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Tom Gent defends engineering company following health and safety breach

Tom Gent represented an engineering company in Knowsley which had been prosecuted after an employee was badly injured when he was struck by a metal structure during a lifting process. The employee sustained serious flesh wounds and a fractured arm in the incident on the 30th June 2014.

Knowsley Engineering Services Ltd was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an investigation found the company  had failed to ensure that the lifting operation  was suitably  planned, supervised or carried out safely. A guilty plea had been entered to an offence contrary to Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that the worker and a colleague were attempting to manoeuvre the structure out of the premises using a fork lift truck with an attached jib and sling. Whilst trying to raise the structure from its supporting trestles it twisted, and swung towards the worker, entering the cab of the fork lift truck and striking him. The company had not carried out a risk assessment and no formal training on the use of slings had been provided for the employees.

Lawyers representing the HSE submitted to the court that the offence involved a high level of culpability and that the harm risked fell into the highest category. When account was taken of the size of the company, this would have meant a starting point for sentence of a fine of £160,000.

Following mitigation by Mr Gent, the court accepted that this was a medium culpability case and that there were a number of mitigating features. The court imposed a fine of £30,000 and ordered the Company to pay costs of £7,670.


View the Health and Safety Executive’s article here.