A company that manufactures and transports security fencing has been fined £260,000 after a worker was injured on site.
In a case brought by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Liverpool Magistrates’ Court was told that on 23 February 2017, John Evans, an employee of Blok N Mesh, had been helping to manually load fencing panels into shipping containers when about 34 panels fell on him.
He suffered a broken left shoulder, fractured vertebrae in his neck, two broken ribs, contusions to his lungs, and soft tissue damage to his face. An HSE investigation found workers were put at risk by the company not having suitable control measures in place to load the panels safely.
On two previous occasions fencing had fallen on workers, and this should have acted as a warning that the loading procedure was dangerous. HSE also found the company failed to ensure that work was sufficiently planned, risks were assessed and controlled, and that a safe system of work was in place.
The company subsequently loaded the fencing using specially designed stillages, eliminating the need for workers to be inside the container, significantly reducing the risk of injury. Blok N Mesh of Leytonstone, London, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) and Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. It was also ordered to pay costs of £5,177.30.
HSE inspector Helen Jones said: “This incident could so easily have been avoided by ensuring workers weren’t put in a dangerous situation. This company had two previous accidents in identical situations, which should have served as a warning that the system in place was dangerous.
"If it had heeded this warning, the serious injuries suffered by Evans could have been prevented.”