When I hear about health and safety breaches I always wonder how company bosses react to them. I’d like to think that bosses would take a minute to review their own practices and if they have employed experienced health and safety specialists they should feel confident that they are doing all they can to prevent breaches. For those who review what they’re doing and start to feel nervous I hope such breaches galvanise them into action to bring their own practices up to standard. The ones I worry about are those who hear about health and safety breaches and don’t take it seriously because they think such things could never happen to them.
For some people it is only when they hear about a case first-hand or about something that happened in their local area that the importance of practising good health and safety standards is brought home to them.
With this in mind, we wanted to share the details of a very sad case which happened in Daventry – not too far away from one of our bases in Northampton.
A few weeks ago, Northampton Crown Court heard on 8 April 2016, an employee of Enterprise Managed Services Limited was fatally crushed when he tripped and fell under the wheels of a reversing refuse lorry in Ashby Road, Daventry, whilst on a routine collection of recyclable refuse.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident found a suitable and sufficient risk assessment had not been carried out for the collection route and there was a failure to adequately supervise the Daventry waste and recycling round.
Enterprise Managed Services Limited, of the Chancery Exchange, Furnival Street, London, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974. They were fined £1,020,000 and ordered to pay costs of £60,476.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Michelle Morrison said: “This tragic incident led to the death of a young man, which could so easily have been avoided by simply carrying out a suitable and sufficient route risk assessment and identifying where reversing could be avoided.
“Those in control of workplaces are responsible for identifying and implementing suitable methods of working to reduce the need for vehicle reversing.
“Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”
At Acorn Safety Services, we would urge all companies – in all sectors – to make sure they have carried out a thorough risk assessment of their working environment so they can identify potential loopholes, leverage smart risk-mitigating measures and ensure they are well in control.
Our trained Health and Safety Consultants can help you think about what, in your business, might cause harm to people and help you decide whether you are taking reasonable steps to prevent that harm.