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Company sentenced for failings that led to death fall

An Edinburgh based agricultural company has been fined £60,000 for health and safety failings which led to the death of a man when he fell through an industrial shed roof.
WNL Investments Limited, formerly known as WN Lindsay Limited pled guilty to health and safety breaches at Dundee Sheriff Court.
The company owned the Stracathro site at the time of the incident. They also owned sites in Keith, Perthshire, and East Lothian. The site had 14 sheds which were used to dry and store barley to sell to the drinks industry.
Andrew Rose, director of roof maintenance firm ARBM (Montrose) Limited had been contracted to carry out a rolling programme of shed roof painting and cleaning across all of the company’s sites.
The prosecutor told the court that on 9 June 2018 Andrew Rose, 41, and his employees were setting up to paint the roof of Shed 2 at the North Esk Granary, Stracathro.
Mr Rose climbed up an extension ladder to the roof. One of his employees also climbed the ladder to feed paint lines up, while one of Mr Rose’s sons, footed the ladder.
As he was climbing, the employee felt the paint line pull abruptly, and when he reached the top of the ladder, he saw that there was a missing roof sheet. He quickly came back down the ladder and went into the shed where he found Mr Rose lying directly below the hole in the roof. The distance between the hole in the roof and the concrete floor was between 7.4 and 7.8 metres.
Paramedics arrived and found that Mr Rose had sustained a severe head injury. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The HSE’s investigation found that there was no designated health and safety manager in place at the time of Mr Rose’s death. There was no formal on-site monitoring or site-specific documentation for the work.
The charges libelled by the Procurator Fiscal and accepted by the company are that they failed to ensure, as far as reasonably practicable, that Mr Rose and his employees were not exposed to risks to their health or safety by falling from or through fragile roofs while carrying out work at height. The company also failed to ensure the system of work was adequately reviewed and monitored. As a result of these failings Andrew Rose fell through the fragile roof and sustained injuries from which he died.
Speaking after the sentencing, Debbie Carroll, who leads on health and safety investigations for the COPFS, said: “Andrew Rose lost his life in circumstances which could have been avoided if there had been an appropriate system of work and monitoring in place.
“It is well known that falls from height are one of the single greatest causes of death and serious injury to workers within industry and there is a significant amount of guidance available in relation to working at height on fragile roofs.
“This prosecution should remind duty holders that a failure to fulfil their obligations can have fatal consequences and they will be held accountable for this failure.”
HSE Inspector Simon Dunford said: “This tragic incident is another sad reminder of the danger of working on fragile roofs.
“Mr Rose’s death could easily have been prevented if the company had ensured that this work was properly planned and checked that a safe system was followed when the work was undertaken.”
COPFS October 2023

Company fined £240,000 after Liverpool residents put at risk during removal of dangerous cladding

A health and safety inspector found cladding lying on residents’ balconies at a Liverpool apartment block, posing a serious fire risk.
The combustible cladding was similar to that used on Grenfell Tower when the 2017 disaster occurred. Green Facades Limited had been contracted to remove the potentially dangerous aluminium composite panels and combustible insulation material from The Circle, an eight-storey building on Henry Street in Liverpool.
When an inspector from the HSE first visited the site on 10 January 2022, the inspection revealed that, in preparation for the removal work, combustible material had been left exposed and there were inadequate means of escaping from the scaffold which was being erected.
The situation had worsened when the inspector returned a few days later, on 21 January 2022. Further combustible material had been exposed with no protection from potential sources of ignition, and combustible cladding material was found lying on residents’ balconies. As the building remained occupied during the works, the inspector alerted Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service who took their own enforcement action.
Green Facades Limited had been subject to earlier enforcement for similar breaches during cladding removal at a site in London. At that time the company was provided with advice on sustainable compliance with the regulations.
The HSE’s investigation found that Green Facades Limited had failed to take appropriate precautions to address the risk of fire and to ensure the safety of residents, workers, and others. It had also failed to take account of published guidance on the safe removal of cladding following the previous issue in London.
The company of Woolwich Road, London pleaded guilty to breaching regulations 11(1) and 13(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015. The company was fined £240,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,405.
After the hearing HSE inspector Jackie Western said: “The disturbing irony of this case is that work to protect residents from fire risk ended up making the situation more dangerous.
“This prosecution highlights the need for responsible management of the removal of cladding. The potentially tragic consequences of fire involving this type of material are well known following the Grenfell Tower fire.
“Despite earlier interventions and advice from HSE, and the availability of a wealth of guidance from HSE and others, this company continued to fail in its duty to address the risk of fire, putting people’s lives at risk.”
HSE October 2023

£67,145 fine for breaching health and safety laws

A company has been prosecuted after an employee suffered serious and life threatening injuries as a result of significant health and safety failings.
Exclusive Oriental Classics Ltd and its Director pleaded guilty to multiple breaches of health and safety laws following investigations by Bedford Borough Council. The company and its Director were fined a total of £67,145 and ordered to pay
£10,000 in costs following the hearing at Luton Magistrates Court.
On 1 March 2022, Environmental Health Officers at Bedford Borough Council were alerted to a potentially life threating workplace accident at a warehouse located on Ampthill Road, Bedford. An employee had fallen approximately three metres from racking, sustaining life-threatening injuries.
Investigations identified multiple health and safety failings and significant failures to manage risks to the health and safety of employees. In particular, failings were identified in relation to the installation, inspection, maintenance, and use of the racking. Failures were also identified in the inspection and maintenance of a forklift truck used at the warehouse.
Employees had been directed to undertake work at height without adequate safety measures being implemented to protect their safety, leading to the serious injury of an employee.
The Court found that Exclusive Oriental Classics Ltd and its Director had failed to implement recognised industry standards and allowed these breaches to persist over a significant period of time.
Councillor Phillippa Martin-Moran-Bryant, Porfolio Holder for Community Safety, Regulatory Services, and Housing, expressed her concern and determination to ensure the safety of workers in Bedford Borough.
She stated: “The safety of our residents and employees is paramount. This case highlights the importance of strict adherence to health and safety regulations within the workplace and I would like to thank the officers involved for all their hard work. We will not tolerate negligence that puts lives at risk.
“Employers must recognise their responsibility to provide safe working environments for their employees. Bedford Borough Council will continue to rigorously enforce health and safety standards and concern for workers with determination, to ensure those businesses that fail to protect their employees, and others who may be affected by their activities, are held accountable.”
Bedford Borough Council October 2023

Suspended prison sentence for builder over gas safety failures

A builder has avoided an immediate spell behind bars after being convicted of carrying out gas work at a property in Berkshire when he was not qualified to do so.
Thomas Murray, who traded as Kerbgold Design and Construction Ltd, was given an eight-month prison sentence which was suspended for 18 months.
Reading Crown Court heard how Murray had been contracted to manage a large-scale renovation and extension of a property in Maidenhead in July 2018. The project involved significant gas work, including the installation of a gas boiler, relocation of a gas meter and the installation of associated pipework for both.
However, the project over ran and the householders had to return to the property in January 2019, where they soon reported the smell of gas. Murray carried out a test which detected no gas leak.
As their concerns persisted, the homeowners contacted a Gas Safe Registered engineer to inspect the installation. The engineer found a gas leak and other faults within the installation. In addition, Cadent Gas, the gas supplier to the property, had never been notified about the relocation of the meter and pipework. The pipework leading to the meter was found to have been laid to incorrect depth and fittings suitable only for water pipework had been found to have been used throughout the installation.
Investigating, the HSE found that although Murray arranged for a Gas Safe engineer to install the boiler, they had only connected the water plumbing and left the property due to concerns being raised. In a bid to allow the homeowners to access hot water and heating, Murray decided to undertake some of the gas work himself as a temporary fix.
Murray, of Heath End Road, Flackwell Heath, Buckinghamshire, pleaded guilty to breaching section 3(2) of the Health Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for 18 months. He was also ordered to complete 250 hours unpaid work.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Karen Morris said: “In this case, Mr Murray was responsible for overseeing the gas work, which was not finished and had left householders and their neighbours at risk from the dangers and effects of leaking gas.
“To make matters worse, he decided to try and finish the job himself, despite not being competent to do so. His failures could have led to catastrophic and tragic consequences.
“We will not hesitate to prosecute builders who fail to ensure that gas work under their control is conducted safely using Gas Safe Registered engineers.”
HSE October 2023

Demolition company given £60,000 fine as worker seriously injured

A Woolwich labourer is ‘lucky to be alive’ after part of a Victorian building fell on him during demolition work in Kilburn, North West London.
MAC Demolition Ltd, the Middlesex firm contracted to carry out the works, has been fined £60,000 after Tommy Brooks was left with life changing injuries. The 57-year-old had been employed on the site as a labourer for three months before the incident.
The company had been contracted to carry out soft stripping works on the Victorian property on Willesden Lane as well as the demolition of its roof.
On the morning of 2 March 2022, Mr Brooks had been tasked with clearing bricks for reclamation. He was working at the corner of the building when a large piece of masonry fell from the unstable roof, landing on top of him.
He was left with significant long-term injuries including a broken shoulder and 12 broken ribs, as well as spinal and internal injuries.
The HSE’s investigation found MAC Demolition had failed to adequately assess the risk of falling objects during demolition and failed to implement and enforce adequate exclusion zones.
MAC Demolition Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 20 of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015. They were fined £60,000 and ordered to pay £3,229 costs at a hearing at Willesden Magistrates Court.
After the hearing, HSE inspector Gordon Nixon said: “Tommy’s injuries were life changing and he is lucky to be alive.
“This serious incident and the devastation it caused could have been avoided if basic, industry standard control measures had been put in place.”
HSE November 2023

Fatal accident leads to fine for waste company

A waste company has been fined over £250,000 after a member of the public was run over by one of its vehicles and died.
The woman was collecting wood from Martins of York’s yard on Osbaldwick Lane, York, when she was hit by a reversing skip wagon on 29 January 2020. She later died from her injuries.
The woman had regularly attended the site with another woman to collect wood.
The HSE’s investigation into the incident identified that Martins of York had failed to put in place appropriate measures to control access into the main yard area. This allowed unrestricted access to the site so visitors, including members of the public, were exposed to risks from moving vehicles. Martins of York employees working as hand pickers within the yard were also put at risk of being struck by moving vehicles within the area.
Martins of York Limited, of Park Court, Riccall Road, Escrick, York, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £268,000 and ordered to pay £10,130.32 in costs.
HSE inspector Darian Dundas said: “Measures should have been introduced to prevent members of the public from being able to enter the yard without authorisation, whilst also ensuring that workers present within the yard were not put at risk from vehicles moving in and around where they were working.
“This incident could so easily have been avoided by carrying out correct control measures and safe working practices.
“It is hoped that this will remind the waste industry of the need to ensure that workplace transport is appropriately considered, with control measures introduced to ensure the appropriate separation of vehicles and pedestrians.”
HSM November 2023

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To develop an awareness of the relationship between health, safety and welfare that will encourage the inclusion of health, safety and welfare as an intrinsic element of your company's working practice.
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