Munster Joinery (UK) Ltd has been fined after one of its workers was struck by a triple-glazed double door during unloading at a construction site.
Oxford Crown Court heard that in October 2013 the worker, Michael Jephcott, was part of a Munster team at a large house building site in Cholsey Meadow, Fairmile, Oxfordshire to deliver and install doors and windows. During unloading he was struck on the head by a set of double doors, knocking him unconscious and leaving him with whiplash and headaches. He required physiotherapy for some time afterwards.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found there had been several previous injuries to Munster site workers, during unloading and handling of heavy glazing units. The company had previously been warned by both HSE and their own safety consultant that they needed to implement a safe system of work for transporting, unloading and handling their products. However, the company consistently failed to properly investigate these incidents, didn’t ensure loads were secured safely, hadn’t clearly identified or marked the different weights of the glazing units and hadn’t monitored the availability of necessary equipment at delivery sites.
Munster Joinery (UK) Ltd of Stratford Road, Wellesbourne, Warwick pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, was fined £300,000 and ordered to pay costs of £18,424.98.
His Honour Judge Peter Ross commented that “the culture of the business was at the route of the problem” and that “systemic management failings” were the cause of the breaches of the law and resulting injuries.
Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Dominic Goacher said: “Our investigation found that workers at Munster were unable to follow a safe system of work. There is no excuse for this level of negligence when workers are required to handle heavy products regularly.
“This case and the penalty awarded sends out a very strong message. The aim should be to move heavy objects mechanically wherever possible and to reduce the risk of injuries by other means where some manual handling is still required. Too many workers experience long term suffering because of unsafe manual handling.”
Notes to Editors:
- The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) 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
- More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at: www.legislation.gov.uk/
- HSE news releases are available at http://press.hse.gov.uk