Liverpool Crown Court has fined two North West companies after two workers died at a Merseyside woodchip factory.
Two workers aged 25 and 27 years old were asked to replace part of a conveyor belt. The HSE told the court that while the workers were performing this task, the machine unexpectedly started. Both men were pulled into the conveyor and suffered fatal injuries.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found significant health and safety failings by the two companies. These included failure to risk assess the dangers of working on a conveyor belt, failure to have a procedure in place to isolate dangerous machines, lack of training and checks on the ability of staff.
The court fined the first company £220,000, with costs of £107,000, after pleading guilty to breaching Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and the second company was fined £190,000, with costs of £107,000, after pleading guilty to breaching Sections 2 and 3 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
After the case was heard, Mike Sebastian from the HSE said:
“Carrying out straightforward risk assessments is about protecting workers from serious harm, suffering life-changing injuries or, in this tragic case, death.
“If both companies had put in place the simple steps to protect their workers’ safety these two young men would still be with us today.”
For further information on risk assessments click here.