Latest Health and Safety Executive Press Releases

Since we last reported on the health and safety press releases detailing accidents in May of this year there have been a further 21 cases reported by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). These cases range from falls from height to crushing accidents to explosions and burn injuries.

Below we’ve highlighted some of the many health and safety press releases from the HSE website.

Engineering company fined after worker suffers hand injury

Thermal Engineering Ltd has been fined after a worker suffered a serious hand injury after a machinery incident. The engineer was working at the site in Royson, Hertfordshire using a manually operated metalworking lathe, when his hand became entangled with the rotating workpiece. This incident resulted in the worker later requiring surgical amputation to part of his left index finger. An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the machine operators were using an unsafe system of work. The company failed to identify workers were routinely using this dangerous work practice. The company was fined £40,000 and ordered to pay costs of £834.

HSE inspector Sandra Dias said: “Thermal Engineering Ltd failed to identify that employees were routinely carrying out an unsafe work practice when hand applying emery cloth to a workpiece rotating at speed. The company also failed to take the faulty lathe out of service, resulting in the engineer not being able to stop the lathe immediately.  All companies have a duty to ensure employees carry out work in a safe way and the machinery they are using is in good working order.”

Scaffold company and director sentenced after worker fell from height

St. Albans Scaffolding Limited and its director have today been fined after an employee fell more than 20ft to the ground. The worker suffered multiple fractures to his right leg and ankle requiring surgery. An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found both the company and director failed to ensure the scaffolding labourer was trained to the required competence to install scaffolding components. It was also found the worker had not been adequately supervised and was working alone on the Temporary Roof Scaffold. The company was fined £5500 and ordered to pay costs of £442.

HSE inspector Rauf Ahmed said: “The employee in this case is extremely lucky to have not suffered more severe and life threatening injuries. The director knew the workers had not received the appropriate training in order to carry out the safe installation of the scaffolding and he put him at risk of harm by allowing unsupervised work to continue. Duty holders must ensure all employees are trained to the required industry standard before carrying out any scaffolding work.”

£1.2m fine for chemical company after explosion

A chemicals company has been fined £1.2m following an explosion at its site at West Thurrock. Two workers were injured; one suffered a grazed knee from a breeze block dislodged from the wall of the control room and the other a minor caustic burn caused by a drip from the plant in the minutes following the explosion. The company was fined £1.2 million and ordered to pay costs of £35,854.

The HSE inspector said: “The investigation has shown that the potential for an explosive atmosphere had not been identified during the design, construction or commissioning of the plant. This incident could have been avoided if simple checks had been carried out. Duty holders should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the require standard.”

A COMAH Prohibition Notice was served following this incident.

Developer fined after a worker fell from height

Meadows WR LLP (MWR) has been fined after a 60 year-old man fell off a ladder, through and opening and down to the lower floor of a house in St Albans. The worker broke his spine in three places and was paralysed from the chest down; he spent three months in a coma and a total of twelve months in hospital. He later died, with the cause of death being respiratory failure due to a collapsed lung and pneumonia alongside his spinal injuries and paraplegia. The company was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay costs of £10,000.

The HSE inspector John Berezansky said: “Working at height is a high-risk activity as well as all construction work, effective controls and management is essential to avoid serious injuries and incidents like this. The developer Meadows WR LLP failed in its duty to ensure such measures were in place to prevent this tragic incident.”

Company fined £250,000 after crushing leaves worker with brain damage

A passenger air transport firm has been fined after an employee suffered brain damage after being crushed by hangar doors in Bedfordshire. The employee was injured while she was opening the doors of Hangar 219 at Luton Airport to move aircraft inside. On moving one of the doors the employee became trapped causing crushing injuries resulting in severe brain damage. The company was fined £250,000 and ordered to pay costs of £19,483.50.

The HSE inspector Andrew McGill said: “The injured person’s family have been left devastated after this incident. Her husband gave up work to care for her daily and has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. Employers must provide suitable systems of work, training, information and supervision to ensure safety. If a safe system of work had been in place prior to this incident, it could have prevented the life-changing injuries sustained by the employee.”

Paper coating company fined after worker suffered burns

A paper coating company has been fined after a worker suffered burns following a fire on a coating machine. The employee suffered burn injuries following a fire caused by use of highly flammable liquid to clean rollers on a coating machine. The company were fined £16,000.00 and ordered to pay costs of £4,505.40.

HSE principal inspector Andrew Kingscott said: “Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working and to inform, instruct, and train their workers in that safe system of working. In this case, if a suitable safe system of work had been in place prior to the incident, the serious injuries sustained by the employee could have been prevented.”

Automotive manufacturer fined after employee struck by falling pallet

A Banbury based company has been fined after a 64-year old worker who was struck by a falling pallet had to have part of his leg amputated. The employee was attempting to move a stack of pallets with a manual pump truck when a pallet fell and struck him, resulting in lacerations to the head and several fractures to both his tibia and fibula. The worker later required surgical amputation below the knee because of the seriousness of his injuries. The company was fined £80,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,537.45.

HSE Principal Inspector Karen Morris said: “This case highlights the need for all duty holders to properly plan all work activity before allowing work to begin. In this case the company failed to plan and identify the risks associated with the relocation of their stock, and as a result this employee’s life has been changed dramatically. Workers’ health should not be made worse by the work they do.”

As evidenced by the remarks of the HSE inspectors the accidents above could have been avoided through appropriate risk management, planning and training.

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