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HSE Safety Prosecutions

1st October 2021
Safety helmet and gavel

Two recent reports from the Health and Safety Executive  provide stark reminders of the need to operate within strict safety protocols at all times.

Three workers sustained serious injuries after falling through a temporary stairwell cover on a construction site because it wasn’t identified as temporary and therefore not treated as such. One worker, at the site in Somerset, sustained a broken back during the incident. The construction company was fined £200,000 and £13,000 costs as a result of its failure to have a robust system in place to identify the temporary working platform.

The temporary stair well cover was located in an i-beam floor.  TRA members manufacturing cassette metal web floors have a responsibility to ensure temporary protection is provided for any openings in the units they are delivering. For other metal web deliveries, members are reminded that good practice includes ensuring accompanying literature or drawings contain a reminder to contractors to provide safe temporary protection for any openings.

Another report that will strike a chord with TRA members is about injuries caused by an unguarded woodworking machine.  A kitchen manufacturing company was fined £50,000 and ordered to pay £6,000 in costs following an incident at its factory in 2018. An employee processing wooden panels on an edge-banding machine was able to access the inner part of the machine to clear a blockage. The machine was insufficiently guarded, and the employee sustained injuries resulting in amputation of his finger. The HSE’s investigation revealed that employees would routinely climb onto the machine bed to clear blockages and maintain the machine.

“These are horrific stories and were completely avoidable,” said TRA, chief executive,  Nick Boulton. “Woodworking machinery is inherently dangerous, and workers should be fully protected whilst clearing blockages. As falls from height are sadly still commonplace in our industry we must do all we can to minimise the risks on our sites. Having the correct processes in place should be the number one priority and we must do all we can to share our safety knowledge with our customers.”

Visit the TRA’s website for more health and safety information.

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