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  • Writer's pictureRobert Spicer

Health and Safety: recent prosecutions

Health and Safety Executive v Braegate Produce Ltd (2019) Leeds magistrates’ court, April 12

Statutory reference: regulation 4 of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1991 (WHSWR)

Braegate Produce Ltd, a potato processing company, has been fined following an incident in which a worker was struck by a telehandler load.

The facts

  • In January 2018 Colin Smith was walking across the company’s yard when he was struck by three potato boxes which fell from the tines of a telehandler. He suffered a fractured leg.

  • The company had insufficient measures in place to prevent people being struck by a vehicle.

  • A protected walkway was provided only to two sides of the yard but not to the right side which was a well-used pedestrian route.

  • A large number of potato boxes had been stored in the yard. This meant that there was less room for pedestrians, who had to take a route further into the transport area.

  • The company had also failed to ensure that forklift truck and telehandler operators were clear about site rules dealing with the transportation of potato boxes and had failed to enforce those rules.

The decision

The company was fined £50,000 plus £962 costs under regulation 4 of WHSWR.

Health and Safety Executive v Westdale Services Ltd (2019) Cardiff magistrates’ court, April 12

Statutory reference: s.3 of the Health and Safety at Work, etc., Act 1974 (HSWA)

Westdale Services Ltd has been fined after a 12 year old boy fell 10 metres from a scaffold ladder.

The facts

  • In May 2017 two boys climbed a scaffold ladder erected by the company in Cwmbran, South Wales. One boy climbed to the top platform of the scaffold. The ladder slipped and he fell 10 metres to the ground. He suffered life-changing injuries. He has no bladder or bowel control and is only able to walk short distances.

  • Security arrangements for preventing access to the scaffolding, especially by children from a nearby school, were inadequate.

The decision

The company was fined £160,000 plus £22,000 costs under section 3 of HSWA.

An HSE inspector commented after the case that the potential for unauthorised access to construction sites must be carefully risk assessed and effective controls put in place.

Health and Safety Executive v Priory Healthcare Ltd (2019) Lewes Crown Court, April 17

Statutory reference: s.3 of the Health and Safety at Work, etc., Act 1974 (HSWA)

The facts

  • In November 2012 Amy El-Keria, a 14 year-old patient at Priory Ticehurst House Hospital, was found in her room with a ligature around her neck. She had been transferred to the hospital following several similar attempts at her home. She suffered irreparable brain damage and failure of multiple organs which proved fatal.

  • The company had failed to identify or put in place control measures which would have better managed ligature risks.

  • It had failed to carry out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment related to the presence of ligatures and ligature points.

  • It had failed to consider relevant industry and NHS guidance to inform its risk assessment process and to determine correct fixtures and fittings for units where patients were at high risk of self-harm and suicide.

  • It had also failed to ensure that staff working at the hospital were trained and their work practices appropriately monitored with respect to life support techniques.

The decision

The company was fined £300,000 plus £65,000 costs under s.3 of HSWA.

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