Saturday, 24 May 2014

Poor planning of decommissioning work at smoothie factory causes 24 year old's death

Gerber Juice, now trading as Refresco Gerber UK Ltd, an international smoothie and fruit juice company was fined £155,000 (inc.costs) after an engineer was killed by falling pipework during decommissioning work.
The circumstances were:
  • Gerber Juice were decommissioning a factory in Llantrisant and moving equipment to Somerset.
  • The factory had become a construction site with Gerber electing to plan, manage and monitor the project themselves instead of appointing a competent Principal Contractor.
  • Gerber had overlooked various hazardous tasks because they had not contracted the specialists to do it.
  • Work, including the removal of overhead industrial pipes and their supporting structures fell to the in-house engineers.
  • A production manager for the juice factory was in charge of the hazardous decommissioning project, despite never having done this work before or having received any formal training. 
  • A safety officer only visited once or twice a fortnight and was based in Somerset.
  • This work had not been adequately planned, risk assessed, communicated or monitored by management, 
  • The safety systems that Gerber used to manage its specialist contractors had not been used to manage its own engineering staff on the same site.
  • Gavin Bedford was helping to dismantle and demolish a section of industrial pipework
  • Because there was no written plan explaining how the structure was to be taken apart, various bolts and structural elements were removed in an unsafe sequence. 
  • This led to the eventual collapse of the structure, weighing around 300kg, which structure Mr Bedford.
  • He sustained critical head injuries and died three days later in hospital

The HSE inspector said:
“Gavin Bedford, a young hard-working and highly-regarded engineer, was killed because of Gerber’s basic corporate failure to plan, manage and monitor a construction project. “Any demolition or dismantling work must be set down in writing and strictly monitored – as the law requires. It is also basic common sense. If Gerber had given enough time at the beginning to think through what needed to be done, and how it should be done, then Gavin would still be here today.”

No comments:

Post a Comment