28th February 2018

Recycling firm fined £30,000 following an explosion

A recycling company has been fined £30,000 and ordered to pay costs of £30,000 following an explosion and fire at their site in Surrey.  Eight people were injured as a result of the explosion, five seriously and a thirty-year-old worker was placed in an induced coma and remained in hospital for fifteen weeks.  An investigation found that the company had failed to ensure there was a safe system of work in place to reduce the risk of dangerous substances. The investigation also found that the company who designed the machinery which was used to in the recycling process, did not consider the likely misuse of the machine and that they had relied on generic data to determine whether an explosive atmosphere may arise.

23rd February 2018

Care home operator fined £120,000

A Shropshire care home operator has been fined £120,000 and ordered to pay costs of £41,997after the death of a vulnerable patient in one of its residences. The patient was found at the bottom of a flight of stairs leading to the cellar with his wheelchair on top of him. An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that although the door to the cellar had a key pad latch and was fitted with a self-closing device it opened inwards directly onto the stairs without a sufficient landing area. The investigation also found that a risk assessment had not been produced for access and use of the cellar. The inspector commented that the door was in regular use by kitchen and maintenance staff and as the deceased was unlikely to have known the key pad number to the door, the door cannot have been properly closed and locked.

14th February 2018

West Yorkshire packaging firm fined £120,000

A West Yorkshire packaging firm was fined £120,000 with £849 costs for safety breaches after a worker suffered life-changing injuries.

On the day of the incident the injured person, having finished his normal driving duties for the day, was asked to work in the factory. A supervisor set up a circular saw and demonstrated the task of pushing stacked cardboard sheets through the saw to pre-determined sizes. During the demonstration, no push stick or jig was used to push the cardboard through the blade.

After the demonstration the worker was left unsupervised. As he pushed the cardboard through the blade by hand, the cardboard twisted and pulled his right hand into the blade. The worker’s injuries were so severe that part of his index finger and ring finger had to be amputated from his right dominant hand, with his middle finger being damaged.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company did not provide suitable and sufficient training, supervision and assessment of the risks that were necessary for the safe use of the circular saw.