Sheffield Crown Court has imposed a massive fine upon a company (‘the company’) as the result of an accident resulting in the sad death of an employee. 

Amandeep Murria of Kangs Solicitors sets out the circumstances.

The Circumstances | Kangs Solicitors Health and Safety Team

  • The deceased was employed at the company’s Sheffield site.
  • Compressed air was being applied to eight cylinders for the purposes of creating pressure when the testing process catastrophically failed.  
  • The Health & Safety Executive conducted a thorough investigation and concluded that:
  1. a mineral based inhibitor had been placed into the cylinders,
  2. the leak test manifolds became contaminated during the ventilation process of the cylinders leading to the failure of the testing equipment.

The Relevant Law | Kangs Regulatory Law Advisors

The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (‘the Act’) provides:

‘2  General duties of employers to their employees.

(1) It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees.

(2) Without prejudice to the generality of an employer’s duty under the preceding subsection, the matters to which that duty extends include in particular:

(a) the provision and maintenance of plant and systems of work that are, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe and without risks to health;

(b) arrangements for ensuring, so far as is reasonably practicable, safety and absence of risks to health in connection with the use, handling, storage and transport of articles and substances;

(c) the provision of such information, instruction, training and supervision as is necessary to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety at work of his employees;

(d) so far as is reasonably practicable as regards any place of work under the employer’s control, the maintenance of it in a condition that is safe and without risks to health and the provision and maintenance of means of access to and egress from it that are safe and without such risks;

(e) the provision and maintenance of a working environment for his employees that is, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe, without risks to health, and adequate as regards facilities and arrangements for their welfare at work.’

The Hearing | Kangs Health and Safety Solicitors

The company pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation (1) of the Act and was:

  • fined £700,000   
  • ordered to pay Prosecution Costs of £169,498.82          

An Inspector from the Health & Safety Executive, Eddy Tam, was quoted as saying:

“This was a tragic and wholly avoidable incident, caused by the failure of the company to identify any additional risks that arise when work processes are adapted.

“Companies should accurately identify and control all potential hazards in the workplace and thereafter monitor performance through effective supervision.”

How Can We Help? | Kangs Safety at Work Solicitors

Kangs Solicitors has a wealth of knowledge and experience in dealing with all matters of Health and Safety law.

Our specialist solicitors are able to provide advice and assistance throughout the entire criminal process, from the initial intervention by the Health and Safety Executive through to enforcement, interview under caution and ultimately the defence of any ensuing criminal prosecution.

Who Can I Contact For Help? | Kangs National Criminal Defence Solicitors

Please feel free to contact our team through any of the solicitors named below who will be happy to provide you with some initial advice and assistance.

Hamraj Kang
hkang@kangssolicitors.co.uk
07976 258171 | 020 7936 6396 | 0121 449 9888

Amandeep Murria
amurria@kangssolicitors.co.uk
020 7936 6396 | 0121 449 9888

John Veale
jveale@kangssolicitors.co.uk
0121 449 9888 | 07989 521 210