Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Felt Supplies Ltd. fined £239,000 and director given suspended sentence after fatality

Felt Supplies Ltd., a textile manufacturing company was fined £239,000 (inc.costs) and one of its directors, Wazir Hussain sentenced after a fatal accident to the company’s Managing Director, Nasir Hussain.
The circumstances were:
  • On the 1 February 2012 the carding machine had become blocked with waste. 
  • Nasir Hussain gained access to the line whilst it was still running.
  • Nassir overrode the safety system using a spare key to unlock one of the gates. 
  • He then stood on top of the carding machine with a metal bar in order to clear the blockage while the line was still running. 
  • Although the machine was switched off after a time it was still running down when his clothing became entangled and he was pulled into the machine and killed.
  • The use of a spare key to access machinery, whilst it was operational, was commonplace by the workforce. 
  • It was custom and practice for workers to gain access to the machinery in order to clear a jam or blockage.
  • Despite HSE issuing a Prohibition Notice to stop these unsafe practices and taking the spare keys into possession the unsafe practices were allowed to continue for a sustained period following the fatal accident with the knowledge and consent of company director Wazir Hussain.

Felt Supplies Ltd was fined £239,000 (inc. costs).
Wazir Hussain received a 12-month suspended prison sentence for 18-months.
The HSE inspector commented:
“This is a tragic incident that could so easily have been avoided. In this case it was the Director that was fatally injured and it could so easily have been an employee, in which case, we may have been looking at a corporate manslaughter charge. Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards especially where there has been a deliberate breach or a flagrant disregard for the law.”

Tayto Group fined £341,750 after an agency worker lost the tops of three fingers

Tayto Group Limited who manufacture crisps and snacks was fined £341,750 (inc.costs) after an agency worker lost the tops of three fingers.
The circumstances were:
  • The agency worker was clearing a blockage of material from a machine on the production line.
  • The guard on the machine was not secured at the time of the incident. 
  • The company had not implemented a formal monitoring system on this machine, to ensure that all guards were in place and secure before the machine was started.
  • The worker's hand came into contact with shears and three fingers on his right hand were severed, below the first knuckle.

The HSE Inspector said:
‘This man suffered a life-changing injury in what was an entirely preventable incident. Employers must have adequate and robust systems to ensure that guards used to prevent access to dangerous parts of machinery are in place and secure before machinery is put into use.’

North Eastern engineering company fined £150,000 after 2 employees sustained chemical burns

PSL Worldwide Projects Ltd., were fined £150,000 for safety breaches after two of its workers were burned when they were sprayed with chemicals during chemical cleaning of a pipework system.
The circumstances were:
  • The accident occurred during cleaning of pipework at a Hyclone UK Ltd site, in Cramlington on 31 July 2014.
  • The cleaning of the pipework system used sodium hydroxide (caustic soda).
  • PSL Worldwide Projects Ltd., had not adequately risk assessed the task.
  • The equipment provided to do the job, in particular the hosing, was not suitable for the solution.
  • PSL failed to provide adequate personal protective equipment.
  •  A reaction occurred between the chemicals and water in the system that caused the liquid to heat up building up pressure in the hose. 
  • The hose detached and sprayed the two workers with the solution, causing severe burns.
  • One operative received life threatening burns to his back, buttocks, arms, leg, neck and one side of his face. 
  • The other operative received burns to the right side of his head, his neck, and back, left arm and behind his right ear.

No costs were awarded due to the company being in liquidation.
The HSE inspector commented:
“If a suitable risk assessment had been undertaken it would have identified that the equipment being used was not right for the chemicals or the work being carried out. All companies who work with high hazard chemicals should learn from this case and ensure that their workers are properly protected.”