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Health & Safety News: increase in companies being prosecuted due to crush injuries

In recent months there has been an increase in crush injuries that have taken place in companies that span an array of different industries with the following just a brief example of some of the cases that have been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE):

  • A company, which manufactures adhesive tape, has been fined after a worker was fatally injured while operating a rewind slitting machine. 
  • A boiler company was sentenced for safety breaches after a worker broke his upper arm and suffered crush injuries to his lower arm in a workplace incident. 
  • A facilities management company has been fined after an employee suffered serious injuries when they were crushed, between a ride-on-roller and shipping container, during footpath improvement works. 
  • A construction company has been fined after a worker was seriously injured while erecting a timber frame chalet bungalow. 

Failure to secure safe system of work

The case detailed below is another example, and one which employers need to learn from as it did not need to happen and shows the importance of regular checking of equipment, maintenance, servicing and thorough inspections. Training of staff and having the correct procedures, policies and safe systems of work are equally as important. 

A construction company has been fined after a worker was injured when a water pump set weighing over 700kg fell on him at a construction site. 

Southwark Crown Court heard that, on 15 January 2016, a pipe fitter working for Fascel Group Limited was working on the transfer of a pump set from its pallet to a raised platform in Goodman’s Fields, East London. The pump set fell on him. As a result, the worker was pinned beneath the unit, and he sustained serious injuries including multiple fractures and dislocations. 

The company had failed to ensure that a safe system of work for the moving and positioning of the pump set was communicated to the operatives undertaking the work. 

Fascel Group Limited of Sundon Park, Luton pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 15(2) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 and were fined £36,000 with £34,235.45 costs. 

Speaking after the court proceedings the HSE commented: “Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working and to provide the necessary information, instruction, and training to their workers. Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.” 

Health and Safety Guidance: what do we say?

  • The working area and procedures should have been risk assessed and the task of transferring the pump to the raised platform should have had control measures put in place. 
  • All staff working on this task should have been trained and had either a SSOW (Safe System of Work) or a RAM (Risk Assessment Method) statement to refer to so that the task was undertaken in the correct controlled manner 
  • Ultimately this could have led to a fatal accident and the company was lucky that it did not 
  • A Competent Person or Safety Manager needs to take responsibility for such tasks and report any findings back to Senior Management and put in place procedures to ensure the safety of all staff.

HSE Support

HR Solutions’ Health, Safety and Environment division, called HSE Solutions, provides you with access to a Competent Person to help de-risk your working environment from accidents. To find out more about how our HSE Solutions service can help your business, visit www.hrsolutions-uk.com/health-and-safety or call us on 0844 324 5840.

 

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