Work injury news

Steel giant fined after accident at Workington plant

A multinational steel firm has been prosecuted after two British men suffered serious injuries in an accident at work.

The men were employed as maintenance fitters at a steel plant in Workington, Cumbria, in April 2009.

They were trying to repair a stuck roller shutter door at the site when the door and a supporting pillar gave way.

Both men suffered badly broken legs and one was left with a major head injury after part of the falling structure struck and punctured his hard hat.

He was left unable to work for 15 months, and his partner, who never returned to work for the company, would later take voluntary redundancy.

A work accident investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the steel firm had failed to make a suitable risk assessment for the job before instructing the men to carry it out.

Workington Magistrates' Court heard it did not have a robust system in place to ensure maintenance staff planned and completed their assignments safely.

An HSE spokesman said the company ‘didn't do enough' to prevent workplace accidents.

"One of the workers could potentially have been killed if he hadn't been wearing a hard hat," he said after the hearing.

"Despite this, he still suffered a severe cut to his head and several other serious injuries.

"The work could have been carried out safely by removing the guide for the slats on the roller shutter door so that it could be wound up. However, it wasn't planned properly in advance due to the company's procedures."

Bosses at the firm admitted they breached the Health and Safety at Work Act by failing to ensure the men's safety.

The accident at work cost them £13,300 in fines and £11,631 in prosecution costs.


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