Head Of Training, The Healthy Work Company

October 17, 2016

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£70k fine after worker is crushed to death

Oldham manufacturing firm R Tindall (Fabricators) Ltd has been prosecuted after a worker died after he was crushed under metal pipework.

Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court heard that 53-year-old Frank Dunne was operating a side-loader forked lift truck which was carrying a vacuum packed pipe bundle. While he was attempting to load a second bundle weighing 1.5 tonnes, it fell, crushing him underneath.

There were no eye witnesses to the incident and Mr Dunne was found over an hour later when work colleagues moved the side-loader which was still running, discovering his body under the pile.

Following an inquest earlier this year The Oldham Evening Chronicle reported that Mr Dunne’s colleagues unknowingly walked past the stack of pipes under which he was buried and some even used the forklift truck, yards from where he lay.

Fellow workers said Mr Dunne hadn’t seemed himself and looked tired in the weeks leading up to the incident, the newspaper reported.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found there was no risk assessment or documented system for moving and stacking pipework or any items around the site. Also the method of packing bundles had changed without being documented anywhere. The previous method using a wooden framework was actually more stable and would have meant that Mr Dunne would not have been in a danger area if this system had continued.

R Tindall (Fabricators) Ltd of West Point Industrial Estate, Hargreaves Street, Oldham pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £70,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,000.

HSE Inspector Mike Lisle said: “There was no risk assessment carried out on this new method of working and no system put in place for the operators to follow. If the company had provided a safe system of work for their employees to follow this tragic incident to Mr Dunne could have been avoided.”

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Bob Wallace
Bob Wallace
5 years ago

So – someone dies as a result of poor working practices, a lack of effective communication and consultation with the workforce and a general lack of management and the company is fined a derisory amount.

But – break a famous film star’s leg as a result of poor working practices, a lack of effective communication and general poor management and the company is fined £1.6m.

Someone explain the correlation between the severity and outcomes, as I am struggling???

Rolf Clayton
Rolf Clayton
5 years ago
Reply to  Bob Wallace

I endorse Bob Wallace’s comment. HOw is this possible. I thought that new legislation had introduced far more punitive fines for breaches of H&S laws.

Andrew Essex
Andrew Essex
5 years ago

Let us not forget Alton Towers and Tesco in the last few weeks? What sentencing guidelines?

Jason Jones
Jason Jones
5 years ago

Since the changes to H&S fines and penalties in February this year we have seen a transformation in the cost of fines for incidents resulting in much lesser injures, but these involve larger, well know organisations… My view would be that new H&S fines are more about public interest and less about the significance of the crime? Someone has died in this incident and as Bob Wallace states the fine is derisory / embarrassing. I am also struggling with this one also.

Brian Evans
Brian Evans
5 years ago

Maybe SHP should say a little more about how the sentencing guides that are applied in all cases it reports upon. For example in this particular case the company may not have had the resources to pay a bigger fine whereas Tesco on the likes do.