A mining company has been fined after a worker suffered crush injuries.
The incident occurred on the 15th of November 2017. Two workers were preparing the roof for supports with the use of a pneumatic chisel. As they were doing this, 0.6 tonnes of stone fell from the roof. This then hit one of the workers on his back. He suffered significant crush injuries as a result. He also suffered a pelvic haematoma and three spinal fractures.
Investigation of the Company
The Health & Safety Executive conducted an investigation into the incident. It was found that the company had not assessed the strength of timber. It was not strong enough. The timber was not to industry standard, which is half rounds or split bars at 65mm thickness.
The company was found guilty as a result. They had breached Section 2 (1) and Section 3 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974. The company had also breached Regulation 3 (1) of the Management of Health and Safety Regulations 1999.
They were fined £100,000 as a result. This is payable over four years. No costs were awarded as the company is in administration.
After the hearing, a HSE Inspector commented on the case. ‘Small coal operators should follow industry guidance on the use of support material on small coal faces. Any changes should be fully assessed to check suitability.’
Unfortunately, ignorance is no excuse for Health & Safety failings, as was the case in this scenario. The materials being used did not meet the industry standard, and as a result a worker suffered serious injuries.
Getting a comprehensive risk assessment completed for your company is the first step. Once you are aware of the risks, it means you can manage them more effectively.
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