July 10, 2018

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In Court

Worker suffers ‘significant injuries’ after warning of past accidents ignored

A security fencing manufacturing company has been fined after a worker sustained significant injuries on site.

John Evans, an employee of Blok N Mesh Limited had been helping to manually load fencing panels into shipping containers when approximately 34 panels fell on him. Mr Evans suffered significant injuries as a result including: a broken left shoulder, fractured vertebrae in his neck, two broken ribs, contusions to his lungs, and soft tissue damage to his face.

The HSE’s investigation found that workers were put at risk by the company not having suitable control measures in place to load the panels safely to prevent them from falling. There had been two previous incidents of fencing falling on workers, which should have acted as a warning to the company that the loading procedure was dangerous.

Additionally, the investigation found that the company failed to ensure that work was sufficiently planned, risks were assessed and controlled and that a safe system of work was in place. The company subsequently loaded the fencing using specially designed stillages, eliminating the need for workers to be inside the container, and therefore significantly reducing the risk of injury.

Blok N Mesh Limited of Leytonstone House, Leytonstone, London, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) and Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £260,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,177.30.

Speaking after the incident, HSE Inspector Helen Jones said: “This incident could so easily have been avoided by ensuring workers weren’t put in a dangerous situation, where unsecured fence panels could easily fall and cause serious injury.

“This company had two previous accidents in identical situations, which should have served as a warning that the system in place was dangerous should they have heeded this warning, the serious injuries suffered by Mr Evans could have been prevented.”

Barbour webinar: Building a safer future - Learning lessons from Grenfell to deliver safer buildings

It is now one year since 72 people lost their lives in the Grenfell Tower fire, a shocking and harrowing event which has caused a series of searching questions to be asked about our society and in particular our relationship to fire safety in buildings.

In May of this year, Dame Judith Hackitt published an independent review entitled “Building a Safer Future” which looked at Building Regulation and Fire Safety systems focussing on high-rise residential buildings. The report was extremely hard-hitting, pointing out ignorance, systemic failings, indifference and lack of regulatory enforcement. It was wide-ranging – looking at design and construction through to procurement and supply. In this webinar, Dame Judith will describe her findings and answer questions about the review.


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