Company director sentenced after exposing employees to hazardous substances

A manufacturer of agricultural trailers has been sentenced for deliberately putting his workers at risk of developing severe lung disease, after exposing them to substances harmful to health.

Preston Crown Court heard that, over a period of time up to February 2018, James Harrison, former managing director of the now dissolved Laser Shapes (NW) Limited, exposed his employees to hazardous substances and deliberately hid unsafe working practices from HSE inspectors at the company’s former site at Witton Mill, Blackburn.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that employees of Laser Shapes (NW) Limited regularly used aerosolised paints containing isocyanates and solvents to spray large tractor trailers. Breathing in products containing isocyanates and solvents can cause occupational asthma, dizziness, liver and kidney damage. However, this activity was being carried out without adequate controls in place to prevent workers from breathing in harmful substances.

Mr Harrison of Silsden, Keighley pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 37 and 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. Mr Harrison was sentenced to 10 months imprisonment suspended for 18 months with 20 hours unpaid work, and ordered to pay costs of £5428.21.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Leona Cameron said “James Harrison was well aware of the unsafe conditions that his employees were being subjected to whilst at work.

“The effect of being exposed to these substances has resulted in at least one former employee developing a life changing condition, which could easily have been prevented if proper controls had been in place, such as suitable extraction and respiratory protective 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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Company director sentenced after repeated serious safety failings

The director of a waste transfer company was found guilty and banned from being a company director after knowingly exposing employees to serious unsafe working conditions.

Preston Crown Court heard that, in November 2018, despite a conviction for transport related health and safety offences following a fatal incident in 2013, and further enforcement action in 2017 for using a poorly maintained and damaged telehandler, Zarif Mohammed allowed the continued use of the same seriously damaged machine on the waste transfer site in Kensulate Park, Blackburn.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the telehandler was being used without working reversing lights, a camera or mirrors, which presented a serious risk of people being struck and seriously injured as the driver would not be able to see adequately when reversing the vehicle.

Zarif Mohammed of Angela Street, Blackburn, pleaded guilty under Section 37 to breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. Mr Mohammed was sentenced to six months imprisonment suspended for 18 months, and 190 hours of unpaid work with a further six rehabilitation days. He was also struck off from working as a company director for five years.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Steven Boyd said “Mr Mohammed had been previously convicted by HSE following a fatality at a previous company of which he was a director and then was served additional enforcement by HSE on a visit to a new company of which he was a director.

“Despite this, Mr Mohammed allowed serious unsafe conditions to prevail, presenting a high risk of persons being killed or seriously injured.

“Workplace transport incidents remain a major cause of fatal and serious injuries in the waste and recycling industry. It is important that vehicles are maintained in a safe condition.

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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Egg production company fined following Forklift Truck overturned

A Chorley company has been fined after a forklift truck (FLT) overturned on a slope trapping the driver.

Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard that on 1 December 2018 an employee of Staveley’s Eggs Ltd had been driving the FLT at the company’s premises at Goosnargh Near Preston, when the truck overturned, trapping the driver between the truck and the ground, leading to him sustaining serious life changing crush injuries as a result.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the areas where FLTs were driven had significant changes in gradient which were not a suitable surface for the type of FLTs in use. The company failed to both identify and control the risk of FLT overturn.

Staveley’s Eggs Ltd of Coppull, Chorley pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company were fined £60.000 and ordered to pay costs of £4259.42.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Steven Boyd commented:

“This incident could so easily have been avoided by ensuring the area where FLTs were driven was free of slopes and damage, and that a suitable FLT was used for the site.

“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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Construction company fined after dumper truck overturns and fatally injures worker

A leading construction company has been fined following an incident in which a worker was killed when a dumper truck overturned.

Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court heard that on 3 October 2019, David Scott Green, a groundworker working for Rose Builders Ltd, was manoeuvring a 9T front tipping dumper truck on a spoil heap to offload top soil at the Summers Park Development site in Colchester, Essex.. He lost control of the truck which toppled forward and came to rest upside down at the base of the spoil heap. A colleague noticed the overturned truck and ran over to assist, but Mr Green had sustained a serious head injury during the fall and died on scene.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found major deficiencies in the management of tipping operations on the spoil heaps. The investigation established that the operation was not properly planned; drivers were not given instruction or training on how to safely operate vehicles and tip on spoil heaps, and the job itself was poorly supervised. The victim did not have his seat belt fastened and the investigation confirmed that this was common practice on the site.

Rose Builders Ltd of Riverside House, East Lawford, Essex pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 2 (1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The company has been fined £225,000 and ordered to pay costs of £11,822.90.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Kasia Urbaniak said, “This was a tragic and wholly avoidable incident, caused by the failure of the employer to assess the risk related to tipping operations, implement safe systems of work, and failure to ensure that such systems were communicated to groundworkers and were followed.”

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

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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Roofer sentenced after dangerous carbon monoxide release

A self-employed roofer has been sentenced after leaving a gas appliance flue in an immediately dangerous condition when he removed a chimney stack from a property in March 2019.

Truro Crown Court heard how Mark Reski, trading as MR Roofing & Leadwork, was contracted to remove and rebuild a chimney stack from the roof of a client’s property in Fowey.

The chimney stack was shared between the client’s and a neighbouring property, occupied by a vulnerable elderly woman. In removing the chimney stack, Mr Reski exposed the flue liner for the gas range within the elderly woman’s property. He left the flue liner unsupported, dangling at an angle and exposed to the elements. A flue liner left in this condition would not function correctly, with a high risk of combustion products, including carbon monoxide, entering the property.

The flue liner was left in this dangerous state for seven days and was only discovered when a carbon monoxide alarm sounded in the elderly woman’s home. When the fire service entered her house, their carbon monoxide alarms sounded, so they ventilated the property and made it safe by isolating the gas supply. A Gas Safe Registered engineer tested the gas range flue and found it to be spilling dangerous levels of carbon monoxide. He classed the situation as ‘Immediately Dangerous’.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Mr Reski had failed to make any proper or meaningful enquiries into what gas appliances were fluing through the chimney he was working on.

Mark Reski of Lockengate, Bugle, Cornwall pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 8(1) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. He has been sentenced to 6 months in prison, suspended for 24 months, fined £5,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,000.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Simon Jones said: ‘It should have been obvious to Mr Reski, an experienced roofer, that the chimney that he was working on was fluing a gas appliance when he exposed the flue liner.

‘Mr Reski made no enquiries whatsoever as to what was fluing through the chimney and his actions put an elderly and vulnerable woman’s life in serious danger. It is only by good fortune that she heard an alarm sounding and called for help and so did not suffer potentially fatal carbon monoxide poisoning.

‘Builders and roofers should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standard.’

 

Further information about gas safety can be found at www.hse.gov.uk/gas/

 

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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Places for People Homes fined after five employees developed Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS)

A property management and development organisation has been fined after five employees developed Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS).

Aylesbury Crown Court heard that between 2009 and 2014 five employees of Places for People Homes Limited used vibrating powered tools to carry out grounds maintenance tasks at sites in Milton Keynes, Rotherham and Hull.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the company failed to assess or manage the risks associated with vibrating tools. It also failed to provide suitable training or health surveillance for its maintenance workers and failed to maintain and replace tools which increased vibration levels.

Places for People Homes Limited of Cheapside, London pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The companyhas been fined £600,000 and ordered to pay costs of £13,995.06

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Andrew McGill said: “Companies must manage the risks associated with vibrating tools. Hand arm vibration can be a significant health risk wherever powered hand tools are used for significant lengths of time.

“HAVS is preventable, but once the damage is done it is permanent. Damage from HAVS can include the inability to do fine work and cold can trigger painful finger blanching attacks. Health surveillance is vital to detect and respond to early signs of damage.”

 

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/; www.hse.gov.uk/vibration/havs
  3. HSE news releases are available at http://press.hse.gov.uk

 

 

 

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Groundworks contractor fined for cable strike

A groundworks contractor, G&R Groundworks (South East) Ltd, has been fined after an operative struck an underground electricity cable resulting in multiple serious burn injuries.

Folkestone Magistrates’ Court heard that, on 15th October 2018, G&R Groundworks (South East) Ltd operatives were using an electric ground breaker to dig fence post holes for a car park perimeter fence at a Cummins Power Generation site in Ramsgate, Kent.

 

 

While operating the electric breaker, one of the operatives struck an 11kv electricity cable causing a large flash and engulfing him in flames. The operative sustained serious burns to his face, chest, abdomen, groin, both arms and both legs, amounting to approximately 50% total body surface area burns.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that G&R Groundworks (South East) Ltd failed to source and refer to the underground services plans prior to breaking the ground to determine the location of any cables within the planned working area. They also failed to provide their operatives with cable identification equipment to further locate any cables within that area.

G&R Groundworks (South East) Ltd of St Lawrence Avenue, Ramsgate, Kent, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 25 (4) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 and was fined £32,400 and ordered to pay costs of £2,657.18.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Ross Carter said “This incident could so easily have been avoided by simply carrying out correct control measures and safe working practices.

“If a suitable safe system of work was followed prior to the incident, the life changing injuries sustained by the operative would have been prevented.

“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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Fitter sentenced for unregistered gas work

A gas fitter has been sentenced for carrying out gas work after his registration with Gas Safe Register had lapsed.

Mansfield Magistrates’ Court heard that, during September and October 2016, Adam Mansbridge replaced the gas central heating boilers at two different addresses in Mansfield and Worksop without being registered with Gas Safe Register. Following concerns, Gas Safe Register attended the properties and identified various defects with the installations, including defects identified as being ‘immediately dangerous’ and ‘at risk’.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed that Mr Mansbridge’s registration with Gas Safe Register had not been renewed at the time the gas work involving replacing the gas central heating boilers was carried out.

Adam Mansbridge of Thorpe Close, Coddington, Newark, pleaded guilty to a breach of Regulation 3 (3) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998). He was given a curfew order for 12 weeks, ordered to pay costs of £2,500, and to pay £500 compensation to one of the customers.

Speaking after the hearing, HM inspector Lee Greatorex said:

“All gas work must be carried out by registered Gas Safe engineers to ensure the highest standards are met to prevent injury and loss of life. Appropriate enforcement action will be taken by HSE 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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Unregistered gas engineer sentenced for carrying out gas work

A gas engineer has been sentenced after carrying out gas work at a GP Practice and domestic premises without being registered with Gas Safe Register.

Mansfield Magistrates’ Court heard that, between November 2015 and April 2017, Neil Hawkins carried out unsafe gas work at a GP Practice and two domestic properties in Kirkby-in-Ashfield and Mansfield, whilst not registered with Gas Safe Register.

Registration with Gas Safe Register requires engineers to demonstrate that they hold the relevant competencies and qualifications 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) revealed that Mr Hawkins had fraudulently issued Landlord Gas Safety Records for both properties, and a Gas Safety Inspection report for the GP practice using the details of a Gas Safe registered engineer unknown to him.

Neil Hawkins of Welbeck Street, Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, pleaded guilty to one breach of Regulation 3(3) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 (as amended), and one breach of Regulation 3(7) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 (as amended) at each property. He was sentenced to 20 weeks imprisonment for each offence to run concurrently, suspended for 12 months. He was also ordered to carry out 120 hours of community service and to pay costs of £4,345.04.

Speaking after the hearing, HM Inspector Aaron Rashad said:

“Neil Hawkins undertook gas work which he knew he was not registered to do. All gas work must be done by registered Gas Safe engineers 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. 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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Forging company fined after worker loses fingers and thumb

A forging firm has been fined after a worker had to have fingers and a thumb amputated following an incident while he was operating a press at its Stourbridge site.

Wolverhampton Magistrates’ Court heard that on 25 June 2018 a forger at Brooks Forgings Limited had his left hand crushed between dies and moving parts on a press. Following hospital treatment his thumb, index finger and part of his middle finger had to be amputated.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the company had failed to ensure that effective measures were taken to prevent access to the dangerous parts, namely gripping dies and heading tool of the Samuel Platt Upset Forging Press.

Brooks Forgings Limited of Doulton Road, Cradley Heath, West Midlands pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. The company has been fined £1,500 and ordered to pay costs of £2,511.11.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Karen Sweeney said. “The installation of simple guarding mechanisms and a system of ensuring a safe system of work was in place would have prevented the forger from losing significant parts of his hand.

“Employers should make sure they properly assess and apply effective control measures to eliminate or minimise the risk from dangerous parts of machinery”.

 

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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