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Archive for June, 2018

Prohibition notice: failure to comply: D&S Building Solutions Ltd and director fined

Prohibition notices: failure to comply: £2000 fines

Health and Safety Executive v D&S Building Solutions Ltd and Daniel Schipor (2018) Westminster magistrates’ court, June 6

Statutory reference: ss. 22 and 37 of the Health and Safety at Work, etc., 1974 (HSWA).

A construction company and its director have been fined for failing to comply with prohibition notices.

The facts

  • The company was served with two prohibition notices on site. Persons were at serious risk of fall and injury from the unprotected edges of an excavation and at immediate risk of injury from potential collapse of the unsupported excavation.
  • The company and its director took no steps to comply with the prohibition notices which prohibited any work near the open edge of the excavation.
  • It had not taken measures to prevent dislodgment of material and collapse of the excavation.

The decision

  • D & S Building Solutions was fined £2000 plus £2000 costs under s.22 of HSWA.
  • Daniel Schipor, the director of the company, was fined £2000 plus £2000 costs for a breach of s.37 of HSWA.

Building collapse: demolition: client, principal contractor and demolitin contractor fined

Client, principal contractor and demolition contractor fined for building collapse

Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service v Taylor Grange Developments Ltd, Allied Contracts Ltd and Altan Plant Hire (2018) Paisley Sheriff Court, April 27

Statutory reference: regulations 4, 13,15 and 20 of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM).

Three companies have been fined after a building collapsed.

The facts

  • Taylor Grange Developments Ltd was the client for the demolition of the Kilmacol Institute, Inverclyde in 2015.
  • The company engaged Allied Contracts to act as principal contractor. Altan Plant Hire was subcontracted to carry out the demolition work.
  • In June 2015 workers with no demolition training were inside the building, hand demolishing internal walls. A wall and ceiling collapsed onto Richard O’Hagan. He suffered multiple fractures.
  • Taylor Grange had failed to make suitable arrangements for managing the project, failed to make suitable arrangements for demolition work to be carried out without risks and failed to take reasonable steps to ensure that the principal contractor complied with its legal duties.
  • Allied Contracts, as principal contractor, failed to plan, manage and monitor the construction phase to ensure that demolition work was carried out without risk to health and safety. It failed to appoint a demolition contractor with the necessary skills, knowledge, experience and organisational capability to carry out the work safely and failed to regularly check standards of health and safety on site.
  • Altan Plant Hire failed to plan the demolition work safely and failed to take into account risks to workers from structural collapse. It failed to provide a safe system of work in that it chose to use hand demolition methods rather than remote demolition by machine, failed to ensure isolation of the electrical system, failed to plan risk for the safe removal of asbestos sheets and failed to provide edge protection around holes in floors.

The decision

  • Taylor Grange Developments Ltd was fined £4500 under regulation 4 of CDM.
  • Allied Contracts Ltd was fined £6000 for a breach of regulation 13 of CDM.
  • Altan Plant Hire was fined £20,000 under regulations 15 and 20 of CDM.

Forklift truck incident: leg amputation: Morning Foods Ltd fined £30,000

Leg amputation: £30,000 fine

Health and Safety Executive v Morning Foods Ltd (2018) Chester Crown Court, May 1

Statutory reference: regulation 17 of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 (WHSWR).

Morning Foods Ltd, a grain milling company, has been fined after a worker lost his right leg.

The facts

  • In September 2015 two workers employed by the company were emptying a warehouse. A forklift truck was being used to remove redundant equipment form the warehouse. A second truck was stacking pallets onto a trailer.
  • Mark Johnson, one of the workers, was crossing the yard to reach the pallets when he was struck by the second truck. He seriously injured his right leg which was later amputated below the knee.
  • Insufficient measures had been taken to separate pedestrians from circulating vehicles. The company could have installed temporary control measures to reduce the risk of collisions with moving vehicles.

The decision

The company was fined £30,000 plus £35,000 costs under regulation 17 of WHSWR.

An HSE inspector commented after the case that those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe working methods and to provide the necessary information, instruction and training to their workers in the safe system of working.


Asbestos: inadequate survey: two companies fined

Inadequate asbestos survey: two companies fined

Health and Safety Executive v Vital Property Solutions Ltd and Home Inspectors Southern Ltd (2018) Dudley magistrates’ court, June 1

Statutory reference: s.3 of the Health and Safety at Work, etc., Act 1974 (HSWA)

A property management consultancy and an asbestos surveying company have been fined for an inadequate refurbishment and demolition survey.

The facts

  • Home Inspectors Southern Ltd undertook a refurbishment and demolition survey of a major refurbishment project including partial demolition.
  • The survey failed to identify asbestos cement and asbestos insulating board (AIB) containing chrysotile and amosite asbestos.
  • The surveyor had no training in asbestos surveying or previous work experience with a suitably qualified person or accredited organisation.
  • The survey incorrectly advised that a non-licensed contractor could remove the material.
  • Vital Property Solutions Ltd did not ask Home Inspectors for information about the company’s skills, knowledge, experience and training in relation to asbestos surveying.

The decision

  • Vital Property Solutions Ltd was fined £8400 plus £929 costs for a breach of s.3 of HSWA.
  • Home Inspectors Southern Ltd was fined £4800 plus £929 costs for the same offence.

Fall from height: serious injuries: two companies fined

Two companies fined following fall from height

Health and Safety Executive v Oswestry Shropshire Scaffold Ltd and Centreco (UK) Ltd (2018) Leeds magistrates’ court, June 6

Statutory reference: s.3 of the Health and Safety at Work, etc., Act 1974 (HSWA)

Two companies have been fined after a subcontractor suffered serious injuries in a fall from height.

The facts

  • In December 2015 Jhanade Ryan, a subcontractor engaged by Centreco, was installing solar panels on a roof.
  • He slipped on the roof and slid down to the edge protection. The edge protection board snapped and he fell through the scaffold. He fell five metres onto a flat roof and suffered fractures and nerve damage. He remains unable to work.
  • Oswestry Shropshire Scaffold Ltd had not erected the scaffold to a known industry standard or design.
  • Roof lights were present on the roof and Centreco had failed to take effective measures to prevent workers falling through these fragile surfaces.

The decision

  • Oswestry Shropshire Scaffold Ltd was fined £28,000 plus £945 costs for a breach of s.3 of HSWA.
  • Centreco (UK) Ltd was fined £33,500 plus £945 costs for the same offence.

Electric shock injuries: scrap metal business owner imprisoned

Electric shock injuries: scrap metal business owner imprisoned

Health and Safety Executive v George William Edward Jones (2018) Swansea Crown Court, June 6

Statutory reference: s.4 of the Health and Safety at Work, etc., Act 1974 (HSWA)

George Jones, the owner of a scrap metal business, has been sentenced to imprisonment after a worker was seriously injured by an electric shock.

The facts

  • In March 2014 Jones instructed a worker to plug a tyre stripping machine into a wall socket. He suffered serious injuries.
  • The electrical installation at the site was unsafe and more suitable for domestic premises. The socket was in poor condition with exposed wires. The roof of the building had holes in it and there was evidence of water ingress on the wall behind the socket. This contributed to the incident.

The decision

Jones was sentenced to 18 weeks imprisonment under s.4 of HSWA.


BUPA fined £3million for care home legionnaires disease death

BUPA fined £3million following care home death [remove for online]

Health and Safety Executive v BUPA Care Homes Ltd (2018) Ipswich Crown Court, June 14

Statutory reference: S.3 of the Health and Safety at Work, etc., Act 1974 (HSWA)

BUPA Care Homes Ltd has been fined £3 million after a care home resident died from Legionnaires’ disease.

The facts

  • Kenneth Ibbetson, aged 86, moved into Hutton Village Nursing Home in Essex, operated by BUPA. He was no longer able to cope at home.
  • In June 2015 he contracted Legionnaires’ disease and died.
  • The HSE investigation found that for more than a year, during which major refurbishment was carried out, BUPA failed to implement necessary control and monitoring measures required to safely manage the care home’s hot and cold water system. Those responsible for overseeing legionella controls and for taking crucial water temperature measurements had not been trained to the required standard.

The decision

BUPA Care homes Ltd was fined £3million plus £151,000 costs under s.3 of HSWA.

An HSE inspector commented after the case that the deceased and other residents were exposed to the risk of contracting Legionnaires’ disease because adequate controls were not in place. The risk was more acute in care home settings because residents were more susceptible due to their underlying health conditions. The HSE would expect those who have a duty of care to understand this and to have the necessary controls in place to manage the risk.


Contract of employment: worker: Supreme Court decision in Pimlico Plumbers

CONTRACTS OF EMPLOYMENT

Worker

Case  Pimlico Plumbers and another v Smith (2018) The Times, June 19, Supreme Court

Facts The employment tribunal ruled that S, a plumbing and heating engineer, was a worker for Pimlico. It therefore had jurisdiction to consider his complaints of unlawful deduction of wages, failure to provide holiday pay and disability discrimination. This decision was upheld by the Employment Appeal Tribunal and the Court of Appeal. Pimlico appealed to the Supreme Court.

Decision      1. The appeal was dismissed.

  1. The employment tribunal had been entitled to conclude that S, who worked for a company which exerted a substantial measure of control over its operatives while declaring that they were self-employed, had been a worker whose claims could proceed.
  2. The dominant feature of S’s contract with Pimlico was an obligation of personal performance.
  3. Pimlico’s tight control over S was reflected in its requirements that he should wear the branded Pimlico uniform, drive its branded van to which Pimlico applied a tracker to carry its identity card , and closely follow the administrative instructions of its control room.
  4. The contract between Pimlico and S made references to wages, gross misconduct and dismissal and contained a number of restrictive covenants.

Death of worker from crushing in baling machine

Death in baling machine: £250,000 fine

Health and Safety Executive v RRS London Waste Papers Ltd (2018) Westminster magistrates’ court, May 30

Statutory reference: S.2 of the Health and Safety at Work, etc., Act 1974 (HSWA)

RRS London Waste Papers Ltd has been fined after an employee suffered fatal crush injuries.

The facts

  • In March 2017 an employee of the company fell down the loading hopper into the compaction chamber of a baling machine. It was most likely that he had been attempting to clear a blockage and his fall into the chamber started the compaction sequence.
  • The incident could have been avoided if the company had devised and instructed workers on a safe method for clearing blockages.
  • Climbing up the baler to clear blockages exposed workers to the risk of falling a significant distance either into the compaction chamber or onto the surrounding concrete floor.

The decision

The company was fined £250,000 plus £6639 costs plus a victim surcharge of £170 under s.2 of HSWA.


Wages: unlawful deduction: limitation period

WAGES

Deductions

Time limit for claims

Case  Coletta v Bath Hill Court (Bournemouth) Property Management Ltd (2018 Morning Star, June 15, EAT

Facts  C started work as a porter for B in 2000. In 2014 he started tribunal proceedings claiming that he had been paid below the National Minimum Wage for the entire period of his employment, totalling 15 years. The ET upheld his claim but ruled that his ward could only be backdated to six years before the start of proceedings because of section 9 of the Limitation Act. He appealed to the EAT, arguing that section 9 was disapplied by section 39 of the Act, which states that section 9 does not apply to a claim which has another limitation period under another statute. The other limitation period was set out in section 23 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 which provides a three-month time limit from the last deduction in a claim involving a series of deductions.

Decision      1. The appeal was allowed.

  1. Section 23 applied and section 9 did not.
  2. If there had been a series of deductions, then the three-month limit applied.
  3. For claims brought before January 2015, there was no limitation on arrears as long as the claim was brought before the time limit.
  4. A two-year time limit was introduced by the Deductions from Wages (Limitation) Regulations 2014.