Two companies and two people have been sentenced after an 18-year-old construction worker was fatally injured while working on a house-build construction site in Boston, Lincolnshire. P & R Plant Hire (Lincolnshire) Limited, D. Brown (Building Contractors) Limited, Brent Woods and Darrell Tripp were all fined following the death of Josh Disdel.
In July 2018 Mr Disdel, and another worker, both employed by P & R Plant Hire (Lincolnshire) Limited, had been tasked with clearing debris from manholes at a house-build construction site at White Bridges, Boston. While work was taking place, Mr Disdel’s colleague was asked if he could move the works van to allow another vehicle to pass. However, he was not aware that Mr Disdel was lying on the road with his head and torso in a manhole, directly in front of the van. As the vehicle moved forwards one of the wheels entered the top of the manhole contacting Mr Disdel. Mr Disdel was then taken to hospital but later died as a result of serious crush injuries.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that neither the Principal Contractor, D. Brown (Building Contractors) Limited, nor the groundworks sub-contractor, P & R Plant Hire (Lincolnshire) Limited, had ensured that the work was planned in such a way to ensure that workers were not exposed to risks to their health and safety. Brent Woods, a manager within P & R Plant Hire (Lincolnshire) Limited for approximately 10 years, sent employees to carry out the task without a risk assessment or method statement in place despite having previously produced such information in the past. In addition, workers had not been trained to work in a road, had not been provided with any equipment to ensure the work was carried out safely and had not been provided with any instruction on any safety measures to be used at site.
Today (September 6) at Lincoln Crown Court, Darrell Tripp, a site manager for D. Brown (Building Contractors) Limited for approximately four years, having worked in the construction industry for about 40 years, did not carry out a site induction of Josh Disdel and failed to carry out suitable checks to ensure the workers had the relevant training. Mr Tripp also failed to ensure there was a safe system of work in place of whether there were adequate control measures.
D. Brown (Building Contractors) Limited of Seas End Road, Spalding, were found guilty of contravening Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. They were fined £300,000 and ordered to pay costs of £15,765.92. P & R Plant Hire (Lincolnshire) Limited of Station Road, Cambridgeshire, pleaded guilty to contravening Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £24,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,264.87.
Brent Woods of North Parade, Holbeach, Spalding was found guilty of contravening Section 7(a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. He was sentenced to 18 weeks imprisonment suspended for two years and ordered to complete 200 hours of community service and pay costs of £1200. Darrell Tripp of Broadgate Lane, Deeping St James, Peterborough was found guilty of contravening Section 7(a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act. He was sentenced to eight weeks imprisonment suspended for two years and ordered to pay costs of £1200.
Two partners in a construction firm have been fined for failing to adequately control the risk to its employees from exposure to vibration when using vibrating tools. Employees of Roywood Contractors worked at various construction sites using vibrating tools without adequate control. As a result, an employee who had been working at the company for 12 years suffered significant ill-health from hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS).
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that on or before the 15 January 2020 the company failed to adequately assess the risk to employees from exposure to vibration. They did not have appropriate measures to control exposure or place employees under suitable health surveillance to monitor their condition.
Andrew Hatto and Paul Kiff, trading as Roywood Contractors, of Tilford Road, Tilford, Farnham, Surrey pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 6 (1) and 7 (1) of the Control of Vibration Regulations 2005. They were each fined £1,150 and ordered to pay costs of £3,500 each at Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court on September 20.
A manufacturer of paper and paperboard has been fined after an employee was injured when they were drawn into a large paper re-winding machine. On 19 July 2021 an employee of Amberset Limited based in Ashford, Kent, sustained injuries of three broken bones in their shoulder, bruising of the elbow and wrist and superficial damage to their head. The man then underwent surgery following the incident, where metal plates and pins were fitted in his shoulder and arm.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the paper rewinder was not suitably guarded and this had been the case since August 1998. The rewinder allowed access to dangerous parts of machinery at various places including the front of the rewinder where the employee was drawn by their hand between two exposed rollers.
At Folkestone Magistrates Court on 21 September Amberset Limited pleaded guilty to breaching regulation 11(1)(a) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. The company was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay full costs of £2,197.65.
An engineering company has been fined after one of its employees fell through a roof while installing bird deterrent spikes. On 13 May 2020, a man working for Craven and Nicholas (Engineering) Ltd on St John’s Road in Boston, stepped onto a fragile roof surface and fell six metres through it – suffering serious injuries to his head and left arm.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that this task was not part of the normal work for employees of the company and they had not properly risk assessed and planned the work at height. The lack of planning meant that reasonably practicable and recognised control measures that could have prevented the man falling from height, such as the use of purpose designed access equipment and over-boarding of fragile roof surfaces, had not been implemented.
At Lincoln Magistrates Court on Wednesday 21 September, Craven and Nicholas (Engineering) Ltd of St Johns Road in Boston pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 4(1)(a) and 4(1)(c) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. They were fined £14,000 and also ordered to pay £6,541.80 in costs.
A manufacturing company has been fined £20,000 after a worker’s hand was partially severed when it was caught in machinery.
The employee of ADA Machining Services Ltd, Ashton-under-Lyne, was operating a Richards 16ft vertical boring machine on 24 March 2021 when he stepped onto the rotating table to check the internal boring cut but slipped and fell on the table. On his third attempt to steady himself after slipping, his hand was drawn into the in-running nip, and he suffered a partially severed hand. He remains unable to work.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that there was inadequate guarding to prevent access to dangerous parts of the machinery and an inadequate risk assessment for operating the vertical boring machine. The investigation found that it was also custom and practice to walk on the rotating machine table during operation of the vertical boring machine.
ADA Machining Services Ltd, of Richmond Street, Ashton-under-Lyne, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £20,000 with £4,952 costs at Manchester Magistrates’ Court on September 20 2022. The company, which is a sub-contractor in the machining sector specialising in heavy components, had previously pleaded guilty of breaching the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulation 11(1) on 12 May 2010 for an entrapment accident on a vertical boring machine.
A grandfather whose hand was cut off while he was repairing a factory machine has said his injuries are so bad he struggles to pick up his granddaughter for a cuddle.
Christopher Wright, 59, from Oswestry in Shropshire, had his hand cut off at the wrist when he was caught in the chain drive of a box-making machine while working a factory in Wrexham. His hand was reattached during an 11-hour operation but Christopher has been left with lifelong effects.
He said: “It’s impacted on everything I do every day. I can’t go back to being an engineer, and I can’t go back as an engineering manager as I can only type with one finger. I’m on the sick now.
“The effects are life changing, I’m in pain all the time, it hurts whenever I touch something. It’s not something that gets better. I can’t dress myself properly, I can’t do up zips or tie my shoelaces.
“My wife has had to finish work just to look after me. I have a three-year-old granddaughter now and I can’t even pick her up to give her a cuddle.
“Motorbiking was one of my greatest loves. I used to love riding my motorbike and I’ve had to sell it.”
Christopher was repairing the machine when his hand became caught. “It all happened very quickly. I just thought ‘my hand has gone’. I grabbed my wrist and shouted for help and dropped to the floor”, he said.
Riftward Limited, trading as Playford Packaging, which employed Christopher, was fined £115,000 for breaching health and safety regulations.
A Northwest manufacturing company has been fined after an explosion led to a reactor bursting open and ejecting a motor through a roof. Fortunately, nobody was injured as a result of the incident, which happened at CatAlloy Limited based in Widnes on 3 December 2015, during the manufacture of nickel catalyst.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found how air drawn into the reactor mixed with hydrogen, causing overpressure that led to the explosion. The lid of the reactor burst open and the gearbox and the electric drive motor, situated on top of it, were ejected through the roof of the building after breaking their mountings. The investigation also found that a residual product had been left in the reactor – which can ignite when exposed to air.
At Liverpool Crown Court CatAlloy Limited of Moss Bank Road, Widnes, pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 2 (1) and 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. They were fined £120,000 and ordered to pay costs of £50,000
An electric motors and gearbox manufacturer has been prosecuted after an employee’s little finger was severed from her right hand. On 16 September 2019 an employee of Parvalux Electric Motors Limited was injured at their Bournemouth site when she became entangled in an exposed rotating shaft during the final test of a running motor on the production line.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company had not identified the risks to their employees from exposed rotating shafts and had not provided suitable guards or safe systems of working.
At Poole Magistrates Court on 8 September, Parvalux Electric Motors Limited of Wallisdown Road, Bournemouth, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety Work Act 1974. They were fined £60,000 and ordered to pay costs of £8,000.
A company specialising in the manufacture of stabilisers and additives used in plastic products has been fined £200,000 after an employee suffered serious hand injuries while cleaning machinery.
An employee of Mexichem Specialty Compounds Limited was cleaning the manufacturing line at their site in Chinley, Derbyshire on 21 February 2019 when he was injured. Tonne bags are loaded into a hopper on the line and passed through a rotary valve into final product bags. The man was attempting to clean a rotary valve, standing with one foot on the machinery framework and the other on a ladder, when he slipped. As he tried to steady himself, his right hand went into the unguarded rotary valve resulting in a severed fingertip and lacerations to his hand.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company did not have a suitable and sufficient risk assessment or safe system of work in place for cleaning the bagging line. Operators were also not provided with appropriate information, instruction, and training on how the line should be cleaned. The rotary valve was not guarded and there was no isolation procedure in place for when cleaning was taking place.
The system of work in place at the time of the incident involved working at height, this had not been properly planned.
Mexichem Specialty Compounds Limited, of Beler Way, Melton Mowbray, pleaded guilty to contravening Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £200,000 and ordered to pay costs of £7,846.78 at Derby Magistrates Court on 6 September 2022.
Two directors of a construction company have been fined after failing to ensure the safe removal of asbestos from a plot of land. Between 14 and 15 November 2021, Anthony Sumner and Neil Brown, both directors of Waterbarn Limited were involved in the uncontrolled removal of asbestos from a plot of land in Grasscroft, Oldham. This included a garage belonging to a neighbouring property. Several months after the asbestos removal, enforcement action was required to ensure that the land was cleaned of all remaining asbestos debris.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that both directors were involved in the unsafe removal of an asbestos product from the site, along with Mr Brown’s two sons, resulting in exposure and spread of asbestos. The removal was conducted in a way which increased the risk of spread and exposure as asbestos panels were smashed up with hammers before being bagged for disposal.
At Manchester Magistrates’ Court on 6 September, company director Anthony Sumner of Stamford Road, Denton, Manchester pleaded guilty to breaching section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. He was fined £1,400 and ordered to pay costs of £2,418.33. Company director Neil Brown of Amlwch, Anglesey, Gwynedd, also pleaded guilty to breaching section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £1,400 and ordered to pay costs of £2,418.33.
A North West roofing contractor has been fined after an employee fell from a roof ladder and died at the scene. In May 2021, roof replacement work was being carried out on a domestic property in Burnley by Richard Thornton, trading as Vanguard Roofing. On the final day on site, an employee of Mr Thornton was climbing a triple extending access ladder on the roof, to reach scaffolding at eaves level, whilst carrying a pile of slate on their shoulder. They slipped and fell to the ground, sustaining fatal injuries.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the interlocking sections of the ladder they had been negotiating did not allow for three points of contact to be maintained, especially when a load was being carried: a single pole access ladder would have enabled this. The employee had also been wearing loose fitting footwear, which had not allowed for a firm foothold on the ladder. There was no safe means of transporting materials to the roof, such as a gin wheel and bucket, which would have avoided the need for carrying loads via the ladder. Had these measures been taken, proper contact could have been maintained and the incident avoided. The investigation also found that Mr Thornton did not have any employer’s liability insurance in place to protect workers.
At Blackpool Magistrates’ Court Richard Anthony Thornton of Upper Brook Court, Greenbrook Road, Burnley pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) of The Work at Height Regulations 2005 and Section 1(1) of the Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969. He was sentenced to six months in prison, suspended for two years, and ordered to pay costs of £3,600.
A property development company has been fined £8,000 for failing to adequately assess the risks involved in a refurbishment project, despite having been subject to previous enforcement action.
Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspectors visited a Daneets Developments Limited site in Bond Street, Blackpool, on 7 June 2021 during which enforcement action was taken in relation to general fire precautions, slips and trips, a failure to provide welfare, work at height, use of personal protective equipment, electrical safety, and potential exposure to asbestos. A follow-up visit to the site was then made on 21 June 2021 where further breaches of law relating to work at height and building safety were identified.
An investigation by HSE found the company did not have the organisational capability to comply with their duties under the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015. It also found that lessons from previous enforcement action in 2017, had been ignored.
Daneets Developments Limited of Glenville Close, Cheadle, Cheshire pleaded guilty to breaching the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 Reg 13, and was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,744 at Blackpool Magistrates Court on August 31 2022.
A Devon-based timber company has been fined £80,000 after an employee fell through a stairwell while working on a barn conversion.
The 49-year-old driver and warehouse operative, employed by Lamisell Limited, was working on the barn, which was being converted for rental use, at the company’s address near Okehampton, on 14 May 2018. He was trying to access the first floor of the barn from exterior scaffolding and jumped onto a piece of insulation which was covering a stairwell. The insulation gave way and the worker fractured two vertebrae in the fall.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the work was not properly planned, appropriately supervised, or carried out in a safe manner when the incident occurred. The company had a duty to control how the work was carried out, including staff supervision.
Lamisell Limited, of Meeth, Okehampton, Devon pleaded guilty to breaching Section 4 (1) of the Work at Height Regs 2005, and was fined £80,000 and ordered to pay costs of £7,331 at Poole Magistrates’ Court on August 31, 2022. The company also ordered to pay a £170 victim surcharge.
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