Client fined £2.5million after contractor falls to his death

Director’s foreword:

In addition to the trauma and grief resulting from death or disability, the level of fines and costs is rising dramatically and the increase in custodial sentences is increasing. Awareness, training and robust procedures are at the core of reducing risk.

Keelagher Okey Klein can assist on a project basis or ongoing consultancy support and if procurement is a hurdle, our listing on NHS Shared Business Service, Fusion21, Wales Public Sector Framework and others can be used to procure our assistance immediately.

John Okey.

It is reported that:-

Client fined £2.5million after contractor falls to his death

Iceland Foods Limited has been fined £2.5million following the death of a contractor at one of their stores in Rotherham.

The employee of a contractor visited the premises to replace filters within an air conditioning unit located on a plant platform above a suspended ceiling in a warehouse at the store. The workman fell almost 3m from the platform and through the suspended ceiling, sustaining fatal injuries.

Investigators from Rotherham Council revealed the lack of “barriers” to prevent falls from the platform. The area of the platform, immediately in front of the access ladder, was restricted with several tripping hazards in this area including cabling and the fixing points for the ladder itself.

Grimsby Crown Court heard that the company had not carried out a risk assessment to consider access to the plant platform either by contractors or their own employees.

Iceland argued that they had intended for a guardrail to be installed around the plant platform and had in fact paid for one during refurbishment of the store. The company contended that they were entitled to rely on the specialist contractors who carried out work on the plant platform to identify the missing hand rail. These claims were rejected by the court.

Iceland Foods Limited were found guilty of two breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act at a previous trial in July 2017 and have been fined £1.25million for each offence, and ordered to pay the full costs of £65,019.64 to Rotherham Council, at a sentencing hearing in September 2017.

Karen Hanson, Assistant Director for Community Safety and Street Scene, said that this case highlighted the importance of companies considering not only their own employees but the work of contractors as part of their health and safety arrangements.

An Iceland spokesman said, “[The employee] lost his life due to the absence of a safety handrail around the platform on which the air conditioning equipment was located. This handrail had been specified in our design of the store, and our contractors had certified to use the it was in place. We naturally regret our reliance on these assurances.”

At Keelagher Okey Klein, our team of Principal Designers and CDM Professionals are increasingly being appointed by contractors to assist them in their duties under CDM2015 and drive up Health & Safety standards. This includes the provision of CDM training, Site Safety Inspections, CDM Compliance Audits and the review and implementation of new Health & Safety procedures in accordance with CDM2015.

For further information or to enquire about our services, please contact John Okey on 01925 654158.

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Wrexham County Borough Council fined after worker diagnosed with Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS)

Wrexham County Borough Council has been fined after a 57-year-old man was diagnosed with Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS).

Wrexham Magistrates’ Court heard how the employee of the council’s StreetScene department has been diagnosed with HAVS in September 2015.

In investigation by the HSE found the council failed to address the issue of HAVS following an audit in February 2011 which identified a failure to assess the risk to employees from vibration. The council had developed a number of policies dating back to 2004 to tackle the risk of HAVS, however it was found these policies were not implemented.

Following the introduction of HAVS occupational health surveillance for users of vibrating tools further a eleven diagnoses of HVAS or Carpul tunnel syndrome have been reported.

Wrexham County Borough Council, of the Guildhall, Wrexham, pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act and have been fined £150,000 and ordered to pay costs of £10,901.35.

HSE inspector Mhairi Duffy said, “This employee now suffers from a long-term, life-changing illness. The council have implemented the policy the devised following the audit in 2011.

“Workers’ health should not be made worse by the work they do; all employees have the right to go home healthy at the end of the working day.”

We are currently providing CDM Advisor and Principal Designer services for major Contractors, Designers and Clients across the UK, including provision of Site Safety Inspections and CDM Compliance Audits.

For further advice and assistance, please contact John Okey or one of our team on 01925 654158 or email enquiries@kok-surveyors.com

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Warburtons fined £1.9m after injury to agency worker

Warburtons Ltd has been fined after a worker was injured when his arm got trapped against a running conveyor belt.

Nottingham Crown Court heard how, on 4 August 2015, the agency worker was cleaning parts of the bread line when his arm became trapped which lead to friction burns that required skin grafts.

An HSE investigation found CCTV footage showing the worker cleaning parts of the line; as he reached into the line he became trapped between two conveyors and part of the machine had to be dismantled to release him.

HSE inspectors found the machine could have been fitted with localised guarding to prevent access between the conveyors.

Warburtons Ltd, of Mushroom Farm Eastwood, Nottingham, pleaded guilty to breaching the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations and has been fined £1.9m with costs to pay of £21,4593.71.

HSE inspector Edward Walker said, “Warburtons failed to guard the machine sufficiently to prevent access to the running conveyors, which in this case could have prevented the injuries.

“Employers should ensure that all equipment used by agency and their own workers alike are sufficiently guarded and take appropriate measures if any deficiencies are found.”

For further information or to enquire about our services, please contact John Okey on 01925 654158, and to avoid and delay in procurement, our listings on NHS Shared Business Service, Fusion21, Wales Public Sector Framework etc could be used to obtain our services promptly.