A Kent company, RPS Scaffolding Ltd, has been fined following an incident where a scaffold the company erected collapsed, injuring two workers. Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard that on 10 August 2020, two individuals were injured when a scaffold they were working from on Thorpebank Road, London collapsed.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found RPS Scaffolding Ltd erected a scaffold to enable the exterior of the property to be decorated. The scaffold erected did not conform to standard configuration and it was erected without strength and stability calculations being carried out. Soon after the two individuals accessed the top lift of the scaffold it collapsed. One of them suffered a fractured shoulder, elbow and wrist while the other suffered a fractured shoulder.
RPS Scaffolding Ltd of 24 Chaplin Drive, Headcorn, Ashford, Kent pleaded guilty to a breach of Regulation 8(b)(ii) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. The court fined them £40,000 and awarded full costs of £4,705.16.
Two West Yorkshire businesses, Brighouse Pallet Services Ltd and Seal It Services Ltd, have been fined for safety breaches after a HGV driver suffered a fracture to one of his neck vertebrae. Leeds Magistrates’ Court heard that on 5 August 2020 the delivery driver, an employee of Brighouse Pallet Services Ltd was struck by one or two falling pallets whilst they were being unloaded from a HGV trailer by a Seal It Services Ltd fork-lift truck (FLT) operator at the latter company’s site at Elland.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that both companies failed in their duty to provide a safe system of work. They failed to put in place simple control measures to ensure that all delivery drivers who visited the Seal It Services Ltd site were moved to a safe location for waiting, whilst HGV trailers were being unloaded by FLTs.
Brighouse Pallet Services Ltd of Elland Road, Brighouse, West Yorkshire pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay £4806.60 in costs. Seal It Services Ltd of Riverbank Way, Elland, West Yorkshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £50,000 and ordered to pay £4,654.90 in costs.
Yorkshire Dairy Goats has been fined for safety breaches after a farm worker was run over and fatally wounded. Hull Crown Court heard that on 1 August 2018, 53-year-old Janet McDonald, an employee of Yorkshire Dairy Goats, was struck by a reversing telescopic materials handler vehicle (telehandler) whilst working at St Helen’s Farm in York. She was seriously injured and air-lifted to Hull Royal Infirmary where she died later that day.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that when the employee had finished milking the goats, she walked through a corridor and stepped out into the path of the reversing telehandler. The driver was unable to see the worker so could not take action, and she was struck by the vehicle.
Yorkshire Dairy Goats of Seaton Ross, East Yorkshire pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company has been fined £180,000 and ordered to pay £20,000 in costs.
Lancashire County Council has been fined after several employees carrying out work in the highways department developed a debilitating nerve condition as a result of failure to control exposure to vibration. Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard that, in February 2019, HSE received a RIDDOR report from Lancashire County Council, relating to the diagnosis of a case of Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVs). An improvement notice was served to the council in July 2019 requiring the council to improve their control of HAVs. However, subsequent to this, a further ten cases of vibration- related ill-health, unrelated to the RIDDOR report, were uncovered and reported late. Four more reports were also filed, but these were on time.
Regular use of vibrating tools causes the painful and disabling disorder which, in this case, has left the employees with nerve damage to the hands and arms, making everyday tasks and leisure activities difficult or impossible.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that there had been insufficient supervision and monitoring by the council to ensure that operatives accurately recorded their levels of exposure to vibration. Furthermore, health surveillance records had not been acted upon promptly to reduce or stop exposure levels when symptoms were reported. In addition to this, risk assessments were not adequate for controlling the amount of exposure of operatives, and practices had not been implemented to prevent overexposure. Had these measures been in place the total of fifteen reported HAVs incidences of ill-health could have been prevented. It was also found that the council had failed to send reports of the various diagnoses to HSE without delay as required under the RIDDOR regulations.
Lancashire County Council of County Hall, Fishergate, Preston pleaded guilty to breaches of Section 2 (1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and Regulation 8 of the RIDDOR Regulations 2013. The Council was fined £50,000 and ordered to pay costs of £10,366,78.
An asbestos management company has been fined and two of its employees have been jailed for failing to protect workers from asbestos exposure during a major refurbishment project in Plymouth. Chelmsford Crown Court heard that in February 2017, concerns were raised by workers at Ensure Asbestos Management Limited who believed they were being put in danger whilst carrying out refurbishment work at the former department store.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found irregularities in the asbestos surveys and clearance certificates, with some of them found to be fraudulent.
Ensure Asbestos Management Limited had been contracted to carry out an asbestos survey, remove all identified asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) from the building and then carry out the initial strip-out of the building before it was refurbished. However, the company was found to have deliberately cut corners in managing the danger of asbestos exposure putting workers at risk.
Ensure Asbestos Management Limited of Station Road, Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 was fined £100,000. Director of Ensure Asbestos Management Billy Hopwood of Swanstead, Basildon, Essex pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. He has been sentenced to 10 months in prison and has been disqualified from being a director for five years. Contracts Manager at Ensure Asbestos Management Phillip Hopwood of Churchgate Street, Harlow, Essex pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 2(1), 3(1) and 33(1)(m) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. He has sentenced to 15 months in prison and disqualified from being a director for 10 years.
A gas fitter and building company have been sentenced following unsafe and unregistered gas work. Southwark Crown Court heard that Valentin Pauliuc, trading as VP Plumbing & Heating, was hired in February 2019 by HSM Builders Limited, the principal contractor for a domestic renovation in South London, to carry out plumbing and gas work including the installation of a new gas boiler and gas cooker.
However, some of the gas work was later found by a Gas Safe Register inspector to be ‘Immediately Dangerous’, meaning it would be an immediate danger to life or property if connected to a live gas supply, as it was in this case.
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that Mr Pauliuc was not registered with Gas Safe Register, which is a requirement under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 for people who undertake gas work, and that HSM Builders did not check that he was registered to do the work.
Valentin Pauliuc, of Downing Close, Harrow, pleaded guilty to a breach of Regulation 3(3) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. He was sentenced to 10 months in custody, suspended for 12 months, and was placed under a curfew and was also ordered to pay £1,644 in compensation to the owners of the property, and £4,747.68 in costs. HSM Builders Limited, of Cedar Avenue, Enfield, pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £50,000 and ordered to pay £4,859 in costs.