Recent HSE News and Prosecutions

Firm fined for failure of asbestos communication
A Battersea building firm was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £2,857 in costs after failing to highlight the known presence of asbestos insulating board (AIB) at a Berkshire warehouse, exposing workers to potential harm when the AIB was ripped out during refurbishment work. The building firm failed to provide workers with the findings from a detailed asbestos survey completed just two months prior to the start of work. The building firm knew the exact location of harmful AIBs, but failed to notify on-the-ground workers.
 
Serious injury from dangerous forklift lift
A 49-year-old Kent forklift truck operator was fined a nominal £270 after his safety failings led to an accident that seriously injured his 18-year-old co-worker, requiring the young worker to receive reconstructive surgery to correct multiple bone fractures. The truck operator was moving a heating unit weighing almost half a tonne with a forklift when he asked the 18-year-old worker for help steadying the load. The young worker agreed to help, deferring to the 49-year-old forklift operator’s years of experience. The load was unstable and crushed the young worker. The court settled on a nominal penalty because the forklift operator was dismissed from his job as a result of the incident and is struggling financially.
 
Life-changing 2-metre fall from ladder
A Birmingham scaffolding contractor was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £535 in costs after a 49-year-old worker suffered life-changing injuries due to a preventable 2-metre fall. The worker was constructing scaffolding for the set of a television programme when he fell from a ladder and sustained foot injuries that relegated him to a wheelchair and rendered him unable to work. A subsequent HSE investigation found that the contractor failed to provide sufficient fall-prevention measures.
 
Caterer fined for not having proper insurance
A catering business in Ashford was fined £400 and ordered to pay £400 in costs for failing to hold the compulsory employers’ liability insurance that enables employees to claim compensation should they be injured at work. The company’s director claimed to be unaware of the requirement, but ignorance is never an excuse.