Luton Magistrates’ Court has imposed a substantial fine upon a company (‘the company’) following a serious accident resulting in an employee suffering brain injury and serious fractures.
Amandeep Murria of Kangs Solicitors sets out the circumstances.
The Circumstances | Kangs Solicitors Health and Safety Team
- Whilst loading luggage onto an aircraft at Luton Airport the employee was securing cargo straps which involved kneeling on the luggage belt loader.
- A passing vehicle struck the luggage belt holder which resulted in the employee falling at least seven feet through a gap in the railing onto the tarmac causing fractures, brain injury and permanent right ear hearing loss.
- The Health & Safety Executive conducted a thorough investigation and concluded that:
- although the company had undertaken a risk assessment, it had failed to implement robust measures to ensure driver error would not result in such an accident
- the company had identified the risk arising from the gap in the railings but had failed to remove such risk.
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 £181,500
- ordered to pay Prosecution Costs of £21,043
An Inspector from the Health & Safety Executive, Emma Page, was quoted as saying:
“Airports are busy and complex workplaces where workers face many hazards, particularly from the movement and operation of aircraft and vehicles. Currently, accident rates in the industry are well above the national average for all industries. Companies should assess the risks to their own and others’ employees and put in place measures to control these risks.
“Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”
How Can We Help? | Kangs Safety At Work Solicitors
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.
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