Category Archives: Work Accidents

Tin Can Manufacturer Fined after Worker is injured

Emballator UK Ltd – a manufacturer of tin cans – has been fined £12,000 and ordered to pay £3,769 in full costs  by Bradford Magistrates’ Court after a 51-year-old worker from Holmewood sustained severe injuries following an incident when a 1.5 tonne pallet of tin plates fell and landed on his right lower leg and foot at the company’s factory in Tyersal. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) subsequently investigated the incident which occurred on 6 February 2012. They prosecuted the company when they discovered numerous safety failings. The worker in question, David Wain, who was employed as a coating assistant, was instructed to use an older machine to turn the tin plate because of a fault with the newer pallet turning machine.

Mr Wain had never used this older machine so a co-worker showed him how to load pallets in it for turning. Following this, Mr Wain used a forklift truck to pick up a pallet, and loaded the machine in the manner that his co-worker had showed him, which was by using empty pallets to wedge the pallets. He then turned the machine on. When the machine turned 180 degrees a few minutes later, he noticed the plates and pallets moving. He attempted to move out of the way, however, all of the metal fell from the machine and trapped his foot against the floor.

Mr Wain sustained several injuries, such as the severing of his big toe and the spliiting of the sole of his foot. He was able to get two of his toes surgically reattached and he also needed plates to be put into his ankle and screws in his lower leg.He spent 11 days in hospital. Since the accident, Mr Wain hasn’t been able to leave the house and also cannot walk without the aid of crutches. He may need to have his lower leg and foot amputated.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation discovered that the company had had not provided employees with safe equipment or a safe work system. Furthermore, Emballator UK Ltd had had not carried out a risk assessment for the older machine. In addition, there was no supervision of Mr Wain as he was using the machine for the first time, nor was it checked that he fully understood the process.

Andrea Jones, the HSE Inspector involved stated –

“Everyone has the right to come home from work safe and well. But David Wain suffered life-changing injuries in an incident that was preventable.

“Emballator UK Ltd failed in their duties to provide a suitable machine for turning pallets and a safe method of operation that Mr Wain could use. Manually securing the load in an open box by means of wedges or empty pallets is not a sufficiently reliable method of securing the load.

“A proper examination of the risks would have shown that there was a danger of the load shifting and falling from the machine, during or after turning. A simple clamping mechanism would have secured it, and was indeed applied to the newer machine.

“It is also essential that checks are made by managers to ensure operators are trained and competent to use the machines they provide, understand the risks and associated precautions to take.”

Halfiax Firm Fined after Teenage Warehouse Worker Breaks Leg

THS Industrial Textiles, a West Yorkshire company, has been fined £6,000 and ordered to pay £4,994 in full costs by Halifax Magistrates for breaching safely laws following an incident where a 1.5 tonne pallet fell on to an 18-year-old warehouse worker and trapped his legs. The worker sustained a broken leg in the incident which occurred in the company’s premises in Heathfield Business Park, in Elland on 16 March 2011. The teenager, who does not want to be named, had to spend three days in hospital and does not work for the company anymore.

After the accident, Health and Safety Executive (HSE conducted an investigation) and subsequently prosecuted the company after they discovered numerous failings with regards to health and safety. It was discovered that the company had a dangerous system of work when it came to pallet and incorrect equipment was provided to workers who therefore were unable to safely carry out the job.

The workers dragged the pallets across the container floor by using straps to bring them closer to the doors where a forklift truck would lift them. The forks also dragged them closer to the doors. Furthermore, this truck did not have a valid lifting certificate and it also was carrying weight that was above its capacity. Before the incident occurred a co-worker of the man had informed the company of this, but THS Industrial Textiles had done nothing to remedy the hazardous working situation.

David Welsh, a HSE Inspector, had this to say about the incident –

“A young worker suffered a serious injury that could have been far worse as a result of this company’s numerous failures. This was not an isolated breach as it was clear these unloading operations had been taking place in an unsafe manner for some time.

“THS Industrial Textiles was very poor at assessing and managing risks arising from this work, despite its dangers being well recognised within the industry.

“Unloading pallets appears to be a simple operation but it needs to be planned carefully, workers need the right equipment for each kind of unloading task, and the employer needs to actively supervise them.”

Staples Disposables Ltd Admits Poor Health and Safety Management after Three Employees are Injured

Following three separate incidents where factors workers sustained hand injuries from using unguarded machines, a Lincolnshire manufacturing firm of disposable paper products – Staples Disposables Ltd – has been ordered to pay fines and costs of £116,000. The company was prosecuted at Lincoln Crown Court on April 19 by The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after they investigated the three incidents at its factory located in Fulbeck Heath of Hurlingham Business Park near Grantham.

The first victim was Bruno Jorge, a 32 year old man from Sleaford. His left thumb was amputated after unguarded machinery on a production line crushed it on July 26th 2011. Mr Jorge was left unable to work for several months but has recently returned to employment at the company and has been assigned other duties.

The next victim was Yelena Semenchenko, a 30 year old agency worker from of Lincoln. Her incident occurred only a month after Mr Jorge’s on August 25th.  The blade of a napkin folding machine cut Ms Semenchenko’s finger and she has not subsequently returned to work for the company.

The third victim, Simon Burnett, aged 46 from Navenby, suffered the loss of all four fingers on his right hand a year later when it got caught between unguarded rollers. It is too soon to tell whether or not Mr Burnett will ever be able to return to work.

The court was told how Mr Jorge had been working on a new production line. When he went to clear a blockage in the machine – a common company practice – his hands got caught in the rollers. He not only suffered a crushed thumb but also a fractured palm. The HSE discovered that when the machine was being tested by engineers, the interlocked guards around the equipment had been overridden by the company for easy access. Management of the company were fully aware of this fact but failed to restore the interlocks.

With regards to the second accident it was found that an electrically-interlocked guard had been removed. This guard had been installed in 2007, after a similar incident had occurred where the company had been been prosecuted by the HSE. However, it was soon removed again within a few weeks of installing them.

The third accident occurred because of the company’s general practice to lock operators within an enclosure for the purpose of keeping them away from the hazardous aspects of the toilet paper production line. This dangerous practice was never noticed or stopped by the manufacturers or its management.

Staples Disposables Ltd pleaded guilty to three charges of breaching Sections 2(1) and one charge of breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was ordered to pay a fine of £85,000 and are liable to pay costs of £31,380.

David Lefever, a HSE inspector, had this to say after the hearing –

“Staples Disposables Ltd had a poor health and safety management system and failed to suitably supervise factory operations. The company was well aware that machines should have interlocked guards in place to prevent people accessing dangerous moving parts of the machinery, yet it continued to put workers at risk over a prolonged period. Injury was inevitable.”

Brockmoor Foundry Company Limited Fined after Employee Avoids Fatal Accident

Brockmoor Foundry Company Limited, an iron foundry located in Leys Road, Brierley Hill, West Midlands, has been fined by Dudley Magistrates’ Court after an employee fell off a collapsing platform and almost into a 1400 degree stream of molten metal in October 2011. The 42 year old man, who wishes not to be named, sustained bruising to his arm, neck and shoulders after he fell off the front of the platform. If he had fallen backwards, he would have landed in the deadly molten stream.

This platform that the man had been standing on was designed only to hold sampling equipment. However, an investigation carried out by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) discovered that employees of the foundry would often use the platform as a means to cross the production line and the conveyer. The company had failed to introduce sufficiently safe working practices and also failed to notice this unsafe practice that was being carried out by workers on a regular basis. The platform had collapsed due to this unsafe practice. It was then found that the other platforms in the vicinity were also old, unstable and missing vital safety features such as handrails.

Subsequently, Brockmoor Foundry Company Limited were fined £10,400 and ordered to pay costs of £4,000 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work (etc) Act 1974.

John Glynn, a HSE inspector, had this to say on the matter –

“The employee was extremely lucky to have only suffered bruising – as it was a matter of good fortune that he fell towards the front of the platform. He could so easily have fallen off the platform entirely, or worse, fallen backwards into the molten metal stream.

“The incident was entirely avoidable and occurred because the company failed to assess the risks and control the hazards associated with their work activities.

“The case demonstrates the importance of effective management. Had the company performed a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks surrounding the area, provided appropriate work equipment and effectively managed their employees’ systems of work, safety in this dangerous environment would have been significantly increased.”

Business Man and his Company Fined after Worker Sustains Injuries

A South London businessman and his company, Granite Express Ltd (which went into liquidation in November 2012) based in Beddington Lane, Croydon, have been prosecuted for violating health and safety regulations by Westminster magistrates for an incident where an employee was almost crushed by collapsing stone slabs. The dangerous incident occurred on 16 February 2012 when workmen were unloading the two tonne set of ten slabs from a lorry, when suddenly they fell from the side of it.

Radoslaw Samson, 24, an employee at Granite Express, had just removed supporting packaging from the slabs so that they could be moved by a forklift when the incident occurred.  The slabs toppled when he was making necessary adjustments to the lifting arm of the forklift. Mr Samson and his colleague attempted to jump from the side of the lorry, however Samson was hit by the heavy slabs and subsequently sustained a broken leg and severe bruising to his right side. He was on crutches for six months and was rendered unable to work for ten; he did not return to employment at the company.

Granite Express Ltd and its former director Przemyslaw Zalecki, 37 were investigated and resultantly prosecuted by Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following the incident. They were charged with joint safety failings. The company had once before been served a prohibition notice by the HSE when a routine inspection in June 2010 discovered that the lifting arm of the crane was it was not suitable for operating. Mr. Zalecki was advised on how to better adhere to workplace health and safety protocols and how to more effectively assess the risk of equipment used to transport stone slabs.

It was later discovered that the same crane was still in use at the company even after the injuries that Mr Samson sustained. Furthermore, it was found that in addition to the fact that the crane had not received required servicing and maintenance; workers had not been trained adequately to operate this machinery. There was no safe work practice in place and also a lack of supervision for workers provided by Mr Zalecki and his company. Granite Express Ltd admitted two breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act l974 and was fined a total of £2,000 with £5,000 in costs. Przemyslaw Zalecki was also fined a total of £2,000 and ordered to pay £5,000 in costs after he admitted to two similar violations of the Act.

Following the hearing, Jane Wolfenden, a HSE inspector stated –

“A young man was very seriously injured because of the cavalier attitude tor safety by Mr Zalecki and his company, Granite Express Ltd. Bearing in mind the weight of these stone slabs, it is fortunate that this was not a double fatality.

“Despite the high risk of serious personal injury involved in the handling and moving of stone slabs being well known in the industry, and despite specific advice to devise a safe system of work for unloading them from a vehicle, the defendants failed to respond.

“The attitude towards health and safety was so poor that the company even permitted the continued use of a lifting attachment that had been subject to a prohibition notice.

“HSE will not hesitate to take action against either companies or their directors whose approach to the wellbeing of their employees fall so well below accepted standards.”

Packaging Firm Fined £200,000 after Worker Suffered Serious Hand Injuries

Smurfit Kappa UK Ltd, a packaging firm, has been fined £200,000 and ordered to pay £19,308 in prosecution costs by Carlisle Crown Court after a 25-year-old employee had his hands stuck in heavy machinery and subsequently sustained serious injury at their Whitehaven factory on 14 September 2010. The employee from Egremont, who wishes not to be named, ended up suffering the loss of four fingers and severed parts of two others in the accident at the company’s site at Richmond Works in Hensingham.

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted the company following their investigation which discovered that the employee had not been tried adequately prior to the accident and that he also had not been supervised at the time. At the time of the accident the employee was working on a power press, a machine which applies a force of up to 35 tonnes for the purpose of stamping out metal lids, which is then used either at the end of cardboard tubes or for packaging for whisky bottles.

He had been changing the lid producing part of the machine, while trying to make sure that it was producing the correct lid size. To remove the lid, he reached under the pressing tool.  This pressing tool then stamped down on his hands. He subsequently lost the little and ring fingers on his left hand, the ring and middle fingers on his right hand in addition to the little and index fingers on his right hand which had been severed to the second knuckle.

Apparently the employee’s supervisor had left the company four months prior to the incident, however workers that replaced this supervision had not been given adequate training. Furthermore, the injured employee had not been trained sufficiently prior to the incident and adequate risk assessment had not been carried out.

HSE Inspector Andrew Jewitt stated –

“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.

“Incidents like this will continue to happen if employers don’t take the risks seriously.”

BP McKeefry Ltd Fined for Failure to Ensure Health and Safety of its Workers

BP McKeefry Ltd, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after a 26-year-old truck driver from Merseyside was almost fatally injured during an incident where his vehicle hit an 11,000 volt overhead power line as he delivered fertiliser to a farm in Maghull on 14 March 2011. The HSE conducted an investigation following the incident and discovered that the firm’s employees were not adequately trained when it came to the risk management of overhead cables.

The driver, who does not want to be name, had been tipping the fertiliser onto the ground of the farm when the incident happened. He subsequently moved the truck forward, with the trailer still raised, so that the remainder of the fertiliser would be emptied. The corner of the trailer then hit an overhead power line which was about seven metres above the ground.

He then jumped from the truck after hearing popping sounds and then the tires at the side of the truck were set on fire. When he noticed that the truck was touching a cable overhead, he got back in the vehicle to drive it away. The company’s employees should have received proper training that would informed them not to raise trailers unless they were more than ten metres away from a power line. The driver also should have known not to get back into his truck.

BP McKeefry was fined £6,000 and ordered to pay £3,000 in prosecution costs after pleading guilty to violating the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

HSE Inspector Imran Siddiqui stated –

“The worker was lucky not to be killed when his vehicle struck an overhead power cable, especially when he later jumped back into the vehicle while it was still in contact with the line.

“BP McKeefry specialises in transporting liquid and powder products, such as fertiliser, and so is used to delivering to farms where there may be overhead power lines.

“Despite this, the company failed to provide its employees with a suitable procedure for working near overhead cables, or guidance on what to do if they struck one.”

 

Suffolk Farming Partnership Fined after Worker Suffers Hand Injury

A Suffolk farming partnership has been ordered to pay fines by Ipswich Magistrates’ Court due to a worker suffering injury whilst working at Cherry Gate Farm, Norwich Road, Mendlesham on 7 November 2011. The worker, Luke Parker, 29 from Eye, was working as an egg collector for Green Label Farms LLP, when he noticed that one of the bird feeding lines in one of the sheds was not operating correctly.

Apparently it was not unusual for these lines to stop working and farm workers were aware of the necessary steps to take in order to make them work again. The cover of a chamber would be removed and chicken feed scooped out so that the sensor would be cleared. The rotating mechanism for carrying the feed along the lines would subsequently be activated and clear the blockage.

However, on this particular day that Mr Parker was clearing the chamber, the sleeve of his jumper got drawn into the rotating parts which pulled his hand and wrist under and around the machine. He successfully prevented the line from working again by covering the sensor with his other hand and called for help from nearby co-workers. He was badly cut which caused nerve damage and tendon damage in his arms. To this day he still suffers from pain and is unable to fully move his right wrist.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) conducted an investigation into the incident and discovered that that there was no safety protocols implemented for rectifying blocked feed lines in addition to their being no safety measures in place to prevent the feed line from inadvertently starting up again.

The company was fined a total of £5,000 and ordered to pay £8,372 in costs after pleading guilty to two offences: breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations.

HSE Inspector Saffron Turnell had this to say about the incident –

“Mr Parker was lucky not to have been more seriously injured in what was an entirely preventable incident.

“The company should have had a safe system of work in place to handle blockages, which should have included isolating the power supply to the machinery before anyone put their hand inside the chamber where there were moving parts.

“A secure locking-off of the system would have also ensured the machinery could not start up once the chamber cover was removed.

“Farming is the UK’s most at-risk industry sector with on average between 40 and 50 workers killed on British farms every year. That’s a higher death rate than construction or manufacturing.”

Textile Company Fined After Worker Death

WE Rawson Ltd , a West Yorkshire based textile company, has been fined over £115,000 by Leeds Crown Court for breaching safety regulations after an incident where a 61-year-old forklift truck operator was crushed by a falling stack of rag bales and killed on 22 February 2010. Later that day the worker, James Welka, died in hospital.

The accident that caused Mr Welka’s death occurred when a column of bales collapsed and two bales of rags – which each weighed more than 300kg – hit Mr Welka in the head. Mr Welka from Wakefield had been working for the firm for five years and was an experienced forklift operator.

Mr Welka had been stood next to a five-metre high column of bales on day that the accident occurred. He had been calling a supervisor on the phone. Nearby, a colleague was moving some bales with a forklift. All of a sudden the column fell over towardsthe colleague’s truck, however the two bales that had been on top fell towards Mr Welka and struck him.

A Health and Safety Executive investigation discovered that WE Rawson Ltd had been unsafely stacking these rag bales. Not only were there safety failures with regards to the well-being of its employees, but they were also endangering the lives of pedestrians around the warehouse.

After the incident, HSE inspector Geoff Fletcher said:

“This tragic incident could have been avoided had WE Rawson taken its duty of care toward its employees sufficiently seriously. The sad consequence of the company’s failures is an unnecessary loss of life and the devastating impact this has had on Mr Welka’s partner, family and friends.

“The company was aware that the rag bales were unstable as there was a history of them collapsing. There were simple and straightforward steps that could have been taken to ensure that the stability of the bales did not present a risk to pedestrian workers in the warehouse area. Those measures were not taken.

“After Mr Welka’s death, the company adopted different stacking practices improving the stability of the stacks, reduced the need for pedestrians in the warehouse and improved the control of pedestrians in the warehouse. That is to be welcomed and expected, but cannot compensate for the loss of a life.”

Darlington Company Fined After Failing to Disclose Vital Safety Information To Construction Workers

Northgate Vehicle Sales Ltd, a Darlington company, has been fined fined £12,000 and ordered to pay £6,123.55 costs by Darlington Magistrates’ Court after a 41-year-old construction worker struck a buried electricity cable and sustained severe burn injuries to his face, neck and arms. The worker had been installing metal fencing while refurbishing the company’s car park when the incident occurred on 10 November 2010.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) conducted an investigation following the incident and discovered that the company had not provided the construction workers with important information about existing hazards such as buried electricity cables. To install this metal fencing it was necessary for the construction workers to dig holes in the ground for the purpose of inserting the base of each fence post. Before this was carried out, the injured worker had been told that there were no buried electric cables.

As the worker was using ground breaker, the tip of it cut through an 11kV cable that was buried 80cm underground. This then caused a short circuit; at least one million watts of energy were discharged which evaporated the tip of the breaker. A cloud of flame and molten metal was created by this and this is how the worker suffered his burns.

Jonathan Wills, a HSE Inspector, had this to say following the incident’s court hearing –

“The injuries sustained by the worker could have easily resulted in him losing his life. He suffered severe burns and is still recovering from those injuries following an incident that could have been avoided had Northgate Vehicle Sales Ltd requested service plans and given them to those carrying out the construction work.

“The risk of striking underground cables is well known throughout the construction industry and the law says you must take precautions to avoid danger.

“There is a wealth of guidance available for contractors and the clients for whom the work is being carried out to help them manage the risks effectively.”

The latest figures show that seven people died as a result of contact with electricity or electrical discharge in the workplace in Great Britain in 2010/11 and 88 suffered a major injury.

Contractor ordered to Pay Fines After Worker Loses Fingers

Woodland Environmental Ltd, a contractor located on Hatch Pond Road, Poole in Dorset, has been ordered to pay fines by Westminster Magistrates’ Court for safety failings following an incident where a lorry driver sustained a severe hand injury while he was utilising equipment for wheel cleaning that was unsafe on a construction site near A1 Barnet By-Pass on 22 July 2010. The driver ended up losing his entire index finger, half of his middle finger and severed the end of his ring finger on his right hand in the incident which occurred at a golf driving range that was being renovated. Reattaching his lost fingers was not possible and he has been left with lifelong injury.

The driver was trying to use a wheel spinner, which is supposed to remove mud and debris from a vehicle’s wheels before driving again. However, the construction site’s equipment was in poor working order and had been adapted; this subsequently forced drivers to use equipment in an unsafe manner.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) conducted an investigation into the incident and found that a rope was held taut in order to keep a brake lever in place. When the driver tried to release the rope it got stuck and severed his fingers. This rope had been attached to the brake lever for numerous months despite the fact that it was not supposed to be there. The condition of the wheel spinner was the responsibility of Woodland Environmental, but their management systems for monitoring equipment and procedures proved inadequate.

Woodland Environmental Ltd pleaded guilty to two separate breaches of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and was ordered to pay a fine of £5,000 and £8,833 in costs

After the hearing,Stephron Baker Holmes, a HSE Inspector, said that the permanent injuries that the lorry driver sustained were entirely preventable. He then went on to say:

“Those who provide work equipment need to take effective steps to ensure that it continues to function properly, and to ensure that it is not subject to clumsy, make-do adaptations – as was the case here.

Paper Company Fined after Worker’s Hand is Crushed

Cotek Papers Ltd, a Gloucestershire paper producer, has been fined £4,000 and ordered to pay £1,483 in costs by Cheltenham Magistrates’ Court after an unguarded machine crushed a 43-year-old employees hand as they attempted to clean it. The worker, who does not want to be named, sustained severe cuts and bruising to his right hand when it was caught in a paper coating machine rollers on 2 April 2012. He was rendered unable to work for two months.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out an investigation following the incident and discovered that when the coating material was changed, the rollers often had to be cleaned several times a day. Generally risk guards protected the five rollers. These guards had to be removed for cleaning, however, which exposed employees to health and safety risks. The company should have provided an alternative, safer method of cleaning the rollers.

HSE Inspector Ann Linden said:

“This incident could have been prevented had there been a safe system of work for cleaning the rollers. Cotek Papers Ltd clearly failed to ensure the safety of its employees, with painful consequences for the injured worker.

“The law clearly states that employers should take all reasonably practicable steps to protect employees from harm arising from their work. In the case of machinery, moving parts that could cause injury should be guarded or made safe so that people cannot come into contact with them. Non-routine operations such as cleaning or maintenance are not exempt from this requirement.”

Garage Fined after Worker Suffers Burns

Windermere Auto Centre, Kankku Ltd, located on Victoria Street in Windermere has been ordered to pay fines by Kendal Magistrates’ Court following an incident on 27 July 2011 where a 26-year-old mechanic was burned severely when he tried to cut the top off an empty oil drum. The mechanic, who is a native of the town, was trying to remove the lid by using a propane torch. However, this set fire to the remaining oil inside the drum, which then caused an explosion. He had to spend five days in hospital after sustaining severe burns to his hands and arms.

The owner of Kankku Ltd, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following the incident. It was discovered that about every three months garage employees would remove the tops of empty oil drums in order to use the drums as a place to store the scrap metal. The company failed to take into consideration the hazardous risks of these actions.

Kankku Ltd admitted guilt for their breach of Regulation 6(1) of the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002. The company was ordered to pay fines of £6,000 and £4,746 in prosecution costs. The injured worker also received £500 in compensation from Kankku Ltd.

HSE Inspector Anthony Banks said that there were numerous other methods of cutting off the top of an oil drum that the company could have considered. He added that there were other, more sensible and safe ways of storing scrap metal.

He then said – “Sadly, these types of incidents are all too common, and it’s only luck that the mechanic wasn’t more seriously injured or even killed in the explosion.”

Logistics Firm Admits Guilt after Worker Suffers Neck Injuries

Palletways (UK) Ltd, a Lichfield logistics firm located in Wood End Lane, Fradley, has been ordered to pay fines by Stafford Crown Court after a forklift driver, 60 year old Barry Hill, suffered neck injuries when, while trying to load a computer cabinet onto a truck, it fell on top of him. The accident occurred at Fradley Distribution Park after Mr. Hill discovered that one of the cabinets was rocking on the forks. Mr Hill subsequently got out of the forklift to prevent the cabinet from falling, but it fell forward and hit him on the head which knocked him to the ground. His neck and right wrist were broken and he has not worked since the incident on occurred 22 August 2008.

Following his accident Mr Hill was suffering from a visible head wound, however, the depot manager took him around the site to find help instead of leaving him to rest in the office with a colleague, as he did not know who the first aid people on the site were. A trained first aider did finally provide medical treatment to Mr Hill, however they did not realise how severe his injuries were. An ambulance was not called and Mr Hill was driven by the first aider to the local hospital which lacked an emergency room. Mr Hill was then airlifted to Heartlands Hospital, Birmingham. Mr Hill was in hospital for 6 weeks and 14 weeks in halo traction. To this day still suffers from neck discomfort. Because of the incident he is now partially disabled.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) conducted an investigation and discovered that Palletways (UK) never assessed the health and safety risks of moving and loading goods and had failed to supervise employees properly. Furthermore, the company did lacked a system for treating employees who had been involved in an accident and sustained injury.

Palletways (UK) Ltd, admitted guilt to violating Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was ordered to pay a fine of £60,000 and £41,339 costs.

Lyn Spooner, a HSE inspector said that the accident Mr Hill was involved in was entirely preventable and could have left him paralysed or dead. She then went on to say –

“Any company that carries out lifting operations must assess the risks thoroughly, especially the need for proper training and supervision. There is no excuse for failing to do this, especially as free guidance is available from HSE.

“There was also a string of management failings in dealing with Mr Hill when he reported the incident. It was clear that he had suffered a head injury and Palletways (UK) should have treated this as a very serious incident and called an ambulance immediately.”

Healthcare Manufacturer Fined after Worker Loses Thumb

Synergy Health (UK) Ltd  a healthcare manufacturer has been fined £5,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,573 by Leyland Magistrates’ Court after a 39-year-old employee at their factory in Chorely trapped his thumb in machinery and lost part of it 27 November 2011 . Following the incident, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out an investigation and discovered that the guards on the dry wipes machine that the employee was using were inadequate, in addition to the fact that the worker had not been given proper training.

As the worker was using the machine, he reached into the tunnel that comes out of machine to in order to prevent it from being blocked by incorrectly cut wipes. His hand was subsequently caught in the conveyor belt. The conveyer belt forced the workers thumb against a metal plate and it was severed to the first knuckle. It was found that the company had failed to carry out an adequate risk assessment of the work that he was doing, so they were unaware of the risks his hands faced.

HSE Inspector Christina Goddard stated following the hearing –

“This incident could easily have been avoided if Synergy Health had carried out a proper assessment of the risks and made sure its employees were properly trained.

“The risk of workers hands becoming trapped by moving conveyor belts in well known in the industry and so it is important suitable guards are in place.

“If the guards the company installed following the incident had been there at the time then it is extremely unlikely the employee’s hand would have become trapped.”

 

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.”

 

Construction Company Fined after Unsafe Work Practices

Peak Construction (London) Ltd, of Takeley Road, Bambers Green, Takeley in Essex – a building firm – endangered the lives of its workers and residents in the vicinity of Bristol city centre after repeatedly ignoring warnings about the safety of their redevelopment project. The company was in the middle converting the upper floors of Riverside House in Welsh Back to residential accommodation with the addition of two new timber framed floors on top of the building.

Inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive visited the site six times between August and October 2011 after concerns were raised by members of the public about work practices that seemed unsafe. On every occasion the HSE inspectors found numerous safety concerns regarding the work practice safety of the company which related to working unsafely from a height, utilising a mobile elevating work platform without the wearing of worker harnesses, no edge protection to prevent workers from falling, negligent construction of scaffolding and a hazard with building materials falling from the roof.

Furthermore, numerous fire risks were identified by inspectors, such as a lack of fire plan, no way of raising an alarm if there was a fire, no fire extinguishers, no emergency escape routes and the use of an open flame gas torch in the timber roof with no fire safety protocols in place. The HSE served seven Prohibition Notices for work to cease with immediate effect, however some hazardous practices continued nonetheless.

Peak Construction (London) Ltd, admitted guilt for breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and Regulation 38 of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 for failing to implement adequate health and safety regulations, and for permitting hazardous practices to continue. The company was ordered to pay fines that totalled £10,000 and also ordered to pay £4,629 in costs by Bristol Magistrates.

HSE Inspector, Steve Frain, had this to say after the hearing –

“Right from the start of the job, the company was warned about its health and safety performance and individual directors were made aware of the initial failings we identified at the site.

“The number of follow-up inspections and interventions we made in this case went far beyond what would normally be required. The same risks were clearly pointed out at each inspection, yet still the company failed to take sufficient action.

“Falls from height are the single most significant cause of death or serious injury within the construction industry and timber frame construction methods pose a greatly increased fire safety risk that requires high standards of management and control throughout a project.

“Although there was no fire on this occasion, a fire on this site carried a high risk of serious injury to the workforce and members of the public.

“These are not minor technical breaches of the law. They show a failure of leadership across the company which led to a high risk of significant injuries.”

Worker Injured Physically and Psychologically after Fall from Height

Somerset construction company, A.R. Berry Design and Build Ltd, has been £5000 and ordered to pay £8000 in costs by Westminster Magistrates’ Court for an incident where a 28-year-old-worker fell off a roof he was working on in south-west London on 18 January 2011. At the time, the worker, Wayne Bird, had been working building on the Radius Park in Feltham, cleaning dead leaves from the gulleys. The fall occurred when Mr Bird stepped on a fragile skylight and it subsequently broke. He then fell six metres, landing on the concrete floor below.

An investigation was conducted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) who then prosecuted A.R Berry for the company’s failure in keeping their employees safe. Mr Bird sustained numerous injuries, including fractures and damaged tendons in his left knee and right arm, a broken nose and the loss of several teeth. He has lost the ability to straighten his right arm or turn his elbow. He is still receiving medical treatment in addition to treatment for the psychological impact the fall has had on him as a consequence. He has been rendered unable to work because of the incident.

The HSE’s investigation discovered that the company did not adequately plan the work that was being carried out and also failed to provide training to their employees who worked at a height. The roof lacked edge protection and there were no harness provided to workers. A.R. Berry Design and Build Ltd admitted guilt to violating Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Zahir Agha, said that are many steps that can be taken to minimise the risk of falling from a height present in working in construction and the fact that A.R. Berry Design and Build did not implement any of these safety measures has ruined a young man’s life. He then added –

“By planning the work properly, giving their workers sufficient training and monitoring activity, this fall could have been prevented. A.R. Berry should have ensured staff had the right personal protective equipment and been trained in its use.

“There is a much guidance available on working at height and support for firms to assess risks and safely plan work.

Metal Components Firm is Fined for Head Injury

Wyman-Gordon Ltd, a manufacturing company which produces metal components has been ordered by Lincoln Magistrates’ Court to pay fines following the serious injury of a young employee at one at its factory at the Tower Works site on Spa Road in Lincoln on 20 October 2010. The agency worker, who does not wish to be name, is twenty years old. He fractured his skull and sustained serious facial injuries when in the middle of working with a hand-held grinder, the grinding wheel broke. It came loose from the grinder, broke through his visor and hit his face. After the incident the man had to undergo extensive reconstructive surgery, but not before having to go through a five-hour operation for the purpose of removing a bone that was touching his brain. He has subsequently returned to work.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) conducted an investigation and discovered that this particular employee had not been adequately trained in how to correctly and safely use the hand-held grinder and what precautions should be taken when the grinding wheels needs to be changed. As a result, the grinding wheel that he had changed was more than likely defective before he used it. The employee may have noticed this defect if he had been properly trained before using the grinder. It was also found that the young agency worker had not been supervised when carrying out this work.

Wyman-Gordon Ltd located in Wiggin Works, Holmer Road, Hereford, was fined £16,500 and ordered it to pay full costs of £6,178 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

HSE inspector, Scott Wynne stated following the hearing:

“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.”

Bedford Food Company Fined For Employee Fall

European Oat Millers Ltd, a Bedford grain milling company in Mile Road has been prosecuted by Bedford Magistrates’ Court after a an employee fell and was injured during a night shift. The 45 year old employee, Mark Askham, of Putnoe, Bedford was climbing pipework to unblock a feed pipe when he fell nearly three metres on to the concrete ground. Mr Askham sustained broken ribs, cuts and bruising in the accident which occurred on 26 February 2011.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated the incident and discovered that it could have been prevented if the company had basic safety measures to protect workers from falling while working at a height. In the the basement of the nine-storey mill Mr Askham had located a blockage to a pipe. There were no ladder or platform available, so Mr Askham climbed on pipework close to him and sat on one of the pipes in order to get to the blockage. He subsequently lost his balance and fell three metres, hitting pipes below prior to hitting the ground.

European Oat Millers Ltd admitted guilt to violating Regulation 4 of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. The company was ordered to pay a fine of £12,000 and £3,712 in costs.

HSE Inspector Emma Rowlands had this to say on the matter –

“This incident was entirely preventable. Mr Askham’s injuries could have been far more serious than they were. European Oat Millers Ltd had made a commitment some years earlier to review all work at height activities yet there was no evidence that had been carried out.

“You do not have to fall from a great height to either lose or ruin your life. Work at height remains one of the most significant causes of fatalities and major injuries among employees.

“Employers who put people at risk of serious injury or illness can expect to face enforcement action and for the worst offences criminal prosecution through the courts.”

In 2010/11 there were 775 falls from over 2 metres height according to HSE.

West Midlands Company Fined after Worker Sustains Head Injuries

H&E Knowles (Lye) Limited, a West Midlands company in Waterfall Lane, Cradley Heath , has been ordered by Dudley and Halesowen magistrates to pay fines after a worker sustained serious head injuries because of a pneumatic metal press. Maintenance engineer, Wayne Hill, 42, of Lye, Stourbridge, was in the midst of repairing the press when suddenly it started working again and it had begun to crush his head. The press had him trapped for ten minutes before he was set free by colleagues. He suffered multiple severe injuries – he broke his nose and jaw, he ripped off his upper lip and his tongue was completely bitten through. In addition to these horrific injuries, Mr Hill also suffered lacerations to the back of his head and neck, arm muscle damage, excruciating neck pain and his left side was left bruised and scratched.

Much reconstructive surgery was necessary for Mr Hill. Furthermore, his upper lip and nose have increased sensitivity in addition to pain in his teeth and shoulder scarring suffered. Counselling was also necessary after Mr Hill started suffering emotionally with nightmares and flashbacks of the incident. He was rendered unable to work for nearly five months but now works at the company again. An investigation into the incident was conducted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and it discovered that the machine had a defective interlocking guard.

The press is used to take a sheet of metal and mould it into a wheelbarrow body and should not be able to work correctly if the door is open. In the instance of Mr Hill, a fault with the machine meant the it did not detect an open door. Furthermore, it was found that the machine was created and built by the company 25 years ago. As a result, there are no technical drawings or any other documentation available and an adequate risk assessment had never been completed on the machine. The machine broke down on a regular basis and maintenance staff did not have access to proper instructions with regards to fixing it.

H&E Knowles (Lye) admitted guilt to violating Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was ordered to pay a fine of £18,000 with £7,220 costs.

Following the hearing, John Glynn, a HSE inspector said:

“Mr Hill was extremely lucky not to have lost his life in this entirely preventable incident. The company should have provided safe equipment and a safe system of work for its staff. Instead, it failed almost entirely to comply with health and safety legislation in that it designed, built and operated a dangerous piece of machinery.

“There was a grossly inefficient assessment of risk, inadequate controls and a lack of supervisory oversight that exposed staff to terrible risks and left a man with horrific injuries.”

Essex Plumber Receives Prison Sentence for Endangering Family

Essex plumber, Lee Lawrence, has received a twelve-month suspended prison sentence and 180 hours of unpaid community service from Colchester Magistrates’ Court after his firm, Amber Plumbing Solutions, fitted a dangerous boiler in what was to be a child’s bedroom in a house in Clacton-On-Sea. Gas Safe and the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) conducted a joint investigation that concluded in Lee Lawrence being charged with three violations of gas safety regulations.

The firm had before carried out bathroom work for the household and they were subsequently asked to return to perform gas work. This involved installing a gas cooker in the kitchen and a boiler in a bedroom. After the boiler’s connection in July it frequently cut out, which led to the family contacting a Gas Safe registered engineer. This engineer then alerted Gas Safe and HSE as he as so concerned about the safety of this boiler.

Several defects were found with the work carried out by the Amber Plumbing Solutions by a Gas Safe regional investigations officer. HSE also found that the advertising flyers advertising the firm and also their website had the Gas Safe logo and falsely stated that the firm was a Gas Safe registered company.

Lee Lawrence was found guilty of two violations of Regulation 3 (7) of the Gas Safe (Installation & use Regulations) 1998 and breaching Regulation 4 of the Gas Safety regulations. He was fined £5,400 in compensation to the householder and £2,385 costs in combination with his suspended prison sentence and hours of unpaid community service.

Following the hearing Edward Crick, a HSE Inspector, said that Mr Lawrence’s actions could have had far more serious consequences and that him falsely claiming to be a member of the Gas Safe Register is a serious offence. He then stated –

“Any person having work done on gas appliances or pipework should thoroughly check the credentials of the individual doing the job. A registered Gas Safe engineer will be delighted to give you their registration number and this can be checked immediately on line or over the phone. HSE will take robust action against those who flout the regulations.”

Three Companies fined for the Fall of Two Construction Workers

Three companies have been fined £232,000 in fines and costs by Exeter Crown Court after a platform that two employees of were working on in an Exeter building site collapsed and fell down a lift shaft for four storeys, causing them to sustain severe injuries in February 2008. The incident occurred in a site where new student accommodation is being built at what used to be the Elmfield Nursery in New North Road.

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) brought the case to the attention of the court. Cowlin Construction Ltd ordered to pay £85,000 in fines and £20,000 in costs by the court . Prestoplan Ltd, ordered to pay £50,000 and £20,000 towards costs and Somerset Carpenters Ltd, the labourer suppliers, ordered to pay £35,000 fines with £22,000 costs.

Somerset Carpenters had previously been served with a prohibition notice by the HSE after they inspected the site. This should have put a halt to work at the construction site until preventative measures had been put in place to stop workers from potentially falling down the lift shaft. Following this, a wooden platform was built over the shaft but a fortnight later it collapsed and caused Ricki Slocombe (35) and Matthew Blackmore (29), both from Bridgwater, to fall to the bottom floor.

Mr Blackmore broke his back and Mr Slocombe broke both his legs and was forced to use a wheelchair for several months and he has been unable to work since this incident occurred.

HSE inspector, Simon Chilcott said that this terrifying accident could have easily led to the deaths of the two men. He added –

“Contractors and employers must make sure they have taken all reasonable measures to provide a safe environment for workers to work in and that any temporary structures are secure.”

Car Parts Manufacturer Prosecuted by HSE

Auto-Plas (International) Ltd, a car parts manufacturer based in Essex, has been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for safety failings following an employee falling through a mezzanine floor at a factory in Hawkwell on 17 May last year. The employee of Auto-Plas, who does not want to be named, sustained a hand injury that required stitches and caused him to be unable to work for two weeks afterwards.

The employee had been asked to take apart a mezzanine floor in a production area at Benchmark Doors Ltd – Auto-Plas’s sister company. He then fell through a gap in the floor and landed in the level below. He subsequently hit his head off the floor and cut his hand trying to break his fall.

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) conducted an investigation and found that there had been no risk assessment done for the work that was carried out. In addition, the employee was in no way protected while he was working at height.

Auto-Plas (International) Ltd was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £2502.45 in costs by Southend Magistrates’ Court after pleading guilty to violating Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. It was also requested that the firm pay £200 compensation to the employee who was injured in addition to a £15 victim surcharge.

HSE Inspector Keith Waller had this to say following the hearing –

“This incident was entirely preventable. With some simple planning, the work could have been done from the floor below and a risk assessment for the task should have been completed to assess dangers and identify safety measures.

“The employee suffered painful injuries as a result of a lack of planning and respect for health and safety rules. Working at height is dangerous and employers must ensure they plan ahead to protect their staff.”

“HSE will not hesitate to prosecute those who put lives at risk.”

More than 1,300 falls from height that resulted in injury were reported in 2010 – 2011.

Bacon Curing Company Fined after Worker Severs Three Fingers

A Walsall bacon curing company based at Leamore Lane, Bloxwich has been ordered to pay fines after an incident where an employee was operating machinery and lost three fingers. The company was prosecuted when 20 year old Daniel Wilfred severed three fingers after his hand became stuck in a packaging machine 23 December 2009.

The incident occurred when Mr Wilfred, from Walsall, was walking through the company’s curing department when he noticed that packs of bacon joints were falling to the floor from the cutting unit. Mr Wilfred then went to the side of the conveyor, leaned over and put his left hand into the cutting unit in an attempt to stop the bacon joints from falling. The machine was still switched on, unfortunately, and Mr Wilfred’s hand was then caught between the machine and the cutting blades. He subsequently lost three fingers up to the last joint.

In Wolverhampton Crown Court, John Cox Cold Stores and Distribution Services Ltd, trading as Midland Bacon Company, was fined £30,000 and ordered to pay £31,000 costs  after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 11 of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 .

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector Eve-Marie Edwards had this to about the incident:

“This incident was entirely preventable. The company had failed to prevent access to dangerous parts of the machinery which led directly to Mr Wilfred’s injuries.

“Lessons need to be learned by employers, to ensure that potentially dangerous machinery is suitably guarded and that their workers are aware of the risks involved when working with these machines.”