A building contractor was prosecuted after carrying out unsafe excavation works, which resulted in the partial collapse of a residential building. Manchester Crown Court heard how on 14 August 2019, Iproject Cheshire Limited had been carrying out refurbishment works on a building in Old Lansdowne Road, Didsbury, Manchester. Employees of the company undermined the foundations while digging out the ground around the building causing a partial collapse. There were no injuries or fatalities, but the collapse presented a risk to life.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company failed to properly plan or carry out the work safely. A risk assessment into the excavations had not been carried out. There was no safe system of work in place and the work had not been sufficiently supervised.
Iproject Cheshire Limited of Park Lane, Poynton, Stockport pleaded guilty to breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £31,500 and ordered to pay costs of £13,500.
A self-employed builder has been fined after a contractor working for him suffered serious injuries when a single-story roof he was demolishing by hand, collapsed at a construction site in Cobham, Surrey. Brighton Magistrates’ Court heard that, on the 15 April 2019, the contractor was standing on the roof of a partially demolished single-story extension of a domestic building undergoing refurbishment. Whilst he was on the roof, it collapsed and the worker suffered significant injuries to his right leg including a fractured tibia and fibular. Due to the damage sustained, his leg was later amputated above the knee.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found there was no safe system of work in place, as the demolition work had not been adequately planned. The stability of the structure during the demolition work had not been assessed, and there were no measures in place to prevent falls from the roof.
Patrick Sheehan of Walton Street, Walton-on-the-hill, Surrey, trading as Mastercraft Building Services, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (2) of the Health and Safety at Work Etc Act 1974. He was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,383.
A hazardous waste treatment company has been fined after an employee died when a forklift truck he was driving overturned and crushed him.
Manchester Magistrates Court heard how, on the 3 April 2017, a worker employed by Lanstar Ltd at Cadishead, Manchester, died because the company had failed to ensure its forklift trucks were being operated safely.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the company had not adequately considered the risks of forklift trucks overturning at its Cadishead site and had not ensured seatbelts were being worn by drivers as necessary – despite it being company policy to do so. The potential for forklift trucks to overturn is well known within industry, as is the use of seatbelts to reduce the chance of injury in the event of an overturn.
Lanstar Limited of Liverpool Road, Cadishead, Manchester, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. They were fined £126,000 and ordered to pay costs of £17,664.
A commercial printing company has been sentenced for safety breaches after two employees were injured in separate incidents involving a printing press and a palletising machine. Telford Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 17 October 2018, an employee of Precision Colour Printing in Telford sustained a de-gloving injury when his hand was dragged into the rollers of a printing press, as he cleared a blockage. In a second incident, on 18 January 2019, another employee sustained a broken wrist whilst dealing with a misaligned paper log on a palletiser machine. The clamping arm descended and crushed his hand.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that, in both cases, the risk assessments in place were not suitable and sufficient as they did not consider the risks of clearing blockages or dealing with misaligned paper logs. As a consequence, the employees involved in the incidents had not been provided with safe systems of work, sufficient information, instruction or training for such tasks.
Precision Colour Printing Limited of 1 Halesfield, Telford, pleaded guilty to two counts of breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. They were fined £20,000 and ordered to pay costs of £8,547.60
A livestock market partnership has been prosecuted after an employee was attacked by a horned bull prior to auction.
Telford Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 16 September 2019, a drover employed by McCartneys LLP was moving livestock at the auction site when he was attacked by the bull while trying to secure the animal in a pen. He suffered a serious laceration to his leg.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that cattle handling activities had not been adequately risk assessed and the system of work for moving cattle was unsafe. The bull, who had been identified as fractious and potentially aggressive, was being moved a distance of approximately 40 metres to get to designated isolation pens for difficult cattle. The risk of a drover being injured by a bull, potentially agitated by travel and unfamiliar surroundings, should have been eliminated by segregating staff from the livestock. Reasonably practicable steps taken following the incident allowed fractious bulls to be penned immediately after they were booked in at the cattle crush, avoiding any possible contact with droving staff.
McCartneys LLP of The Ox Pasture, Overton Road, Ludlow pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. They were fined £16,000 and order to pay costs of £5,685.
A foundry has been sentenced for safety breaches after an employee suffered life-changing burns following an eruption of molten slag during a slag tipping procedure. Telford Magistrates’ Court heard how on 21 February 2020, the slag was being poured into a container at Goodwin Steel Castings in Stoke-on-Trent. The container had been incorrectly stored outside during a period of stormy weather. Water accumulated in the container, though it was not visible to the naked eye. When the molten slag was poured into the container, it reacted with the water causing a violent eruption. The employee, sustained burns to a third of his body including his face, neck, stomach, arms, legs and feet, which required multiple skin grafts.
An investigation by the health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the management of the slag containers was inadequate. They were regularly stored incorrectly outside with the open face up, allowing water ingress. The measures in place to inspect and ensure they were free from water contamination before use were also not adequate.
Goodwin Steel Castings Ltd of Ivy House Road, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. They were fined £133,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,226.30
A UK manufacturer of brick products, Ibstock Brick Ltd, has been fined for safety breaches after a worker’s hand was entangled and wrapped around the rotating shaft on a lathe. North Staffordshire Justice Centre heard how, on 28 February 2020, a maintenance engineer was in the process of polishing a metal shaft as it rotated in a manual lathe, using an emery cloth directly by hand and whilst wearing gloves. The emery cloth became entangled around the rotating shaft and dragged the engineer into the lathe resulting in his hand being severed in the machine. The engineer subsequently underwent surgical amputation below the elbow.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that there were failures in the arrangements and controls for the task performed. The risk assessment in place was not suitable and sufficient in that it did not properly assess or address entanglement risk associated with the direct manual application of emery cloth to the workpiece or the use of gloves. There was inadequate training, instructions and supervision to ensure that the risks from entanglement with gloves or the emery cloth were prevented.
Ibstock Brick Ltd of Audley Road, Newcastle under Lyme pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety Act 1974 and have been fined £530,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,548.20
A lift maintenance company has been sentenced and a care home owner cautioned after a resident and care worker plunged four metres to the basement in a faulty lift at a residential care home. Damage to the lift had been reported only a week before the incident, which resulted in the death of 85-year-old Kenneth Bardsley. The care worker sustained minor injuries to her mouth, face and left eye. Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court heard that on 30 January 2017, the employee of the care home on Greenfield Avenue, Manchester entered the lift on the first floor to transport Mr Bardsley to the ground floor dining room. The lift began to descend, but stopped after a few seconds as the corner of a damaged door caught on the lintel plate of the ground floor landing entrance causing it to bend. The lift was held for a few moments until the weight of the lift and its occupants caused the lift door to buckle, which in turn allowed the lift to drop four metres uncontrolled to the basement.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that damage to the left-hand door of the lift had been reported to Lancs and Cumbria Lifts UK Ltd, responsible for the maintenance of the lift, on 23 January 2017. Engineers had attended on the same day to deal with the problem and found that a part was required to complete repairs, but by the time of the incident no repair had taken place.
In the interim, Lancs and Cumbria Lifts UK Ltd attended the care home on the day of the incident for a planned quarterly maintenance visit, but did not follow up on repairing the door and the lift remained in use. An HSE investigation found that mechanical repairs had not been carried out in accordance with good engineering practice and maintenance was of a poor standard.
The care home was owned by Premum Care Ltd, but trading as Serendipity Care Home. It was managed by its sole director Tabinda Dahir who despite being fully aware of ongoing issues with the lift did not ensure that there was a system in place to deal with reports of defects and that action was taken in response to issues identified.
Whilst thorough examination reports had been carried out every six months, as required by law, these had not been provided by Premum Care to Lancs and Cumbria Lifts UK Ltd nor requested by the lift maintenance company to inform maintenance work, despite it being a contractual obligation for them to be provided with the reports.
Lancs and Cumbria Lifts UK Ltd of Douglas Bank House, Wigan Lane, Wigan Manchester pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. It was accepted that its failings had not been causative of the lift falling on the 30 January 2017. The company was fined £14,400 and ordered to pay £45,000 in costs.
A sawmill has been fined after a worker injured his finger when his hand came into contact with the moving parts of a machine. Plymouth Magistrates’ court heard how, on 20 March 2018, an employee of Truro Sawmills was examining the moving parts at the rear of a saw to check why it had been cutting inaccurately. The saw remained in operation while he did so, and his glove became caught in the moving parts causing him to sever his index finger on his left hand.
An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found the company failed to ensure that access to a cross-cut saw’s dangerous moving parts was prevented by the use of a guard, and failed to deliver adequate training to their employees.
Truro Sawmills of Pendale, Penhallow, Truro, Cornwall pleaded guilty of breaching Regulation 11 (1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) and Section 2 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974. The company was fined £40,000 and ordered to pay costs of £15,594.
The director of an air conditioning company has been sentenced after a worker sustained a broken back when he fell five metres to the ground. Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 24 October 2019, Coolzone Air Conditioning Limited were contracted to replace an air conditioning unit at Eastman House, Radford Cres, Billericay. As part of the works, an employee, who had never worked on a roof before, was required to go onto the roof to replace the external unit of an air conditioner. After accessing the roof via a man cage, the worker fell through a rooflight to the warehouse floor five metres below. The employee sustained a broken back and has not returned to work since the incident.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company director, Daniel Biagioni, attended the site a month prior to the incident and as part of his risk assessment, identified that the rooflights on the warehouse roof presented a fall risk. However, Mr Biagioni failed to implement the controls he identified in his risk assessment and sent the inexperienced apprentice onto the roof unsupervised.
Daniel Biagioni of Barrow Chase, Chelmsford, Essex pleaded guilty to breaching Section 37(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and received a six-month custodial sentence suspended for 12 months. As part of his sentence he is required to complete 150 hours of unpaid work. Mr Biagioni was also ordered to pay costs of £4,886 and a victim surcharge.