Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Hanson Packed Products fined £780,000 after fatality due to inadequate guarding

Manufacturing company Hanson Packed Products Ltd was fined £779,511 (inc.costs) after a 26 year old worker was fatally crushed when his arm was caught in a powered roller.
The circumstances were:
  • On 25 September 2013 William Ridge was clearing sand around the base of an in-feed conveyor.
  • There should have been fixed guards surrounding the powered roller to prevent access to the dangerous moving parts. 
  • However, a critical guard was not in place and had not been for several days.
  • There had been issues with the machinery on the previous day which Mr Ridge was trying to rectify at the time of the incident.
  • His right arm was drawn into the roller and he suffered fatal injuries.

The HSE Principal Inspector said:
“This death of a young worker could and should have been prevented. Where safety depends on guards, employers need to regularly inspect them and be confident they are properly in place and that they are effective. Our thoughts are with the Ridge family as they prepare for another Christmas without William.”

Linde fined £64,000 after 21 employees were diagnosed with hand-arm vibration syndrome

Merthyr Tydfil based Linde Heavy Truck Division Ltd manufacturer was fined £64,793.60 (inc.costs) after 21 employees were left permanently injured after being diagnosed with hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS).
The circumstances were:
  • There had been no recognition of the risks from hand-arm vibration and no effective management of these risks over many years.
  • The duties of employers regarding hand-arm vibration have been very clearly set out for many years, yet the company failed to implement the necessary measures.
  • In 2011 Linde appointed a new health and safety manager who recognised the need to put measures in place to manage HAVS, including health surveillance. These measures had not been in place before.
  • A total of 21 employees were diagnosed with HAVS and this was reported to HSE under RIDDOR.
  • The employees that are affected by HAVS suffer symptoms such as tingling, pins and needles, numbness and pain in their hands. This affects sleep when it occurs at night and they have difficulties in gripping and holding things, particularly small items such as screws, doing up buttons, writing and driving.
  • The biggest impact on the employees’ lives was that the factory closed down at the end of 2013 and they were made redundant.

The HSE Inspector said:
“The employees were exposed to the risk of hand arm vibration on a daily basis yet Linde Heavy Truck Division failed to recognise this. 
There was no health surveillance to identify employees who might already have some vibration damage even though they employed ex-miners and experienced fitters, or to pick up whether someone was suffering symptoms before they became serious. From 2000, when the factory opened, until its closure in 2013 there was never a fully compliant management system for hand arm vibration and 21 employees have suffered life changing injuries as a result.”

Specialist Paint Coatings fined £10,324 for failure to control lead

Specialist Paint Coatings Limited, a company who specialises in paint coatings was fined £10,324 (inc.costs) for failing to control risks involved with shot blasting lead-based paint.
The circumstances were:
  • Specialist Paint Coatings was refurbishing 72 metal window frames at premises on High Street, Newport. 
  • This included the high pressure shot blasting old lead based paint.
  • There was an inadequate risk assessment and a lack of control measures to reduce the risk of exposing workers and others to lead.

Tata Chemicals Europe Limited and Capper Industrial Contractors (CIC) fined a total of £425,000 after 2 incidents.

Tata Chemicals Europe Limited (TCEL) was fined £408,224 (inc.costs) and Capper Industrial Contractors (CIC) fined £13,000 (inc. costs) following safety failings on two separate occasions.
Incident 1:
  • On 30 May 2012, at the TCEL plant in Lostock a CIC employee was operating an open fronted vehicle to shovel a mound of hot/wet lime. 
  • This slumped into the open cab.

Incident 2:
  • On 3 May 2013 at the TCEL Winnington Plant an employee of TCEL was on a walkway eight feet high.
  • TCEL did not have an adequate inspection regime for the walkway, and did not ensure it was maintained in good condition.
  • The grating failed and the employee fell through and became trapped up to his waste in a corroded section of the grating, fortunately without serious injury.

The HSE inspector said:
“Both of these incidents could have been entirely prevented with regular assessment of risks, inspection of work equipment and ensuring correct safety procedures were in place.”

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Fines totalling £524,000 for two companies following double fatality on conveyor belt

Two North West companies were fined £227,000 and £297,000 (inc. costs) following the death of two workers at a Merseyside woodchip factory.
The circumstances were:
  • Metso Paper Ltd. were engaged on replacing a conveyor belt at Sonae Industria (UK) Ltd’s Merseyside plant.
  • They used James Bibby, a self-employed contractor.
  • Sonae Industria (UK) Ltd’s had not properly assessing the risks associated with the work on the conveyor
  • They had not shared these with contractors, 
  • They did not have in place a proper process for managing contractors 
  • They did not have in place a procedure for isolating dangerous machinery,
  • They had failed to train or check the competence of workers.
  • Valmet Ltd took over Metso Ltd in 2013. Metso Ltd had failed to ensure the site its workers were visiting had sufficient risk assessments and processes in place. 
  • Metso also failed to ensure its workers and contractors had adequate training for the tasks to be carried out or provided with the necessary information on the work they were being asked to perform.
  • On 7 December 2010 Thomas Elmer, employed at the time by Metso Paper Ltd., and Mr Bibby had been asked to replace part of conveyor belt. 
  • While carrying out the work the conveyor suddenly and unexpectedly started to operate, dragging both men into the machinery causing catastrophic fatal injuries to both men.

The HSE Principal Inspector said:
“James Bibby and Thomas Elmer should not have died. This is perhaps the most horrific case I have ever had to deal with and has had a devastating effect on both families. 
Carrying out straightforward risk assessments is about protecting workers from serious harm, suffering life-changing injuries or, in this tragic case, death. If both companies had put in place the simple steps to protect their workers’ safety these two young men would still be with us today.”

Newport company fined £23,000 after crush injury during fault-finding

F C Brown (Steel Equipment) Limited of Newport, a company which manufactures office equipment, was fined £23,401 (inc. costs) after a trainee worker was injured when he was crushed by a metal folding machine.
The circumstances were:
  • There were insufficient measures taken by the company to control the risks associated with its maintenance activities.
  • An employee entered the guarded area of a metal folding machine to fix a fault. 
  • Whilst in this area he was crushed between the fixed body of the machine and the machine’s moving manipulator arm, causing serious injury.
  • The incident shattered all of the worker’s right-hand side ribs and broke two ribs on his left side. 
  • He was in hospital for two months.

The HSE inspector said:
“The injury could easily have been avoided had F C Brown (Steel Equipment) Limited provided sufficient training and an adequate level of supervision to make sure safety measures were in place when machinery maintenance activities were being undertaken.”

Company fined £24,000 for ignoring improvement notice

DM Accident Repair Centre Limited of Neath, an accident repair company, was been fined £24,666 (inc.costs) after it failed to comply with an improvement notice.
The circumstances were:
  • The company had been using a spray booth to spray isocyanate paints, and the spray booth had not been inspected by a competent person.
  • The company had a routine inspection by an inspector from the Health and Safety Executive from which an improvement notice was served. 
  • The owner, who had been uncooperative, failed to comply with the notice, 
  • This was despite several efforts by HSE staff to explain the need for compliance and how to comply.

Company fined for excess exposure to gamma rays

Applied Inspection Limited, a company that carries out non-destructive testing was fined £5,914 (inc.costs) for failings in the way it carried out gamma radiography work.
The circumstances were:
  • There were inadequate safeguarding standards for gamma radiography work on one enclosure
  •  Work procedures, risk assessments and local rules were insufficient.
  • The passive personal radiation dosimeter (Thermo Luminescent Dosimeter / TLD badge) of an employee who worked in this enclosure registered an overexposure, which was above the annual statutory limit.
  • The company and employee were unable to explain why the TLD badge came back with a high reading. Therefore, it cannot be ruled out that the employee did not receive a radiation overdose for the period in question.
  • The other ‘gamma enclosures’ on site had the correct guarding standards.

The HSE inspector said:
“The basic principle on which the Ionising Radiations Regulations 1999 are based is that there is no safe dose of ionising radiation. Due to the hazards and risks associated with carrying out industrial radiography work it is critical that companies ensure that all aspects of it are carried out diligently and with the highest level of integrity, engineering safety devices and management control systems to enable the risks to be controlled to as low as reasonably practicable.”

Workers hand caught in cropping machine

Truck-Lite Company Limited, who produce lights for trucks was fined £4,069 (inc. cost) after a workers’ hand was injured in a cropping machine.
  • Truck-Lite Company Limited had failed to prevent access to dangerous parts of the machine or stop the movement of those dangerous parts.
  • On 3 October 2013, the machine unexpectedly began to operate while an agency worker's hands were in the ‘danger zone’, between the press and die set.