HSE News and Prosecutions: May 2016

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Alton Towers’ Owners Plead Guilty to Safety Failings

On 22nd April, Merlin Attractions Operations Ltd, the firm that owns the theme park, Alton Towers, pled guilty to safety failings that caused four people to sustain serious injuries. This admission marks the first time that a major UK theme park has admitted to a criminal breach of health and safety laws. The firm is expected to be served a substantial fine, which could potentially reach as high as seven figures, when the firm appears at Stafford crown court on 20th May.

Accrington Landlord in Court for Gas Safety Failing

An Accrington landlord was fined £20,000 toward HSE costs and sentenced to six months imprisonment after he ignored repeated warnings to arrange an annual gas safety check at a house in town. At least once per year, landlords are legally required to have gas appliances inspected by a Gas Safe registered engineer. However, the landlord failed to do this for nearly two years and this caused gas appliances at several of his properties to be considered ‘at risk’ or ‘immediately dangerous’. In its investigation, the HSE found that the landlord wilfully ignored the safety of his tenants for monetary personal gain.

Explosion at Vehicle Seat Manufacturer Injures Worker

Sears Manufacturing Company (Europe) Limited, of Rasseu Industrial Estate, was fined £40,000 and ordered to pay £12,010 in costs after a worker was injured by an explosion. A release agent that was used to prevent dispensed foam from sticking to seat moulds ignited, which caused a worker to suffer burns to his head and hands. In its investigation, the HSE found that the company failed to implement suitable control measures to ensure that an incident like this would not occur.

3 Companies Fined for Safety Violations

Worksafe Training & Consultancy Ltd, Jan Cavelle Furniture Company Ltd, and Leading Health & Safety Consultants Ltd were fined a collective amount of £45,500 and ordered to pay £31,500 in costs after two incidents occurred at the Haverhill site of Jan Cavelle Furniture Company. In its investigation, the HSE found that both incidents occurred due to the adoption of unsafe work practices, which was the result of inadequate training, supervision and risk assessments. Had the potential risks been properly assessed, appropriate safe work practices could have been developed and adopted that would have protected workers from potential hazards.