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Contractor prosecuted after workers put at risk

An Edgware contractor has been fined after the routine inspection of a construction site discovered dangerous working conditions.Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Inspectors saw contractors working some three metres above ground without measures in place to prevent them from falling. A Prohibition Notice was immediately served on the Principal Contractor, preventing further work at height until adequate safeguards were in place.In a prosecution brought by HSE, Chelmsford Magistrates' Court heard that a follow-up inspection of the site later the same day, found working at height was still continuing, but no measures had been taken to comply with the Prohibition Notice.The contractor pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and Section 33(1)(g) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £2,000, and ordered to pay costs of £1,500.Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector, David King, said:"Last year 50 construction workers died following incidents on sites, with work at height being the largest factor in this. Therefore it is essential that everybody involved in the construction industry takes appropriate action to manage work at height safely, and other major hazards on their site, to prevent needless injury and loss of life."http://www.hse.gov.uk/press/2012/rnn-e-86.htm

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Company fined after surveyor killed by reversing lorry

An engineering and construction company has been fined £250,000 for safety failings after a surveyor was killed by a reversing lorry during work to widen the M25 near Dartford.Richard Caddock was talking on a mobile phone and could not hear the approaching truck above the noise of nearby motorway traffic, when he was hit from behind in 2008.The Health and Safety Executive prosecuted his employer Costain Limited for failing to ensure adequate precautions were in place to separate the movements of people and vehicles.Maidstone Crown Court heard that Mr Caddock had left a parked van and was walking northbound along a section of the central reservation closed off as part of a £65 million scheme to ease congestion between junctions 1b to 3.As he talked on the phone, a tipper lorry delivering crushed stone entered the same section and reversed northbound. Mr Craddock had walked approximately 30m when the truck hit him.The surveyor sustained multiple injuries as a result of being run over by the eight wheel vehicle and was pronounced dead at the scene.After the hearing HSE Inspector Melvyn Stancliffe said:"This was a terrible tragedy that could easily have been avoided had Costain Limited implemented basic safety precautions."The movement of people and vehicles on construction sites requires careful planning and effective control. It must be considered a critical part of transport management. This case highlights that a failure to be in control can have devastating consequences."

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Countryside firm sentenced over strimmer death

A countryside management firm has been sentenced over the death of a father-of-four in Barrow-in-Furness, who was struck by a piece of metal that flew off a strimmer at high speed.Tony Robinson died after a link from a chain, spinning at around 300 miles an hour on a petrol strimmer, became detached and struck him on the back of the neck, causing fatal injuries.Mr Robinson, a self-employed contractor, had been hired to help clear undergrowth at the site during the construction of the new Waterfront business park. He was using a chainsaw to cut back the overgrown vegetation, with another worker using the strimmer on a nearby bank.The chain attachment had been added to the strimmer so it could be used for more heavy-duty work. But the HSE investigation found ThreeShires had not properly considered the risks of using the attachment, and had allowed Mr Robinson to work close to where the strimmer was being operated.The company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 by failing to ensure the safety of workers and was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay £10,000 in prosecution costs.HSE issued a Safety Alert following Mr Robinson's death, warning that there was a risk of death or serious injury from the use of the strimmer attachment.It also served an immediate Prohibition Notice against the sole importer of the chain attachments in the UK, which resulted in a nationwide ban on the sale or supply of the product.The attachment has now also been banned across Europe, after HSE alerted the European Commission to the issue.

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