Monthly Archives: May 2012

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.”