for the month of February, 2015
Hundreds fail food safety inspections across South Yorkshire
Figures from the Food Standards Agency show 764 firms across the region are currently listed as failing to meet the minimum three out of five-star rating in inspections.
More than 270 businesses in Rotherham were not up to standard, along with 195 in Sheffield, 167 in Doncaster and 127 in Barnsley.
Food inspectors rated 27 companies as zero stars – requiring them to make ‘urgent improvements’ to their hygiene standards.
Four Sheffield businesses – Chikoo’s Takeaway on London Road, Koh-I-Noor on Handsworth Road, Wincobank Deli on Wincobank Avenue and Charley’s Pantry on Wostenholm Road – have received zero-star ratings ordering urgent improvements to be carried out.
Chikoo’s was found to have evidence of mice in its cellar, according to an inspection carried out in July.
A spokesman for Chikoo’s said since the July inspection which resulted in a zero rating, improvements have been made and a subsequent inspection has taken place.
The business has now been given a three-star rating.
Michael Bluff, principal officer for Sheffield Council’s food safety team, said the business was re-inspected on December 17 and had made ‘significant improvements’.
Rashid Mahmood, owner of Koh-I-Noor for around 18 years, said standards have improved since the inspection which resulted in the zero rating in September.
Inspectors had found food in a walk-in chiller did not have use-by dates attached, while food handlers were observed not washing their hands correctly.
Mr Mahmood said there had been subsequent visits by food inspectors and the restaurant was hopefully of having a higher rating reinstated in the near future. He said he had not been on site when the September inspection occurred and said he understands the restaurant will soon return to its normal high rating.
“We have never had any complaints from anywhere,” he said.
“Everything is spotless and it is all nice and tidy. I’m really strict with my staff and it will never happen again.”
Charley’s Pantry owner Alan Humphreys said his business is set to be re-inspected this month after the eatery made a raft of improvements to the building.
He said he was surprised to learn about the business’ low rating because the inspector did not tell the takeaway what its rating was.
Mr Humphreys said: “None of it was food-related, which we found a little disturbing. We have made improvements to the tiles and we are going to put some new cladding in.
“Someone perhaps should have looked at the fact that it is an old building, it’s going to have these issues.
“We just have to do the best we can and we are now on top of it, and the kitchen does look a lot better.”
Lee Wilson, owner of Wincobank Deli, said he had taken over the business in the summer and a series of improvements have now been made, with new equipment brought in.
He said he is hopeful of getting a top hygiene rating when inspectors next visit.
“They will be coming out again and I think I will be get a five-star now,” he said.
“Everything is spotless now and we are just waiting for the new rating. Everybody who comes in says how clean it is.”
Prevention better than post-op: UK Potters Holiday Resort Norovirus outbreak costs £250,000
An outbreak of the Norovirus winter vomiting bug at a holiday village, which affected over 100 guests, has cost the company at least £250,000.
Potters Resort at Hopton-on-Sea near Great Yarmouth closed on Monday after a number of cases the previous week.
The resort has undergone midweek cleaning and reopened to 750 guests on Friday afternoon.
Potters said the costs were a combination of lost trade and the clean-up operation.
Steve Naldrett, director of ardan training says "This shows the importance of preventing Norovirus in places like this, if you fail to contain the virus you could be charged with a hefty fine or even prosecution"
Recycling company in court after worker fell from conveyor belt
A Lincolnshire metal recycling firm has been prosecuted for safety breaches after a worker was left with broken ribs when he fell from a sloping conveyor belt.
The worker, 49, from Deeping St Nicholas in Lincolnshire, suffered multiple rib fractures following the incident at BW Riddle in Bourne on 7 February, 2013.
Lincoln Crown Court heard today (22 Dec) that the worker was carrying out maintenance on the conveyor belt, leaning over the top end while working on the bearings. When the main power was switched on again, the whole line, including the belt, reactivated.
The man fell from the belt onto a heap of scrap metal below, and then onto the concrete floor, breaking ribs on both sides of his body.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the conveyor belt had not been isolated.
The court was told HSE had taken previous enforcement action against the company. In August 2010 it was found there were no formal procedures for isolating the conveyors during maintenance. An Improvement Notice was issued and complied with.
Further enforcement action was taken in 2010 relating to failing to prevent access to dangerous parts of machinery, and again in 2011.
BW Riddle, which has been established 50 years and has sites in Boston, Corby and Peterborough, was fined £70,000 and ordered to pay £18,000 in costs for breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company, of South Fen Road, Bourne, had pleaded guilty at a previous hearing.
After the hearing, HSE inspector Neil Ward said:
“The incident could easily have resulted in a death and only luck saved this worker from more serious injury.
“Had the company put in place the correct, formal procedures for locking off and isolating the conveyor belts, this incident could have been prevented entirely.
“However, it is clear that while BW Riddle had complied with previous enforcement action, the firm neglected safety again and again, and disregarded lessons that should have been learned from previous HSE interventions.”
Steve Naldrett, director of Ardan training says "this highlights the importance of proper health and safety at work training, having the correct training will prevent things like this from happening too often"
Ebbw Vale packaging firm in court over workerís injuries
An Ebbw Vale packaging company has been has been fined for safety failings after a delivery driver was hit by a forklift truck at its premises.
Newport Magistrates’ Court heard today (19 December) that Graham Williams (61) visited Platt Packaging Ltd at Rassau Industrial Estate on 7 October 2013 to collect palleted products for distribution.
While his lorry was being loaded, Mr Williams was on a telephone call with his employer, a freight company, and was standing nearby with his back to the vehicle. Suddenly he was struck by the reversing forklift truck and knocked to the ground.
He suffered a double fracture to his left ankle, damage to his leg and spent over a month in Neville Hall hospital, Abergavenny. He has been unable to return to work.
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that Platt Packaging had no formal safe system of work in place for delivery operations at the site. The company also failed to provide instructions for delivery drivers to be in a place of safety while the forklift truck was being used.
Platt Packaging Limited, of Rassau Industrial Estate, Rassau, Ebbw Vale, Gwent, was fined a total of £10,000 and ordered to pay £4,663 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Lee Schilling said:
“The dangers associated with workplace transport are well-documented in the industry. Incidents involving moving vehicles and pedestrians on the same site have resulted in major injuries, and even fatalities in the workplace.
“Platt Packaging should have provided a clearly marked, designated safe zone for delivery drivers and implemented a safe system of work that incorporated the need for communication between the delivery driver and the forklift operator.
“Had these basic safety requirements been fulfilled, the incident would not have happened and Mr Williams would not have been injured.”
Steve Naldrett, director of Ardan training says "just like it says above, if the basic safety requirements are being fulfilled then there would be a massive cut in the amount of work related injuries and deaths"
Seat belt could have saved life of estate worker
The co-owner of a sporting and farming estate in the North Yorkshire national park has been prosecuted after a 79-year-old occasional worker died in an overturned all-terrain vehicle on remote moorland.
Retired businessman James Gaffney was driving the utility vehicle down a slope while collecting dead game following one of the regular pheasant shoots on the Urra estate when the vehicle overturned. Mr Gaffney wasn’t wearing a seatbelt and suffered fatal head injuries.
He was found trapped in the vehicle later that day and was pronounced dead at the scene of the incident on 31 October 2013.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated and today ( 17 Dec) prosecuted the senior partner and co-owner of the Urra estate, Malcolm John Reeve, at Darlington Magistrates’ court.
HSE’s identified that Mr Reeve was responsible for managing health and safety on the estate. However, they found no one on the estate had bothered to use the seat belt on the all-terrain vehicle as no one had been told they had to.
The court heard that Mr Gaffney, of Hutton Rudby, Stokesley, had retired many years earlier and had worked as a beater on the pheasant shoots for a number of years, including before the present owners took over the multi-acre estate.
He had in more recent years been one of a team with the less arduous role of retrieving the shot game and taking them to the estate cold store. The court was told Mr Gaffney had been paid for his work but also enjoyed it as an unpaid hobby.
HSE said no one had witnessed the incident but it appeared on the available evidence that he had been driving the all-terrain – which had a cab – along a track across a slope when the vehicle turned up the slope and overturned, leaving Mr Gaffney fatally injured and trapped in the cab.
The vehicle itself had no significant defects and Mr Gaffney had used it before.
Malcolm John Reeve, of Cold Moor Cote Farm, Chopgate, Middlesbrough, was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay £1,681 in costs after admitting breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
After the hearing, investigating HSE inspector Julian Franklin said:
“This was a very tragic event that could have so easily been prevented. It is more than likely that use of the seatbelt would have saved Mr Gaffney’s life.
“All terrain vehicles are capable of travelling on very rough and steep ground, but if they do overturn, the driver needs to be retained in the cab. If the vehicle has doors, they should be shut and a seat belt should be used.
“It is important to follow manufacturer’s instructions and freely-available guidance from HSE when using any machinery, including the various types of workplace transport. The precautions necessary are largely common sense but employers or companies must make sure that all workers put them into practice as a matter of routine.”
Steve Naldrett, director of Ardan Training says "this shows how simple things put in place can prevent loss of life"
Recycling giant fined £150k for workerís death
A global metal recycling company has been fined £150k for safety failings after a worker was killed when part of a 33-tonne metal barge he was dismantling collapsed on top of him.
William Ward, 56, from Handsworth, Sheffield, sustained catastrophic crush injuries in the incident at European Metal Recycling Ltd’s Kingsbury depot in Warwickshire on 12 October 2011.
The recycling giant, which operates across Europe, Asia and the Americas, was jointly sentenced today (19 Dec) after an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) identified serious flaws with the method of work being used to dismantle the barges.
Warwickshire Crown Court heard that Mr Ward was working alongside others to cut and dismantle two large steel barges using oxy-acetylene torches.
Mr Ward had finished cutting through the outer skin of the barge’s hull and had moved inside the now unsupported structure to cut some supporting braces when the side collapsed in on him. The married father of two died at the scene.
EMR failed to do enough to protect the workers, and ensure that burning contractors on site were competent and working safely.
European Metal Recycling Ltd of Westbrook, Warrington, Cheshire, was fined £150,000 and ordered to pay £80,000 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Mark Austin said:
“European Metal Recycling Ltd used Mr Ward to work for them as a burner, and were responsible for his safety and for ensuring the barges were being dismantled in a safe manner.
“Our investigation found they all neglected that responsibility and Mr Ward has paid the ultimate price with his life – a terrible and senseless loss that was completely preventable had the work been better planned and managed.”
Mrs Ward’s wife of 25 years, Mrs Jayne Ward, said:
“On hearing of Billy’s death, my world was turned upside down. In those first days after his death, I was in a state of shock.
“The news was so sudden and one of the worst things was not to have been able to say goodbye.
“Other people can go home to talk to their partners and parents. I have no partner now and the boys have no father.
“I think of all the things that Billy will never see – the boys getting married, having children, children which would have been our grandchildren.
“As a couple, you build up a picture of your life together going forward – seeing the boys settled, grandchildren, retiring and spending time together. All this has been taken from him, from me and from the boys.”
Steve Naldrett, director of Ardan Training says "if the man had been given the correct training, it nay have prevented the accident from happening altogether"
UK Chinese takeaway fined for poor hygiene and violating regulations
The Fortune House takeaway has been fined for poor hygiene in its kitchen and violating health and safety regulations.
The Chinese takeaway in Chessington Road, Ewell, was fined £1,200 and ordered to pay £400 towards the legal costs incurred by Epsom Council who brought the prosecution.
An inspection by environmental health officers found raw chicken defrosting at the sink next to a bag of cooked rice while raw meat and ready to eat foods were being prepared on the same work surface.
The cross-contamination, which might have caused food poisoning, came after the owner Simon Tsang had previous given assurances that hygiene would be improved.
He pleaded guilty to three food safety offences at South East Surrey Magistrates Court on Tuesday, January 13.
He admitted to not having a food safety management system in place, not supervising or training staff in food hygiene and not taking steps to prevent cross-contamination.
Councillor Jean Steer, chairman of the social committee, said: "In premises such as the Fortune House, safe and hygienic handling and storage of raw meats and other foods is essential in preventing against the risk of food poisoning, especially that of E. coli O157 cross contamination.
"The council's environmental health officers aim to work with local businesses to maintain and improve standards and offer advice to help them improve food safety and to comply with food safety regulations.
"However, when a business ignores the advice given to them and puts consumers at risk through their failure to meet accepted hygiene standards, the council will not hesitate to step in to protect the public."
Steve Naldrett, director of Ardan Training says "This highlights the importance of being correctly trained in food safety, cross contamination is very dangerous and the takeaway is lucky no one was seriously ill as a result"
Three firms sentenced after workerís death
A renewable technology company and two sub-contractors have been fined for safety failings after a worker was killed when he fell seven metres from a roof while installing solar panels.
Kevin Brookes, 35, from Tamworth, suffered fatal injuries in the incident at Southam Drive, Kineton Road Industrial Estate, Southam on 31 May 2012.
Principal contractor Alumet Renewable Technologies Ltd was jointly prosecuted today (6 Feb) with sub-contractors Midlands Solar Solutions Ltd, who employed Mr Brookes to install the panels, and Rugby Scaffolding Services Ltd, responsible for installing edge protection. An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) identified serious flaws with the health and safety plan and the way the work was managed.
Coventry Crown Court heard that Mr Brookes was attempting to retrieve a drill that had started to slide down towards the edge of the roof when he slipped and slid through the handrail, over the edge of the building, landing on his head.
Mr Brookes, who was the sole carer for his elderly disabled father, fell into an immediate coma and died 19 days later in hospital.
The HSE investigation found that Alumet had failed to put an adequate health and safety plan in place. The measures outlined in their plan were not sufficient to protect the workers, and those measures that were in place were not being followed by Alumet or the other two companies involved in the work.
The investigation identified that the edge protection did not meet nationally agreed standards. It also revealed that employees of Rugby Scaffolding Services Ltd weren’t properly trained to install the protection and didn’t have appropriate supervision.
The investigation also revealed that there were unsuitable provisions in place to prevent people falling through the skylights.
Alumet Renewable Energy Technologies Ltd, of Senator House, Bourne End, Southam, was today fined £66,000 and ordered to pay £12,491 in costs after admitting breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
Rugby Scaffolding Services Limited, of 24 Regent Place, Rugby, Warwickshire, admitted the same charge and was fined £60,000 and ordered to pay costs of £12,491.
Midlands Solar Solutions Ltd, of Emmanuel Court, 10 Mill Street, Sutton Coldfield, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the same Act and was fined £50,000 and ordered to pay £12,491 in costs.
After the hearing, HSE inspector Amy Kalay, said:
“This fatal fall was entirely and easily preventable. The health and safety plan and mechanisms put in place to carry out the work fell far below the required standards.
“All three companies had copious experience of working at height to install solar panels and as such should have been experts.
“Alumet Renewable Technologies Ltd knew that the work was a high-risk activity, and the company should have known what measures to put in place to keep workers safe and making sure these precautions were followed by everyone involved.”
Steve Naldrett, director of Ardan Training says "This just goes how to show you can never be too careful when it comes to health and safety, if in need of any training just give me a ring"
No handwashing for staff: UK food company ordered to pay nearly £30,000
A Bradford food company has been ordered to pay nearly £30,000 for its persistent failure to comply with “integral” hygiene regulations, such as providing handwashing facilities for staff.
Ahmer Raja Foods Ltd, which trades as Rajas Pizza Bar on Leeds Road, was fined the bulk of the money, £20,000, for refusing to comply with a number of improvement notices issued by Bradford Council’s environmental health team.
Noone from the company attended the hearing at Bradford and Keighley Magistrates’ Court yesterday, but 21 breaches of food hygiene regulations were proven in their absence, and the firm was told to pay a total of £29,895 within 28 days.
Harjit Ryatt, prosecuting on behalf of Bradford Council, told the court that on five visits to the premises between January 24 and April 9 this year, officers found a lack of wash basins for staff, food handlers not wearing the correct protective clothing, and food kept in dirty or broken containers.
Steve Naldrett, director of Ardan training says "this goes to show that the smallest things such as washing your hands can keep your business afloat, make sure you stick to all of the rules in a food workplace otherwise you can be fined like this company or if it is more severe and it moves on to make people ill you can face prosecution"
Council fined after worker is crushed by bin lorry
The largest local authority in the country has been fined after a refuse worker sustained leg injuries when he was trapped against a van by a reversing bin lorry.
Street cleansing officer Allan Chevelleau, 41, of Kings Norton was working at Birmingham City Council’s fleet and waste depot in Tyseley when the incident happened on 6 March 2014. Mr Chevelleau required hospital treatment for ligament injuries to his lower right leg.
Birmingham Magistrates’ Court heard today (19 December) that Mr Chevelleau was trapped between the door and cab of his parked street
cleansing vehicle when it was struck by a bin lorry as it reversed into a neighbouring parking space.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which brought the prosecution, said the bin lorry had not reversed in accordance with the council’s safe working procedure. This required a colleague to act as a reversing assistant to help guide the bin lorry driver during reversing manoeuvres.
HSE’s investigation found that this was not an isolated case of a vehicle reversing without assistance. CCTV footage of vehicles reversing in the depot showed workers routinely reversing vehicles without assistance, indicating they were not worried about potential disciplinary action for not doing so.
Senior management admitted there was no policy or programme of monitoring, or supervision of how employees were reversing.
Birmingham City Council, of The Council House, Victoria Square, Birmingham, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 5(1) of The Management of
Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and was fined £10,000 with £1,887 costs.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Karl Raw said:
“Mr Chevelleau is very lucky not to have suffered more serious injuries following an incident which was entirely preventable.
“It is vital, particularly in busy depots and yards where there are regular vehicle movements, that there is a programme of supervision and monitoring of how workers adhere to safe working practices.
“Reversing a HGV is a recognised high risk activity. It is only good fortune that this did not result in a fatality.”
Steve Naldrett, director of Ardan training says "there are safety procedures that should be followed in order to prevent things like this happening, they have obviously not been followed here"
Employee died from crushing injuries at Gloucester works yard
Gloucester-based contractor Complete Utilities Ltd has been prosecuted for safety failings after an employee died from crushing injuries sustained at work.
Spencer Powles 62, from Coleford, returned to the company’s works yard in Maisemore to collect a road saw. While there, he was pinned between a telehandler and a metal shipping container when the vehicle lurched forward.
Mr Powles, a father and grandfather, suffered severe injuries to his abdomen and was airlifted to Frenchay hospital in Bristol, where he died 10 days later.
Gloucester Crown Court heard today (12 December) that the incident, on 24 October 2012, happened when the operator of the telehandler was attempting to position its front carriage above the road saw, with the intention of lifting it onto Mr Powles’ lorry.
However, the operator braked suddenly when he saw Mr Powles appear by the saw. This caused the vehicle to lurch forward, trapping Mr Powles between the carriage of the telehandler and the container.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) established that the operator of the telehandler had not received proper training from a qualified instructor. The site itself was found to be disorganised and chaotic with no measures to organise traffic or safely separate vehicles and pedestrians on site.
The investigation also found that no safe system of work for the lifting of such items had been put in place and the telehandler was poorly maintained.
Complete Utilities Ltd of Overton Farm, Maisemore, Gloucester, was fined £80,000 and ordered to pay costs of £27,000 after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
Speaking after sentencing, HSE inspector Caroline Bird, said:
“This terrible incident could have been avoided and Mr Powles would still be here today if Complete Utilities had provided proper training to staff in the operation of this telehandler. It is not acceptable to put drivers into vehicles that they have not previously operated, or without the necessary training by a qualified and competent instructor.
“Workplace transport is the second biggest cause of fatal and major incidents in the workplace. Employers must ensure that all drivers are properly trained by qualified, competent instructors for the vehicles they are operating.
“Site vehicle movements need to be controlled and arrangements put in place to segregate vehicles and pedestrians.”
Steve Naldrett, director of Ardan training says "This shows how important health and safety is, it is needed to prevent deaths of workers"
Timber firm in court after workerís finger amputated
Building firm sentenced for corporate manslaughter
A building firm and its owner have been sentenced at Preston Crown Court, following an incident in 2011 where a man died as a result of falling through a roof.
Peter Mawson, a building and joining firm, pleaded guilty in December to ‘corporate manslaughter’ and a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act by failing to ensure the safety of employees. The company was fined £200,000 for the corporate manslaughter offence, and £20,000 for the Health and Safety breach.
Peter Mawson, owner of the company, also pleaded guilty to a breach of the same act and was sentenced today to: eight months in prison, suspended for two years; 200 hours unpaid work; a publicity order to advertise what happened on the company website for a set period of time, and to take out a half page spread in the local newspaper; and pay costs of £31,504.77.
At around 3:15pm on Tuesday 25 October 2011 emergency services attended West Cumberland Farmers, Lindal, Ulverston, following a report that a man had fallen through a roof. The man, 42 year old Jason Pennington, had been working on the roof and had fallen through the skylight from a height of approximately 7.6 metres onto a concrete floor. He was taken to Furness General Hospital where he died a short time later.
DS Paul Yates for Cumbria Constabulary said: "This has been a long and complex investigation and we have worked closely with the Health and Safety Executive to establish what happened on that tragic day. I hope that this case serves as a warning to other businesses in Cumbria that health and safety measures are extremely important and if not implemented correctly can result in devastating consequences.
"Our thoughts remain with the family of Mr Pennington at this difficult time. Hopefully the sentencing today will provide some sort of closure and they can be left to grieve in peace.”
Chris Hatton, the investigating inspector at HSE, added: "Jason tragically lost his life because the company that employed him did nothing to make sure he was safe while he worked on a fragile roof. Peter Mawson knew the clear panels on the roof weren’t safe to walk on but neither he nor his company provided any equipment to prevent workers falling to their death. If scaffolding or netting had been fitted under the fragile panels, or covers had been fitted over them, then Jason would still be here today.”
Steve Naldrett, director of Ardan Training also added "This shows how simple things can be done to prevent deaths such as making sure the worker has the correct PPE and knows what is safe and what isn't"
UK toddler left in intensive care after E. coli O55 outbreak
A toddler is recovering after he was left in intensive care for two weeks due to kidney failure after contracting E. coli O55 while staying with family in Dorset.
An outbreak of E. coli 055 was reported in Dorset in Dec. 2014, with 10 people confirmed as suffering with the severe illness caused by the bacterium and at least 18 sickened. Public Health England (PHE) and local environmental health officials are investigating the outbreak in a bid to find the cause.
Now Neil Fincham-Dukes, 31, from Bath has instructed public health lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate why his son, Joseph, 3, and his daughter Poppy, 1, contracted E. coli and whether the illness is linked to the recent outbreak in Dorset.
Steve Naldrett, director of Ardan Training says "this shows how important it is to keep E. coli under control as it can endanger human lives"
Three to pay £590,000 after fatherís death at Yorkshire Mining Museum
Yorkshire’s National Coal Mining Museum Trust and two companies were today (16 Dec) ordered to pay a total of £590,000 in fines and costs after a worker was crushed and killed at the museum in 2011.
Father-of-two Michael Buckingham, 58, of Grimethorpe, near Barnsley, died after he became trapped between a tunnel construction machine and a dumper loader that he was operating. The fatal incident, on 25 January 2011, happened 138 metres below ground at the museum’s site at Caphouse colliery in Wakefield.
Sheffield Crown Court heard that Mr Buckingham, an experienced miner and electrician, was part of a team engaged in the second phase of a £2.7 million improvement project. This involved constructing 140 metres of new tunnels to revitalise the visitors’ tour and increase the number of exhibition galleries.
At the time, the museum trust had hired specialist contractor Amalgamated Construction Ltd (AMCO), of Barnsley, to build the tunnels. AMCO, which employed Mr Buckingham, was using the two machines, both supplied by Metal Innovations Ltd (MIL), of Cowbridge in Wales.
Mr Buckingham sustained fatal crush injuries when he became trapped between the tunnel construction machine and the forward-tipping dumper – a mineral carrying machine – that he had been operating.
The incident was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) specialist mining division, which served a prohibition notice on equipment supplier Metal Innovations after inspectors found the dumper was unsafe.
Counsel for HSE, Rex Tedd QC, told the court that HSE identified that the dumper:
• did not have a readily-accessible emergency stop function;
• did not meet essential safety requirements relating to the design and supply or machinery; and
• posed a clearly foreseeable risk that it would entrap the operator.
He said equipment supplier MIL was responsible for failing to supply equipment that met the essential health and safety requirements required of all new machinery. Instead, it had supplied a machine that was patently dangerous in several ways.
The contractor, AMCO, had failed to carry out a suitable risk assessment of the machine or the work activities, including the interactions of the workers and equipment; and had put an unsafe machine to work, exposing staff to substantial risk.
The court was told that the Museum Trust’s safety breach centred on its failing to ensure that the mine was run in accordance with all relevant safety regulations. Unlike those of the other two defendants, the breach had not played a causative role in the loss of Mr Buckingham’s life.
Amalgamated Construction Ltd, of Whaley Road, Barugh Green, Barnsley, South Yorkshire, was fined a total of £110,000 with £245,000 to pay in costs after pleading guilty to a breach of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act plus a breach of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations.
Metal Innovations Ltd, of Unit 54 Business Park, Llandow, Cowbridge, Wales, was fined £80,000 with £110,000 in costs after admitting a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act in connection with the supply of machinery. Both companies were guilty of breaches that were clearly connected to the loss of Mr Buckingham’s life.
The museum trust was fined £10,000 with £35,000 in costs to pay after admitting breaching the Management and Administration of Safety and Health at Mines Regulations 1993. The three defendants had earlier entered guilty pleas to the offences.
Following the sentencing, Mr Buckingham’s widow, Gail, said:
“Mick was a hard-working, loving husband and family man who will always be missed. Although we are satisfied with the outcome, we would have liked responsibility to have been accepted a long time ago.”
HSE Principal Inspector for Mines Paul Bradley said:
“There were several factors that came into play that led to the very tragic death of a much-loved and respected family man. It was an incident that could have been prevented but all three parties had a role to play in how it went badly wrong. However, the Trust’s failure did not play a direct role in the tragic loss of life, unlike the combination of failures of the other two defendants.
“It was clearly foreseeable that entrapment and crushing could result from the use of this mobile machinery, given how the work was being carried out. This meant Mr Buckingham had to walk backwards on occasions and operate close to other equipment within the confines of an underground roadway. Low-cost solutions could have addressed these hazards and such solutions were readily available.
“The MIL-supplied forward tipping dumper did not conform to design standards or safety requirements, and the dumper’s canopy both reduced the potential for escape from the incident and caused severe injuries to Mr Buckingham. Other equipment supplied or used by AMCO and Metal Innovations had integral emergency stop facilities within easy reach.
“It was also clear from the investigation that Mr Buckingham had not benefited from suitable and sufficient training in the use of the dumper.
“Machines and equipment must be supplied free from defects and accord with safety provisions. They must be assessed in the work environment and a system of work devised for their safe use.”
At the time of the incident, no members of the public were exposed to any risks. All mining activity was taking place overnight.
Steve Naldrett, director of Ardan Training says "people should be taught the correct ways to operate machines to avoid accidents like this from occuring"
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