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  • Writer's pictureRobert Spicer

New Health And Safety Prosecutions

Unguarded machinery: £8000 fine Health and Safety Executive v Eccleshall Developments Ltd (2013) Sheffield magistrates’ court, December 20 Eccleshall Developments Ltd has been fined after an employee was injured by an unguarded angle grinder. Significant points of the case • Sam Ashford, an employee of the company, was using an angle grinder on a stone block while landscaping a domestic property in August 2011. • The grinder kicked back and lacerated his left leg. The wound required 12 stitches and he was unable to work for several months. • The angle grinder was unguarded. This left the blade completely exposed. The company had failed to check whether Ashford could use the machine correctly and had not given him suitable protective equipment. The company was fined £8000 plus £8900 costs for a breach of section 2, HSW Act, for failing to ensure the health and safety of employees.

Release of toxic substances: £120,000 fines Health and Safety Executive and Natural Resources Wales v Archimica Chemicals Ltd and Euticals Ltd (2013) Mold Crown Court, December 13 Two pharmaceutical companies have been fined for multiple health and safety and environmental breaches. Significant points of the case • In November 2011 methyl iodide, a highly toxic substance which can affect the central nervous system, was released into the atmosphere at the companies’ site in Flintshire, because of poorly written procedures. • In February 2012 an agency worker was exposed to the same substance because he was provided with inadequate respiratory protection. • In June and July 2012 a worker was exposed to the same substance after having been given inadequate decontamination training. • In July 2012 a worker suffered severe and permanent injuries following exposure to the same substance, having been issued with poorly fitting respiratory protection. • In November 2012 three workers were exposed to dichloromethane, a hazardous substance with potentially fatal effects, when a process vessel overflowed. Both companies were prosecuted under sections 2 and 3, HSW Act. Euticals Ltd was prosecuted under the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010. Archimica was fined £80,000. Euticals was fined £40,000. Both companies are now in liquidation and it is reported that the site is being decommissioned.

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