Learning the hard way?

November 7, 2018

A security fencing manufacturing company has been fined after a worker sustained significant injuries on site, the Health and Safety Executive(HSE) reports:

Liverpool Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 23 February 2017, 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.

An investigation by the HSE, 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.

The investigation also 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, 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.”

Jim Tuhey, Flint Claims comments:

“Who was it that said mistakes are meant for learning not repeating? It’s a crying shame that even after two similar accidents this company did not heed the warnings and change their practice. It took dreadful injury and a hefty £265,000 fine (inc. costs) before they created a safer working environment. Those in charge need to understand that not only is it morally wrong and very bad for business, but terrible injury to workers and in worst cases death, will ultimately result in a custodial sentence for bosses.

“More and more we see insurers rewarding those clients who are health and safety conscious with preferential rates. What’s more commercial insureds who can demonstrate appropriate training and professional practice, backed up by good documentation enable their insurers to robustly defend them in the event of a claim. Claims history is one of the biggest factors in premium calculation. We cannot stress highly enough the need for correct risk management. As your insurance broker, we are here to offer help and advice, so please speak to us.”

Call us on 0208 309 5000 for help and advice on your insurance needs.

Got a question?
Speak to our UK-based experts.

Call us on
0800 021 4501

Get in touch