health and safety at work act

Health and Safety Prosecution UK | Latest Fines and Sentencing

Recent examples of Health and Safety prosecution across the UK, the fines/sentences issued and an outline of the key health and safety breaches.

July 2022

Transport company fined £480,000 after fatal fall from lorry

A transportation company has been fined almost half a million pounds after a driver fell from the lorry he was unloading and later died.

Christopher Barnes, 69, from Middlesbrough, was making deliveries for Devereux Developments Limited, of Daimler Drive, Billingham, in his curtain-sided HGV.

While unloading the vehicle at Cotswold Doors Limited, Fairford, on 23 April 2018, he climbed onto the lorry bed, and then the load, to untangle securing straps. He fell more than 7ft from the lorry on to a concrete floor, was injured and died the following day from his injuries.

Health and Safety Prosecution UK

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the company did not have in place a safe system of work for work at height on vehicles because it had not carried out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment.

The company was fined £480,000 and ordered to pay costs of £12,053 at Cheltenham Magistrates’ Court on June 28 2022.

June 2022

Carlsberg fined £3m following 2016 ammonia gas leak

Carlsberg has been fined £3 million after a contractor died and another was seriously injured following an ammonia gas leak at one of its breweries.

Father-of-two David Chandler, 45, was killed and David Beak, now 57, was seriously injured. Twenty people needed hospital checks after showing symptoms of ammonia exposure.

Birmingham Crown Court heard that at its Northampton brewery Carlsberg had failed to put in place appropriate isolation controls to prevent exposure to ammonia before work started to remove a compressor from a refrigeration system.

On 9 November 2016 while the compressor was being removed, there was a large, uncontrolled release of ammonia.

Health and Safety Prosecutions Risk Assessment

Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company, pleaded guilty to charges under Section 2(1) and Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, and Regulation 3(1)[Risk Assessment] of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

The company was fined £3 million with costs of £90,000.

May 2022

Sea food processing company fined after fatality involving forklift

A sea food processing company has been fined after a worker died following injuries sustained when she was run over by a forklift.

Lerwick Sheriff Court heard on 31 January 2018, that Karen Allen’ an employee of QA Fish Ltd suffered significant leg injuries as a pedestrian, following a vehicular collision in Scalloway, Shetland.

A joint investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Police Scotland found that no site-specific workplace transport risk assessment had been carried out.

Health and Safety Prosecutions Forklift

The company failed to implement effective arrangements for the management of health and safety and also failed to act on the advice of a health and safety consultant several years prior to the incident.

QA Fish Ltd of Blacksness Pier, Shetland have pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) and Section 33(1)(a) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and have been fined £80,000, to be paid within 12 months.

The HSE commented that the accident ‘should have been prevented via suitable and sufficient control measures segregating pedestrians from vehicle movements‘.

April 2022

Chemical Company fined after worker suffered burns

Robert McBride Ltd was sentenced today for safety breaches after a 31-year-old worker suffered 13 per cent superficial burns to his right arm and hand following the ignition of flammable vapours at the company’s site in Hull.

Beverley Magistrates’ Court heard that on 21 August 2017, a batch of hairspray was being mixed in a 10,000 litre stainless steel mixing vessel. Flammable vapours were created within the mixing vessel as a result of heating.

As the worker was adding powders into the vessel via the lid using a metal scoop, flammable vapours leaving the vessel via the lid ignited, briefly engulfing his upper torso.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found  there was an extraction system at the lip of the manway lid to remove vapours from this area, but it was not adequate to prevent a build-up of a flammable atmosphere. The ignition source is likely to have been a spark from the metal scoop, or static electricity build up on the workers clothing.

Health and Safety Prosecutions DSEAR

Robert McBride Ltd of Hornscroft Park, Kinswood, Hull pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 6(1) of the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations (DSEAR) 2002.

The company was fined £480,000 and ordered to pay costs of £13,441.80.

Read our DSEAR Assessment guide

March 2022

Spring manufacturer sentenced after worker severs fingers

A spring manufacturing company has been fined after an employee had two fingers of his right hand severed whilst attempting to lubricate a bandsaw.

Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard how on 2 October 2019, a labourer employed by Hanson Springs Ltd in Rochdale was assisting in the cutting back department to cut sections of steel spring using a vertical bandsaw when the blade began to smoke and squeal.

Health and Safety Prosecutions UK

The worker decided to replace the blade, as on inspection it appeared heavily worn. He attempted to lubricate the new blade, by pressing a cardboard tube of wax onto the exposed section of it whilst it ran. The tube was drawn in, in turn drawing in the worker’s hand, severing the middle two fingers at the first and second knuckle respectively.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that although the worker had received training from the supervisor in using the machine, it was of poor quality, no formal competency assessment had been carried out, nor was he certain that he could use the machine unsupervised.

Furthermore, despite lubrication of the blades in this manner being standard practice within the company, it was unnecessary as the machine was self-lubricating.

Health and Safety Prosecutions 2022

Hanson Springs Ltd of Hanson Place, Gorrells Way, Rochdale, Lancashire pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

The company was fined £200,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,394.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Peter Lennon said: “This incident could so easily have been avoided. “Employers should ensure they carry out an assessment of the risks and put in safe system of works for the operation of all machinery.

Access our free online Risk Assessment Training here.

February 2022

Sheetmetal fabrication company in court after worker’s finger crushed

A company specialising in manufacturing canopies and ventilation ducting has been fined after an employee’s hand was drawn into the rotating parts of a machine, resulting in serious injury.

Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard how on 14 October 2019, an apprentice of R Briggs Sheetmetal Fabrication Ltd, was instructed by another apprentice and a trainee on how to operate a swaging machine. 

Health and Safety Prosecution Risk Assessment

This consisted of two rotating wheels controlled by a foot pedal, used to put a groove around a ducting tube. After carrying this process out on approximately four pieces of tubing, the apprentice was left to proceed on their own, unsupervised.

Whilst continuing the task a the fabric safety glove worn by the apprentice caught in the rotating wheels of the machine.

On releasing the foot pedal, the wheels took a few seconds to stop, drawing the apprentice’s hand between them. The employee suffered from a crushed fingertip and a fracture.

As a result of the incident the worker was unable to work for two months.

Health and Safety Prosecutions 2022

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company had not performed a risk assessment for using the machine or implemented any safe systems of work including recognising that the gloves presented a drawing-in and entanglement hazard on that machine.

They did not provide staff with adequate training or assess the additional risks presented by a young, inexperienced person working with machinery and being unaware of existing or potential risks.

Health and Safety Prosecutions 2022

R.Briggs Sheetmetal Fabrication Ltd of Bond Street, Colne, Lancashire, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

The company was fined £13,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,682.

Access our free Risk Assessment Training here.

January 2022

Chemical sentence after fatal fall through roof

A company has been sentenced after an employee of a Powys construction company was fatally injured in Liverpool when he fell six metres through a roof whilst working on a replacement roof project.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that on 22 May 2017, roofer Marius Andrus was completing snagging work on a replacement roof. 

Health and Safety Prosecutions Work at Height

The worker had accessed a part of the old roof made of fragile asbestos cement sheets, which gave way. He fell through the sheets to the ground below sustaining fatal injuries.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the area accessed did not have safety nets fitted and that the employer failed to take reasonably practicable measures to reduce the risk to those working on the roof.

Health and Safety Prosecutions Work at Height

AJM Services (Midlands) Ltd of Llanfihangel, Llanfyllin, Powys pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

The company was fined £51,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,000.

The owners of the building had previously been prosecuted in relation to the same accident.

Owners of the building, Pearsons Glass of Maddrell Street, Liverpool pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, section 3, at an earlier hearing and were sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court in February 2021.

The company was fined £80,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6,656.

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