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23rd May 2019
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Companies fined for breaching safety regulations
Two companies have been fined recently for breaches in safety regulations that led to injuries for their workers.
In the first, an East Lothian-based sole trader was fined after a self-employed furniture maker was injured on its premises. Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard how, in 2016, the furniture maker was working on the premises owned by Peter Anselm Fraser, trading as A and A Fraser Property. Whilst the worker was moving wood over the planer blade, the machine skidded on the table causing her left hand to slip off the top edge and come into contact with the exposed part of the blade, which caused hand injuries.
An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive found the planer machine was fitted with a fence guard but lacked a bridge guard at the area she was working. The absence of a bridge guard on the planer created an increased risk where the operator might inadvertently come into contact with the exposed portion of the blade.
Peter Anselm Fraser trading as A and A Fraser Property of Gifford, East Lothian, pleaded guilty to breaching of Regulation 11(1) and (2) of the Provision and use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and was fined £6,700.
In the second incident, a manufacturing firm in Worcestershire aas fined after a worker suffered crush injuries when wooden panels fell onto him. Worcester Magistrates' Court heard how, in 2017, a Global Displays employee was injured when a stack of panels toppled over and crushed him. Several smaller panels were resting against untied, upright 4m x 1m panels, causing the whole stack to become unstable. The worker suffered a dislocated shoulder and fractured arm as a result.
An HSE investigation found that the company had failed to identify the risks from storing timber boards close to work benches and a thoroughfare used by employees. The company had not provided a safe place for the boards to be stored so they would not fall over.
Global Displays, Global House, George Baylis Road, Droitwich, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974. The company was fined £14,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,179.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Alastair Mitchell said: "This incident could so easily have been avoided by simply carrying out a risk assessment in relation to the storage of display panel boards. This would have identified the risks from unsafe stacking and the need for appropriate control measures, such as a method for storing boards safely.
"Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards."
17th August 2018