Prosecution update: Safety of young persons, chemical safety and window safety under the spotlight

Published: 9 Apr 2018

We continue to hear about prosecutions resulting from avoidable incidents across the industry.

Far too often the failure to implement and follow basic health and safety requirements is resulting in catastrophic injuries and in some cases fatalities.

We look at some recently reported prosecutions from the last few weeks:

  • Guest falls to death from hotel room without window restrictors: The White Lion Hotel, Upton was fined £34K and £49000 in costs after a guest fell to his death from a room without window restrictors. It is imperative that as a business you make a precautionary judgement as to the safety of windows and balconies. This is a health and safety obligation and should be facilitated through the completion of a risk assessment which must identify potential hazards such as persons or objects falling, evaluating the likelihood of this happening and detailing how controls help reduce it further.
  • 16 year old apprentice falls from height: Bland scaffolding were fined £100K after a 16 year old apprentice fell approximately 4 m from a scaffold platform. This case highlights the need for risk assessments to reiterate that dangerous tasks are not permitted for young persons to undertake. Working at heights of above 3 meters is a job that needs to be left with competent contractors where factors such as using the correct PPE and equipment safety come into effect. The correct training also needs to be undertaken by individuals working at height.
  • Major retailer fined £125K after employee suffers chemical burns: In a case that could easily have been avoided, a well renowned retailer is fined after an employee sustained chemical burns after being hit in the face with oven cleaner. Basic health and safety fundamentals such as carrying out COSHH assessments in conjunction with the appropriate safety data sheets and reinforcing the use of personal protective equipment’ cannot be understated.
  • Major fast food outlet fined more than £227K after teenage employee is hit by angry motorist – This unfortunate scenario unfolded after a teenage employee was hit by an angry motorist after directing traffic outside the restaurant. It was reported that the road signs for the car park entrance were unclear. Investigations uncovered that there had been two other instances where staff were hit by a customer’s car while directing traffic Management had instructed the workers to direct traffic through the drive through area despite there not being a risk assessment in place for this activity and no special training.
  • Holiday Park fined £250k after 8 year old breaks her wrist – A short-break holiday company that operates five holiday villages in the United Kingdom was fined after an 8 year old fell from a tree and broke her wrist during an organised event.

Failure to have adequate safe systems and risk assessments in place can result in serious injury and fatalities.

To ensure that your business meets legal compliance, contact CSC today and our team of experts will be happy to provide assistance. Remember that whilst actual harm may not occur, the offence lies in not managing the risk.