Regulatory Update - May

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23 May, 2019

NHS Trust fined after exposing workers to Asbestos

Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust has been fined for exposing employees and contractors to asbestos whilst carrying out refurbishment works.

The NHS Trust pleaded guilty to two breaches of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 and fined £16,000 and ordered to pay costs of £18,385.80.

According to the HSE, the investigation found that the Trust did not properly record asbestos containing materials on their estate. Whilst the Trust had arrangements in place to manage asbestos, "the overall management plan for dealing with asbestos was not recorded in a clear and concise manner or effectively communicated to its employees and contractors working on site".

Forbes comment

The HSE reports that asbestos kills around 5000 workers each year, which is more than the number of people killed on the road. The duty to manage asbestos is contained in the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. It is essential that duty holders under the Regulations have suitable procedures in place for locating and managing asbestos to ensure that workers are protected, as far as reasonably possible, from the risk of exposure to asbestos fibres. It remains a central focus of HSE interventions.


Recycling Company fined after worker fatality

An employee died after being crushed by falling plastic bales whilst working for a recycling company. Large plastic bales had been stacked in a freestanding column in the yard using a forklift truck. A few hours later, the employee was working near the stack of bales when it toppled, and fatally crushed him.

Centriforce Products Limited pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and has been fined £120,000 and ordered to pay costs of £10,540.95

According to the HSE, the investigation found that the company had failed to carry out a suitable risk assessment, which would have identified the risk to the workers operating near unstable stacks.

Forbes comment

A HSE inspector described the incident as "appalling" and stressed that it could have been prevented if the employer had implemented a safe system of work. Employers have the responsibility to devise safe methods of working and to train their workers to prevent foreseeable tragic accidents.


Employee seriously injured by printing machine

A tinplate printing company has been fined after an employee was seriously injured when working on a printing press. The worker, who was trying to rectify a fault in the machinery, sustained a crushing and de-gloving injury to his hand after becoming trapped between the rollers of the printing press.

Tinmasters Swansea Limited pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and has been fined £29,000.00 and ordered to pay costs of £1713.40.

The HSE confirmed that there was no risk assessment for fault finding on the printing press and employees had not been suitably trained.

Forbes comment

This accident did not occur during the normal operation of the equipment. However, employers must nonetheless ensure that a safe system of work is in place to ensure that employees are adequately protected whilst maintaining work equipment, including when attempting to find and locate a fault. Adequate PPE ought to be provided and where possible, machinery should be shut down before commencing work.

Source: HSE website www.hse.gov.uk

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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