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Teesside Firm Fined £400,000 Following Fatality

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Teesside Firm Fined £400,000 Following Fatality

A firm in the North East, operating from Hartlepool Dockyard, have been fined £400,000 and made to pay over £100,000 in costs, following an incident that resulted in the death of an agency worker.

Mr Harrison, a father of three, had been working onboard a ship at the dock, loading steel pipes into the hold. He’d been standing on top of the pile of pipes, helping to direct the incoming pipes being placed onboard via a crane. The pile reached a height of 8 meters, and Mr Harrison fell from the open edge on to the steel deck below. Sadly, he died as a result of serious injuries he suffered.

The Health and Safety Executive investigated Mr Harrison’s death. They found that the height of the required work, and the exposed edges posed an ‘obvious’ risk of falling that should have been protected against.

Although the working method at such a height was a necessity, if appropriate steps had been taken to identify the risk and put in place effective safety measures, the death of Mr Harrison could have been avoided. A soft landing system (such as an airbag/cushioning system placed onto the deck) would not have protected the workers from falling, but would have ensured no serious injuries were inflicted.

As a result, the company Mr Harrison had been working for were found to be in breach of 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974:

“(1)It shall be the duty of every employer to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in his employment who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety.”

A Culture of Safety

This tragedy, though not intentional, was a needless and wholly avoidable loss of life. If the firm responsible had implemented safe working practices, including the undertaking of risk assessments at every stage of the work, this risk would have been identified and reduced.

For any employer, the best way to implement safe working practices is to ensure staff are properly trained to understand the relevant legislation, and to ensure they support, encourage and buy into a culture of safety.

Risk assessment training would not need to be undertaken by all employees, but ensuring supervisors (or at least one responsible person) have the knowledge to identify risks and the authority to halt work until the risks are eliminated or reduced, is essential.

Protecting your Staff

Training staff and operatives to understand their responsibility and role will also help.

Specific job training – whether that’s manual handling training for labourers, or machine-specific operator training – should ensure all employees know what is expected of them in terms of protecting their own personal safety and the safety of those around them.

For a culture of safety to be implemented successfully, it is also vital that employees feel they have the opportunity to voice their concerns and request a risk assessment for a task they believe may be unsafe.

Health and Safety Training Ltd

The team here at Health and Safety Training Ltd have years of experience tailoring training programmes to the suit the requirements of a variety of sectors and companies.

If you want to promote safety in your workplace, we can help you to identify the types of training that are legally required and our expert instructors will tailor each course to suit your business and your staff. Contact us today to find out what courses we have on offer.

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