Monthly Archives: December 2011

Brothers Ordered to Pay Fines after Farmworker is Injured

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has prosecuted Derek Benney, Richard Benney and Roger Benney, of FH Benney and Sons, following a dangerous incident at their farm Higher Nansloe near Helston. The incident involved a 55 year old farmworker from Wendron who was severely injured when a tractor with a faulty handbrake ran him over in September 2010. As a result they have been ordered to pay a fine of £7,500 and a total of £9,000 in costs.

Colin Jenkinds was in the middle of spreading manure over a field when he had to get out of his tractor to open a gate. The tractor, which was parked on a slope, subsequently rolled forward and ran him over.  Mr Jenkin sustained seven broken ribs, crush injuries to his back and permanent eye socket damage. Despite the condition of his eyes, Mr Jenkins was still able to use his mobile phone to call for help. He has been rendered unable to continue working following the incident.

It was concluded by the HSE that the handbrake of the tractor had not been properly maintained by the farm.

Derek, Richard and Roger Benney all admitted guilt to breaching Regulation 5 (1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. Derek Benney was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £3,000 costs. Richard Benney was fined £3,500 and ordered to pay £3,000 costs. Roger Benney was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £3,000 costs.

Following the hearing HSE inspector, Gareth Cottle said that Mr Jenkins could easily have died in the incident. His life has changed dramatically as a result of his injuries and being unable to work. He also stated –

“Farmers must ensure equipment used on their farms is properly maintained and serviced to avoid future incidents like this.”

Construction Company and Managing Director Fined After Worker Dies

Siteweld Construction Ltd, a construction company, and its managing director have been prosecuted by Liverpool Crown Court after a 46-year-old construction worker died on 29 March 2007 when the crane he was operating fell over. The worker, Richard Mark Thornton, who was a father of two from Longridge near Preston, died when the 50-tonne crane fell over as it was trying to move a steel column. Mr Thornton had been assisting in the construction of a new floor on a warehouse at Wavertree Business Park when the steel column suddenly struck him.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted the firm and its managing director, Benjamin Lee, for their failure in ensuring that work was planned and executed in a safe manner. The HSE discovered that the crane was lifting the six-tonne steel column from almost 18 metres away, which is outside the realms of a safe lifting capacity for a crane of that distance. The HSEialso discovered that the crane was not sufficiently maintained and the crane’s alarm was not audible to nearby workers. Furthermore, the override switches were defective, which included the switch that stopped the crane lifting loads outside its capacity.

Benjamin Lee was fined £80,000 and ordered to pay £18,478 in prosecution costs after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 8(1) of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998. Siteweld Construction Ltd also pleaded guilty to the same offence and was fined £50 with no costs due to the fact that it is no longer functioning.

Mr Thornton’s widow, Sandra, stated –

“Mark and I were together over 20 years. We used to do everything together. When Mark died, my life stopped. I don’t live, I exist.

“It is hard to express just how much I miss him. I open the front door and he’s just not there.”

HSE inspector, Sarah Wadham, said reffered to as Mr Thornton’s death due to the company ignoring safety warnings as “tragic” and that the crane was in no way capable of lifting the steel column. She then stated –

“If the work had been properly planned, and the crane had been properly maintained, then Mr Thornton would still be alive today. It is vital construction companies learn from this case to prevent similar deaths in the future.

Bus Company Prosecuted after Apprentice Suffers Facial Injuries

Stagecoach Yorkshire, one of the main bus operators in South Yorkshire has been ordered to pay fines by Barnsley Magistrates’ Court for safety violations following an incident where a teenage apprentice became trapped under a 14 tonne bus due to an air suspension failure on 7 September 2009 . The apprentice, Ben Burgin from Penistone, who was 17 at the time, subsequently needed plastic surgery to restore his nose and eye socket after the accident which occurred at the company’s garage in Barnsley.

At the time of the incident, Mr Burgin was working to remedy a fault with the brakes on a bus which had been fitted with an air suspension system with the help of an experienced fitter. Instead of transferring the bus above an inspection pit, the bus was still on the garage floor when they tried to fix it. Mr Burgin was underneath the bus when the air suspension failed suddenly and the bus fell on him, leaving his face badly damaged. Another worker hurried to his aid and the bus was raised enough to free him.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out an investigation into the accident and subsequently prosecuted the Stagecoach Yorkshire’s owners, Yorkshire Traction Company Ltd of Stockport, Cheshire. They were fined £15,000 and ordered to pay £8,473 in costs after pleading guilty to two offences under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

The HSE Inspector  who investigated the case, Steve Kay, had this to say following the hearing –

“Thankfully Ben has been able to return to work but he had a painful recovery after suffering a totally needless ordeal.

“When employing young people, it is crucial that firms take particular account of their obvious lack of experience and lack of awareness of risks.

“The risks involved when working on buses and coaches with air suspension systems are well known in the motor industry. The latest guidance has warnings about never going underneath unless the buses are properly supported. There have been incidents in the past, including deaths, when air suspension systems have failed catastrophically while someone was underneath.

“Yorkshire Traction fell well below a reasonable standard. It failed to take basic precautions such as looking at all the risks involved and specifying a safe system of work for their employees, including close supervision.

“Young people are more vulnerable. The purpose of assessing the risks they may encounter is not to produce paperwork but to protect them as best you are able.”

Construction Company Fined after Worker Fall

Preseli Construction & Maintenance Ltd – a Pembroke Dock construction company – and its director have been prosecuted by Haverfordwest Magistrates’ Court after a labourer was seriously injured on a construction site on 25 March 2010. The labourer, 31 year old Karl Kraus from Pembroke Dock, was working on a three storey domestic property in Saundersfoot when he was told to remove a concrete block that had been placed in a doorway. He then fell to the balcony seven metres below him when he tried to throw the block.

Mr Kraus the had to undergo surgery to pin the bone in his left heel and was forced to spend six days in Morriston Hospital in Swansea followed by ten months in a plaster cast. He still suffers with severe pain constantly and is no longer able to walk on uneven ground without the risk of a fall. Further surgery is necessary for his foot in order to prevent more damage being done. However, he will never be able to work in the construction industry again.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) conducted an investigation into the construction site incident and discovered that there was no scaffold or any type of fall prevention implemented. The company and its director, Mr Christopher Newell, had failed to provide a safe work environment for employees and also failed to ensure that work at height was properly undergone in a correct and well-supervised manner.

Preseli Construction & Maintenance Ltd was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,376.25 after pleading guilty to a breach of Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. Mr Christopher Newell was fined £4,000, with costs of £2,376.25 after he also also pleaded guilty to violating Section 37(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.  He has also been disallowed from acting as a company director or engaging in management business in the company for at least two years.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Anne-Marie Orrells spoke of how he was no unable to live a normal, everyday life and perform simple tasks because of the constructions site’s failure to implement proper safety measures to portect employees. She added –

“This is a typical example of high risk work being conducted in an unsafe manner. Had scaffolding been put in place, this incident could so easily have been prevented.”