A food manufacturing company, based in Holbeach Lincolnshire, has been fined after employees were exposed to sulphur dioxide (SO2) gas released as a result of poor planning and unsafe systems of work during the commissioning and operation of a new potato processing line.
Lincoln Magistrates’ Court heard that AH Worth Ltd (formerly known as QV Foods Ltd) purchased a new potato processing line in 2018. The purchased line dipped the cut potatoes into a substance (Microsoak) to prevent them browning. The purchase, installation and commissioning work was poorly planned. During commissioning, the Microsoak gave off sulphur dioxide gas that affected workers in the packhouse. The company made modifications to the line to attempt to cure the problem, but it caused the nozzles on the line to repeatedly block up and more sulphur dioxide to be given off. A maintenance engineer attempting to unblock the nozzles on the 11 June 2018 was badly exposed to the sulphur dioxide. The factory had to be evacuated and other workers in the vicinity were also affected. The maintenance engineer and another worker were so badly affected that they were not able to return to work due to the effects of the gas on their lungs.
AH Worth Ltd of Manor Farm Holbeach Hurn, Spalding, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 in that it failed to ensure, so far as was reasonably practicable, the health and safety at work of its employees. The company were fined £300,000 and ordered to pay costs of £9924.90 with a victim surcharge of £170.
An employee of Fire Protection Group (FPG) was working at Chivas Brothers Limited (CBL) premises when he was crushed and trapped in a Kardex Remstar Shuttle XP500 machine.
Dumbarton Sheriff Court heard that on 22 February 2017, a fire alarm engineer, employed by FPG, was undertaking a visual inspection of fire suppression systems at CBL’s bottling plant in Kilmalid, Dumbarton. Side panels that act as fixed guards preventing access to dangerous moving parts inside of the machines were removed so that the FPG employee could gain access inside to carry out the inspections. Only part of the machine was isolated from power sources. The FPG employee was crushed and trapped when the extractor device of the machine was activated. He sustained crushing injuries to his right side.
Fire Protection Group of 28 Mill Road Industrial Estate, Linlithgow pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, Section 2(1), 2(2)(a) and (c) and was fined £50,000. Chivas Brothers Limited of Kilmalid, Stirling Road, Dumbarton pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 Sections 3(1) and Section 33(1)(a) and was fined £50,000.
A Merseyside shipbuilding and repair company has been fined after an employee was fatally injured when struck by a 31-foot steel post.
Liverpool Magistrates’ Court heard how on 30 March 2017, the 23-year-old employee and four other workers of Carmet Marine Limited had been adapting or ‘regulating’ the bogie, which is used to land and launch vessels on and off the company’s slipway by the River Mersey. One of the bogie’s steel side-posts weighing approximately 1800kg fell and fatally struck the employee on the back of the head.
Carmet Marine Limited of Riverbank Road, Bromborough, Wirral, pleaded guilty to breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £25,000 and ordered to pay costs of £15,000.
Construction company Peter Duffy Ltd was sentenced today for safety breaches after multiple employees were diagnosed with Hand Arm Vibration (HAVS).
Leeds Magistrates’ Court heard that the company reported seven cases of HAVS between November 2016 and August 2018. All of the workers involved had been carrying out ground works involving vibrating tools. Many of them had been working in the industry for over 20 years.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that in 2016 the company contracted a new occupational health provider to replace their existing one. The diagnosis of the workers’ conditions resulted from these changes. Prior to the new company taking over the contract, there was no suitable health surveillance in place to identify HAVS.
Peter Duffy Ltd of Park View, Lofthouse, Wakefield pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company has been fined £40,000 and ordered to pay £3,919 in costs.
A rubber processing company was fined after a worker’s arm was trapped in machinery.
Tameside Magistrates Court heard how, on 4 January 2018, an employee of Marple Polymers Processors Limited was cleaning a stationary conveyor belt on a Banbury mixing machine. Unaware cleaning was taking place, another employee started the conveyor belt system. The original employee’s left arm became trapped between the conveyor belt and the tension idler causing serious injuries to their arm and hand.
Marple Polymer Processors Limited, Stockport, 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 £7,269.30.
Diving contractor Orkney Dived Scallops Ltd has been fined for breaches of the Diving at Work Regulations 1997, following an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive.
Kirkwall Sheriff Court heard that the company were carrying out commercial diving operations for scallops without the required safety measures in place.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that in 2016, the dive contractor carried out a diving operation where two divers were in the water, leaving only one person on board. One of the divers was a young person who did not have the necessary diving qualification or certificate of medical fitness to dive.
In 2017 there was a further incident where a diver went missing whilst diving for scallops in the Pentland Firth. He was found alive 11 hours later drifting off the Scottish mainland near Duncansby.
Neither of these dives were planned, managed or conducted safely and the dive contractor has important legal duties to ensure the diving operations are carried out properly.
Orkney Dived Scallops Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Section 15 and 33 of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and Regulation 6 of the Diving at Work Regulations 1997. The company has been fined £15,000.
A building contractor and a roofing contractor have been fined after an employee fell five metres from a first-floor extension, breaking several vertebrae in his lower back.
Liverpool Magistrates’ Court heard that on 11 June 2018, Grayton Building Contractors Ltd was undertaking a first-floor extension to a residential bungalow in Noel Gate, Aughton. An employee was fitting fascia boards and soffits to allow roofers employed by Thomas Dean, who had arrived on site a week early, to commence work. Whilst stepping across a gap in the incomplete working platform to descend from the roof, the ladder, which was not tied, slipped sideways, causing him to fall. As a result of his injuries he was unable to work for eight weeks.
Grayton Building Contractors Ltd of Botanic Road, Churchtown, Southport pleaded guilty to a breach of Regulation 4 (1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. The company was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,742
A fencing manufacturer and the owner of the yard where the business operates, have been fined following the death of an employee at the site.
North Somerset Magistrates’ Court heard how on 14 August 2017, Roderick McKenzie Hopes was working for PA Fencing Ltd at the yard. A telescopic forklift (telehandler) used to move timber, was lifted too high. It tipped over, knocking over some stacked timber which fell on to Mr Hopes resulting in his death.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the telehandler’s safety device, designed to stop loads being lifted so high, had not worked for a long time and maintenance had failed to identify this. Furthermore, the machine operator had not received full training in its use and the machine was regularly used to lift overly heavy loads. The yard supervisor did not know how the machine should be used safely. The yard wasn’t laid out to allow the safe stacking of material.
The investigation also found that PA Fencing Ltd shared the machine with Mr David Crossman, who owns the neighbouring farm and rents the yard to PA Fencing Ltd. Neither PA Fencing Ltd nor Mr Crossman had ensured that the machine was properly maintained nor that it was independently thoroughly examined, a test which must be done at least annually.
P A Fencing Limited of Unit 4 Westfield Business Park, Bristol, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974. The company was fined £35,000.00 and ordered to pay costs of £7500.00. David Crossman of Ham Farm, Ham Lane, Yatton, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 5(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and Regulation 9(3) of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 and was fined £3000.00 and ordered to pay costs of £7500.00.
A furniture manufacturer based in Ilkeston, Derbyshire has been fined after a delivery driver sustained serious leg injuries when he was struck by a reversing lorry in the yard.
Derbyshire Magistrates Court heard how a visiting contractor driver had arrived at Belfield’s’ site in Furnace Road, Ilkeston, parked in position and pulled open the curtains of his lorry trailer for loading by a Belfield Furnishings’ employee. Once loaded, the visiting driver was tightening the trailer straps to secure the load when another contractor vehicle drove onto the site. As the HGV vehicle was reversing into position, it struck the man, knocking him to the floor and trapping his legs under the wheels. He sustained fractures to his right tibia and left foot, leaving him with reduced mobility, psychological damage and unable to work again.
Belfield Furnishings Limited of Furnace Road Ilkeston Derbyshire pleaded guilty of breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, Section 3(1) in that people not in their employment were not exposed to risks to their health and safety. The company was fined £100,000 and ordered to pay full costs of £18,618.28.
Hovington Limited was sentenced today for safety breaches after a worker was struck by a falling piece of plant machinery while working on a construction site in Rotherham.
Sheffield Magistrates’ Court heard that, on 4 February 2019, groundworkers, including the injured person, were breaking out ground using a 13 tonne 360 excavator with a hydraulic breaker attached to an automatic quick hitch, as part of trench work to install new drainage of the site at Arconic Forging and Extrusions, Sheffield Road, Ickles, Rotherham. The breaker became detached from the quick hitch on the excavator. The breaker fell, narrowly missing one ground worker, and landed on the injured worker’s right foot. He sustained injuries which led to amputation of his right leg below the knee.
Hovington Limited of Chichester Street, Rochdale pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company has been fined £34,000 and ordered to pay £1,935.84 in costs.
A painter and decorator has been fined after an employee stepped off a working platform and fell two and a half metres through the fragile roof of a carport.
Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard that on 6 July 2018, sole trader Neil Beattie and an employee were undertaking the removal of a wasps’ nest at a bungalow in Daviot, Oldmeldrum before painting the gable-end soffits above a carport. They climbed a ladder on to the roof and walked along a structural beam to stand on a working platform in the middle of the carport roof. When the wasps’ nest was disturbed the employee stepped off the working platform and fell through the fragile, plastic roof of the carport. He sustained head and back injuries resulting in permanent disfigurement.
Neil Beattie of Nether Davah Place, Inverurie, Aberdeen pleaded guilty to breaching the Regulation 4(1)(a) and (c) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £2,650.00.
Two sister companies based in Grantham, Lincolnshire that manufacture cardboard items, and a company that manufactures flat-bed die cutting (FBDC) machines have all been sentenced after a worker sustained serious injuries to his left hand.
Lincolnshire Magistrates’ Court heard that Postpack Limited and Damasco UK Limited of Hollis Road Grantham, manufacture cardboard items including packaging materials, flat pack boxes and toys. They purchased five FBDC machines from DIG Corrugated Machinery Ltd of Cullen Place, Eastlands Industrial Estate, Leiston. A worker using one of the supplied machines caught his hand under the rotating main roller and the fingers and thumb of his left hand were crushed, leading to their amputation.
Postpack Limited xxADDRESSxx and Damasco UK Limited xxADDRESSxx pleaded guilty to contravening Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 The companies were fined £4000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,152 with a victim surcharge of £340. DIG Corrugated Machinery Limited xxADDRESSxx pleaded guilty to breaching the duty under Section 6(1)(a) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 The company was fined £6500 and ordered to pay costs of £3529.20 with a victim surcharge of £170.