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.

22nd January 2018

Devon haulier fined for dumping waste on farmland.

A Devon haulage and site clearance company has been fined £14,000, ordered to pay £5,000 costs and received a £90,000 Proceeds of Crime confiscation order for dumping thousands of tonnes of soil and stone on farmland. The offences came to light after the Environment Agency examined waste transfer notes which identified the company as the source of the waste material.

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.