Manager of UK-based company found guilty of health and safety breaches after death of a worker
A two year jail term has been handed out to the manager of a UK-based access rental company over health and safety breaches, which led to the death of one worker and left another man with serious injuries.
Donald Craig, aged 57, was found guilty of breaching health and safety legislation’s at Airdrie Sheriff Court, Scotland, following a 16 day trial and given the maximum penalty.
The incident in question happened on June 20, 2012. Safety net rigger, Gary Currie and Alexander Nisbet, who was contracted by Craig Services & Access as a self-employed operator, were in the basket of the platform taking netting off the facade on the Buchanan House office block, on Port Dundas Road in the city centre of Glasgow. The third main boom section gave way and caused the basket to fall 92 ft to the ground.
Mr Nisbet was left seriously injured and Mr Currie suffered fatal injuries as a result of the fall.
The company, which is based in Hamilton, was also found guilty on three other charges which related to the collapsing of a mobile elevating work platform (MEWP) and for maintenance and useage failings. The firm was fined £61,000.
A £30,000 fine was also handed out to another company, J M Access Solutions, for failing to examine the platform and the critical parts of the system.
An incident involving the same platform occurred back in 2011. Craig Services & Access instructed repairs be made to the platform after the incident to fix a damaged section on the main boom.
Incorrect repairs were made and J M Access Solutions failed to carry out a proper examination of the platform.
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Health and safety breaches led to worker’s roof fall and a £400k fine for the company
The dairy manufacturing company Muller UK and Ireland Group LLP, have been fined £400,000 at Manchester Crown Court over health and safety failings, after a worker fell 15ft through a fragile roof panel.
An investigation into the fall was carried out by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). The worker was left with serious injuries to his head and body as a result.
The incident occurred on July 8 last year, as the worker, along with two of his colleagues, worked on a routine job changing the refrigeration gas on some chilled storage units at the company’s premises on Lake Road, at Trafford Park.
The men were working in the void of the roof in the chilled store building over the top of the chilled units. One worker stepped onto a fragile panel on the edge of the roof space and fell through the void inbetween the chilled unit and the shell of the building. The worker was left with serious injuries as a result of the incident.
The HSE investigation found that no information had been given to the workers about the fragile panels in the roof, even though they had worked in that area on numerous occasions. The company never carried out a proper risk assessment before the workers entered the area and no adequate health and safety signs, or barriers were placed around the fragile panels.
The company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. They were fined £400,000 and made to pay costs of £9,336.90.
Jane Carroll, a HSE Inspector said afterwards: “This case highlights how important it is that a suitable and sufficient risk assessment is undertaken for all work at height and work within roof voids, to identify the potential for fragile panels to be present.”
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Fine comes after admitting health and safety breaches concerning Smiler rollercoaster crash
The operators of Alton Towers, Merlin Attractions, have been fined £5m, after admitting health and safety failings, following the Smiler rollercoaster crash last year, which left sixteen people injured.
Leah Washington, who was seventeen at the time and Vicky Balch, then aged nineteen, both lost a leg as a result of the crash, which happened in June 2015.
Merlin Attractions were given the fine, after the court was told that an engineer ‘felt pressure’ to get the rollercoaster serviceable again, after it had developed a problem not long before the accident occurred.
The accident was described by Judge Michael Chambers QC, as a “catastrophic failure” by Merlin Attractions, over fundamental health and safety measures.
The Judge said that the accident could have easily been avoided if a suitable written health and safety system had been put in place to deal with faults occurring on rides, along with the correct risk assessment.
He went on to say that all sixteen people on the ride at the time of the accident, were “injured to various degrees” and that health and safety failures by the company, had put the safety of thousands of children and young people at risk.
According to the owner of Alton Towers, the number of visitors have remained low since the accident happened last June.
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