31/05/24

Company Fined for Breaches of Health and Safety at Work Act Regulations

Company Fined for Breaches of Health and Safety at Work Act Regulations
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A manufacturing company in Hull was recently fined £366,500 and ordered to pay £7,325.82 in costs for breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (‘the Act’) following the tragic death of one of its employees.

Mohammed Ahmed of KANGS briefly outlines the circumstances of this case and the requirements of the Act.

The Circumstances

Martyn Green, an employee of Niche Fused Magnesia Limited, died from crush injuries after becoming trapped between the crane he was operating and a roof truss at the company’s Hull Road site on 22nd August 2018.

Mr Green was testing the overhead gantry crane whilst standing on an access platform, operating a hand-held remote control. The crane passed in close proximity to a series of horizontal roof trusses resulting in Mr Green becoming trapped.

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive found that the employer had failed to adequately assess the risks posed by roof trusses to workers standing on the access platform, nor ensured that the work was performed safely.

HSE inspector John Boyle said: “This tragic incident could have been avoided had the company assessed the risks and implemented reasonably practicable safeguards.

Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”

General Duties of Employers to their Employees

Section 2 of the Health & Safety at Work Act states that it is the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, the health, safety, and welfare at work of all employees.

In particular, the duty extends to:

  • the Provision and maintenance of plant and systems of work that are, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe and without risks to health,
  • making arrangements to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, safety and absence of risks to health whilst using, handling, storing and transporting articles and substances,
  • providing information, instruction, training and supervision, as is necessary, to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety at work of employees,
  • the maintenance of all places of work under the employer’s control in a condition that is safe, without risks to health and the means of access and egress that are safe and without such risks,
  • the provision and maintenance of a working environment for employees that, so far as is reasonably practicable is, safe, without risks to health and adequate as regards facilities and arrangements for their welfare at work.

Additionally, save where specifically exempted, every employer must prepare and, as often as appropriate, revise, a Written Statement of General Policy with respect to the health and safety at work. This statement should include the organisation and arrangements for implementing the policy. Employers must also ensure that all employees are informed of this statement and any subsequent revisions.

How Can We Help?

As is evident from the substantial fines, costs imposed, and the official comments made in the highlighted case, the Health and Safety Executive will take serious enforcement action when there are unacceptable breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act and statutory requirements.

In addition to potential substantial financial penalties, significant reputational damage may also occur. In appropriate circumstances, courts will not hesitate to impose custodial sentences upon culpable directors.

If your company is facing allegations of breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act, it is crucial to seek expert legal advice immediately. We have members of our team who specialise in health and safety law, offering comprehensive representation to help you navigate regulatory investigations and potential prosecutions.

Our experienced solicitors will represent you, striving to minimise negative outcomes and protect your company's reputation. If we can be of assistance, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our team using the details below:

Tel:       0333 370 4333

Email: info@kangssolicitors.co.uk

We provide initial no obligation discussion at our three offices in London, Birmingham, and Manchester. Alternatively, discussions can be held through live conferencing or telephone.

Hamraj Kang

Hamraj Kang
Senior Partner

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John Veale

John Veale
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Sukhdip Randhawa

Sukhdip Randhawa
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