Company fined for health and safety breach in Northern Ireland

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An English company has been fined £6,000 at Dungannon Crown Court for a health and safety breach that occurred in Northern Ireland.

Vertase FLI Limited, a company based in Bristol, was fined £6,000 plus costs of £1,033 for one health and safety breach relating to a Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) investigation into a workplace incident on 26 May 2015 in Omagh.

Vertase FLI Limited was contracted to carry out a land remediation project at a mining site in the Gortin area of Co Tyrone, which involved welding large rolls of lining membrane together on reclaimed land. The incident occurred when workers were tasked with unloading a delivery of the geotechnical lining membrane from a curtain sided lorry.

The rolls of membrane had been transported on curtain-sided trailers and were being off-loaded on site using straps attached to lifting chains suspended from an excavator.

However the rolls of lining had moved during transport from the manufacturer. On opening the curtain side it could be seen that the rolls were unstable, but Vertase FLI Limited did not put sufficient measures in place to stabilise the load or to remove personnel from the area. As a result, an employee working for them was struck by a falling roll of lining membrane, weighing approximately half a tonne, sustaining serious injuries.

Speaking the hearing Anne Cassidy, an inspector with HSENI’s major investigation team, said: “Every employer must ensure that lifting operations involving lifting equipment are properly planned by a competent person, supervised and carried out in a safe manner.

“The dangers of a load moving in transit are well recognised and employers must ensure that all lifting operations are carried out without risk to those in the area.”

For more information about workplace health and safety please visit the HSENI website www.hseni.gov.uk