Two serious accidents in less than a year lead to HSE prosecution…
A food company has been fined by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after two of their employees were suffered serious injuries in separate accidents from 2009 to 2010 at the company’s factory in Hitchin.
The first incident occurred in July 2009 when a maintenance engineer suffered a fall of more than two metres while he was in the process of cleaning a conveyor system. He was standing on the frame of another machine while he attempted to remove a guard from the conveyor when he lost his footing and fell, fracturing his shoulder and a vertebra when he hit the floor below.
Less than a year later in July 2010, a sub-contractor who was working on repairing a jammed second storey lift fell down the lift shaft sustaining life-threatening injuries including a fractured skull and a cranial blood clot. He was unable to return to work for 18 months while he recuperated from his injuries.
The accident victim had viewed a panel outside the lift which said it was at second storey level and proceeded to bypass the release mechanism by manually entering the lift only to fall down the shaft because the lift car was in fact on the ground floor of the building.
Stevenage Magistrates’ Court was told that the HSE investigation into both incidents uncovered significant health and safety failings at the factory including poor planning, inadequate supervisions and a lack of safety management protocols.
HSE Inspector Graham Tompkins spoke after the hearing had concluded:
“These were both serious incidents in their own right, but coupled together they provide a worrying picture. Lessons should have been learned from the first incident, however, the safety of workers continued to be compromised.
“This culminated with the fall of the electrical sub contractor, which was entirely preventable and should have been avoided. He could easily have been killed and I hope the severity of that incident and today’s prosecution serves as a final wake-up call.”
The food company pleaded guilty of two breaches of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and two breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £40,000 and ordered to pay £20,282 in costs.
Author: Julian Roberts
Health and Safety News” updates newsletter, click here. The new ‘Health and Safety News’ section on our web site is updated daily with new, up to the minute stories. The stories are also released via Twitter – why not follow us on Twitter? and receive new stories as and when they happen?