Site Supervisor Fined After Worker Suffered Serious Injuries

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Remind your Managers and Site Supervisors about their delegated responsibilities for health and safet

Author: Ernie Taylor
Published:
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This article is 3 weeks old.

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A Site Supervisor has been sentenced for safety breaches after a 46-year-old worker became entangled in a conveyor belt sustaining serious injuries to his hand and arm. Leeds Crown Court heard that an operative was working on a conveyor belt on an automated waste picking line at Associated Waste Management (AWM) Ltd in Canal Road, Bradford, when it became damaged and needed repair, Whilst the operative was working to repair the conveyor line it started moving and his arm became entangled, causing muscle and tissue damage.

Investigation by HSE Inspectors found that AWM Site Supervisor, Andrew Hughes, who had control of the site in the absence of the site manager, was responsible for completing a permit for the repair work and isolating the line. However, on his way to complete the permit he became distracted with another matter and the Permit To Work and isolation procedure were not completed. This meant that the conveyor belt restarted during the repair work; leading to the injury sustained by the employee.

Andrew Hughes pleaded guilty to breaching Section 7 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974. He was given a four-month prison sentence suspended for 12 months and ordered to pay costs of £1,000.

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Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Darian Dundas said: “Mr Hughes failed to implement company policy and procedure in respect of permits to work and isolation.” He went on to say; “This incident could so easily have been avoided by simply carrying out correct control measures and safe working practices.”

Managers and Site Supervisors and Delegated Responsibilities For Health And Safety

Section 3(2)(c) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (the Act) requires that ALL employers provide of such information, instruction, training and supervision as is necessary to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety at work of his/her employees.

Section 7of the Act deals with the duty on employees and states:

General duties of employees at work

It shall be the duty of every employee while at work —

(a) to take reasonable care for the health and safety of himself and of other persons who may be affected by his acts or omissions at work; and

(b) as regards any duty or requirement imposed on his employer or any other person by or under any of the relevant statutory provisions, to co-operate with him so far as is necessary to enable that duty or requirement to be performed or complied with.

In this case a Supervisor for the Employer failed to implement the Employers own Policies and Procedures for protecting the health and safety of employees. The (named) Supervisor failed to implement the Permit To Work system operated by his employer and to then ensure safe working practice (by isolating the production line). This case reminds us that all individuals can be held personally to account.

Investigation by HSE Inspectors found that the Site Supervisor, who had control of the site (in the absence of the site manager) was responsible for completing a Permit To Work for the repair work and for isolating the line. However, on his way to complete the permit he became distracted with another matter and the Permit To Work and isolation procedure were not completed. This meant that the conveyor belt restarted during the repair work; leading to the injury sustained by the employee.

ACTION:

  1. Remind your Managers and Site Supervisors about their delegated responsibilities for health and safety (at a. and b. above)
  2. Again, remind your Managers and Site Supervisors that they must cooperate with the Employer. This will include implementing their delegated responsibilities, as specified within your own Health and Safety Management System.
  3. Notify your own managers and supervisors. Share this email and the attached with emphasis of the key message, i.e. that all persons can be held to account by the judicial system. As such, they must keep in mind that health and safety performance within the business is not the sole responsibility of the Employer. We all have a shared responsibility for safe working and a safe place of work.

Ernie Taylor

Health & Safety Consultant

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