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Health and safety update June 2019

Published on 28 June 2019

Welcome to our June 2019 health and safety update where we look at the health and safety stories that have recently hit the headlines as well as the latest fines and sentences that have been handed down.

In the news

RPC successfully defends director charged under section 37 HSWA following fall at construction site

Our client was the director of a company that had been subcontracted to carry out a loft conversion on a residential property. One of his subcontractors sustained serious injuries when he fell from a ladder, over the top edge of some scaffolding and onto a flat roof below. It was maintained that the inadequacy of the scaffolding had previously been raised with the Principal Contractor but they declined to arrange for the height of the scaffolding to be increased. Our client also submitted evidence to show the steps that he, his employee and subcontractor had taken on site to try and improve their safety as the works progressed. Read more.

Chevron fined £5m for Pembroke Oil Refinery explosion where “illusion of safety and risk control” resulted in 4 fatalities

The blast caused the roof of the five tonne tank to be thrown 55m into a butane storage sphere and only narrowly missed a pipe track used to transport flammable materials. Dennis Riley, Robert Broome, Andrew Jenkins and Julie Schmitz all died in the explosion, and the fifth B & A Contracts worker, Andrew Phillips, sustained serious burns. Read more.

Gross negligent manslaughter conviction of takeaway restaurant owner quashed

In our December 2018 bulletin we reported on the death of 15-year-old, Megan Lee. She died as a result of consuming a takeaway meal, ordered through Just Eat, which contained peanut proteins despite clearly stating on the order that she was allergic to peanuts. Read more.

Priory Healthcare conviction following the death of a 14-year-old girl

On 12 November 2018 a 14-year-old girl, Amy El-Keira, hanged herself in her room at the Priory in Ticehurst, East Sussex. She was pronounced dead the following day. At the time of her death she had been a patient in the high dependency unit at the Priory in Ticehurst. Read more.

Fines and sentences

Company director jailed after worker killed when he was fatally trapped in a second-hand machine bought on eBay

The Managing Director of Baldwin Skip Hire, Robert Baldwin, was sentenced to 12 months in prison after he was convicted of breaching section 37(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974 for allowing the company to be in breach, charges to which the company had previously pleaded guilty. Read more.

2 Sisters Food Group fined £1.4m after worker’s serious crush injuries

 2 Sisters Food Group, a food processing company based in Yorkshire, was prosecuted after an employee was crushed by a large metal stillage. The employee was trying to unblock the conveying system when his chest was crushed by the metal stillage. He suffered several injuries including multiple fractures to the ribs and back, as well as a punctured lung. Read more.

Rail freight company DB Cargo (UK) Ltd fined £2.7m after a boy suffered electric shock

A 13-year-old boy suffered serious injuries after he gained access to a disused signal box at one of DB Cargo (UK) Ltd’s depots. Overhanging the signal box were 25,000 volt power lines. The boy made contact with the line and from the resulting electric shock suffered 80% burns all over his body. The injuries were so severe that he had to have both of his legs amputated and lost multiple fingers. Read more.

Capstone Building Ltd fined £900,000 after a worker killed in wall collapse

An employee of Capstone Building Ltd, Thomas Telfer, was killed when struck by falling bricks. A retaining wall being back filled with concrete collapsed, causing masonry to fall on the ground below, where Mr Telfer was working. Read more.

Sellafield Ltd fined £380,000 after employee exposed to extreme levels of plutonium

A worker for Sellafield Ltd was working in a glovebox, which was used for the processing of plutonium, when he suffered a puncture wound to his hand. He was cleaning a probe which had corroded and become sharp, causing a puncture to his protective glove and hand. Consequently, the worker was exposed to plutonium levels which were about eight times the maximum legal annual exposure limit for workers in the nuclear industry. Read more.

Suspended prison sentence for builder exposing workers to risk of a 6 metre fall

Kenneth Morris undertook repointing work at a house in Altrincham in July 2018. During the work his employees worked at heights of 6 metres without adequate protection. Make¬≠shift platforms were created, no scaffolding was used, and the men were not wearing protective clothing. Read more.

Hotel owners fined £80,000 after disturbing asbestos containing materials during refurbishment works

The owners of a hotel in Devon have been fined £80,000 and ordered to pay costs of £14,999.60 due to being in breach of sections 2(1) and 3(1) Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. Read more.

Gas fitter receives 12 month prison sentence after carrying out unsafe gas work

Mr Murrie, a self-employed gas fitter, undertook gas works at multiple homes. The HSE investigation centred around the works he did at two homes in West Yorkshire. Mr Murrie had claimed to homeowners that he was Gas Safe Registered, but he was not. Therefore, he did not fall within the classification of persons approved by the HSE. There were severe defects found in his installation works. Read more.

Karro Foods Ltd fined £1.8m after two workers fell through the roof

Two workers for Karro Foods Ltd, a food manufacturing company, were investigating a leak in a roof when a roof light gave way under their weight. They both fell 4 metres and suffered severe injuries including a fractured skull, muscular injuries, a punctured lung, fractured ribs and ongoing memory and balance issues. Read more.

Environmental

Marathon Oil have been fined £1.16m after North Sea gas leak

On Boxing Day in 2015 a pipework ruptured enabling two tonnes of methane gas to be released into the North Sea. No-one was injured as a result of the leak. Read more.

Two Essex Waste companies fined £45,000 after sub-contracting waste removal to fly-tippers

Walsh & Sons Ltd had been contracted to remove waste from a plant nursery in Colchester for the sum of £25,000. However, Walsh & Sons had sub-contracted the work to Calahans Cleaning Services Ltd, which did not lawfully dispose of the waste, but rather dumped the waste collected outside a farm. Read more.

Round-up

Guidance on UK REACH

If the UK leaves the EU without an exit deal then the EU REACH Regulations will be brought into UK law by the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018. Read more.

Increase in fines since 2016 sentencing guidelines implemented

The Sentencing Council has published an impact assessment on the introduction of the Health & Safety Offences, Corporate Manslaughter and Food Safety & Hygiene Offences Definitive Guideline. Read more.