Belfast animal feed manufacturer prosecuted after worker loses hand in unguarded machine

[Northern Ireland] The Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland (HSENI) has successfully led a prosecution against John Thompson and Sons Limited, York Road, Belfast. An investigation followed an incident on 21 December 2019 that resulted in an agency worker sustaining life-changing injuries.

The company, who manufacture animal feed, earlier pleaded guilty at Belfast Crown Court, and on 19 January 2023 was fined a total of £40,000 for the offences.

The HSENI investigation found that the worker was carrying out maintenance on a grain roller machine in an attempt to clear a blockage when his right hand was drawn into two counter-rotating rollers. The incident caused severe crush injuries to his hand which later had to be amputated above the wrist.

Speaking after the hearing, HSENI Inspector, Kiara Blackburn said: “This serious incident could easily have been avoided.

“It is essential that safe systems of work are developed and implemented to ensure the safety of employees and other people working near dangerous parts of machinery.

“During any maintenance activity, machines must always be safely isolated from energy sources to prevent inadvertent start-up.”

Machinery guards can take several forms but where practicable, fixed enclosing guards should be used. In some cases, regular access to dangerous parts of machines may be required and other guard types such as interlocking guards may be more appropriate.

This is valid as of 3rd February 2023.

Sign-up to the Barbour Monthly Newsletter

Get the latest Health, Safety and Environmental news and information – sign up for updates from Barbour EHS. Computer monitor What you’ll get:
  • Free downloads including Directors’ Briefings, legislation updates, webinars, risk assessments and more
  • VIP invites to events
  • Important industry news and updates
  • Invitations to hot topic webinars hosted by Barbour
  • Industry partner information

Property company fined £80,000 for failings that led to man’s death

[Scotland] An Inverness-based property company has been fined £80,000 after a 64-year-old asbestos surveyor died following an electrical explosion.

Global Energy Nigg Limited pled guilty to a health and safety breach committed on 10 December 2020 at Tain Sheriff Court on 18 January 2023.

The court heard that on 10 December Christopher Wayne Earley, director of CWE Asbestos Consultants Ltd, was carrying out a survey on behalf of Global Energy Nigg Limited at Nigg Energy Park (also known as The Port of Nigg), in the Cromarty Firth.

During the survey of a large disused fabrication workshop, Mr Earley entered an electrical switch room which did not appear to be operational. He opened an electrical cabinet and there was a flash caused by an electrical flashover (a high current electrical discharge through an air gap between conductors).

Mr Earley suffered significant burns and died in hospital on 10 March 2021.

The HSE’s investigation found that Global Energy Nigg Limited had failed to maintain the switch room in an appropriate condition. There was no internal door and no visual warning of electrical danger at the doorway.

Live switch panels did not carry any suitable warning signs or labelling, and redundant panels were also not marked.

Debbie Carroll, who leads on health and safety investigations for the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) said: “Christopher Wayne Earley lost his life in circumstances which were foreseeable and entirely avoidable.

“By failing to maintain the switch room in an appropriate condition Global Energy Nigg Limited put someone not employed by them at unacceptable risk.

“This prosecution should remind duty holders that failing to take reasonable health and safety measures can have fatal consequences and they will be held accountable for this failure.”

This is valid as of 1st February 2023.

Sign-up to the Barbour Monthly Newsletter

Get the latest Health, Safety and Environmental news and information – sign up for updates from Barbour EHS. Computer monitor What you’ll get:
  • Free downloads including Directors’ Briefings, legislation updates, webinars, risk assessments and more
  • VIP invites to events
  • Important industry news and updates
  • Invitations to hot topic webinars hosted by Barbour
  • Industry partner information

Firm fined further over Wolverhampton storm death

A company has been fined a further £200,000 after a woman was killed by a water tank cover falling from a shopping centre.

Tahnie Martin was hit by the wooden panel outside the Mander Shopping Centre in Wolverhampton during Storm Doris in 2017.

Cushman and Wakefield Debenham Tie Leung Limited was fined £1.3m in 2019 for health and safety breaches.

It was fined by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) for bringing the profession into disrepute.

A disciplinary tribunal last week found against the managing agent, which was responsible for maintenance of the centre at the time of the death.

Ms Martin’s inquest heard the plant room on the building’s roof may not have been maintained for nearly two decades, and Cushman and Wakefield Debenham Tie Leung Limited was responsible for managing it for the five years leading up to 2017, the Institute said.

The cover was ripped away in the strong winds as Ms Martin, who was from Stafford and worked at the University of Wolverhampton, walked below with a work colleague who was also struck and injured. Ms Martin suffered serious head injuries and died at the scene.

Cushman and Wakefield Debenham Tie Leung Limited had previously pleaded guilty to an offence contrary to the Health and Safety at Work etc Act after the city council pursued legal action.

The firm was fined at Wolverhampton Crown Court in July 2019.

RICS said at the time it had updated elements of its professional guidance since Black Country Coroner Zafar Siddique wrote to the body in 2018 to express concerns about a “prevention of future deaths” in relation to public buildings.

The managing agent was found to be liable for disciplinary action after failing to act with due skill, care and diligence in that during the course of its appointment as property manager for the Mander Centre, the hearing found.

“It [the panel] had no difficulty in concluding that the matters charged were liable to bring the profession into disrepute and of sufficient seriousness, both individually and collectively, to render a finding of liability to disciplinary action both necessary and appropriate,” it said.

Cushman and Wakefield Debenham Tie Leung Limited was also ordered to pay £10,000 in costs to RICS.

George Roberts, Head of UK and Ireland at the company, said: “We deeply regret the tragic circumstances that led to the death of Tahnie Martin, following which we made wide-ranging improvements to our procedures.

“We have also sought to ensure that we continue to learn lessons, and that those lessons are embedded in our organisation at all levels.”

He said processes now went “significantly beyond RICS’s updated requirements” as routine inspections included a requirement to examine whether any items could be vulnerable in high wind and new detailed assessments specifically looked at risks to the public presented by the external fabric of a building.

This is valid as of 27th January 2023.

Sign-up to the Barbour Monthly Newsletter

Get the latest Health, Safety and Environmental news and information – sign up for updates from Barbour EHS. Computer monitor What you’ll get:
  • Free downloads including Directors’ Briefings, legislation updates, webinars, risk assessments and more
  • VIP invites to events
  • Important industry news and updates
  • Invitations to hot topic webinars hosted by Barbour
  • Industry partner information

£4m fine for civil engineering firm following M6 works

Civil engineering firm Kier has been fined more than £4m after its staff twice struck overhead powerlines while working on the M6 motorway causing cables to land in the path of passing vehicles.

In one incident, an overhead cable the Kier workers brought down hit a lorry. The second time, a cable landed on the motorway.

The HSE found after one incident Kier workers failed to immediately tell the network provider Scottish Power what they had done.

Both incidents happened on overnight road works, part of the smart motorway scheme between junctions 16 and 18 near Sandbach in Cheshire.

During the first incident, a team of three from Kier were working a nightshift on 28 March 2018. The workers were clearing tarmac from the hard shoulder and loading a truck with a digger. As they moved the truck along with an attached crane raised it struck and severed a 11kV overhead powerline that landed in the motorway and in a nearby field. The company failed to immediately tell Scottish Power, which meant the cable was reenergised a number of times while it was lying on the motorway and vehicles were passing.

During the second incident, another team from Kier were taking down a motorway barrier on 21 January 2019. Their tractor struck an overhead cable which led to an unmarked 11kV powerline being hit and snapped by an oncoming lorry.

The HSE found that inadequate planning from Kier meant the vehicle used in the first incident was unsuitable despite other more suitable vehicles being available. There was also no task-specific risk assessment available for the workers.

In the second incident, the workers were unaware of the overhead hazards.

In relation to the first incident, Kier Infrastructure and Overseas Limited, of Clippers Quay, Salford pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. In relation to the second incident, they pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and Regulation 13(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015.

In total, the company were fined £4.215m and ordered to pay costs of £80,759.60 at Manchester Crown Court.

HSE inspector Susan Ritchie said: “This is a significant fine reflecting the seriousness of the failures here. The company’s failure to plan the work properly and provide an adequate risk assessment put its workers and those using the motorway in significant danger.”

 

This is valid as of 23rd January 2023.

Sign-up to the Barbour Monthly Newsletter

Get the latest Health, Safety and Environmental news and information – sign up for updates from Barbour EHS. Computer monitor What you’ll get:
  • Free downloads including Directors’ Briefings, legislation updates, webinars, risk assessments and more
  • VIP invites to events
  • Important industry news and updates
  • Invitations to hot topic webinars hosted by Barbour
  • Industry partner information

Boat hire pair fined for failings that led to a man’s death

A 64-year-old-man and a 57-year-old woman have been fined a total of £10,000 for health and safety failings which led to a 23-year-old man’s death by drowning.

Clifford Davies and Janet Lightbown, who are the joint owners of Loch Awe Boats, were each ordered to pay £5,000 after they pled guilty to a health and safety breach at Oban Sheriff Court.

The court heard that on 29 June 2019, Kyle Cairney, from Prestonpans, made an email enquiry to Loch Awe Boats about a two-day booking in mid-August. On 1 July 2019, a booking was confirmed for three persons in his name for 17 and 18 August.

On Friday 16 August 2019, Davies emailed Kyle Cairney to cancel his booking for that weekend, stating that their “hire licence prohibits boat hire in winds in excess of 18 mph and tomorrow is set to be pretty wild”.

A Facebook post from Loch Awe Boats stated:

“Once again, we are having to cancel boat hire tomorrow (Saturday 17th) due to the forecast for very high winds on Loch Awe……. The upper wind speed for boat hire to comply with our hire licence is 18 mph. Sorry to disappoint, but safety is our priority.”

Despite these communications, Mr Cairney, his brother Nathan and their friend Kieran Cowan, decided to travel to Ardbrecknish on the morning of Saturday 17 August.

An agreement was reached with both Davies and Lightbown to hire a boat on the condition that they would go directly to their campsite some forty minutes away while conditions remained calm and that they would not go back out on the water until the following morning when the weather was forecast to improve.

The hire was secured despite the communications of the previous day.

The three men set out from the boatyard and travelled to the island of Inishail where they set up camp. At about 10.30am, all three went out on the loch again, this time to the south of the Black Isles, where they fished for about an hour and a half. At around midday, they returned to their campsite.

Around 1.00pm, the three of them again went out on the boat. Only Nathan Cairney was wearing a life jacket. They headed to the top end of the loch towards Kilchurn Castle. This would have been relatively sheltered from the winds.

During the journey back from Kilchurn to Inishail, the men had to cross the broadest part of the loch which would expose them to the worst of any weather that they would encounter. As they progressed, the weather continued to worsen, and the water became very choppy.

As they passed Fraoch Eilean which is in the centre of the largest open area of water in the entire loch, both Cairney brothers described waves coming over the bow of the boat and filling it. The water was coming in faster than they could bail it out, and it was gathering at the rear of the boat. The additional weight raising the bow and exposing more of the hull at the forward end to the oncoming waves.

When the engine was cut so they could all bail, the boat turned and was facing towards Fraoch Eilean. Seconds after the engine was cut, the boat capsized.

Nathan Cairney recollects: “It had been sinking before we cut the engine, so it didn’t take much for it to flip. When it’s flipped, I was at the front, Kieran was in the middle and Kyle was at the engine. When it’s flipped, I sort of fell off the boat into the water, I initially went under, but my life jacket has pulled me back up instantly. I saw Kieran and Kyle near to me and the three of us went over to the boat which was upside down. When we all held onto it the boat started to sink. None of us said anything, we all just started swimming to the nearest island, the water was extremely choppy, and it was still dull. As I was swimming towards the island Kieran was on my left-hand side and Kyle was to my right.”

Kyle Cairney described a ten-minute swim to reach land, stating: “I kept going under the water. It was impossible to stay above it, fighting through it.” He describes falling over with exhaustion upon reaching the shore of Fraoch Eilean. Nathan Cairney describes Kieran struggling in the water and trying to reach him. When Nathan reached the shore, he was distressed, repeatedly stating that Kieran was under the water. Neither brother could see any trace of their friend.

Kyle called the emergency services. This started a major rescue operation, with Police, Fire Service and Coastguard responding. Davies was contacted by HM Coastguard, which had deployed a rescue helicopter to the area. Davies went onto the loch in a fast boat and made for the area of Fraoch Eilean, where he located the Cairney brothers and took them to Innis Chonain where they were taken into the care of the emergency services.

Davies then returned to Fraoch Eilean to search for Keiran Cowan. He later located the upturned Boat which, with the assistance of Fire and Rescue personnel, was righted and towed to Innis Chonain where it was handed over to the police.

On Tuesday 20 August, officers from Police Scotland’s Marine Unit found Kieran’s body approximately 46 metres from the shore of Fraoch Eilean. The cause of death was determined to be ‘immersion in water’.

Kieran was the middle child in a family of three, with an older brother and a younger sister. He lived at home with his parents and was a self-employed joiner/carpenter.

Debbie Carroll, who leads on health and safety investigations for the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) said: “Clifford Davies and Janet Lightbown, in the operation of their business, Loch Awe Boats, fell far short of the requirements of the Hire Boat Code on 17 August 2019.

“This incident would not have occurred had they not hired out the boat that day, as was their original intention because of the forecast adverse weather.

“Their decision set in motion a chain of events that resulted in the death of a young man.

“Those who hire boats to the public must be aware of their duties and responsibilities, especially when hiring to persons who may be inexperienced when taking to the water.”

The investigation by Argyll and Bute Council found that Davies and Lightbown had exposed their customers to risk by hiring out a boat which failed to comply with the stability and safety requirements of the Hire Boat Code.

A marine expert found that there were a number of defects with the boat. The stem was significantly damaged with several holes in the stem and the stem foot, where fastenings were missing. Daylight could be seen through one clear hole, which would have been above the waterline in calm conditions. Obsolete fastenings in the stem were loosely fitting and would allow water ingress. Some damage had been repaired with various types of filler, but epoxy resin-based marine filler was not used. Those holes which were above the waterline would have been submerged when the boat was underway in stormy conditions or when the boat was carrying a heavy load.

The expert’s opinion was that in the stormy conditions on 17 August 2019 the holes in the stem and the small freeboard (the distance between the top of the gunwale and the surface of the water) are likely to have allowed more water to be shipped.

The investigation also found that they hired out the boat in weather conditions which went beyond the limitations set out in their own risk assessment as there was a high risk of drowning.

 

This is valid as of 24th January 2023.

Sign-up to the Barbour Monthly Newsletter

Get the latest Health, Safety and Environmental news and information – sign up for updates from Barbour EHS. Computer monitor What you’ll get:
  • Free downloads including Directors’ Briefings, legislation updates, webinars, risk assessments and more
  • VIP invites to events
  • Important industry news and updates
  • Invitations to hot topic webinars hosted by Barbour
  • Industry partner information

Council fined following girl’s death after being hit by falling tree

A council has been fined £280,000 after the death of a six-year-old girl who was hit by a falling tree in her school playground.

Ella Henderson was playing with friends at Gosforth Park First School in Newcastle upon Tyne on 25 September 2020 when a decaying willow tree collapsed.

The Year 2 pupil was freed from under the tree by emergency services and taken to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary, where she died the following morning.

Several other children were hit by the falling tree but managed to escape, some with superficial injuries.

The HSE’s investigation found the tree had decayed and was in a poor condition. Newcastle City Council had failed to identify the extent of the decay or to manage the risk posed by the tree.

Newcastle City Council pleaded guilty to breaching section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £280,000 with costs of £8,020 by South Tyneside Magistrates.

HSE Inspector Ashfaq Ali said: “This terrible incident led to the avoidable death of a young girl. HSE hopes others will learn from what happened to Ella. Our thoughts remain with Ella’s family.”

Mr and Mrs Henderson said: “We would like to thank the police and the Health and Safety Executive for their thorough investigations, and the kindness and sensitivity they have treated us with throughout. We are devastated beyond words to hear of the number of times that this outcome could and should have been changed. No family should ever have to go through what we are going through.

“We hope lessons will be learned from this and feel there needs to be better education and information around which trees are appropriate for school playgrounds and the size they are allowed to grow to.

“We would kindly ask that our privacy is now respected whilst we continue to try to navigate and rebuild our lives around the huge hole that has been created in our life without our beautiful Ella.”

In a statement, Ella’s mum Vikki, from Newcastle, said: “Up until 25 September 2020 we had the perfect life. There was not one thing we would have changed. We had two happy, healthy, little girls who were just the best of friends and life was amazing.

“Having lived that life, we now live with a complete hole in our lives. Having a six year old who loves life and wakes up every morning with ‘What are we doing today, Mummy?’, loving everything we did and everywhere we went, to suddenly this life, is just indescribable. Taking her big sister places now and knowing how much she would love everywhere we go and taking photos without her is heart breaking.

“It’s not just the big things like birthdays, holidays and Christmas, it’s also all the small everyday things like not washing her clothes, not buying her toys or clothes but knowing what she’d love, not setting her place at the table or booking a table in a restaurant for four.

“Going to restaurants and being constantly asked ‘just one child’ and having the empty chair at a table for four. Staying in a cottage and instead of her sharing a room together with her sister, there is now an empty bed. It’s just a constant reminder, not that we will ever need one, that she’s not here.

“Seeing everyone’s life move on and their kids and her friends getting older while we stay still; always with a six year old who will never get her front teeth is devastating.

“When you lose a child you live two lives. The one you should be living and the life you have to live.

“Knowing how happy we would be and what we would have done in the last two years compared to the life we’ve had to live couldn’t be further apart.

“The hardest part is that all we did was what every other parent does every day. She should have been so safe at school and knowing that I’m the only one who doesn’t get to pick their child up every day is just the worst feeling.

“When I pass schools on the way somewhere and hear that innocent noise of children playing, I think, that was all she was doing. She was just playing ballerinas with her friends.

“Life is so unfair, and she was so loved and had so much to give this world. As her reception teacher said, “The world is a much sadder place without Ella in it.”

“Every single part of our lives has changed. Getting up every morning, knowing it’s another day without her and another day she’ll miss.

“Being six and healthy makes it very hard to process that she’s not here. I live for my girls and I loved taking them to school every day and picking them up, and doing everything with them, and knowing that I will never take her to school, or a party or holiday again – there are no words to describe how this feels.

“I read something online that sums up this life and it said “When you died my heart was torn in two. One side is filled with heartache and the other died with you.”

 

This is valid as of 20th January 2023.

Sign-up to the Barbour Monthly Newsletter

Get the latest Health, Safety and Environmental news and information – sign up for updates from Barbour EHS. Computer monitor What you’ll get:
  • Free downloads including Directors’ Briefings, legislation updates, webinars, risk assessments and more
  • VIP invites to events
  • Important industry news and updates
  • Invitations to hot topic webinars hosted by Barbour
  • Industry partner information

Driver sentenced to eight months imprisonment for causing crash

Mr Mark Andrew Hubble has been found guilty of breaching Section 7a of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and sentenced to eight months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, following a prosecution brought by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR).

Hubble was sending and receiving messages on his phone during the course of his journey, while driving a locomotive owned and operated by DB Cargo (UK) Limited on 23 March 2020.

After entering the siding at Bromsgrove station, he lost concentration due to reading a picture message on his mobile phone and then failed to control the speed of his locomotive, which struck the buffer stops, derailing and partially obstructing the adjacent main line. A passing CrossCountry passenger train then struck Mr Hubble’s locomotive – no-one was injured, but there was extensive damage to both the locomotive and the passenger train.

The prosecution asserted that the defendant’s failure to control his train due to distraction caused by using his mobile phone while at the controls of his locomotive led to a serious incident. It added that under slightly different circumstances the incident may have had a “catastrophic outcome”.

In delivering the sentence, Judge Cartwright said: “Luckily there were only six people on board; the guard, driver and four passengers. But for the lockdown, the train might otherwise have been carrying a good number of others. Alan Jones, the driver, was immediately covered in glass, his driver’s door torn open. If the locomotive had derailed a little further over, this would have been a head-on collision and he would have been killed.”

Ian Prosser, Chief Inspector of Railways, said: “We are pleased with the outcome of this case. It sends a clear message to drivers about their responsibilities. This incident could have resulted in serious injuries and fatalities.”

 

This is valid as of 16th January 2023.

Mr Mark Andrew Hubble has been found guilty of breaching Section 7a of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and sentenced to eight months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, following a prosecution brought by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR).
Hubble was sending and receiving messages on his phone during the course of his journey, while driving a locomotive owned and operated by DB Cargo (UK) Limited on 23 March 2020. After entering the siding at Bromsgrove station, he lost concentration due to reading a picture message on his mobile phone and then failed to control the speed of his locomotive, which struck the buffer stops, derailing and partially obstructing the adjacent main line. A passing CrossCountry passenger train then struck Mr Hubble’s locomotive – no-one was injured, but there was extensive damage to both the locomotive and the passenger train. The prosecution asserted that the defendant's failure to control his train due to distraction caused by using his mobile phone while at the controls of his locomotive led to a serious incident. It added that under slightly different circumstances the incident may have had a “catastrophic outcome”. In delivering the sentence, Judge Cartwright said: “Luckily there were only six people on board; the guard, driver and four passengers. But for the lockdown, the train might otherwise have been carrying a good number of others. Alan Jones, the driver, was immediately covered in glass, his driver's door torn open. If the locomotive had derailed a little further over, this would have been a head-on collision and he would have been killed.” Ian Prosser, Chief Inspector of Railways, said: “We are pleased with the outcome of this case. It sends a clear message to drivers about their responsibilities. This incident could have resulted in serious injuries and fatalities.”  

This is valid as of 16th January 2023.

Building firm fined after worker fell through collapsed floor

A building company has been fined £66,667 after a worker was injured when a floor that was under construction collapsed.

The Lusson Ltd worker was one of three people who were on the incomplete first floor of a building that was being constructed in Croham Valley Road, Croydon on 23 June 2021.

Several pallets of blocks were lifted onto the incomplete concrete beam and block floor using a loader crane, eventually causing the floor to collapse.

One of the three workers fell to the ground and suffered an open fracture to his left leg as well as a broken wrist.

The HSE’s investigation found that the company did not take any steps to prevent falls from height and they failed to establish a safe system of work for this task.

Lusson Ltd, of Barking Road, London, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 13(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 and was fined £66,667 and ordered to pay costs of £1,907.00 at Westminster Magistrates Court on 21 December 2022.

HSE Inspector Owen Rowley said: “This incident could so easily have been avoided by simply carrying out correct control measures and safe working practices.”

 

This is valid as of 10th January 2023.

Sign-up to the Barbour Monthly Newsletter

Get the latest Health, Safety and Environmental news and information – sign up for updates from Barbour EHS. Computer monitor What you’ll get:
  • Free downloads including Directors’ Briefings, legislation updates, webinars, risk assessments and more
  • VIP invites to events
  • Important industry news and updates
  • Invitations to hot topic webinars hosted by Barbour
  • Industry partner information

Company fined €80,000 after fatal accident on construction site

[Ireland] A construction company has been fined €80,000 after breaching health and safety legislation.

The prosecution arose after an accident on 15 April 2019 at a partially-constructed building in Leighlinbridge, County Carlow.

An employee of Drumderry Aggregate Limited t/a Drumderry Pre Cast suffered personal injuries and died when he fell from a height whilst in the process of installing precast concrete slabs at the first-floor level of the building.

The company had pleaded guilty to one charge, in that they failed to manage and conduct work activities in such a way as to ensure the safety of employees and they failed to provide systems of work that were planned, organised, performed and maintained.

Drumderry Aggregate Limited t/a Drumderry Pre Cast pleaded guilty to breaching Section 8(2) of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 as it relates to Section 77(9)(a).

Mark Cullen, Interim Chief Executive Officer, HSA said: “Employers have a duty to ensure that workers are protected from any potential hazards that arise in their workplace. Failure to do so in this case has regrettably led to the fatal injury of an employee.

“Working at height is a known high-risk activity and it is vital that before the commencement of any work activity, employers and duty holders carry out risk assessments and make sure the required safety precautions and appropriate control measures are in place to protect workers.”

 

This is valid as of 10th January 2023.

Sign-up to the Barbour Monthly Newsletter

Get the latest Health, Safety and Environmental news and information – sign up for updates from Barbour EHS. Computer monitor What you’ll get:
  • Free downloads including Directors’ Briefings, legislation updates, webinars, risk assessments and more
  • VIP invites to events
  • Important industry news and updates
  • Invitations to hot topic webinars hosted by Barbour
  • Industry partner information

Company fined after worker’s arm was entangled in industrial food mixer

A food production company has been fined £858,000 after an employee had his arm amputated after becoming entangled in an industrial food mixer.

Lee Simpson was removing filling ingredients from a paddle mixer, from which the contents could be removed at the front, at David Wood Baking Limited’s premises in Sheerness, Kent when his right hand and arm were drawn in.

Lee, from Sheerness, who was 26 years old at the time, had to have his arm surgically removed. He said he has now lost much of his independence. He said: “Life has changed so much since the accident and I am doing everything I can to improve, but it will never be the same.

“Since my accident I have become dependent on others, primarily my family and fiancée, to complete daily activities for me, such as cooking and domestic tasks such as doing the laundry.”

The incident happened on 27 September 2021 at the Mill House on Dorset Road, Sheerness, where David Wood Baking Limited makes sausage rolls, quiches and other food products.

Investigating, the HSE found that the control measures in place to prevent contact with moving parts were ineffective as the guarding of the mixer was routinely not replaced after cleaning.

The ‘interlocking’ system was also defeated which meant the mixer would still operate without the front guard in place, putting employees, including Mr Simpson, at risk when operating it.

David Wood Bakery Limited pleaded guilty to breaches under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, Regulation 11(1)(b) and was fined £858,000 and ordered to pay £8,000 costs at Folkestone Magistrates Court on 21 December 2022.

HSE Inspector Joanne Williams said: “A wide variety of work equipment and machinery is used across food production. Every year, a significant proportion of accidents, many of them serious and sometimes fatal, occur as a result of poorly guarded work equipment. To prevent and reduce the risk of serious or fatal injury adequate arrangements and systems of work are required.

“In the food and drink industries machinery and plant causes over 30% of fatal injuries and over 10% of major injuries.

“In this case this was a wholly avoidable incident, caused by the failure of the company to implement safe systems of work and a failure to identify the risks.

“Had the company ensured the interlocks were maintained and remained in working order, the machine could not have been used without the guard in place and this life changing injury could not have occurred.”

 

This is valid as of 9th January 2023.

Sign-up to the Barbour Monthly Newsletter

Get the latest Health, Safety and Environmental news and information – sign up for updates from Barbour EHS. Computer monitor What you’ll get:
  • Free downloads including Directors’ Briefings, legislation updates, webinars, risk assessments and more
  • VIP invites to events
  • Important industry news and updates
  • Invitations to hot topic webinars hosted by Barbour
  • Industry partner information

Construction and plumbing companies fined total of $720,000 over trench collapse

[Australia] A construction company and plumbing contractor have been fined a total of $720,000 (and ordered to pay $35,000 in costs) over an incident in which a worker drowned in a trench when a water main burst in 2018.

Ryan and Melissa Pty Ltd (trading as Vivian Plumbing and Civil) pleaded guilty to failing to provide and maintain a safe work environment and, by that failure, causing the death of an employee, and was fined $600,000 in the Perth Magistrates Court.

In the same court, Badge Constructions (WA) Pty Ltd pleaded guilty as a principal to failing to ensure that any person employed by the contractor (Vivian Plumbing and Civil) was not exposed to hazards, and was fined $120,000. It was not alleged that Badge Constructions caused the death of the employee.

In October 2018, Badge Constructions had engaged Vivian Plumbing to perform various plumbing works on a construction and refurbishment project at the Mosman Park Shopping Centre.

The project included both the refurbishment of existing tenancies and the construction of new tenancies. The plumbing works included installing and connecting a new 225mm sewer pipe to the existing sewer, a task that was being undertaken on 17 October 2018.

A trench had been dug and a trench box was in place. A plumber employed by Vivian Plumbing and Civil was inside the trench box trying to locate the end of a 225mm sewer pipe located at a depth of around three metres when a nearby water main burst and water and sand engulfed the excavation.

The other workers were unable to remove the plumber from the excavation, and he drowned in a mixture of sand and water.

WorkSafe Commissioner Darren Kavanagh said the case was an example of the failure of two companies to take simple measures to ensure the safety of workers. “This case involved a very significant incident that resulted in the loss of a worker’s life in tragic circumstances. The court heard that Vivian Plumbing and Civil caused the worker’s death by not taking a practicable measure to protect him from harm.

“The company should have refused to proceed with the work unless the water main was cut and capped or otherwise isolated, a simple method that could have been adopted. There was also no rescue plan in place for the excavation site, despite the fact the trench was between 2.2 and three metres deep, significantly deeper than the 1.5m minimum for a rescue plan to be in place.

“Badge Constructions had previously viewed Vivian’s safe work method statement and had failed to ensure that a rescue plan was in place for any excavation of more than 1.5 metres. Another company later completed the job, but that time included emergency response arrangements including a ladder, a spotter and monitoring of the trench by a competent person.

“The safe work method that could’ve been in place on this job was quite simple and would have prevented the loss of this worker’s life.”

 

This is valid as of 5th January 2023.

[Australia] A construction company and plumbing contractor have been fined a total of $720,000 (and ordered to pay $35,000 in costs) over an incident in which a worker drowned in a trench when a water main burst in 2018.
Ryan and Melissa Pty Ltd (trading as Vivian Plumbing and Civil) pleaded guilty to failing to provide and maintain a safe work environment and, by that failure, causing the death of an employee, and was fined $600,000 in the Perth Magistrates Court. In the same court, Badge Constructions (WA) Pty Ltd pleaded guilty as a principal to failing to ensure that any person employed by the contractor (Vivian Plumbing and Civil) was not exposed to hazards, and was fined $120,000. It was not alleged that Badge Constructions caused the death of the employee. In October 2018, Badge Constructions had engaged Vivian Plumbing to perform various plumbing works on a construction and refurbishment project at the Mosman Park Shopping Centre. The project included both the refurbishment of existing tenancies and the construction of new tenancies. The plumbing works included installing and connecting a new 225mm sewer pipe to the existing sewer, a task that was being undertaken on 17 October 2018. A trench had been dug and a trench box was in place. A plumber employed by Vivian Plumbing and Civil was inside the trench box trying to locate the end of a 225mm sewer pipe located at a depth of around three metres when a nearby water main burst and water and sand engulfed the excavation. The other workers were unable to remove the plumber from the excavation, and he drowned in a mixture of sand and water. WorkSafe Commissioner Darren Kavanagh said the case was an example of the failure of two companies to take simple measures to ensure the safety of workers. “This case involved a very significant incident that resulted in the loss of a worker’s life in tragic circumstances. The court heard that Vivian Plumbing and Civil caused the worker’s death by not taking a practicable measure to protect him from harm. “The company should have refused to proceed with the work unless the water main was cut and capped or otherwise isolated, a simple method that could have been adopted. There was also no rescue plan in place for the excavation site, despite the fact the trench was between 2.2 and three metres deep, significantly deeper than the 1.5m minimum for a rescue plan to be in place. “Badge Constructions had previously viewed Vivian’s safe work method statement and had failed to ensure that a rescue plan was in place for any excavation of more than 1.5 metres. Another company later completed the job, but that time included emergency response arrangements including a ladder, a spotter and monitoring of the trench by a competent person. “The safe work method that could’ve been in place on this job was quite simple and would have prevented the loss of this worker’s life.”  

This is valid as of 5th January 2023.

Property company fined £200,000 for failings that led to severe injury

[Scotland] A Glasgow property company has been fined for health and safety failings which left a man with severe injuries and permanent impairment.

City Property (Glasgow) LLP, which manages and disposes of Glasgow City Council’s surplus properties, pled guilty to health and safety breaches at Glasgow Sheriff Court on 20 December 2022. On 21 December, the company was fined £200,000.

The court heard that, on 5 April 2018, two members of the company’s asbestos team were carrying out a survey on the roof of Netherton Community Centre.

They were finishing taking samples of roof felt and had just started to head back to the ladder when one of the men fell backwards through a roof light and landed on the floor approximately eight metres below.

His colleague called the emergency services and followed the operator’s instructions on how to look after him until an ambulance arrived.

The man suffered life-changing injuries, including a severe brain injury, hearing loss, and a broken spine which has resulted in him being paralysed from the waist down.

The HSE investigation found there had been inadequate assessment of the risks involved for the work at height carried out on the external roof areas of the community centre. While a generic risk assessment had been done, no specific risk assessment had been done.

Management did not do site checks to see if work was being carried out safely or if the plans for such work were safe. The paperwork that the asbestos surveyors completed before the survey was not checked.

In addition, Glasgow City Council Corporate Governance Health and Safety Team, who were contracted to provide health and safety advice to the Asbestos Team did nothing to check that health and safety procedures were in place and were being followed.

At the time of the accident, there was no edge protection provided and the roof lights were not covered over or had barriers around them. There were no fall-mitigation measures, such as netting or crash decks, harnesses or any fall restraint or fall arrest equipment provided.

Debbie Carroll, who leads on health and safety investigations for the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) said: “This was a foreseeable and avoidable accident resulting in severe injury and permanent impairment. This incident could well have proved fatal and has irrevocably changed a man’s life.

“This accident could have been avoided if City Property (Glasgow) LLP had put in place the appropriate planning and protective measures.

“Hopefully this prosecution will remind other employers that failure to fulfil their obligations can have severe consequences and that they will be held to account for their failings.”

 

This is valid as of 4th January 2023.

Sign-up to the Barbour Monthly Newsletter

Get the latest Health, Safety and Environmental news and information – sign up for updates from Barbour EHS. Computer monitor What you’ll get:
  • Free downloads including Directors’ Briefings, legislation updates, webinars, risk assessments and more
  • VIP invites to events
  • Important industry news and updates
  • Invitations to hot topic webinars hosted by Barbour
  • Industry partner information