Concrete Company Fined One Million Pounds After Employee Killed

In early April 2023, a business specializing in the manufacture of concrete entered admissions in the Crown Court located in Nottingham concerning allegations of violating health and safety regulatory requirements after a member of the workforce sustained serious head injuries. The matter appears to have been taken seriously as medics were unable to revive him.  

What Happened In The Case?

At the time of the incident, the member of the workforce had been carrying out his day-to-day workplace duties and was using a piece of industrial equipment designed for the purpose of grabbing and moving metal and building materials which seems to have been positioned in the workplace. The job was progressing without incident. However, matters worsened when problems presented themselves whilst the colleague was conducting remedial repairs to some industrial equipment and his head ended up stuck within the mouth of the grab mechanism of the machinery. It soon became apparent that there was a causal and correlative relationship between the breaking of a piece of rope connected to the mechanism of the machine used for locking purposes. The part of the equipment designed for locking seems to have loosened the grabbing mechanism as the colleague was dragged into the machine despite efforts being made to reinforce the rope. Sadly the colleague passed away owing to his injuries.        
What Did The Health and Safety Executive Say?
The HSE seem to have felt compelled to probe what had occurred and found evidence suggesting that it did not have safe working practices for the operation of the piece of industrial equipment. There was no evidence indicating whether any assessments had been carried out on the risk of issues taking place. The probe identified that the industrial equipment did not seem to be in full working order when the incident occurred. The Regulator was damning over the incident commenting that the piece of machinery should not have been used.  

Feet to the Fire?

The business admitted the accusations of violating section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 obliging businesses to protect the health, safety, and wellbeing of the workforce. Due to the seriousness, it imposed a financial sanction in the amount of over one-million pounds. 

Lessons Learned? 

Businesses operating grabbing equipment of a similar nature need to be learning the lessons of this case and mitigate the risk of it happening again by taking the following risk-reducing steps: 
    ensuring that members of the workforce are adhering to the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 and the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations which place legal obligations on businesses and persons using such lifting machinery 
    identifying if work-related activities are to involve the use of lifting equipment  
    have the correct oversight 
    following the procedures ensuring that work is conducted safely
    forward-planning to make sure that similar risks are foreseen
    taking time in the recruitment of staff to ensure that members of the workforce have the skills required to perform the job
    provide training to make sure staff have up-to-date knowledge for future projects particularly those involving working with lifting machinery 
    regularly inspecting the respective machinery to check if such equipment complies with the required up-to-date safety standards and
    if found to be below standards businesses need to be taking the required remedial action to ensure that the equipment utilized in the working environment meets the required regulatory standards 
If you have experienced something similar, or have an opposing viewpoint, please kindly leave a comment on the article or contact us. 
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