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Engineering company sentenced after numerous employees suffered from HAVS

Engineering company sentenced after numerous employees suffered from HAVS

Peter Duffy Ltd, a civil engineering company in Lofthouse, England, was sentenced on 19 August 2021 for safety violations after numerous employees were diagnosed with Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS).

This syndrome causes sensation changes to the fingers and can lead to permanent numbness, muscle weakness and white fingers due to inadequate blood flow.

Between November 2016 and August 2018, Peter Duffy Ltd reported seven cases of HAVS within the company – in which all employees carried out groundworks using vibrating tools.

Most of the affected individuals had worked in the sector for more than 20 years.

In 2016, the company contracted a new occupational health provider to replace its existing one. Through this switch, the diagnosis of the workers happened.

An investigation into the company discovered that before this significant change, the company had no suitable health surveillance in motion to identify HAVS.

On 19 August 2021, Peter Duffy Ltd of Park View, Lofthouse, Wakefield, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974. The company was fined £40,000 and ordered to pay £3,919 in costs.

Jeremy Sirrell, a Director at Palmers and a Health and Safety expert, said: “The failure to conduct a risk assessment and put safety procedures in place has led to an incident that could have been prevented.

“If you have encountered a similar incident, it is vital that you seek specialist advice at the earliest convenience.”

For help and guidance on all aspects of Health and Safety Law, be that advice on a potential health and safety investigation or prosecution, please contact our expert team today.

Security fined after new employee suffered life-changing injury due to assault

Security fined after new employee suffered life-changing injury due to assault

G4S Care and Justice Services (UK) was fined after an employee suffered life-changing injuries due to being assaulted by four individuals at a young offender’s training facility, the Oakhill Secure Training Centre, in Milton Keynes.

The Secure Care Officer (SCO), who had only worked for the company for around three months, was working alone with a group of six trainees, who were taking part in a scheduled activity on the outdoor fenced football pitch on 15 March 2017.

During the activity, one of the individuals attempted to climb the fence. The incident escalated, and the SCO tried to deal with it alone. However, the situation became hostile, and the SCO was attacked by four of the individuals.

The SCO sustained multiple injuries to his head and body. He was taken to hospital by ambulance, then subsequently put in an induced coma for three weeks. He suffered brain damage and had a plate fitted in his skull. He spent a further two months in a specialist brain injury rehabilitation centre.

Now, the SCO said he struggles to read and understand things and has therefore been referred to a neuropsychologist. Additionally, the incident has left emotional scars, distrust in others and the inability to talk about his injury when asked.

G4S Care and Justice Services (UK) Ltd failed to ensure robust procedures were put in place to ensure that inexperienced staff were not working alone with groups of young people who presented a high risk of violence.

G4S Care and Justice Services (UK) Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching section 2(1) and Section 33(1)(a) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and were fined £250,000 and ordered to pay costs of £13,787.

Jeremy Sirrell, a Director at Palmers and a Health and Safety expert, said: “The failure to ensure a new employee was not left alone during a high-risk situation has led to an incident that could have been prevented.

“If you have encountered a similar incident, it is vital that you seek specialist advice at the earliest convenience.”

For help and guidance on all aspects of Health and Safety Law, be that advice on a potential health and safety investigation or prosecution, please contact our expert team today.

Company fined after failing to protect their worker against life-altering allergy

Company fined after failing to protect their worker against life-altering allergy

After an employee developed an allergic form of dermatitis after coming into contact with metalworking fluids, its employer, an automotive company, has been sentenced.

On 24 April 2019, at a manufacturing site in Thatcham, this employee at Xtrac Ltd was splashed on the face and upper body with metalworking fluid while cleaning a grinding machine.

Due to this contact, the employee suffered an allergic reaction which consisted of a painful burning sensation, inflamed, broken and oozing skin, and subsequently diagnosed with permanent allergic contact dermatitis. Even smaller quantities of contact with this substance can cause a further damaging reaction.

As a result of this incident, medical advisors told the employee they could no longer work in their role as it was a risk to their health.

As Xtrac Ltd of Gables Way, Kennet Park, Thatcham, failed to carry out sufficient risk assessments to identify the potential exposure to the hazardous chemical and implement controls to prevent the incident, they pleaded guilty to breaching section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. They were fined £100,000 and ordered to pay costs of £639.59, as the company were already aware the employee had a history of dermatitis.

Jeremy Sirrell, a Partner at Palmers and a Health and Safety expert, said: “The failure to carry out the necessary risk assessment for this task and to ensure the employee had the required protective gear to protect themselves from their allergy, led to this avoidable and life-altering incident.

“If you have encountered a similar incident, it is vital that you seek specialist advice at the earliest convenience.”

For help and guidance on all aspects of Health and Safety Law, be that advice on a potential health and safety investigation or prosecution, please contact our expert team today.

Garage pleaded guilty to failing to prevent workplace injury

Garage pleaded guilty to failing to prevent workplace injury

After falling, an employee sustained life-changing injuries resulting in their employer being fined.

On 3 September 2018, a GP Motors Works Ltd employee on the Isle of Wight fell into a vehicle inspection pit more than five feet deep while carrying out mechanical repairs to a vehicle nearby.

Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court heard that a small car covered the vehicle inspection pit, meaning only seven feet of it was left uncovered – with no other measures in place to prevent an accident, such as avoidable falls.

Unfortunately, the employee required surgery due to serious head and shoulder injuries.

GP Motor Works Ltd of Embankment Road, Bembridge, Isle of Wight pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, and were fined £10,000. Additionally, they had to pay costs of £10,000.

Jeremy Sirrell, a Partner at Palmers and a Health and Safety expert, said: “The failure to ensure the pit had any measures to prevent an accident, such as a cover or barriers, has led to this avoidable incident.

“If you are concerned about your businesses’ safety obligations, then it is important that you seek specialist advice at the earliest convenience.”

For help and guidance on all aspects of Health and Safety Law, including putting in place strategies to protect your workforce, please contact our expert team today.

Nestlé fined after employee encountered accident with machinery

Nestlé fined after employee encountered accident with machinery

An employee of Nestlé UK Ltd suffered injuries after being dragged into one of their machines on 13 February 2016. The company was subsequently sentenced for breaching health and safety regulations.

Bradford Crown Court heard that while observing the operation of the After Eight production machine at the company’s Albion Mills site in Halifax, the technical operator placed his right hand close to a gap in the machine housing. The emery cloth he was holding in his right hand then got dragged, along with his arm, into the machine.

The employee was unable to reach any of the emergency stop buttons, which are located around the machine, from the position in which he was trapped. He was released from the machine by the paramedics, once they arrived at the scene.

Unfortunately, the employee suffered from a double compound fracture to his arm, which needed surgery.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed that Nestlé failed to prevent access to dangerous moving parts of the machine – which is known as an ‘in-running nip’. After conducting an investigation, it was found that there was a large enough gap to enable access at a belt conveyor entry on the After Eight line.

Therefore, Nestle UK Ltd of City Place Gatwick pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11 of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, and received a fine of £640,000. They also had to pay £26,234 in costs.

Jeremy Sirrell, a Partner at Palmers and a Health and Safety expert, said: “The failure to ensure that the equipment was suitable for use has led to this avoidable incident.

“If you are concerned about your businesses’ safety obligations, then it is important that you seek specialist advice at the earliest convenience.”

For help and guidance on all aspects of Health and Safety Law, including putting in place strategies to protect your workforce, please contact our expert team today.

Construction firm fined after an employee was hit by a concrete pump

Construction firm fined after an employee was hit by a concrete pump

A construction company, with experience in specialist civil engineering, has been subject to a fine after the placing boom of a concrete pump hit one of their employees, leaving them with serious injuries.

Brighton Magistrates Court heard details of the incident which involved the pouring of concrete footings at a site at Ditchling Common, East Sussex, which softened the ground and made it so vehicles could not get close to the work. Therefore, a concrete pump, with a 52-metre boom, was used.

On 5 March 2019, during the pour, the ground beneath one of the pump outriggers collapsed, hitting the employee as it did so. He dislocated and fractured his hip, fractured his spine, as well as tore ligaments and muscles. Later on, he was diagnosed with a brain injury, and to this day, he is undergoing regular physiotherapy and suffering from post-traumatic stress. The long-term effects of the brain and nerve damage are unknown at the moment.

An investigation conducted by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found that this particular work had not undergone the necessary planning, managing and monitoring.

The company did carry out some work to stabilise the ground area, where the pump was positioned during the task. However, there were no checks on how much load the ground could sustain and no consideration of the size or type of spreader plates that were needed to support the vehicle outriggers.

Axio (Special Works) Limited of Portslade, Brighton, was found guilty of breaching Regulation 13 (1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 and were fined £20,000, plus a victim surcharge of £170 and costs of £5,285.70.

Jeremy Sirrell, a Partner at Palmers and a Health and Safety expert, said: “The failure to ensure that the equipment was suitable for use has led to this avoidable incident.

“If you are concerned about your businesses’ safety obligations, then it is important that you seek specialist advice at the earliest convenience.”

For help and guidance on all aspects of Health and Safety Law, including putting in place strategies to protect your workforce, please contact our expert team today.