Formula One Team McClaren False Start On Health And Safety

Formula One is one of the leading sports in the world and it is well known for setting the standards in the field globally. However, in late March 2023, one of the sport’s most successful teams was handed down a significant financial sanction in the amount of half a million pounds after a member of the workforce sustained what turned out to be a fatal fall. 

What Happened In The Case?

At the time the incident took place on 18th October 2016 the member of the workforce was working on a project involving reviewing the stability of the structure of a building utilized by the Formula Once giant for the provision of warehousing, catering, entertainment, and the serving of customers. The project was seemingly going on apace without much by way of incident and the member of the workforce was carrying out his daily work on the upper section of the commercial premises. However, matters seemingly deteriorated when the member of the workforce plummeted from the upper level of the commercial building and suffered extremely serious bodily damage which was so severe that he sadly succumbed to his injuries.      

What Did The Health and Safety Executive Say?

Due to the impact of the incident on the member of the workforce, his close family, those persons who knew him, and the leading heavyweight in Formula One Organisation the industry regulatory enforcement arm the Health and Safety Executive launched a probe into what had happened and whether the racing giant had breached any requirements from a health and safety perspective. When it did so, the HSE uncovered evidence that seemed to indicate that the leading motor racing business had neglected its legal responsibilities to implement mitigation measures to reduce the probability of similar incidents from taking place within the internal commercial working environment. The evidence seems to indicate that it had neglected its legal accountabilities to implement an evaluation of the likelihood of such incidents occurring. The regulatory authorities seemed to have taken a dim view of the leading motor racing organizations’ behavior in respect of this matter. It was of the view that the sporting giant had violated section 2 and section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 which places legal obligations on employers to safeguard the health, safety, and well-being of both the members of the workforce and wider public.             

Feet to the Fire?

In the Crown Court in Reading the Formula One Giant, McClaren was handed down criminal convictions for breaches of the health and safety legal requirements. By way of punishment and to act as a deterrent for those businesses operating in a seemingly cavalier manner. To underline the seriousness of what had taken place in the commercial premises on the day of the incident the Magistrates handed down a financial sanction to the Formula One heavyweight in an amount over half a million pounds.   

Lessons Learned?

Companies with members of the workforce operating at height need to reduce the risk of such incidents taking place by following the below strategy: 
-    Limiting the chances of persons working at height if they are reasonably able to do so
-    Take steps to reduce the likelihood of falls from height occurring such as lowering the distance to the ground
-    Ensure colleagues are supplied with the correct tools for the job
-    Regularly audit work equipment to confirm it meets current safety 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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