Regulatory Roundup


16 May, 2018

Bouncy Castle Owners Convicted of Manslaughter

A couple who operated a fairground in Essex have been convicted of gross negligence manslaughter and failure to discharge a duty under s 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work Act after a seven-year-old girl died when the bouncy castle she was playing on blew into the air and struck a tree.

During the three-week trial it was revealed that on the day of the incident it had been raining and was windy, there was a yellow weather warning in place for high winds and the weather forecast for the weekend was stormy, yet the couple had failed to take steps to monitor the weather conditions or to adequately secure the bouncy castle to the ground.

Sentencing has been adjourned until a date yet to be set; Mr Justice Garnham has indicated that he would be "seriously considering imprisonment".

Forbes comment

This is a tragic case which could have been avoided. Operators of bouncy castles have a legal duty to protect of the health of safety of those who use their equipment. The HSE have reiterated that "An inflatable should be checked before use and these checks should include ensuring it is adequately secured to the ground. When in use operators should monitor the weather closely and an inflatable should not be used in wind speeds above 24mph or as directed by the manufacturer."

DHL fined £2m over death of an employee

An employee died after he was trapped between a reversing lorry and a loading bay at the company's site in 2015.

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

In a statement of agreement between DHL and Milton Keynes Council, it was agreed that the company had no specific risk assessment or safe system of work for "yard activities", including the use of banksmen and reversing vehicles.

Forbes comment

The investigation following the tragic death found that a culture had developed whereby workers who had not been trained were resolving "unusual occurrences" at the loading bays. A similar failing had occurred in 2012 but the company had not taken steps to carry out a suitable risk assessment or to provide staff with a safe system of work and adequate training.

Haulier fined £180k for flouting parking rule

An employee became trapped between two heavy goods vehicles while working at the company's site in May 2016. It has been reported that the employee was helping to park lorries at the company's yard when the accident happened. A lorry shunted backwards and hit the employee who later died in hospital.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching s 2 and s 33(1)(a) of the Health and Safety at Work Act.

Forbes comment

The court was told that the company did not permit staff to stand behind vehicles to give directions, and so did not provide training for the task. However, the court was also told that employees often guided lorries from the rear. The accident could have been avoided if there was a safe system of work in place for moving vehicles which was enforced by the company.

Construction giant fined £900k for painter's station roof fall

A painter fell through a fragile railway station ceiling into a passenger waiting room, sustaining severe ligament damage. BAM Nuttall and McNealy Brown admitted charges under s 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act. BAM Nuttall was fined £900,000 and McNealy Brown £65,000 and had to pay £7,157 in combined costs.

An investigation revealed that before the painter commenced work he was given a site induction. However, he was not briefed on the risk assessment which required work over the platforms to be undertaken at night, for workers to wear full body harnesses and for the waiting room below to be locked. Nor was the painter warned about the fragile roofs. No barriers had been erected, and there were no warning signs or tape to warn of the risk.

Forbes comment

Clearly this accident could have been avoided if the painter had been properly briefed prior to commencing work, if detailed and comprehensive risk assessments had been performed and communicated to site workers and if simple warning measures such as barriers, safety tape or signs had been utilised on site.

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