Engineering firm prosecuted over fatality

An engineering firm has been prosecuted after an employee was fatally injured carrying out repairs to a 1,000-tonne press.

While doing maintenance work, the engineer crawled underneath the middle section of a 1,000-tonne capacity press. Removing a weld from the base of a piston using an electric grinder, this allowed an internal ram to fall through to the ground, crushing the engineer.

The HSE’s findings

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out an investigation and found out that no risk assessments had been carried out and there was no safe system of work for the task. Furthermore, the 20-tonne middle section of the press had been raised using forklift trucks, which exceeded the safe working limit.

The company was subsequently prosecuted and found guilty of breaching s.2(1) of the Health and Safety At Work etc Act 1972. They were fined £500,000 and ordered to pay costs of £145,487. The managing director of the company was also prosecuted under S.37 of the same Act, where an offence is committed and attributable to any neglect, consent or connivance of a director. They were acquitted of the offence.

Taking steps to prevent tragedies

This fatality may have been prevented if the following steps had been carried out:

• Undertaking a risk assessment to establish how workers could be injured
• Putting in place control measures to prevent injuries
• Devising a safe system of work that provides workers with detailed instructions on how to stay safe
• Providing training for workers on how work equipment must be used safely

Cases like this are incredibly sad but by following the correct health and safety measures with no exceptions, they can be prevented.

Aegis has competent and experienced health and safety experts who can advise companies on the necessary steps required to keep workers safe. Get in touch with our team today to see how we can help.