Health & Safety Breaches (April 2015)
Here are five Health & Safety breaches that made the headlines in April 2015.
Company fined £170, 000 after sub-contractor fatality
‘A fresh produce manufacturing company has been fined £170,000 following the fatality of a 21-year-old sub-contractor, who died after coming into contact with a live 240V electrical cable.
‘Chichester Crown Court was told that Bradley Watts was lagging pipes in the loft space of Natures Ways Foods premises in Chichester, on 2 June 2011. He came into contact with a 240V live electrical cable and was electrocuted. He was pronounced dead at the scene by the ambulance crew.
‘The live cable was part of an old system that had been removed by Natures Way Foods in 2008, but was not identified in any way, and its existence and ‘live’ nature was unknown to Natures Way Foods.
‘An investigation by HSE concluded that the company had plenty of opportunity to deal with redundant cables but it was always assumed they were not live. Had the old cabling been removed in a systematic and controlled manner, or subsequent checks of the loft space identified the examples of poor practice, the death of Bradley Watts could have been avoided.
‘Natures Way Foods, of Selsey, West Sussex, pleaded guilty to breaching sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. It was fined £170,000 and must pay costs of £35,403.’
Paper company admits safety breach after employee death
‘A paper company has admitted breaking safety regulations after a manager suffered fatal injuries when he was pulled into a machine. John Stoddard, 41, from Cullompton, Devon, was “flipped up” and pulled into the machinery at the DS Smith mill in the town in 2011. He was taken to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital where he later died.
‘A verdict of accidental death was recorded at an inquest in Exeter in May. DS Smith Paper Ltd pleaded guilty at Exeter Crown Court to breaching safety law. However, the company pleaded not guilty to a more serious charge of failing to discharge its duty under the Health and Safety at Work Act by failing to ensure a safe working operation.
‘Malcolm Galloway, prosecuting on behalf of the HSE, said the plea to the lesser count was likely to be acceptable, but told the judge a final decision would be notified to the court within two weeks.’
Company fined £16, 600 after ‘entirely preventable’ fall
‘Waste and recycling services company Veolia ES Staffordshire Ltd (part of Veolia UK group) has been prosecuted after a worker suffered life changing injuries when he fell more than eight feet from height.
‘The worker, who does not wish to be named, fell from the unprotected edge of a ‘grizzly conveyor’ at the firm’s site on Enterprise Drive whilst clearing items caught on the conveyor’s forks, on 2 May 2014.
‘He suffered serious injuries as a result of the incident and has only been able to return to work to perform limited duties.The HSE investigation into the incident found that although clearing the conveyor was a routine part of the job, no risk assessment had been carried out.
‘Veolia ES Staffordshire Ltd of London pleaded guilty at Stafford Magistrates’ Court to breaching regulation 6(3) of The Work at Height Regulations 2005 and regulation 3(1) of The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and was fined a total of £16,600 and ordered to pay £1,773.15 in costs with a victim surcharge of £120.
‘Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Katherine Blunt said: “This incident was entirely preventable, clearing the conveyor in this way was a routine part of the job but no risk assessment had been carried out. If it had it would have been obvious edge protection was essential.
‘“The injured worker is still suffering from his injuries now and has only been able to return to work on limited duties. Falls from height are the most common cause of serious injury and fatalities in the workplace, it’s imperative that risk assessments are carried out and suitable control measures are put in place to eliminate or reduce the risk.”’
‘A spokesperson from Veolia said: “Veolia deeply regrets this incident and the injury suffered by our colleague. We co-operated fully with the Health & Safety Executive and we have implemented the necessary improvements so as to ensure incidents of this nature are not repeated.
‘“As a company we treat health and safety as our highest operational priority and we remain completely focused on accident prevention.”’
£25, 000 fine for safety failings that injured employee
‘Street Fuel Limited, a recycling company from London, has been sentenced after a worker sustained arm injuries whilst working on a baler machine.
‘At Medway Magistrates’ Court it was heard how an operative employee of Street Fuel Limited noticed a problem with the needle at the rear of the baler machine. The machine did not have suitable guarding of dangerous parts and the employee reached through the gap in the guards to pull off a hanging wire. At the same time the machine bed moved forward and trapped his arm between the moveable bed and the side of the machine.
‘The court heard that it was common practice for employees to put their hands through gaps in the guarding to solve issues with the closest needles on the machine as it saved time turning off the machine.
‘The incident, which occurred on 7 January 2014, was investigated by HSE who prosecuted the company for safety failings.
‘Street Fuel Limited, of Museum Street London, pleaded guilty to breaching regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. The company was fined £25,000 with £893 costs and a victim surcharge of £120.’
Suspended prison sentence for events safety breach
The man in charge of operating an inflatable slide, which had been inadequately tethered to the ground, has been given a suspended jail sentence. During the incident on 28 April 2013 at Ripley Cricket Club, the slide broke free from its anchors hitting several people. Four people required hospital treatment.
Mr Victor Lusher, of Heywood road in Harrogate, was handed the sentence at Harrogate Magistrates on 6 May. He was given a twenty six week sentence suspended for a year for breaching health and safety laws.
Mr Lusher was found guilty of two offenses under the Health and Safety at Work Act for failing to ensure the safety of members of the public and failing to maintain the slide in good repair. Civil claims for compensation are continuing.
(Source: Harrogate News.)
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