Learning from HSE enforcement experience - Archive
This page summarises HSE prosecutions and enforcement Notices related to maintenance between the period May 2010 and August 2011. The information was drawn from HSE's live operational databases current at the time so it is possible that there could be minor discrepancies between these and HSE's subsequent published official statistics.
Prosecutions in Great Britain in August 2011
In August 2011, thirty-two companies or individuals were found guilty and fined as a result of being prosecuted by HSE. Four of these prosecutions were related to maintenance work:
A handyman died from his injuries after falling from a stepladder. He had been asked to build shelving in a storeroom but was later found lying on the storeroom floor, bleeding from a severe head wound, with the stepladder beside him. The stepladder was in very poor condition; the company had failed to carry out a full site-specific risk assessment and had also failed to plan and organise the work so that it was carried out in a safe manner and with suitable access equipment. The worker's manager was also prosecuted.
An employee working as part of a team clearing up a spillage was seriously injured when a 600kg bag of ammonium nitrate fell on top of him. The bag struck him on his back, forcing him over and causing him to strike his head on the floor. He suffered a serious back injury, a fractured right thigh and ligament damage to his left leg and was in hospital for three weeks following the incident. He had to wear a back brace for five months, underwent surgery on his back and has not been able to return to work since his accident more than three years ago because of ongoing back pain and limited movement. Although his employer had a risk assessment for the bag store, which had identified bags falling from the stacks as a hazard, the control measures were too generic and made no reference to any safe working procedures.
Three sub-contractors from a specialist engineering company undertaking maintenance work were drenched in a liquid jet of caustic soda when repairing a valve on a line running from a detergent tank. Up to 6,000 litres of the chemical spilled out from the container. One worker was temporarily blinded and one of his colleagues suffered 25 per cent burns left him with scars and continuing sensitivity, making it difficult for him to tolerate heat. The third man suffered minor skin burns and irritation to his eyes. The men had not been given adequate instructions or appropriate personal protective equipment. The company employing the men had not managed their contractors properly or carried out suitable risk assessments for the work that they had been asked to do.
A handyman fixing a leak on a fragile roof lost his balance, stepped backwards and fell through a roof panel, landing on a machine cover more than four metres below. He was very lucky to come away from the incident with just bruising - he could easily have suffered a major injury or been killed. The company that had employed him – and for whom he had worked for more than thirty years - had allowed him to work along a section of the roof without anything in place to stop him falling. In addition, nothing was done to monitor or control the work he was doing and there were no method statements or risk assessments for the work.
Notices August 2011
In August 2011, 3 Prohibition Notices were served in relation to maintenance work to:
- prevent a press machine being operated with its guard open when the maintenance technician disconnected the air supply to isolate the machine;
- prevent gutter cleaning where there was no roof edge protection;
- prevent cleaning of a barn roof without sufficient means to prevent or arrest a fall.
6 Improvement Notices were also served in relation to maintenance work and these were for:
- a safe system of work to protect employees carrying out routine maintenance in an engine room that was a confined space and with a known risk of hydrogen sulphide exposure;
- a safe isolation procedure during maintenance and cleaning of a hide puller;
- a risk assessment for a dye machine to include dealing with blockages and maintenance;
- an assessment of the risk to maintenance technicians of falling a distance liable to cause personal injury;
- ensuring that work at height, in particular the changing of high level light bulbs, was properly planned, appropriately supervised and carried out safely;
- safe procedures for carrying out maintenance activities in an area used by fork lift trucks.
Prosecutions in Great Britain in July 2011
In July 2011, thirty-four companies or individuals were found guilty and fined as a result of being prosecuted by HSE. Six of these prosecutions, which involved seven companies, were related to maintenance work.
Two workers died while they were fixing a hydraulic crane on a barge. They had gone below deck to find cabling and pipe work but the oxygen levels here were so low that one worker passed out. The other worker managed to climb back out. In an attempt to rescue the worker still below deck, two colleagues entered the small chamber but lost consciousness almost immediately. The three men needed to be rescued by emergency services but only one recovered, whilst his colleagues died at the scene. The companies for whom the men were working had not provided suitable information, instruction and training for work in the small sealed chambers, neither had they identified the risk to their employees from working in the confined space chambers or put in place a safe system of work.
A worker died after he fell 12 metres off a wall whilst repairing CCTV cameras beside a motorway at night. The two companies that had been responsible for his work had failed to plan, manage and monitor the job properly, meaning the worker had not been warned about the dangerous drop near where he was working. The companies had also failed to co-operate with each other to make sure that workers at the site were not put in danger.
Two electricians suffered life-threatening injuries when they were engulfed by a fireball at a factory as they were about to clean debris from a damaged fuse box. One of the electricians is still undergoing treatment for his burns, nearly five years on, and will never be able to return to work. There had been a fire in the fuse box during the previous afternoon but live cables had been routed through it so that the cooling equipment at the factory could continue to operate. This meant the company avoided having to shut down the plant for 36 hours. A suitable risk assessment had not been carried out for the work and management at the company had allowed the work to go ahead without the electricity supply being isolated, even though this went against their own work procedures.
An employee lost an arm at a giant industrial auger as he was carrying out repairs. He initially attempted a repair with the electrical power to the auger incorrectly isolated and without completing the permits for work required by company policy. The repair failed, so he attempted another repair the following day. However, both he and his supervisor failed to check that the power had been isolated, in breach of company procedures. When the supervisor accidentally activated the machine, his colleague's arm was removed above the elbow. Although the facilities to correctly isolate the machines were available, and the worker’s employer had trained its workforce in safety, it failed to provide the injured man with initial training or any additional information about the equipment he was working on or about company procedures. In addition, the plant manager did not supervise work correctly, which meant company permits to work were frequently not completed.
A worker lost three fingers when her hand was crushed between two rollers on a printing machine. She had been cleaning the rollers whilst they were still operating when the cloth caught between the rollers and her hand was pulled in as she tried to retrieve it. The guard, which was designed to fit between the rollers, was not being used and was left hanging down the side of the machine. In addition, the company allowed the rollers to be cleaned whilst the machine was still operating at full speed, rather than being stopped and cleaned in stages. It had also failed to put in place a safe system of work that could, for example, have required that a spatula, instead of a cloth, be used to remove the dust and ink spots from the rollers, thus eliminating the risk of the cloth becoming caught.
A school caretaker recladding the outside of a school kitchen lost his footing and fell 1.9 metres to the ground. He broke two ribs and needed a three-inch metal plate and multiple metal screws inserted into a broken arm. The school had failed to take suitable and sufficient measures to prevent the caretaker failing from height while carrying out work, including providing an appropriate work platform.
Notices in July 2011
In July 2011, nine Improvement Notices were served in relation to maintenance work:
2 were for the assessment of risks for employees cleaning, clearing blockages and carrying out maintenance inside machinery;
2 were for fragile roof warning signs, following a workman's fall through a fragile roof;
1 was for a suitable, protected access for work at height at a cleaning hatch in a storage hopper/conveyor;
1 was for a safe system of work for clearing blockages in a machine;
1 was for the rescue of people in an emergency, whilst they were cleaning or maintaining fermentation tanks;
1 was for a safe means of access during maintenance and repair of refrigeration vehicles;
1 was for a safe system of work for cleaning the injector nozzle of a foam injection machine and which did not expose employees to harmful and toxic vapours of methylene chloride.
Prosecutions in Great Britain in June 2011
In June 2011, thirty-five companies or individuals were found guilty and fined as a result of being prosecuted by HSE. Four of these prosecutions, which involved six companies, were related to maintenance work.
A worker cleaning a large baling machine was crushed to death when it re-activated. He had received no proper training in how to clean the machine but had tackled the task when asked to do the job. The machine had not been shut down completely as there was a common misunderstanding at the company that isolation and lock-off at the mains were not required.
A maintenance worker fell 12 metres to his death through an unprotected opening in a platform walkway. He had been working with eight others to carry out urgent modification work on equipment. The opening had been left unprotected after a floor grating had been removed. There was also confusion and misunderstanding within the companies involved as to who was responsible for controlling the work.
A young trainee electrician suffered a fractured pelvis, facial injuries, a broken front tooth and lacerations to his elbow when the metal cage from which he was working fell 20ft from the fork lift truck that had been supporting it. The forklift had toppled over onto its side. The electrician and another trainee had been instructed to change a number of light bulbs on a warehouse ceiling. Neither had received any training, the job had not been properly assessed for risk, the wrong equipment had been used and the system of work was poor.
An employee fractured his hip and left elbow after he fell 3 metres whilst trying to step onto a ladder from the top of a lorry cab. He had climbed onto the lorry roof to assess whether or not a wind deflector needed to be fitted. However, he had not been given any training, the ladder had not been secured, no one else was there to help him and there was no safe system of work to complete the job safely.
Notices in June 2011
In June 2011, five Notices were issued in relation to work at height during cleaning or maintenance work:
- 1 Prohibition Notice was served for the cleaning of a sloping roof without the means in place to protect workers from a fall.
- 4 Improvement Notices were served for a safer means of working at height when carrying out cleaning and maintenance work.
Learning from good practice
Tarmac wins European Good Practice Award for safe maintenance
Tarmac Quarry Materials (West Region) has won a prestigious European health and safety award for its outstanding contribution to safe maintenance. The manufacturer of asphalt and road materials was one of eight organisations from across Europe recognised recently by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) as part of its Healthy Workplaces campaign on safe maintenance. More information can be found on the following links:
Prosecutions in Great Britain in May 2011
In May 2011, forty-eight companies or individuals were found guilty and fined as a result of being prosecuted by HSE. Four of these prosecutions were related to maintenance work and unsafe interventions in machinery:
An employee was seriously injured when he fell five metres through a fragile roof onto the concrete floor below. He suffered multiple fractures to his pelvis and ribs and was unable to walk for several months. He and a colleague had been cleaning the asbestos cement roof. The accident could have been avoided if his employers had put in place appropriate safety measures to prevent falls from height.
A maintenance fitter suffered severe and permanent injuries when his right hand was caught in a reel-fed paper machine. He had opened the door of the machine when he noticed that the paper had come loose. The interlocks on the machine doors had been overridden, so the machine kept running and his fingers became caught. He lost three fingers, partially severed his thumb, suffered injuries to his little finger and had two operations.
An employee was asked by management to investigate a leak on a flat roof at the company's premises. While walking across the roof, the employee caught his foot in a trailing cable and fell nearly three and a half metres to the ground below. He sustained five broken vertebrae and whiplash to his neck and it was four months before he could return to work. The roof had no guard rails and nothing for the worker to hold onto. There was also no safety protection below the roof to protect him from a fall.
A maintenance worker producing a replacement part for a packaging machine in the factory where he worked suffered serious injuries to his left hand as he was polishing the component on a metal-working machine. The machine was still rotating and his hand was pulled into it. He lost his index finger, suffered severe nerve damage to two other fingers and received deep cuts. His employer should have identified safety measures for the work in advance, such as providing an alternative way to polish the metal component. The worker had not been given any refresher training on safe working practices and the company had also failed to assess the risks of the work he was carrying out or made sure that suitable safety measures were in place.
Notices March to May 2011
From March to May 2011, eleven enforcement Notices were served in relation to maintenance work:
2 Prohibition Notices and 5 Improvement Notices were served for safe systems of work for access to machinery during maintenance, repairs and cleaning work;
1 Prohibition Notice was served because of a lack of a safe system of work to control accidental release of ammonia gas during maintenance work;
1 Improvement Notice was served for a safe method of working at height whilst carrying out pest control;
1 Improvement Notice was served for provision of information and training for cleaning machinery;
1 Improvement Notice was served for an assessment of the risks to maintenance staff working on machinery that may contain asbestos
Prosecutions in Great Britain in April 2011
In April 2011, thirty-one companies or individuals were found guilty and fined as a result of being prosecuted by HSE. Four of these prosecutions were related to maintenance work:
A worker suffered fatal head injuries when he was struck by a steel barrier whilst carrying out repairs on a rubber-mixing machine. The barrier had been stored vertically and unsecured against rubber compound powder containers. The worker’s employer had failed to assess the risks and implement a suitable and sufficient safe system of work for maintenance of the mixer; and also failed to supervise, manage, monitor, audit and review arrangements for maintenance on the mixer.
A worker was seriously injured when he fell nearly five metres from a barn roof onto a grain bucket. He suffered five broken vertebrae, a fractured skull and internal bleeding. He had been working from a cage attached to a telehandler but had climbed out onto a scaffold board to continue removing nails from old panels. There was nothing in place to prevent him from falling. The work on the barn roof should not have been carried out in this way and the fall could have been avoided had appropriate safety measures been taken.
Five workers suffered severe burns when a steam pressure system malfunctioned. They had been working on the maintenance of a high-pressure food-processing machine when they were hit by an uncontrolled release of steam and boiling water. The workers suffered severe burns to their faces, arms and hands as a result of the incident. The machine’s control systems had been replaced prior to the maintenance work but no proper assessment of the risks associated with these modifications had been made.
A worker, who was part of a team carrying out routine maintenance work, had his feet crushed in the conveyors of a rolling mill and his arms burnt. His right leg had to be amputated below the knee and he is still undergoing treatment to repair his left heel and relieve pain. It is unlikely he will be able to work again. The worker’s employer had failed to ensure that dangerous parts of the mill could not be activated whilst workers were carrying out maintenance work. They also failed to take adequate measures to ensure that workers were protected from the intense heat radiating from the hot conveyor rollers on which the maintenance team had to stand.
Prosecutions in Great Britain in March 2011
In March 2011, 57 companies or individuals were found guilty and fined as a result of being prosecuted by HSE. Five of these prosecutions were related to maintenance work:
An engineering manager was seriously injured after falling through a skylight at a plastics manufacturing factory. He had climbed onto the roof of the factory and was taking measurements of a damaged skylight, ready for repair, when it gave way and he fell 7½ metres onto the floor of the tool room below. The company had failed to manage the work taking place on the roof of the factory.
An employee suffered severe crush injuries whilst he was fixing a machine at a steel works. The machine had not been isolated and it operated inadvertently whilst the operator was inside the machine enclosure. Other employees who were working in the machinery enclosure escaped injury. The company did not have effective guarding around the machines; also, written procedures to ensure that the machines remained isolated until maintenance work was complete had not been applied.
An employee was seriously injured when he fell from an unsecured cage balanced on a fork lift truck whilst carrying out maintenance of a high sided lorry. No risk assessment had been made and no safe system of work put in place.
An employee suffered acid burns to his face, neck and arm whilst using a high concentration of sulphuric acid to unblock a sink. His employer had not given him appropriate protective clothing or training or supervision on the safe use of the sink unblocker, which was 96% sulphuric acid. He was off work for more than two months due to the extent of his injuries.
An employee was seriously injured when he fell through an asbestos cement roof that he was repairing. His employer had failed to provide sufficient protective measures to stop him from falling through a fragile roof.
Prosecutions in Great Britain in February 2011
In February 2011, 34 companies or individuals were found guilty and fined as a result of being prosecuted by HSE. Five of these prosecutions were related to maintenance work:
A contractor fell more than 5 metres whilst carrying out repairs to a fragile asbestos roof. He fractured his neck, suffered four broken ribs, two broken vertebrae in his lower back and a broken collar bone. He also punctured a lung and had to have ten staples in his head. The company he was working for had failed to ensure that work at height on the fragile roof was carried out safely.
A worker came into contact with exposed live electrical conductors and suffered a 33,000 volt shock whilst carrying out electrical maintenance work. He had been cleaning the conductors and circuit breaker units in a control room that had not been isolated.
A worker was injured when he fell approximately 4 metres through a roof he was fixing. He had been checking for loose corrugated metal sheets on the roof when a wooden roof support broke and he fell through to the floor below, breaking a collarbone. He also suffered concussion and severe cuts and bruising. The accident could have been prevented had the roof work been planned properly and a platform provided for his work at height.
A contractor cleaning a fragile asbestos cement roof fell nearly 17 metres to his death. The factory where he was working had failed to make sure the work was properly planned and organised and did not control, monitor and review the way that the work was being carried out.
A mechanic was seriously hurt when he fell around 5 metres from a makeshift platform on a forklift truck. He had been standing on the platform whilst repairing a light at the top of a high-sided vehicle. The platform had not been securely fixed to the fork lift truck, nor had the work been properly planned, supervised or carried out safely.
Prosecutions in Great Britain in January 2011
In January 2011, 39 companies or individuals were found guilty and fined as a result of being prosecuted by HSE. Four of these prosecutions related to maintenance work:
Four workers who had been removing insulation panels from a cold store that had previously been destroyed by fire stepped onto a panel that gave way and they fell more than 3 metres to the ground.
A steeplejack fell to his death from the top of a disused chimney. He and a colleague had been repairing the brickwork on the chimney but as they were taking down the scaffolding it gave way. The man's colleague survived by clinging to a ladder on the outside of the chimney.
A worker clearing a yard fell approximately 6 metres down a dry well as he was cleaning its cover.
A worker fell through a fragile skylight while cleaning guttering and suffered multiple rib fractures and severe bruising. Another employee sent to take photographs of the scene fell through a different skylight but luckily escaped injury. However, a worker who was sent later to repair the skylights fell more than four metres to the ground below. He sustained severe spinal injuries and is now paralysed from the waist down.
Notices in London in January 2011
In January 2011, 70 enforcement Notices were served on 49 companies or individuals in London. One of these was a Prohibition Notice served for work near fragile surfaces or open holes in a roof.
Prosecutions in Great Britain in December 2010
In December 2010, 34 companies or individuals were found guilty and fined as a result of being prosecuted by HSE. Three of these prosecutions related to maintenance work:
A subcontractor fell more than five metres from a ladder after suffering an electric shock when he made contact with a live three-phase 415v conductor that was the main power channel to the overhead crane that he had been about to repair. The company had not marked it or isolated it prior to the subcontractor starting his work.
An agency worker died after being struck by the moving parts of a cut and crease machine that he was maintaining. The machine was started by another worker whilst the agency worker was inside the machine working on the roller bearings.
A worker received serious injuries when he became entangled in a conveyor system at the exit from a trim saw. He had been attempting to free jammed timbers from the conveyor when it moved unexpectedly.
Notices in Scotland in December 2010
In December 2010, 24 enforcement Notices were served on 20 companies or individuals in Scotland. One of these related to the management of contractors.
Prosecutions in GB in November 2010
In the month of November 2010, 35 companies or individuals were found guilty and fined as a result of being prosecuted by HSE. Three of these prosecutions were related to maintenance activities.
One involved a handyman falling through a factory roof light. He had been sent onto the roof to repair a leak. The second involved a 17 year old apprentice who received head injuries when avoiding being hit by the sudden movement of part of a press that had not been isolated. The third involved a builder being prosecuted for unsafe work on a restaurant roof, replacing broken roof tiles.
In addition to these three maintenance prosecutions, HSE also took two prosecutions in circumstances where production staff were injured trying to free blockages. In one a worker at a recycling company was overcome by nitrogen gas having climbed into a chute to free a fridge, and in a second a food factory worker who had accessing a conveyor belt through an interlocked door was injured when a fellow worker closed the door and restarted the machine.
Notices in the East Midlands in November 2010
In the month of November 2010, enforcement Notices were served on 32 companies or individuals (a total of 43 Notices) in the East Midlands. One of these related to inadequate isolation facilities.
Prosecutions in GB in October 2010
In the month of October 2010, 32 companies or individuals were found guilty and fined as a result of being prosecuted by HSE, for a total of 43 breaches. Three of these HSE prosecutions were related to maintenance activities. A further case was taken by a Local Authority on maintenance activities.
A maintenance electrician at a minerals processing plant received severe burns when changing fuses on the live part of a control panel. A maintenance worker fell from height whilst dismantling racking in a warehouse area – he was part of a team of 6 who had reached the racking via an unsecured ladder and being lifted on the forks of a FLT, and fell when the board he was standing on gave way. In the third case a fencing manufacturer was prosecuted for using unguarded machinery - the guards having been deliberately bypassed to allow access for operational and maintenance purposes.
In the prosecution taken by a Local Authority, an employee of a contractor engaged to test a rooftop safety system installed at retail premises fell approximately 10 metres through a roof light to his death.
Notices in the North West in October 2010
In the month of October 2010, enforcement Notices were served on 104 companies or individuals (a total of 206 Notices) in the North West. Two of these Notices, one on a contractor and the other on the occupier of the premises, related to the danger of falling through a fragile roof during roof repairs. An unrelated Notice was served on a Local Authority, again related to work at height and roof repairs.
Prosecutions in GB in September 2010
In the month of September 2010, 48 companies or individuals were found guilty and fined as a result of being prosecuted by HSE, for a total of 67 breaches. Eight of these prosecutions were related to maintenance activities.
A sawmill was prosecuted twice, for two separate incidents. In the first a worker fell through a gap in a raised walkway that had been opened up during work on a conveyor, and in the second a worker had his head and neck crushed by a hoist mechanism which was switched on whilst he was working on it. A buildings material firm was prosecuted, as was one of its Directors, when an employee was killed in a mixing machine that he had accessed for cleaning. The machine had been switched on by another employee.
A Borough Council was prosecuted for sending an employee to deal with a water leak in a housing complex without telling him that asbestos was known to be present. A food manufacturer was prosecuted when a metal pillar fell on a maintenance engineer and crushed his skull during work that had not been properly planned. The employers of a 17 year old were prosecuted under three different charges when he fell through a warehouse roof light whilst cleaning out the guttering. A tile manufacturer was prosecuted after a production supervisor had fingers and a thumb severed whilst trying to unblock a waste extraction system. Production workers had access to tools to remove guards, and the isolation system was described as being below expected standards.
In a further case, a maintenance worker sustained 60% burns when a spark from a plasma cutter in a maintenance area ignited a quarter full 25 litre drum of thinners.
Notices in Yorkshire and Humber in September 2010
In the month of September 2010, enforcement Notices were served on 33 companies or individuals (a total of 59 Notices) in Yorkshire and Humber. Two of these Notices, both served on the same company, related to risks arising from work at height when cleaning, maintaining and painting greenhouse structures.
Prosecutions in GB in August 2010
In the month of August 2010, 33 companies or individuals were found guilty and fined as a result of being prosecuted by HSE. Two of these prosecutions were related to maintenance activities.
One resulted from a worker in a Staffordshire factory falling more than 2 metres from an incomplete scaffold whilst carrying out a routine maintenance task on a machine used to make exhaust pipes. The 61 year old suffered a broken back and was immobilised for more than 6 weeks. The second prosecution arose from a 13 year old boy falling through a roof light whilst his step father and a second person were clearing gutters on a farm building. He had been lifted to roof level in a tractor bucket to see what was happening. The boy died from his injuries.
Notices in the south west in August 2010
In the month of August 2010, enforcement Notices were served on 55 companies or individuals (a total of 78 Notices) in the South West. None of these Notices related to risks arising from maintenance.
Prosecutions in Great Britain in July 2010
In the month of July 2010, 67 companies or individuals were found guilty and fined as a result of being prosecuted by HSE. Five of these prosecutions were related to maintenance activities (four falls and one isolation), and a further two related to cleaning incidents that also involved isolation failures.
An air conditioning engineer was fatally injured when visiting a recently completed building to investigate a fault. He fell over a low parapet wall when working on a flat roof. An employee of a construction company fell through a roof light at a horticultural site when repairing storm damage to a nearby roof, and suffered back injuries. A contractor replacing a leaking roof light at a retail store was fatally injured in a 7 metre fall. A worker clearing moss from the roof and gutters of farm buildings fell 3 metres and suffered heel, ankle and shin damage. He was working from a telehandler bucket. In the isolation-related injury, a maintenance worker was left with serious injuries after being struck by a manufacturing robot whilst viewing its operating cycle from within a guarded area. The investigation showed that viewing from inside the guarded area had become common practice.
In the first cleaning incident, a night shift worker at an agricultural feed company had his arm sliced off when cleaning a rotary valve to avoid it getting choked with oat products. The Court heard that the machine had not been isolated because the isolation facilities were difficult to reach. In a separate incident involving very similar circumstances, a female employee lost two fingers cleaning a hopper dispensing oats to a screw conveyor at a biscuit factory. In this case the isolator switches were on top of an unguarded platform that had to be accessed by a vertical hooped ladder, and they were not clearly labelled.
Notices in Wales in July 2010
In the month of July 2010, enforcement Notices were served on 12 companies or individuals (a total of 22 Notices) in Wales. None of these Notices related to risks arising from maintenance.
Prosecutions in Great Britain in June 2010
In the month of June 2010, 67 companies or individuals were found guilty and fined as a result of being prosecuted by HSE. Four of these prosecutions were related to maintenance activities - 3 involved falls from height, and 1 involved exposure to asbestos.
A Local Authority was prosecuted after an electrician was killed whilst fixing overhead lights in a gym. The MEWP he was working from overturned whilst it was being moved, and he sustained fatal injuries from his fall. The prosecution related to inadequate information, instruction, training and supervision. A company was prosecuted when an employee fell 4 metres after slipping off the end of a crawling board when scraping moss off a factory roof. He had been lifted onto the roof by a pallet on a fork lift truck, and there was no equipment or any procedures in place to prevent or mitigate a fall. An individual was prosecuted for an unsafe scaffold and ladder combination when trying to repair a wind damaged sign over 8 metres from ground level. The scaffold overturned and a worker sustained a fractured wrist and other injuries.
An engineering company was prosecuted for failing to manage the risks from asbestos after maintenance staff were required to reposition an electrical junction box and they drilled into asbestos insulation board.
Notices in the West Midlands in June 2010
In the month of June 2010, enforcement Notices were served on 53 companies or individuals (a total of 78 Notices) in the West Midlands. Seven of these Notices related to risks arising from maintenance.
All seven Notices related to different aspects of an incident involving the replacement of internal roof panels after a roof leak. One of the workers involved fell approximately 6 metres from a ladder. The client and the contractors received Prohibition Notices related to unsafe methods for working at height, and for an unsafe item of electrical equipment being used. The client also received an Improvement Notice in respect of managing contractors.
Prosecutions in May 2010
In the month of May 2010, 27 companies or individuals were found guilty and fined as a result of being prosecuted by HSE (for a total of 32 breaches). Six of these prosecutions were related to maintenance or cleaning activities.
A college was prosecuted after a window cleaner fell four metres when working at its premises (his employer was also prosecuted in October 2009). A maintenance worker employed by an energy company was injured by an ejected valve when he was working on a blocked compressed air line under a permit to work system. A tool setter suffered electrical burns when he removed a cover on a plastics welding machine trying to investigate an air leak. A worker at a plastics recycling firm had parts of two fingers cut off by the blades of a high speed fan when trying to repair a drying unit. A construction firm was prosecuted when one of its workers fell through a factory roof light (the factory was also prosecuted), and a confectionary company was prosecuted when a technician suffered head injuries in trying to clean a spill of refrigerant liquid with the process plant running at full speed.
This month there was also a press report of a Local Authority prosecuting a property maintenance firm after the fall of an employee from a ladder whilst working at a bank.
Notices in the North East in May 2010
In the month of May 2010, enforcement Notices were served on 13 companies or individuals (a total of 19 Notices) in the North East.
One rubber processing company received an Improvement Notice for isolation and lock off procedures, and a builder received a Prohibition Notice for unsafe work whilst conducting minor repairs to a school roof.