Balfour Beatty Utility Solutions Ltd was sentenced on 18 June 2018 at Sheffield Crown Court to a fine of £500,000 and also ordered to pay prosecution costs of £195,000 for breaching health and safety legislation.
The investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found that the workers at the company were exposed to hand-arm vibration between 2002 and 2011 while operating hand-held power tools such as hydraulic breakers and floor saws and the company failed to properly assess the risks to workers’ health and failed to implement suitable risk control measures and a suitable system of health monitoring. These failures resulted in the workers being put at risk of developing Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome, which is a permanent condition affecting the nerves and blood vessels of the hand. It can cause pain and numbness, making it difficult to carry out everyday tasks such as fastening buttons and zips, using cutlery or tooth brush.
This case highlights the importance of complying with your responsibilities under the health and safety legislation.
Failure to assess and minimise risks to your workers’ health can have grave consequences for your business, including massive fines, irreparable damage to business reputation and even imprisonment of responsible individuals in serious cases.
Health and Safety: the basics
Health and safety laws apply to all businesses. As an employer, or a self-employed person, you are responsible for health and safety of persons involved in, or affected by, your business. This includes your employees, sub-contractors and members of the public.
The approach you take should be proportionate to the size of your business and the nature of your business activity.
Managing health and safety does not have to be complicated, costly or time-consuming. If you have taken reasonable steps to prevent accidents or harm to your employees and any relevant third parties, you should not be liable to enforcement action by the regulator or have to pay compensation in a civil claim.
Experts in health and safety law
At Deo Volente Solicitors we have specialist lawyers who are experienced and knowledgeable in all aspects of health and safety cases.
If you or your company faces an investigation by the police, Health and Safety Executive (HSE) or local authority or you are worried that an incident at work may result in such, it is vital to obtain specialist legal advice from the outset to protect your position. In our experience, early legal advice and intervention can help avoid prosecution altogether.
To arrange a free, confidential consultation about your case, please contact our health and safety solicitors on 01234 673 400 for or email your query to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our experienced and highly professional team will carry out a thorough analysis of your case, collate the best evidence possible in support of your defence and identify and exploit various avenues of defending your case and not just the most obvious.
We also offer preventative compliance advice such as critically assessing your existing health and safety policy and systems and explaining how health and safety legislation applies specifically to your business.