A construction company and two workers have been sentenced after a worker suffered an electric shock whilst working on a farm. On 30 September 2019 an employee of Connop and Son Limited was working on Worton Grounds Farm, Deddington, Banbury, Oxon and pouring concrete when the floating arm of a mobile concrete pump came into contact with an overhead powerline. As a result, the employee received an 11,000-volt shock which caused him to lose consciousness. His colleagues had to perform CPR to resuscitate him at the scene. The man was later taken to Oxford Hospital where he was in a coma for six days and hospitalised for 10 days.
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that Connop & Son Limited fell far below the expected standard and failed to implement its own control measures documented within its risk assessment. Therefore, the company did not meet the requirements of regulation 14 of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989. The HSE investigation also found that Alexander Maddan, a sole trader, failed to plan, manage and monitor the construction phase and failed to ensure reasonably practicable control measures were in place. Additionally, Shaun Walker, a concrete pump operator, failed to take reasonable care for the health and safety of himself and others who were affected by his acts or omissions.
Connop and Son Limited, of Folly Farm, Eardisland, Leominster pleaded guilty to breaching regulation 14 of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989. The company was fined £50,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5425 plus a victim surcharge of £181 at Oxford Magistrates’ Court on 28 October 2022. Alexander Maddan, of Deddington, Banbury, Oxon pleaded guilty to breaching regulation 13 (1) of Construction Design and Management Regulations 2015. Mr Maddan was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay costs of £525 plus a victim surcharge of £181 at Oxford Magistrates’ Court on 28 October 2022. Shaun Walker, of Swinford Leys, Wombourne, Wolverhampton pleaded guilty to breaching section 7 of the Health and Safety at Work Act. Mr Walker was handed a 12-month community order with a requirement to carry out 60 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay costs of £2,000 plus a victim surcharge of £90 at Oxford Magistrates’ Court on 28 October 2022.
Nestle has been fined after an employee suffered life-changing injuries at its factory in Newcastle upon Tyne. The incident happened on November 30, 2020 when the man was drawn into a roller mechanism on a conveyor machine.
South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard how the maintenance technician was investigating a problem on the conveyor belt of a machine used to make chocolate sweets. While checking the machine, his sleeve was caught in a roller, which dragged his left arm into the machine, trapping it between the roller and a conveyor belt.
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation into the incident at Nestle’s factory on Rowan Drive, Fawdon, Newcastle upon Tyne found that the company had not properly assessed the risk created by the rollers under the conveyor belt and failed to guard the roller, which was a dangerous part. It was foreseeable that employees would require access to this area and there was a clear risk of injury to employees coming into contact with this roller. Nestle had previously been prosecuted following a similar incident at its Halifax factory.
Nestle UK Ltd of City Place, Gatwick, West Sussex, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and was fined £800,000, ordered to pay costs of £7776.50 and a victim surcharge of £190 at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court on October 19.
A catering equipment cleaning company has been fined £200,000 after a worker died after falling into a tank of hot water. The man fell through the lid of a tank of hot water heated to 76° centigrade and died a week later in hospital.
It happened on 8 January 2018 when the worker was standing on the lid of a covered tank at Pan Glo (UK) Ltd, in Skelmersdale, Lancashire when it gave way. He was pulled from the hot water by a colleague and taken to hospital but had sustained 37% burns from which he didn’t recover.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company Pan Glo (UK) Ltd, previously known as Cleanbake Ltd, had failed to carry out risk assessments or develop written systems of work for any maintenance to the tank line. There was no instruction about what should or shouldn’t be done when access to the restricted rear area was necessary, including whether it was acceptable to walk across the tops and lids of the tanks. This resulted in employees routinely accessing the area in this way, placing themselves at significant risk and which subsequently led to this death.
At Preston Magistrates’ Court on October 18, Pan Glo (UK) Ltd of Seddon Place, Skelmersdale, Lancashire pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £200,000 and ordered to pay costs of £14,597.17.
A building contractor has been fined £600,000 and its director has been ordered to complete 100 hours of unpaid work and fined £4,200 following serious and repeated failings in managing the risk of fire during work at a construction site. In January 2018 the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) undertook a proactive inspection to investigate health and safety failings by S&S Quality Building Contractors Limited at a construction site at Regent House, Brentwood, Essex after a concern was raised that people were sleeping on site.
The subsequent HSE investigation, which was assisted by Essex Fire & Rescue Service, identified failings in fire management at the site which created risks to workers and members of the public who were visiting show flats outside of business hours. The environment at Regent House was poorly managed and the construction work was being carried out in an unsafe manner which could have resulted in a fire.
S&S Quality Building Contractors had previously been subject to HSE interventions after risks of a fire had been identified across a number of sites over several years. Evidence gathered during the proactive HSE investigation indicated that the company director Shlomo Pines regularly attended the Regent House site and failed to implement improvements from previous HSE interventions. S&S Quality Building Contractors Limited of Hawthorn Business Park, Granville Road, London, pleaded guilty to breaching 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £600,000 and ordered to pay costs of £36,894 at Basildon Crown Court on 25 October 2022. Company director Shlomo Pines, of St. Johns Road, Golders Green, London pleaded guilty to contravening Section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. He received a community order to complete 100 hours of unpaid work and was fined £4,200.
A Tyne and Wear engineering company has been fined £20,000 after a worker fractured his pelvis and suffered internal injuries after falling through a petrol station forecourt canopy. The employee of G Nicholson (Engineers) Limited was replacing guttering at the top of the canopy on the company’s petrol station in Blue House Lane, Washington, Tyne and Wear, on 5 December 2019. As he was removing corrugated metal sheets to access sections of the guttering below, he was knocked off balance when a gust of wind caught the sheet, causing him to fall approximately 4 metres through a fragile section of the canopy on to concrete below.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that a risk assessment should have been carried out and had a method statement been produced, this would have identified the need for effective control measures to prevent employees falling from the edge of the canopy or through the exposed fragile roof surface.
G Nicholson (Engineers) Limited, of Blue House Lane, Washington Tyne and Wear pleaded guilty to breaching Section 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 at Gateshead Magistrates’ Court on 12 October 2022 and was fined £20,000, with £7,825 costs and a victim surcharge of £190.
A meat production company has been fined £440,000 after a security guard at an abattoir was seriously injured by a vehicle passing through the site gate. The 63-year-old security guard, who was working for an independent security company, was on duty at the gated entrance of the Dunbia (UK) abattoir at Hatherleigh, near Okehampton, Devon early on the morning of November 29, 2018.
Her duties included operating the gates to allow delivery vehicles to enter and exit the site. She sustained serious leg and head injuries requiring surgery when she was hit by a vehicle towing a trailer leaving the site. She was holding the gate open at the time.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the system of work was unsafe and that the company’s risk assessments did not extend to the security guards. Risks had not been adequately assessed or controlled. Although there was a high volume of vehicle movements on site, there was no segregation between vehicles entering or leaving the site and those responsible for opening and closing the security gates at the entrance.
Dunbia (UK), of Castle Street, Exeter, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. the company was fined £440,000 and ordered to pay costs of £27,016 and a victim surcharge of £170 at Plymouth Magistrates Court on 12 October 2022.
A Kent groundwork contractor has been fined after a worker sustained serious burns following petrol being thrown on a bonfire. On 24 June 2020, a 26-year-old groundworker employed by Kent County Surfacing Ltd was working on a new residential development in Ramsgate, Kent when a co-worker used petrol on a bonfire. The groundworker was unaware of this and after he was instructed to light the bonfire, it engulfed him in flames as the petrol vapour ignited. The worker suffered serious burns and underwent two skin graft operations to his left hand, left arm, left side of torso and both his legs.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the company had failed to appropriately supervise their operatives and failed to provide them with the appropriate information and instruction, so far as is reasonably practicable to ensure work was carried out without risks to health or safety.
At Folkestone Magistrates on 10 October, Kent County Surfacing Ltd of 7 Mariners View, Deal, Kent, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 15 (8) of the Construction (Design & Management) Regulations. They were fined £10,000 and ordered to pay costs of £7,333.42.
A Bedford furniture retailer has been fined for not having the right insurance. Exclusive Oriental Classics Ltd and its director Mr Kian Hoo Tay appeared at Luton Magistrates Court on 10 October for failing to have Employers’ Liability (Compulsory) Insurance (ELCI). The court heard an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) discovered the failure when one of the company’s employees was injured at work on 1 March 2022. Exclusive Oriental Classics Ltd and Mr Hoo Tay had failed to renew the insurance policy that expired on 13 May 2021.
Exclusive Oriental Classics Ltd, of Bellfield Avenue, Harrow, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 1(1) of the Employers’ Liability (Compulsory) Insurance Act 1969, fined £1,650, a victim surcharge of £165 and ordered to pay costs of £1750. The Director, Mr Kian Hoo Tay, of same address pleaded guilty to breaching Section 1(1) of the Employers’ Liability (Compulsory) Insurance Act 1969, fined £1,650, a victim surcharge of £165 and ordered to pay costs of £1750.
Building firm fined after workers were put at risk during warehouse renovation, and for breaching Prohibition Notice
A building firm has been fined after putting workers working at height at risk during the refurbishment of a former warehouse building in London and for breaching a Prohibition Notice. Shiva Ltd, a property investment company, were using a site-made cradle during the renovation of the five-story building on Bermondsey Street in the south-east of the capital. Cradles are temporary suspended work access platforms widely used in the construction industry, which are commonly suspended from cables and raised and lowered into position by winches.
However, Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard that on and before 26 February 2019, the company put operatives at risk of falling from height while unsafely refurbishing the front façade of the building. Despite being served with a prohibition notice by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) the company continued the work the following day.
An investigation by the HSE found that workers were at significant risk of falling from height by manually lifting the cradle from the open edge of the roof and working from height near unprotected openings; and that the work was not appropriately supervised. The company also obstructed justice by refusing to allow the HSE inspector access to the site. As such, Shiva Ltd failed to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of those carrying out the work.
On 10 October Shiva Ltd of Lincoln Tower, Westminster Bridge Road, London, pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and breaching the Prohibition Notice. They were fined £46,000 and ordered to pay costs of £24,688.10.
Contractor Bedford Transmissions Limited has been fined after a man fell from height and was seriously injured at a food factory. Bedford Transmissions Limited, trading as BT Lerson, had been contracted by Veetee Rice to move and replace machinery within their factory in Rochester.
On 17 August 2020, an employee of Veetee Rice, stood on an unsecured metal plate left in place by BT Lerson the evening before and fell a height of approximately 2.5metres. The employee’s spine and pelvis were damaged in several places which required a lengthy stay in hospital and meant that he was unable to return to work for several months.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that BT Lerson did not properly plan, appropriately supervise, or ensure that the work was carried out safely. BT Lerson failed to identify the fall from height risk and necessary controls in their planning and did not take account of Veetee Rice’s employees who were working in the area.
In the lead up to the incident, BT Lerson worked over the top of the hole where the employee of Veetee Rice fell, with no suitable measures to prevent falls of their own workers. BT Lerson then left the factory site with 2 unsecured aluminium plates covering the 2.5 metre drop with only plastic barrier tape marking the area. That night, the employee was cleaning the work area when he stood on the unsecured metal plates and fell through.
At Folkestone Magistrates’ Court on October 10, Bedford Transmissions Limited pleaded guilty for a breach of Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. They were fined £8,000 and ordered to pay costs of £7,194.32.
A chemicals company has been fined after releasing a cloud of toxic chlorine gas that spread through its factory, yard and surrounding area resulting in staff needing hospital treatment and significant damage to the factory. On 12 June 2019, Wiltshire company GEA Farm Technologies (UK) Ltd mistakenly mixed an Intermediate Bulk Container (IBC) containing approximately 700 kg of concentrated sulphuric acid into a mixing vessel which already contained 1,600 litres of sodium hypochlorite solution.
The chemicals reacted releasing a large cloud of toxic chlorine gas, which CCTV footage showed as it permeated the factory and surrounding area. There was no clear evacuation plan for workers caught on-site, with several taken to hospital with breathing difficulties – fortunately no one suffered long-term effects.
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found the incident happened because a dedicated mixing plant had not been brought back into service after maintenance work, and the company had failed to introduce effective records management for the temporary manual system.
GEA Farm Technologies (UK) Ltd, based on Watery Lane, Warminster, Wiltshire pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and were fined £40,000 and ordered to pay costs of £22,000 at Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court on 4 October 2022.
A refrigeration company has been fined £27,000 after a worker sustained significant injuries when he fell from an incomplete gantry. GEA Refrigeration UK Ltd was replacing a cooler unit located on a gantry 10m above the warehouse floor at an Iceland depot in Swindon on 1 February 2017. This required a section of the gantry floor to be removed. A GEA employee fell 2.5 metres through the gap created by this removal and on to a cherry picker, suffering fractured ribs and internal injuries.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the company had failed to properly plan, co-ordinate and supervise the work, including the removal of the gantry floor to ensure the work was carried out in a safe manner to control the risks of falls.
GEA Refrigeration UK Ltd, of Ludgate Hill, London, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2015, and was fined £27,000 and ordered to pay £35,000 costs and a victim surcharge of £170 at Bristol Crown Court on 30 September 2022.
A company which provides diagnostic imaging services, and its radiopharmaceutical subsidiary company, have been given six-figure fines following incidents at two sites in which employees were exposed to radiation levels in excess of the legal annual dose limit. On 25 March 2019, a vial of a radioactive substance (FDG) leaked after it was installed into a shielded dispensing pot in the dispensing laboratory of Alliance Medical Limited’s (AML) Positron emission tomography-computed tomography (PET-CT) facility at St James’s University Hospital in Leeds. This resulted in two members of staff becoming contaminated with skin doses in excess of the annual dose limit as defined by the Ionising Radiations Regulations 2017.
In a second incident, on 15 November 2019, the same radioactive substance was unknowingly handled during the production process at the Alliance Medical Radiopharmacy Limited (AMRL) facility at Keele University Science Park in Staffordshire. Consequently, a member of staff was contaminated with a skin dose in excess of the annual dose limit as defined by the Ionising Radiations Regulations 2017.
An investigation by Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident at the AML Leeds PET-CT centre found that training and instruction was inadequate and supervision below an acceptable standard. Staff were not made fully aware of the localised instructions and were using personal protective equipment (PPE) unsuitable for work with radioactive material. A separate investigation by HSE found that at AMRL’s facility at Keele University Science Park, the radiation warning system associated with the particular production equipment was not operational at the time of the incident and had not undergone routine maintenance and testing at suitable intervals.
Alliance Medical Limited, based at Iceni Centre, Warwick Technology Park, Warwick, Warwickshire pleaded guilty to breaches of the Ionising Radiations Regulations 2017, Regulations 12, 18(3), 18(4) and 18(5)a, and were fined £300,000 and ordered to pay costs of £11,382 at Leeds Magistrates’ Court on 29 September 2022. Alliance Medical Radiopharmacy Limited, also based at Iceni Centre, Warwick Technology Park, Warwick, Warwickshire pleaded guilty to breaches of the Ionising Radiations Regulations 2017, Regulations 9(2)a, 11(1) and 12, and were fined £120,000 and ordered to pay costs of £11,382 in the same court on the same date.
A construction company from Leicestershire has been fined £80,000 after an employee suffered serious injuries falling through a fragile roof. An employee of Cairns Heritage Homes Limited was carrying out a repair to the roof of Nottingham Recycling Limited on 1 August 2019 when he fell approximately 7m to the floor below.
A scaffold tower had been constructed for access to the roof but there were inadequate measures in place to ensure that the work would be completed safely. The worker accessed the roof, attempting to devise his own ad-hoc working methods which included constructing a makeshift ladder/staging system from wooden planks.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Cairns Heritage Homes Limited had been contracted to repair the roof of the recycling plant while a ‘bailing machine’ was not being used. Serious deficiencies in the planning and supervision of this work were identified together with the absence of a safe system of work. There were insufficient measures to prevent a fall or minimise the distance or consequences of a fall such as safety netting. The makeshift staging provided by the employee was insufficient and failed to prevent a fall through the fragile roof panels resulting in them sustaining serious injuries.
Cairns Heritage Homes Limited, of Rectory Place, Old Parsonage Lane, Hoton, Loughborough, Leicestershire pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. They were fined £80,000 and ordered to pay costs of £9,981 at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court on 28 September 2022.
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