• Robert Spicer

Workplace death from hydraulic cylinder: £800,000 fine

Death of worker: construction hire equipment hire company fined £800,000

Health and Safety Executive v AGD Equipment Ltd (2017) Warwick Crown Court, February 10

Statutory reference: s. 3 of the Health and Safety at Work, Etc., Act 1974 (HSWA), regulation 12, Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) and regulation 3, Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (MHSWR).

AGD Equipment Ltd, a construction hire equipment company, has been fined following the death of a worker.

The facts

· Mark Seward was testing a hydraulic cylinder when it cracked under pressure. A piece of metal struck him on the head, causing fatal injuries.

· The company had failed to have adequate supervision in place for the work. It had also failed to inform him of the safe working pressure for the cylinder.

· The company had also failed to have protective screens in place to prevent projectiles from striking staff and had not excluded other people from the test area.

The decision

The company was fined a total of £800,000 plus £28,000 costs under s.3 HSWA, regulation 12 of PUWER and regulation 3 of MHSWR.

An HSE inspector commented after the case that it was a company’s obligation to provide a safe system of work for leak testing. This included protecting people from flying fragments and high pressure oil leaks as well as providing thorough training in how to carry out the work safely.

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