An investigation conducted by Health and Safety Executive found that a construction company had failed to sufficiently induct and inspect the experience of a self-employed ground worker. This failure resulted in significant monetary loss for the company and life changing injuries for the ground worker.    

It was found that MJL Contractors Limited had failed to sufficiently ensure that a self-employed ground worker had the relevant knowledge, experience and skill to use the equipment.

They had failed to effectively assess the self- employed ground worker and failed to plan to ensure risks were properly controlled.

Due to this failure, MJL Contractors Limited were found guilty of breaching section 3(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (“the 1974 Act”).

 

Duty imposed under section 3

Section 3(1) states:

It shall be the duty of every employer to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in his employment who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety.”

What happened?

The ground worker was using a petrol disc cutter to cut reinforced concrete beams to size, whilst doing this the saw “kicked up” and caused a deep laceration to his arm.

Despite major efforts to try and save his arm, the arm had to be amputated in October 2017.

The company should have been aware the ground workers lack of previous experience of undertaking such a task and this should have been identified at his induction or when he was given the job to complete.

As such, Truro Crown Court determined that the incident on site showed that MJL Contractors had failed in their duty to the groundworker.

It is vital that all employers have a working understanding of the 1974 Act as failure to comply with the Act could not only leave the employer exposed to significant health and safety fines but also could lead to a severe impact on an individual’s life.

 

Sentencing

MJL Contractors Limited were ordered to pay costs of £100,000.

In addition, they have received a fine in the sum of £250,000.

 

Further information

Further information in relation to the investigation conducted by HSE can be found here: https://press.hse.gov.uk/2021/03/04/construction-company-sentenced-after-worker-sustains-life-changing-injuries/