Two companies have been fined after a worker sustained serious injuries by falling approximately three metres through a hole cut into a floor during the refurbishment of a property at in Aldeburgh, Suffolk. Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court heard how on 27 July 2017, an employee was working as a dry liner for R&B Plastering Limited, who were contracted on the site to Robert Norman Construction Limited, the Principal Contractor (PC).
The employee was working on the second floor of the property, near to a hole that had been cut into the floor to facilitate plaster board being passed up from the level below. The employee fell approximately three metres through the hole, causing him to sustain fractures to his vertebrae and ribs, and severe bruising. He required hospitalisation for nineteen days and had to wear a back brace for six months. He also suffers ongoing physical and psychological issues as a result of the incident.
The PC’s own policy outlined the need to review any sub-contractors’ risk assessments prior to them starting work; and by failing to follow this policy the PC missed any opportunity to review R&B Plastering’s risk assessment.
Robert Norman Construction Limited of Framlingham, Suffolk were found guilty in their absence to breaching Section 2(1) and Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and have been fined £140,000 and ordered to pay costs of £8,426. R&B Plastering Limited of Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and have been fined £26,700 and ordered to pay a total of £8,426 in costs.
A roofer was fatally injured when he fell six metres whilst working on a replacement roof at a property in Kirkdale, Liverpool.
Liverpool Crown Court heard how on 22 May 2017, the roofer was completing snagging work on a replacement roof. The worker had accessed a part of the old roof made of fragile asbestos cement sheets, which gave way. He fell through the sheets to the ground below sustaining fatal injuries.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the area accessed did not have safety nets fitted and the building occupier failed to take reasonably practicable measures to reduce the risk to those working on the roof.
Owners of the building Pearsons Glass, of Maddrell Street, Liverpool, pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, sections 3. The company was fined £80,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6,656.
A sawmill company has been fined after a worker was fatally injured when a lift conveyor collapsed on top of him. Hereford Crown Court heard how on 20 December 2017, two employees were working below a lift conveyor at Pontrilas sawmill in Hereford to remove wood debris. The machine had been experiencing a fault, which had prevented the conveyor from descending. While the employees were working the conveyor suddenly dropped downwards causing fatal crush injuries to one employee and bruising and abrasion injuries to the head of the other employee.
Pontrilas Sawmills Limited of Hereford Road, Pontrilas, Hereford 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 £22,016.
A supplier of machined components has been fined after an employee sustained a severed finger, lacerations and tendon damage whilst operating a stud assembly machine at a factory in Brownhills, West Midlands. Dudley Magistrates’ Court heard that on 20 February 2018, CNC Speedwell Limited employee Malgorzata Musiol, 23, was seriously injured when her gloved hand became entangled in the exposed rotating parts of a stud assembly machine. Her index finger and the tendon along her arm were severely damaged.
CNC Speedwell Limited of Lichfield Road, Brownhills, West Midlands pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £130,000 and ordered to pay costs of £10,909.
A carpet sample book manufacturer has been fined after two workers were seriously injured in an incident where a forklift truck crashed into an onsite refuse skip. Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard how on 29 July 2019, three workers at Profile Patterns Limited had been emptying waste from plastic bins at their site in Wigan. They were using a forklift truck to raise the bins to a height that enabled a worker at either side of the truck to manually tip the bins into a skip. When one of the bins became trapped between the side of the skip and the forks, the driver of the forklift truck climbed on top of the skip to free the bin whilst the other two employees remained standing at either side of the forklift truck. Another employee was asked to reverse the forklift truck to aid the release of the bin.
However, after reversing, the forklift truck then moved forward crashing into the skip causing the employee on top of the skip to fall. One of the workers standing at the side of the truck became impaled by her right arm by the fork. The two workers sustained serious fractures that required hospital treatment.
Profile Patterns Limited of Makerfield Way, Ince Wigan, Lancashire, pleaded guilty to breaching sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,435.
An unregistered self-employed kitchen fitter has been sentenced after carrying out illegal gas work. Exeter Crown Court heard how Brian Squibb, trading as BKS Kitchens and Bathrooms, was contracted to fit kitchens and signed an installer agreement giving the name of a Gas Safe member as the engineer he would use for gas work. However, in the summer of 2019, Brian Squibb carried out gas work at two properties in Exeter himself, falsely using another person’s name and registration number.
On completion of this work Mr Squibb produced documentation for the homeowners falsely using a registered gas engineer’s name and Gas Safe Register details in an attempt to hide his unregistered gas work
Brian Squibb of Elizabeth Avenue, Exeter, Devon pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 3(1), 3(3) and 3(7) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. He was sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for 24 months and ordered to undertake 120 hours unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay costs of £4,250.
A landlord has been sentenced for failing to maintain gas appliances at a rental property in accordance with the law. Swansea Magistrates’ Court heard that between 3 May 2017 and 28 June 2017 inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Gas Safe Register inspected a property at Penlan, Swansea. They found a gas cooker which was not to current standards, a boiler which was found to be a risk which may constitute a danger to life, and installation pipework considered to be immediately dangerous, exposing the tenant and others to potentially fatal exposure to carbon monoxide.
Mr Tariq Shehadeh of Abu Hamour, Doha, Qatar pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 28, 36(2), 36(3) and 36(4) of the Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1998. He has been given a 12-month custodial sentence, suspended for 2 years and ordered to pay the full costs of £14,883.30.
National gas utility company National Grid Gas plc has been fined for failing to ensure its records relating to gas risers in some high-rise multi occupancy building were up to date. Liverpool Crown Court previous heard that in June 2017 the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) requested information from gas distribution network (GDN) companies about their management of gas networks in high rise multiple occupancy buildings (HRMOBs).
At the time of the offence National Grid Gas operated the nationwide gas transmission system and the gas distribution systems supplying gas to approximately half of the UK domestic and industrial gas customers, including the gas pipes in HRMOBs. However, in 2016 National Grid Gas sold part of its operations to Cadent Gas Ltd, this included the activities which the failings relate to. HSE’s investigation revealed the incomplete records were transferred to Cadent by National Grid Gas when they sold their gas networks to Cadent. The system had not been subject to any audits or reviews when the records issue came to light in December 2017. As such Cadent were continuing to inspect only the buildings on the existing database.
After HSE had requested the information, it found that Cadent’s management records were incomplete and found that records on 769 buildings were missing, meaning gas risers in these HRMOBs had not been subject to a condition survey, inspection or routine maintenance for a number of years. Additionally, the investigation found that National Grid Gas had failed to ensure that 112 HRMOBs had Pipeline Isolation Valves (PIVs) so that gas to these buildings could be isolated in the event of an incident.
As a result of this, HSE undertook a criminal investigation that considered the risk that residents and members of the public were exposed to as a result of breaches to Health and Safety legislation. Enforcement notices were issued in April 2018 requiring Cadent to take remedial action. Cadent took appropriate action and complied with the notices by September 2018.
National Grid Gas plc of 1-3 Strand, London, WC2N 5EH pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 on 06 November 2020. Today they were fined £4 million with £91,805 costs at Liverpool Crown Court.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has warned against the severe dangers of inadequate electrical safety systems in farm buildings following a recently concluded prosecution at Warwick Crown Court.
Britain’s workplace regulator has highlighted the substantial risks arising from using poorly maintained equipment after a woman was killed while cooking food in a farm caravan. Deana Simpson was electrocuted in 2017 while using a cooker which was poorly insulated and connected at a caravan in Willoughbv Farm, near Rugby in Warwickshire.
Amy Kalay, HM Principal Inspector of health and safety, who managed HSE’s involvement in the case, said the case has highlighted the severe risks that can arise when farm equipment and buildings are poorly maintained.
Amy said: “This was a completely avoidable and foreseeable incident. Deana was killed because work on an electrical system hadn’t been done by a professional electrician with the right skills and experience.”
At the time of the incident, Deana shared the caravan with James Atkins, the son of the farmer, Trevor Atkins, who owned the farm at Willoughby Fields
Deana was found collapsed by the cooker by James, who also received an electric shock when he touched the cooker.
Five days after the incident, a qualified electrician examined the electrical installation at the scene and found it was in a poor and dangerous condition. The potential for an electric shock was immediately obvious, with poor and incorrect connections, inadequate earthing and no protective devices in place, as was required by manufacturer’s instructions.
Amy said that the dangers can be particularly acute in farm equipment and buildings in rural areas which may not be maintained regularly.
In the course of the investigation into the death of Deanna Simpson led by Warwickshire Police, assisted by HSE, it was established that the generator had been modified several weeks earlier by James Atkins, who was not a qualified electrician. He had fitted a new invertor, despite being told the work needed to be done by a qualified electrician.
Amy added: “Electricity kills or severely injures people every year. You should make sure that the only people who are working with your electrics are competent to do the job. Equipment repairs or alterations to an electrical installation should only be carried out by people with knowledge of the risks and the precautions needed. Normally this means a professional electrician.”
During the investigation, it emerged that Trevor Atkins had been complicit with the work his son had carried out on his property, and as an employer, had a duty to maintain the electrical system relating to the caravan to ensure that it was not dangerous. As Deana lived in the caravan, he also had a general duty of care towards her to ensure she was not exposed to risks to her safety. It was deemed he had breached those duties.
James Atkins was sentenced for gross negligence manslaughter receiving six and a half years in prison and Trevor Atkins was sentenced for charges under Section 3 of the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. He received a 10 month prison sentence, suspended for two years.
London Borough of Tower Hamlets Council has been sentenced after a five-year-old girl died when playground equipment collapsed on top of her at Mile End Park. Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard that on 17 July 2015, Alexia Walenkaki was swinging on a rope attached at one end to a wooden post, when the play equipment gave way. The post snapped at its base causing the wooden structure to collapse on top of her. She sustained fatal head injuries.
The local authority had previously implemented a system of inspections to ensure that play equipment was safe to use. However, the play equipment at Mile End Park had not been inspected by a playground inspector since September 2013. If the equipment had been inspected and tested for signs of rot, the risk may have been identified and appropriate action taken to remove and replace the equipment.
London Borough of Tower Hamlets Council pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Etc. Act 1974. They were fined £330,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6,204.
A nursing home has been fined after a resident’s leg was repeatedly trapped in a bed rail. Merthyr Tydfil Magistrates’ Court heard how in November 2018, a resident at Crosfield House Limited in Rhayader had to receive treatment after her leg was repeatedly trapped between her mattress and the bed rail, becoming discoloured and cold to the touch.
Crosfield House Limited of Dark Lane, Rhayader, Wales pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at work Act 1974 and have been fined £25,000 and ordered to pay costs of £11,747.