Amputation after glove was entangled on rotating drill

An architectural metalwork company has been fined after an employee suffered a serious hand injury on a pedestal drill.

work gloveOn 21 August 2018, an employee, who was an apprentice, at Viking Engineering (Architectural Metalwork) Ltd, suffered an amputation injury to his right-hand middle finger whilst operating a pedestal drill at the company site in Basford, Nottingham. His gloved right hand became entangled on the rotating spade drill bit of the drilling machine resulting in his injuries.

The HSE’s investigation found that employees were required, by the company’s written system of work, to wear gloves when operating the drill. It had become custom and practice to leave the drill running while repositioning workpieces, which is when the incident occurred.

Viking engineering (Architectural Metalwork) Ltd of Park Lane, Basford, Nottingham, were found guilty of breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined, in its absence, £78,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,914.48 with a victim surcharge charge of £170.

Speaking after the hearing HSE Inspector Mr Amandip Dhanda said: “Taking simple measures, and monitoring systems of work, could have easily prevented this serious accident”.

Restaurant fined £175,000 after oven blew up in chef’s face

The former bosses of an Indian restaurant in the West Midlands have been handed suspended prison sentences and the company fined £175,000 after a chef suffered serious burns from a dangerous tandoor oven.

Sandwell Council prosecuted The Alachi International Restaurant in Cradley Heath after the chef was burned when the oven – which was leaking gas and had no ignition switch  – exploded in his face.

The chef’s clothing caught fire and he sustained burns to his face, ears, hands and arms which were treated in hospital.

When an engineer acting for the council’s environmental health team checked the tandoor oven, he found it was being turned on and off using a set of pliers and had to be lit using a flaming piece of paper.

The pipework – which was held together by foam and sticky tape – was also leaking gas which ignited when the chef attempted to light it when he was injured in November 2017.

The court was told that former director Khalid Hussain and former manager Mahbubur Rahman Chowdhury failed to report the incident. The oven continued to be used until a third party reported the incident to the local authority two weeks later, prompting an immediate investigation, Sandwell Council told IOSH Magazine.

Safety checks found that the flame failure devices on other gas appliances in the restaurant’s kitchen were either missing or had been bypassed.

The ignition buttons on a large cooker were being held in place with string and metal wire and a smaller cooker had a twisted gas pipe and the safety chains were missing.  The large cooker also had missing burners and was condemned along with the tandoor.

Last month at Wolverhampton Crown Court, both the defendants and the company pleaded guilty to ten breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act, including that the oven was unsafe and that Gas Safe regulations had been breached.

Alachi Restaurant was fined a total of £175,000 and ordered to pay £4,300 towards costs.

Sentencing, Recorder Hegarty QC stated that the offences were so serious that only a custodial sentence would suffice. However, he was persuaded to suspend the sentences for two years.

Each defendant was also ordered to pay £4,000 in costs and sentenced to a total of 38 months in prison for the various offences, to run concurrently for 10 months, suspended for two years. The defendants were also ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work and were disqualified from acting as director or management for five years. The restaurant is now under new ownership.

“Our checks found very dangerous conditions in the kitchen of this restaurant that resulted in one of the chefs being seriously injured,” a spokesperson for Sandwell Council said. “It’s only by luck that he wasn’t killed, and that other people were not injured.”

Worker killed within hours of starting job

A vehicle recovery and repair company has been sentenced after a new worker suffered fatal crush injuries during maintenance work on the first day of his new job. 

On 24 November 2014, Albert Road Recovery and Repair employee John Glenn, 56, was killed when a rigid vehicle fell suddenly from an inadequate axle support prop at Middlemarch Business Park in Coventry.

Birmingham Magistrates’ Court was told that a cable reel drum jack was used to support the vehicle, which was not an appropriate piece of equipment for the task being undertaken.

A suitably rated axle stand should have been used, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) confirmed to IOSH Magazine.

HSE investigators revealed the company failed to:

  • adequately induct the new starter into the business
  • adequately instruct and supervise him on his first day
  • provide him with suitable tools and equipment
  • provide approved vehicle repair equipment.

Now dissolved, Essex-based Albert Road Recovery and Repair was found guilty of breaching s 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act. It was fined £20,000, the highest amount available to this court, as the incident took place before an amendment was made to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012, to remove the limit of fines imposed in magistrates’ courts.

Describing the incident as completely avoidable, HSE inspector John Glynn said: “This incident led to the tragic death of John Glenn and occurred within hours of him starting his new job.

“Not only did the company fail to adequately induct the new starter into their business, it failed to adequately instruct and supervise him on his first day and provided him with completely unsuitable tools and equipment. Had the company considered the risks properly, they would have had safe systems of work and approved vehicle repair equipment in place.”

Just 1 in 5 monitors asthma risk, says HSE

Only 19% of the organisations potentially exposing employees to asthmagens have health surveillance, according to Health and Safety Executive (HSE) research.

RR1139: Uptake and quality of health surveillance for occupational asthma in the woodworking, baking and motor vehicle repair sectors presents research into the levels of uptake and quality of health surveillance for occupational asthma in three industry sectors at increased risk of occupational asthma: woodworking; baking; and motor vehicle repair.

Telephone interviews were held with employers from 457 organisations, of which 67% reported carrying out risk assessments. Risk of exposures that might cause occupational asthma (in the view of the dutyholder) was reported in 42 (27%) motor vehicle repair enterprises, in 78 (52%) woodworking workplaces and in 95 (62%) bakeries.

Equivalent statistics for the specific industry sectors under consideration were 14% for the woodworking sector, 17% for motor vehicle repair sector and 24% for the bakery sector.

Reporting by the organisations surveyed showed that health surveillance was more commonly carried out in medium/large enterprises (74%) than in micro enterprises (7%). About a third delivered health surveillance in-house and two thirds used an external provider.

The research revealed that some dutyholders who were not providing health surveillance thought that they had no obligation to provide health surveillance, did not need to provide it because they were very small organisations or regarded the cost as a burden.


Sir Robert McAlpine fined £260k after fall from height

Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd has been sentenced for safety breaches after a worker fell 4.8 metres through an unprotected opening.

Sir Robert McAlpine fined £260k after fall from heightOn 28 April 2016, Mark Smith, aged 36, was working at Stone Gappe Hall, Lothersdale, Keighley, owned by Richard McAlpine, a director of the McAlpine group of companies. Mr Smith was attaching straps to a water tank whilst preparing to move it to a lower floor of a water tower at the property, in order to paint the floor.

The HSE found that Mr Smith fell through an opening that did not have fixed edge protection. As a result, he sustained serious injuries including: a right tibial shaft fracture, a distal fibular fracture, a fracture to the left patella, orbital and nasal fractures, lacerations to the face, a concessional head injury, injury to his ribs and he was hospitalised for nine days. Mr Smith continues to suffer from psychological damage and has been unable to return to work.

Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd of Eaton Court, Maylands Avenue, Hemel Hemstead, Hertfordshire pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, Regulation 3(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and Regulation 13(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015. The company was fined £260,000 and ordered to pay £38,299 in costs.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Paul Thompson commented: “Falls from height often result in life-changing or fatal injuries. In most cases, these incidents are needless and could be prevented by properly planning of the work to ensure that effective preventative and protective measures are in place such as edge protection or barriers built to the correct standard.

“This incident could have easily been prevented if the company had undertaken a thorough risk assessment and installed adequate edge protection around the opening to prevent falls.”

Incompetent site management lands director with suspended jail sentence

A company and its director have been sentenced for failing to comply with an enforcement notice.

Between May 2018 and February 2019, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out a series of inspections at a construction site in South Woodford in London, after safety concerns were raised. During the inspections, the site manager and company director Tahir Ahmed was served with two prohibition notices and his company, All Type Electrical and Building, was served with two prohibition notices and two improvement notices.

One of the improvement notices, the HSE told IOSH Magazine, was served on 24 September 2018 with a compliance date of 30 November 2018 to ascertain competent advice. No request was made to extend the notice, and no evidence of an attempt to comply with the notice was ever received.

Ahmed, the director of All Type Electrical and Building who was running the site, had not received site manager training, the HSE confirmed. “We believe he had never received such training as he did not produce any training certification and he pleaded guilty to the breach,” the regulator told us.

At Westminster Magistrates’ Court, All Type Electrical and Building pleaded guilty to breaching reg 15(2) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations, which states: “You have not employed or appointed a person to supervise or manage construction work who has the necessary training to carry out the tasks allocated to that person in a manner that secures the health and safety of any person working on the construction site”.

The firm also pleaded guilty to contravening s 21 of the Health and Safety at Work Act for failing to comply with an enforcement notice. The company was ordered to pay a £60,000 fine plus full costs of £5,216.

Ahmed also admitted breaching s 21 of the Health and Safety at Work Act and was sentenced to 18 weeks’ imprisonment suspended for 12 months, 180 hours of unpaid work, plus full costs of £5,060.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector David King said: “This case highlights the need for suitable and sufficient planning, managing and monitoring, using the appropriate work at height equipment and having a competent site manager.

“Dutyholders should be aware that the HSE will hold to account those who do not comply with health and safety legislation, or who do