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Manufacturer fined £25,000 for worker injury

An employee suffered multiple injuries after large steel flange rings fell on him whilst he was working at pipe coupling manufacturer Viking Johnson.
The 39-year-old machine operative from Hitchin in Hertfordshire, was working at the premises of Viking Johnson on Wilbury Way in Hitchin, when the incident happened on 7 May 2009.

Stevenage Magistrates' Court heard how the employee was rolling smaller flange rings out of a metal storage rack, when the 250 kg rings fell. The larger rings landed on his pelvis, causing internal injuries and multiple fractures.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that the metal rack in which the rings were resting was not suitable and the firm had failed to assess the risk of rings falling on an employee while taking them down.

Crane Ltd, Viking Johnson's parent company of West Road, Ipswich, manufacturers of valves and fittings for building services, admitted breaching regulation 4 of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations, for which it was fined £15,000; and also section 2(1) of the Health and Safety At Work Act 1974, with a fine of £10,000. The company was also ordered to pay £3,387.25 in prosecution costs.

HSE inspector Sandra Dias, said: 'This was a serious and entirely preventable incident which left this employee with horrific injuries. I hope other employees are taking note of this case.

'Although Crane Limited had a health and safety system in place, they failed to recognise it was not adequate. Therefore the safety of its employees was compromised when handling the flange rings as Crane failed to properly assess risk and failed to provide adequate work equipment.'

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11 May 2011


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