Northern Gas Networks Ltd were sentenced for safety breaches after a fire and gas explosion at residential premises in Mirfield resulted in the death of the homeowner.
Leeds Crown Court heard that, on 11 February 2019, West Yorkshire Fire service were called to a fire and explosion in Huddersfield Road, Mirfield, West Yorks. The occupier, Elena Frunza, was discovered during a search of the property, whilst it was still on fire. She was taken to Pinderfields General Hospital where she died the following morning.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the source of the gas escape was identified as being from a fractured six inch cast iron main running under the carriageway to the front of the property. The investigation found that the main did not appear on Northern Gas Networks drawings and had therefore not been maintained in accordance with the Pipelines Safety Regulations 1996.
Northern Gas Networks Ltd of Thorpe Business Park, Colton, Leeds pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £5 million and ordered to pay costs of £91,487.
A mining company has been fined after two electricians suffered severe burns in separate incidents.
The owners of Boulby Mine in Saltburn-by-the-Sea were fined £3.6 million and ordered to pay costs of £185,000 after an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
Cleveland Potash Limited (CPL) own the mine, which extracts organic fertiliser known as Polyhalite. Teesside Crown Court heard that on the 3 August 2016 a contract electrician received serious burns from an 11,000-volt electrical system. He unknowingly had placed a vacuum cleaner nozzle into a live electrical chamber. He had to be air lifted to Newcastle hospital specialist burns unit, where he was placed in an induced coma for 10 days.
On the 12 February 2019, another electrical contractor made contact with a live conductor on a 415-volt electrical system during electrical testing works, and received serious burns. He was hospitalised for six days.
The HSE found deficiencies from the owner of the mine in risk assessment, planning of works, and shortfalls in providing warnings about which parts of the electrical systems the two electricians were working on remained live.
Cleveland Potash Limited (CPL) of Boulby Mine, Loftus, Saltburn-by-the-Sea, Cleveland pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) and two counts of Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
Carlsberg has been fined £3 million after a contractor died and another was seriously injured following an ammonia gas leak at one of its breweries.
The incident happened at Carlsberg’s site in Northampton. An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found Carlsberg hadn’t put proper controls in place.
Father-of-two David Chandler, 45, was killed and David Beak, now 57, was seriously injured.
David Chandler was a father of two, from Bridge North, Shropshire. His family today said they welcomed the end of the case against Carlsberg and hoped no other families would have to suffer as they have.
Birmingham Crown Court heard that at its Northampton brewery Carlsberg had failed to put in place appropriate isolation controls to prevent exposure to ammonia before work started to remove a compressor from a refrigeration system.
The Principal Contractor for the project was Crowley Carbon UK Ltd, which had appointed numerous contractors to assist in the works.
On 9 November 2016 while the compressor was being removed, there was a large, uncontrolled release of ammonia.
David Chandler and David Beak were both employees of sub-contractor Speedrite NE Ltd.
Twenty people needed hospital checks after showing symptoms of ammonia exposure. It was several days before the leak was contained and gas levels dropped to a safe level. David Beak, of Failsworth in Oldham, was seriously injured.
Carlsberg Supply Company UK Ltd, who were summonsed under their new company name of Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company, pleaded guilty to charges under Section 2(1) and Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, and Regulation 3(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. The company was fined £3 million with costs of £90,000.
A company has been fined after an electrician died in fall of approximately eight metres when an access panel on the raised walkway of an overhead crane gave way beneath him.
Teesside Crown Court heard that on 25 October 2016, whilst working at Cleveland Bridge UK Limited’s site in Yarm Road, Darlington, electrician Keith Poppleton was repairing wiring that had been causing a short circuit on the lifting equipment of a large overhead gantry crane, known as C25. As he was walking along the crane’s walkway, an access panel gave way beneath his feet, causing him to fall through to the ground below. Mr Poppleton sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at hospital.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the company had failed to maintain the crane walkway’s access panels, which had been used to replace lighting fittings some months earlier. Also, the panel itself had been subject to weld repair, and there was no evidence of any steps being taken to ensure that the panel was safely replaced into the void and secured to ensure it did not fail.
Cleveland Bridge UK Ltd of Cleveland House, Yarm Road, Darlington were found guilty of breaching Sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974, Regulation 5(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and Regulation 8(b)(i) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. The company was fined £1.5M and ordered to pay costs of £29,239.
Mr Poppleton, a former college lecturer in electrical engineering, leaves behind a wife and three daughters.
Technology firm Dyson has been fined £1.2m after an employee sustained head and chest injuries when he was struck by a 1.5 tonne milling machine.
The worker at Dyson’s Wiltshire factory was hit while moving the machine, which fell on top of him.
He only escaped being crushed under the weight of the machine because it landed on two toolboxes and the handle of another machine. The incident happened on August 27, 2019.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found Dyson Technology Limited failed to provide suitable and sufficient information, instruction, and training to those undertaking the task. They also failed to adequately assess the task and devise a safe system of work to ensure the machine was moved safely.
Two employees were moving a large CNC milling machine within the engineering department of Dyson’s site at Tetbury Hill, Malmesbury. The employees lifted the machine using a five-tonne jack and were in the process of replacing two fixed roller skates with several wooden blocks when it fell.
One of the employees was struck by the machine and sustained a wound to his head and injuries to his chest.
At Swindon Magistrates’ Court Dyson Technology Limited of Tetbury Hill, Malmesbury, Wiltshire pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974. The company was fined £1.2m and ordered to pay costs of £11,511.
A principal contractor and subcontractor have been fined after an employee’s retina was damaged by an explosion caused by a cable strike during construction works at a substation.
Manchester Magistrates Court heard how VolkerInfra Ltd, a high voltage cabling expert contractor, had been subcontracted by principal contractor Siemens Energy Ltd to carry out cabling works as part of a wider construction project at Whitegate Substation in Chadderton, Manchester. On the 17th September 2019, an excavator driver, working on behalf of VolkerInfra Ltd, was excavating phases for laying a 275kV cable and struck an existing live cable close by with the excavator. The contact resulted in multiple explosions which caused blistering to the driver’s retina.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the permit to dig had not been properly completed by Siemens Energy. It was also found that neither they, nor the subcontractors had checked the cable markings prior to work commencing. The existing live cable had not been adequately identified by the team working on behalf of VolkerInfra and so the surface markings for the cable location were incorrect by around 50cm. It was also found that there had been inadequate monitoring and supervision of work.
Siemens Energy Ltd of C A Parsons Works, Shields Road, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE6 2YL pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 13(1) of the Construction Design and Management Regulations 2015 and was fined £900,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6,327.52.
Volkerinfra Ltd of Hertford House, Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire pleaded guilty to breaches of Section 3 (1) Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £180,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6,430.72.
A retail company and an electrical contracting company have been fined after an electrician suffered serious burns to 15 per cent of his body when he was caught in an explosion at a warehouse in Liverpool.
On 22 September 2018, an electrician was using a metal spanner to repair an electrical fault at B&M Retail Ltd warehouse, in Speke. The spanner he was using came into contact with a live busbar (metallic strip) linked to the power distribution causing an electrical explosion.
The 35-year-old electrician sustained serious injuries which included burns to his arms, hands, thighs, legs, and face. He was placed in an induced coma for two weeks and had to undergo several skin grafts..As a result of the incident the electrician was unable to work for five months.
The victim said: “I am very conscious of the scars and always think people are staring at me or talking about me behind my back.
“To me, my arms look like Freddy Kruger’s from Nightmare on Elm Street.
“I now can’t play with my little boys as much as I used to and I’m worried about hurting myself, and they are worried about hurting me. I have paranoia of being touched.
“I do worry about the future as I know the pain will never go away and might get worse, leaving me unable to work and support my family.”
A HSE investigation found that the victim, who was employed by Daker Ltd, had been attempting to connect a generator to B&M’s Low Voltage supply in order to allow B&M to operate some of its core site functions whilst high voltage maintenance was being undertaken. This work was complex involving several contractors and required co-ordination of different working parties with specific time limited requirements. There was insufficient planning between parties beforehand including who was in charge of each site, coordination of work and exchange of relevant documentation.
B&M failed to appoint a suitably competent person to plan and carry out the work to connect temporary generators to their distribution board at the premises
Electrical contractors Daker Ltd.’s work methods fell well below the required standards. Electrical work commenced without proper planning. The power supply to the circuit was not stopped prior to the incident and live working was allowed to take place, this meant that the power supply could be switched on or off at any point, putting workers at risk of electric shock.
B&M Retail Ltd of The Vault, Dakota Drive, Estuary Commerce Park, Speke, Liverpool pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) and Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. At Liverpool Crown Court, the company was fined £1,000,000 and ordered to pay costs of ££4,978 .
Daker Ltd of Stewart House of Tonge Moor Road, Bolton pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £100
A food production company has been fined £858,000 after an employee had his arm amputated after becoming entangled in an industrial food mixer.
Lee Simpson was removing filling ingredients from a paddle mixer, from which the contents could be removed at the front, at David Wood Baking Limited’s premises in Sheerness, Kent when his right hand and arm were drawn in.
Lee, from Sheerness, who was 26 years old at the time, had to have his arm surgically removed.
He said he has now lost much of his independence. He said: “Life has changed so much since the accident and I am doing everything I can to improve, but it will never be the same.
“Since my accident I have become dependent on others, primarily my family and fiancée, to complete daily activities for me, such as cooking and domestic tasks such as doing the laundry.”
The incident happened on September 27, 2021 at the Mill House, Dorset Road, Sheerness, where David Wood Baking Limited makes sausage rolls, quiches and other food products.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the control measures in place to prevent contact with moving parts were ineffective as the guarding of the mixer was routinely not replaced after cleaning.
The ‘interlocking’ system was also defeated which meant the mixer would still operate without the front guard in place, putting employees, including Mr Simpson, at risk when operating it.
David Wood Baking Limited pleaded guilty to breaches under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, Regulation 11(1)(b) and was fined £858,000 and ordered to pay £8,000 costs at Folkestone Magistrates Court on December 21, 2022.
Delivery firm Hermes has been fined £850,000 after a man was crushed to death at one of the company’s depots.
David Kennedy was working a night shift at Hermes’ depot in Motherwell when he was crushed between two trailers. David was being trained by a colleague at the time.
While manoeuvring a loaded trailer he walked backwards and became crushed between the arm of the moving trailer and a stationary trailer. He was crushed in the chest, suffering a collapsed lung, multiple rib fractures and significant internal injuries.
It happened in March 2019 while he was being trained in the use of a pedestrian-operated trailer mover.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found Hermes had failed to properly plan and assess the risks of training taking place in their yard. They had not implemented their own policy that suitably trained banksmen would be used while trailers were being moved – including during training
Hermes Parcelnet Limited of Capitol Close, Morley, Leeds pleaded guilty on May 23 to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, Section 2(1) and Section 33(1)(a) and were fined £850,000. Hermes Parcelnet is now called Evri.
A Health Board has been fined following the death of a vulnerable patient who left a hospital ward unnoticed through an unsecured door.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation concluded that Cwm Taf Morgannwg Health Board failed to act on previous absconding incidents, which would have better protected 74-year-old Lynwen Thomas, who went on to fall in icy conditions in the hospital grounds and suffer a fatal head injury.
On 13 November 2019 Mrs Thomas, a patient on Llynfi Ward at Maesteg hospital, who was a known wanderer, left the hospital after 8pm unnoticed by hospital staff. That evening was very cold with snow on the ground. Mrs Thomas fell on a path resulting in her fatal injury.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found that despite previous absconding incidents, including one involving Mrs Thomas, no reasonably practicable measures were taken at Llynfi Ward until after the fatal incident to protect vulnerable patients from wandering and potentially coming to serious harm.
Following another patient absconding incident at Princess of Wales Hospital, HSE served an Improvement Notice on the Health Board on 30 September 2020. The Notice applied to the Bridgend locality and required the Health Board to assess the risk to patients from escaping, absconding or wandering. The Notice was not complied with by the due date.
Before Cardiff Magistrates’ Court, Cwm Taf Morgannwg Health Board pleaded guilty to charges of breaching Section 3(1) and Section 33(1)(a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and were fined £850,000 with full costs awarded of £10,627.30
*Please note that all stats and articles came directly from the HSE’s website, with the prosecution date being within 2022.