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.”

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