May 2019: The Latest Health and Safety Prosecutions

May 2019: The Latest Health and Safety Prosecutions

Eliza Bonecka

pellet

On 10 February 2017, 39-year-old Ross Standen from South Molton was attempting to unblock the feed pellet press, which had been switched off, when the machine started up randomly. Mr Standen’s hand was caught in the machine, resulting in horrific injuries to his thumb and tendons in his index finger. Following multiple operations, which included the removal of bone fragments and skin grafts from his leg, his thumb was amputated. The HSE reports that Mr Standen relives the trauma in regular flashbacks and has suffered from insomnia and Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following the incident...

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SOUTHALLS COMMENT:

Injuries arising from clearing blockages in machinery are all too common. Whilst this machine was switched off, it had not been isolated at the main contract panel and there was no permit-to-work lock-off procedure followed. Whether cleaning, maintenance, servicing or changing parts inside machinery, no-one should ever enter or place hands and arms inside the danger area without a permit-to-work ‘lock-off’ procedure being followed. 

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plastic

Liverpool-based recycling company Centriforce Products been fined £120,000 after an employee was crushed to death when bales of plastic waste weighing over 500 kg toppled on him...
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SOUTHALLS COMMENT:
The waste and recycling industry is a high-risk working environment, with the HSE reporting that it remains among the most dangerous industries in which to work, with a fatality rate 16 times higher than the industry average. Therefore it is unfortunately not surprising to read that this is the third time this company has been prosecuted for health and safety breaches causing injury. This case is a sad reminder of the importance of assessing the risk of stacked products and ensuring items are never stacked where there are stability issues and a risk of collapse.

asbestos

The NHS trust behind the two largest hospitals in Shropshire has been fined £16,000 after exposing employees and contractors to asbestos, during the refurbishment of nurses’ accommodation...

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SOUTHALLS COMMENT:

More than 2,000 people die each year from mesothelioma and asbestos-related lung cancer as a result of past exposure to asbestos at work. As such, the HSE is getting tough on organisations who place personnel at risk. Those responsible for the maintenance and repair of buildings have a legal duty to manage any on-site asbestos. In this case, the NHS Trust should have provided the contractors with information on the location and condition of any asbestos they may disturb during the refurbishment works and checked that adequate control measures to prevent exposure, were in place. 

fire

A fire at a care home which left two people dead – with a further 33 having to be rescued from the collapsing building – was found to be caused by an electrical fault that spread to the roof. The company running the home has been fined £175,000 for five fire safety breaches...

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SOUTHALLS COMMENT:

Every care home needs to assess and control fire risks in accordance with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. This includes having a clear evacuation plan that is communicated to all staff, detailing their responsibilities for the safe evacuation of residents. Fire drills should be conducted at least yearly with all residents and staff taking part, except for those residents who, on a risk-assessed basis, cannot be moved.  

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