Abbey Forged Products Ltd, a hot meal forging company based in Sheffield has been sentenced for safety breaches following the death of a worker.
On 17th July 2015, Billy Fairweather was given the responsibility of hammering down pieces of hard alloy in a team of four. One of the pieces Mr Fairweather was working on was small but still hard alloy so he moved from the small hammer he had been assigned to a more powerful piece of equipment.
Due to the small size of the work piece it required the 35 year old to be positioned low down and close to the hammer, down on one knee or in a kneeling position. Whilst he was working, the piece misaligned and was ejected throwing Mr Fairweather backwards, causing fatal injuries in the process.
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found the company had failed to allocate the job to the correct hammer and crew and failed to properly assess the potential risks involved with hammering small components on large machinery. It was also found that the company had failed to provide a safe working system that considered communication and allowed line of sight of the work piece.
HSE inspector Carol Downes said: “This tragic incident could easily have been prevented if the employer had acted to identify and manage the risks involved, put a safe system of work in place, and to ensure that the job was allocated to the appropriate equipment.”
The company pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £500,000 and ordered to pay £23,756.47 in costs.
Jeremy Sirrell a partner at Palmers and health and safety expert said: “This incident highlights the importance of implementing specific health and safety policies at your place of work.
“A horrible accident has resulted in the loss of someone’s life and the situation could have been avoided.”
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