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NEWSFLASH IN THE COURTS


GUTTER CLEARANCE COSTS FOUNDRY


PRODUCTION WORKER CRUSHED TO DEATH


A Wednesbury-based heating, ventilation and air conditioning manufacturer has been fined £150,000 after a worker was crushed to death while working in its warehouse. Ronald Meese, a production supervisor for Roberts- Gordon Europe Ltd, had been stacking three-metre-long metal tubes in the company’s warehouse when the incident happened in July 2011.


With the aid of a forklift truck, he had created several stacks, but as he left his cab to set down timber pieces for the next bundle of tubes to rest on, one of the stacks, weighing a tonne, collapsed onto him. Paramedics were called but Mr Meese was pronounced dead at the scene.


UNSAFE PALLETISER LEADS TO HAND INJURIES


A Welwyn Garden City manufacturing firm has been prosecuted after an agency worker suffered a hand injury whilst clearing a blockage on a poorly-guarded palletiser machine. The worker was attempting to restart a machine at Sika Ltd’s factory after dealing with the blockage when his right hand was struck by a moving part.


He suffered multiple fractures of his hand and lacerations and was unable to return to work to perform a similar role for several months. The court heard that the worker had bypassed an interlocked gate, which was common practice by staff, to clear the blockage in the machine.


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A Coventry foundry has been fined after a worker broke three ribs after falling five metres through a fragile roof sheet while clearing gutters. The 49-year-old, who lives in the Coventry area and does not want to be named, also cracked ribs in the incident at Sarginsons Industries Ltd last August.


He was helping out during the foundry’s shutdown period with cleaning and maintenance work, and had been asked by his foreman to clean out the gutters. An investigation by the HSE found this element of the work had not been risk assessed, and that the worker was not provided with any safe means of doing the cleaning, which involved working at height.


Nuneaton Magistrates’ Court heard that he accessed the gutters by ladder after first climbing onto and across a smaller fragile roof. He then walked and crawled in the gutters alongside open edges and parallel to fragile roof sheets.


SKIN GRAFT FOLLOWS LAMINATING ACCIDENT


A ceiling company has been fined for serious safety breaches after a worker required skin grafts on his arm which had been caught in machinery. The 61-year-old man from Stafford was removing hardened glue from the lower roller spindle on a laminator machine when his left arm was caught in the drive mechanism at CEP Ceiling Ltd’s premises last year.


His forearm was caught in the intermeshing metal gears, which chewed up a large chunk of tissue. He needed a skin graft to help it heal. An investigation by the HSE found the covers protecting the drive mechanism had been removed to give easier access to the spindle, and the company was fined £24,000.


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SCAFFOLDERS DISREGARD PUBLIC HEALTH


A Hertfordshire scaffolding firm has been fined £10,000 for a catalogue of safety failings – including throwing and catching metal fittings over the heads of shoppers – as they erected two scaffolds outside an Oxford department store.


Darren Baker Scaffolding Limited also failed to ensure the structures outside Debenhams were properly configured, braced and tied, which undermined their stability.


CHESTER DAIRY FACTORY WORKERS BADLY SCALDED


A Chester-based dairy firm has been fined £54,000 after two employees were badly scalded when hot water escaped from the top of a 600 litre tank. One worker suffered burns all over her body and spent a week in the specialist burns unit at Whiston Hospital following the incident at Meadow Foods Ltd in October 2011. The other employee sustained burns to his left arm, head and lower back, and also needed hospital treatment.


The firm, which processes milk, cream and butter, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an investigation found its system for cleaning the tank fell below the minimum legal standards.


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