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.

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