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Company fined after employee suffers a fatal injury cleaning waste-water pipes

Leadec Limited, a specialist industrial services company has been fined after an employee died cleaning waste-water pipes. On the 18th of June 2017, Joseph McDonald was using ‘high pressure water jetting equipment’ to clean away paint residue from the pipes in a paint shop at a car manufacturing site in Solihul. Birmingham Magistrates Court heard that amid the process McDonald was ‘struck by the end of a flexi-lance’ causing his fatal injury.

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out an investigation and found that the company understood the risks of working with high-pressure water jetting equipment, but they had failed to put in place appropriate measures to moderate them. Furthermore, training and supervision were not up to standard and there were no control measures (such as a ‘pressure regulator’ or an anti-ejection device) available at the incident.

The company in question (Leadec Limited of Leadec House, Academy Drive, Warwick) pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £2,000,000 and ordered to pay a further £30,000 in costs.

HSE inspector Richard Littlefair commented: “Companies must understand that high risk activities require a thorough risk assessment process and robust management systems to protect their employees from risk of serious or fatal injuries.

“It is not good enough for companies to assume they are doing all they can to control the risk just because there have been no previous incidents. Joseph McDonald’s death could have been prevented had Leadec Limited had the necessary control measures and management systems in place to protect its employees.”

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