DT Powder Coating, a Bedfordshire-based company, has been fined following an accident in which an unnamed employee suffer serious injuries to his right hand.
In September 2012, at the company's Leighton Buzzard site, the worker was hit by a metal basket and cradle which fell on him after an eyebolt attached to a crane failed, leading the objects to be launched into a degreasing tank.
The heavy metal cradle struck the employee's right hand, leading to serious lacerations, several broken bones and damage to his nerves and tendons.
Since sustaining his injuries, the employee found himself unable to work for over a year.
HSE Work Accident Investigation
The first failing by DT Powder Coating was that it did not report the work accident within the required 15-day period.
However, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) was eventually called in to investigate the accident and identified a number of areas in which the company had failed to prevent these types of accidents from taking place.
The HSE work accident investigation into the case revealed employees had been concerned about the health and safety practices carried out by DT Powder Coating for some time.
Speaking after the Court case, HSE inspector Emma Rowlands said, "We received several complaints from current and previous employees regarding this company."
These three employee concerns led to four improvement notices being served to DT Powder Coating by the HSE.
During the inquiry, it was found that employees had not been properly trained on how to lift equipment safely and there was no system in place to ensure such tasks were carried out in the correct manner.
The HSE noted the faulty eyebolt needed to have been screwed into the basket's framework much more securely, as its looseness appeared to be the primary cause of the accident.
Ms Rowlands said, "Our investigation revealed a lack of basic employee training and that lifting operations were carried out in a way that exposed employees to risk of injury. In this case, an employee suffered a needless injury, which has prevented him from working for over a year."
Earlier this week, Luton Magistrates' Court ruled that DT Powder Coating was guilty of breaching Regulation 2 of the 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act and Regulation 3 of the 1995 Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations, as well as Regulation 5 of the 1998 Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations.
The first of these breaches relates to the company failing to ensure the welfare of its workers, while the second is because the firm did not report the work accident within the correct period of time. The third and final breach relates to the business' failure to maintain its machinery properly and keep records of any repairs needed or how long it has been since they were last carried out.
For these safety failings, the firm was ordered by the Court to pay a fine of £36,000 plus an additional £10,509 in legal costs.
By Francesca Witney