Safety guards deliberately defeated
A north east engineering firm has been fined for deliberately compromising the safety guards, including the sliding door interlocking guards, for production reasons on a number of Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) machines including machining centres, milling machines and drilling machines.
During a visit the HSE inspector found that interlocks had been deliberately defeated on three CNC machining centres and a CNC milling machine and the interlock was broken on a CNC drilling machine, effectively allowing employees to access dangerous parts of the machines during automatic CNC operations leading to a risk of serious injury. The company had previously been served with HSE Improvement Notices following an inspection in 2008 and a letter sent in 2012 highlighting similar issues. The company pleaded guilty to breaching section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £13,500 with £1,439.10 costs.
Boy found unconscious in pool
Two Scottish councils have been fined after an incident in which an 11-year-old’s unconscious body was found at the bottom of a swimming pool during a school excursion. A member of the public discovered the boy at the deep end of the pool and lifted him onto the poolside where CPR was successfully administered. Following an HSE investigation into the incident, issues were found with staffing levels and lifeguard positioning at the pool, and the effective management of educational excursions at the school; both Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeenshire Council pleaded guilty to safety breaches. Both parties pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. Aberdeen City Council was fined £9000 while Aberdeenshire Council was fined £4000.
Principal contractor “put lives at risk”
A Gloucester firm, which was acting as a principal contractor on a large refurbishment project, has been sentenced for safety failings after renovation work at her home left an elderly tenant at risk from a dangerous gas heater. This was discovered when two Gas Safe engineers called at the house some time later to carry out a routine annual service of the gas appliances. The engineers found the gas-powered warm air unit at the property had been left in a dangerous condition as a result of the refurbishment work which had been carried out. It was found that essential combustion ventilation required for the gas power unit had been cladded over and the flue had been removed and the roof fitted over the top, leaving it to discharge into the loft. The principal contractor responsible for the refurbishment project was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3587 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.