£2m fine after fatality at manufacturing site

A specialist industrial services company based in Warwick has been fined £2m after a worker suffered a fatal injury in 2017 while cleaning waste-water pipes.

Joseph McDonald, an employee of Leadec, was using high-pressure water jetting equipment to clear paint residue from pipes in the paint shop at a car manufacturing site in Solihull.
During the process he was struck by the end of flexi-lance.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company recognised the risks of operating high-pressure water jetting equipment but they had failed to put in place appropriate measures to mitigate the risks.

HSE said the company had not implemented or enforced the use of various control measures such as a pressure regulator or an anti-ejection device, which were missing at the time of the incident and, training and supervision were also not up to standard.

Leadec, of Leadec House, Academy Drive, was fined £2m and ordered to pay £30,000 in costs.

Speaking after the hearing at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court, HSE inspector Richard Littlefair said: “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.”