Regulatory Round Up

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19 July, 2018

DHL receives £2m fine after employee crushed by a reversing lorry

DHL has been fined £2m over the death of an employee who was crushed at a depot in Milton Keynes. The worked was trapped between a reversing lorry and a loading bay in February 2015.

DHL admitted breaching s 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act. It must also pay costs of £100,000.

Milton Keynes Council found the company had not specifically assessed the risks of loading and unloading container vehicles, nor had it implemented a safe system of work. There was also a lack of staff training.

At the Court hearing, the Judge commented that the employee's death was avoidable and foreseeable after a similar incident in 2012, at which point "alarm bells really, really should have been raised".

Forbes comment

This case reiterates the importance of carrying out specific risk assessments and providing staff with a safe system of work and training. It is not sufficient to have an all-encompassing generic risk assessment, each task and activity must be specifically considered and managed.

Failure to implement traffic routes leads to fine of £730,000

A timber company has been fined £730,000 and ordered to pay costs of £13,844.87 and a victim surcharge of £120 after pleading guilty to breaching the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992.

Two workers were seriously injured after they were struck by a side-loader lift truck as they walked across the timber yard.

The HSE investigation found that the company did not have effective precautions in place for vehicles and pedestrians to move safely around the timber yard.

Forbes comment

This incident could have resulted in fatalities; according to the HSE every year there are over 5000 accidents involving transport in the workplace and about 50 of these result in people being killed. Employers must ensure that they adequately manage work place transport safety to reduce the chances of accidents occurring. Workplaces ought to be designed to ensure that there is adequate segregation between pedestrians and vehicle traffic route.

Balfour Beatty fined £500k for putting workers at risk of developing HAVS

Balfour Beatty Utility Solutions Ltd has been fined £500,000 and ordered to pay costs of £195,000 after the HSE found that workers at the company were exposed to hand-arm vibration between 2002 and 2011 which put them at risk of developing Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS).

The company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 as well as Regulation 5 (1) of the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995.

It was found that workers were regularly exposed to hand-arm vibration while operating hand-held power tools such as hydraulic breakers and floor saws. The HSE found that the company failed in its legal duty to ensure the risks to workers who used these tools was kept to as low a level as reasonably practicable. There was a failure to assess the risk to workers' health, to put in place and monitor suitable risk control measures and to put in place a suitable system of health surveillance.

The company also failed to report a significant number of cases of employees diagnosed with HAVS in accordance with the legal requirement pursuant to the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995.

Forbes Comment

Employers must assess and identify measures to eliminate or reduce risks from exposure to hand-arm vibration. Those who fail to take action to prevent and monitor the risk of contracting HAVS risk incurring significant fines and claims for compensation. Under the new sentencing guidelines, fines are based on "turnover" as the starting point for entry fine, which is reason for the level of fine in this instance. The level of the fine reflects the long running persistent nature of the breach.

For more information contact Ridwaan Omar in our Insurance department via email or phone on 01254 222457. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.

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