were walking along a public footpath through a field containing cows with calves when one of the cows attacked, leaving Steve badly injured. He spent seven days in intensive care.
The farmer responsible for the cattle has been ordered to pay a fine and costs totalling more than £3,500. Farmers should not put cattle with young calves in fields with a public right of way.
Steve, who is now 63, and is a dad of three with two grandchildren, is retired from the transport industry. He said: “My own grandfather was a farmer, so I’d been around cattle as a child, and I wasn’t scared of them. Now, I wouldn’t go into a field with cows, you don’t know what’s going to happen. People should be very wary of cows.”
Steve and Jane were on holiday at the East Devon caravan and motorhome campsite in July 2021 when they decided to go for a walk with their dog, which was on a lead. Their route took them from a pub through fields. As they headed towards a pedestrian gate at the edge of one of the fields, they came to an electric fence surrounding the fields edge. They were then surrounded by more than 20 cattle, some with calves. A cow approached, lowered its head and tossed Mr Adams into the air. It then trampled him on the ground until he managed to crawl away.
A HSE investigation established that cattle with young calves were being kept in a field with a public right of way across it. Cattle with young calves are known to be protective and unpredictable, and can pose a risk to walkers, especially to those with dogs. Farmers should not put cattle with young calves in fields with a public right of way.
Steve Adams said: “It was just the one cow, the biggest one. It came up and threw me into the air with its head and then it trod all over me. I was trying to crawl out of the way, but it just kept landing its hooves on me.
“The dog was on its lead and I’d managed to let it go and it made it away. My wife had one of those plastic ball throwers for the dog and she was hitting the cow with it but it made no difference at all. I managed to roll away from under it.
“I wasn’t feeling too good at all, I couldn’t breathe. It had taken us about 15 minutes to walk to where it happened, but it took us about two and half hours to make it back to the van. An ambulance was called to the site and they said straight away that I’d broken my ribs. It was a pretty scary day.
“I don’t walk too much now. I’m not as healthy as I was, and I can still feel my injuries now.”
Barry Fowler, of Sidbury, Sidmouth, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(2) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £555 and ordered to pay costs of £3,000 at Exeter Magistrates’ Court on 8 March 2023.
A Derbyshire property owner has been given a community order after a father-of-two sustained life changing injuries when a wall collapsed on top of him during a barn conversion.
Nigel Edwards failed to have a structural assessment of the outbuildings carried out as part of his planning for the project at his home in Woodhouses. The outbuildings were being converted into holiday let accommodation when a stone wall collapsed on 40-year-old Steven Tyson on 8 October 2021.
The married father of two daughters from Melbourne, suffered a catalogue of serious injuries, including a fractured skull, a bleed on the brain and multiple broken bones, including 11 of his ribs. He was rushed to hospital, where he spent the next 18 days in “immense pain”.
He said: “The pain was made worse by the fact I was unable to see my daughters in hospital due to the Covid-19 restrictions on visitors.
“I am still in pain today and struggle to put weight on my right ankle.
“Due to the traumatic head injury, I was unable to drive for six months.”
Derby Magistrates Court heard how the building had undergone significant structural alterations. It was while Mr Tyson was clearing up outside, that the external face of the stone gable wall collapsed on top of him causing life threatening injuries.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Nigel Edwards had failed to have a structural assessment of the outbuildings undertaken prior to starting the work. As a result, no measures had been identified or implemented to stabilise the building while underwent the alteration. Similarly, there was no plan in place for dismantling parts of the building safely, exposing workers and members of the public to the risk of injury or death from the full or partial collapse of the structures.
Mr Tyson, who has been left blind in one eye as well as losing hearing in his right ear, went on to say how the incident had left him unable to work in the construction industry.
“I might never be able to,” he added.
“The injuries have also impacted on my hobbies, which included karate, dog walking and metal detecting.
“I have also had therapy sessions to try and come to terms with the physical and psychological impacts of what happened.
“This is something I thought I would never have to do.”
Nigel Edwards of Tutholme, Woodhouses, Melbourne, Derbyshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 19(1) and 20(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015. He was made the subject of a 12-month community order and told to complete 80 hours of unpaid work. He must also pay costs of £4,097.94.
A Hereford company has been fined £190k after an employee was seriously injured after falling into a pit. The man was working for Wyman-Gordon Limited, a company that produces forgings for the aerospace industry, when he fell into the bottom of a pit on 25 November 2018. He sustained deep cuts to his head that required eight stitches. He had been working at the company’s premises on Spa Road, Lincoln.
While changing an oil seal on a counterblow hammer, a lifting sling containing a 169kg load broke. The load fell and broke the board the worker was standing on, causing him to fall into the bottom of the pit. The man has revealed how the incident left him feeling anxious after returning to work. The worker said in his victim impact statement: “I was on sick leave for three weeks.
“After the accident I became more anxious while doing high risk work. I continue to have a problem with my back. I go to physiotherapy via the NHS when necessary. Currently, it has become difficult for me to get up in the morning because of my back.
“I also have frequent headaches. I have been to different hospitals in connection with that, but no cause has been determined.
“Also the accident had a partial impact on looking after my wife as I could not lean forward and bend down for about two weeks. My daughter had to assist both me and my wife during all that time.”
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found Wyman-Gordon Limited failed to ensure so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of its employees during the ram seal replacement. There was no safe system of work that properly addressed work at height and lifting operations. The company should not have lifted loads over employees and either prevented the need to work at height, or used alternative methods for doing so.
Wyman-Gordon Limited, of Holmer Road, Hereford, Herefordshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £190,000 and ordered to pay £35,000 in costs at Lincoln Magistrates’ Court on 16 March 2023.
A construction company and its director have been fined for health and safety failings after a house partially collapsed in Manchester.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) visited the property on Caxton Road, Fallowfield, on 22 September 2020 after being informed an exterior wall had collapsed during construction work undertaken by Servotec Ltd.
Following HSE’s visit, a Prohibition Notice was issued to Servotec Limited after the roof on the property was found to be unstable with the company also failing to provide a temporary works design (TWD). Additionally, HSE issued Improvement Notices to the company for the poor welfare on site and insufficient asbestos survey.
HSE returned to the site on 25 September 2020 and a second Prohibition Notice was issued to Servotec after another structural problem was identified. Servotec complied with all of the enforcement action issued.
Following this, HSE set out to investigate the initial cause of the partial building collapse, however the company and its director, Shaun Brae, were not forthcoming with the requested information over a number of months. HSE made another visit to the house on 10 February 2021 when further health and safety breaches were found which included inadequate prevention of exposure to silica dust whilst cutting roof tiles. Servotec was then served with a Prohibition Notice and Improvement Notice.
The investigation by HSE found the company failed to comply with this final Improvement Notice and that significant risks across a multitude of areas were present at the site from start to finish, including structural safety, working at height and welfare. As Mr Brae was involved, directly served all Prohibition Notices and had demonstrated a persistent poor attitude and lack of accountability throughout HSE’s interactions, he was also found to have failed to comply in his role as a director.
Servotec Limited, of Mauldeth Road West, Chorlton Cum Hardy, Manchester pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1), Section 3(1) and Section 33(1)(g) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £5,000 at Manchester Magistrates’ Court on 10 March 2023.
Shaun Brae of Repton Avenue, Ashford, Kent, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1), Section 3(1) and Section 33(1)(g) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, by virtue of 37(1) of the Act. He was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay £2,000 in costs at Manchester Magistrates’ Court on 10 March 2023.
An asbestos removal company has been convicted and its director given a prison sentence after failing to ensure the safe removal of asbestos.
Asbestos Boss Limited, also known as Asbestos Team and its director, Daniel Luke Cockcroft, advertised as a licensed asbestos removal company and removed licensable material from domestic properties throughout Great Britain.
An investigation carried out by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Asbestos Boss Limited had never held a licence and their poor working practices resulted in the large scale spread of asbestos and exposure to homeowners and their families. Little to no precautions were taken by Asbestos Boss Limited and so their own workers, as well as anybody at the premises they were working on, were at serious risk of exposure to asbestos. The company and their director also breached a prohibition notice on several occasions.
At Manchester Magistrates’ Court on 10 March, Asbestos Boss Limited of Old Gloucester Street, London was found guilty of breaching regulations 8(1) and 11(1)(a) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. They were also found guilty of one charge relating to the failure to comply with a prohibition notice at two separate addresses which prevented them from working with licensed asbestos materials. The company are awaiting sentence.
Company director Daniel Luke Cockcroft of Darnes Avenue, Halifax, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 in relation to the company’s failing of regulation 8(1) and 11(1)(a) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 as well as the charge for breach of a prohibition notice. He was immediately imprisoned for 6 months and ordered to pay victim compensation.
Asbestos Boss Limited and Mr Daniel Cockcroft, of Darnes Avenue, Pyenest, Halifax were also prosecuted by Stockport Trading Standards, in a jointly run case with HSE. Daniel Cockcroft and the company were both charged with fraud in relation to falsifying training certificates, a business insurance document and unauthorised use of trade association logos. This gave the impression that the business was credible and that workers were adequately trained and competent in relation to asbestos removal.
Daniel Cockcroft pleaded guilty to fraud and the company was also convicted. Daniel Cockcroft was sentenced to an additional 4 month in prison making a total prison term of 10 months. The company is awaiting sentence at an additional hearing
A dental supply company has been fined £30k after an explosion of flammable liquid led to a fire at its premises in Halifax.
John Winters & Company Limited pleaded guilty to safety breaches after one of its employees was put at serious risk in the explosion that led to flames ripping through the building.
Leeds Magistrates’ Court heard that, on 23rd April 2021, the worker had been decanting heptane from a metal drum into a plastic bulk container. Other employees were also put at risk when the explosion resulted in a fire spreading rapidly throughout other production buildings. Nobody was physically injured in the fire which was tackled by more than 60 firefighters at its height.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the decanting of flammables had been unsafely undertaken at the company for several years despite well-known industry guidance.
The splash filling of Heptane generated a static charge creating a spark which caused an explosion during the decanting process, flammable material then spread further as there were no containment measures. The poor practice of storing cardboard boxes nearby fuelled the fire allowing it to spread significantly.
John Winters & Company Limited of Washer Lane, Halifax, West Yorkshire pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company has been fined £30,000 and ordered to pay £8,030.94 in costs.
A manufacturing company has been fined after an employee lost parts of two fingers when his hand got caught in a machine producing face masks. The 55-year-old machine operator was working a night shift for Alpha Solway Limited at the company’s Yew Tree Way site in Warrington, on 22 April 2021.
After spotting a problem with one of the firm’s HX machines, the man attempted to adjust the machine. He had noticed the material heading into the HX machine was folding itself and needed to be flat. The worker then opened the doors, which were already slightly opened, to the HX machine while it was still running and began adjusting the material. This led to the man’s right hand being caught by the HX machine resulting in most of his little finger and ring finger being ripped off. The man was later hospitalised for three days with his injuries now affecting his everyday life, causing debilitating pain and preventing him from doing manual work.
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found Alpha Solway Limited had failed to provide suitable guarding around its HX machines. The company had also failed to undertake and prepare a risk assessment before the HX machines were used. Employees had not been properly trained on how to safely use the HX machines nor were they appropriately supervised and monitored while using the machines with its guards open.
Alpha Solway Limited, of Hangcliff Lane, Lerwick, Shetland, Scotland, pleaded guilty to breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £66,000 and ordered to pay £5,440.70 in costs at Warrington Magistrates’ Court on 7 March 2023.
A city council has been fined after a school caretaker died following a fall from a ladder. David Mobsby, was working at Blatchington Mill School, a community school in Hove, and suffered a fatal head injury when he fell from the ladder on 3 August 2018.
Mr Mobsby, 71, had been cleaning the roof of a bike shed at the school on Nevill Avenue, Hove, using a standard-length broom and a telescopic surface cleaner before falling approximately 2.5 metres onto the tarmacked surface below.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found Brighton and Hove City Council, the local authority that employs staff at Blatchington Mill School, had failed to ensure that the cleaning of the school’s bike shed was properly planned, appropriately supervised, and carried out using a safe work method.
Brighton and Hove City Council pleaded guilty to a breach of Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. The council was fined £66,666 and ordered to pay £5,000 in costs at Brighton Magistrates’ Court on 28 February 2023.
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