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September 15, 2021

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Two companies fined for failing that led to crush injury

Two companies have been fined a total of £100,000 after an employee was crushed by machinery.

Chivas Brothers Limited and Fire Protection Group (FPG) Limited pled guilty to health and safety breaches, committed between 20 December 2016 and 22 February 2017, at Dumbarton Sheriff Court.

The companies were each fined £50,000.

The court heard that on 22 February 2017 at Chivas Brothers Limited’s bottling plant in Kilmalid, Dumbarton, a fire engineer employed by Fire Protection Group (FPG) Limited was trapped and crushed inside a vertical storage and retrieval unit.

The engineer was undertaking a visual inspection of fire suppression systems at CBL’s bottling plant. Side panels that act as fixed guards preventing access to dangerous moving parts inside of the machines were removed so that the FPG employee could gain access inside to carry out the inspections. Only part of the machine was isolated from power sources. He suffered crushing injuries to his right side, including the chest wall, shoulder and upper leg and sustained a cut to the top of his head when an extractor device in the unit moved down on top of him and pinned him to the ground.

The HSE investigation found that Fire Protection Group (FPG) Limited had failed to ensure that a suitable and sufficient risk assessment was carried out for the inspection of fire suppression systems located inside the storage and retrieval unit.

They also failed to provide their employees with the relevant information, instruction or training in relation to machinery hazards and preventative measures that should have been taken, and that were necessary to control the risks arising from those hazards.

The investigation also found that Chivas Brothers Limited failed to give the necessary safety information to both its own employees and the Fire Protection Group (FPG) Limited employees working on the units.

This would have ensured that the full nature of work activities were identified and effective risk control measures were implemented. Both companies cooperated fully with the HSE investigation and have implemented new systems of working since the accident.

Alistair Duncan, Head of the Health and Safety Investigation Unit, said: “This was a foreseeable accident resulting in injuries that could have been avoided if an agreed safe system of work had been in place and all relevant safety information had been shared.

“This prosecution and the sentence should serve to remind employers that failure to fulfil their obligations can have serious consequences and that they will be held to account for their failings.”

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