RASCS News

LATEST SAFETY FINES

This is why health and safety matters – it saves lives

Tree injury – Simple inspections would have prevented this !!!!

A care home provider has been fined £400k after an eight-year-old girl suffered catastrophic injuries when a tree fell on her.

Bupa Care Homes (CFHCare) Limited pleaded guilty after it failed to provide a system to manage trees on its site at Oak Lodge Care Home in Bitterne, Southampton.

West Hampshire Magistrates Court heard that on 8 July 2021, the girl was out for an evening jog with her father. As she was running on a pavement outside the entrance to the care home, a lime tree fell on her. She suffered serious crush injuries and her leg had to be amputated. It was subsequently found that the tree was diseased with a common fungus and had likely been rotting for several years prior to the accident.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that, over a number of years, Bupa Care Homes had failed to have in place a strategy to manage trees, including adequate risk assessment, proactive surveys, inspections, and monitoring of trees, to identify where remedial work may have been required to prevent risk of the tree falling.

Bupa Care Homes pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and received a fine of £400,000. The company was also ordered to pay costs of £3,275 and a victim surcharge.

HSE Inspector Natalie Pomfret said: “This was a tragic and wholly avoidable incident, caused by the failure of the company to have in place suitable arrangements for managing trees on their premises, and failure to ensure that the trees were properly inspected and maintained.”

Dad Killed Falling Through Roof

A company has been fined £120,000 after a dad died following a fall from the roof of a building site.

Father-of-one Dennis Vincent, 36, and another worker were using ropes to install a lightning protection system to the front of a Warrington office block being converted into flats.

Mr Vincent, who was from Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, was lowering the access equipment from the roof, using a rope attached to a frame at roof level and a handrail at ground level. As he did so, both he and the frame fell from the roof to the ground.

The incident happened on 24 February 2021 at Palmyra House, Palmyra Square in Warrington.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found Mr Vincent’s employer, PTSG Electrical Services Limited, failed to adequately assess the risks associated with this work, giving little consideration to the work at height hierarchy of control and opting for personal protection measures over more suitable collective protection measures, such as scaffolding or a mobile elevating work platform (MEWP).

In addition to this, the company had not planned for getting the rope access equipment on to and off the roof safely, providing no instructions to the operatives.

HSE guidance on roof work can be found at: Construction – Roof work industry health & safety (hse.gov.uk)

PTSG Electrical Services Limited, of Flemming Court, Whistler Drive, Castleford, West Yorkshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £120,000 and ordered to pay £5448.51 in costs at Wirral Magistrates’ Court on 9 February 2023.

HSE inspector Sara Andrews said: “Our thoughts today are with the family of Dennis Vincent, a young dad and husband who did not return home on 24 February 2021 because of the failings of his employer.

“This incident could easily have been avoided by better planning of the work to ensure adequate controls were in place to prevent falls from the roof. Whilst rope access techniques are appropriate in some circumstances, they should only be used if more appropriate measures, such as fixed scaffolding, cannot be.

“Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”

A further two companies will appear at Liverpool Crown Court later this year in relation to the incident, after pleading not guilty at an earlier hearing.

Cowboy Builders !!!!

A building firm has been fined for a catalogue of health and safety failings that included two builders being lifted into the air by a raised telehandler bucket.

A photograph caught the moment a pair of workers stood in the bucket of a digger to fit a stone into the top of a new home in Littleborough, Greater Manchester.

It was one of a number of health and safety failings found during construction work at The Villas development on Starring Road in Littleborough.

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspectors visited the housing development on 7 July 2021 and issued Hoyle Developments Limited, the site’s principal contractor, with a Prohibition Notice for inadequate scaffolding and Improvement Notices for a lack of welfare facilities and insecure fencing.

HSE inspectors had visited the same housing development site four times between November 2018 and August 2021. Repeated breaches were found including a lack of sufficient welfare, unsuitable controls for work at height and inadequate protection from silica dust exposure. Hoyle Developments Limited was served with multiple Notifications of Contraventions, Prohibition Notices and Improvement Notices.

Hoyle Developments Limited, of Edenfield Road, Rochdale pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £120,000 and ordered to pay £3,165.15 in costs at Manchester Magistrates’ Court on 25 January 2023.

HSE inspector Mike Lisle said: “This proactive prosecution demonstrates that HSE will not hesitate to take proactive enforcement action against those that continuously fall below the required standards and demonstrate persistent poor health and safety. Health and safety should be an integral part of any business, not an afterthought, and having a clear health and safety policy and construction phase plan in place, before work commences, can assist with ensuring this.”

Source: HSE