Press Releases September/October 2016

Since our last press release overview of HSE cases there have been a further 20 cases over the months between June and October. Below are a few examples from September and October:

Construction firm in court after worker fractures spine in roof fall

Construction firm Montway Ltd has been fined £144,000 after a worker was seriously injured when he fell off a roof during demolition work Southwark Crown Court heard that on 25 February 2013 two workers were working on the roof of a two storey detached house at 17 Basing Hill, Golders Green in London.

Romanian labourer Mr. Ioan Vancea fell from the partly demolished roof and suffered serious injuries.  No scaffolding had been provided and the work was not being supervised. Mr. Vancea fell some five metres from the roof to the ground and sustained a series of injuries including a fractured spine. He was in an induced coma for two weeks and remained in hospital for three months.

HSE inspector Andrew Verrall-Withers commented after the hearing: “Mr. Vancea’s injuries were life changing and he could easily have been killed. This serious incident would have been avoided if scaffolding had been provided. Montway Ltd’s site documents even identified it was needed. Montway Ltd sought a Newton hearing so they could dispute numerous issues in front of a District Judge. They were unsuccessful and the Judge’s ruling confirmed she was satisfied that their approach towards the welfare of their employees was lax and casual, and it was their overall poor management of health and safety that directly led to this incident.”

Worker suffers life threatening injuries after drum explodes

A Kent company who supplies road safety products has been fined after a worker suffered life threatening injuries when a drum he was working on exploded.

Maidstone Crown Court heard how 41 year old Andrew Foster, an employee of Highway Care Limited was using a plasma cutter to cut up a drum that had previously contained a flammable substance. Mr Foster suffered life threatening injuries when the drum exploded in his face causing complex head and brain injuries. He has permanently lost vision in his right eye and now has very limited vision in his left eye.

Highway Care Limited, of Detling Hill, Maidstone, Kent, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £660,000 and ordered to pay costs of £33,358.46.

HSE Inspector Caroline Fullman said. “Andrew Foster has been left with devastating injuries that will impact on the rest of his and his family’s lives. This incident could have resulted in a fatality. If a welding torch or plasma cutter is used on a tank or drum that has contained or contains a flammable substance, it can explode. It only takes a small amount of residue to create a potentially flammable atmosphere. Mr Foster wants others to learn of the risk of hot work on drums and tanks – he was previously unaware of the risk.”

Construction company fined £800,000 after worker injured

A Surrey construction company has been fined after a contractor was run over on a large site in Wokingham.

David Cole was a site foreman on the large housing development project, which started in April 2013 and has a completion date of April 2017. He was struck by and pulled under a large bulk powder carrier.

He suffered serious life threatening injuries. His skin was removed and split on his left arm and leg, he fractured his left hip requiring a pin to be inserted, and fingers on his left hand were broken. His left leg has been left permanently shorter than his right by 20mm.

Crest Nicholson Operations Ltd., of Crest House, Pyrcroft Road, Chertsey, Surrey, pleaded guilty to breaches of Regulation 36 (1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 and was fined £800,000 plus £10,984 costs.

HSE’s inspector John Berezansky said. “David Cole suffered life changing injuries because Crest Nicolson Operations Limited did not properly manage and monitor the workplace transport on their construction site. When working with such large delivery vehicles and construction plant, especially on projects where there are lots of pedestrians,  the principal contractor much take responsibility and ensure the health and safety of all those involved.”

Hemel Hempstead manufacturer fined £1m following worker’s death

A manufacturing company based in Hemel Hempstead has been fined £1million after a worker was crushed to death by falling machinery.

Colin Reddish, 48, from Lincolnshire was involved in moving a large CNC milling machine within the company’s Grantham factory on 30th April 2015  when it overturned and killed him. The machine had been lifted using jacks and placed onto skates in order to give Mr Reddish access to use an angle grinder to cut and remove the bolts that had secured it to the floor He was working alone at the time of the incident.

Lincoln Magistrates Court heard how Parker Hannifin Manufacturing Ltd had not ensured that workers who were tasked with lifting and moving the machine were sufficiently trained and had the right experience and training for carrying out such a potentially dangerous activity.

Parker Hannifin Manufacturing Ltd, Maylands Avenue, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire pleaded guilty to breaching Reg 3(1) of Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety of Work etc Act 1974. They were fined £1million for breaching Section 2, with full costs £6,311 and a victim surcharge of £120.

HSE Inspector Martin Giles said: “Colin Reddish’s death was entirely preventable. Parker Hannifin Manufacturing Ltd had already tried unsuccessfully to lift the machine using a fork lift truck but instead of learning from this failure they carried on. Their ad hoc approach to managing dangerous tasks resulted in one of their workers losing his life. All companies can learn from this incident and make sure they have properly risk assessed the situation before they start and that they have trained staff with the right type of experience to carry out the task in hand safely. Taking an extra few minutes to properly think through a problem could save a worker’s life.”

Building contractor prosecuted following worker’s fall

A building contractor from Wokingham has been prosecuted after a worker fell and punctured his lung while carrying out demolition work.

Kevin Lipscombe, 58, had been asked to dismantle an old shed that was by a new build house. While working on the roof of the shed, Mr Lipscombe lost his balance and fell onto an adjacent old greenhouse. His fall, on 18 December 2014, shattered the glass and punctured his lung.

High Wycombe Magistrates’ court heard how Mr Lipscombe was not given any instructions or equipment to dismantle the shed and there has been no suitable risk assessment carried out before the work started.

John David McCormick (trading as Trymac Construction), pleaded guilty to breaching regulation 4 (1) and 9(2) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. He was fined £2,000 for each , a total of £4,000, and was ordered to pay costs of £2,147 with a victim surcharge of £120.

Recycling firm fined after worker injured in shredder

A Kent based recycling company has been fined after a worker was injured whilst repairing a shredder.

Maidstone Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 7 October 2013, a plant mechanic employed by Countrystyle Recycling Limited was in the process of repairing a shredding machine after the metal plate forming the roof of the hammer drum had become detached. The worker was kneeling on a conveyor belt inside the shredder when it restarted and he was thrown from the machine. He suffered a fractured right leg and left arm.

Countrystyle Recycling Limited of Ashford Road, Lenham, Maidstone, Kent, was fined £300,000 and ordered to pay £8,903 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

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