Monthly Archives: December 2012

Chemical Manufacturing Company Fined after Workers Exposed to Toxic Substances

Endeavour Speciality Chemicals Ltd, a chemical manufacturing company from Daventry, Northamptonshire has been fined by Northampton Magistrates’ Court for exposing its employees to a variety of hazardous chemicals.  A 46-year-old despatch officer who worked for the company developed occupational asthma and rhinitis after she handled numerous toxic substances – used in the process food production – that were categorised as being a health hazard. The former despatch officer now has another job in the firm as she has been rendered unable to work with chemicals any longer.

Employees of the company were expected to manually pour substances into containers to despatch to customers, despite the fact that they were not provided with ventilation or workplace necessary health and safety measures. It was discovered by a Health and Safety Executive investigation that the company had not adequately assessed the dangers of the chemicals they used, or the extent of how it could affect the employees that had been exposed to it, in addition to failing to impose preventative measures

Endeavour Speciality Chemicals Ltd was fined a total of £15,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,000 after they pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 6(1), and 7(1) of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002

James Wright, a HSE inspector, had this to say on the matter –

“The company’s failure to assess the risks, and implement control measures for what was a simple work process, has resulted in an employee suffering years of ill health, and has probably prevented her from ever working with chemicals again.

“The measures that were required to have made this work safe were inexpensive and not difficult to implement. These could have included effective fume cupboards suitable for the work, local exhaust ventilation, good hygiene practices, exposure monitoring and suitable PPE. Companies should ensure they have suitable arrangements in place to manage the risks from the handling of hazardous substances.”

“Every year, thousands of workers are made ill by hazardous substances, contracting lung disease such as asthma, cancer and skin disease such as dermatitis. These diseases cost many millions of pounds each year to industry, to replace the trained worker, to society, in disability allowances and medicines, and individuals, who may lose their jobs.”

Cardiff Building Company Fined after Exposing Workers and Public to Safety Risks

Rimo Construction Ltd, a building company of Vaindre Road, St Mellons, Cardiff, has been fined for failing to follow health and safety regulations and exposing its employees and members of the public to danger while construction work was carried out on a house in Rumney in June 2012. The Health and Safety Exectutive (HSE) has discovered that the employers were working on the roof with the aid of a scaffolding which did not adequately protect them from falling.

On the 28th of June a portion of the scaffolding had been removed, however employees continued working nevertheless. The HSE was alerted by a concerned local resident and an inspector called to the building site to investigate. Rimo Construction was ordered to cease work on the house immediately; however on June 30th employees continued to carry out their work in exactly the same manner. Guard rails and other means of protection should have been implemented to protect the workers from potentially injuring themselves and others.

Subsequently, Rimo Construction was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £1,000 in costs after they pleaded guilty to violating Sections 2(1), 3(1) and 33(1)(g) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Simon Breen, HSE Inspector, had this to say on the matter –

“The dangers of working at height without adequate edge protection are very clear, yet companies and individuals continue to take risks and cut corners. Rimo Construction was well aware of the precautions it should have been taking, particularly after being served with a Prohibition Notice to stop work on the scaffolds and on the roof. Yet less than 24 hours later the company ignored the risks and the terms of the notice.

Whilst there were no injuries, the workers could have fallen from the scaffolding or roof into the grounds of the neighbouring houses on either side. I hope today’s prosecution serves to remind all companies who expect employees to work at height of their legal duties to properly manage safety, and to provide the necessary protection required to safeguard them and others from falls.”

Farm Equipment Engineering Company Fined After Farmer Suffers Fatal Injuries

McHale Engineering, an international manufacturer of farm equipment based in Co. Mayo in the Republic of Ireland, has been fined £45,000 and ordered to pay £70,000 costs by Shrewsbury Crown Court following an incident where the rotating arms of a defective bale wrapping machine hit the head of a 48-year-old Shropshire farmer and he subsequently died. McHale Engineering Ltd was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for when they supplied the faulty machine in 2001.

The farmer, George Stokes, died at Tong Norton Farm in Shifnal on 28 May 2009 after an accident involving the machine. Mr Stokes had been on his own as he prepared to use the bale wrapping machine prior to grass cutting season. His brother later found him slumped over the machine. He was pronounced dead at the scene by ambulance personnel. The HSE carried out an investigation that discovered how the machine’s rotating arms were not designed to switch off in a sufficient amount of time when the safety trip bar is activated; this means that anyone using the machine was still at risk of injury by the machinery even when they activated the safety trip bar.

It is believed that the machine hit Mr Stokes when all of a sudden it began to rotate; it only stopped after it had taken nearly a third of a turn when the safety trip was activated. Mr Stokes suffered fatal head injuries because of the failing safety trip bar.

David Kivlin, a HSE inspector has said that Mr Stokes’ tragic death could well have been avoided if the machine has been designed to stop when once the safety bar was activated. He then added –

“Manufacturers of farm equipment should ensure that they design such equipment so that safety risks are reduced as far as possible for anyone who enters the danger zone of the rotating arms. McHale Engineering failed to do this.”

West Yorkshire Firm Fined after Worker Shatters FInger and Thumb

CCL Label Ltd in Pioneer Way, Castleford, West Yorkshire has been ordered by Leeds Magistrates to pay fines after an employee had his thumb and finger shattered by a printing press on 27 February 2012. Extensive medical treatment was required for 55 year old Derek Shield, of Tingley, after he suffered this horrendous injury such as a skin graft and the necessary pinning his thumb and index finger under a bandage for several months. The incident occurred when Mr Shield’s hand was drawn into the printing press as he was cleaning it.

The company was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an investigation into the incident discovered that the accident could have been avoided if the machine’s dangerous parts had been adequately protected. While he was in the process of cleaning a central impression drum, Mr Shield felt around for any loose or foreign objects as it rotated for the purpose of removing them. Unfortunately, his left hand was drawn into the machine by the nip point.

It was found that a guard covering the nip point of the machine had been removed two years before. There was no safety checks made to ensure that a guard was there before the machine was again used. CCL Label Ltd had failed to take steps to rectify this potential hazard. Subsequently, the company was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay £2,141 in costs after they admitted breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

Following the hearing, HSE inspector Paul Newton stated –

“Mr Shield’s injury could have been avoided if there had been an effective guard in place. In addition employees need training in how to clean machinery safely. Companies should ensure there are regular checks on machine guards and that employees are properly supervised to ensure unsafe work practices do not develop.

“Unguarded or poorly guarded machinery is the cause of many injuries in workplaces across the country. In 2010/11 over 1,000 people were seriously injured from contact with dangerous moving parts of machines.

“Employees should not be exposed to risks to their safety through their everyday work.”