Monthly Archives: December 2011

Lighting Company Fined for Health and Safety Breaches

Academy Signs Ltd, a lighting company in Lincoln, has been fined and prosecuted for not implementing adequate health and safety measures. The company pleaded guilty to breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, the Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and the Work at Height Regulations 2005 for work that was carried out in The Ritz pub on July 8, 2010.

The company had failed to carry out adequate risk assessment checks, had taken inadequate measures in the case of an employee suffering a fall and had not assessed the risk of those who were not employed by the company. Academy Signs Ltd. Has been ordered to pay over £13,000 in fines and costs by Lincoln Magistrates Court and the City of Lincoln Council.

Paul Rohowsky, the Health and Safety Inspector at the City Council, said:

“The City of Lincoln Council has an enforcement responsibility for many businesses operating within the city and we will always investigate employers who demonstrate a blatant disregard for health and safety.

“The reckless manner in which Academy Signs Ltd went about replacing lighting tubes to JD Wetherspoon The Ritz on High Street put both their employees and members of the public walking on the footpath at risk of serious injury.

“The fine imposed by Lincoln Magistrates Court confirms that working at a height without any safety measures is unacceptable.”


Kimberly-Clark Fined After Factory Worker Dies

Kimberly-Clark has been ordered to pay fines of £180,000 after a 28 year old worker was killed at one of their Andrex factories located on Park Road in Barrow-in-Furness in November 2007. Christopher Massey , the worker in question who is also a former Barrow Raiders rugby player, died while working on his night shift when he was struck by a piece of machinery.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated the company and the incident and discovered that the dangerous piece of machinery that is used in the production of Andrex toilet paper was not sufficiently guarded. Before the accident occurred, Mr. Massey was making sure that the toilet paper was being fed through correctly by examining a gap in the machine. When he did this a large, two-metre wide reel of tissue was moved into place and hit him in the head.

The HSE also discovered that machine had been altered four months earlier with the addition of another piece of machinery. This was the cause of the dangerous gap that Mr Massey and other co-workers would often peer through to make sure that the Andrex toilet paper was being fed through correctly. Kimberly-Clark Ltd accepted liability for failing to ensure its employees health and safety by pleading guilty to violating the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Following the court hearing, Mark Dawson, the HSE principal inspector, stated that the workers at the Andrex factory had not been provided with adequate training with regards to how how the machine should have been used following its modification. He went onto say that this lack of care on the part of Andrex “meant that, for several months after the change, their lives were put at risk.”

Two Companies fined after Death of Electrician

Grandad-of-three Peter Cole, 61, an electrician from Chesire, died following an incident where – as he was fixing streetlights in Seaforth, Merseyside – the cherry-picker he was using collapsed. Mr Cole was nicknamed “the king of the road” by his co-workers due to his extensive and devoted four decade long career in street maintenance. The two construction companies involved in his death have been sentenced at Liverpool crown court after pleading guilty for the health and safety violations that were attributable to the accident that occurred in August 2006.

The two highway maintenance companies, Amey Infrastructure Services and Mouchel Parkman Services, were each fined £30,000 for their failure to carry out record checks which were essential for ensuring the cherry-picker or mobile elevating work platform’s (MEWP) safety. The machine that Mr Jones was using, which was hired from Highland Access – a now defunct firm –  was nine years old and had gone through numerous repairs before this tragic incident.

Nigel Lawrence, who prosecuted the two companies on behalf of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) described the accident and how it occurred –

“Mr Cole decided to use this vehicle in order to deal with a problem which had arisen with a lighting column. Accordingly Mr Cole climbed into the basket of the MEWP, raised himself up to the lights and dealt with the problem. As the basket was being lowered, the boom of the MEWP collapsed, causing Mr Cole to fall around 7m to 8m from the basket on to the lorry bed. He sustained serious injuries from which he sadly died.”

The HSE investigations also revealed that the cherry-picker had been overused and that many complaints had been made about the machine previously. However, neither of the companies had maintained the machine sufficiently since it had first been acquired and a system of safety checks for it did not exist.

Despite the fact that both companies did have good safety records when it came to the well-being of staff, this was simply not the case when it came to statutory checks on the machine. After death of Mr Jones, they vowed to only use new or almost-new MEWPs. Both companies where ordered to pay fines  of £30,000 and £32,500 in costs.