Decline in Injury Claims for School Accidents Attributed to New Regulations

A decline in injury claims for school accidents has been attributed to new regulations making it harder for teachers and lecturers to claim compensation.

According to figures released by the Educational Institute of Scotland, just over £180,000 was paid during the 2013/14 years to settle injury claims for school accidents – a fall of almost 50 percent on figures from the previous twelve months.

The settlements included £50,000 compensation for a school employee who suffered a head injury when they slipped and fell on an icy playground, and £25,000 compensation for a teacher who suffered a broken ankle due to tripping and falling on school premises.

Changes to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme and the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act have made it harder for teachers and lecturers to make injury claims for school accidents, who now have to prove that their employer was negligent even when the employer has been convicted of a breach of safety regulations by the Health and Safety Executive.

The General Secretary of the Educational Institute of Scotland – Larry Flanagan – also believes that injury claims for school accidents are being hindered by insurance companies representing the local authorities. He commented that if insurance companies acknowledged their policyholders´ liability sooner, they would save on unnecessary legal fees and medical costs.

Mr Flanagan also added that injury claims for school accidents would decline further if schools were to implement basic and inexpensive safety requirements, but Douglas Chapman – the education spokesman for the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities – denied that educational centres were lacking in safety precautions. He said:

“It is important to emphasise that teaching is a very safe profession, and local authorities take extremely serious the safety and well-being of all staff and pupils. There are over 50,000 teachers and over 700,000 pupils in school and pre-school so accidents or incidents will occasionally take place. Serious incidents are rare but parents and teachers should be assured that authorities and schools have in place policies to deal with situations that may arise.”

Council Fined after Accident in Which Tractor Overturned and Worker Injured

Magistrates have fined Bristol City Council £20,000 after the HSE investigated an accident in which a tractor overturned and a worker was injured.

The Health and Safety Executive investigation was launched after a female park keeper overturned a tractor and trailer she was using to carry out maintenance work at Netham Park in Bristol in May 2012.

HSE inspectors at Bristol Magistrates Court explained that the unnamed employee had applied the brakes to the tractor as it approached an incline, but the tractor had skidded and in an attempt to avoid colliding with a fence the tractor driver had overturned the vehicle.

The fifty-one year old council worker was thrown from the cab of the tractor and broke her pelvis as she landed. She also sustained a serious Achilles tendon injury for which she will require future surgery, and which has forced her to give up working as a park keeper – a position for which she underwent three years of training.

The HSE investigation into the accident in which the tractor overturned and the worker was injured revealed that there was no seat belt fitted in the cab of the tractor and that the council worker had received inadequate training on how to safely use the vehicle.

Bristol City Council was prosecuted with two breaches of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and, after council representatives pleaded guilty to the charges – magistrates fined the council £20,000, and imposed additional costs of £4,700.

One of the inspectors who investigated the accident the accident in which the tractor overturned and the worker was injured – Kate Leftly – said after the hearing that the accident was entirely avoidable and had caused considerable pain and distress to the council worker.

Ms Leftly added that Bristol City Council failed to give their employee the training she needed to perform her duties safely or take into account that the vehicle should have been fitted with a safety restraint.

Bolton Roofer Dies in Accident

A 65 year old roofer from Bolton has died following an incident where he fell off a ladder as he was carrying out repairs on a chimney. The incident occurred when the roofer, Keith Allan Jackson, had been in climbing down from the house’s roof. He subsequently fell as he neared the bottom of the ladder, landed on the ground and sustained severe head injuries.

The accident occurred just before 10am on Tuesday morning. A doctor was brought to the scene by air ambulance. An ambulance was then called and Mr Jackson was brought to the Royal Blackburn Hospital. Unfortunately, Mr Jackson was pronounced dead not long after arriving.

Called to the scene were Detectives from Blackburn with Darwen CID and The Health and Safety Executive following reports that a man had sustained severe head injuries due to an industrial accident.  The police have stated that the cause of death will be determined by a post mortem examination. It is thought that Mr Jackson may have had a heart attack while he was climbing down the ladder.

Mr Jackson began the company Roofkraft in 1965 – he was a self-employed tradesman. It is believed that two members of staff were employed by the company. Roofkraft have confirmed that they are aware of the incident.

The investigation was led by DI Mark Vaughton who stated –

“We received a call from the ambulance service stating a 65-year-old man had been found with head injuries in the back yard of a house in Brandwood Street, Darwen.

“We quickly established the man who is from Bolton had been working at the property.

“At this time his cause of death still remains unknown, but I can say there were no suspicious circumstances.

“I also believe this man did not fall from a great height.

“The paramedics made a valiant effort to save the man who later sadly died.

“My sincere condolences are with the family.”

Wirral Chemical Firm Prosecuted for Violating Health and Safety Regulations

SAFC Hitech, a Wirral chemical firm, was ordered to pay fines of £120k by Liverpool crown court for violating health and safety regulations following an incident where a 45 year old employee from Kirkby was severely burned by a fireball after an explosion. The employee, Leslie jones, sustained injuries so severe that doctors induced a seven-week coma to aid him in recovering sufficiently from the accident that occurred on February 28 last year.

Employees alerted emergency service to come to SAFC Hitech’s Bromborough base following reports of a chemical spill. After a batch of the volatile chemical trimethylindium (or TMI) exploded, Mr Jones was suddenly caught in a fireball. His co-workers hurried to aid him and Mr Jones was covered in flames. He was then brought to a specialist burns unit in Whiston hospital and put in a coma. Mr Jones had to stay in hospital for nearly three months. To this day he still has severe burns on his face, right arm and upper body and finds it difficult to move.

Following an investigation into the accident, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted the chemical firm. They were charged for not performing an adequate risk assessment in relation to the waste generated by the TMI purification process, insufficient supervision and monitoring of employees and failures in ensuring their safety. Simon Parrington of the HSE said that said the company simply did not have a safe system of work and this led to the injuries suffered by Mr Jones which have ultimately left him “substantially cosmetically blemished”.

SAFC Hitech admitted to allowing the unsafe work practices that were carried out by their employees when working with TMI and were remorseful for Mr Jones’s injuries. The company was fined £120k and ordered to pay £13,328 costs after pleading guilty to single violations of the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 and the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Paint Company Fined £12,000 After Worker is Injured

Thermaset Ltd, a paint company situated in Tamworth, has been ordered to pay fines of £12,000 by Stafford Magistrates’ Court following an accident where a 21-year-old worker suffered an avoidable arm injury. Mark Capewell’s  arm was dragged into machinery while he was working at the company’s Lichfield Road Industrial Estate site. He sustained serious crush injuries in the accident that occurred on June 2011 and he required intensive physiotherapy. Following the incident he returned to work briefly, however he had to leave again as he still suffers from arm pain and headaches. Thermaset Ltd was fined for failing to implement adequate health and safety regulations.

Mr Capewell had been working for the company for 6 months before the incident occurred. On the day of the accident he was told to remove some product stuck to the machine rollers just before finishing his shift. He was given a handheld scarper to aid this work, however it did not work. He then decided to do it by hand and he reached into the machine – however, the product was hot and wet so it subsequently stuck to his glove and dragged his arm into the roller.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) conducted an investigation that discovered that blockages frequently occurred on the extruder machines; however, workers were not provided with a safe system of removing these blockages, nor were they provided with the the basic risk assessment for the extruders. Mr Capewell had been shadowing an experienced staff member beforehand to learn learn the process, however no formal training was provided.

Matt Lea, a HSE inspector said that the company have improved their safety measures since the incident occurred. He then stated –

“It has guarded the machines appropriately, has a documented safe system of work and has ensured that all operatives are suitably trained.”

But he added: “If these safeguards had been in place before Mr Capewell suffered a painful injury, the accident could easily have been prevented.”

Two Companies fined £60,000 after Two Employees were Seriously Injured

After serious injuries were sustained by two rail workers in an accident in Whitemoor railway yard, a rail firm and construction company have been fined £60,000. In 2009, the two were repairing a machine for redistributing ballast along the railway line when their accident occurred. The two men were injured after supporting an internal part of the ballast regulator with a hydraulic car jack that should not have been used. The car jack subsequently collapsed and crushed one of the employees. The man, who was an employee of Swietelsky Construction, sustained multiple facial fractures and to this day still suffers from a brain injury because of it. The other man, a Babcock rail employee, suffered injury to his left eye and face.

After the accident the Office of Rail Regulation were called in to investigate and was followed by a Cambridge Crown Court where the rail firm and construction company were fined. The Court learned that Babcock Rail and Swieteslsky Construction had failed to carry out necessary risk assessment protocols for the replacement of wear plates inside the ballast regulator, which is a piece of equipment that can be hazardous and potentially collapse and crush a worker if not assessed correctly. It was also learned that employees were not sufficiently trained and briefed about how to safely replace the wear plates. Because of this, employees were forced to figure out how to carry out this work themselves, which exposed them to unnecessary risks.

Babcock Rail and Swieteslsky Construction were charged under sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. Swietelsky Construction pleaded guilty at a hearing at Cambridge Crown Court in October 5. Babcock Rail pleaded guilty in January.

The Orr’s principle inspector for south east Railway Safety, Tom Wake, said on the matter: “No employee should ever be set to work on dangerous machinery without appropriate support and training. In this instance on 25 March 2009 Swietelsky Construction and Babcock Rail caused two rail workers to suffer serious head injuries at the Whitemoor rail depot because of poor planning and lack of employee training. The sentence passed today demonstrates how seriously the court considers these criminal breaches of health and safety law. ORR will keep pressing the industry to ensure the safety of those working on Britain’s railways bringing criminal prosecutions where necessary.”

Babcock Rail and Swieteslsky Construction were fined a total of £29,728 in costs.

Lincoln Man Loses Arm in Recycling Plant Accident

A man in Lincoln has lost his arm in an incident at a recycling plant in Scunthorpe due to the failure of his employers to implement adequate health and safety measures. The man, who was 23 at the time of the incident, had his arm severed at the shoulder on March 8, 2011 after attempting to clear a blockage on a conveyer, which is a piece of a metal sorting line.

The man, who worked at a picking station, was busy with his work – which involved taking pieces of copper off the conveyer – when he discovered that something was caught. He attempted to clear the blockage with the use of a stick, common practice at the plant, but his right arm was caught by the machine.

The man was hospitalised for a week, however surgeons were not able to reattach his arm. Consequently, he could no longer work at the former City Scrap Ltd in Scunthorpe. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated the incident; it discovered numerous dangers at the site which led to the company’s prosecution at Scunthorpe Magistrates’ Court.

Some of the concerns raised about City Scrap included the absence of and/or inadequate guarding around moving machine parts, no emergency stop buttons provided on processing lines, an absence of a safe system of work and insufficient training given to employees. The HSE gave City Scrap Ltd of Dale Street in Lincoln four Prohibition Notices and also to a further notice related to working at a height. On April 17 the company was fined £20,000, in addition to being ordered pay £8,964 in costs following a guilty plea for violating Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Andrew Gale, a HSE Inspector, said on the matter –

“A young man suffered horrific, life-changing injuries in an incident that was easily preventable. City Scrap Ltd should have had fixed guarding, properly secured, to prevent access to dangerous moving parts. In addition safe procedures should have been in place for clearing blockages, including isolation of power to the machinery. The waste and recycling sector has one of the worst records for injury incidents across all industries and yet the dangers of working with machinery and in the waste business are well known. Employers must ensure they take effective measures to address these risks and properly train their staff to carry out tasks safely.”

UK Coal Mining Ltd Fined £125,000 for the Death of Locomotive Driver

UK Coal Mining Ltd has been fined £125,000  by Nottingham Crown Court over the death of John Harbron, a locomotive driver from Nottinghamshire at Thoresby Colliery in July 2009. The company, however, is unable to pay the fine or the £175,000 in legal costs due to the fact that it restructured last year. Furthermore, it has ceased trading and has no assets to speak of. UK Coal Mining Ltd admitted guilt to violating the Health and Safety at Work Act.

47-year-old Mr Harbron had been in the middle of unloading 40 steel pipes from a rail car when suddenly they rolled on him. Mr Harbron was pronounced dead at the scene after he sustained several severe injuries.

Four written reports had been written by locomotive drivers in the 18 months before the death of Mr Habron concerning the instability of these pipes. The managers, however, failed to act on these concerns or implement changes to improve safety at the colliery. The company has claimed that they have made safety improvements since Mr Habron’s death.

Sharon,Mr Harbron’s widow, expressed the fact that she was “not very happy” following the hearing:

Port Talbot Tata Steel Plant Worker Suffers Burn Injuries

A worker has sustained burn injuries in an accident at the Tata Steel plant in Port Talbot; it has been announced by the company. Tata says that there was a molten steel spillage which was being poured from a crane vessel in the continuous casting plant. Another two workers were treated for shock following the dangerous incident on Tuesday night and all three have been taken to Morriston Hospital in Swansea. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has been made aware of the accident.

A spokesman from the HSE said: “It’s an initial inquiry at the moment. An inspector will be visiting the site.”

According to Tata Steel, the injured worker was in a good condition in hospital recovering from their burns which were attributable to the heat, as the worker did not have any direct contact with the molten material. His two colleagues have since been discharged from hospital. The workers were administered medical treatment by the on-site emergency services until paramedics arrived at the scene. Fire services and police services were also alerted under the site emergency plan.

Robert Dangerfield, a Tata spokesman, has said that health and safety has always been the company’s number one priority and that an investigation of the incident is underway. On the matter he said –

“We always look to learn what we can from any incident. We are working at a high capacity at the moment and are in full production,” he said.

“Our thoughts are with our colleague who’s been hurt.”

South Wales Police have established that they were called to an incident at the Tata steel works in Port Talbot at 22:45 BST on Tuesday, April 2nd.

Employee of Smurfit Kappa UK Severs Fingers in Accident

Packaging company Smurfit Kappa UK has recently pleaded guilty to health and safety regulation violations after an employee had his fingers severed while working at its factory in Whitehaven. In September 2010, the accident occurred when the 25-year-old employee from Egremont was working with a 35-tonne power press for the purpose of stamping out metal lids for cardboard whisky bottle packaging. While he was testing out a part that had just been replaced in the machine, the employee lost two fingers on each hand and two more fingers on his right hand were severed at the knuckle.

Later, a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation discovered that the employee’s supervisor had left the company four months before the accident occurred and had been replaced subsequently by staff that had not been sufficiently trained. Furthermore, it was also discovered that the injured staff member had not been correctly trained and that no suitable risk assessment existed for the operation.  Smurfit Kappa UK, on 21 March at Carlisle Crown Court, pleaded guilty to breaching a Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 regulation and was fined £200,000 in addition to £19,308 prosecution in costs.

Following the hearing, Andrew Jewitt, a HSE Inspector said –

“The employee was off work for ten months due to the extent of his injuries, but they will continue to affect him for the rest of his life. He now struggles with everyday activities, like writing and cutting up food, which most of us take for granted. The risk of serious injury from power presses is well known in the manufacturing industry and the worker’s injuries could have been avoided if Smurfit Kappa had made sure he and his supervisors had been properly trained. He added: “Incidents like this will continue to happen if employers don’t take the risks seriously.”

 

Warehouse Worker Killed by Forklift Truck

Ann Brennan, 49, was crushed to death in an accident involving a forklift truck loading pallets of Pringles in Bristol. An inquest at Flax Bourton Coroner’s Court has heard that the warehouse based in the Avonmouth has had several ‘near-misses’ in the past. It was recorded as an accidental death by Coroner Gail Elliman following deliberations from the jury for half an hour.

Ann’s sister Deborah Teagle, 51, spoke out about her sister –

‘Annie was such a bubbly, selfless character and she was a rock for the family, looking out for us all and caring for our dad. She enjoyed her job at the factory and had been there most of her working life. She was very loyal. When we received the call to say what had happened we were just in complete shock. It didn’t feel real that Annie, who was always so full of life, was gone. The emergency services and air ambulance were amazing and did everything they could to try and save her and we want to thank them for the amazing service they provide.

Sadly, nothing could be done for Annie, but they save thousands of other lives every year. It has been very difficult to hear that safety precautions were lacking at the warehouse which may have saved Annie but we hope changes have been made at the warehouse and are working to protect other employees. Nothing will bring Annie back but it would give us some peace of mind to know her death was not completely in vain.’

There is currently an on-going investigation being conducted by Bristol City Council into health and safety at the warehouse and it is unlikely to conclude for another several months. A safety inspector speaking at the inquest spoke of how he had witnessed members of staff using loading equipment as scooters at the Avonmouth Booker Wholesale cash and carry when he examined CCTV footage after the death of the warehouse assistant in 2011.Furthermore, there was no speed limit and no division between pedestrians and vehicles in the loading bay where the tragic accident took place.

Ann, who was also an enthusiastic player of amateur rugby, died when the gas-powered forklift truck reversed in the warehouse in December 2011. By the time Paramedics arrived her heart had stopped and she was not breathing. She was subsequently resuscitated on the way to Frenchay Hospital in an air ambulance, however she later died from multiple fractures and internal injuries not long after arriving in hospital. The inquest also heard that the forklift truck which struck Ms Brennan was driven by replenishment supervisor Ben Morris. Mr Morris spoke of how the accident occurred when he was loading pallets of Pringles into the rear of a lorry for a delivery –

‘As I was reversing round I looked over my shoulder and I couldn’t see anything. Then I felt the rear left wheel lift up in the air. I slammed the brake on and I jumped out of the forklift and started screaming and that’s all I can remember.’

Stephen French, Booker area manager, was at the front reception of the store when he was notified about the incident. Upon arriving, he found staff attempting to lift the forklift off of Ms Brennan – an impossible task. On the matter he said – ‘It couldn’t be done, but under the circumstances people were just trying to do whatever they could.’ Following this Mr French was asked about health and safety policies in the warehouse and he admitted there was ‘no segregation policy at that time’ between pedestrians and vehicles, with ‘no existing policy in the goods-in area’ and ‘no speed limit’.

The driver of the lorry that was being loaded, Ronald Crandon, told the court he had witnessed similar incidents before. He said that he believed there were safety measures enforced. The then went on to say that he had seen a ‘near miss’ and had a ‘bump’ with a forklift while using a pallet truck and this had resultantly led to lines being drawn to separate pedestrians. However, Paul Tregale, the Bristol City Council health and safety inspector, said there were no such measures in place and that members of staff lacked awareness in risk assessment.

West Bromwich Glass Works Fined £7000 for Worker’s Lost Finger

Bloomsbury Glass Ltd’s factory in Kelvin Way has been ordered to pay £7,000 by Sandwell Magistrates Court after a worker’s finger was crushed in machinery and was subsequently amputated. 32 year old Glass worker, Asif Hussain, was providing assistance to his colleague with freeing a large piece of glass when the accident occurred. Mr Hussain’s ring finger was so seriously damaged that amputation was necessary. He has been rendered unable to work and his right hand is still painful and swollen.

The accident happened when Mr Hussain, of Sparkbrook, entered the confines of the machine through a space in the surrounding fencing. While he was discussing the best way of removing the  glass with his co-worker, his glove became was caught in the rotating drive shaft and his right hand was pulled in as a result. An investigation conducted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) discovered that the machine was improperly guarded after Bloomsbury Glass was moved to the Kelvin Way site. One of the firm’s maintenance engineers did indeed modify and install guard panels, however they left a gap.

Bloomsbury Glass Ltd was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £4,928 costs after they pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11 of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. Dave Rama, manager of Bloomsbury Glass Ltd said –

“The worker should not have been there in the first place. The machine is now guarded, and I am confident it will not happen again.”

Factory Worker in Sheffield Receives £6,500 after Breaking Foot at Work

A factory worker in Sheffield has received a sum of £6,500 in compensation after his foot was broken when he was provided with incorrect equipment for moving alloy bars. Michael Kirby, a machine operator from Southey, sustained two fractured metatarsals in his left foot and was rendered unable to work for seven weeks following his accident at Ross and Catherall in Killamarsh.

47-year-old Kirby had been trained to transport 5ft long alloy bars from the floor to a machine, by method of picking them up with a scissor clamp and swinging them in. However, one of the bars fell from the scissor clamp and landed on his foot during a shift. Despite the fact that he was wearing steel -capped boots that contained a built-in metatarsal guard, the impact of the bar broke his foot.

After the accident occurred, staff at the alloy manufacturing factory were instructed to move the bars closer to the floor before raising them to the level of the machine instead of swinging them around. Following this, an alternative type of clamp with curved interlocking forks was brought in to move the alloy bars. Ross and Catherall accepted liability for the accident and a claim was settled out of court after contact was made by solicitors instructed by the GMB union.

About the accident Mr Kirby said –

“After the accident I was virtually housebound for several weeks. I found it difficult to get around on crutches and could only get upstairs by using a stairlift we fortunately already had. I was frustrated at being injured when I was only doing my job in the way I had been told to.It was obviously a dangerous system because after my accident steps were taken to prevent swinging the bars and we were provided with a different type of clamp to move the bars.”

The GMB union’s Andy Worth said –

“Our member was injured because he had been trained to move these alloy bars in an unsafe way. There was no risk assessment of the job which would have highlighted the danger of swinging the bars and the need for a more appropriate clamp to be used to prevent workers being injured.”

Thompsons Solicitors’, Teresa Marriott said –

“This employer failed to take into consideration the health and safety ramifications of the job. It is the employer’s responsibility to provide suitable work equipment and to ensure safe systems of work are used. In this case a quick assessment would have highlighted the potential dangers of the method and equipment used and would have been cheaper than paying compensation to an injured worker.”

 

Railway Company Fired After Worker Suffers Injury Twice

Keith Hawley, a retired rail worker from , Chaddesden who claims that he was sacked after following two incidents where he sustained serious injuries at work has stated that he felt relieved after the company involved, Balfour Beatty, was ordered to pay fines of £8,000 and costs of £41,438 by  Nottingham Crown Court for violating health and safety regulations. Mr Hawley worked for Balfour Beatty for 12 years. He sustained two hand injuries less than a year apart and claims that the company later saw that he was “dismissed for gross misconduct”. Consequently, he developed depression but said that he still felt a sense of “closure” due to the Nottingham Crown Court verdict

The first accident occurred when Mr Hawley was trying to move a large piece of rail track into a press at the Balfour Beatty factory in Sandiacreub May 2009 . His right hand was subsequently caught between the rail and a conveyor roller and two of his fingers were crushed and he sustained flesh wounds. In March 2010, while carrying out the same work, Mr Hawley’s other hand was also seriously injured after becoming trapped. His left little finger was crushed and partial amputation was required for his ring finger. Following this, a disciplinary action was held against him and he was subsequently fired. He went on to say that he settled out of court prior to an unfair dismissal tribunal being held.

The HSE investigation discovered that when both incidents occurred, the roller machine did not have a sufficient guarding system that would leave workers adequately protected. Apparently the company was actually in the middle of fitting a guarding system because of the first accident, but it had not been completed. Balfour Beatty Rail Track Systems Ltd, for failing to provide a safe system of work, was found guilty of violating part of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Mr Hawley said he felt that he had closure following the verdict which has left him relieved. He then stated –

“After I lost my job I tried to get another job but had panic attacks before my interviews.”

On the matter, HSE inspector Brian Price said that both incidents were avoidable and that there were other systems of work that could have been used instead of the dangerous systems that workers like Keith Hawley were forced to adopt. He then stated –

“The fact that this incident happened once was bad enough but for it to have happened a second time, to the same man, is deplorable. Balfour Beatty should have acted a lot quicker than they did. Mr Hawley has suffered unnecessarily because of their failings.”

A spokesman for Balfour Beatty stated:

“Although we no longer operate the Sandiacre manufacturing plant where this incident occurred, the company will ensure that these types of accidents are prevented in the future.We take the safety of all our employees very seriously and we were pleased that this was acknowledged in today’s judgement.”

Factory Worker Dies in Industrial Accident

There is an investigation being carried out into an industrial accident where a man was killed in Dinnington on Friday. At around 3.12pm on Friday afternoon emergency services were contacted and summoned to the premises of Macalloy Ltd which is located on Caxton Way. A 47-year-old man, from the Rawmarsh area Rotherham who has yet to be identified by police, is believed to have been fatally injured when he was suddenly trapped in machinery.

On Tuesday a post mortem examination was carried out at Sheffield’s Medico Legal Centre. It showed that the man had suffered an immediate death due to multiple internal injuries. The coroner will open an inquest into his death within the next few days. A spokesman for the South Yorkshire Police has stated: “Meanwhile, police are continuing to conduct interviews with members of staff at the premises and are liaising with the Health and Safety Executive.”

Last Friday the South Yorkshire Police and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) began conducting a joint investigation into the incident. The premises remained closed throughout the weekend while they continued their investigations.  A HSE spokesman confirmed it was aiding the ‘police led’ investigation into the fatal accident, but said that they could not reveal any more information until the investigation had been completed.

Macaolloy Ltd has yet to comment on the incident. The company was established in 1948 and it supplies threaded bar and cable systems that are utilised on wind turbines and high rise buildings all over the world. In November 2006 it relocated to Dinnington to a new headquarters office and factory complex.

Contractor Sustains Head Injury at National Grid Construction Site

A 24 year old contractor was ‘crushed by machinery’ at the National Grid construction site in Eade Road, near Harringay, north London this morning and has sustained head and shoulder injuries as a result. He was subsequently rushed to hospital ‘as a priority’ from the site, where National Grid, as part of a London Power Tunnels project, are tunnelling towards St John’s Wood. Apparently the man was crushed by machinery as he embarked in a tunnelling operation; however a National Grid spokesman stressed that this was not the case and that the tunnel is structurally sound.

The spokesman would not explain how or why the contractor was injured, in spite of the fact that another employee reported that he was told that another workman had been crushed and had to have medical treatment administered while in the tunnel. The National Grid spokesman stated –

‘An incident took place at the Eade Road construction site in Harringay at approximately 6am today. A contractor working at the site sustained non-life threatening injuries and received medical treatment. Our thoughts are with the contractor and we hope he has a prompt recovery. Health and safety is of paramount importance to us.’

The spokesman went on to say that work had been halted temporarily at the site while the incident is being investigated and that there “is no problem with the tunnel structure, it was an accident. The structure of the tunnel is sound.’

After the incident, tunnel workers were swiftly evacuated from the site. Fire-fighters, police and paramedics were alerted about the accident and arrived shortly after.

A spokesman for London Ambulance said –

‘We were called at 6.05am to reports of an incident at Eade Road, N4 We sent two ambulance crews, a single responder in a car, two duty managers and a London Air Ambulance crew by car, as they do not fly at night. Staff treated a 24-year-old man for head and shoulder injuries. The patient was taken as a priority to the major trauma centre at Royal London Hospital.’

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have been alerted about the accident are conducting an investigation.

Aviation Worker Dies in Factory Accident

A 47-year-old aviation worker from Cambridge died following a crushing incident Saturday afternoon in a factory run by CAV Ltd near Newmarket Road in Cambridge. According to reports, the employee was trapped under “a piece of heavy metal”. The ambulance service has stated that the injuries he suffered were internal and traumatic. His body has not yet been identified.

CAV Ltd is an aerospace manufacturing firm, the factory in question stores components for aircraft wings. The Marshall company, who leases the factory to CAV, was alerted to the accident and offered assistance at the scene to police and paramedics.

Terry Holloway, a spokesman for Marshall said –

“Our security staff assisted the emergency services with handling the accident and we also provided medical assistance from within Marshalls.”

An East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust Spokeswoman has said paramedics were contacted at 1.23pm about a man who had been crushed by heavy metal material and could not be accessed easily. Sent to assist at the scene were a clinical manager, a double-staffed ambulance and an air Fire and Rescue.

A helicopter crew from the emergency medical charity Magpas were also sent to the location of the accident to aid the crushed man; however he later died at the scene. Police were at the site over the weekend and an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive was also carried out. The Civil Aviation Authority has been informed about the death.

A spokesman for Cambridgeshire police stated – “We are working with the Health and Safety Executive to look at the circumstances around the incident to see if any offences have been committed.”

Owen McFarlane, CAV Ltd group chief executive, said that the man who died was an agency worker from another company. He was working at the time that the accident occurred. He went on to say that the company are co-operating fully with the investigations and that condolences go out to the deceased aviation worker’s family.

Mainetti UK fined £81,600 for Factory Worker’s Conveyor Belt Injuries

Mainetti UK has been fined £81,600 after a worker suffered serious injury when her hair and scarf was caught in machinery. The factory worker – Kelly Nield, 24, from Ellesmere Port – could have been killed in the “horrific accident” it was asserted in Mold Crown Court. She sustained injury to her neck and throat as well as hair loss and a fractured finger – still suffers from disabling injuries. The coat hanger maker company admitted to four breaches in health and safety protocol at its plant at Deeside, Flintshire.

The court was told that the horrific accident occurred on agency worker Miss Nield’s first day of sorting hangers while working on a conveyor belt in April 2009. According to prosecutor, Simon Parrington, she leaned forward to clear a blockage on the line when her scarf became entangled in a cog mechanism that was not adequately guarded. Her hair then became entangled and as she tried to free herself, so too did her left hand get caught. Her neck, throat and hair were seriously injured.

Mr Parrington then went on to describe how Miss Nield attempted to free herself and then shouted for help. Eventually, another worker rushed to her aid and pushed the main “off” button for the conveyor belt which was located a distance away. Miss Nield spent three months in hospital and has undergone numerous operations and she has still been left with disabilities nonetheless.

Mr Parrington went on to say that because there was no emergency stop button located on the line, Miss Nield was not able to save herself, and she could easily have died. Barrister of the defendant, Simon Antrobus, said that Mainetti’s managing director and senior officials wanted to publicly apologise to Miss Neild for injuries that she had suffered. The company, which has a base in Scotland and has been in business for 38 years, had immediately admitted full liability and did not wish to “pass the buck”.

The company’s safety procedure that was in place had not been followed; the company should have discovered this sooner. The barrister then said that the firm had relocated to a new factory at Greenfield from its Deeside plant, and has implemented a “root and branch” safety review.

Judge Niclas Parry referred to the incident as “an accident waiting to happen”. It was “a horrendous accident”, said the judge. “The worker had suffered dreadful injuries, and it was clear that no guidance or instruction had been provided to her

Mainetti UK was fined £60,000 with £21,600 costs.

Following the hearing, HSE Inspector David Wynne spoke about the matter –

“These horrific, life-changing injuries sustained by Ms Nield could easily have been avoided if the right safeguarding measures had been taken by Mainetti (UK) Ltd. There are well-known risks associated with working with conveyor belts. It is vital, therefore, that the risks are fully assessed and guarding provided to prevent access to moving parts. Where appropriate, emergency stop controls should be installed in readily accessible places.”

Edinburgh Food Firm Fined after Worker Suffers Hand and Arm Injuries

Jian’s Dumplings Limited has been fined by Edinburgh Sheriff Court after an employee, Joseph Burnett, sustained hand injuries while at work on June 23rd 2010. Mr Burnett had been working at the Edinburgh food firm s to sort ingredients, make Chinese dumplings to order, and package products for nearly four months.

On this particular day he was working with an industrial-sized dough mixer which was used to make dough. Mr Burnett started to add flour to the mixer by hand as he was worried that the dough was too wet. His right hand was subsequently pulled into the drum of the machine. He only successfully pulled himself free after his arm had been pulled in past his elbow. He then alerted his colleagues about what had happened.

Mr Burnett sustained many injuries, including two fractures to his fingers and ripped tendons in his index and middle fingers. He underwent surgery and then needed 30 and 40 stitches. It was necessary for his arm to remain in a plaster cast for eight weeks. He then underwent physiotherapy in order to restore movement to his fingers. However is index finger movement remains limited.

An investigation carried out by the Health and Safety Executive discovered that there had been no risk assessment performed on the operation by the firm. Other safety failings include the fact that there was no training, supervision, instructions for the machine provided or a work safety system in place with regards to using the dough mixer machine. Any instructions provided were in Chinese and even when closed the shutter on top of the machine left an 8 centimetre gap. It also didn’t have any way of shutting down the power provided to dangerous rotating parts whenever the shutter had been lifted.

Jian’s Dumplings Limited was fined £1,000 after they pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Inquest Rules that Lithuanian Factory Worker Died Accidentally

An inquest jury has ruled that 23-year-old Zydre Groblyte, a Lithuanian factory worker at RGE Engineering in Godmanchester who died on April 27th after being crushed and sustaining a severe head injury by a printing machine which started while she was inside it, died accidentally. Nevertheless the standards of the supervision and training that is provided to staff in the company has been questioned – particularly with regards to staff who have a poor grasp of English.

Ms Groblyte had been an employee at the factory for eight months. She was working at making panels for use in washing machines when the unfortunate incident occurred. The jury concluded that Miss Groblyte had inadvertently got through a safety gate, perhaps by stepping over it or going through a gap in it.

The jury came to a verdict of accidental death on the final day of Ms Groblyte’s inquest. The head juror stated –

“The jury believes on the balance of probability that the ongoing supervision of temporary workers, particularly those with poor or little English skills, was neither consistent nor adequate. Inconsistency and inadequacy in training and supervision of a colleague was therefore a contributing factor, more than minimally, negligibly and trivially to the death of Miss Groblyte.”

The juror went on to say –

“We believe more likely than not Miss Groblyte’s colleague accidentally activated the machine by either pushing the start button or pedal.”

The jury also came to the agreement that it should have been known by management at the factory that workers were accessing the machinery other than through the safety gates. They also believed a contributing factor to Miss Groblyte’s death was a failure to provide a safety guard that would deactivate the machine when someone was inside it.

the Health and Safety Executive is STILL conducting an investigation into the accident.

An RGE Engineering spokeswoman stated that the firm “respects the verdict by jury in this matter”.

She then stated –

“The circumstances surrounding Zydre’s death remain under investigation by the Health and Safety Executive so it would not be appropriate for us to comment further at this time. Our sympathies remain with Zydre’s family and friends.”

Johnson Matthey Fined after Employee Severs Two Fingers

Johnson Matthey, a precious metals and chemicals company Orchard Road, Royston, has been ordered to pay fines of £20,000 after an employee, while using 10-tonne power hammer, severed two fingers March 30 of last year. The worker who wishes not to be named was using the machine to crush waste pieces of metal. Suddenly, his left hand was caught under it and his middle and index fingers were crushed.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out an investigation into the incident and discovered that not only was the hammer unguarded, it was also being used incorrectly. Furthermore the hammer was frequently used in this manner. Stephen Farthing, a HSE Inspector, stated –

“The injured employee was using this powerful machine inappropriately. It wasn’t guarded and was unsuitable for the work he was doing. It had become common practice within the company for the power hammer to be used in this way. Had better precautions been taken to make the machine safe and properly supervise activity, then the incident could have been prevented.”

The site planning and services director at Royston, John Gourd, stated –

“Johnson Matthey takes the health and safety of its employees and all of its stakeholders extremely seriously. This incident has been thoroughly investigated and action has been taken to prevent any reoccurrence.”

Johnson Matthey, who operate in more than 30 countries and employ almost 10,000 people, pleaded guilty to two charges under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. The company was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay £2,194 costs.

Manager Awarded £30,000 Compensation after Permanently Damaging her Foot

A 26-year-old woman has been left with a metal frame in her foot forever following an incident where she suffered severe ankle injuries after slipping on a loose wooden pallet  in February 2011 while she was at work.  At the time of the incident she was an operations manager at Bereco Ltd, a manufacturer of window frame and door frames based in Rotherham.

She was staying late, carrying out the role of her colleague who was out sick. This involved making sure that a delivery was dispatched on time. She made sure that pallets for delivery had been loaded on to a lorry, however, there remained some loose bundles of handles and frames.

Katrin tried to reach the final bags by climbing over a different pallet which had a sheet of plywood covering it, which served to conceal the edges of the frame.  When she had collected these items, Katrin then climbed down off the pallet, however she suddenly slipped and fell,. This resulted in her twisting an ankle and sustaining ligament tears in the other.

Katrin now has a five-and-a-half inch scar on her ankle and a metal frame inside her foot following extensive medical treatment. She has been awarded a £30,000 compensation settlement. The injury she suffered rendered unable to work for more than a year. She has undergone physiotherapy and numerous pain-filled operations; however she still has not healed completely.

About the incident Katrin has stated –

“I was off work for 14 months and spent a lot of that time in pain and discomfort. Being unable to get around and do things for myself was so frustrating, and really got me down.

“My ankle has improved a lot since the last surgery, but it still swells up and feels sore when I walk on uneven ground. It hurts every day, but it’s still a relief to be at this stage compared to where I was a year ago.”

Alcohol Factory Management Apologises for Fire that Injured Worker

Managing director of a Black Country alcohol factory has apologised for an accident which involved the factory bursting into flames, damaging homes and cars and subsequently forcing residents to flee for their lives.

This is the first time Alcohol Ltd’s Adam Wallis has spoken since the fire spread from the Crosswells Road factory on Monday and caused much destruction to people’s private properties in the surrounding area. One of the factory’s fifteen workers is being treated at Queen Elizabeth Hospital after suffering burns from being caught in the blaze.

Sixteen homes were destroyed by the fire; those affected have are living at a nearby hotel while their houses are being worked on. Mr Wallis spoke with nearby residents about the events of the fire.

On the matter he said –

“We are extremely sorry for the accident. But we have to work with the council, HSE and fire service to help them with the investigation, before we can comment further.”

He added: “We are working with the council on the clean-up. We want those who have been displaced to get back to their homes, in the safe and warm.”

Mr Wallis stated that the fire had begun in the factory’s living area, but could not say what happened after that –

“During the fire, we were at the site giving the fire service the professional guidance about the chemicals on site, to help them put out the fire.”

Mr Wallis has stressed that the fire alarms were activated when the fire began and that all the relevant health and safety measures were in place –

“We are taking the lead from the health and safety executive at the moment.”

 

Maintenance Worker Dies Suddenly after Work Accident

40-Year-old Graham Vincent from died suddenly three weeks after being injured at work. Mr Vincent worked for South West Highways near Exeter. It is believed that the accident occurred when Mr Vincent had been working with a strimmer on a roadside border. He received medical treatment at the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital. The father of three had been at his home in Kentisbeare allowing himself time to recover from the accident when he suddenly died on Saturday, November 24.

A South West Highways spokesman has stated that theMr Vincent had been a friendly man and his death has saddened staff after having spent seven years at the company. He extended his condolences to Mr Vincent’s family. He then stated –

“SWH wishes to maintain an atmosphere of complete respect at this sad time and will not be making further comment to the press.”

The Health and Safety Executive has been informed about the incident and a spokesman stated –

“We are aware of the incident which was reported to us. We will be looking to decide whether it is suitable for investigation.”

Teaching Assisted Awarded Compensation for Injuries

Julie Anne Huddart, a 49 year old teaching assistant from Chorley, Lancashire, has been awarded £800,000 compensation after tripping and dislocating a finger at work. Ms Huddart’s accident occurred in 2003 when she was trying to move an empty wheelchair and she subsequently tripped over the waist strap.

The incident caused Ms Huddart to dislocate a finger and injure her elbow. Since then she has been diagnosed with ‘reflex sympathetic dystrophy’ which is a nervous system impairment that causes pain and swelling.

According to Ms Huddart’s solicitor, ever since the incident occurred and she has developed this condition she has been in continuous pain and the left side of her body’s movement has been restricted.  She has been left dependent on the continual care of her husband.

Ms Huddart’s claim against her local authority for compensation took nine years to settle. Lancashire County Council then finally agreed this year, in an out of court settlement, to provide Ms Huddart with £800,000 in damages and £140,000 in legal costs. Lancashire County Council has stated that the maximum amount that they have had to provide is £100,000 and the rest of Ms Huddart’s settlement has been covered by the liability insurance of her employer.

NHS Hospital Worker Awarded £50,000 Compensation for Injuries

Linda Mitchell, a 59 hospital worker who sustained injury in her neck and shoulders when pulling curtains around a patient’s bed at Belford Hospital, Fort William, has been awarded £50,000 in compensation. This compensation was provided following the accident which had subsequently rendered her unable to return to employment for the past four years. Ms Mitchell has stated that her injury was avoidable and would not have occurred if the hospital had acted on previous complaints made by herself and her fellow colleagues.

The health board of the hospital did not accept liability and claimed that no defects were present when they inspected the curtains. Nevertheless, the health board offered Ms Mitchell £25,000 compensation after the incident. However, this was rejected and then doubled following civil action. After her compensation was awarded, Ms Mitchell had this to say on the matter –

‘My case was dealt with quickly and easily and I was very happy with the outcome. If previous complaints about the faulty curtains hadn’t been ignored my accident could have been avoided.’

Ms Mitchell was busy at work in Belhaven Ward, ward two of the hospital when her accident from pulling the curtains occurred. The curtains were obstructed by a table with a television on top of it, so it was necessary for her to lean across it to pull the curtains. Unfortunately, her neck and shoulders were wrenched when the heavy-lined curtains jammed.

A spokeswoman for Ms Mitchell’s law firm said –

‘A number of her colleagues have confirmed that there were problems with the curtains prior to Linda’s accident. A staff nurse had advised that she had previously complained about the difficulty with the curtains and another nurse who advised that she had reported problems with the curtains.’

Mary Scanlon, Highland and Islands MSP said:

‘I hope it will be a lesson to NHS Highland to pay closer attention to complaints and health and safety issues.’

Construction Firm Fined for Unsafe Asbestos Rmoval

AA Construction, a construction firm that performed unsafe demolition work and littered the site with smashed up asbestos materials in February 2011 was ordered to pay fines of more than £45,000 by Westminster Magistrates on October 24. The company was in charge of work that was being carried out near Wimbledon Chase station when the health and safety rules were breached.

Residents informed the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) about their concerns that asbestos material was being discarded on the road and footpath. Furthermore, it was thought that the site which was situated not far from a school was hazardous. The HSE prosecuted the firm for their failure to adequately plan their work and survey for asbestos which, as a consequence, compromised the health and safety of its employees and the general public. Furthermore, the HSE found that the workers hired by the company were inexperienced and lacked sufficient training in areas such as asbestos removal.

The company was fined £36,000, a £15 surcharge in addition to £9,159 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

HSE Inspector, Helen Donnelly, stated –

“Members of the public rightly raised concerns about the unsafe working practices they witnessed at Quintin Avenue, and I applaud them for doing so.

“AA Construction (London) Ltd took a reckless approach to demolition, which could have resulted in a serious incident.

“Construction projects need to properly planned and safely managed by competent personnel using the right procedures and equipment.

“That clearly didn’t happen here, and I hope lessons have been learned.”

Bradford Council Fined after Caretaker Suffers Hip Injury

Bradford Council has been fined £15,000 by Bradford and Keighley Magistrates’ Court following an incident where a school caretaker fell through a ceiling while changing a lightbulb  just several days before his retirement on June 22 last year. David O’Hanlon, 61, has subsequently been left with a permanent disability after sustaining a fractured hip and shattered heel bone following the incident where he stepped on to an unboarded area of a loft which the fell from beneath him, at the old Beckfoot School building in Bingley.

He wanted to clear the roof void before the demolition of the old school, so he was changing a light bulb. The caretaker, who was at the school for eight years, was due to take early retirement when the school closed but was staying on until June 27 to supervise the old building’s clearance. A colleague who was also working administered first aid and contacted help when the accident occurred.

After being rushed to hospital, Mr O’ Hanlon needed three screws in his hip and was informed that a hip replacement might be necessary in addition to a metal plate in his heel. If an inspection had been performed by the Health and Safety Executive beforehand, they would have forbidden anyone from working in the loft area until remedial work had been carried out on the building. However, no risk assessment had been put in place.

Morag Irwin, for the Health and Safety Executive said that the loft resembled an  “adventure playground” she then went on to say that –

“There was no competent person responsible for health and safety at all on the site,” she said.

Richard Winter on behalf of the Council said the accident had occurred because of a “genuine oversight. He claimed that he school’s management did not know that the loft space was being used. The Council pleaded guilty to failing to ensure the safety of its employee while they were working. The council was fined £15,000 and £5,667.30 in costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

Following the hearing, Mrs Irwin said: “This incident was completely avoidable and has essentially dashed Mr O’Hanlon’s hopes and expectations for a healthy retirement.”

Company Fined £15,500 for Employee’s Cracked Skull Injury

Wyman-Gordon Ltd, a company that manufactures metal components, has been ordered to pay fines of £16,500 and costs of £6,178 by Lincoln Magistrates Court following an incident where a 20-year-old worker sustained serious injury at its Lincoln factory on October 2010. The young agency worker, who does not want to be named, had his skull fractured and also sustained severe facial injuries as he was working with a hand-held grinder. The wheel of the grinder broke as he was using it and the wheel was subsequently thrown from the grinder which then broke through his visor and struck him in the face.

Following the incident it was necessary for the man to undergo extensive medical treatment, such as a five-hour operation for the removal of a piece of bone that had been touching his brain. This was followed by further reconstructive surgery. Fortunately, since then he has been able to return to work again. An investigation was carried out by the Health and Safety Executive and it discovered that the agency worker did not receive adequate training for the safe use of the hand-held grinder and how to safely change the wheel.

Because of this, the worker is likely to have attached a defective grinding wheel to the grinder and then used it subsequently. If the agency worker had been adequately trained, he probably would have known this. It was also discovered that there had been no sufficient supervision when the worker was performing his duties with the grinders.

Scott Wynne, a HSE inspector Scott Wynne said –

“It is vital that workers who use hand-held grinders get appropriate training in their safe use and in how to change the grinding wheels properly. Most importantly operators need to know how to identify defects.

“Had this worker undergone such training, he may have been able to identify the defective wheel prior to using it.

“This was a preventable incident. Wyman-Gordon Ltd paid insufficient heed to the safety of this worker. As a result, a young man was left with a horrific head injury. He was extremely lucky to escape with his life.”

Construction Company Fined After Worker Crushed by Digger

A building company, Parkstone Construction Ltd, has been fined thousands of pounds by Mansfield Magistrates’ Court after a groundworker suffered multiple injuries when he was run over by a seven tonne digger on a supermarket construction site in Mansfield on 8 November 2010. Michael Tomlinson, from Birmingham, sustained a ruptured bladder and a fractured wrist, amongst various other injuries, when he was struck on Jubilee Way South.

Mr. Tomlinson was working as a groundworker for the Birmingham-based company in preparations for a supermarket’s foundations. A digger hit Mr Tomlinson as it reversed when the driver did not notice he was behind it. The digger subsequently knocked him to the ground and he was crushed underneath.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) conducted an investigation into the incident and discovered that Parkstone Construction Ltd had failed to make sure that workers were separated safely from moving vehicles while work was being performed. The company was fined £15,000 with costs of £6,447 after pleading guilty to an offence under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Following the hearing, Nic Rigby, a HSE Inspector stated

“This incident was entirely preventable, and Mr Tomlinson could have avoided serious and painful injuries had work at the site been better managed Those in charge of construction sites must ensure that pedestrians and vehicles are effectively and safely segregated. There is clear guidance on how to achieve this and ensure incidents of this kind can be avoided.”

Merseyside Firm Prosecuted after Worker Suffers Brain Injury

CME Ceilings, a Merseyside firm, has been ordered to pay fines of £5,000 in addition to £5,000 costs following an incident where a 43-year-old worker suffered a brain injury on January 18 last year. The man, who is from West Derby, fell from scaffolding at Croxteth Sports and Wellbeing centre and subsequently sustained a brain haemorrhage, a fractured skull, a collapsed lung and broken bones.

The company was prosecuted and fined following an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) which discovered that the scaffolding tower had been unsafe. After the accident the worker was in intensive care for two weeks. The brain injury he suffered has had a long-term impact on his personality. He has been unable to return to work as a consequence of his injuries.

The accident occurred when the company was carrying out a job that involved installing a suspended ceiling at the Croxteth Sports and Wellbeing centre. Originally a scissor lift was going to be utilised in order to reach the ceiling, however they did not properly arrange for the scissor lift to be delivered to the site, so a scaffolding tower was used instead. The use of the scaffolding tower was made hazardous due to the fact the brakes of the wheels had not been applied in addition to the fact that no edge protection had been positioned around the work platform to stop workers from falling.

When the tower suddenly started to move across the room while the man was working he fell two meters to the ground below. The HSE also discovered that scaffolding tower consisted of parts from numerous manufacturers and that these parts were in poor condition. The company admitted guilt to violating the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Mark Baker , a HSE inspector had this to say about the incident –

“One of CME Ceilings’ employees has suffered severe physical and mental injuries that will affect him for the rest of his life.

“The scaffolding tower the company provided simply wasn’t up to the job and his life was put in danger the minute he started to climb it.

“This case should act as a warning to firms not to cut corners and to make sure they use the right equipment for the job they’re doing.”

Dump Truck Driver Injured at Plymouth School

A builder who works for construction firm, Interserve, was left with suspected broken bone injuries following an incident where his dump truck fell down an embankment at a primary school on September 5th. The man’s colleagues said they heard him “cry out” when he was in the middle of performing repair work at Riverside Primary school in Barne Barton.

PC Gareth Hammett spoke at the scene –

“The man’s dumper tumbled down an embankment and onto its side.”

An Interserve spokesperson said it was unclear what exactly had occurred. The spokesperson went onto say that Interseve and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) would conduct an investigation.

The headteacher at Riverside, Brian Jones, said that they were expanding the school by building six new classrooms. He went onto say that an ambulance was immediately called when the man suffered his fall and three staff members administered first aid to him before it arrived. He then stated –

“We hope he is fit and well and able to return to the site as soon as possible.”

The HSE has since confirmed that an investigation will indeed by carried out on the incident along with Interserve.

A Devon and Cornwall Police spokesperson said yesterday: “The industrial accident victim suffered potentially life changing injuries.”

Two Companies Fined More than £70,000 after Worker Dies

Two companies have been ordered to pay fines of more than £70,000 by Leicester Crown Court after a worker was killed by driving his scissor lift into an unprotected pit in a floor of a food processing plant in Ratby Lane in Leicester in 2008. 52 year old Martin McMenem from Grimsby was employed by O Turner Insulation Ltd when the accident happened , he was installing wall and ceiling panels at the time. The vehicle fell over when he drove it into the uncovered recess, later in hospital Mr McMenem died of severe head injuries.

An investigation made by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that O Turner Insulation Ltd and principal contractor Clegg Food Projects Ltd had not implemented simple safety measures for its workers. The use of a metal plate or a cordon would likely have prevented the iaccident from occurring. O Turner Insulation Ltd was was ordered to be pay fines of £22,500 with £12,806 in costs, while Clegg Food Projects was ordered to pay fines of £22,500 and £12,674 in costs.

Stephen Farthing, a HSE inspector, stated –

“This was an entirely preventable tragedy. A family has been left without a father because simple precautions were not taken to eliminate what was an obvious hazard. Both companies had a duty to plan, manage and monitor the work being carried out under their control, but failed in that duty.”

Mr McMenemy’s eldest son, 33 year old Ashley, worked alongside his father as a thermal insulation engineer for several years, but after the incident he could not continue in that career any longer. On the matter he he said –

“I lost interest in working as a thermal insulation engineer following the incident. The work wasn’t the same and I simply didn’t enjoy it any more. I miss Dad and I am upset that if I ever have any children he will not get to see them. I often think of him, and all the things we haven’t yet done. I miss getting to know him better.”

Car Recycling Company Plead Guilty to Unsafe Work Practices

Donald Ward Limited, a recycling firm which trades as Wards Recycling, has been fined after Thomasz Hac, a worker at the company, sustained severe injuries when he came to be trapped in a car-crushing machine onJune 17, 2009. It is a car recycling company, so Mr Hac and his coworker were trying to unblock the fragmentiser which is a machine that crushes and shreds scrapped cars in order to be recycled.

The frameteiser stopped abruptly due to the blockage. Both workers went inside the machine and noticed that the blockage was due to a car that had become stuck in the upper part of the machine. Mr Hac was trapped by this car when it slid down and trapped him as he was attempting to clear the blockage.

Health and Safety Executive prosecution, Rubina Zaidi, stated that inadequate training had been provided to employees regarding the best method of getting rid of a blockage. She went on to say –

“The blockages happened around once a month and there was only one member of the team who was fully trained in the mechanics of the fragmentiser. He was on holiday and a deputy was not left in charge. This accident could have been prevented. Mr Hac should have been told that they were not to enter the machine.”

Mr Hac sustained serious crush injuries to his kidneys, spleen and liver. Furthermore, his shoulder blade and four ribs were broken. He subsequently spent four days in intensive care and five days on a hospital ward after the accident occurred. He returned to work afterwards, but has since left the company.

The HSE discovered that there was no safe system in place to clear blockages. The company was found guilty by Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court and was then ordered to pay a fine £20,000 and also costs of £19,970.

Wards Recycling has implemented changes to its working practices as a result of the accident. Unblocking the machine is now a three-person job, which makes it safer for all employees involved. Company spokesperson, David Travers QC, insisted that the company was aware of the severity of the incident. He stated –

“The guidelines were found to be inadequate and this has since been rectified, with a number of new measures being put in place.”

HSE inspector, Sarah Jardine, had this to say –

“The company should have foreseen the risks and devised a safe way of removing blockages that didn’t involve workers being put in the way of something that was likely to move. As a result of the company’s failings, a man has suffered terrible injuries.”

Farm Owner Ordered to Pay Fines after Worker Falls 15 Feet

Farm owner, David Adamson, has been ordered to pay fines by Beverley Magistrates’ Court for violating health and safety laws after a worker, Daniel Boldan Hoggard, sustained serious injuries when he fell 15ft onto a concrete floor on July 19 last year. The now 21 year old from Shaftesbury Avenue in Goole was on the roof attempting to fix a leak between two connected farm buildings at Low Hunsley Farm, located in Little Weighton when he fell through one of six roof lights and landed on the concrete floor.

Mr Hoggard suffered a punctured lung and kidney, cracked four vertebrae and had sustained much bruising following the accident. Afterwards Mr Hoggard was in hospital for a week and could not go to work for six. He is to this day receiving physiotherapy to ease the long-term effects of the injuries he suffered.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Mr Adamson. They said that Mr Adamson did not consider the safety of his employees his failure to put up any safeguards or protective controls in place during the roof work, which put them in significant danger as a result. The HSE inspector investigated the accident, Paul Eastell, stated –

“Daniel Boldan Hoggard is, frankly, lucky to be alive. Falls from height kill more workers than anything else and are some of the most common causes of death in agriculture, yet Mr Adamson did not put any safety measures in place to protect Daniel as he worked over four metres from the ground.”

Adamson was fined £6,000 and ordered to pay £3,893.90 costs after pleading guilty to breaching the work regulations for working at a height.

Mr Eastell stated –

“Working at height, and even more so near fragile surfaces, is very high risk and yet HSE inspectors continue to find dangerous practice and a disregard for common sense and inexpensive safety controls.

“In this case there should at least have been suitable platforms, guard rails and boarding over the roof lights. I’m pleased that Daniel has made a reasonable recovery from his injuries and I hope this case emphasises to the wider farming community the need to think carefully through the dangers involved in all work activities and then act to reduce those risks to their workers and themselves.”

Birmingham Recycling Plant Prosecuted for Worker’s Broken Arm

Hawkeswood Metal Recycling , a scrap metal recycling firm, is likely to be ordered to pay ample fines by Birmingham Crown Court following an incident where a worker’s arm was caught in a piece of machinery at their factory in Birmingham. The worker in question, Ansumana Jammeh suffered, a broken arm when his right arm was trapped between a conveyor belt and a piece of equipment at the plant which is located in Aston Church Road, Nechells.

The unfortunate accident happened when Mr Jammeh was in the midst of sorting scrap metal when a piece of metal fell in between the roller and the belt, which subsequently caused the belt to bob up and down. He first attempted to remove this metal with the end of a mop and when that was not successful, he reached in to remove it with his hand.

However, his hand was subsequently trapped in the mechanism and he was unable to reach the machine’s emergency stop button. His co-workers did not immediately notice what had happened so it was several minutes before help was sought for Mr Jammeh. A protective guard should have been covering the machinery according to the law, however there was not one.

Mr Jammeh had been employed by the firm for six months was awarded an undisclosed amount of compensation from Hawkeswood Metal Recycling. Wayne Hawkeswood pleaded admitted guilt on account of the company to one charge of breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Regan Peggs, the defending solicitor, said that since the unfortunate occurrence, the company had obtained newer and safer equipment to replace the old unsafe machinery and the company had gone “above and beyond” what the Health and Safety Executive had recommended.  Birmingham Magistrates Court adjourned the case for sentencing at Birmingham Crown Court on July 26.

IFZW Maintenance Ltd Fined for Unsafe Work Practices

In August of last year, IFZW Maintenance Ltd was was discovered to be implementing unsafe work practices at a height at a crematorium in Swansea. The maintenance company had been contracted to install fans in Morriston Crematorium in conjunction with a new mercury-abatement system. Anne Marie Orrells, a Health Safety Executive (HSE) inspector, visited the site unannounced visit and witnessed two of the company’s workers working on the roof without the aid of any manner of edge protection.

Furthermore, in order to access the roof they were using an unsecured ladder, which was leaning against a wall that members of the public had easy access to. The company was ordered to halt work until the safety concerns were address by a Prohibition Notice served by the HSE.

Inspector Orrells said that their work method had not been planned adequately, saying –

“It was entirely foreseeable that people could fall when accessing and working on the crematorium roof. The installation of the fans was seen as short-duration work and was done in the absence of safety measures. The decision to work in this manner is indicative of poor planning and management for work at height.”

IFZW Maintenance had made themselves known to the HSE before. Nine weeks previously, at a site in Sheffield, the HSE had issued a Prohibition Notice to the company for work that was being done out atop cremator equipment without the aid of fall protection.

On 27 June IFZW Maintenance pleaded guilty to breaching reg.4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. It was subsequently ordered to pay fines of £11,500 and £3208 in costs.

To conclude, Inspector Orrells said –

“A fall from the roof could have proved fatal and posed a clear risk to members of the public attending funeral services. The dangers of working at height are well known and the standards are well established within industry and legislation.”

Retail Marketing Company Fined after Worker Death

Bezier Ltd, a retail marketing company, has been fined £118,500 Leeds Crown Court for “serious safety failings” over four years following an incident where 49-year-old William Aveyard from Shipley, was crushed to death while at work at their printing site in Wakefield. The company’s failure to comply with safety warnings resulted in the death of the worker from Wrose Road May 8, 2008 .

Mr Aveyard had become stuck in a hand-fed press and was subsequently pronounced dead at the scene. The press was being utilised for cutting out signs printed on corrugated card. It is likely that he climbed onto a moveable plate, used for pressing paper against type, to remove waste after a misfeed. He received fatal injuries when it activated, crushing him against the fixed press.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation discovered that a worker had died in a similar incident a year previously and that Bezier had failed to act on the health and safety knowledge acquired form this incident. Despite the fact that Mr Aveyard was indeed an experienced worker in the print industry, Bezier had not adequately trained him for using the machine correctly. Furthermore, no guidelines were provided for the workers who operated the machine for accessing the press and dealing with misfeeds.

Andy Denison , a HSE Inspector had this to say about the incident –

“The sudden – and avoidable – death of Mr Aveyard was a devastating blow for his family.

“Bezier did not act on the knowledge they had of a similar incident. The need for a safe system of work was identified at a Bezier meeting in May 2007. In February 2008, an external health and safety consultant prepared a risk assessment and an action plan but again, the company failed to act.

“Accessing the machine to retrieve misfeeds created a serious and foreseeable risk of death or serious injury. Bezier were fully aware of those risks before this incident and failed to implement the required controls.”

Leading Dental Practice Fined after Receptionist Falls Through Rooflight

Integrated Dental Holdings, a leading Bolton-based private dental practice, has been ordered to pay fines of £90,000 at Sheffield Crown Court following an incident where a receptionist fell through the rooflight of practice located in Sheffield on 25 March 2009. The receptionist was spending her lunch break on the flat roof of a single-storey with a co-worker at the at the dental practice in Firvale

After she sat on rooflight it collapsed, she fell three metres to the ground inside the practice. She subsequently sustained back, shoulder, knee and neck injuries. Apparently at least five other workers had used the roof, all of which were at risk of suffering injury from falling off the edge of the roof or through the rooflights, just like the receptionist.

Four years before the incident occurred, a health and safety consultant working for the company identified lack of protection to the edges of the roof in addition to the rooflights’ fragility in a risk assessment they produced. The dental practice had failed to act on advice to make the roof less accessible to employees.

The dental practice which which has more than 250 businesses in the UK, was fined £18,500 with £71,632.79 costs after being found guilty of violating the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 .

Health Safety Executive Inspector Mark Welsh had this to say on the matter –

“While many falls take place in manufacturing and construction, the risks can be present in the most unlikely work environments and employers should assess the risks and then take the steps necessary to implement the controls needed to safeguard their employees.”

 

 

Derbyshire Contractors Fined £400,000 after Crane Operator Left Paralysed

An incident where a crane collapsed on June 6, 2009 that left 55 year old Iain Gillham paralysed and caused much destruction at a Liverpool city centre apartment block has been ruled as being a preventable incident. The two construction firms involved in the accident had previously made disastrous errors that led to a 200ft crane falling through the Chandlers Wharf apartments which culminated in millions of pounds of destruction

The Heath and Safety Executive (HSE) have stated that it was  extremely lucky that many people were not killed. Derbyshire based contractors, Bowmer and Kirkland, were ordered to pay fines of £280,000 and in addition to almost £200,000 in costs by Liverpool Crown Court after being found guilty of violating safety laws which served to endanger both the lives of both workers and residents. Bingham Davis, a Liverpool structural engineering company, would have been ordered to pay £400,000 fines, however they will only be liable to pay £1,000 as the company is in liquidation and possesses no assets.

It was found that a redesign of the crane’s foundations was flawed and this caused it to be hazardously unstable. When it toppled over it flung Mr Gillham from the crane’s cab and crashed into the flats beside the building site where seven apartment blocks and a new eight-storey hotel were being built. Nobody who had been inside the building was injured, however residents were subsequently evacuated

The crane lost stability after the firms decided that it would be a good idea to cut off steel bars that were essential from four concrete foundation piles in order to sit the crane’s feet on top on them. The steel bars were replaced with four steel rods in each concrete foundation pile which served to reduce how much force the foundation could endure. All of this subsequently led to the crane collapsing.

Mr Gillham is now paralysed for life. He suffered substantial injuries, such as a fractured skull, 13 fractures in his chest and spine, a brain haemorrhage in addition to a collapsed lung and serious crush injuries. He will never be able to walk again. The judge stated that Mr Gillham was “entirely free” from blame.

Following the hearing, Warren Pennington, a HSE inspector, stated –

“Whilst it is bad enough that Iain Gillham will be unable to walk for the rest of his life as a result of the failings of both parties it is no exaggeration to say it was only by pure chance that this catastrophic event did not result in multiple fatalities.”

Shipyard Company fined after Worker Suffers Knee Injuries

A 19 year old apprentice required physiotherapy to recover from knee injuries sustained in a fall in a dry dock. David Banks was working on a boat at Pendennis Shipyard Ltd, in Falmouth. While the boat was being painted, it had been enclosed in plastic tenting. At the time of the incident, Mr Banks was cutting away the plastic to prepare the boat for launch.

Mr Banks fell roughly two metres to the dock floor after accessing the first level of scaffolding boards and they subsequently seesawed. No safety rails were in place and the planks had been insecure. Following the fall Mr Banks suffered knee injuries and required physiotherapy. He was unable to work for two weeks following the unfortunate incident.

Two Improvement Notices were served to the firm by the Health and Saftey Executive (HSE) inspector Melissa Lai-Hung regarding the training and supervision of staff and also inadequate planning with regards to apprentice workers. The company had been warned previously about the hazards of working at height. Since 2009, the company had received four Improvement Notices and one Prohibition Notice regarding this. Pendennis Shipyard Ltd was fined £6000 and ordered to pay full costs of £6288 by Truro magistrates after pleading guilty to breaching s2(1) of the HSWA 1974.

HSE inspector Melissa Lai-Hung Stated –

“Mr Banks was unaware that the scaffold planks were insecure and there were no safety rails in place.

“The company provided no safe working method for its workforce, there was no risk assessment for the work, and a lack of information, training, instruction and supervision at the site. This incident could easily have had much more serious consequences for Mr Banks.”

Toby Allies, Pendennis Shipyard’s sales and marketing director, told the Cornish Guardian

“We are extremely sorry this has happened and we take health and safety very seriously as a company. We are working closely with the HSE to move forward and ensure this doesn’t happen again.”

Veolia Fined After Worker Sustains Serious Burns

Veolia Environmental Services, a waste management firm, has been ordered to pay £5000 in fines and costs of £12,243 by City of London Magistrates Court following an incident where an agency worker at its incineration depot on Landman Way in Deptford sustained severe burn injuries on 29 December 2009. The agency worker, who wishes not to be named, was cleaning ash from a filtration hopper at the plant when he suffered 17 per cent burns to his body. The ash fell on him when he was trying to unblock part of the machine with the aid of a rod.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out an investigation which discovered that the policies and procedures that Veolia had in place for dangerous tasks of this nature were not actually being put into action. As a result, a worker who was vulnerable was put at risk because of the lack of adequate information and supervision provided to him. This agency worker who was Eastern European did not speak much English and as a result was not given sufficient briefing on company work practices before starting work.

Following the hearing, Kerrie Williams, a HSE inspector, stated that the worker was unable to carry out work in a safe manner due to the lack of basic information he received. She then went on to say:

“Veolia operates a high hazard site in Deptford and as such should ensure its systems are sufficiently robust to ensure people are not placed at unnecessary risk.”

Network Rail Fined for Breaching 1974 Safety at Work Act

Network Rail has been ordered to pay fines of £4m by Preston Crown Court because of the safety failings that caused the fatal train derailment in Grayrigg, Cumbria on February 23, 2007, which killed one passenger and injured 86 others. Network Rail is responsible for the upkeep of railways to an adequate standard and ensuring their safety. The firm accepted responsibility for the Virgin Pendolino tilting train which derailed near the remote village.

Network Rail pleaded guilty to breaching section 3(1) of the 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act last month and a sentence has just been passed. The London to Glasgow express derailed at 95mph when it struck an inadequately maintained and defective set of points. All of the train’s nine carriages derailed.

The train’s wheels came off the tracks due to the failure of Stretcher bars responsible for holding the moveable rails a certain distance apart when the points are operated.  A Rail Accident Investigation Branch compiled a report following the crash and concluded that the poor maintenance of the failed points were the “immediate cause” of the derailment.

If Network Rail had not pleaded guilty then their penalty would have been £6m. The firm was also ordered to pay £118,037 costs. Chief executive of Network Rail, Sir David Higgins stated –

“Within hours it was clear that the infrastructure was at fault and we accepted responsibility, so it is right that we have been fined.”

The director of railway safety at the Office of Rail Regulation, Ian Prosser, had this to say about the incident with regards to the safety of British Rail –

“Britain’s railways are safe and are one of the safest in Europe. But there is absolutely no room for complacency. Where failings are found those at fault will be held to account and the entire rail industry must continue to strive for improvements to ensure that public safety is never put at a similar risk again.”

 

Recycling Firm Fined £10,000 After Worker Breaks Foot

Countrystyle Recycling Ltd has been fined £10,000 by Maidstone Magistrate’s Court following an incident where a 19- year old worker’s foot was broken by a 16-tonne shovel. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted the recycling firm for its failure to implement a safe work system at its site in Kent.

The accident in which a 16-tonne shovel which crushed Mr Brown’s foot resulting in 16 bones occurred on February 22 2010. Daniel Brown was busy sorting waste when the tyre of a 16-tonne shovel ran over his right foot. The incident rendered Mr Brown unable to work  and all hopes were lost for his potential motocross career. Recurring foot pain and arthritis are still issues that he must deal with.

An investigation conducted by the HSE discovered that there was no system of segregation between moving vehicles and pedestrian, apart from informing employers verbally to stay clear. The HSE issued an Improvement Notice at the beginning of its investigation to segregate vehicles and pedestrians in a proper manner.

Countrystyle Recycling Ltd admitted guilt to violating section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 in relation to the incident. The firm was ordered to pay fines of £10,000 in addition to £6,221 in costs.

Stephen Green, a HSE inspector, stated –

“The injured worker was lucky not to be killed as a result of this incident, which could have easily been avoided if the long list of failures with this vehicle and systems had been addressed earlier.

“HSE has plenty of helpful guidance that could have been followed, and if the company had implemented a safe system of work, segregating moving vehicles from pedestrians, then a young man wouldn’t have broken a bone for every tonne of weight that rolled over his foot – 16 in total. There is no excuse for not having a safe system of work in place.”

Following the prosecution, a statement issued by Countrystyle stated –

“The Group takes health and safety matters seriously and has significantly strengthened its safety procedures in light of this incident.”