Hovington Limited was sentenced today for safety breaches after a worker was struck by a falling piece of plant machinery while working on a construction site in Rotherham.

Sheffield Magistrates’ Court heard that, on 4 February 2019, groundworkers, including the injured person, were breaking out ground using a 13 tonne 360 excavator with a hydraulic breaker attached to an automatic quick hitch, as part of trench work to install new drainage of the site at Arconic Forging and Extrusions, Sheffield Road, Ickles, Rotherham. The breaker became detached from the quick hitch on the excavator. The breaker fell, narrowly missing one ground worker, and landed on the injured worker’s right foot. He sustained injuries which led to amputation of his right leg below the knee.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company failed to ensure that a safe method of work was in place when working in the vicinity of an excavator, there was no defined segregation between people and plant, and no use of a vehicle plant marshal to ensure the machine was isolated before pedestrians enter the working zone of the excavator. The company also failed to implement a dedicated bucket changing area for the changing of attachments to minimise the risk of attachments falling onto pedestrians.

Hovington Limited of Chichester Street, Rochdale pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company has been fined £34,000 and ordered to pay £1,935.84 in costs.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Trisha Elvy commented: “This incident could have easily resulted in a fatality and could have been avoided by simply carrying out correct control measures and safe working practices.

“There should be suitable, defined safe systems of work so that persons who need to work in close proximity to excavators can do so safely.”

As reported: HSE Media

DB Cargo has been fined £200,000 after pleading guilty to an offence under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act for failing to protect the safety of its workers following an incident at its Dollands Moor freight yard in 2018.

Terry Currie, then aged 43 and working as a shunter, suffered life changing injuries, including the amputation of his right arm, when a freight train collided with his vehicle on a level crossing at the yard on 4 September 2018.

The sentence was passed by District Judge Barron at Folkestone Magistrates’ Court, following a prosecution by rail regulator, the Office of Rail and Road (ORR).

ORR’s prior investigation found DB Cargo had failed to carry out a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks associated with the movement of people and trains within the yard, and as a result a safe system of work was not implemented to protect workers as they moved around the yard.

Ian Prosser CBE, HM Chief Inspector of Railways, ORR said: “These were serious failings by DB Cargo to protect its workers and ensure a safe practice of freight train movements.

“There were clear and obvious risks of serious injury due to the lack of appropriate ways of working. [This] sentence shows how important it is that operators have appropriate practices to ensure worker safety.

“Following the accident, DB Cargo has taken action to mitigate risks but had it properly assessed the risk of a collision beforehand, Mr Currie need not have suffered life changing injury.”

In his remarks, Judge Barron said there was an obvious risk of a collision between people and trains within the yard, which had been foreseen as long ago as 1991 when the yard was designed, before it became operational in 1994. At that time, between eight and 11 track workers or shunters were killed on the railway each year.

Until 2010, safety documentation included a requirement that buggies crossing the sidings should use one of the two subways that were provided at each end of the yard to allow staff access to individual sidings without crossing any tracks.

By 2012, this requirement was no longer included. By 2014, only one of the two subways remained open, but lighting in this subway had failed. Use of this subway was not enforced, so most workers chose to drive across the level crossings instead. There were no barriers, signs or written instructions indicating that vehicles were not allowed to use the level crossings unless signals were being used to stop any approaching trains.

DB Cargo were fined £200,000 and ordered to pay £33,768.61 in costs.

 

As reported on: SHP

Drayton Manor Park Ltd (in administration) has been sentenced following the death of a schoolgirl on its Splash Canyon water ride in 2017.

Stafford Crown Court heard how, on the 9 May 2017, 11-year-old Evha Jannath was on a school trip when she fell out of a raft on the Splash Canyon water ride into the ride’s water trough. She was able to wade to the conveyer belt at the end of the ride and climb onto it, but then fell into a section of deeper water and drowned.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the risk assessment in place was not suitable and sufficient as it did not properly assess or address the risk of passengers being ejected/falling from the raft, despite previous similar incidents. There were inadequate control measures in place to detect a person in the water as the CCTV covered only half the ride and the CCTV monitors were not suitable for observing passenger behaviour appropriately. In addition, there was no system at the park to rescue anyone who had fallen into the water.

Drayton Manor Park Ltd (in administration), Tamworth, Staffordshire pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £1 million.

Drayton Manor Park has changed hands since the incident and is now owned and operated by Drayton Manor Resort Ltd.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Principal Inspector Lyn Spooner said: “As a result of Drayton Manor’s failings 11-year-old Evha Jannath, died at the end of what should have been a fun day out.

“The risks from ejection from the raft had been evident to Drayton Manor for some time, yet they still failed to take the action that could have prevented Evha’s death.

“This tragic event should never have happened and my thoughts and the thoughts of HSE remain with Evha’s family and friends.”

As reported on: HSE Media

Specialist plant hire company, Ruislip Plant Ltd, has been fined after a worker was fatally injured whilst undertaking maintenance on a piling rig.

Reading Crown Court heard that, on 13 May 2014, Ben Wylie, was assisting the Ruislip Plant Ltd Director Mr Noel Kearney (since deceased) with the maintenance of a high-pressure grease track adjusting mechanism at a construction site in West Street, Maidenhead. During the process, the grease nipple assembly and a stream of high-pressure grease was forcibly ejected from the mechanism and struck Ben Wylie in the shoulder and chest causing fatal injuries.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the components had been forcibly ejected on the previous day and had sustained damage in that event, reducing the pressure at which it would subsequently fail. Once the fitting had been ejected, it should not have been refitted. Despite the fittings having been previously ejected and damaged, Mr Kearney attempted to modify and refit the grease nipple and adaptor to the high-pressure system. He then began to re-pressurise the tracks by pumping in grease using a hand operated grease gun. The pressure built in the system and at a critical point the damaged and modified components were again ejected. A pressure test with all suitable safeguards was required in these circumstances but there was no safe system of work during which resulted in the modifications to the grease gun bringing Ben Wylie into the danger zone.

Ruislip Plant Ltd of Lea Crescent, Ruislip, Middlesex pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company has been fined £99,000 and ordered to pay costs of £116, 973.36.

After the hearing, HSE inspector John Glynn said: “HSE guidance is very specific on how this work should be undertaken and previously ejected or damaged parts must not be reused as they were in this case.
“This incident could have been avoided if Ruislip Plant Ltd had instead undertaken a risk assessment and devised a safe system of work. That safe system of work would necessarily have ensured that new parts were used, and that the safety procedure of a pressure test was performed. However, a new component was not used in this incident and the safety procedure was not adhered to.

“That failure to adhere to the correct procedure for pressure testing was directly causative of this incident. No control measures were put in place by Ruislip Plant Limited and that sadly led to the death of Ben Wylie.”

As reported on: HSE Media.

Walden Builders Ltd has been sentenced after a worker was struck by a heated sheet of tin.

Leeds Magistrates’ Court heard how on 18 September 2018, the company was demolishing an outbuilding in Littlethorpe, Ripon. During the demolition, the excavator being used struck a wall containing a 415v cable causing it to arc and ignite a fire. Efforts to put out the fire included holding a sheet of tin to shield the surroundings. The tin heated and dropped onto an operative who was working on the site causing burn injuries to the scalp, arm and hands.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company had received a quote from Northern Power Grid for installation of new service termination equipment. The company failed to act on the quote and instruct the power company to terminate supply to the building.

Walden Builders Ltd of Green Croft, Pottery Lane, Littlethorpe, Ripon pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company has been fined £42,000 and ordered to pay £4,707 in costs.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Paul Thompson said: “The company should have ensured that there was no live power to the building prior to the start of demolition work. The company had failed to prepare a written plan for the demolition of the building or any site-specific risk assessments.

“This incident could so easily have been avoided by simply carrying out correct control measures and safe working practices.”

The HSE publish a guide to undertaking such activities the right way here: https://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/safetytopics/demolition.htm

A construction company has been sentenced after a self-employed ground worker sustained life changing injuries in an incident involving a disc cutter.

Truro Crown Court heard how on 1 June 2017, self-employed ground worker Morgan Prosser, contracted by MJL Contractors Limited, was working to complete ground works at a new building site near Bodmin, Cornwall. Mr Prosser was using a petrol disc cutter to cut reinforced concrete beams to size. Whilst he was doing this the saw ‘kicked up’ and caused a severe laceration to his arm. Mr Prosser underwent months of operations following the incident to try to save his arm. However, it had to be amputated In October 2017, which has had a significant impact on his ability to work and his personal life.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that MJL Contractors Limited were responsible for the groundworks at the site, including providing and maintaining the disc cutter. Mr Prosser had not been sufficiently trained to use the petrol disc cutter and the system of work in use for cutting reinforced concrete beams had not been planned or assessed to ensure the risks were properly controlled.

MJL should have been aware that Mr Prosser had no previous experience of undertaking such a task and this should have been identified and addressed at his induction or at the time the work was allocated to him to complete.

 

MJL Contractors Limited of Hellys Court, Helston in Cornwall, were found guilty of breaching Section 3(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. They have been fined £250,000 and ordered to pay costs of £100,000.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Georgina Symons said: “The contractor’s injuries have been life changing. This serious incident could have easily been avoided if basic safeguards had been put in place.”

A north west contractor has been sentenced after disturbing asbestos during demolition works and damaging underground cables that resulted in severe disruption to services.

Blackpool Magistrates’ Court heard how Peter Walling’s company had been contracted to demolish a former medical centre in Blackburn and clear the land ready for development. Between 15 November and 6 December 2018, four separate incidents occurred on site when an excavator operated by Mr Walling, caused damage to underground cables and a sub-station which caused loss of electricity supplies to the local area and repair costs to the electricity supplier of £49,000. In addition to this, Mr Walling removed asbestos containing materials prior to an asbestos survey taking place, potentially exposing workers to asbestos.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Mr Walling did not ensure all services had been disconnected prior to starting work. He had ignored warnings from Electricity North West to stop work when low voltage cables were first dug up by the excavator, causing damage to the live substation, and only stopped working in a dangerous area when the police attended the scene. Mr Walling did not implement a safe system of work when operating near to underground cables and failed to ensure that workers on site were not exposed to asbestos.

Peter Andrew Walling of Arley Rise, Mellor, Blackburn pleaded guilty to breaching Section 37(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. He was sentenced to 200 hours unpaid work and received a ten-month prison sentence suspended for 18 months and was ordered to pay costs of £7,000.

HSE inspector Christine McGlynn said after the hearing: “These incidents could so easily have been avoided by simply carrying out correct control measures and safe working practices. Mr Walling recklessly failed to heed warnings and advice and put not only himself but also others on site at risk of electrocution and risk of exposure to asbestos containing materials.

“Contractors should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”

An article in the Guardian indicates that the 6500 figure is likely to be an underestimate, as preparations for 2022 world cup tournament continue.

More than 6,500 migrant workers from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have died in Qatar since it won the right to host the World Cup 10 years ago, the Guardian can reveal.

The findings, compiled from government sources, mean an average of 12 migrant workers from these five south Asian nations have died each week since the night in December 2010 when the streets of Doha were filled with ecstatic crowds celebrating Qatar’s victory.

Data from India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka revealed there were 5,927 deaths of migrant workers in the period 2011–2020. Separately, data from Pakistan’s embassy in Qatar reported a further 824 deaths of Pakistani workers, between 2010 and 2020.

The total death toll is significantly higher, as these figures do not include deaths from a number of countries which send large numbers of workers to Qatar, including the Philippines and Kenya. Deaths that occurred in the final months of 2020 are also not included.

In the past 10 years, Qatar has embarked on an unprecedented building programme, largely in preparation for the football tournament in 2022. In addition to seven new stadiums, dozens of major projects have been completed or are under way, including a new airport, roads, public transport systems, hotels and a new city, which will host the World Cup final.

While death records are not categorised by occupation or place of work, it is likely many workers who have died were employed on these World Cup infrastructure projects, says Nick McGeehan, a director at FairSquare Projects, an advocacy group specialising in labour rights in the Gulf. “A very significant proportion of the migrant workers who have died since 2011 were only in the country because Qatar won the right to host the World Cup,” he said.

As reported in the Guardian.

Property partnership Alex Brewster and Sons has been fined £4,000 after an employee fell through a roof light.

Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard how on 19 April 2016, two employees were removing roofing panels from a derelict shed in Midlothian. One of the workers stepped on to a roof light, which gave way causing him to fall to the floor below. He sustained serious injuries as a result of the fall including fractures to his pelvis, ribs, and elbow, which required surgery.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Alex Brewster and Sons, who own and let domestic properties, failed to ensure that work at height was properly planned, appropriately supervised and carried out in a manner which was, as far as reasonably practicable, safe. There were insufficient measures in place to prevent the risk of a fall from height.

Alex Brewster and Sons, of Bonnington Store, Wilkieston, Kirknewton pleaded guilty to breaching the Work at Height Regulations 2005, Regulation 4 and Section 33(1)(c) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. They were fined £4,000.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Gillian Anderson said: “Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work-related fatalities in this country and the risks associated with working at height are well known.

“If a suitable safe system of work had been in place prior to the incident, the severe injuries sustained by this employee could have been prevented.”

A carpet sample book manufacturer has been fined after two workers were seriously injured in an incident where a forklift truck crashed into an onsite refuse skip.

Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard how on 29 July 2019, three workers at Profile Patterns Limited had been emptying waste from plastic bins at their site in Wigan. They were using a forklift truck to raise the bins to a height that enabled a worker at either side of the truck to manually tip the bins into a skip. When one of the bins became trapped between the side of the skip and the forks, the driver of the forklift truck climbed on top of the skip to free the bin whilst the other two employees remained standing at either side of the forklift truck. Another employee was asked to reverse the forklift truck to aid the release of the bin.

However, after reversing, the forklift truck then moved forward crashing into the skip causing the employee on top of the skip to fall. One of the workers standing at the side of the truck became impaled by her right arm by the fork. The two workers sustained serious fractures that required hospital treatment.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Profile Patterns Limited did not take effective measures to ensure the health and safety of employees in relation to the risks arising from the use and operation of forklift trucks. The company failed to implement a safe system of work and provide adequate instruction and training to employees. It was established that tipping bins into the skip in this way was normal working practice that had taken place over a considerable length of time, throughout which employees were placed at significant risk.

Profile Patterns Limited of Makerfield Way, Ince Wigan, Lancashire, pleaded guilty to breaching sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,435.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Emily Osborne said: “The risk of injury from this unsafe working practice was foreseeable and the incident could so easily have been avoided.

“Profile Patterns Limited should have put in place a number of safety measures including appropriate segregation of vehicles and pedestrians and a safe system of work for emptying the bins.

“Those in control of work also have a responsibility to provide the necessary information, instruction and training to their workers in order to carry out work safely.”

As reported in HSE Media Centre