Builder imprisoned after three-year-old girl suffers head injuries
A young girl in Brighton has been left with life-changing injuries after she was struck on the head by a falling piece of timber during a day out with her mother.
The girl passed underneath a scaffolded area that was being used for a flat renovation project. The timber, which had not been appropriately secured to the structure, fell 10 metres and hit the toddler while she was being pushed along a pavement in her pram.
An investigation by the HSE found that the builder had not secured the beam with an appropriate knot, and had failed to establish an exclusion zone which would have prevented the public from passing directly underneath the lifting area.
The builder pleaded guilty to breaching the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations. He was sentenced to six months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, plus 220 hours of unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay costs of £5727.92.
The lead HSE inspector Stephen Green commented: ‘This horrendous incident would have been the last thing on the minds of this little girl and her mum as they set off for a fun day out at the beach. The impact this incident has had on the girl and her family was easily prevented by simply stopping people from walking beneath the suspended timber whilst it was lifted’.
Woman fatally crushed by a roller shutter door
A 40-year-old social worker received multiple fatal injuries after she became caught in a roller shutter door in an underground car park in Cambridge.
The woman became trapped when she came in to contact with the grill as it opened. Motion detectors on the shutter failed to stop the door from closing, and she was pulled in to the mechanism which resulted in a number of fatal crush injuries.
An investigation by the HSE found that a safety test, conducted only a month before by an electrical safety company, had failed to adequately assess the shutter for faults.
The company pleaded guilty to breaching the Health & Safety at Work Act, received a fine of £25,000 and was ordered to pay additional costs of £6,500.
HSE inspector Graeme Warden concluded: ‘This tragic and distressing incident has had an untold impact on all those who knew the victim. It could have been avoided if the company had ensured employees were suitably trained to inspect the doors and the functioning of the safety sensors’.
Engineering company fined after worker crushed to death
A unit manager suffered from multiple fatal crush injuries after he became trapped by a moving gantry crane at an engineering firm in Storrington, Pulborough.
The engineer had been working on a superconducting magnetic coil which is located on top of a tank. Recent work had risen the height that employees could work. An investigation by the HSE found that the engineering company had failed to amend their safety procedures to account for the changes, which put workers at risk of coming into contact with the moving crane. Investigators also found that no measures existed to make sure that the crane could not be operated while workers were accessing the area.
The engineering company pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act, received a fine of £400,000 and were ordered to pay costs of £7546.72.
Concluding the case, HSE inspector Russell Beckett stated: ‘Simple measures to either lock out the crane or to prevent workers accessing dangerous areas could have been implemented but were not, which ultimately led to a worker losing his life.’