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OVERSEAS BASED FIRM FINED £3M AFTER DEATH

Principal Contractor put cost-cutting ahead of health and safety

A construction contractor based in Spain has been fined a total of £3m following the death of a worker at a site in Wales in July 2015.

Caernarfon Crown Court heard that 32-year-old Jose Luis Santos Canal was working in a team engaged in demolishing redundant processing machinery. He fell whilst using flame cutting equipment to cut through steelwork supporting a large metal hopper.

The structure collapsed knocking him from his working position. He died as a result of the injuries sustained in the fall.

HSE investigators found that the hopper was not supported before it was cut from the structure and there was no edge protection provided. The harness found with the deceased workman was not being used.

HAVS failures also revealed

During a further site inspection HSE inspectors discovered in October 2015 that Befesa had failed to report a number of incidents at the site, and that two workers had been diagnosed with HAVS earlier that year.

Following further enquiries, it was found the company failed to monitor and assess the risk of HAVS to employees caused by their work.

  • Porvi Construcciones y Contratas – of Zamora, near Valladollid, northern Spain, was convicted in absentia of breaching Sections 2 and 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act. The company was fined a total of £3m and full costs.
  • Befesa Salt Slags – of Whitchurch pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 and 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrence (RIDDOR) Regulations 1995. The company was fined a total of £225,000 and ordered to pay full costs of £67k and fined £75,000 for failing to adequately supervise and monitor the demolitions activities and £150,000 regarding the two workers who developed HAVS.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Principal Inspector Clare Owen said:

“It is clear there was a wholesale failure to manage health and safety during at this site.

Porvi put cost-cutting ahead of health and safety, the bottom line ahead of Mr Canal’s safety and well-being. His death could have been avoided had sufficient planning and monitoring taken place.”

 

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