A British retail marketing company has been ordered to pay £118,500(188,000 USD) in fines and costs for serious safety failings after a worker at its Wakefield printing site was crushed to death, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Bezier Ltd., which employs some 700 people across nine UK sites, failed to heed warnings that could have saved the life of 49-year-old William Aveyard. [WCx] The platen press involved in the incident is being modified by Bezier to improve the safety features of the machine
William Aveyard, of Shipley, Bradford, was trapped in a hand-fed press at the print site in Balne Lane, Wakefield, and pronounced dead at the scene. Leeds Crown Court heard this month that Aveyard was using the press to cut out signs printed on corrugated card. It is thought he had climbed onto a moveable platen to remove waste following a misfeed. Aveyard received fatal injuries when the platen activated and crushed him against the fixed press.
An investigation by HSE found that Bezier failed to act on the knowledge they had of a fatal incident at a separate company a year earlier when a worker died after being crushed between the fixed and moveable parts of a similar hand-fed platen press.
Although Aveyard was experienced in the print industry, Bezier had failed to ensure he was adequately trained to use the machine. In addition there was no written safe system of work for the machine operators to access the press and deal with misfeeds. HSE Inspector Andy Denison noted, “The sudden – and avoidable – death of Mr. Aveyard was a devastating blow for his family.
“Bezier did not act on the knowledge they had of a similar incident. The need for a safe system of work was identified at a Bezier meeting in May 2007. In February 2008, an external health and safety consultant prepared a risk assessment and an action plan but again, the company failed to act. “Accessing the machine to retrieve misfeeds created a serious and foreseeable risk of death or serious injury. Bezier were fully aware of those risks before this incident and failed to implement the required controls.” [WCx]
Bezier Ltd, a specialist in point-of-sale marketing, of Silkwood Park, Wakefield, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. They were fined £80,000(127,000 USD with £38,501.83 (80,000 USD) in costs.
Author Michael B. Stack, CPA, Director of Operations, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in employer communication systems and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. He is a writer, speaker, and website publisher. Contact: Mstack@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.
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