18th January 2018

Yorkshire gas storage operator fined £300,000

The operator of natural gas storage facility on the East Yorkshire coast, has been fined £300,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,731 after thirteen employees and contractors were exposed to asbestos fibres.

Mechanical maintenance personnel were tasked with the removal of a non-return valve from a compressed air distribution system. Some of the sealing gasket material was difficult to remove so they used a wire brush mounted on an electric drill to remove the gasket material which spread fibres from the gasket around the maintenance workshop onto floors, work benches and clothing. Two days later another employee became suspicious of the fibrous dust, and having reported his concerns, arranged for a sample of the dust to be tested. It was found to contain chrysotile (white) asbestos fibres.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) told the court that the company had failed to identify in the risk assessment for this job that there were asbestos gaskets attached to the non-return valve. HSE also told the court that records held on site, which could have helped identify the presence of asbestos, were not adequate and that the maintenance team leader involved in this task had not undertaken asbestos awareness training.

24th November 2017

Leeds developer fined £120,000 for causing pollution

A Leeds-based house building company was fined £120,000 and ordered to pay £8,706 costs and a £120 victim surcharge for polluting a watercourse from a Huddersfield construction site. On 20th November 2015 polluted water was seen to be flowing out of the entrance of the construction site and the company was also found to be pumping silt contaminated water from site excavations which entered the watercourse. Further incidents of pollution were reported later that month and in December 2015. Subsequent investigations by the Environment Agency determined that the settlement tanks installed by the developer were inadequate.

24th November 2017

A plastic and paper manufacturing company fined £ 100,000

A plastic and paper manufacturing company was fined £ 100,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1, 503 after a worker suffered crush injuries from trapping his hand in an unguarded printing machine.  The employee had his hand was drawn into the print rollers while he was attempting to clean the running machine resulting in partial amputation of two fingers.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive into the incident which occurred on 5 December 2016, found that the lack of guarding on the machine was the root cause of this incident together with a lack of training and supervision.