An Essex-based road haulage firm has been fined £170,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6,268 after an employee was crushed, in October 2015, between two articulated vehicles and subsequently died from his injuries. His vehicle rolled forward out of control whilst he was coupling the HGV tractor unit to a trailer.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident found that the company had failed to implement safe systems of work or monitoring arrangements to ensure that its drivers were consistently undertaking coupling and uncoupling operations safely, in line with widely available industry guidance. As a result of this, a culture developed whereby its drivers were not always applying trailer parking brakes.
A Northamptonshire recycling company and its two directors have been fined a total of £100,000 and ordered to pay £21,000 costs after being prosecuted for multiple safety failings.
In less than two years the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) served fifteen enforcement notices on the company and three on each of the two company directors. These covered a range of topics including work at height, work equipment and electrical matters.
An investigation by HSE found employees were instructed to carry out work at height even after a Prohibition Notice was served and staff felt pressurised to complete their work even when they had raised concerns about their safety. The investigation also found fork lift trucks were left with broken lights and windscreen wipers and emergency stop buttons on machinery were marked as broken but not repaired over a long period of time.
An oil storage company was fined £100,000 and ordered to pay costs of £17,000 after contractors cut into a sealed pipe causing a tank to explode. The pipe, which was attached to a vessel, was being used as part of a waste oil recovery process. Flammable gases within the pipe ignited, resulting in the lid of the tank detaching due to pressure build up.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company was having difficulty with the waste oil recovery process which was foaming out of the vessel and filling its bund. Rather than dealing with the issue directly, a decision was taken to connect the vessel to an emergency relief dump tank to collect further foaming and this created a flammable atmosphere within the dump tank and connecting relief pipework.
Speaking after the hearing an HSE inspector said “Even though nobody was injured this incident could have been prevented if the work of the contractors had been controlled. The contractors were given a very basic induction and were not told about the process work being carried out and how it could impact on them. HSE has brought this prosecution because a failure took place that could have resulted in death or serious injury and we believe every person should be healthy and safe at work.”