• Robert Spicer

New Health and Safety Prosecutions

Crushing death: £100,000 fine Health and Safety Executive v R & S Recycling Ltd (2014) Worcester Crown Court, February 4. R & S Recycling Ltd has been fined after an employee suffered fatal crushing injuries. Significant points of the case • In February 2011 Kenneth Swabey was working at the company’s site in Redditch. He walked past a stack of bales of waste five metres high. A bale which weighed more than a tonne fell onto him, causing fatal injuries. • The company had failed to properly control risks to employees working at the site, with regard to the proper storage and stacking of waste materials. • Stacks of unstable material should slope backwards towards the top. Bales should be interlocked. The stability of the stack should be regularly checked. Where bales may fall, employees should be kept clear. The company was fined £100,000 plus £57,000 costs for a breach of regulation 10 of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 for failing to ensure that materials and objects were stored in such a way as to prevent risk to any person.

Lead poisoning: £45,000 fine Health and Safety Executive v Laurence Dennis Brown (2014) Nottingham Crown Court, February 4. Laurence David Brown, the owner of LDB Light Alloys Ltd, has been sentenced after three workers suffered lead poisoning. Significant points of the case • Three workers at the company’s site in Mansfield were making lead sheeting from molten lead. Their work involved scraping solid impurities in a crucible which contained molten lead. • One of the workers was hospitalised for three weeks and received treatment for more than a year. • Extraction systems, personal protective equipment, respiratory protection, hygiene and rest facilities were unsatisfactory. No air monitoring or medical surveillance was provided. • Lunch breaks were taken in a lead-contaminated caravan. Water was collected in lead-contaminated containers. Clothes worn for work were not removed before eating. • Workers had not been informed about the effects of lead or how to recognise the symptoms of exposure. Brown was sentenced to six months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months. He was fined £45,000 plus £35,000 costs for a breach of section 2, HSW Act, for failing to ensure the health and safety of employees.

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