M and M Contracting Ltd, a company that specialised in producing doors and windows were discovered to have many safety failings after the death of one of their workers in their premises in Leyton. The 55 year old worker was new to the job and had only been employed for ten days when he lost his life while working with his son who was also an employee of the company.
Poor System of Work in Place Resulted in Tragic Accident
As part of his duties for the day Andrzej Rokita, from Poland, had been told to pull out a large board that was positioned in a pile of other boards that were stacked up against a wall. M and M Contracting had a strange method of work when it came to removing the board. One of the employees was to stand in the front of the pile and was responsible for taking all of the weight of the boards that were not currently required to be pulled out. As the worker supported the weight of the boards using only their hands a second employee was responsible for pulling out the required board on the other side.
Improper Material Stacking
When Mr Rokita and his son carried out this routine Mr Rokita was trying to support the weight of the pile while his son removed the board. Unfortunately he was unable to take the weight and the boards fell crushing him. He suffered from head injuries that proved to be fatal. The Health and Safety Executive investigated the incident and found that the storage system and the method used to retrieve required boards were not safe. Had the boards been placed stacked up on the floor rather than leaning against the wall the risk of injury would have been reduced.
An Accident Waiting to Happen
The Health and Safety Executive Inspector, Kevin Smith, said that it was only a matter of time before someone died using these unsafe methods. He always stated that these types of incidents are still a common occurrence even though there were affordable simple solutions available from the HSE to ensure wood is stacked safely in order to reduce the risks.
M & M Contracting Ltd was sentenced at Southwark Crown Court. The company was fined £26,000 and also told to pay an additional £9,000 in court costs after pleading guilty to breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Acct 1974.
Safe Procedures and Policies Reduce the Risks
As an employee it is your duty to ensure all workers carry out their duties in a safe manner. Risk assessments and training are required to reduce the likelihood of injuries and deaths in the workplace. You can find help from Health and Safety Services to help with health and safety training, risk assessments and even to request a complete health and safety audit to highlight any problems.
You can find out more about health and safety in the workplace by contacting the experts. Call 0800 1488 677 to speak to health and safety consultants about the services available.