Plumbing and heating contractor fined for carrying out illegal gas work

An unregistered plumbing and heating contractor has been fined for carrying out illegal gas work that put a number of homes at risk.

Truro Crown Court heard that, from January 2017 to October 2018, Darren Masters, trading as D Masters Plumbing and Heating Limited, carried out gas work at four homes in Newquay, Cornwall, despite not being registered as a Gas Safe engineer.

Registration with Gas Safe Register ensures engineers are qualified for the work they intend to carry out, ensuring that gas work is carried out to an appropriate standard and the public are not put at risk of serious harm.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Mr Masters falsely asserted he was Gas Safe Registered in the course of dealing with customers, including signing off documentation with false Gas Safe registered engineer numbers. The investigation concluded Mr Masters also misrepresented himself as sufficiently competent to carry out the services.

Darren Masters of Hannaford Close, St Columb Major, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 3(1), 3(3), 3(7) and 26(1) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, and consequently Section 33 (1) (c) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Masters was sentenced to 22 and a half months in prison, suspended for two years. He was ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay £11,902.00 in compensation and full costs of £9,068.50.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Paul Mannell said: “Darren Masters was in control of gas work despite not being Gas Safe registered. Shockingly, he misled residents about his credentials.

“All gas work must be done by a registered Gas Safe engineer to ensure the highest standards are met to prevent injury and loss of life.”

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. We prevent work-related death, injury and ill health through regulatory actions that range from influencing behaviours across whole industry sectors through to targeted interventions on individual businesses. These activities are supported by globally recognised scientific expertise. hse.gov.uk
  2. More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at: legislation.gov.uk/
  3. HSE news releases are available at http://press.hse.gov.uk
  4. Further information about gas safety can be found at http://www.hse.gov.uk/gas/

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Carlisle company fined after customer fatally crushed

A Carlisle auto-salvage company was fined after a customer was trapped and fatally crushed when a lift truck he had purchased was being loaded onto his own recovery vehicle.

 

Carlisle Crown Court heard that on 15 February 2018, a lift truck purchased from Michael Douglas Autosalvage Ltd was lifted using the company’s skip lorry onto a recovery vehicle at Stainton Road, Etterby. The metal ring on the lift truck that the winch wire was attached to failed, causing the lift truck to fall and trap Mr Paul Spence against the skip lorry.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company had failed to ensure that this complex lifting process was properly planned by a competent person and that it had failed in its duty not to expose customers to risk.  A competent person would have identified that this loading method with this equipment was fundamentally unsafe.

 

The Company Michael Douglas Autosalvage Ltd of Stainton Rd, Etterby, Carlisle pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £23,000 and ordered to pay costs of £8,000.

 

Sandra Spence, Mr Spence’s widow said:

“Paul was taken too early, in a tragic way, and didn’t deserve his life to end this way. There is a big empty hole in my heart, he was a very loving husband and father. Paul always had a smile on his face and lived for his family.”

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Matthew Tinsley commented:

“This incident could so easily have been avoided should the lift have been properly planned and appropriate equipment and safe working practices been employed as a result.

“Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”

 

 

 

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. We prevent work-related death, injury and ill health through regulatory actions that range from influencing behaviours across whole industry sectors through to targeted interventions on individual businesses. These activities are supported by globally recognised scientific expertise. www.hse.gov.uk
  2. More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at: www.legislation.gov.uk/
  3. HSE news releases are available at http://press.hse.gov.uk

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College fined for asbestos failings

Newnham College has been fined for failings that exposed employees and subcontractors to asbestos during refurbishment of a flat owned by the college.

Cambridge Magistrates’ Court heard that in March 2018, employees of Newnham College and subcontractors were carrying out a refurbishment of a flat on Grange Road, Cambridge when asbestos insulation debris was discovered in the floor voids after work had been carried out in them. No asbestos refurbishment survey was carried out prior to insulation debris being found. One employee, who contaminated his gloves and clothing with loose asbestos debris, did not have asbestos awareness training and spread asbestos from his clothing outside the flat.

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found that there was inadequate planning and management of the refurbishment work of a flat on Grange Road, Cambridge when asbestos insulation debris was discovered in the floor voids after work had been carried out in them.

Newnham College of Sidgwick Avenue, Cambridge, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 5 and 16 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. It has been fined £12,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,450.28.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Sandra Dias said: “Asbestos surveys need to be carried out prior to refurbishment works which disturbs the fabric of a building. Asbestos is still present in hidden locations in buildings and needs to be located before work starts that could potentially expose individuals.

“Asbestos related diseases are currently untreatable and claim the lives of an estimated 5,000 people per year in the UK.”

 

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. We prevent work-related death, injury and ill health through regulatory actions that range from influencing behaviours across whole industry sectors through to targeted interventions on individual businesses. These activities are supported by globally recognised scientific expertise. www.hse.gov.uk
  2. More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at: www.legislation.gov.uk/
  3. HSE news releases are available at http://press.hse.gov.uk
  4. Further information on asbestos can be found at: https://ift.tt/1q7GRb9

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Teaching company fined after teacher run over by delivery van

St Andrew’s Tutorial Services Ltd has been fined after a teacher sustained serious injuries when she was struck by a delivery van.

Cambridge Crown Court heard that on 26 February 2016, the 48-year-old teacher was on a trip to the UK, bringing students to the college from Italy. Whilst at the front of St Andrew’s College, Station Road, Cambridge, the driver reversed over the teacher, only stopping his delivery vehicle after members of the public alerted him. The teacher sustained multiple fractures and crush injuries; her head was just inches away from one of the tyres.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that St Andrew’s Tutorial Services Ltd had not adequately segregated vehicles and pedestrians. Although the company had identified measures that would likely have prevented this incident, it failed to implement them.

St Andrew’s Tutorial Services Ltd of Station Road, Cambridge pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 17(1) of the Workplace Health & Safety and welfare Regulations. The company was fined £30,000 and ordered to pay costs of £9,197.78.

After the hearing HSE inspector Sandra Dias said: “This was a distressing and completely avoidable incident, the failure of the host company to implement safe systems of work, caused a visiting driver to carry out his own flawed assessment and an unsafe manoeuvre, resulting in horrific injuries to a teacher carrying out work on an overseas visit to the UK.

“The company failed to undertake a number of simple safety measures including segregated areas for vehicles and pedestrians, implementing a one-way system to reduce reversing in areas there were likely to be pedestrians and designated areas for delivery vehicles.”

 

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. We prevent work-related death, injury and ill health through regulatory actions that range from influencing behaviours across whole industry sectors through to targeted interventions on individual businesses. These activities are supported by globally recognised scientific expertise. www.hse.gov.uk
  2. More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at: www.legislation.gov.uk/
  3. HSE news releases are available at http://press.hse.gov.uk

 

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Construction company fined after worker killed during demolition work

A construction company was fined half a million pounds after a father-of-two was killed when a re-enforced concrete slab collapsed underneath him during a demolition project.

 

Southwark Crown Court heard that on 14 April 2014, 33-year-old labourer Dainius Rupsys from Lithuania was working with an excavator operator at the site on Grosvenor Square in London, as part of the operation to demolish the existing multi-storey building before 31 residential flats could be built.

Mr Rupsys had been burning through reinforcing steel bars with an oxy-propane lance to assist the excavator operator’s efforts to remove part of the re-enforced concrete slab. Another worker had alerted the supervisor that their work had made the structure unsafe and the demolition was halted. However, the supervisor then ordered the removal of props supporting the remaining slab and less than ten minutes later it collapsed. The Court heard that the 360 excavator may have moved back onto the slab after the props were removed.

 

Mr Rupsys, the 360 excavator and its operator in the cab all fell with the slab. Mr Rupsys suffered severe head injuries and died at the scene, while the excavator operator injured his back.

 

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that in the weeks before the incident CCTV from overhead cameras showed demolition work had been carried out unsafely, that Mr Rupsys was not adequately trained to use the oxy-propane lance and that he had no training on using the safety harness, which was not attached when the incident occurred.

 

McGee Group Limited (McGee) of Athlon Road, Wembley, Middlesex, who was the principal contractor for the project, pleaded guilty to a breach of Regulation 22(1)(a) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007. The company was fined £500,000 with £66,236,22 in costs.

 

HSE inspector Andrew Verrall-Withers commented after the hearing:

 

“In the weeks prior to this tragic incident workers were regularly put at an acute risk of falling. This is a case of a company wanting to have good systems to protect the workers, but not paying enough attention to what was actually happening at the site.

 

“This young man’s death could have been prevented. Mr Rupsys should not have been allowed to operate an oxy propane lance. Employers have a duty to check workers have sufficient skills, knowledge, experience and training before they allow them to use equipment.”

 

 

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. We prevent work-related death, injury and ill health through regulatory actions that range from influencing behaviours across whole industry sectors through to targeted interventions on individual businesses. These activities are supported by globally recognised scientific expertise. www.hse.gov.uk
  2. More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at: www.legislation.gov.uk/
  3. HSE news releases are available at http://press.hse.gov.uk

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Steel fabrication company fined after steel cages fall onto employee

A steel fabrication company has been fined after steel cages fell onto a worker’s leg, resulting in multiple fractures.

Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court heard that, in November 2017, an employee of Lemon Groundwork Solutions Limited was using a gantry crane to lift a steel cage from a stack of cages at the company site in Wickford, Essex. These steel cages were free-standing on the floor, each weighing 1188kg, and were stacked between 2-4 cages high in an unstable pyramid formation, without chocks to support the load. When the employee used the gantry crane to lift the top cage from the stack, two cages at the bottom rolled onto his left foot and leg, fracturing his tibia and fibula bones. As a result, the worker had to undergo reconstructive surgery where metal rods, plates and pins were inserted into his leg.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that prior to the incident, Lemon Groundwork Solutions Limited had failed to implement a safe system of work for storing cages and had not provided their employees with sufficient information, instruction, training and supervision to store and handle cages safely. The company had additionally failed to determine the maximum height that the cages could be stacked and suitable means to secure the cages to prevent movement and collapse. The task of stacking cages was also not adequately risk assessed.

Lemon Groundwork Solutions Limited of Russell Gardens, Wickford, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £130,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5589.99.

Lemon Groundwork Solutions Limited had previously been served Improvement Notices by HSE regarding the safety of its lifting operations and the management of vehicles and pedestrians in its yard. In November 2018, the company was fined £100,000 for a breach of Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, following an incident in 2016 in which an employee was struck by a bundle of steel rebar that fell off a forklift, causing multiple fractures to his leg.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Eleanor Kinman said: “This incident could easily have been prevented if the company had adopted safe control measures for storing and handling cages, and adequately supervised the task.”

“Companies should be aware of the risks of handling metal stock, and that it should always be stored and stacked so it is not likely to move, fall and cause injury.”

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. We prevent work-related death, injury and ill health through regulatory actions that range from influencing behaviours across whole industry sectors through to targeted interventions on individual businesses. These activities are supported by globally recognised scientific expertise. www.hse.gov.uk
  2. More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at: www.legislation.gov.uk/
  3. HSE news releases are available at http://press.hse.gov.uk
  4. Guidance on the handling of metal stock is available in HSG246 – Safety in the storage and handling of steel and other metal stock at https://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/hsg246.htm

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Sole trader fined after worker injured

Duffy Skylining has been fined following an incident when a worker suffered serious injuries after being struck by a tree.

Fort William Sheriff Court heard that on 4 February 2016, Malcolm Duffy and three employees were felling trees on land adjacent to the A82 north of Fort William, contracted by the Forestry Commission. While dealing with a taller tree, around eight metres in height, Mr Duffy made preparatory cuts and then checked with the rest of the team to ensure they were in a safe place. Mr Duffy thought his colleagues understood that he was about to fell the tree. After the initial cut was made, Mr Duffy made his felling cut at the same time as Mr Strachan dragged a large branch from the brash pile into the path of the felling tree. The tree stuck him on the left side of his helmet and left shoulder.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the exclusion zone normally used, which requires that no one would be positioned within two tree lengths of a tree being felled, was not adhered to on this occasion. Had there been a clearly defined system of communication, it would have prevented the misunderstanding where Mr Duffy thought that workers appreciated the tree was about to be felled. That particular tree being taller, steps should have immediately been taken to identify and enforce a wider exclusion zone, preventing any person from entering within two tree lengths of that tree.

Malcolm Duffy, trading as Duffy Skylining of Commerce House, South Street, Elgin, Moray pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 2 and Section 33 (1) (a) of the Health and Safety at Work Act etc 1974 and was fined £8,000.

After the hearing, HSE inspector, Penny Falconer said: “Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working and to provide the necessary information, instruction and training to their workers in the safe system of working.

“If a suitable safe system of work had been in place prior to the incident, the life changing injuries sustained by the employee could have been prevented.”

 

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. We prevent work-related death, injury and ill health through regulatory actions that range from influencing behaviours across whole industry sectors through to targeted interventions on individual businesses. These activities are supported by globally recognised scientific expertise. www.hse.gov.uk
  2. More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at: www.legislation.gov.uk/
  3. HSE news releases are available at http://press.hse.gov.uk

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Sheffield company fined £700,000 after worker killed

Chesterfield Special Cylinders Ltd was fined £700,000 today for safety breaches after a 64-year-old worker was fatally wounded by shrapnel ejected from testing equipment.

Sheffield Crown Court heard that on 10 June 2015, John Townsend was leak testing eight 1500 litre cylinders, by applying compressed air inside to create pressure, at the company’s Sheffield site. Whilst in the process of venting the air through the test manifold, it catastrophically failed and fatally injured Mr Townsend.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that prior to installing the fittings, 1.5 litres of a mineral oil-based corrosion inhibitor had been placed into each of the cylinders. The incident occurred because the inhibitor contaminated the leak test manifold during venting of cylinders and was subjected to enough pressure inside the manifold to ignite and cause the test equipment to fail.

Chesterfield Special Cylinders Ltd of Meadowhall Road, Sheffield was found guilty of breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £700,000 with full costs of £169,498.82.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Eddy Tarn commented: “This was a tragic and wholly avoidable incident, caused by the failure of the company to identify any additional risks that arise when work processes are adapted.

“Companies should accurately identify and control all potential hazards in the workplace and thereafter monitor performance through effective supervision.”

 

 

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. We prevent work-related death, injury and ill health through regulatory actions that range from influencing behaviours across whole industry sectors through to targeted interventions on individual businesses. These activities are supported by globally recognised scientific expertise. www.hse.gov.uk[1]
  2. More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at: www.legislation.gov.uk/ [2]
  3. HSE news releases are available at http://press.hse.gov.uk[3]

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Company fined after airport baggage handler suffers skull fractures and brain injury

A company providing a range of airline ground support services has been fined after an employee fell from a height of more than two metres.

 

Luton Magistrates’ Court heard that on 24 December 2016 Rebecca Smith of Menzies Aviation (UK) Limited was injured during the loading of luggage onto an aircraft during an aircraft turnaround at London Luton Airport. Ms Smith fell through a gap in the railing at the top of a luggage belt-loader, whilst kneeling upon it to fasten cargo straps, when the belt loader was struck by a passing vehicle. She fell 2.2m (7 feet) on to the tarmac below. The fall resulted in a loss of consciousness. Ms Smith suffered a brain injury, fractures of the skull and cheekbone. She also suffered permanent hearing loss in her right ear.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found Menzies Aviation (UK) Limited had foreseen the risk of a collision between the various vehicles operating in a congested space around the aircraft during a turnaround but had failed to implement measures to guard against the risk of driver error when manoeuvring vehicles around aircraft. The investigation also found the company was aware that belt-loaders had a gap in the railings between the aircraft and the barriers but failed to put in place any meaningful measure to control the risk that someone might fall through.

 

Menzies Aviation (UK) Limited of London Heathrow Airport, Hounslow pleaded guilty, to breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and has been fined £181,5000 and ordered to pay costs of £21,043.

 

Speaking after the case, HSE inspector Emma Page said:

“Airports are busy and complex workplaces where workers face many hazards, particularly from the movement and operation of aircraft and vehicles. Currently, accident rates in the industry are well above the national average for all industries. Companies should assess the risks to their own and others’ employees and put in place measures to control these risks.

“Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”

 

Notes to Editors:

 

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. We prevent work-related death, injury and ill health through regulatory actions that range from influencing behaviours across whole industry sectors through to targeted interventions on individual businesses. These activities are supported by globally recognised scientific expertise. www.hse.gov.uk

 

  1. More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at: www.legislation.gov.uk/

 

  1. HSE news releases are available at http://press.hse.gov.uk

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Roofing company fined after worker fall

A roofing company has been fined after a worker suffered serious back injuries when he fell from a ladder whilst transporting a bucket full of broken tiles.

Folkestone Magistrates’ Court heard that on 2 October 2018, AU Roofing and Building Ltd workers were working on a roof in Elmes Avenue, Ramsgate, Kent where they were required to carry buckets of materials by hand down the scaffold access ladder. Davey Battams, aged 31, was unable to maintain a constant three points of contact with the ladder, resulting in the fall.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found the contractor had not provided basic lifting aids, such as a wheel and pulley, which would have eliminated this risk.

AU Roofing and Building Services Ltd of Canterbury Road East, Ramsgate, Kent pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Etc. Act 1974. The company has been fined £28,800.00 and ordered to pay costs of £4,213.70.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Andrew Cousins commented: “This incident could have been so easily avoided by simply providing basic and inexpensive lifting aids, which are industry standard.

“Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those who fall below the required standards.”

 

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. We prevent work-related death, injury and ill health through regulatory actions that range from influencing behaviours across whole industry sectors through to targeted interventions on individual businesses. These activities are supported by globally recognised scientific expertise. www.hse.gov.uk
  2. More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at: www.legislation.gov.uk/
  3. HSE news releases are available at http://press.hse.gov.uk

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