A Northamptonshire construction company has been fined £566,670 and ordered to pay costs of £9,000 after a tipper vehicle driven by one of its employees came into contact with overhead power lines (OPLs) during the construction of a waste transfer station. The company had identified the need for protection structures but after an initial delay only one was installed. In order to empty the final remains of the load from his vehicle, the driver pulled forward with the body raised and the vehicle touched, or came close to touching, the 33KV OPL. The tipper vehicle suffered minor damage but the driver was unhurt. An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) showed that the risks from OPLs should have been assessed more rigorously and that a thorough assessment of the system of work, reduce the risk of tipper vehicles striking an OPL, would have shown it to be inadequate.
A South Tyneside car parts manufacturer has been fined £1.6million after a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak and an explosion occurred at the same plant within a year. Newcastle Crown Court heard that between October 2014 and June 2015, two employees, two agency workers and a local resident fell seriously ill with Legionnaires Disease. HSE found the illness was caused by the company’s failure to effectively manage its water cooling systems within the factory, causing the legionella bacteria within the water supply to grow to potentially lethal levels. HSE found that adequate measures were not put in place to protect operators from explosion risks, this was despite previous explosions having occurred.
A Somerset pre-cast concrete products manufacturing company has been fined £660,000 and ordered to pay costs of £14,563 after a maintenance fitter was fatally injured when trapped by machinery. HSE told the Court that when the site was inspected after the incident a spare key was discovered, which meant that access to machinery in the incident area was possible without turning off and isolating the machine. During the investigation HSE also found there was insufficient supervision over the isolation of machines; the company’s procedures for safe maintenance work were not consistently understood or applied, pointing to deficiencies in instruction and training; it was common for people to access dangerous areas while machines were running; and there were other spare keys which were easily accessible.