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Top 5 most expensive health & safety fines of 2022

Posted on 22/03/2023 at 1:39 PM by in Blog Helpful Information News

In 2022, the top Health and Safety fine reached a whopping £5 million – exceeding 2021’s highest fine by £1 million.

Many of the significant fines in the last year were due to fatal falls. Construction companies need to double-check their height risk measures this year and ensure their legislation knowledge is up to date.

What’s more, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reported that 123 people were killed at work last year, and 1.8 million suffered from work-related ill health in 2021/22.

Health and safety regulations may seem boring when studying, however following these rules can save your company time, money and lives. Take our short quiz to test your knowledge on the current health and safety regulations, you don’t want to be the Homer Simpson of the construction site.

In today’s blog post, we will explore the highest fines of 2022 and exactly how they came into play.

Top 5 Most Expensive Health and Safety Fines of 2022

  1. Northern Gas Networks Limited: £5m + £91.5k costs
  2. Boulby Mine: £3.6m
  3. Cleveland Bridge UK Limited: £1.5m + £29.2k costs
  4. Dyson Technology Limited: £1.2m + £11.5k costs
  5. Siemens Energy Limited: £900k + £6.3k costs

1. Northern Gas Networks Limited: £5m + £91.5k costs

Make sure your Health and Safety knowledge is up to scratch for the year ahead so you can protect your team and avoid large fines.

Northern Gas Networks Ltd received the highest fine of 2022 at £5 million plus £91.5k in costs after failing to adhere to the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 Section 3 (1).

A fatal fire and gas explosion in Mirfield resulted in the death of the homeowner, Elena Frunza, and an investigation from the HSE.

They found that the gas escaped from a fractured cast iron main running under the carriageway at the front of the property.

This main was not on the Northern Gas Networks drawings and has not been maintained under the Pipelines Safety Regulations 1996.

The HSE inspector, Neil Casey, said:

“This incident, that put the lives of the elderly residents of a care home at risk and cost a homeowner her life, has highlighted a failure by Northern Gas Networks Limited to follow their own safety procedures, in this case requiring the prompt and effective investigation and correction of anomalies in their records. Other gas network operators should take the opportunity to learn from this tragic incident.”

2. Boulby Mine: £3.6 million

The mining company, Boulby Mine, breached Section 2(1) and Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 – and was fined £3.6 million after two electricians experienced severe burns years apart.

The HSE conducted an investigation into the mine and found deficiencies in risk assessment, planning of works, and shortfalls in providing warnings about the parts of the electrical systems the two electricians were working on remained live.

One electrician unknowingly came into contact with a live electrical chamber at 11,000-volt and received severe burns.

The other came into contact with a live conductor on a 415-volt electrical system.

The HSE inspector, Paul Bradley, said both of the incidents were “easily preventable.”

3. Cleveland Bridge UK Ltd: £1.5 million + £29.2k costs

Cleveland Bridge UK Ltd was found guilty of breaching sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 when an electrician fell 8 metres from a crane’s walkway.

They failed to adhere to several regulations, including – the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974, Provision & Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and, Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 & Work at Height Regulations 2005.

Electrician Keith Poppleton was repairing wiring on a large overhead gantry crane. However, as he walked across the crane’s walkway, an access panel gave way beneath his feet, and he sustained fatal injuries.

He was pronounced dead on the way to the hospital.

The HSE found Cleveland Bridge UK Ltd had failed to maintain the walkway’s access panels – and the panel in question had undergone a weld repair. No steps had been taken to ensure the panel was safely replaced and secured, so it did not fail.

HSE inspector, Jonathan Wills, said:

“Mr Poppleton and others were at risk from serious injury whilst walking on a gantry 26 feet high, as the company had failed to assess the risk of these access platforms, which should be secured in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. This was an incident, which could easily have been prevented had the company considered the risks associated with such access panels not being secured in place following maintenance work and general wear and tear.”

4. Dyson Technology Ltd: £1.2 million + £11.5k costs

Dyson Technology Ltd was fined £1.2 million after breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

The employee was hit by a 1.5-tonne milling machine and suffered head and chest injuries.

Thankfully, the incident was not fatal, and the employee escaped being crushed when the machine landed on two toolboxes and the handle of another machine.

The HSE investigation found that Dyson Technology Limited failed to provide suitable and sufficient information to employees working on the task.

They also did not assess the task and devise a safe system to move the machinery safely.

5. Siemens Energy Ltd: £900k + £6.3k costs

Siemens Energy Ltd breached Regulation 13(1) of the Construction Design and Management Regulations 2015 and received a £900k fine.

An employee’s retina was damaged during an explosion caused by a cable strike during construction works.

Siemens Energy Ltd was the principal contractor, and the high voltage cabling expert, VolkerInfra, was the subcontractor.

A VolkerInfra Ltd excavator driver was excavating phases for laying a 275kV cable and struck an existing live cable close by with the excavator.

The contract between the two caused several explosions and damaged the driver’s retina.

HSE found that the permit to dig had not been properly completed by Siemens Energy.

They also found that neither the principal contractor nor the subcontractor checked the cable markings before the work started.

As a result, the existing live cable had not been identified by the team, and the surface marketing for the cable location was off by 50cm.

HSE’s investigation also found evidence of inadequate monitoring and supervision of work.

Make sure your Health and Safety knowledge is up to scratch for the year ahead so you can protect your team and avoid large fines.

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