03 October, 2018
Increasing trend of significant fines based on turnover irrespective of the status of the organisation
Two Construction Companies Fined £1.4 million After Worker Injured
Two construction companies have been fined after a worker's foot was trapped in a large rotating screw which led to the amputation of three toes.
An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive found that both companies had 'failed to properly plan and manage the commissioning work'.
The two companies were found guilty of breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. Both companies have been fined a hefty £1,400,000 and must pay £101,462.20 in costs.
This injury may have been avoidable if the companies had assessed and implemented control measures to reduce the risk of injury from the dangerous parts of the machinery to the lowest possible level. The level of find reflects the increasing trend of significant fines based on turnover.
Charity Fined After Woman Injured by Lorry During Preparations for Bonfire Event
A charity has been fined after a member of the public sustained a serious injury when she became trapped under a lorry carrying a fairground ride resulting in the amputation of her leg.
The female was struck by the lorry during the preparations for the event. According to the HSE "Cambridge Live failed to put in place suitable controls to prevent members of the public from being struck by large vehicle" such as temporary barriers to separate vehicles and pedestrians.
Cambridge Live pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and Regulation 3 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. The charity was fined £30,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6,654.37.
According to the HSE, the charity had completed a risk assessment prior to the event and had identified the possible risk of a collision between a pedestrian and a large vehicle, however as is often the case, it failed to set out or implement control measures to prevent the risk from occurring. If the charity had acted on its risk assessment, then the accident would probably have been avoided.
A significant fine was levied based on turnover despite the organisation's charitable status.
Company Fined After Failing to Update Risk Assessment
A worker was injured while demolishing a farm building, he fell through an asbestos cement roof sheet onto the ground below and suffered a fractured spine.
An investigation by the HSE found that a risk assessment and method statement had been completed to allow for the roof sheets to be removed from below, however a last minute decision was taken to remove the roof sheets from above. It was during this process that the employee fell through a roof sheet.
Northern Structures Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1)(a) and Regulation 4(1)(c) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £150,000 and ordered to £791.70 in costs.
Risk assessments must be constantly reviewed and updated to keep pace with the realities of the working situation. It is not sufficient to simply risk assess a task at the outset. Employers must be able to demonstrate that they have checked that appropriate control measures have been considered and implemented and this ought to be recorded on the risk assessment.
Council Fined After Asbestos Found Exposed in a Primary School
Kent County Council has been fined £200,000 after asbestos was disturbed at a primary school. An environmental health officer was carrying out a routine food inspection when an asbestos rope was found to be hanging from the ceiling.
The HSE found that the flue and gasket rope were attached to a steriliser unit that was removed by the caretaker. Neither the caretaker nor the head teacher had any asbestos management or awareness training.
Kent County Council pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 10 (1) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 and was fined £200,000 and ordered to pay costs of £21,500.
The council was criticised for failing to prevent exposure to asbestos. Whilst the council had implemented a system in respect of asbestos, it had failed to provide suitable and appropriate training to those likely to be exposed to asbestos.