• Robert Spicer

Recent health and safety prosecutions

Crosfield House Limited, a nursing home, has been fined following an incident in which a resident’s leg was repeatedly trapped in a bed rail. In November 2018 a resident at the home was admitted to hospital when her leg became discoloured and cold to the touch. The leg was amputated. There was a lack of training and guidance for staff on how to carry out a bed rail assessment. Workers at the home had been given no training on the safe use of bed rails and did not know about the risks of bed rail entrapment. The resident’s leg had been repeatedly trapped between September and November 2018 but no review on the use of bed rails had been carried out.

The home was fined £25,000 plus £11,700 costs.

An HSE inspector is reported to have commented after the case that those who manage bedding equipment should ensure that there are no gaps between the mattress and the bed rail where someone could get trapped.

Northwood Tissue (Disley) Ltd, a manufacturer of tissue and paper towels, has been fined following an incident in which a worker suffered serious injuries. In September 2018 an employee of the company entered an unguarded machine at the company’s factory in Stockport to remove fabric. He was pulled into the machine by his arm. He suffered a broken wrist, broken and dislocated elbow and a fractured forearm. A fixed guard was not in place and there was no safe system of work in place to ensure that the work could be carried out in a safe way.

The company was fined £120,000 plus £5000 costs.

Rooflabs Direct Ltd, a roofing supplies company and its director, have been fined after two workers suffered serious injuries.

In November 2018 two employees of the company were working with Paul McMahon, the sole director of the company, to install signage at retail premises. The workers used a tower scaffold which moved away from the building. The workers fell two metres to the ground. They suffered fractured legs and ankles. The tower scaffold had not been erected by anyone with suitable training. Guardrails were missing and no outriggers were in place. The company failed to report the incident.

The company was fined £20,000. McMahon was ordered to carry out 100 hours community service, to pay £500 compensation to each injured worker and to pay £1000 costs.

PCR Steel Ltd has been fined following the death of a worker. In April 2019 a worker visited the premises of PCR Steel Ltd to collect a load. He carried out an unplanned lifting operation from a telehandler forklift truck to load a metal balcony base frame onto a flatbed trailer. The load was not secured and the frame, which weighed 400 kg, fell and crushed him. He suffered fatal injuries. The company had failed to ensure that the lifting operation was properly planned by a competent person, appropriately supervised, and carried out safely. There was no plan for the manoeuvring of the frames which could have considered the load’s security, size and weight. There was no plan for how the lift would be set down nor for how to exclude people from the danger zone.

The company was fined £50,000 plus £9900 costs.

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