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Block making company and health & safety consultant fined after worker is fatally crushed

Block making company and health & safety consultant fined after worker is fatally crushed

Date: 10 June 2011

Friday 10th June: Miskelly Brothers Ltd. and its health and safety consultant Steven Jones were today fined a total of £54,000 plus costs, after both pleaded guilty to breaches of health and safety legislation following an earlier hearing at Downpatrick Crown Court on Tuesday 10th May.

The case arose out of an incident on 7th September 2009 at Miskelly Brothers Ltd block making yard at Moss Road, Ballygowan, when an employee of the company, Mr Norman McCord, was fatally crushed when making adjustments to a block strapping machine.

Miskelly Brothers Ltd, the owner of the block making yard, was fined a total of £50,000. Steven Jones, trading as Hazron Safety Services, was acting as a health and safety consultant for Miskellys and had been engaged to carry out risk assessments on the equipment involved in the incident. He was today fined a total of £4,000.

After today’s hearing, Mrs Nancy Henry, an Inspector with HSENI’s Major Investigation Team said, “This was a tragic and preventable incident which happened because adjustments that were being made to the machine were poorly planned. The importance of carrying out meaningful risk assessments, which encompass all the activities carried out on a piece of machinery, has yet again been highlighted. This case sends out a clear message to all employers who use health and safety consultants to ensure that they are competent and accredited to undertake the work required. This is the first time in Northern Ireland that a health and safety consultant has been convicted for a breach of health and safety legislation. HSENI wants to send out a strong message that it will not hesitate to pursue through the courts any consultant who fails in his or her duty of care.”

A new online directory to help businesses find an accredited health and safety consultant was launched in March 2011. To date more than 2,400 accredited consultants across the UK have signed up to the online Occupational Safety and Health Consultants Register (OSHCR). Further information on the register is available at www.oshcr.org.  HSENI would encourage all suitably qualified consultants to register and all businesses seeking the services of a consultant to use the register to find a competent consultant.

-ENDS-

For media enquires please contact:  

HSENI Press Office on 028 9024 3249 or email hseni@detini.gov.uk

Notes to Editors:

  1. Miskelly Brothers Limited pleaded guilty to breaching Article 4(2)(a) and Article 4(2)(c) of the Health and Safety at Work Order 1978 and Regulation 3(1)(a) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (NI) 2000. Steven Jones trading as Hazron Safety Services pleaded guilty to a breach of Article 34(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Order 1978.
  2. The OSHCR register covers England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. HSE is currently administering the register, which is voluntary and open to individuals who provide commercial advice on general health and safety management issues. For more information visit www.oshcr.org.
  3. The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) is an Executive Non-Departmental Public Body, sponsored by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment.
  4. HSENI is the lead body responsible for the promotion and enforcement of health and safety at work standards in Northern Ireland.
  5. Interviews are available upon request.