A waste management and skip hire company has been fined after a worker suffered multiple injuries when he was struck by a reversing vehicle. Mold Magistrates’ Court heard how on 6 June 2019, a skip lorry driver drove into the waste management yard area of Thorncliffe Building Supplies’ Abergele site and parked his vehicle. As he was removing the net from the skip, a loading shovel from the same company reversed into the driver, trapping him between his vehicle and the loading shovel. He sustained life changing injuries including fractures to his pelvis and a crushed bowel.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident found that the system of work to control risks from transport was not fully adequate and not monitored; and as a result, was not being followed therefore exposing workers to risks. At the time of the incident the inner banksman, who is responsible for managing traffic at the site, was not present at his station and there weren’t any measures in place to prevent new vehicles from accessing the site.
Thorncliffe Building Supplies Limited of Allt y Graig, Meliden Road, Rhyl pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and have been fined £180,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,856.
Two companies have been fined following an incident where a security guard died after being found lying face down and hypothermic, in deep snow, at a remote hillside in Ayrshire. Ayr Sheriff Court heard that just after midnight on 22 January 2018, Ronald (Ronnie) Alexander, a 74-year-old security guard employed by Corporate Service Management Limited, was found by Police Scotland’s Mountain Rescue Team at Afton Windfarm, a remote site near New Cumnock. Mr Alexander died later that day having never regained consciousness.
Corporate Service Management Limited was contracted by Northstone (NI) Limited, who trade as Farrans, to provide security for this site. Following a site visit by the managing director and operations director of Corporate Service Management, it was agreed that two guards would be required because it was known that mobile phone signals offsite are very poor. Around lunchtime on 21 January, as forecasted, the weather deteriorated resulting in deep drifts on the road to the site from New Cumnock, and the road between the gatehouse where Mr Alexander worked and the site compound where his colleague was stationed. Although mobile phone communications were known to be poor and inconsistent at the site there was no landline. Two-way radios were available, but these could only be used for the guards to speak with each other and not offsite.
The HSE investigation into Mr Alexander’s death found that when preparing their emergency weather plan, Northstone (NI) Ltd had failed to include those times when nobody from the company would be present at the site. The company also failed to ensure there was a back-up generator at either of the guard’s locations to ensure that their welfare area would have heating and lighting should the main generator fail, despite this having occurred on several occasions previously. Northstone (NI) Ltd did not ensure that Mr Alexander or his colleague had a reliable means of calling for help. At around 5pm, Mr Alexander’s colleague managed to obtain a signal on his mobile phone and reported to Corporate Service Management’s control room that not only had the generator failed, but that the only means of transporting the men offsite, a 4×4 vehicle, had become trapped in the deep snow at the site compound. Despite this, Corporate Service Management did not call the emergency services until after 9pm. Corporate Service Management’s emergency plan relied on there being effective communication between the guards and their control room, however, they failed to provide this or to make sure that Northstone (NI) Ltd had provided this at the site.
Northstone (NI) Limited, Kingsway, Dunmurry, Belfast pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £768,000. Corporate Service Management Limited, MacLellan Street, Glasgow pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £100,800.
A self-employed tree surgeon has been fined after a 16-year-old employee suffered serious injuries following a chainsaw incident. Glasgow Sheriff Court heard how on 19 March 2018, at a domestic property in Glasgow, self-employed Dominic Di Pasquale, trading as Treetops Tree Surgeons, was using a chainsaw to fell trees and then remove the branches, while his employee collected the sections. As Mr Di Pasquale began to remove one of the branches, the young worker attempted to pick it up, unaware that it was still attached to the felled tree, the chainsaw jammed, pulling the employee’s right arm into the blade. The 16-year-old sustained a partial amputation of his index finger and deep lacerations to his dominant hand, requiring multiple operations over a three-year period. These life-changing injuries have left him permanently disfigured.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Mr Di Pasquale failed to provide a safe system of work which ensured chainsaw operators maintained safe working distances from other employees, to prevent them coming into contact with the blade. In addition, employees were not adequately trained or supervised when carrying out work with chainsaws.
Dominic Di Pasquale of Motherwell pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and has been fined £10,000.
A construction company has been fined after disturbing asbestos and removing it without adequate precautions at a pub in Trowbridge, Wiltshire. Salisbury Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 8 September 2018, Robert Angell undertook work to remove asbestos-containing material while renovating the property.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the company was not licensed to carry out asbestos removal work and failed to take appropriate measures to prevent the spread of the asbestos waste while. As a consequence the work undertaken exposed employees and neighbouring areas to risks from asbestos.
Robert Angell of York Road, Calne, Wiltshire was found guilty of breaching Section 16 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, together with section 5 (1) and 8(1) of the regulations. The company were fined £300.00 and ordered to pay £8,266.40 in costs.
A commercial vehicle servicing and repair company has been fined after two workers suffered serious burns when flammable brake cleaning fluid ignited causing a fire. Birmingham Magistrates’ Court heard how on 27 March 2020 two employees used brake cleaning fluid to clean the grease from the walls of a vehicle inspection pit in the workshop. Shortly after they had finished cleaning the walls there was a loud bang and the entire wall of the pit where the brake cleaner had been applied became engulfed in flames. One employee managed to get out of the pit and ran to help his colleague whose clothing had caught fire, pulling him out of the pit and extinguishing the flames. Both employees received burns to their hands and legs. One sustained 60 per cent burns and had to undergo an emergency surgical procedure to relieve the pressure from the swelling which involved cutting either side of his shins on both legs and his left knuckle going down to his wrist. He subsequently underwent five skin graft operations on his left hand and both legs and spent six weeks in hospital.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident, which occurred at STA Vehicle Centres Ltd in Starley Way, Birmingham, found that the company failed to carry out a risk assessment to consider whether it was possible to eliminate or reduce the risk. They had not considered replacing the dangerous substance with another non-flammable substance or using a different work process. Jet-washing, a safe alternative, was already in use at the company’s other site.The employees were not aware of the increased risks associated with using flammable fluid in a poorly ventilated area nor the need for appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to be worn.
STA Vehicle Centres Limited of Halesfield 22, Telford pleaded guilty to breaching Section 6 (1) of the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002. They were fined £28,000 and ordered to pay costs of £926.17.
A Bradford-based construction company has been fined after an employee was injured at work leading to significant sight loss in his right eye. Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard how Pearl Services UK Ltd had been contracted to carry out refurbishment of a retail store in Cheetham Hill, Manchester. On the 23 February 2020 employees were erecting PVC hoarding within the store to separate the refurbishment work area from members of the public. An apprentice decorator who was helping joiners set up the hoarding, struck one of the PVC panels using a mallet causing it to splinter. A fragment penetrated their right eye, causing serious injury and loss of sight. The incident has resulted in a life-changing injury to the person who will not regain full sight in his right eye, despite a number of post-accident operations
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Pearl Services UK Ltd had failed to suitably plan, manage and monitor the project. Risk assessments and method statements had not fully identified the need to wear safety eyewear during the erection of the hoarding. In addition to this, the supervisor had failed to ensure that the documentation available on-site was communicated to the operatives before commencing work. Although safety eyewear was available on site, the wearing of it had not been made mandatory, neither were checks carried out to ensure it was worn.
Pearl Services UK Limited of Pearl House Commondale Way, Euroway Trading Estate, Bradford pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £16,500 and ordered to pay costs of £5,778.40
Hereford Galvanizers Limited, a company that undertakes hot dip galvanizing for the corrosion protection of steelwork, has been fined after an employee was fatally injured. Kidderminster Magistrates’ Court heard that on 2 February 2019, an employee was operating an overhead crane adjacent to the molten zinc bath, when a tubular steel brace exploded during galvanizing, causing it to ‘rocket’ across the workshop floor, fatally striking the employee who was standing in its path. The steel brace failed due to the absence of vent holes to prevent the build-up of pressure inside the hollow steel brace during the galvanizing process. A quantity of liquid entered the brace during earlier stages of the galvanizing process; when immersed into the 450°C zinc bath, the trapped liquid turned rapidly into steam generating very high internal pressures sufficient to cause failure of the brace. This resulted in a violent explosion which propelled the steel brace across the workshop floor.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company, based at Westfields Trading Estate, Hereford, had failed to adequately assess the risk and devise and implement suitable safe systems and methods of work for venting checks. In addition, employees were not adequately trained or supervised when completing venting checks.
Hereford Galvanizers Limited, which operates under the trading umbrella name ‘Hereford and Shropshire Galvanizers’, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and have been fined £266,000 and ordered to pay costs of £14,635.29 plus a victim surcharge £170.
A concrete supplier has been fined after an agency worker contracted to work at its site suffered fatal injuries following a tyre explosion. Dudley Magistrates’ Court heard how the contractor suffered fatal injuries when using an air hose/compressed air to inflate the tyre of an articulated wheel loader.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident, on 28 March 2019, found that the company failed to have in place a safe system of work for inflation of the multi-piece split rim assembly wheels on the articulated wheel loader. The compressed air system had not been subject to regular and thorough examination and testing by a competent person.
Anytime Concrete (GB) Ltd of Kelvin Way, West Bromwich, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company has been fined £6,666.00 and ordered to pay costs of £4,522.40.
A company that manufactures and sells medical devices for the healthcare industry has been fined for failing to adequately control the risk to its employees from exposure to vibration when using vibrating tools. Newport Magistrates’ Court heard that employees of Frontier Plastics Ltd worked at the company’s Blackwood site in Gwent for long periods of time using vibrating tools including strimmers, hedge cutters, grinders, drills and linishers, without suitable controls to reduce the risks. As a result, two employees, the earliest of which had started at the company using vibrating tools in 1991, are suffering ill-health from hand arm vibration.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that before August 2019 the company, failed to; adequately assess the risks of using vibrating tools, put in place measures to control the risk, provide suitable information, instruction and training on the risks to employees and place the employees under suitable health surveillance to monitor their condition.
Frontier Plastics Limited, a subsidiary of Verna Group International Limited, of Western Avenue, Chorley pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and has been fined £246,000 and ordered to pay costs of £15,788.
Burghill Farms, a partnership trading as Dalhousie Estates, and Mr Piers Le Cheminant have been fined following an incident where one of the occupants of a holiday cottage was found collapsed in a bathroom heated by a portable cabinet propane gas heater. Forfar Sheriff Court heard that on 28 October 2015, the victim, Thomas Oliver Hill, was staying with his girlfriend and her family at Glenmark Cottage, Tarfside, north-west of Edzel. They were renting the cottage from Mr Le Cheminant, who in turn rented the property from Burghill Farms who were paid 20 per cent of the rental income he received. Mr Hill had taken a bath in the bathroom, which was heated by the gas heater. His girlfriend and her family became concerned when he did not appear after an hour. They knocked on the bathroom door and forced entry when they didn’t receive a response. Mr Hill was found collapsed next to the bathroom door and later died. A post-mortem confirmed the cause of death was carbon monoxide poisoning.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Burghill Farms and Piers Le Cheminant did not have a suitable and sufficient system of maintenance in place for the cabinet heaters and the cabinet heaters were placed in rooms which were too small for the heaters to be used safely due to a lack of suitable ventilation. However, these failings could not be proven to be causally connected to the death of Mr Hill.
Burghill Farms of Brechin Castle, Brechin, Angus pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 36(2)(a) of The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 and Section 33(1)(c) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £120,000. Piers le Cheminant of Poundsgate, Newton Abbot, Devon, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 35 of The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, and Section 33(1)(c) the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. He was fined £2,000.
A company has been fined after a worker suffered serious injuries following an explosion at its factory. Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court heard how, on the 24 September 2019, employees at Fabric Flare Solutions Limited on Gosford Road, Beccles, Suffolk, were treating fabrics with a hydrophobic coating that gave off flammable vapours both during the application process and when subsequently drying in the spray room. The flammable vapours ignited causing an explosion just as a 51-year-old employee was walking past the spray room. The blast threw him several metres across the factory and he suffered serious burn injuries to 15 per cent of his body.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Fabric Flare Solutions Ltd failed to ensure the safety of its employees by not eliminating several sources of ignition in the spray room, including liquid petroleum gas space heaters, domestic light fittings, and other electrical equipment. The company had ignored the clear instruction on the safety data sheet for the substance to be kept away from sources of heat, hot surfaces, sparks, open flames, and other ignition sources.
Fabric Flare Solutions Ltd of Pinbush Road, Lowestoft, Suffolk pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The company was fined £26,000 and ordered to pay costs of £7,196.
A luxury motor yacht manufacturer has been fined after a worker suffered serious crushing injuries to his right hand during a lifting operation. Leicester Magistrates’ Court heard how on 3 December 2018, an employee suffered serious crushing injuries to his right hand during the lifting of a storage cage at Fairline Yachts manufacturing facility at Nene Valley Business Park, Oundle. As there was no goods lift in the manufacturing unit an overhead crane was used. As the cage was lifted it began to tip and fall in the direction of the employee. The cage trapped his hand against a boat trolley causing serious crushing injuries to the employee’s dominant right hand.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident found that the lifting operation was not properly planned by a competent person, appropriately supervised or carried out in a safe manner.
Fairline Yachts Limited of Nene Valley Business Park, Oundle pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £230,000 and ordered to pay costs of £7,410.