Factory workers die in work accident

17:16:00 Wednesday 29th December 2010
Two factory workers have been killed in a work accident in Lancashire.

The horrific accident occurred at Kirkby-based wood processing plant Sonae UK Ltd, where the two male employees were subcontracted from Metso to carry out maintenance work.

The men, both in their twenties and from Rossendale, Lancs, were working with large-scale machinery at the factory, which manufactures wood-based MDF panels aimed at the construction and furniture industries.

The workers were dragged onto a moving conveyor belt before plunging into a large silo machine to their deaths.

Following the tragic incident, Health and Safety Executive inspectors carried out an investigation at the factory. The police are joining HSE in their inquiries into the accident.

Detective Inspector Tom Keaton, Senior Investigating Officer, said, “At this point the scene is sealed and will remain so until we are satisfied that all relevant evidence has been gathered. Industrial operations at the site have been suspended and will remains so for now.”

This is not the first time the factory has been involved in a health and safety breach. It received a hefty fine of £150,000 in 2006 when an employee suffered severe injuries following an explosion.

< back to the news

Man unable to return to work following workplace injury

11:20:00 Thursday 16th December 2010

A male employee has suffered serious injuries to his hand following a work accident.

The man, from Wheatley Hill in County Durham, was employed by one of the country’s leading excavator manufacturers, Komatsu UK Ltd, at their Birtley-based plant.

He was working on a drilling machine at the plant when his hand became dragged into the machine’s revolving parts and was trapped. Two of the man’s fingers were severed during the incident and the rest of his right hand was badly damaged.

Following the work accident, the man needed extensive surgery on his hand, including having his third finger and part of his middle finger amputated. He was also forced to have a bone removed from his hand to aid the recovery. He has been unable to return to work since the accident.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE)’s subsequent investigation revealed that the worker should not have been using the drilling machine as he had received no training on how to use it safely.

HSE also found that there was no guard on the drill to prevent workers from coming into contact with the rotating parts.

Komatsu UK Ltd admitted breaching Health and Safety at Work Regulations and were fined £6,000 plus £3,421 in costs at Consett Magistrates’ Court. 

< back to the news

British people reluctant to make claims following work accidents

15:29:00 Wednesday 15th December 2010

New research has found that a huge number of British people would shy away from making a claim if they suffered a work accident.

Despite 120,000 injuries occurring at work last year, 25 per cent of those surveyed by The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) said that they would not make a claim, even if they were injured as a result of faulty equipment or lack of safety procedures.

President of APIL, Muiris Lyons, said, “If a case of negligence occurs in the workplace, some individuals could feel embarrassed or think that there may be a stigma attached if they are seen making a claim against their employer.

She added that there was a common perception that those making personal injury negligence claims were taking advantage of an unfortunate situation. “And yet the reality is that the negative stigma attached to individuals making a claim if they’re injured in the workplace is an unfair one,” she explained.

APIL advised people to go ahead and make a claim if they suffer an injury as a result of an employer’s negligence, as “It is an employer’s duty to keep employees safe in the work place.”

< back to the news

Female worker loses fingers in factory accident

15:05:00 Tuesday 14th December 2010

A female worker has lost found fingers as a result of a serious work accident.

The woman, 51, was working at a Chadwick’s Ltd of Bury factory in Greater Manchester, which produced plastic lids for packaged foods including ice-cream and yogurt, when the incident occurred.

She was operating a machine which assisted in the production of the lids and was attempting to re-thread silver foil into the machine’s opening.

The machine restarted without any warning and severed four of the woman’s fingers on her right hand.

Following the work accident, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out an investigation and discovered that the firm had disabled sensors on the lid cutting machine in order to allow it to cut paper as well as foil.

Unfortunately, by disabling the sensors, it meant the machine was not prevented from starting when the employee’s hand was in close proximity.

An HSE spokesperson said, “Employers had a responsibility to ensure machinery was properly guarded at all times. The worker involved has suffered life changing injuries due to management failings.”

The firm pleaded guilty to failing to comply with Health and Safety Regulations. It was fined £22,500 plus £8,708 costs at Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester.

< back to the news

Heathrow Airport worker injured in work accident

15:26:00 Thursday 9th December 2010

A male employee working at Heathrow Airport has been seriously injured in a work accident.

The man was employed by Messier Services Ltd to carry out maintenance on an A340 aircraft in one of the international airport’s maintenance hangars.

Alongside a colleague, the man was operating a forklift truck in order to lift a heavy pallet in line with the landing gear of the aircraft. The workers were trying to bring the barrel of the landing gear with a socket located underneath the aircraft.

Whilst the man was kneeling on the pallet in order to carry out the maintenance, the fork lift truck suddenly moved and he fell onto the ground, seriously damaging his mouth and teeth and fracturing his knee-cap. He was forced to undergo numerous operations to fix the damage.

Following the work accident, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Messier Services Ltd at the City of London Magistrates’ Court for breaching health and safety regulations.

The firm was found not to have planned properly for the men’s safety in the workplace and was fined £7,200.

A HSE inspector said, “Employers need to ensure safe working practices are used not only on their own premises but when employees are working on other company’s premises too.”

< back to the news

Man injures hand on spinning blade at flooring firm

15:17:00 Wednesday 8th December 2010

A Liverpool-based laminate flooring company has been fined following breaches of Health and Safety regulations.

A male worker was employed at Universal Mouldings Brookfield Drive, Aintree site, when he suffered a serious workplace accident.

The man, from Everton, had been using a heavy-duty industrial circular saw when his hand slipped and hit the rotating blade.

Following the work accident, the man underwent a six-hour operation in a bid to re-attach his fingers, but hospital staff said it was unlikely that he would ever regain full movement of his left hand.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out an investigation and found that it had become common amongst workers at the factory to reach past the spinning blade to retrieve the laminate so that the material was not damaged.

As a result of this, the HSE inspector said that the accident was ‘inevitable.’ The HSE also discovered that the company had suffered several ‘near misses’ in the past.

A fine of £5,000 was handed down to Universal Mouldings Ltd, in addition to costs of £7,500. Since the incident, the company has brought in safer, more appropriate machinery.

< back to the news

McDonald’s prosecuted following work accident

16:49:00 Tuesday 7th December 2010

The fast-food chain has been fined over £20,000 following a work accident in which a male employee was left partially sighted.

The man, was employed at the Wandsworth Bridge drive-through McDonald’s branch as a maintenance operative. He was trying to clear a blockage in the waste pipe at the store when the acid-based drain cleaner which he had poured down into the pipe shot back out and hit him in the face and eyes.

The man was given immediate first aid and further treatment in hospital for his facial burns, but he was left with just 55 per cent visibility in his left eye.

Wandsworth Council prosecuted McDonald’s for breaching Health and Safety regulations.
A council spokesperson said, “McDonald’s failed to carry out any risk assessment on the product being used, did not provide any protective clothing and did not ensure that the man was adequately trained and supervised.”

Following the prosecution, McDonald’s offered their apologies for the incident and said that their ‘stringent safety policy’ had not been followed as it would usually have been.

“We have taken steps to ensure that there would be no such repetition in the future,” said a McDonald’s spokesperson.

< back to the news

Previous News Article:-

Man paralysed following work accident

Man paralysed following work accident

14:11:00 Tuesday 7th December 2010

A male employee has suffered severe injuries in a workplace accident, which resulted in him being left paralysed.

The man, from Eastham, Wirral, was employed by North-Wales based paper producer SCA Hygiene Products UK Ltd as an assistant winder when the accident happened.

He was trying to slow down the reel of paper with his shoulder as it unwound down a conveyor belt, but he slipped and the paper reel – weighing two tonnes – fell on top of him.

The accident left the man with severe spinal fractures which have resulted in him being paraplegic – retaining no movement from the chest down and limited movement in his upper arms.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out an investigation following the accident at the paper producer and discovered that many employees were attempting to slow the paper reels using their shoulders and this had become a common- and extremely dangerous – practice – at the company’s Oakenholt site in Flint.

A HSE inspector said, “The system of working that employees had to follow was clearly unsafe and there were obvious risks that the company failed to address.”

SCA Hygiene Products UK Ltd admitted breaching health and safety regulations and was fined £120,000 plus £18,514 in costs at Mold Crown Court.

< back to the news

Previous News Article:-

Pub chain fined on asbestos claim

Pub chain fined on asbestos claim

09:57:00 Thursday 2nd December 2010

A major UK pub chain has received a fine after five workers were exposed to asbestos during renovation work at a pub in Darlington.

The pub chain, which is based in Birmingham, admitted a breach of health and safety regulations and was fined £14,001 and £11,781 in costs.

A HSE investigation showed that when the company decided to renovate its Darlington pub it commissioned an asbestos check in advance. However, when the renovation work commenced, the chain decided to include the kitchen in the work to be done, although this area had not undergone the asbestos check.

Workers who were drilling in the kitchen ceiling were subsequently covered in asbestos dust from the ceiling tiles.

Asbestos dust can be very hazardous to health. It affects almost 4,000 worked in the UK each year, and many of those go on to make an asbestos compensation claim as a result.

Therefore, anyone owning a property built before 2000 must ensure that an appropriate asbestos survey is carried out prior to the commencement of building work. Asbestos was used in the construction of many properties built before this century.

< back to the news

Manchester builder fined for putting employees at risk of work accidents

14:27:00 Wednesday 1st December 2010

A self-employed builder has been fined after instructing two of his employees to work at height without safety equipment, thus putting them at risk of a work accident.

The Manchester-based builder had employed the two male workers to replace broken tiles on the roof of a Frankie and Benny’s eatery in Salford Quays in September last year.

Whilst scaffolding was in place to assist the workers in getting onto the roof, once they were up there they had no safety equipment or protection.

Had either of them fallen from the roof – which was three metres high – they would have suffered serious injuries and perhaps even death.

One of the workers was replacing tiles directly above the head of a customer who was sitting at one of the restaurant’s outside tables. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said that the area should have been cordoned off so that the public were not at risk of injury.

The HSE inspector highlighted the dangers of working at height without the necessary safety protection, saying that 4,000 workers were injured as a result of this type of accident last year.

The builder was prosecuted by the HSE for failing to provide his employees with the correct safety training and equipment, thus putting them at risk of a work accident and also for putting members of the public at risk.

The man pleaded guilty to breaching Work at Height Regulations at Trafford Magistrates’ Court. Alongside paying HSE’s legal costs, he was also fined £5,000 as a result of his actions.

< back to the news