• Robert Spicer

Recent health and safety prosecutions

Skip lorry death: £300,000 fine Health and Safety Executive v Adis Scaffolding Ltd (2013) Derby Crown Court, June 7. Adis Scaffolding Ltd, a company which crushes rubble from construction and demolition waste, has been fined following the death of an employee. Significant points of the case • In July 2008 David Vickers, an employee of Adis, was tipping a skip at the company’s site in Derbyshire. He left the cab of the lorry which he was driving, to deploy the stabilising rear outriggers. The lorry overturned and crushed him, causing fatal injuries. • The skip had been mis-hooked. This meant that it broke free and swung out, causing the vehicle to tip over. • There was no safe system of work for the skip operation. No guidance had been given in relation to the handling of mis-hooks and other foreseeable problems. There had been inadequate training and instruction. Skip lorry controls were not marked and the risk assessment for loading and unloading skips was inadequate.

The company was fined £300,000 plus £124,000 costs for a breach of section 2, HSW Act, for failing to ensure the health and safety of employees. The HSE has now issued a safety alert pointing out the dangers of the incorrect engagement of hooks on slips.

Climbing wall injury: £9000 fine Health and Safety Executive v Manningtree High School (2013) Colchester magistrates’ court, June 7. Manningtree High School has been fined following an incident in which a pupil fell from a climbing wall. Significant points of the case • In October 2012 a 14-yeat old boy was selected to try an advanced climbing technique on a climbing wall during a PE lesson. • The boy fell four metres and suffered a fractured heel bone. • Before the lesson, the boy had not been aware of the risks involved in the advanced technique and had not been properly trained or prepared for the more advanced type of climbing which was being attempted. • The school failed to have an adequate safety management system in place for the advanced technique. Further, the instructor was not competent to teach or supervise the technique. The school was fined £9000 plus £1600 costs for a breach of section 3, HSW Act, for failing to adequately protect pupils against the risk of falls.

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