prosecutions

4th January 2017

Engineering company fined £150,000

A North-East engineering company was fined £150,000 for safety breaches after two of its workers were burned when they were sprayed with chemicals during chemical cleaning of a pipework system.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) identified that the task was not adequately risk assessed, the equipment provided to do the job, in particular the hosing, was not suitable for the solution, and the company failed to provide adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) to its employees.

23rd December 2016

Solvent recycler fined £27,000

A Sunderland solvent recycling company has been fined £27,000 following a leak of about 4,000 litres of solvent during processing. The subsequent investigation by the Environment Agency found management systems and operating procedures were deficient, including no formal inspections for pipes and sumps, and an inadequate operating procedure for the transfer of liquid chemicals.

The District Judge, said during sentencing, that the incident occurred due to an unfortunate combination of circumstances. He added there was significant mitigation and he was impressed by the efforts of the company to make changes, and the acceptance that further work is needed.

23rd December 2016

Essex companies fined £215,000

Two Essex-based companies have been fined a total of £215,000 and ordered to pay £16,300 costs after exposing workers to  asbestos over a period of years, despite knowing of its presence, in units that they occupied . Basildon Magistrates heard that asbestos had been found in poor condition when one of the companies moved into the Benfleet premises in 2007, but that it failed to take any actions over the succeeding years.  As a result, its employees were exposed to asbestos fibres.

In 2014, following the appointment of a new health and safety officer, an asbestos survey was carried out. This confirmed the ongoing presence of asbestos. Despite this, workers remained exposed to risk while the two companies argued about who was responsible for its removal. The Health and Safety Executive launched an investigation, having been alerted by concerned employees.   HSE’s scientists found asbestos fibres at the workers’ clocking-in point, in the stationary cupboard and on rafters above their heads.