Recent HSE News, Myths and Prosecutions

Shopkeeper forced to removed direction signs
A Bridgend shopkeeper was forced by the local council to remove signs pointing to his store due to non-existent health and safety regulations. The council gave the shopkeeper an array of excuses for why he cannot post signs, including that they are ‘dangerous’. The HSE Myth Busters panel decided this case had nothing to do with health and safety regulations, but rather with local planning laws. The local council has since acknowledged its communication breakdown.
Two firms sentenced after worker’s hand crushed
Two Scottish engineering firms were fined a total of £26,000 after safety failings led to a worker’s hand being crushed while unloading steel beams. The 54-year-old HGV driver was standing on a flatbed trailer coordinating the unloading when a forklift operator began to raise a bundle of beams from the flatbed. The bundle became unstable, rolled away and pinned the driver’s feet against the trailer, causing him to fall with his feet still trapped and extend his right hand to break the fall. All four fingers on his right hand were shattered. After a 12-hour emergency surgery, the driver has yet to regain sufficient function in his right hand, potentially barring him from ever returning to work as an HGV driver.
Slip leads to worker’s loss of fingertips
A Leeds-based company was fined £8,500 and ordered to pay £794 in costs after poor housekeeping and a missing safety guard in its Newcastle factory caused a 26-year-old worker to lose two fingertips. The worker slipped on ice from a malfunctioning freezer and instinctively reached out to steady himself, inadvertently grabbing the drive chain of a moving conveyor that did not have the necessary safety guard. The worker has since returned to work.
Electric sliding gate causes child’s death
A Swansea installation firm and a Cardiff maintenance company were fined and ordered to pay costs that totalled £190,000 after serious safety failings led to a five-year-old girl being crushed to death. The girl was playing around gates near her home that would automatically close after a car passed through, with a force equivalent to 220 kilograms. Lax safety checks and insufficient safety devices resulted in the gate closing despite a person being in the way.