Two workers suffer finger amputation
A joinery company has been fined after two workers experienced significant hand injuries on two separate occasions while using unsafe equipment.
The first incident happened in 2017. A worker had two fingers on his right hand amputated while cutting timber on a sliding table that was unstable and which failed to meet basic safety standards.
The second incident took place in 2018. In this instance, an apprentice suffered an amputation to a section of their finger while using planer thicknesser with an insubstantial guard.
An investigation by the HSE heard at Reading Magistrates Court found that the joinery company did not adhere to their legal obligations to ensure that equipment was safe and up to standard.
The HSE had previously issued the joinery with three Improvement Notices and a Prohibition Notice. The investigation found that, while the company had complied with the Prohibition Notice, it had failed to comply with the Improvement Notices within the given timeframe despite being granted an extension on the deadline.
The joinery company pleaded guilty to four breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act, and a breach of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations. The company has been fined a total of £10,600 and ordered to pay additional costs of £2024.60.
Worker crushed to death at the plastic fabrication centre
A Liverpool based recycling company has been sentenced after a worker was fatally crushed to death by a falling plastic bale.
The plastic bales had been delivered to the recycling centre and stacked as free-standing columns. A forklift driver had noticed that the columns had partly collapsed and were in his way. He used the forklift to fix the stack, but they remained unsecured.
Later on in the day, the victim was working next to the stack of bales. The stack, weighing over 500kg, toppled and fell onto the worker, which caused significant crush injuries. The collapse remained undiscovered for almost an hour, and subsequent attempts to rescue the man were unsuccessful.
An investigation conducted by the HSE found that the recycling company failed to provide a way to securely store the plastic bales. The company was also cited for failing to carry out a risk assessment to identify risks associated with working near the stacks.
The recycling company pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act, and has been fined £120,000, with an additional order to pay costs of £10,540.95
Building contractor fined after wall collapses onto homeowner
A building company has been fined after a wall collapsed onto a homeowner during a routine demolition.
The contractors in question were working on demolishing a garage when the wall collapsed. The homeowner suffered from life-changing injuries, including the amputation of his leg below the knee, head injuries and major shoulder injury. The victim continues to experience memory loss in the aftermath of the incident.
An investigation by the HSE found that the construction company did not provide suitable measures to prevent the wall from collapsing, and failed to prevent other people from entering the work area.
The company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 19(1) of the Construction Regulations. The construction worker was given 120 hours of community service and ordered to pay costs of £1,500.