24 April 2013
A Portsmouth steel manufacturer has been sentenced after one of its workers suffered life-changing injuries when he was hit by a falling 1.4 tonne steel beam.
Conder Allslade was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for serious safety failings that led to the incident at its factory in Hillsea on 10 June 2011.
The 64-year-old man, who does not wish to be named, was airlifted to Southampton hospital after being crushed by the toppling steel beam. He suffered numerous injuries including a fractured skull, two crushed discs in his back, a broken knee and ankle bones, as well as a blood clot on his lung.
Portsmouth magistrates were told (23 April) the employee, a fabricator/welder, was working on a steel beam that was sitting unsecured on a metal trolley. He was manoeuvring an overhead crane when the hook of the crane struck the beam and sent it toppling from the trolley.
The beam struck the worker causing life-threatening injuries. He remained in hospital for a month and, some two years later, is still having to undergo surgery and treatment.
HSE served a Prohibition Notice on Conder Allslade after the incident to prevent any further work on steel beams while unsupported on the trolleys.
An investigation found the company had not carried out a proper assessment of the risks involved in that particular work process, and so had failed to put in simple safety measures that would have prevented beams from being knocked and becoming dangerously unstable.
Conder Allslade Ltd of Limberline Road, Portsmouth, was fined a total of £16,000 and ordered to pay £5,074 in costs after pleading guilty to single breaches of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.
After the sentencing, HSE Inspector Craig Varian said:
"The painful and debilitating consequences of these dreadful injuries will be with this man for the rest of his life.
"The term ‘risk assessment’ is often lambasted as a technicality or part of a tick-box exercise. However, the true meaning of the term and its importance are very starkly demonstrated in this case. Had Conder Allslade undertaken a risk assessment and then taken the action necessary to mitigate the risks, the incident could have been avoided.
"In this case, inexpensive and easy-to-implement solutions were available and the company did put measures in place after the incident. Sadly that was too late to prevent an individual needlessly suffering multiple injuries."
For information on safety in manufacturing and engineering, visit www.hse.gov.uk/manufacturing
Notes to editors
- The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice; promoting training; new or revised regulations and codes of practice; and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. www.hse.gov.uk
- Section 3(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 states: "Every employer shall make a suitable and sufficient assessment of (a) the risks to the health and safety of his employees to which they are exposed whilst they are at work; and (b) the risks to the health and safety of persons not in his employment arising out of or in connection with the conduct by him of his undertaking."
- Regulation 12(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 states: "Every employer shall take measures to ensure that the exposure of a person using work equipment to any risk to his health or safety from any hazard specified in paragraph (3) is either prevented, or, where that is not reasonably practicable, adequately controlled."