HSE throws book at construction firm for worker’s injuries

Industry news roundup: week ended 15 Dec 2014:

The Health and Safety Executive positively threw the book at a construction firm recently after one of its workers sustained some serious injuries on the job.

49 year old Jamie North, a groundworker from Grimsby, ended up breaking his leg in multiple places as he undertook piling work for Topcon Construction Ltd. The poor bastard went through the ringer, needing not one but two surgical operations to piece his leg back together which required screws and a steel frame. To make matters work, he ended up being diagnosed with a blood clot after a three week hospital stay. Needless to say he’s no longer working in construction and is still undergoing treatments to strengthen his ankle. The personal injury claim is going to be bloody massive – you know it as well as I do.

Meanwhile, Topcon was just found guilty of breaching safety regulations after the HSE prosecuted the firm. The construction company now has to pay some £10,000, as well as personal injury compensation, for the massive debilitating accident, and all because Topcon couldn’t be arsed to make sure that the work equipment being used for cropping piles was in suitable condition.

Honestly I’m not going to go into what exactly hapened to Mr. North. Needless to say it involved a pile that hadn’t been cut right because the equipment used to cut them free, a cropper, didn’t cut through it completely. A worker pushed a pile over and it twisted and fell right on the poor groundworker. And that’s really all I’m going to say about that, considering how gruesome the man’s injuries were.

Meanwhile the whole thing could have been prevented according to the HSE. But no, now Mr North is half-crippled from his experiences and injured so badly that he’ll never work in construction again. Not that firms think that much about the wellbeing of their workers if they don’t have to. This is of course why the HSE fines these companies so deeply – because the only language these bastards speak sometimes is cost and benefit. If we can make it more expensive for firms to not comply with HSE rules than it is to actually take care of their workers properly, maybe we won’t have these ridiculous instances in the future, eh?

Major incident at work leads to fine for Kent firm

Weekly news recap: 7 days ending 3 Dec 2012

A serious hand injury suffered on the job by one employee has led to his Kent-based employer to face serious fines from the Health and Safety Executive.

This week, the big news was how BMM Weston Ltd ran into serious fines as a result of an HSE investigation following a grisly personal injury at work that involved an unguarded circular saw. Kent factory worker Graham Beal, from Faversham, suffered a nasty wound to his hand as he was attempting to use the saw to cut a solid steel piece in order to shape it for a metal trolley handle. Mr Beale had been using the metal cutting saw to cut the steel into the proper shapes, but had to hold the bit of metal in place by hand as the saw’s clamping system was not working properly.

The worker sustained severed tendons and some quite serious lacerations to his hand when it came in contact with the saw blade due because of the malfunctioning clamping system, sending him to hospital and causing the HSE to send a pack of inspectors out to investigate the cause of the industrial accident. The HSE’s investigation discovered bad news for Mr Beal’s employer, as the circular saw was found to be in such an unsuitable condition that it was declared generally unsafe due to poor maintenance – and that wasn’t the only piece of manufacturing equipment at the factory that was found to be similarly in disrepair.

The HSE prosecuted BMM Weston Ltd – as it usually does after finding some rather egregious health and safety violations at a worksite – and the manufacturing firm gave up the ghost, admitting to breaching work equipment regulations not once but twice. The Weston Works, Faversham-based company was told to pay a fine of £2,400 for their breaches and has since ensured that the clamping mechanism on the saw is now working properly and that the saw itself has been suitably fitted with guarding as well.

There is yet to be any indication regarding whether Mr Beal will be making a personal injury compensation claim against his employer.

Bad burns for one Essex man at Chelmsford engineering plant

Industry news roundup: week ended 12 Nov 2012:

This week, a rather gruesome injury made the news when a man from Essex suffered quite bad burns whilst on the job at a Chelmsford engineering plant.

The unnamed man, a thirty nine year old worker for Infinite Engineering Ltd, came into close contact with caustic soda – a substance also known as solidified sodium hydroxide – as he was tasked with cleaning out a tank of the substance. The man had been standing in the tank in order to chip away at the crystallised material within the tank when he suffered chemical burns to his face after having to lift his safety mask from his face after it misted up, obscuring his vision.

Crystals of the caustic soda alighted on the man’s face, burning both the inside of his tear duct and his eyelid. Fortunately for him, he managed to avoid getting the crystals in his eyes, as that could have led to permanent damage for his vision otherwise his vision.

The incident was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive shortly after it occurred, with HSE inspectors concluding that the man’s employer should have done more to protect the worker from sustaining damage from caustic soda crystals. The HSE prosecuted the London-based Inflite Engineering Ltd, which operates from Stansted airport, resulting in a massive fine of £17,000 and court costs of £3,246 after Inflite admitted breaching health and safety regulations.

In an interview given in the wake of the court hearing, one inspector for the HSE remarked that Inflite had neglected to adequately carry out risk assessments of what it involved to clean the tank of caustic soda in a safe manner. Not only was the injured man placed in jeopardy of receiving chemical burns, pointed out the HSE inspector, but the danger of falling from the task was not accounted for as well, though luckily the employee’s injuries were relatively minor in comparison to the debilitating injuries he could have sustained.

HSE out in force this week after spate of work accidents

Industry news roundup: week ended 3rd September 2012:

It seems like it’s been a bad week for firms, with all too many businesses being dragged before the magistrate to settle matters with the Health and Safety Executive after employees suffering personal injury at work.

Most companies both loathe and fear a visit from HSE inspectors, and for good reason – they never seem to show up when things have been going smoothly. This week has been no different, with workers from Nottingham and Hampshire ending up injured, prompting HSE investigations that ultimately led to fines for their employers.

First up we have an unfortunate 49 year old worker that suffered serious injuries to his back and neck after he fell off a roof whilst on the job. The man had been working for Morrison Facilities Service Ltd, a home maintenance company at the time, when he put his hand right through the roof he was working on, plummeting to a concrete floor below – head-first!

The poor man was in hospital for a period of ten days, but his suffering lasted for the next three months, as he couldn’t move about without the aid of a neck and body brace. The HSE prosecuted Morrison Facilities Service for health and safety breaches, resulting in a whopping £18,000 fine – and an extra £5,452 in court costs to boot – all for not taking out a proper risk assessment before undertaking on the roof.

The other worker whose work accident claim made the news last week was a factory worker from Southampton, Nikoloz Demetrashvili, who ended up with his leg trapped within a brick making machine at Michel,ersh Brick and Tile Company Ltd’s Hampshire-based factory. The forty two year old man had just been doing his job by trying  to clear a blockage on one of the brick making machines at the factory, only to trip a sensor on the machine, sending it springing into action and pinning his leg within its workings.

The factory worker faced a three week stay in hospital for his injuries, which included not just crush damage to his trapped leg but multiple fractures as well. There’d be a joke here about ‘sticking your leg in it’ if the man didn’t have to suffer so badly the painful, humiliating injury, but the HSE stepped in and promptly slapped the brick maker with a notice to improve the machine’s safety measures.

The firm complied by making access to the machine’s inner workings impossible without deactivating the leg-breaking apparatus completely. Of course, doing so is a bit like closing the barn door after the horses have already escaped, so the HSE also dragged Michelmersh into court, with the results being nearly £20,000 in fines and court costs combined.

Demolition worker caught in gas pipe explosion at work

Work accident claim experts say that one thirty seven year old demolition worker was caught in a gas pipe explosion on the job, with his forearms and face suffering serious burn damage as he cut through a gas pipe he had been told had been inactive with an angle grinder.

The unnamed man, whose anonymity is being preserved by the press, had been working on a warehouse demolition project in Burton-on-Trent for Birstall Demolition and Plant Services Ltd, his employer, at the time of the incident.  The Wkefield, West Yorkshire native had been cutting material away from a mezzanine area shortly before the accident, according to testimony heard by Burton-on-Trent Magistrates’ Court; the pipe, which was not inactive as the worker had been led to believe, had been filled with gas when his angle grinder came into contact with it, sparking an explosion that injured him seriously enough to require treatment at Birmingham Queen Elizabeth Hospital’s specialised burns unit for a period of two days.

The Health and Safety Executive made the decision to launch an investigation into the gas explosion, discovering that the man’s employer had neglected to carry out an exceedingly simple check that would have ensured that it would have been safe to remove the gas pipes.  As a result of its failure, the West Yorkshire firm was given a fine of £10,000 after it admitted to breaching health and safety regulations.

Birstall Demolition and Plant Services Ltd was also told to pay £4,256 in court costs in addition to the fine.