A food processing company, 2 Sisters Food Group, has today been sentenced after a worker was injured while unblocking a machine on the poultry slaughter line.
Doncaster Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 6 September 2012, an employee of 2 Sisters Food Group Limited was attempting to clear a blockage on a conveying system at its Foxhills Industrial Estate site in Scunthorpe, when he was struck by a large metal stillage. As a result, his body was crushed at chest height against the end of the unit, and he sustained multiple injuries including several fractured ribs, fractures to his back and a punctured lung.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the company had failed to identify deficiencies in the guarding on the machine, and the clearing of blockages was usually carried out while the machine was still in operation.
2 Sisters Food Group Limited of Trinity Park House, Fox Way, Wakefield pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) and Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and has been fined £1.4 million with £38,000 in costs.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Kirsty Storer said: “The employee’s life-threatening injuries could easily have been prevented had the company identified the guarding deficiencies and put in place simple measures to prevent access to dangerous parts of machinery.
“This should serve as a lesson to others in the food processing industry about the importance of effectively guarding their machinery to stop others being similarly injured.”ere to edit.
A manufacturing company today has been fined after a worker’s hand was caught in machinery.
Liverpool Magistrates’ Court heard how, on the 5 July 2017, an employee of Contour Showers Ltd, Winsford, was trying to clear a blockage from a metal cutting saw, when the blade cut through the knuckle of his left index finger damaging the tendon and ligament, such that he was unable to work for 8 months.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that there was inadequate guarding to prevent access to dangerous parts of the machinery and that training had not been provided on isolation, lock-off procedures and safe systems of work during maintenance activities. The investigation also found the Company had failed to identify the risks associated with inadequately guarded machinery.
Contour Showers Ltd of Winsford, Cheshire pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and fined £14,000 with £5473.21 costs.
HSE inspector Lorna Sherlock said after the case: “This injury was easily preventable. Employers should make sure they properly assess risk and apply effective control measures to minimise the risk from dangerous parts of machinery”.
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A chemical manufacturing company has today been fined after failing to manage the risk of exposure to chemicals harmful to health, resulting in workers being exposed to chemicals which caused long term damage to their skin.
Teesside Magistrates’ Court heard how employees working with chemicals at Fine Organics Ltd (now trading as Lianhetec), Seals Sands, Teesside, were regularly exposed to the chemicals, which can cause sensitisation of the skin, from October 2013 to December 2016. Workers suffered rashes and in some cases were unable to continue working at the site.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Fine Organics Ltd had multiple failings in their handling of hazardous substances. They failed to conduct a suitable and sufficient risk assessment, failed to prevent the release of hazardous substances, failed to prevent spread of contamination, failed to properly decontaminate and they failed to have in place an effective system of health surveillance.
Fine Organics Ltd, of Seals Sands, Teesside, pleaded guilty to breaching 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and has been fined £224,000 and ordered to pay costs of £17,098.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Julian Nettleton said: ‘This was a case where the company failed to assess the risk and failed to implement appropriate control measures to manage the risk of exposure to these chemicals. If this had been done, then workers would not have been exposed to the chemicals and suffered harm as a result.
Construction company Rivergate Developments Ltd was sentenced today for safety breaches after worker Nathan Howes fell 2.7 metres through an open stairwell.
Leeds Magistrates’ court heard how, on 31 May 2017, Mr Howes, aged 26, was working on the upper floor of a cricket club in Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire which was under refurbishment. Mr Howes was removing a ‘genie lift’ from the forks of a lift truck, so that steel beams could be lifted into place, when he stepped backwards and fell through the stairwell opening. Mr Howes sustained multiple injuries including a fractured spine, a fractured skull and a small collapse of one of his lungs, and was hospitalised for six days. Mr Howes still attends physiotherapy as outpatient and has not yet been able to return to work.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Rivergate Developments Ltd had carried out a risk assessment which identified there would be gaps in the floor through which a person could fall. However, they failed to put in place any measures to either prevent or mitigate the consequences of a fall. Such measures include the use of fixed edge protection systems to prevent falls or the use of fall arrest bags to mitigate falls.
Rivergate Developments Ltd of Rivergate House, Carrhill Road, Mossley, Lancashire pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company has been fined £20,000 and ordered to pay £1,020 in costs.
After the hearing, HSE inspector Jayne Towey commented: “Falls from height often result in life-changing or fatal injuries. In most cases, these incidents are needless and could be prevented by properly planning the work to ensure that effective preventative and protective measures are in place such as edge protection or barriers built to the correct standard.
“This incident could have easily been prevented if the company had installed adequate edge protection around the opening to prevent falls.”
A distribution company based in Warrington has today been sentenced after an agency worker sustained serious, life-changing injuries whilst working in Cheltenham.
Cheltenham Magistrate’s Court heard how, on 18 May 2017, a 27-year-old agency worker arrived at the Gloucester depot to begin his first day of work with the company as a multi-drop delivery driver. After a brief induction process, the worker delivered his first drop successfully however the address provided for the second drop was incorrect and therefore a delivery of 12 beer kegs was not made.
When on his next delivery, the worker used a pallet truck to manoeuvre the beer on the lorry to gain access to the next load on his list. He fell backwards from the raised tail lift onto the road and several kegs of beer fell and struck him. The worker suffered serious injuries including a traumatic brain injury and facial fractures requiring metal plates to be inserted into his skull.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the worker had no previous experience in using the type of pallet truck or tail lift involved in the incident. He was not given any practical training in the safe use of this machinery, nor was he made aware of safe working practices on how the pallet truck should be used on a tail lift. H & M Distribution Limited, as an employer, failed in its duty to carry out checks on the injured person’s competence and previous experience. As a consequence of their failure to make these checks, they did not provide adequate training.
H & M Distribution Limited of Newton Le Willows, Warrington pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 3(1) of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974. it has been fined £60,000 and ordered to pay costs of £7,203.14.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Berenice Ray said: “Employers who use agency workers or contractors have a responsibility to firstly establish the workers’ competence, taking into account their level of experience and familiarity with the work and work equipment, and then provide the appropriate level of training to ensure the work is done safely. If appropriate training had been provided, the life-changing injuries sustained by the agency worker could have been prevented.”
Two companies have been fined following the death of a 37-year-old worker, Andrew Bowes.
Preston Crown Court heard how, on 12 March 2012, Mr Bowes, a metal fabricator employed by Larkin Eng Services Ltd, died while working at the company’s premises on Meeting Industrial Estate in Barrow in Furness. Larkin Eng Services Ltd had contracted Cumbria Design Scaffold Ltd to collect two large metal walkways and deliver them to a customer using a flatbed lorry fitted with a mounted crane. Mr Bowes was directed to assist with the lifting operation by his employer. The first walkway had been lifted onto the back of the lorry but was not fastened down. As the crane moved to pick up the second walkway, a sling became snagged on the first walkway, causing it to tip over and fall from the back of the lorry onto Mr Bowes who sustained fatal crush injuries.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Cumbria Design Scaffold Ltd had failed to properly plan the lifting operation. The company failed to recognise the risks involved and did not have a safe system of work for what was a complex lift. Cumbria Design Scaffold Ltd also failed to supervise the lifting operation properly. As a consequence, the lifting operation was poorly organised and controlled, placing those in the immediate vicinity at significant risk.
The investigation also found that Larkin Eng Services Ltd had failed in its duty to ensure the safety of Mr Bowes. It had directed Mr Bowes, who had only been working for the company a week, to become actively involved whilst the operation was taking place.
Cumbria Design Scaffold Ltd of Ulverston, Cumbria pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and has been ordered to pay fines of £60,000 and costs of £27464.28.
Larkin Eng Services Ltd of, Barrow in Furness, Cumbria pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and has been ordered to pay fines of £20000 and costs of £27211.09.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Anthony Banks said:
“We would like to thank Andrew’s family for their patience throughout what has been a complex investigation.
“Companies should always ensure that lifting operations are properly planned, organised and conducted safely. Had this lifting operation been properly planned and supervised, then this tragedy could have been averted. HSE will take enforcement action against both clients and contractors who fail to meet the required standards.”
A food manufacturer has today been sentenced following two separate incidents where workers became trapped in moving machinery.
Colchester Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 26 March 2016, whilst working for 2 Sisters Food Group Ltd at its poultry site in Flixton, Norfolk, Mr Romas Ciurlionis trapped his thumb in a moving shackle shortly after being shown how to remove chicken intestines. As the line was running, he was pulled away from the emergency stop cord and when it moved past a fixed gate his thumb was severed.
The Court also heard how, on 23 August 2016, Mr Darren Hamilton entered an area of the factory that should have had the power isolated before cleaning activities commenced. The safe system of work was not being followed and the shackle line was still running when his finger became trapped. As he could not reach the emergency stop his finger was severed.
The investigations carried out by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that 2 Sisters Food Group Ltd had failed to ensure that measures were in place to mitigate the consequences of a worker becoming entrapped in a shackle in the first instance and that they failed to ensure safe isolation procedures were followed in the second.
2 Sisters Food Group Ltd of Grange Road, Flixton, Bungay pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Works Equipment Regulations 1998 in relation to the first incident and has been fined £200,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,031.83.
In respect of the second incident, 2 Sisters Food Group Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety At Work Act 1974 and has been fined £74,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,386.52.
After the hearing, HSE inspector Saffron Turnell said: “These incidents could so easily have been avoided had appropriate controls been in place.
“Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”
A commercial vehicle dealer has been fined after an agency worker lost his leg from the knee down when an oil drum he was cutting up exploded.
Reading Magistrates’ Court heard how on 5 January 2017, an employee of Rygor Commercials Limited was injured at Unit 13, Hambridge Business Park, Newbury, when he used oxy-acetylene gas cutting equipment to cut up empty oil drums. As the flame from this gas cutting equipment came into contact with the drum, the flammable vapours inside the drum ignited, and the drum exploded. The impact of the explosion resulted in the drum lid hitting the employee’s lower right leg and the main body of the drum landed approximately 20 metres away.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company had failed to provide a safe system of work to dispose of the stockpile of empty oil drums. The risk of fire and explosion from flammable vapour residues in the empty drums was not identified and safer disposal options were not secured. The investigation also found the company failed to provide adequate instruction, supervision and training on the risks associated with the use of oxy-acetylene gas equipment.
Rygor Commercials Limited of The Broadway, West Wilts. Trading Estate, Westbury, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and Regulation 5 of the Dangerous Substances and Explosives Atmospheres Regulations 2002 and have been fined £400,000 and ordered to pay costs of £9671.55.
Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Nancy Harman said: “Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working and to provide the necessary information, instruction and training to their workers. If a suitable safe system of work had been in place prior to the incident, the life changing injuries sustained by the employee could have been prevented.”
A construction company has today been sentenced after an employee was run over and killed by a dumper truck.
Edinburgh Sherriff Court heard how, on 5 December 2016, Allenbuild Limited was the principal contractor on a construction site when an agency labourer was run over and killed by a dumper truck, driven by an employee of Crummock (Scotland) Limited. The incident happened at a building site know as ‘The Engine Yard’ at Leith Walk, Edinburgh.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found Allenbuild Limited failed to organise the construction site in such a way to ensure that pedestrians were not carrying out work on or near traffic routes whilst vehicles were in operation. It is thought that the deceased was spray painting a ‘piling marker’ in front of a dumper truck, when it moved forward, driving over him.
Allenbuild Limited of Cheapside, London plead guilty to breaching Regulation 27(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 and was fined £600,000.
Speaking after the hearing, inspector Rob Hirst said: “This was a tragic and wholly avoidable incident that arose due to the company’s failure to ensure that pedestrians were not carrying out work on or near traffic routes whilst vehicles were in operation.”
A Slough-based logistics company has been fined after a driver was struck by a reversing vehicle when he was carrying out a pre-use check on his vehicle.
Reading Crown Court heard how, on 15 December 2015, an employee of PCL Transport 24/7 Limited was injured at a dairy in Aylesbury. The injured person was struck by a reversing vehicle while he was carrying out a pre-use check on his lorry.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that safety controls, principally the use of an allocated pre-use vehicle check area, were not being followed by the company’s lorry drivers.
PCL Transport 24/7 Limited of Leigh Road, Slough pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 17 of Workplace (Health, Safety & Welfare) Regulations and has been fined £150,000 and ordered to pay costs of £17,649.27 and a victim surcharge of £120.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Stephen Faulkner said: “Being struck by vehicles is still one of the highest causes of workplace fatal accidents.
“Employers should ensure that where vehicles and pedestrians use the same areas, there is sufficient separation between them.”
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