Machinery Safety Failure leads to fatality

This is another reported case of a machinery safety failure leading to a fatality.

In this case, Leeds Magistrates Court heard how, on 28 February 2014, a 50-year-old employee of WE Rawson Limited leant into a packaging machine whilst attempting to free a stuck package. Whilst doing so, he became trapped between an upper and lower moving conveyor. The employee suffered severe crush injuries and later died in hospital.

During the investigation carried out by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident, it was found the company had failed to take measures to prevent access to the danger zone between the moving conveyors. The investigation also found that no safe system of work had been provided for the removal of trapped packages from the machine.

WE Rawson Limited of Castlebank Mills Portobello Road Wakefield pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £600,000 and ordered to pay costs of £20,165.09.

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Worker was Fatally Crushed leads to £2,000,000 in fines

A civil engineering contractor and a district heating firm have been fined £1,000,000 each after a worker was fatally crushed.

In December 2015, 36-year-old DB was employed by R K Civil Engineers Ltd working at the EON Renewable Energy Plant in Sheffield. He was one of two workers unloading large heating pipes (12 metres long and weighing approximately 840kg) from a trailer to place them into stillage containers at the site. The pipes were being lifted and moved using an excavator and were incorrectly stacked above the top edge of the stillages. During the positioning of the pipes, two of the pipes rolled off and fell into a gap between two stillages. Mr Beresford was standing within this gap and the second pipe fell onto him.

R K Civil Engineers Ltd (of Manchester) was found guilty of breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £1,000,000

R K District Heating Ltd (of Sheffield) was found guilty of breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £1,000,000.

The Judge also ordered that costs of £15,847 are to be repaid; the arrangements will need to be agreed between the two defendants.

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Large fine for fall from height injury

Fines totalling £965,000 have been imposed on two companies as a result of a fall from height injury suffered by an employee. BAM Nuttall and McNealy Brown have been fined £900,000 and £65,000 respectively after they admitted failing to put proper procedures and safeguards in place to prevent a worker (in this case a painter PW) falling through the passenger waiting room ceiling at the railway station in East Croydon. PW, who was aged 31 at the time of the accident, suffered severe ligament damage and has been unable to return to work as an industrial painter since falling around 10 feet while working at East Croydon railway station in January 2015.

Croydon Crown Court heard that the two companies agreed the £12million contract with Network Rail to undertake the replacement of station floor surfaces, canopy roofs and cladding. BAM Nuttall started work in January 2014 and later that year a third company (DRH) was asked by the existing contractors to supply industrial painters to undertake specialist tasks. Continue reading

Simply Put – Risk Assessments

‘Simply Put’. In this series, we’re going to be taking a simpler look at some of the key phrases and ideas we frequently come across in health and safety. – such as Risk Assessment.

At the heart of our company’s ethos is the desire to provide helpful, practical advice. Part of that comes from speaking in plain English and avoiding unnecessary jargon. However, at one of our recent training courses, we were struck by the fact that there are some words and phrases we all use without necessarily thinking about what they really mean. Continue reading

Safety and the Internet of Things (IoT)

Fairly new to the world of health and safety is the concept of Safety and the Internet of Things (IoT).

We have all heard about computer hacking, and some have heard about the Internet of Things (or IoT). Few, if any of us, have included susceptibility to (malicious) outside control under the category of hazards that we need to protect against. As more and more devices are able to be controlled remotely through the use of the internet, then the risks of someone else doing the controlling increases.

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Section 40 is not your friend

I have blogged on this issue before, but too many employers gloss over it. Section 40 is not your friend, and you need to know why.

Section 40 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSWA) places the burden of proof on an accused in offences consisting of a failure to comply with a duty or requirement to do something “so far as is practicable, or so far as reasonably practicable, or to use the best practicable means to do something”.  The Act provides that the accused must prove that it was not practicable, or not reasonably practicable to do more than was done, or that there was no better practicable means than that used to satisfy the duty or requirement.

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Risk Assessment Failure leads to £1.8 Million fine

An investigation by the HSE found the company failed to identify the risk of drowning with the maintenance activity which was undertaken by RG (employee) and his colleagues on a regular basis.

Truro Crown Court heard that RG, a catchment operator, was working on the sand filtration unit of the Falmouth Waste Water Treatment Works in December 2013 when a colleague discovered him face down in water. He died at the scene having drowned. South West Water has been sentenced following the death of 54-year-old RG. He was last seen working on the top of the unit several hours before he was found by his colleague who was responding to the lone worker system. An investigation by the HSE found the company failed to identify the risk of drowning with the maintenance activity which was undertaken by RG and his colleagues on a regular basis.

South West Water Ltd of Peninsula House, Rydon Lane, Exeter pleaded guilty of breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, was fined £1.8million and ordered to pay costs of £41,607.71.

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Company in Court due to Risk Assessment Failure

Once again, lack of suitable and sufficient risk assessments lands a company in court. In this case, Valero Energy UK Limited was £400, 000 following a serious accident at its Pembroke Refinery.

Swansea Crown Court heard that the Berth 6 access tower walkway that provided gangway access to a stationary tanker vessel on 5 March 2012 had dropped 3.5 metres, causing operator David Thomas to be trapped by a slack wire rope. He suffered fractures and lacerations to both legs and a dislocated knee.

Risk Assessment failure

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found multiple failings leading up to the incident which led it to launch the prosecution. The court heard numerous failings including:

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