• Robert Spicer

More New Health and Safety Prosecutions

Death by crushing: £100,000 fine

Health and Safety Executive v Plasmor (Halton) Ltd (2014) Liverpool Crown Court, February 11

Plasmor (Halton) Ltd has been fined following the death of a worker by crushing.

Significant points of the case

  • In July 2013 David Astley took a tipper truck of limestone dust to the company’s site in Widnes. The dust was for use by the company to manufacture concrete blocks and slabs.

  • As he was tipping the load, a second driver arrived at the site. As the second driver lifted his trailer, it overturned and fell on top of the cab of Astley’s truck. He suffered fatal crushing injuries.

  • The tipper trucks weighed up to 44 tonnes. The risk of overturning was well known in the industry.

  • The company had failed to carry out a risk assessment for the work. It should have made sure that vehicles were kept a safe distance apart. The person who directed trucks onto the site had not received suitable training.

The company was fined £100,000 plus £28,000 costs for a breach of section 3, HSW Act, for failing to ensure the health and safety of non-employees.

A spokesperson for the HSE is reported to have commented after the case that the company should have known that there was a danger of tipper trucks overturning, and should have created exclusion zones to minimise the risk of anyone being injured. Instead, two drivers were allowed to empty their trailers next to each other.

Asbestos exposure risk: trust and two companies fined

Health and Safety Executive v Anchor Trust, Express Elevators Ltd and PC Lifts Ltd (2014) Bedlington magistrates’ court, February 6.

A trust which provides housing for the elderly and two companies have been fined after workers and residents were put at potential risk of exposure to asbestos.

Significant points of the case

  • In November 2012 Anchor Trust contracted E Ltd and P Ltd to replace a lift at its sheltered housing scheme in Alnwick.

  • The lift shaft contained asbestos boards. P Ltd removed the boards without putting any measures in place to prevent the spread of asbestos fibres.

  • Anchor Trust was under a duty to ensure that there was no risk to health from the work. It failed to comply with this duty because it provided E Ltd with conflicting information. Although an asbestos survey was provided, it was not adequately accurate or detailed enough for the work.

  • E Ltd had failed in its duty to plan and manage the work. It had not made adequate inquiries about the presence of asbestos.

  • P Ltd had also failed to make adequate enquiries. It had worked in the lift shaft without adequate lighting, which might have contributed to its failure in identifying the asbestos. Asbestos boards were broken out from the top of the lift shaft but no measures had been taken to prevent the spread of asbestos fibres through the building.

Anchor Trust was fined £10,000 plus £346 costs for a breach of regulation 9, Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 (CDM) for failing to take reasonable steps to ensure that arrangements for managing the project were suitable to ensure that construction work could be carried out without risks to health and safety.

E Ltd was fined £8000 plus £827 costs under regulation 13, CDM for failing to plan, manage and monitor construction work so as to ensure that it was carried out without risks to health and safety.

P Ltd was fined £4000 plus £346 costs under regulation 16, Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 for failing to prevent the spread of asbestos.

Fall death: £250,000 fine

Health and Safety Executive v Aramex (UK) Ltd (2014) Manchester Crown Court, January 31.

Aramex (UK) Ltd, a logistics company, and Gary Edwards, a roofing contractor engaged by the company, have been fined following the death of a worker in a fall.

Significant points of the case

  • In December 2011 Michael Sweet was clearing guttering at the company’s site near Manchester Airport. He stepped on a fragile panel and fell to his death.

  • Aramex had engaged Edwards to repair a leak in the guttering. He employed the deceased.

  • The only safety equipment supplied to the deceased had been a pair of gloves. Safety measures could have included placing boards over fragile roof panels, erecting scaffolding or hiring a cherry picker.

  • Aramex had ignored its own health and safety guidelines. It had failed to supervise the work or assess how it should be carried out, despite knowing that the roof was fragile.

The company was fined £250,000 plus £20,000 costs for a breach of section3, HSW Act, for failing to ensure the health and safety of non-employees.

Edwards was sentenced to four months imprisonment, suspended for one year, under section 2, HSW Act, for failing to ensure the health and safety of employees.

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