Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Employee trapped inside equipment because of a lack of isolation

Manufacturer of carbon-based products, SGL Carbon Fibres Limited (SGL), was fined £12,000 following an incident where an employee sustained soft tissue injuries to his right hip and a fracture to his lower right leg.

The circumstances were:

  • The accident occurred during maintenance on a Regenerative Thermal Oxidiser (RTO).
  • There was a general permit to work.
  • However, no risk assessment was undertaken to identify any specific risks beyond the general ones mentioned on the Permit to Work documentation.
  • Also, pre-existing relevant procedures were not implemented.
  • As a result, the task was not clearly supervised, informed by a suitable and sufficient risk assessment and consequent work instructions, with appropriate supervision and monitoring to ensure the identified safe system of work was implemented.
  • On 25 April 2016, and employee was inside the RTO when he become trapped between a moving poppet valve and the valve seat.

Hose manufacturer fined after inexperienced employee was caught in unguarded machinery

Wirral-based Novaflex Ltd., that manufactures composite hose products was fined £29,000 (inc.costs) after an inexperienced agency worker was injured when he was pulled into a spinning lathe, sustaining open fractures to his right arm.

The circumstances were:

  • The accident occurred between a pitch wheel and mandrel on a lathe.
  • The lathe had been modified which made operators work closer to the entrapment hazard.
  • The company had not identified the risk of entrapment or the necessary controls required to avoid it.
  • As a result, Novaflex had failed to effectively prevent access to dangerous parts of the machinery.
  • They also failed to provide a safe system of work for the task 
  • They had not provided adequate instruction and training to ensure its workers were competent to operate the machinery.
  • On 20 November 2018, a worker at Novaflex Ltd was operating the lathe when the sleeve of his sweatshirt caught between a pitch wheel and rotating mandrel, pulling his arm into the machine. 
  • This resulted in an open fracture of the ulna (long bone found in the forearm) and the radial shaft of his right arm, leaving it permanently weak, making day-to-day tasks difficult and stressful. He also suffered severe bruising to his body and skin abrasions.

The HSE inspector said:
“Those in control of a workplace have a responsibility to identify and devise safe methods of working and to provide the necessary information, instruction and training to their workers.”

Woodworking company fined £59,000 after worker became entnagled in unguarded driveshaft

Woodworking company, Peter Ramsey & Sons (Denholme) Timber Ltd, was fined £59,484 (inc. costs) after a worker became entangled in an unguarded drive shaft and suffered serious injuries.

The circumstances were:

  • The accident occurred on a wood planer.
  • A new conveyor line had been installed and the planer then had an unguarded rotating driveshaft.
  • No risk assessments had been carried out which, if done correctly, would have identified the risk posed by this.
  • On 8 March 2018, a worker reached over the driveshaft to reach some wood.
  • His hi-vis jacket and t-shirt became entangled, drawing him into the machine. 
  • He sustained a torn tendon in his left fourth finger, a broken left wrist, a break to his little finger and nerve damage to his left arm.

The HSE inspector commented:
“The company should have produced a detailed risk assessment when the conveyor was added to the existing machine. This could have identified that there was an unguarded rotating drive shaft which required guarding to prevent access. This injury could have been easily prevented, and the risk should have been identified.”

UKCA and CE marking rules change again.


Like with most of the Brexit situation, the UKCA mark is a confusing mess.  Originally, the UKCA mark was supposed to replace the CE mark for equipment which originated in the UK and stayed here, with this coming into force at the end of 2020.  

Then it changed so with the UK Government making provision for the UKCA mark, but having it being complimentary to the CE mark and not replacing it.   The default would be the CE mark, but the UKCA mark is there in case there are circumstances where the CE mark cannot be used.  An example of this would be if a company had made use of a UK Approved Body.

Now it has changed back again.

The default mark from 1st January 2021 is now the UKCA mark, but you are still allowed to use the CE mark until 1st January 2022.

This applies to all equipment placed on the UK market, with the exception of Northern Ireland who will still use the CE mark. 

Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Plastic tubing manufacturer Metelle UK fined £100,000 after worker was caught in an exposed clamp of a poorly-guarded machine

Emtelle UK Limited, a manufacturer of plastic tubing and blown fibre tubing for telecoms and water piping, was fined £100,000 after an employee suffered serious injuries to his left hand when it came into contact with the exposed clamp of a socket machine.

The circumstances were:

  • The accident occurred on a socket machine.
  • The risk assessment had not included working with shorter lengths of pipe.
  • The guards were inadequate for shorter lengths and it was possible to reach the dangerous parts of the machine which included a clamp.
  • On 3 November 2016, an employee working on this machine, placing a pipe into a socket.
  • The shorter length of pipe fell out
  • He reached to catch the pipe to prevent it being clamped and his left hand came into contact with the exposed clamp causing serious injury.

The HSE inspector said:
“This incident could so easily have been avoided by simply carrying out correct control measures and safe working practices. Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”

Tuesday, 22 September 2020

Leadec Limited fined £2M after employee was killed during high pressure water jetting operation

Specialist industrial services company Leadec Limited was  fined £2,030,000 (inc.costs) after a worker suffered a fatal injury whilst cleaning waste-water pipes.

The circumstances were:

  • Leadec used high-pressure water jetting equipment to clear paint residue from pipes in the paint shop at a car manufacturing site.
  • Whilst Leadec  recognised the risks of operating high-pressure water jetting equipment, they had failed to put in place appropriate measures to mitigate the risks.
  • They had not implemented or enforced the use of various control measures such as a pressure regulator or an anti-ejection device.
  • Training and supervision were inadequate.
  • On 18 June 2017, an employee was using this process. 
  • The above control measures were not in place.
  • The employee was struck by the end of flexi-lance, causing a fatal injury.

The HSE inspector said:
“Companies must understand that high risk activities require a thorough risk assessment process and robust management systems to protect their employees from risk of serious or fatal injuries. It is not good enough for companies to assume they are doing all they can to control the risk just because there have been no previous incidents. Joseph McDonald’s death could have been prevented had Leadec Limited had the necessary control measures and management systems in place to protect its employees.”

Monday, 14 September 2020

Landlord and mechanic ignored prohibition and improvement notices and received a string of penalties including 2 suspended sentences.

Mechanic and landlord Mustafa Kemal Mustafa was disqualified as a director for six years, received two suspended custodial sentences, 300 hours unpaid work and ordered to pay £8,000 in costs and after refusing to comply with enforcement notices issued by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Kent Fire and Rescue Service.

The circumstances were:

  • In 2017 HSE received concerns that workers were accessing the dangerous unguarded flat roof of The Convent of Mercy in Swanley. 
  • Mr Mustafa was the landlord of The Convent, a house of multiple occupancy (HMO). 
  • The premises were also being used to store car parts for Smartworld; a car repair and sales business owned by Mustafa Kemal Mustafa. 
  • HSE issued seven enforcement notices, covering unsafe working at height, dangerous electrical installations, flammable risks and machinery guarding.
  • Mr Mustafa deliberately ignored prohibition and improvement notices served by the HSE and continued to put himself, workers and members of the public at risk.

The HSE inspector said:
“HSE is dedicated to ensuring that business owners and landlords operate within the law and provide safe accommodation for tenants and a safe place to work for employees. We do not tolerate disregard for health and safety and consider the non-compliance of HSE enforcement notices as a serious offence. In this case Mr Mustafa chose to flagrantly ignore the support, guidance and warnings from HSE to assist his compliance with the law and continued placing people at serious risk of injury or even death. Wherever possible we continue to work with companies to improve health and safety. However, we will not hesitate to take enforcement action where necessary and prosecute individuals and businesses who ignore warnings and the law.”