West Midlands firm fined over worker injury

A Bilston engineering company KV Welding Limited, has been sentenced after a worker was injured while operating a drilling machine.  Wolverhampton Magistrates’ Court heard that Mr Deimantas Beinoras, a 23-year-old Lithuanian national was injured while working.

Mr Beinoras was operating a pedestal drilling machine to drill holes into some box section tubing. He was adjusting the work piece while the drill was still running when his gloved hand became entangled with the unguarded drill bit.  His arm was pulled around the drill and broke two bones in right forearm. His injuries resulted in skin graft being required on the arm.

The drill was not guarded with a telescopic guard covering the rotating drill bit. Mr Beinoras had not been wearing gloves and a suitable and sufficient risk assessment had not been completed to identify required control measures and proper training had not been received.  The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuting, told the court that injuries could have been prevented if the correct measure had been taken.

KV Welding Limited of Perry Street, Bradley, Bilston admitted breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £2,168.73 in costs.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Richard Littlefair said:

“It is vital that companies understand the importance of using suitable guarding when employees are operating drilling machines as there are significant risks involved which may lead to serious personal injury.

Other simple measures such as not wearing gloves can be taken to eliminate the risk of entanglement involved with operating drilling machines or any other machinery with moving/rotating parts.”

School Safety Failings

Canterbury Crown Court has fined a School in Canterbury, for safety failings at a summer activity camp which lead to a seven year old boy struggling during a scheduled swim and becoming motionless after over three minutes.

Whilst taking part in a scheduled swim, the lifeguards noticed he was in trouble and retrieved him. He regained consciousness after CPR but did develop pneumonitis as a result of the incident.

During an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident, which occurred on 1 August 2014, found that the lifeguards were not effectively managed and monitored to ensure that they were constantly vigilant. Two out of the three lifeguards did not hold a current, in date lifeguard qualification

St Edmunds School Canterbury, of St Thomas Hill, Canterbury, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and was fined £18,000 and ordered to pay costs of £9669.19.

Profit’s before safety

A landlord, Nottingham HMO Ltd,  who put ‘profit before safety’ now finds their profits dented by a £29,000 fine for fire-safety breaches.

There were several deficiencies that came to light after the Council’s housing licensing and compliance team visited the property earlier this year to assess compliance for a proposed HMO licence.  These included the absence of a working fire detection system and damaged fire doors.

Nottingham HMO Ltd, which is directed by Nazaquat Azam and previously by Yusif McCallum, was found guilty of breaching HMO (houses of multiple occupation) regulations at Nottingham Magistrates Court.  An inspection of one of the firm’s properties discovered an infestation of rats in the kitchen and a general state of disrepair, including the damaged fire doors.  They have since been refused a HMO licence.

“Nottingham HMO Ltd completely ignored the advice given to them for their own financial gain, placing their tenants at the risk of harm,” said Councillor Nicola Heaton, Nottingham City Council’s portfolio holder for community services. “This is simply ‘profit before safety’ and the landlord has been held accountable for their criminal actions.

We will continue to rigorously enforce the law, ensuring that privately rented housing in Nottingham is up to the required standards for citizens, who have the right to live in a decent and safe home. We welcome this conviction and hope that it sends a message out to private landlords who may think about cutting corners on the standard of accommodation.”

Worker fractures spine in roof fall

 

Construction firm Montway Ltd has been fined £144,000 after Romanian labourer Mr. Ioan Vancea was seriously injured when he fell off a roof during demolition work.

Mr. Vancea fell five metres from the roof to the ground and sustained a series of injuries including a fractured spine. He was in an induced coma for two weeks and remained in hospital for three months.

Southwark Crown Court heard that on 25 February 2013 two workers were working on the roof of a two storey detached house at 17 Basing Hill, Golders Green in London.  Mr. Ioan Vancea fell from the partly demolished roof and suffered serious injuries. No scaffolding had been provided and the work was not being supervised.

The site was inspected by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) two weeks after the incident and unsupervised demolition work was still being carried out. A number of serious matters were identified including asbestos which had been removed from the house and was found in a pile by a neighbouring property’s hedge and in broken pieces mixed in with other debris. Enforcement Notices were immediately served to ensure workers and members of the public were protected.

Montway Limited of Batchworth House, Batchworth Place, Church Street, Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, WD3 1JE pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £144,000 and ordered to pay £43,606.15 in costs.

Montway Ltd originally pleaded not guilty, but changed their plea and sought a Newton Hearing to determine numerous issues it disputed. The Newton Hearing took place before District Judge Roscoe between 23-24 May 2016.

HSE inspector Andrew Verrall-Withers commented after the hearing:

“Mr. Vancea’s injuries were life changing and he could easily have been killed.  This serious incident would have been avoided if scaffolding had been provided. Montway Ltd’s site documents even identified it was needed.

Montway Ltd sought a Newton hearing so they could dispute numerous issues in front of a District Judge. They were unsuccessful and the Judge’s ruling confirmed she was satisfied that their approach towards the welfare of their employees was lax and casual, and it was their overall poor management of health and safety that directly led to this incident.”

21 year old worker engulfed in flames

A 21-year-old worker has sustained twenty percent burns to his head, neck and hands whilst working at a distillery in Oldbury.  Wolverhampton Crown Court has heard how ethyl acetate (highly flammable liquid) was being transferred from a bulk storage tank into an intermediate bulk container when an employee was engulfed in flames.

The distillery in Oldbury has been fined.

In addition to the causing the burns to the 21 year old, the fire, at the Alcohol Limited distillery on Crosswell road in Oldbury, destroyed the warehouse and caused damage to nearby cars and houses. West Mercia Fire and Rescue Service were called to bring the fire under control.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident which occurred on 26 November 2012 found that the most likely source of ignition was a discharge of static electricity generated by the transfer of the liquid.

There was poor maintenance of pipework and associated valves. There was a failure to competently inspect the equipment or monitor the systems of work.

Alcohols Limited, of Charringtons House, The Causeway, Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, and was fined £270,000 and ordered to pay costs of £25,009.

After the hearing HSE inspector Kieron Jones said:

“Companies that fail to ensure the integrity of their safety critical equipment place their employees, members of the public, emergency services and their entire livelihood at risk of serious harm.  Poor management of highly flammable liquids can have catastrophic results both for individuals and businesses.”

£1.8million fine for G4S after Legionella failure

A £1.8 million fine has been handed down to G4S Cash Solutions after the failed to reduce the risk of Legionnaires’ disease from its water systems.

Legionnaires’ disease causes flu-like symptoms and can lead to life-threatening problems.  In October 2013, a G4S worker was reported to have contracted Legionnaires’ disease.

Harlow Council investigated but environmental health officers were unable to prove that the worker had contracted the disease from the site.  The council did uncover a serious lack of compliance in maintaining water systems at the workplace.  It began prosecution proceedings and G4S pleaded guilty to two charges under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 in June.  The judge at Chelmsford Crown Court sentenced G4S to pay £1.8 million in fines and court costs of £34,000.

A spokesperson for Harlow Council said:

“The environmental health officers found monitoring and testing of systems was erratic.  Staff had received inadequate training and there were no up to date policies or suitable and sufficient risk assessments in place to safely operate or manage the building’s water systems.

G4S did not take steps required to reduce the risk of Legionnaires’ disease from its water systems.  This was despite a long-standing duty, extensive guidance, advice from their own consultants and advice from Harlow Council.”

 

At court, representatives from G4S said they have since taken measures to improve the health and safety at their Harlow site.

Councillor Danny Purton, portfolio holder for environment, said:

“The health and safety of our citizens is our number one priority.  The council will always encourage employers to make improvements that protect their workers.  However, there are cases where if necessary, we will prosecute because you simply can’t play with people’s lives.”

Although some improvements were made it took G4S almost three years to reach minimum standards to protect its staff and visitors from exposure to Legionella bacteria.  The fine should send a message to other companies. Legionnaires’ disease is a real risk and companies need to take their health and safety duties to their employees and others seriously.”

 

Graham Levinsohn, G4S chief executive for Europe, said:

“We regret that in 2013 the water management process at the Harlow Cash Centre was substandard and improvements should have been made promptly once this issue was identified.   While the risk of harm was low and no cases of illness were found to have been caused by the water at the site, we have fundamentally overhauled the approach to managing water systems since 2013. The regime of water management introduced across all our cash centres since is now industry leading and we are confident that a failing like this will not recur.”