A Lincolnshire-based food manufacturer has been fined after one of its employees sustained two broken ribs having been crushed within an industrial cooking machine whilst working to clear a blocked water inlet. Lincoln Magistrates’ Court heard how the employee was crushed in the machine after its safety systems were over-ridden and the machine worked on whilst it was live. It should have been isolated before work on it began.
An investigation carried out by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the task was carried out by the employees in this fashion on a regular basis and that the company should have been aware. No risk assessment of the task had been completed and employees had not been provided with a safe system of work to carry it out. The lack of a safe system of work for the task and the company’s failure to monitor how the work was done, led employees to devise their own way of conducting the procedure which included over-riding the safety systems and using unsafe working practices.
Bakkavor Fresh Cook Ltd of Sluice Road, Holbeach St Marks Spalding pleaded guilty of one breach of Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and were fined £130,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2607.10.
A yacht manufacturer has been sentenced after an employee was injured when his forklift truck overturned. Plymouth Magistrates’ Court heard how on 3 August 2018, a 57-year-old employee of Princess Yachts Limited was injured whilst assisting the unloading of a delivery at the company’s Langage site. The victim was using a forklift truck in tandem with another driver to lift a large load from a flatbed lorry. Part of the load was lifted to allow the lorry to move forward, but in doing so another part of the load struck the mast of his forklift causing it to overturn. He sustained ligament and muscle damage to his ankle as a result of the incident and was off work for five months.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the lifting work had not been properly planned or risk assessed. The employees were not aware of relevant procedures and there were safer alternate methods available which had not been considered.
Princess Yachts Limited of Bush Park, Plymouth pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act. The company was fined £200,000.00 and ordered to pay costs of £7,138.20.
A company has been fined after a worker was fatally electrocuted whilst operating a lorry mounted crane. Cardiff Crown Court heard how on 17 May 2016, ASL Access Scaffold Limited employee Martin Tilby was fatally electrocuted when the crane he was operating struck an overhead powerline whilst he was unloading materials in a field at Cowbridge, South Glamorgan.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that no risk assessment had been carried out in the field where the incident happened, and no control measures were put in place to prevent contact with the overhead powerlines.
ASL Access Scaffold Limited of Bridgend Industrial Estate, Bridgend was found guilty of breaching Sections 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and LOLER Regulation 8 (1). The company was fined £160,000 and ordered to pay costs of £45,000.
MS Properties (Northern) Ltd have been fined for safety breaches after employees were exposed to asbestos on 22 March 2019 after removing false ceiling tiles during a shop conversion at 309-315 Hessle Road, Hull. Beverley Magistrates’ Court heard that the company had not commissioned a refurbishment asbestos survey prior to the work commencing. Employees removed over 1000m2 of asbestos insulation board (AIB) ceiling tiles in an uncontrolled manner, exposing them to asbestos.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company’s director, and the casual labourers they employed, spent approximately three to four weeks removing the suspended ceiling, along with the ceiling tiles which contained asbestos, to install new stud walls to divide the shop floor into separate units. The labourers were unskilled and untrained. They were provided with a claw hammer to knock the tiles down. The asbestos-containing tile debris was then shovelled or collected into approximately 62 one tonne bags.
MS Properties (Northern) Limited of Beckside Business, Beckside Road, Bradford, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 5 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. The company has been fined £16,000, ordered to pay £3,011.87 in costs and a victim surcharge of £190.
The Spencer Academies Trust has been fined after failing to control the risk to humans from infectious diseases carried by animals. Southern Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court heard how the Trust, which operates 12 schools, failed to properly control the risk from zoonotic diseases to employees, pupils and visitors at one of its academies. The academy school was home to several animals including goats, pigs and rabbits.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the trust had failed to provide adequate washing facilities to control the risks of disease to employees, pupils and visitors to the academy. The academy had also failed to provide suitable housing for the animals to minimise the risk to children as well as adequate training for staff.
The Spencer Academies Trust, Arthur Mee Road, Stapleford, Nottingham, pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. They were fined £20,000 and ordered to pay full costs of £7,304.10 and a victim surcharge of £170.
A company has been fined after a worker was paralysed after falling 11 metres down a stairwell at a football stadium when the concrete floor he was working on collapsed. Peterborough Magistrates’ Court heard that on 14 June 2016, workers were constructing a new hospitality and seating stand at the stadium of Watford Football Club. The concrete floor and associated formwork collapsed causing a number of workers to fall. Most of the workers were able to cling to the structure to escape serious injury. However, Ashley Grealish fell approximately 11 metres down the mouth of a stairwell to the basement below sustaining multiple injuries including spinal damage, which caused permanent paralysis from the waist down.
An investigation by Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company’s temporary works management system was lacking. The contractor should have had a suitable design for the temporary works, which are part of a construction project needed to enable the permanent structure to be built, taking proper account of the vertical load and the need for horizontal stability. There should also have been a robust system to check the temporary works were properly installed and thoroughly assessed before starting to load it with the wet concrete to form the floor slab.
ECS Groundwork Ltd of Warren Farm, Colney Heath, St Albans pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 19 (1), 19(2) and 19(3) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015. The company was fined £40,000 and ordered to pay costs of £14,505.
Lantern Engineering Ltd was sentenced for health breaches after workers were exposed to metal working fluid (MWF). MWF is hazardous to health, and exposure can cause health conditions including irritation of the skin/dermatitis, occupational asthma, bronchitis and irritation of the upper respiratory tract. Sheffield Magistrates’ Court heard that, in February 2016 a visit was conducted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and enforcement taken requiring the company to provide health surveillance and manage MWF. In September 2016 an employee was diagnosed with occupational asthma. Further enforcement was taken in December 2016 with an Improvement Notice issued to develop a system for managing MWF.
An investigation by HSE found that a water mix MWF was in use in the majority of machines including saws, machine centres and milling machines. None of these machines had local exhaust ventilation (LEV) and some door seals were observed to be in poor condition. The MWF sumps to some machines were in visibly poor condition, with fines, swarf and/or tramp oil being present.
Lantern Engineering Ltd of Globe Court, Denby, Doncaster South Yorkshire pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company has been fined £15,000 and ordered to pay £7,500 in costs.
A man building a detached property for himself and his family has been fined after a roofer fell whilst working on the roof, sustaining serious injuries from which he later died. Manchester Magistrates Court heard how Tony Geldart, a 63-year-old father of two, was employed by Roy Stanuton to carry out roof work on his self-build detached domestic property in Hale, Greater Manchester. On 18 July 2017, Mr Geldart fell 2.6 metres from the roof which had no fall protection measures in place. He sustained serious neck & head injuries from which he died three days later in hospital.
An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found that Roy Staunton was responsible for removing some of the scaffolding himself despite not being competent to do so. He did not replace any means of fall protection and failed to ensure that working from height was carried out in a safe manner.
Mr Roy Staunton of Egerton Drive, Hale, Greater Manchester pleaded guilty to breaching of Regulation 4 (1) of the Working at Height Regulations 2005 and was sentenced to eight months imprisonment suspended for two years and ordered to pay costs of £16,529.46
A construction company has been fined following an incident where three contractors fell from height suffering serious injuries. North Somerset Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 18 July 2018, three bricklayers fell approximately 2.5 metres onto a concrete floor sustaining serious injuries ranging from a broken back, a broken sternum to a swollen knee. The three workers fell through a temporary stairwell cover, which gave way underneath them because it had not been correctly fitted.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that St Modwen Homes Limited did not have a robust system in place to ensure that the temporary stairwell cover was identified as a temporary working platform and treated as such. It failed to coordinate matters relating to the safe use of the temporary platform and it failed to plan, manage and monitor the installation, inspection, maintenance and use of the temporary working platform.
St Modwen Homes Limited of Park Point, High Street, Longbridge, Birmingham pleaded guilty to breaching the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015, contravening Regulation 13(1). The company has been fined £200,000 and ordered to pay costs of £13,332.
Chemical company Briar Chemicals Ltd has been fined £1million after a man died in an explosion at its site in Sweet Briar Road, Norwich.
Chelmsford Magistrates Court heard how on the 27th July 2018, maintenance contractor, Rob Cranston, aged 46, was carrying out repair work on a mixing vessel during a planned period of shutdown maintenance. It is thought that his welding torch or grinder accidentally ignited flammable Toluene vapour inside the vessel, which should not have been present when the work commenced. Mr Cranston’s son Owen, aged 22, was working alongside his father when he was killed in the blast.
The HSE investigation found that a quantity of Toluene residue had been left inside the vessel after shutdown cleaning at the beginning of June 2018. Two damaged valves situated above the vessel in the Toluene supply pipe, were also found to be leaking. Operatives had been instructed to transfer a large quantity of Toluene from one storage tank to another via this pipe which allowed additional flammable liquid to leak into the vessel which was supposed to be empty and clean.
Briar Chemicals Ltd of Sweet Briar Road, Norwich, Norfolk failed to take all necessary measures to prevent the explosion and pleaded guilty to a breach of Regulation 5 of the COMAH Regulations 2015. The company was fined £1million and ordered to pay costs of £10,967.20.
A technical diving instructor has been sentenced after he failed to properly assess the competency of two pupils prior to a deep-water dive in Scotland, which ended in a fatality. Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard how on 8 July 2017, William Peace and another pupil were due to take part in a 45m dive off the coast of Dunbar to the wreck of the U74E – a 755-tonne German mine laying submarine, which sank in 1916. The men were taking part in closed-circuit rebreather diving, which is more technical than scuba diving and enables divers to dive to greater depths. They had joined technical diving instructor Ashley Roberts, sole director of Ash Roberts Technical Limited, to complete their Technical Diving International (TDI) mixed gas closed-circuit rebreather course. They were also accompanied by a friend of Mr Roberts.
As the students had not completed all of the online course pre-requisites, Mr Roberts determined that the planned dive would be a free diving session and fun dive rather than a training dive where he would check the students abilities in-water and provide feedback to them prior to enrolling them on the course and starting the training the following day.
Mr Roberts determined that they would complete an assessment dive to a maximum depth of 45 metres to assess their competency. After entering the water, they descended a shotline slowly to 13 metres, when Mr Roberts’ friend disappeared from view. Mr Roberts travelled back up the line to the surface to check on his friend to find he had abandoned the dive as his dry suit was leaking water. When Mr Roberts returned down the line to a depth of 13 metres, the two students were out of sight, having continued to the seabed. Mr Roberts travelled down the line, but couldn’t locate them. Once they had reached the seabed, they encountered difficulties and Mr Peace became unresponsive. His dive buddy made several attempts to rescue Mr Peace, but was forced to return to the surface for his own safety. Mr Peace’s body was later recovered by police divers using a sonar search.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Ashley Roberts did not conduct a suitable assessment of the competence of the pupils prior to commencement of the dive. Although an assessment dive was carried out it was not sufficient to measure the capability of the divers and should have been carried out at a depth much shallower than 45m. There was also a failure to verify the number of rebreather hours Mr Peace had completed during his previous dives or to check each diver’s rescue ability. The men should have been under the supervision of an instructor at all times and particularly during an assessment.
Mining company, Three D’s Mining Ltd has been fined for safety breaches following a fall of ground on the NW9 coal face at Dan-y-Graig No 4 colliery located near the village of Crynant, South Wales. Swansea Crown Court heard that, on 15 November 2017, two workers were preparing the roof for the erection of supports with the use of a pneumatic chisel when 0.6 tonne of stone fell from the roof and hit one of the workers on his back. He suffered significant crush injuries, large pelvic haematoma and three spinal fractures.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company had not carried out an assessment of the strength of the timber. The 24mm timber used to support the roof was not strong enough. The timber was not industry standard half rounds or split bars which are 65mm thick.
Three D’s Mining Ltd Dan-y-Graig No 4 Colliery, Neath Road, Crynant, Neath were found guilty of breaching Section 2 (1) and Section 3 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974. Also, Regulation 3 (1) of the Management of Health and Safety Regulations 1999.
The company has been fined £100,000 payable over four years. Costs were not awarded as the company is entering administration.