A water and wastewater company has been fined £300,000 and instructed to pay costs of £16,419 following a breach of the Confined Spaces Regulations 1997. Three workers were carried down a sewer by a torrent of water resulting from the collapse of a 150-year-old penstock (gate). An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that while the company had planned individual work activities, it failed to properly coordinate these as the permission and authorisation system was fragmented. The company had no effective means of collating, comparing and adapting to the impact of multiple work activities. While the workers suffered only minor physical injuries they have required treatment for long-term traumatic stress.
A County Durham plastic packaging manufacturer has been fined £150,000 and ordered to pay £1,061 costs after an accident resulted in an employee suffering multiple fractures to their pelvis and legs. While reversing a forklift truck, it caught a stacked bulk bag (FIBC) tearing it and causing it to spill its contents. The employee attempted to repair the tear but a FIBC higher in the stack, weighing about 1 tonne, fell and struck the employee. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that the FIBCs were stacked in an unsafe manner at a height of approximately 2.2 metres.
A Buckinghamshire property management and development organisation has been fined £600,000 and ordered to pay costs of £13,995 after five employees developed Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS). An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the company failed to assess or manage the risks associated with vibrating tools. It also failed to provide suitable training or health surveillance for its maintenance workers and failed to maintain and replace tools which increased vibration levels.