PSS general analysis on HSE prosecutions for the month of May - June

Published: Monday, June 12, 2017 - 11:48

The trend noticed with the last month of prosecutions by the HSE has been one, where the HSE has initiated prosecutions of companies and individuals even if there are no actual cases of ill health or injury. These cases reflect the responsibility of duty holders to fully understand the risks employees face and implement adequate controls that practically allow employees to work safely. There is also a duty on employers to identify and correct inadequate control measures. Failing which, the HSE considers prosecution of companies and individuals as outlined in the prosecutions below.

Prosecution of companies and individuals even if there are no actual cases of ill health or injury.  This prosecution is an example of an organisation that received improvement notices, complied with them but then subsequently failed to maintain the control standards. While there were no reported cases of injury or ill health, the company and general manager had to pay fines and costs totalling £47,700 after pleading guilty to offences under;

  • Regulation 7 (1) of The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
  • Regulation 5(1) of The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005,
  • Regulation 11(1) of The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002
  • Regulation 11(1) (B) of Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 In this prosecution, an organisation received two improvement notices that required compliance with breaches under the Ionising Radiations Regulations 1999. On the returning inspection, the HSE found inadequate shielding in the dedicated radioactive store which put employees at risk of exposure to ionising radiation. The company pleaded guilty to contravention of an Improvement Notice served by an Inspector using his power under Section 21 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.  The company has been fined £534,000 and ordered to pay costs of £8,816.


Another observed trend in the last month, is a rise in the number of HSE prosecutions for non-segregation of transport vehicles and subsequent accidents in the workplace. Poor segregation leads to accidents that could have been easily avoided and proper risk assessment combined with work planning could have easily prevented all of the following accidents and subsequent prosecutions.

Rise in the number of HSE prosecutions for non-segregation of transport vehicles and subsequent accidents in the workplace In this prosecution a construction company and contractor was fined after an employee was killed as he walked alongside a reversing telescopic handler. The company failed to consider the risks to employees and ensure the construction site was organised to enable pedestrian access and egress and for the vehicles to move safely. In another incidence of poor vehicular segregation, a manufacturing company was fined after an employee was struck by a forklift truck in Chester. The company was originally served with an improvement notice in 2007, however they failed to ensure a practically applicable segregation and collision accidents occurred in 2008 and again in 2015. This failure to comply with regulation 17 of the Workplace (Health , Safety and Welfare) Regulations set the company back £500,000 with £7,290 as costs. In another example of an incident due to lack of segregation between vehicles and persons, a member of the public was struck by a reversing forklift and suffered injuries to this legs ankles and feet. The member of the public was visiting the company site to pick up fencing materials when the accident happened. The investigation found that the owner had failed to implement  a safe system of work and properly inform his employees. In this prosecution an auditing employee was seriously injured as he was struck from behind by falling machinery that was being towed by an electric tug and weighing approximately 770 Kg. Both the companies were found to be well versed in transport risk but both fell below the required standard to effectively manage these risks. The companies were fined £266,000 and £375,000 and ordered to pay costs of £23,370 and £37,235.

The increase of accidents with relation to workplace transport and the rising trend of HSE prosecutions even if there are no reported cases of injury or ill health, re-emphasize the seriousness of the duty of care placed on port organisations to protect their employees from the risks of work on a practical basis and also for ports to be aware of any potentially inadequate control measure that may bring the HSE inspector knocking on the doors of organisations within the industry.

Linked below are some of the available legislation and guidance available on workplace transport and safe site design, as a refresher to member organisations about the hazards and duty of care to ensure a safe workplace for all.