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.”
A refuse collection company has today been fined £1m after a worker was run over and killed.
Canterbury Crown Court heard how, on 18 October 2013, Veolia ES (UK) Limited’s employee Mr John Head suffered fatal injuries when he was run over by a reversing refuse collection vehicle (RCV) whilst he was walking across the yard, at the Ross Depot Waste Transfer Station in Folkestone. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident found that multiple vehicles, including RCVs and articulated lorries, were manoeuvring around the yard with no specific controls.
The company failed to adequately assess the risks involved in the yard and did not implement industry recognised control measures to protect employees.
Veolia ES (UK) Limited of Pentonville Road, London has been found guilty after a trial of breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The company has been fined £1 million and ordered to pay costs of £130,000.
HSE inspector Kevin Golding said: “This should be a reminder to all industries, but in particular, the waste industry, to appropriately assess the risks and implement widely recognised control measures to adequately control manoeuvring vehicles, in particular reversing vehicles and restrict pedestrian movements around vehicles."
An engineering company has been fined after an apprentice suffered serious hand injuries when he was drawn into machinery.
Cannock Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 3 March 2018, the 19-year-old apprentice was forming a piece of sheet metal into a radius using a three-roll bending machine. He was wearing gloves when his hand was drawn in by the in-running nip between two steel rollers. As a result, the apprentice had two fingers severed and also suffered crush injuries to his right hand.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that a safe system of work, adequate training and effective supervision were lacking. The use of gloves increased the likelihood of being drawn in to the dangerous parts of the machine.
Air Management & Design Ltd of Spencroft Road, Newcastle under Lyme, Staffordshire pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,301.20.
HSE inspector Wendy Campbell said after the hearing: “A young man’s life has been changed because his employer failed to ensure adequate training in and supervision of a safe system of work for the use of a powered three roll bending machine.
“This is a reminder to all companies to check that fully fingered gloves are not worn, and safe systems of work are in place and being followed for operation of dangerous machinery such as three-roll bending machines.”
A London-based construction company was today sentenced for safety breaches after a worker was killed.
Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 4 November 2015, a Formation Construction Limited employee was using a concrete breaker at Tech West House, Warple Way in Acton to make an opening for a stairwell when he fell 7.5 metres, sustaining fatal head injuries.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident found the work was not properly planned, adequately supervised or carried out in a safe manner when the incident occurred.
Formation Construction Limited of Oakwood House, Hackney Road, London, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and has been fined £300,000 and ordered to pay £17,528 in costs.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Kevin Smith said: "This was a tragic and wholly avoidable incident, caused by the failure of the company to implement suitable and sufficient measures to prevent falls.
“The risks associated with work at height are well known throughout the construction industry. While, on paper, Formation Construction Limited had identified control measures which could have prevented this incident from occurring; in practise, these safeguards were virtually absent.
“Ultimately, the company failed to control the risk on site and as a result one of its workers fell to his death.”
A landlord and building contractor have been fined after large quantities of asbestos fibres were released from the demolition of a conservatory at a rented property.
Birmingham Magistrates’ Court heard how the landlord commissioned a building contractor to replace a conservatory containing asbestos panels at a property in Selly Oak, Birmingham between Friday 18 August and Tuesday 29 August 2017. Asbestos was spread as the panels were removed in a haphazard and uncontained way.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the landlord should have had an asbestos survey carried out prior to work beginning, and the building contractor should not have started work without one. The building contractor took no precautions and asbestos was spread to the home, contents and next door.
Wah Kei Dany Ng of Penns Lane, Sutton Coldfield pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4 of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 and has been fined £1,200 and ordered to pay costs of £607.21.
Jasvir Singh Sangha of Tunnel Road, West Bromwich pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 5 and 16 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 and has been sentenced to 150 hours unpaid work and ordered to pay costs of £596.61.
Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Gareth Langston said “Asbestos surveys need to be carried out prior to any construction work which disturbs the fabric of a structure.”
Peterborough Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 20 September 2017 at North East Farm, Eltisley, Paul Robinson was driving a very large tractor when he stopped to speak to a farm employee. After their conversation Mr Robinson went to drive away but, in the process, ran over the employee with the rear offside track. The employee has suffered life changing injuries as a result of this incident, including multiple fractures and nerve damage.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Mr Robinson had failed to make reasonable checks to ensure no one was in danger before he moved the tractor.
Paul Robinson, of 56 Rookery Road, Wyboston, has pleaded guilty to breaching Section 7 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and has been fined £1,200, ordered to pay costs of £2000 and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £120.
After the hearing HSE inspector Graeme Warden said “This incident could have been avoided if a simple check around the vehicle had been carried out prior to moving off.”
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