Press Releases January to May 2017

During the months of January to May 2017 there have been eighteen Health and Safety Executive regional press releases in the south east of England. Below are a few examples:

Construction Company fined after contractor receives life changing injuries

A Lincolnshire based construction company, specialising in fitting mezzanine floors was prosecuted after a contractor fell onto a concrete floor.

Guildford Crown Court heard that M & L Installers Ltd were contracted to install a mezzanine floor at a factory in Sunbury on Thames, Surrey. The design included a hole in the mezzanine floor where a lift was due to be installed.

A contractor who was working on the floor fell just over 3.5 metres and suffered life threatening injuries, when he stepped backwards through the hole, on 13 January 2015. He was hospitalised for 2-months after receiving a severe brain injury any has not been able to work since.

M & L Installers Ltd pleaded guilty to a breach of the Work at Height Regulations, Regulation 6(3) and were fined £20,000 and ordered to pay £9165.56 costs.

HSE Inspector, Amanda Huff, commented after the hearing “The contractors injuries were life changing and he could have easily been killed. This serious incident and devastation could have been avoided if basic safe guards had been put in place”.

Curtain wall glazing firm fined after worker crushed

A manufacturer from Wakefield has been fined after a worker was lucky to survive when he was crushed by window panes.

Wood Green Crown Court heard that on 8 August 2014 three workers were manually moving large glazing units so they could be installed at a new supermarket at The Leisure Plaza in Milton Keynes. Four or five of the window panes, weighing at least 800kg, fell forwards crushing one of the workers.

The 28 year-old father received life changing injuries including fractures to both sides of his pelvis and right leg, broken ribs and a collapsed lung; and serious facial injuries including fractures to both eye sockets, his nose and both cheek bones. He spent a month in hospital and has never been able to return to similar work.

MTW Architectural Limited, Waldorf Way, Wakefield, were found guilty of breaching Regulation 13(2) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 and were fined £100,000 and ordered to pay costs of £56,000 after a four week trial.

HSE Inspector Stephen Manley said: “This worker is lucky to be alive. Poor planning and the inability to provide workers with equipment and clear instructions nearly left his son without his father. When planning construction work, contractors must ensure all reasonably foreseeable circumstances are considered and planned for.”

Three construction companies fined after worker fall

Three companies from Essex have been fined after a worker fell over seven meters through a fragile roof he was replacing.

Chelmsford Crown Court heard how Rafal Myslim was standing on the fragile roof at Dengie Crops Ltd in Asheldem, when the asbestos sheeting gave way and he fell 7.5m onto a concrete floor, hitting a number of pipes within the building on the way down. There was no safety netting or other protective equipment to prevent him from falling and he suffered a hematoma on the brain.

Ernest Doe & sons Ltd, of Ulting, Essex, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 22 of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007. They were fined £360,000 and ordered to pay costs of £10,000

Balsham (Buildings) Ltd, of Balsham, Cambridge, pleaded guilty to breaching 4(1)(a) and 4(1)(c) of the Work at Height Regulation 2005. They were fined £45,000 and ordered to pay costs of £7,000

Strong Clad Ltd, of Castle Hedingham, Essex, pleaded guilty to breaching 4(1)(a) and 4(1)(c) of the Work at Height Regulation 2005. They were fined £7,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,000

HSE inspector Adam Hills said: “The dangers of working on fragile roofs are well documented. Every year too many people are killed or seriously injured due to falls from height while carrying out this work.

“Work at height requires adequate planning, organisation and communication between all parties. This incident was entirely preventable and Mr Myslim is lucky to be alive.”

Sentence after worker seriously injured after fall

A Kent based haulage company has been sentenced after an employee fell four and a half metres through a fragile sky light onto a concrete floor while cleaning a roof.

Southwark Crown Court heard that a 29-year-old HGV driver employed by Erith Haulage Company Limited sustained significant injuries when he fell at the company’s premises at Anchor Bay Wharf in the town.

Erith Haulage Company Limited of Erith House, Queen Street, Erith, Kent pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) of The Work at Height Regulations 2005, was fined £215,000 and ordered to pay full costs of £10,622.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Megan Carr said: “This easily preventable incident resulted in life changing injuries to this man.

“I want this case to raise awareness within the industry and amongst companies in general, that proper planning and operation of work at height is imperative. This case highlights the very serious consequences that may arise from oversight.”

Construction company fined after death of worker

Hague Construction Limited has been sentenced following the death of Daniel Clifford Yeowell.

Lewes Crown Court heard Mr Yeowell was employed by Hague as a ground worker and on 4 October 2013 he and his colleagues were constructing and installing drainage boxes at a site at Langley Green Primary School, Crawley, West Sussex. Mr Yeowell was struck by a concrete drainage cover as he was standing in the excavation area and later died as a result of his severe head injuries.

Hague Construction Limited of Sir Thomas Longley Road, Rochester, Kent has pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Etc Act 1974 and has been fined £100,000 and ordered to pay costs of £16,918.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Andrew Cousins said: “Our investigation was prompted in the most tragic of circumstances. Hague Construction should have properly planned the lifting operation regarding this work activity. If the company had done so Mr Yeowell’s death could have been avoided.”

Company fined after worker seriously injured

A salad growing company has been fined after an employee was seriously injured by a chainsaw while felling trees.

Basildon Magistrates’ Court heard that an employee of Growing Green Limited suffered deep cuts to his arm while working with another colleague at the Brentwood Nursery on 6 April 2016.

The two employees were working together with one person holding and supporting the branches and the other cutting through them using the chainsaw. During this operation one man’s arm landed on top of the moving chainsaw.

The man sustained deep lacerations damaging the nerves in his arm.

Growing Green Ltd pleaded guilty to a single breach under Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The company was fined £120,000, including a £170 victim surcharge, and ordered to pay costs of £1,864.35.

Speaking after the case, HSE Inspector Tania van Rixtel said: “This incident could have easily been avoided if the company had adopted a safe method of working that did not put an employee in the direct line of the moving chainsaw. It was only luck that the gentleman did not lose his arm.

“Companies are reminded that even occasional and ‘one-off’ jobs need to be properly planned to ensure the correct control measures are in place.”

Company fined after worker injured in fall from height

A company has been fined after a worker fractured his vertebrae after falling while working on the platform of a crane.

High Wycombe Magistrates Court heard how the 54-year-old was working on the platform on 14 March 2016, which was two metres above ground level when he fell. He has since made a largely full recovery.

Terex Cranes UK Ltd pleaded guilty to Regulation (4) of the Working at Height Regulations 2005 at High Wycombe Magistrates, was fined £50,000. The company also had to pay costs of £1699.52 and a £170 victim surcharge.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Stephen Faulkner said: “This case highlights the importance of ensuring that workers have reasonable measures in place while working at height and it is carried out in a safe manner.

“The company has now initiated a system of work platforms which would have prevented the falls.”