Food Manufacturing Company Fined £1.8 Million After Two Workers Fall From Height
A Yorkshire based food manufacturer has been sentenced today for health and safety failures in a 2016 incident in which two workers suffered serious injuries after falling through a rooflight during routine roof maintenance.
The investigation, led by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the workers had not been informed about the existence of the rooflights before work had begun. A build-up of moss and dirt that had accumulated over time also meant that the rooflights remained undetected. During the course of the maintenance, both workers stood on the same rooflight, which ultimately gave way beneath them.
Both workers suffered severe injuries in the fall. One worker suffered significant trauma including fractured ribs, a punctured lung, muscular injuries including contusions to the outer thigh, a fractured skull, and a perforated inner-ear. The injuries left the worker with ongoing health issues concerning their ability to maintain balance, as well as problems with memory and mental health.
Mark Slater, the HSE inspector who led the investigation stated that the incident was “wholly avoidable, caused by the failure of the company to provide adequate controls against the risks arising from working at height. Consideration of roof fragility and rooflights, visible or not, should be made, especially on older buildings.”
The food manufacturer pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company received a fine of £1,866,000 and have been ordered to pay £8,019 in costs.
Building Contractor Sentenced for Endangering Workers
A Salford based building contractor pleaded guilty to significant breaches to health and safety regulations after permitting two employees to use unprotected platforms while working on site.
The contractor admitted directing the employees to work on the six metre high platforms without adequate training or protective equipment, including height-related and appropriate respiratory protection.
An investigation conducted by the HSE revealed that the decision to not provide the appropriate scaffolding or protection against silica dust was intentional in order to reduce the costs. The contractor was also found to have failed to provide insurance to his workers.
The contractor pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) And Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and Section 1 (1) of the Employers Liability Act 1969. He received a 26-week prison sentence, suspended for two years, handed 180 hours of community service and ordered to pay £2,000 in costs.
Matt Greenly, who led the investigation on behalf of the Health and Safety Executive concluded: “The HSE receives thousands of concerns from members of the public each year and we investigate those which show serious risk. Corners must not be cut when dealing with employees’ safety, such as working at height.”
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Civil Engineering Contractor Fined After Worker Killed by Overhead Power Line Strike
A civil engineer unloading materials at Hertfordshire farm was killed instantly when his vehicles grab arm came in contact with an 11kv overhear power line.
The contractor who employed the worker had identified the power line during the course of their initial risk assessment. However, a subsequent investigation found that the company did not communicate the hazard to employees, and failed to provide adequate to their personnel.
The Health and Safety Executive inspector leading the case, Samantha Wells, noted “Every year in the UK, two people are killed and many more are injured when machinery comes into contact with, or close proximity to, overhead power lines”.
The company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Etc Act 1974. They received a fine £400,000.00 and were ordered to pay additional costs totalling £17,242.33.
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