Bury firm fined £40000 with £45000 costs after accident left man unable to walk again.

A lack of training, supervision and failure to maintain equipment, led to a horrific accident, which resulted in HGV driver from Manchester , being unable to walk again after being crushed by metal tubes which fell from a crane.
David Collins, a 31-year-old father of two who worked for Bury firm Spectra Scaffolding, suffered severe injuries to his head, back and leg and is now paraplegic.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Spectra Scaffolding following the incident on 7 November 2008 at Festival Park, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, where refurbishment to retail premises was being undertaken.  Mr Collins was unloading 21ft long scaffolding tubes from the back of a truck using a vehicle-mounted crane.  As he stood under the load operating the crane controls, one of the lifting slings detached from the crane hook, causing the metal tubes, which weighed nearly one and a half tonnes, to fall onto him.  A safety catch on the crane hook was faulty, which led to the scaffolding tubes falling. Although the company had known about this for some time before the incident, no action was taken to replace the catch and Mr Collins had not been trained to realise its importance.
HSE’s investigation into the incident found Mr Collins had not been properly trained or supervised and Spectra Scaffolding had failed to plan the work adequately.  HSE inspector Mr Lindsay Hope said after the hearing:  “As a result of this incident Mr Collins has been severely disabled and could easily have been killed.  Companies that operate lorry-mounted cranes must ensure their operators undertake appropriate, recognised training in all aspects. Operators of lorry-mounted cranes must be competent to use the equipment properly and plan safe lifting in variable site conditions. In this instance, the lift wasn’t properly planned or supervised and Mr Collins hadn’t been sufficiently trained in how to use the crane and slings properly. Furthermore, the equipment had not been properly maintained and should never have been used.”
Spectra Scaffolding, of Warth Road Industrial Estate, Bury, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 8(1) of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 and Regulation 5(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and was fined £40,000 and ordered to pay £45,000 costs.

Serviceplan Contracts Ltd prosecuted by HSE

A 29-year-old man from Tyldesley, who has asked not to be named, could have been killed when he fell off a forklift truck in Leigh while trying to climb onto its roof, a court has heard.

The man struck his head on the ground and was knocked unconscious for several minutes in the incident at Moss Industrial Estate on St Helens Road in Leigh. His employer, Serviceplan Contracts Ltd, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for failing to make sure the work was planned,
supervised and carried out safely.

The worker had been trying to climb on the roof of the forklift to carry out work to the lifting equipment on 3 August 2010. He suffered severe headaches, a painful swelling to his head, and was off work for one week as a result of the fall.

The HSE investigation found it was common practice for Serviceplan’s employees to service the lifting mast and chains on a forklift truck by climbing on top of it. However, they should have been given a stepladder or mobile steps to use to reach the equipment safely. Some of the work could also have been carried out from the ground.

Serviceplan Contracts Ltd admitted breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay £1,000 in prosecution costs.

After the hearing, Emily Osborne, the investigating inspector at HSE, said:

“One of Serviceplan’s employees was knocked unconscious and suffered a head injury as a result of the fall but it could have been a lot worse – possibly even fatal. He had been trained to carry out the work by standing on the roof of the forklift truck, despite there being a serious risk of him being injured in a fall. But Serviceplan simply hadn’t considered the potential dangers of working at height in this way. Workers face being seriously injured if they fall just a few feet. It’s therefore vital that companies plan work at height, supervise it appropriately and carry it out safely with the appropriate equipment.”

Changes to National Minimum Wage

As
from 1st October the National Minimum Wage increases as follows:

  • the adult rate increases to £6.08 an hour
  • the rate for 18-20 year olds  increase to £4.98 an hour
  • the rate for 16-17 year olds  increases to £3.68 an hour
  • the rate for apprentices increases to £2.60 an hour.

More information is available on the Business Link website.

Should you require any assistance please contact Sue at Plus Safety on tel. 0845
5197061, or e-mail at sue@plussafety.co.uk

 

Please Note. While
every care has been taken in compiling these notes, Plus Safety cannot be held
responsible for the any errors or omissions; the notes are not intended to be
substitute for specific legal advice

 

Agency Workers Regulations 2010

The Agency Workers Regulations came into force on 1st October 2010, and have significant implications for employers. The primary purpose of the Regulations is to ensure that, after a 12 week waiting period, an agency worker is entitled to the same basic working and employment conditions as if they had been directly recruited by the hirer. However, there are also rights from day 1 which provide for equal access to collective facilities e.g. car parking, crèche etc. This also includes access to vacancies.

Key provisions in the Regulations include:
• agency workers will be entitled to equal treatment as permanent staff in relation to basic working and employment conditions, including pay and holidays,
• agency workers rights to pay will not only apply to the basic hourly rate, but to pay for work done, including bonuses which are directly related to agency          workers’ personal performance,
• the rights do not extend to some wider benefits enjoyed by permanent staff, such as sick pay and occupational pensions,
• penalties for employers trying to avoid implementing equal treatment – anti-avoidance rules.

The Regulations are not straightforward and, if you use, or intend to use, agency workers, then it is advisable to download government guidance at http://bit.ly/kOASJN

Should you require further assistance please contact Sue at Plus Safety on tel. 0845 5197061, or e-mail at sue@plussafety.co.uk

Please Note. While every care has been taken in compiling these notes, Plus Safety cannot be held responsible for the any errors or omissions; the notes are not intended to be substitute for specific legal advice

Employee prosecuted by HSE / Employer not to blame

So often we hear about Companies that are failing to meet their legal responsibilities and, as a result, people are injured or killed. Recently we read in the press about an employee of Holker Highways who was prosecuted by the HSE for failing in his legal responsibilities, which resulted in a child being injured. The Company however were found to be blameless.

It is right and proper that the HSE takes this action, and it is also right that we should endeavour to ensure that all employees are aware of their legal responsibilities, and the potential for prosecution for failing in these responsibilities. Clearly, the morale of this story is that it is incumbent on both employer and employee to fulfil their legal responsibilities in order to prevent accidents and avoid prosecution. The City of London Magistrates’ Court heard how street light operative Joseph Parker, 25, was instructed by his employers, Volker Highways Limited, to investigate a faulty street lamp on Gillett Square in Hackney on 20 January 2010. However, when he detached the reflector at the top of the lamp post it fell on one-year-old Taahyra Kasham who  was being pushed along a London street in her pram by her mum. The one-year-old needed stitches to her wound, but her mum escaped unhurt.

The HSE investigation found the incident was entirely preventable. Temporary barriers should have been used to segregate pedestrians from the work area around the lamp before the reflector was dismantled.

Mr Parker pleaded guilty to breaching Section 7(a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £2,250.00 with costs of £2,888.00. His employer, Volker Highways, was not to blame as they had trained their employee to carry out the work safely.

HSE Inspector, Zameer Bhunnoo said:  “This was a serious incident that needlessly injured a small child and caused her mother understandable distress. “No blame can be attached to Volker Highways as Mr Parker had been properly trained by his employer to carry out this kind of work safely. “Individual
employees must realise that they face criminal prosecution by the HSE if they show a reckless disregard for health and safety, putting others at serious
risk.”
 

 

Glove Policy implicated in metalworking machine accident – Ineos Enterprises Ltd sentenced over finger loss

Ineos Enterprises Ltd has been prosecuted for ignoring basic safety guidelines after a maintenance worker seriously injured his right hand at a Runcorn factory. Ineos, of South Parade in Runcorn, was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay £6,607 towards the cost of the prosecution
Ineos introduced a new policy in May 2010 making the wearing protective gloves mandatory for most workers on the site. However, they failed to follow health and safety guidance which advises against wearing gloves when using metalworking lathes.
The company ordered its staff to wear protective gloves on the factory floor, even though some workers tried to explain that there were often specific reasons for not wearing them. Several employees were reprimanded for not wearing gloves following the policy’s introduction, and the injured worker was reminded to wear his gloves by his line manager on the morning of the incident.
He was removing the rust off a hitch pin, used to connect a trailer to a vehicle, when his glove got caught in the rotating mechanism, dragging in his hand. The 58-year-old worker lost his ring finger and suffered damage to his middle and little finger after his gloved hand was pulled into the machinery. HSE Investigators also discovered that the metalworking machine and two pillar drills at the factory had not been fitted with safety guards.

The machine which caused the worker’s injuries

JDS Trucks Ltd Prosecuted by HSE

Blackburn truck firm sentenced over fall injuries
Date:15 June 2011Release No:HSE/NW/26JDSTrucks
A Blackburn truck firm has been sentenced after one of its employees was badly injured when he fell from the roof of a lorry cab.

JDS Trucks Ltd, which sells and repairs heavy goods vehicles, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following the incident at its garage on Forrest Street in Blackburn on 4 December 2009.

The Blackburn garage where the 47-year-old worker was injured

The 47-year-old from Darwen fractured his hip and left elbow after he fell three metres while trying to step onto a ladder from the top of the cab. The worker, who has asked not to be named, needed four months off work to recover.

Accrington Magistrates’ Court heard that he had climbed onto the roof to assess whether a wind deflector needed to be fitted. But the ladder had not been secured and no one else was there to help him.

JDS Trucks Ltd pleaded guilty to two breaches of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and one breach of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

The company, of Navigation Garage, Forrest Street, Blackburn, was fined £9,900 and ordered to pay £4,613 towards the cost of the prosecution on 15 June 2011.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Shellie Bee, said:

“JDS Trucks simply didn’t think about the risks the worker might face if he climbed onto the roof of the cab using a ladder, and put his life in danger as a result.

“He was off work for several months as a result of his injuries but could have suffered permanent injuries or even been killed. Since the incident, the company has upgraded its gantry for safe working at height and implemented a safe system of work for fitting wind deflectors.

“Ladders do have a use in the workplace and in some situations are appropriate with the correct training and if they’re properly secured. In this case, the incident occurred as the ladder was not secured, no training had been given and no safe system of work existed to complete the job safety.”

Last year, more than 4,000 employees suffered a major injury as a result of a fall from height at work and 12 were killed. More information on preventing falls in the workplace is available at http://www.hse.gov.uk/falls.

Manchester firm fined £18000 plus costs for putting workers at risk

Options Properties Ltd was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after two men were found to be working 65 feet up next to a sheer drop at the Madison Apartments in Trafford on 14 May 2009.
Trafford Magistrates’ Court heard the men worked for a company called P&R Structural Glazing Ltd, contracted by Options Properties to fit glass balconies to the properties in the newly-built apartments.
The men had originally been working on scaffolding, but this was removed by Options Properties, leaving them with just a harness attached to a guardrail to stop them falling to the ground below.
The inspector who visited the site was so concerned that he immediately issued Prohibition Notices on both companies, ordering them to stop work immediately.
Investigating HSE Inspector Ian Betley said:
“It beggars belief that Options Properties Ltd risked the lives of these two men for the cost of a few extra days of scaffold hire.There is no way of knowing whether the guardrail and harness set up would have held these men on the balcony. Had one of them slipped, he would have taken his colleague with him and they could both have fallen to their deaths. I would advise other companies to have a proper work plans in place and to stick to them until the job is completed.”
Options Properties Ltd, of Princess Street, Manchester, pleaded guilty to breaching regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 by failing to ensure that the work was properly planned and supervised and carried out in a safe manner. They were fined £18,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,115.

PLUS SAFETY ON-LINE TO REDUCE YOUR TRAINING COSTS!

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Plus Safety is pleased to announce the launch of our new on-line training website http://www.plustraining.co.uk to provide you with an on-line training resource to meet your health and safety training needs. To celebrate the launch of our new website we are offering to waive the one-off account set-up fee of £75 for Companies registering for training before 31st May 2011. Take advantage of this offer and Register Now quoting PROM0511.
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Asbestos in the Workplace
Chemical Safety
Confined Space Awareness
DSEAR 2002
Working with Display Screen Equipment
Electrical Safety
Electricity at Work Regulations
Environmental Management
Fire Safety
Heat Stress at Work
Introduction to COSHH
Introduction to P.P.E.
Legionnaire’s Disease
LOLER
Management of Health & Safety at Work
Noise at Work
PUWER 98
RIDDOR 95
Risk Assessment
Safe Manual Handling
Safe Working at Heights
Safety Matters
Safety Signs Awareness
Safety Signs & Signals Regulations
Welding Safety
Working with flammable liquids and powder

Visit http://www.plustraining.co.uk for more information on the courses, and see a demonstration for yourself. We’re sure you’ll like what you see! If you prefer to speak to someone, you may telephone Sue or Eric on 0845 5197061, who will be happy to help.

Gloucestershire firm fined £385,000 over trench death

A Gloucestershire firm has been fined £385,000 after a man was killed when a trench collapsed on him.
Cotswold Geotechnical Holdings became the first firm convicted under new corporate manslaughter legislation after the death of Alexander Wright.
A jury at Winchester Crown Court found Cotswold Geotechnical Holdings guilty of failing to ensure his safety.
Geologist Mr Wright was taking soil samples for a housing development in the 12.6ft (3.8m) pit, which was not supported by timbers, when it caved in.
The company had denied corporate manslaughter. No-one was in the dock for the three-week trial.
The prosecution was the first under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007.
Mr. Grimes, partner at law firm Kingsley Napley, said that previously for a corporate manslaughter prosecution to succeed “it was necessary to secure a conviction against a senior individual within the company”.
“Under the new act this principle is replaced by a requirement for the organisation’s activities to have caused the death in a way that falls far below what could reasonably be expected of that company,” he said.
The judge, Mr Justice Field, said the company, which was described in court as being in a “parlous financial state”, could pay the fine over 10 years at £38,500 a year.
He said the fine marked the gravity of the crime and the deterrent effect it would have on companies to adhere to health and safety guidance.
Mr Wright was taking soil samples in the pit when it caved in He said a larger fine would cause the small scale company to be liquidated, and four people would lose their jobs.
“It may well be that the fine in the terms of its payment will put this company into liquidation. If that is the case it’s unfortunate but unavoidable but it’s a consequence of the serious breach,” he said.
The court was told that the company’s director Peter Eaton, 61, is seriously ill with cancer and has months to live.
He was unable to stand trial on a manslaughter charge but the jury was told to assess his conduct in reaching a verdict.
Mr Justice Field said that Mr Eaton was, in substance, the company.
He said Mr Eaton knew of a rule dating back to 1981 which said that pits more than 1.2m (4ft) deep should be supported due to the dangers of collapse and death.
The judge said Mr Eaton ignored the rule and instead decided his knowledge and that of his assistants should be used to see if it was safe to enter a pit.
“This approach to trial pitting was extremely irresponsible,” the judge said.
“Peter Eaton thought he knew better. In this he was gravely and culpably mistaken.”
The judge said a former employee had raised concerns about trial pitting with the Health and Safety Executive in 2005.
The executive contacted Mr Eaton, who said he would support the pits but did not.

Moral of this story: Ignore your responsibilities at your peril!