A car components factory has been fined £400,000 after the death of a worker who was struck by a forklift truck.
The employee died in hospital three days after the truck at the components firm in Llanelli reversed into him, said the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). The employee died on the day he was to take voluntary redundancy.
The company, which admitted health and safety charges, was ordered to pay £45,000 costs at Swansea Crown Court. The employee’s family said he was a “fabulous” person whose children were “still finding it extremely hard to cope with losing their loving father”.
The HSE said that the employee had gone onto the factory floor to “issue instruction” to a forklift truck operator. After speaking, the forklift truck reversed into him, knocking him to the ground. He sustained fatal head injuries.
HSE inspector Stephen Jones said: “It’s fairly routine for forklift trucks to operate within the same area as pedestrians in this industry. However, working procedures and systems need to be in place to prevent vehicles colliding with people. This tragic incident could have been avoided had all contractors and employees been aware of the risks, and had the safety procedures been taken to avoid such risks.”
In a statement, the employee’s family said no other family should go through what they had had to endure.
“To die on the day he was due to have taken voluntary redundancy is even more tragic. Time does not heal. We all miss him so very much and his children are still finding it extremely hard to cope with losing their loving father. We hope employers hearing this case will have more regard for health and safety in future as no other family should go through what we have had to endure – losing such a wonderful person from our lives.”
A garden centre has reacted furiously after being forced to pay more than £30,000 over injuries to two elderly customers at Chilton. The garden centre was sentenced at Oxford Crown Court over two incidents at its Chilton branch.
The incident resulted in Derek Barlow, 78, suffering knee and shoulder injuries when he tripped and fell over uneven pieces of concrete at the store. At a trial in January, the company was convicted of one count of failing to discharge its duty under the Health and Safety at Work Act. It was cleared of a more serious similar charge.
In December 2008, Miriam Price fractured her kneecap after getting her foot caught in a missing section of a step at the store. In relation to that incident, the company admitted failing to discharge a duty under the Health and Safety at Work Act and contravening health and safety regulations.
The company was fined a total of £11,000 and ordered it to pay £20,000 costs and a £15 victims’ surcharge.
He said the incident involving Mrs Price was the most serious and said: “This company has been convicted of two separate matters. The first matter concerns what was undoubtedly a dangerous situation, which had been allowed to remain for a period of weeks prior to the unfortunate accident which caused a serious injury to a member of the public.”
“I accept entirely that this is a well-run garden centre who have been and continue to be, concerned with the safety of members of the public.”
A roofing company has been fined £70,000 for health and safety failures which led to an employee being electrocuted – but will not pay a penny of the cash they owe.
The Employee was delivering roofing materials when he parked directly under the three 11kv cables and was killed instantly when the lorry-driven crane he was using, touched overhead power cables at West Horton Farm industrial estate. The company he worked for later admitted health and safety failings after an investigation in to the tragedy, but because the firm is now insolvent and has no assets following a sell off, it is effectively incapable of paying the £50,000 fine and £20,000 court costs.
Southampton Crown Court heard how he had earlier been shown how to use the crane by the senior warehouseman who was not a competent trainer. Although the senior warehouseman was aware of the overhead electric cables, he said he did not consider them a hazard.
He was unaware of health and safety guidance about overhead power lines or the necessary training of crane drivers, the court was told.
The company, pleaded guilty at New Forest Magistrates’ Court to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 before being sentenced at Southampton. In mitigation, the court heard how company bosses had shown “profound remorse” after the incident.
Dennis MacWilliam, from the Health and Safety Executive, which brought he prosecution, added: “Proper training and simple checks and procedures could have prevented this horrific accident. Tragically, (the employee) had been booked in to do a professional course in handling lorry mounted cranes in the month he died.”
“The company failed to provide suitable and sufficient training and supervision for him in the use of HIAB cranes and especially the risk from overhead power lines. They also failed to ensure lifting operations were properly planned and hazards identified. Delivery arrangements at clients’ premises should also have been checked from time to time.”
The owner of a Redruth-based roofing company has found himself in court after ignoring an order to undertake construction safety training.
The company was served an Improvement Notice by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) on 2nd June 2010 after an inspector visited a new housing development where the HSE inspector identified several safety issues with scaffolding that the firm was using while working on the development.
The Court heard that the scaffolding was incomplete, with barriers missing to prevent workers falling. A broken loft ladder – held together at the join with a piece of rope – was also being used despite being completely unsuitable for the job.
While the inspector was on site, a meeting with a health and safety consultant was arranged and suitable training discussed for the company and training courses were arranged on two occasions but he did not attend either.
He pleaded guilty to breaching Section 33(1)(g) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £1,200 with £800 costs.
After the hearing, Barry Trudgian, HSE Inspector, said: (the company) “was given two opportunities to complete a much needed safety course after the HSE visit. Unfortunately for him, ignoring the HSE enforcement notice landed him in court today. Organising safe work at height is one of the key responsibilities of those in control of construction work. In order to do this it’s essential they remain up to speed with best practice in construction and relevant health and safety law.”
Two companies have been fined a total of £130,000 after a worker was killed by a 31-tonne concrete beam on a building site in Thurrock.
The court heard that the Employee aged 43, from Aylesbury but was, was working during the overnight demolition work of the A1306 Stifford Rail Bridge, West Thurrock.
A 31-tonne concrete beam had been removed from the bridge and placed on the back of a low loader lorry. The chains securing the beam were removed from the crane before it was secured. The beam then fell – crushing him under it.
The main demolition contractor pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. They were fined £100,000 and ordered to pay costs of £20,000 at Basildon Crown Court.
The sub-contractor providing staff to supervise the lifting procedure, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 8(1) of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998. They were fined £30,000 and ordered to pay costs of £10,000.
Following the hearing, HSE Inspector Nicola Surrey said: “A family, including four children have had their lives devastated by this tragic incident. With adequate planning and supervision of how the concrete beam should have been secured on the low loader lorry, this outcome could have been avoided. This case is a warning to other employers that there are serious consequences for not protecting their workforce.”
A Surrey roofing company has been fined after two workers were spotted working on a roof almost 30 feet high without using any safety equipment.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted the roofing company involved and its Managing Director, after an inspector saw the men while driving past the scene.
The Court heard that the roofing firm had been contracted to ‘oversheet’ a roof at Independent Business Park in East Grinstead. Oversheeting is when a metal grid system is fixed to a roof and insulation fibre is rolled out on top of the grid, after which a metal sheet is fixed on top.
On 5 January this year, HSE Inspector Russell Beckett was driving past the site when he saw two employees standing on an asbestos roof.
The men had no means to stop them falling from the eight and a half metre fragile roof and nothing to break their fall if they had tripped over the edge or fell through the roof.
Though they had been issued with lightweight staging boards, they were not using these to walk on as intended, and one man was spotted walking on the metal grid while the other was standing on the asbestos.
The inspector was so alarmed at what he saw that he issued a Prohibition Notice stopping any further work immediately. An Improvement Notice was then issued to ensure a risk assessment and correct procedures were in place before work could commence again.
On every previous visit to the firm the HSE issued Prohibition Notices for similar matters.
The HSE investigation showed that work was not properly planned or appropriately supervised and it was not carried out in a manner that was reasonably safe.
HSE’s Inspector Russell Beckett said:
“Working on roofs is a high-risk activity. Nearly a quarter of all roofers are killed in falls from height. Falls through fragile materials, such as rooflights and asbestos cement roofing sheets, account for more of these deaths than anything else.”
“Employees who work on fragile roofs without the right equipment risk not knowing if their next step could be their last. It is sheer luck that in this case the two men were not severely injured or killed.”
The roofing company, pleaded guilty to Regulation 4 of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. The firm was fined a total of £2,500 and ordered to pay costs of £1,000.
The company’s Managing Director, pleaded guilty to Regulation 4 of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. He was fined a total of £3,500 and ordered to pay costs of £1,653.
A building firm has admitted liability for the collapse of Christmas lights in a Cambridgeshire town which injured two women and narrowly missed a baby.
The Buckinghamshire-based builders pleaded guilty to breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act. The High Wycombe firm installed bolts that failed to support decorations spanning the High Street in St Neots.
The firm was fined £12,000 and told Huntingdon Magistrates’ Court it had changed procedures and retrained staff. Broadlands installed anchor bolts to secure festive decorations at several locations around the town centre.
On 29th November 2007 the weight of the decorations pulled out a large piece of masonry from near the top of a building housing the Norwich and Peterborough Building Society. This caused the decorations, fixing and masonry to fall to the pavement below.
A passing car was hit by the masonry and the metal frame and Elena Giddens, who was 39 at the time of the incident and formerly of Eynesbury Manor, was knocked unconscious when masonry landed on her. She had five stitches to her head and suffered three broken ribs and a punctured lung.
Her friend, Anne Beck, then 35 and also of Eynesbury Manor, had been pushing her seven-month-old son, Myles, in his pram along the High Street. The court was told she dived on top of the pram to protect Myles before she and Mrs Giddens pushed the pram away from the falling debris. She sustained three broken fingers and bruising to her arm, hand and back.
Health and Safety Executive investigators found that the heavy decorations were fixed into an unsafe part of the building.
“The mortar was also known to be weak, and no survey had been carried out,” Paul Hoskins, from the Health and Safety Executive, told the court. Such a survey may have identified the poor choice of fixing location.”
The building company Director pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and his company was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay £4,250 costs and also apologised to the people injured.
He said that since the incident, the company had undertaken further staff training and was now a member of the relevant trade association.
The HSE added that “incidents like this are entirely preventable as guidance on suitable and safe locations for this type of fixing is freely available. Contractors should ensure that they are competent to carry out work and ensure that they have access to relevant, up to date information and guidance.”
One of the biggest developments to hit the Yorkshire coast is also proving to be a big hit with health and safety bosses.
Raithwaite Hall at Sandsend is currently being turned into a 45 bedroom luxury five star resort in a £30 million redevelopment of the 80 acre site.
A recent spot inspection by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed contractors Wates are also leading the way when it comes to safety of the 70 plus workers on site.
Alasdair Green, a HSE inspector, found examples of good practice on the site which are above and beyond the legal requirements.
At Raithwaite the scaffolding is 12 metres off the ground in some places meaning no more than five kilo newtons can be carried onto the structure but the notices use language workmen will understand telling them this is equivalent to one tub of mortar and two packs of bricks.
Extension cables for powering equipment are fastened to the walls instead of being run along the floor reducing the threat of trips.
Mr Green said: “Any job above a certain size has to notify the HSE. I have the authority to go on to any of these sites and inspect it. I turned up at this site and said I want to look around and I am satisfied they comply with all the regulations and this is a good site. An example of good practice is cables up and out of the way. It is very simple but means we have clear walkways. The most common type of injury is slips and trips. The signs are a nice touch. They have put how much weight can be put on the loading bay and in terms the lads understand rather than in kilo newtons.”
Wates has spent at least £120,000 on health and safety measures such as scaffolding frames, edging boards and platforms.
But the HSE is running a campaign this week to improve safety on sites and Mr Green says the right equipment is not often this expensive.
He added: “These guys have spent a lot because it is a massive and complicated site but for the basic site scaffolding is not £120,000 it is £50 a week.
In recent weeks the HSE’s team of inspectors has visited 13 building sites between Staithes and Scarborough and issued three prohibition notices and two improvement notices – if the regulations are breached continually that firm could face a fine of up to £20,000.
Mike Gorman, construction manager for Wates said: “Anything from a cut finger , minor first aid, a day off work or serious injury like a broken arm or leg we record. We have not had any incidents since we came on site which is not the norm.
“We do safety inductions with all our operatives, we encourage them to report any near misses and things that are foreseeable.
“Most publicity that surrounds construction sites is negative but there is an awful lot of good stuff going on out there.”
There is four weeks worth of external works left to be done on the Raithwaite development before the internal tradesman like electricians, plasterers and plumbers come on site to start work on the inside of the hotel which is expected to open in autumn.
A London carpentry firm has been fined £15,000 for a lack of safety precautions that “consistently” endangered its workers.
The Wimbledon-based business, was found to have allowed its employees to use machinery without ensuring they were adequately trained, informed of safe working and under supervision, City of London Magistrates’ Court heard.
In March last year, one employee cut off part of the index finger on his right hand when operating a circular saw. Only a month later an inspector from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) saw another worker using a spindle moulder without safety precautions in place. It is a potentially dangerous machine.
In addition to the fine the company was ordered to pay £3,203.80 in costs.
“Woodworking machines have a long and serious accident history which is well known in the industry, HSE Inspector Clare Hawkes, speaking after the hearing, said.
“It is the employers’ job to ensure that workers have sufficient information and training to work safely and that they are properly supervised. It is also the employers’ responsibility to enforce safety rules, not the employees.”
Four construction sites in Sefton have failed safety inspections during the first two days of a month-long initiative.
Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspectors carried out checks at 88 sites during intensive inspections in Merseyside on February 14 and 15 this year, including 28 sites in Sefton.
Of those sites, four in Sefton were found not to meet legally required health and safety standards. These premises can no longer operate until remedial action has been taken.
Several of the sites visited received more than one enforcement notice either stopping work activities immediately or requiring improvements to be made.
In total, inspectors issued 22 prohibition and 21 improvement notices, with more than half of the notices relating to unsafe work being carried out at height.
The inspections are taking place across the North West after eight construction workers lost their lives and more than 1,000 were injured in the region between April 2009 and March 2010.
Half of the deaths occurred during refurbishment, repair and maintenance activities, which are the main focus of the latest HSE inspections being carried out until March 11.
Inspectors are making unannounced visits to sites to ensure that work at height is being managed safely, sites are in good order, and the risk of exposure to asbestos is being properly managed.
Wayne Crumpton, Principal Inspector for Construction, said: “Workers’ lives were potentially being put at risk on a quarter of sites we visited in just the first two days. That is a sobering statistic.
“Falls from height are one of the main causes of workplace deaths in the UK so it’s both disappointing and worrying that more than half of the enforcement notices we issued were because companies were found not to be taking this risk seriously enough. We will continue to visit small construction sites, where refurbishment work is taking place, during the rest of the initiative. The safety of workers must be a top priority and we will not hesitate to take action when necessary.”