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February, 2020

Company fined after worker suffers crush injuries

A construction company has been fined after a worker was injured when a water pump set weighing over 700kg fell on him at a construction site.

Southwark Crown Court heard that, on 15 January 2016, a pipe fitter working for Fascel Group Limited was working on the transfer of a pump set from its pallet to a raised platform in Goodman’s Fields, East London. The pump set fell on him. As a result, the worker was pinned beneath the unit, and he sustained serious injuries including multiple fractures and dislocations.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Fascel Group Limited had been contracted to do mechanical and engineering works on the project that included the installation of the pump set. The company had failed to ensure that a safe system of work for the moving and positioning of the pump set was communicated to the operatives undertaking the work.

Fascel Group Limited of Sundon Park, Luton pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 15(2) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 and were today fined £36,000 with £34,235.45 costs.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Gabriella Dimitrov said: “Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working and to provide the necessary information, instruction, and training to their workers.

“Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”

HSADD Says: The cost of doing a proper plan, method statement and written Risk Assessment, then providing the safe method to do the job would have cost at most a couple of hundred GBP! Instead, shortcuts have been made resulting in failure and luckily no fatalities, this is likely to be more by luck than judgement

Does the punishment fit the crime?

This seems to be a total anomaly of ‘justice’ and very much an imbalance.

I have covered the issues surround involvement of S.I.A Security staff in stopping fights and then their involvement leads to prosecution or loss of badge. In some areas of the UK, it is a total ‘NO WIN’ situation, in other words, you cannot do right for doing wrong.

I have just been looking through the details from a case in 2019, two groups of males started fighting with each other outside a venue, within feet of the Security team, both groups had been refused entry due to conduct and behaviour.

The Security team stepped in, and as expected, became the focus of attention from the more aggressive group, the result was over in 2-3 minutes without any injuries, one of the security team was over-enthusiastic and his actions could be considered an assault (if he actually made contact with anyone) (despite no complaint)! the other was more defendable as he was clearly controlled and defending a member of the public.

The inbalance

In this case, the persons who were without any doubt the aggressors and the people who started the fighting received an £80.00 Police fixed penalty notice. Done and finished

The two Security staff – both lost their badge and with it their job with an income loss of around £250.00 per week. To me, this does not seem to be a ‘fair and just’ outcome by any means and whilst I agree that the conduct of Security staff must be exemplary, the delays investigation and the speed at which the badge is removed leads to the Security staff being ‘guilty’ and having to prove his innocence, rather than the principle of Innocent until proved guilty.

It seems that neither the Police or S.I.A (Security Industries Association) have not taken into consideration the impact of the suspension of the security staff badge and right to work, they clearly announce ‘Guilty’ until proved innocent.

I would welcome any comments or experiences of this, particularly if you are from the Merseyside area where there seems to be a higher than normal rate of ‘suspensions’ requested by Merseyside Police.