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FIRM AND H&S CONSULTANT PROSECUTED OVER DEATH

Concrete blockmaking plant not subject to ‘meaningful’ risk assessment  

Northern Ireland blockmaker, Miskelly Brothers Ltd, and health and safety consultant Steven Jones have been fined a total of £54,000 plus prosecution costs after pleading guilty to breaches of health and safety legislation.

The case arose out of an incident on 7th September 2009 at the company block making factor in Ballygowan (NI). Mr Norman McCord, was fatally injured whilst making ‘adjustments’ to a block strapping machine.

Miskelly Brothers Ltd, the owner of the block making yard, was fined a total of £50,000. Steven Jones, trading as Hazron Safety Services, was the health and safety consultant engaged to carry out risk assessments on the equipment involved in the incident. He was fined a total of £4,000.

Health and safety consultants must be competent

After the hearing, Mrs Nancy Henry, an Inspector with HSENI’s Major Investigation Team said,

“This was a tragic and preventable incident which happened because adjustments that were being made to the machine were poorly planned. The importance of carrying out meaningful risk assessments, which encompass all the activities carried out on a piece of machinery, has yet again been highlighted.

This case sends out a clear message to all employers who use health and safety consultants to ensure that they are competent and accredited to undertake the work required. This is the first time in Northern Ireland that a health and safety consultant has been convicted for a breach of health and safety legislation.

HSENI wants to send out a strong message that it will not hesitate to pursue through the courts any consultant who fails in his or her duty of care.”

Comment

The new HSE online directory to help businesses find an accredited health and safety consultant was launched in March 2011. More than 2,400 accredited consultants across the UK have signed up to the online Occupational Safety and Health Consultants Register (OSHCR).

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