Health and Safety Sentencing

  • 09 November 2023 09 November 2023

Health and safety sentencing update

Date Turnover/size of company (N.B approx only) Court Fine Sector Incident type
8th Sept £10,014 million High Court in Aberdeen £6.7 million, reduced from £10 million because the defendant admitted culpability Rail

Three people died and six people were injured after a derailment. The train derailed after hitting a landslide following heavy rain. The defendant rail company admitted a series of failings that resulted in the deaths. These included failing to inform the driver that it was unsafe to drive the train at a speed of 75mph or caution him to reduce his speed on the day of the derailment. There were also failings in construction, inspection and maintenance of drainage assets and in adverse and extreme weather planning.

17th July £378 million Leicester Magistrates' Court £400,000 Retail

An employee of the defendant dry cleaning company tried to manually clean a sensor to initiate movement of a conveyor belt. As she did so her left hand was drawn into a gap where two conveyor belts meet. This caused the skin to be ripped off the palm of her left hand. 
The defendant had inadequately guarded machinery, did not have a suitable and sufficient risk assessment for the machinery that caused the injury and inadequate health and safety management systems in place. It pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

18th July £51.8 million Derby Magistrates' Court £200,000 Manufacturing

The defendant manufactures and supplies metal bars for aerospace and automotive industries. Two of its employees carried out a variety of tasks, which included the use of vibrating tools, throughout the manufacturing process. They were diagnosed with HAVS after using the tools for a number of years, without adequate systems in place to control their exposure to vibration. 
The defendant pleaded guilty to breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

30th Aug £4.1 million Westminster Magistrates' Court £80,000 Education

15 schoolchildren and their teacher were injured when their classroom ceiling collapsed during a lesson. They sustained upper limb fractures, cuts as well as concussion. 
Items such as desks and chairs were stored in an unsuitable area in the school’s attic. This area was not designed to be load bearing and led to the ceiling collapsing. The defendant educational trust had failed to undertake any structural or load bearing capability assessments of the area being used to store the items. It had also failed to assess whether the area in question was appropriate to be used for the storage of these items.
The defendant pleaded guilty to breaching section 2(1) and section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

21st Aug Small company Exeter Magistrates' Court £60,000 Agriculture

The victim was employed by a plant hire company. He was operating a tipper lorry at the defendant farm when the hydraulic arm of the tipper lorry came into contact with an 11kV overhead power line.
The defendant failed to carry out an assessment of how the work could be completed safely and did not consider the dangers involved with working near an overhead power line.
It was found guilty of breaching Regulations 3(1) and 4(3) of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989.

27th July Small company Liverpool Magistrates' Court £40,000 Retail

A self-employed delivery driver was hit by a forklift truck at the defendant clothing company’s site. He suffered multiple leg fractures and a dislocated ankle. 
The defendant failed to ensure that there were adequate measures in place to ensure the safe segregation of delivery drivers from the unloading and loading activities. The driver was not instructed to stand or wait in a safe area during the unloading of his vehicle.
The defendant pleaded guilty to breaching section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

25th Aug Small company Staffordshire Magistrates' Court £90,000 Construction

The defendant construction company exposed people to asbestos during a renovation project. Significant amounts of asbestos-containing debris was found at the front and rear of the building and along the public highway. The defendant had also failed to appoint a competent person to carry out a refurbishment and demolition asbestos survey of the premises prior to carrying out work on site.
The defendant failed to attend court and was found guilty in absence to breaching Regulations 5, 11 and 16 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.

4th Sept Micro company Carlisle Magistrates' Court £16,000 Construction

The defendant roofing company was undertaking work on a building. The roof was known to be fragile, and at the time of the incident, safety nets were being erected below the work area, although this work had not been completed.
The worker was taken onto the roof to assess the job. He stepped onto a weak skylight which gave way and fell headfirst onto the concrete below. He sustained numerous injuries and spent six weeks in intensive care and was confined to a wheelchair for five months.
The defendant failed to take appropriate precautions to ensure the safety of workers on the roof. It pleaded guilty to breaching regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

5th July n/a Southwark Crown Court £35,000 Education

During a school carol concert 60 children were waiting in costume in a narrow corridor. They were holding 10-inch lit taper candles. One boy wearing a homemade sheep costume made of cotton wool balls caught fire. He sustained 45% burns to his body. 
The defendant school had failed to take appropriate measures to account for the risks inherent with giving lit candles to children, while wearing potentially flammable costumes. 
The defendant pleaded not guilty to breaching section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act but was found guilty by a jury.

31st Aug u/k Westminster Magistrates' Court £800,000 Food

The defendant food chain was fined after a worker was stuck in a walk-in freezer for two and a half hours, wearing only jeans and a T-shirt. There was no suitable risk assessment in place for employees working in temperature-controlled environments. The defendant pleaded guilty to a health and safety offence.



Stay up to date with Clyde & Co

Sign up to receive email updates straight to your inbox!