22nd September 2015

INFORMATION UPDATE

 Issue No.  2015/16

 Sentient
              

 

Health and Safety Prosecutions – Recent Reports

We keep a close eye on reports of prosecution under the Health and Safety legislation and hope you find the following summary a timely reminder of why it is important to maintain a strong culture of health and safety in your organisation.

Unsafe use of Forklift Truck

Event:

Agency worker was thrown from the forks of a forklift truck and crushed between the forklift and the back of an articulated lorry. He broke a number of vertebrae, fractured his pelvis and suffered blood blisters all over his body.

Failing:

Employer had failed to ensure safety management systems, risk assessments and safe systems of work were in place.  Both the Company and the Director were prosecuted. 

Prosecution Outcome:

The Company was fined £60,000 and ordered to pay costs of £57,790.  The director was given a conditional discharge and ordered to pay costs of £50,513.

Worker caught in Machinery (wiring manufacturing)

Event:

The worker was cleaning an unguarded part of an automatic palletising line and got caught in the machinery incurring serious injuries.

Failing:

Failed to provide safe systems of work.

Prosecution Outcome:

Fined £7,500 and ordered to pay costs of £2,673

Death of father of six – Drawn into machinery

Event:

Whilst there were no witnesses, the outcome of the investigation held that the worker fell into a bailing machine whilst using a pole to try and clear the bailing machine of an obstruction.

Failing:

Health and safety management systems fell far short of what was required and failed to provide safe systems of work. Guarding deficiencies allowed access to dangerous parts. Management failed to implement long standing actions arising from risk assessments.

Prosecution Outcome:

Company was fined £80,000 and ordered to pay £40,000 costs

Unsafe work at height – no injuries

Event:

Roof sheets were being fitted with no safety netting or scaffold.   Immediately served with a Prohibition Notice. At subsequent HSE visit, the structure was only half netted and one side of the scaffold had been removed.

Failing:

Failed to adhere to Work at Height regulations, and provide safe systems of work and management systems.

Prosecution Outcome:

Two brothers owned the business and were both fined £6,000 each. The brothers were also ordered to pay £1,362 costs.

Employees trapped in machinery

Event:

An employee sustained severe bone and ligament damage when his left arm was drawn into an in-running nip whilst operating a winding machine. 

In a separate incident, an employee suffered ligament damage when his fingers were drawn into the in-running nip of the press rollers whilst using a printing press with safety guards removed.

Failing:

Breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

Prosecution Outcome:

Fined £40,000 and ordered to pay costs of £34,372.

Legionella failings

Event:

An engineering firm, which refurbishes turbine blades, failed to properly manage the risk of bacteria growing in their cooling towers for over a year.

Failing:

Failing to manage the risk to public and employees to potentially fatal legionella bacteria. Sentient Note:- Written assessment, water treatment regimes and training for employees are all part of positive Legionella Management

Prosecution Outcome:

Fined £110,000 and ordered to pay £77,252 in costs.

Suspended prison sentence for unsafe gas work

Event:

Unregistered gas installer carried out unsafe gas work and used a fraudulent Gas Safe registration.

Failing:

Work at three premises was considered “at risk” or “immediately dangerous” by Gas Safe Register.

Prosecution Outcome:

Sentenced to six months imprisonment after pleading guilty under Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. Sentenced to a further six months after pleading guilty under Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998.  Both jail terms were suspended for 18 months. He was given 180 hours community service and ordered to pay costs of £1092

Fall whilst unloading lorry results in death

Event:

Driver suffered life-changing injuries and later died following a fall from an unsecured ladder during an operation to unload items from a lorry.

Failing:

Failed to properly safeguard workers from falls. Sentient Note:- Risk Assessment, Safe systems of work, and training in using ladders should always be in place.

Prosecution Outcome:

Fined £150,000 and ordered to pay costs of £88,030.69.

Construction firm fined for safety failings

Event:

A worker was injured by sound bloc boards (similar to plaster board) weighing a total of 544 kilograms which fell from a crane.

Failing:

Failed under Regulation 8 of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 to ensure that the lifting operation was properly planned by a competent person, appropriately supervised and carried out in a safe manner.

Prosecution Outcome:

Fined £22,000, and ordered to pay £16,089 in costs.

Transport company fined after crate falls on worker

Event:

In the absence of fork pockets or lighting, a worker had to closely guide the fork lift truck operator to ensure the forks were in position when emptying two tonne crates of glass mirrors from a container. As the FLT operator attempted to dislodge them, one of the crates toppled onto the worker, pinning him to the side of the container. The incident has left him with life changing injuries and he will be unable to work for at least three years.

Failing:

The company failed to plan what should happen when it was identified that loads were not able to be readily offloaded by forklift truck. Neither worker had seen the procedures manual or any risk assessments/method statements relating to the unloading of containers.

Outcome:

Company fined a total of £9,000, and ordered to pay £917 in costs.

Court fine after worker severely injures fingers at abattoir

Event:

Employee suffered severe injuries to fingers when they came into contact with a band saw. The band saw, which had an exposed blade, was not fitted to a conveyor to carry the sections of cut meat away from the blade and towards the employee. This meant that the employee’s hands were in close proximity to the exposed cutting blade.

Failing:

Not providing safe systems of work.

Outcome:

Company was fined £28,000.

Comment

As you can see, prosecutions result from a wide range of events – even those where injuries are not incurred.  When seen in summary, it is easier to identify a common theme – and that is the lack of management focus on the hazards workers face whilst carrying out their daily tasks.  A robust approach to risk management, documented safe systems of work and a trained and competent workforce will go a long way to prevent harm or ill health being experienced by those involved.  Achieving ‘zero’ accidents is a laudable aim.  Of course we know that it is virtually impossible to achieve this, but employers can minimise the risk of accidents by implementing safe systems of work and management systems, not to mention carrying out suitable and sufficient risk assessments.


 

 

 

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"capable of perception"

"capable of independent thought"

 

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The advice and comment in this update is not meant to be an authoritative statement of law. The articles and summaries should not be applied to any specific set of facts and circumstances without seeking further advice. Whilst every care is taken to ensure that the content is correct Sentient cannot accept responsibility for the accuracy of statements made nor the result of any actions taken by individuals after reading such.

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