Friday, 6 September 2019

Braithwaite Engineers fined after fall from lorry

Braithwaite Engineers Limited, a manufacturer of steel water storage tanks and supporting towers, was fined £10,080 (inc.costs) after a worker suffered multiple fractures following a fall from height.
The circumstances were:

  • The company failed to provide employees with suitable and clear instructions and training when working on lorry beds.
  • On 25 October 2017, an employee was injured when he fell from a lorry bed whilst unloading the lorry at their site.
  • He sustained multiple fractures to his head, ribs, shoulder blade and fingers. 
  • This caused him to miss over five months of work

The HSE inspector said:
“Falls from vehicles can be overlooked by employers when considering risks from work at height. Simple measures would have prevented this accident.”

Siddall and Hilton Products Ltd fined £20,831 for accident during fault-finding

Manufacturing company Siddall and Hilton Products Ltd was fined £20,831  (inc.costs)for safety breaches after a worker suffered severe crush injuries while fault finding on a mesh welding machine.
The circumstances were:

  • The accident occurred when fault-finding on a welding machine.
  • There were no robust isolation procedures as part of a safe system of work for entry into and out of the machine’s hazard zones.
  • To identify a faulty wire on the machine, the worker opened the interlocked gate which stopped the machine.
  • He then climbed on top of the PV (the part of the machine that creates the mesh from the welded materials).
  • To release the wire the weld head needed to be lifted.
  • To do so, his colleague restarted the machine.
  • As the machine was in automatic rather than manual mode, the PV immediately continued travelling towards the weld head, trapping the worker’s lower left leg. 
  • He suffered double compound fractures of his tibia and fibula. 
  • He was taken immediately to hospital where he had surgery and has since required further surgery to fuse his ankle in November 2018

The HSE inspector said: 
“Maintenance and breakdowns are often the most hazardous and poorly controlled area of work.  If a suitable safe system of work had been in place prior to the incident, the life changing injuries sustained by the employee could have been prevented.  Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”

Friday, 30 August 2019

Volvo Group fined after truck crushed employee during brake test

Volvo Group UK Limited was fined £13,333 after an employee at the Cardonald Depot was crushed by a truck, leading to serious injury.
The circumstances were:
  • On 7 June 2016 an employee of Volvo Group UK Limited was testing the brakes of a low-loader truck unit and trailer at the Cardonald depot.
  • Volvo Group UK Limited failed to provide a sufficient number of wheel chocks for use by its employees. 
  • They also failed to provide information, instruction, supervision and training of its employees in their use. 
  • They also failed to provide a suitable induction of the employee in safe working practices.
  • The employee raised the trailer off the ground using a pit jack. 
  • He did not apply the truck handbrake or use any wheel chocks to prevent the vehicle rolling. 
  • Whilst adjusting the brakes at the first axle, the truck unit rolled forward causing the jack to slip off the axle of the trailer, roll towards him and strike him on the body, crushing him against a set of steps in the pit and fracturing his spine.

The HSE Inspector said:
“Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working and to provide the necessary information, instruction and training to their workers in the safe system of working. If a suitable safe system of work had been in place prior to the incident, the life changing injuries sustained by the employee could have been prevented.”

Ensure that you carry out air conditioning leak test

Alarmingly, I see many instances where companies fail to carry out a periodic leak test on air conditioning equipment. 
The leak test may be quite simple and even using a spray of soapy water and looking for the bubbles can be acceptable.

Under the Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases Regulations, you must carry out a leak test at intervals dependant upon:

  • The global warming potential (GWP) of the gas, and
  • The amount stored in your system.

Go to the Tools section of and you'll find a handy little spreadsheet you're free to download to determine if a check is necessary and, if so, how often. 

It is obvious that this interval is based on the risk. For most companies reading this, the interval is every year.

These two articles give you guidance on leak testing. Although the second one is from the USA, it is still relevant.

Thursday, 29 August 2019

Employee fined after apprentice fell from makeshift cage on forklift truck.

An employee has been fined £2,560 (inc.costs) after an apprentice sustained serious injuries when he fell from a potato box lifted by a forklift truck.

The circumstances were:
  • The employer had carried out a risk assessment and purchased suitable equipment for work at height.
  • On 30 July 2018, Mr Francis Yardy  chose not to use this.
  • Instead, he attached a potato box to a forklift truck to lift an apprentice electrician to a height of four metres in order to carry out electrical repairs.
  • The box was inherently unstable and the apprentice fell to the floor. 
  • He was admitted to hospital and sustained a punctured lung and broken ribs.

The HSE inspector said:
“Unfortunately, forklift trucks are frequently used with potato boxes or pallets attached to lift people to work at height. This incident serves as a reminder of the potentially disastrous consequences.”

Monday, 19 August 2019

HSE publishes occupational fatal injury rates for 2018-19

The HSE have just published the occupational fatal injury statistics.
 The good news is that there has been a general downwards trend over the years and at 0.53/100,000, the UK is the safest country in Europe. The EU average is 1.23. (Data from Asia or the USA is not available.) The bad new is that the reduction trend has flattened out.

The predominant causes are falls from height and vehicles. Possibly because of the focus over the years on improving practices in Construction, this is no longer a high-scorer.  However, Agriculture remains high and Waste & Recycling is a major area of concern.
Whilst inexperience has always been something that required attention, the fatality rate in those over 65 is a major concern. As these are just for injuries, old age is not a cause.
The full report is available at

Monday, 12 August 2019

CE Marking applies even if it is for your own use

Whilst CE marking was introduced primarily for trading within the EU, it applies even if you are making machinery for your own use.

The Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 1992 had clause 11 which stated that,

"Where a person being the manufacturer of relevant machinery, himself puts that relevant machinery into service in the course of a business, for the purposes of these Regulations that person shall be deemed to have supplied that relevant machinery to himself."

This was removed from the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008, but it's still a requirement because they define a manufacturer as including,
"A person who designs or manufactures machinery or partly completed machinery for that person’s own use in an EEA state."

So, you still have to go through the CE assessment process even if you are not intending to sell the machine.

You can see how to do this at