27 June, 2019
Football club fined after tragic death of a volunteer
A football club has been fined £1000 and ordered to pay costs of £1000 after the death of a volunteer. The 71-year old volunteer had been helping at the club when he accessed the roof to carry out a repair and fell through fragile roof sheeting onto the terrace below.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that St Albans City Football and Athletic Club Ltd had "failed to ensure a suitable system was in place to authorise certain work". It also found that "inadequate supervision, together with volunteers being provided with keys to gain uncontrolled entry to the football ground, resulted in access to the roof to carry out repairs in an unsafe manner".
Although volunteers are not employees, they are still owed a duty of care by the organisation/company. A volunteer should expect similar protection to a paid employee, such as a safe system of work, risk assessments, training, PPE etc.
The fine imposed is noticeably lenient given the accident resulted in a fatality. The Court has clearly considered the financial circumstances of the club and the significant losses made by the club according to records filed at Companies House.
Failure to remove asbestos safely results in fine for construction company and its director
A construction company has been fined £170,000 and ordered to pay costs of £10,406; and its director has been fined £6,500 and ordered to pay costs of £7000 after failing to ensure the safe removal of asbestos during demolition work.
According to the HSE, an investigation found that Sherwood Homes Limited "failed to ensure suitable contractors were used to carry out the asbestos removal work and demolition of the mill in February 2017". The HSE confirmed that it had not received any notification regarding the asbestos and or any details of how the asbestos containing materials were to be safely removed or disposed of.
Sherwood Homes Limited was found guilty to breaching regulation 4(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 and the Company director Peter Kiely of Bolton, pleaded guilty to breaching section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, in relation to the company's breach of regulation 4(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015.
According to the HSE, asbestos still kills around 5000 workers each year, and sadly around 20 tradesman die each week as a result of past and historic exposure. Where asbestos is identified, it should be removed by a specialist contractor holding a licence with the HSE.
Suspended Prison Sentence for Work at Height Failings
A company, two directors and a self-employed contractor have been sentenced and fined after an electrician fell down a stairwell and sustained serious injuries.
The electrician was exiting the loft when he fell from a damaged board, which was spanning the stairwell. He landed on the concrete floor below and suffered multiple fractures, a bleed on the brain and facial nerve damage.
The company, Green Generation Renewable Services Ltd, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 15 (2) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 and was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,548.28
Mr Karl Grice pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 15 (2) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015, by virtue of Section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was sentenced to 16 weeks in prison (suspended for 18 months) and fined £1,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,000.
Mr Steven Paul Dixon pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (2) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was sentenced to 16 weeks in prison (suspended for 18 months) and fined £1,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,000.
Mr Sean Mullan pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 15 (2) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015, by virtue of Section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £1,500 and ordered to pay costs of £2,000.
According to the HSE, the investigation found that "the two directors of the company, Mr Karl Grice and Mr Sean Mullan, were fully aware, along with Mr Dixon that the damaged board was being used as a makeshift ladder and had used it themselves. They were also aware of the unprotected edges of the stairwell, but had not carried out risk assessments, identified which control measures were needed, or implemented suitable safety measures to protect workers on site".
The suspended prison sentence handed down in this matter will serve as a stark warning to those in control of work at height. It is crucial that the Work at Height regulations are adhered to and that corners are not cut. The right equipment must be used and work at height should be properly planned, risk assessed and supervised.