Tuesday, March 24, 2015

News: Rotherham firm a "serial safety offender"

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Rotherham-based metals business, Meadowbank Vac Alloys, has been sentenced after it continually failed to take adequate action after being served with enforcement notices by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Twenty enforcement notices were served by HSE at the end of May 2012 after a visit by inspectors to the firm’s site in Harrison Street. The visit was prompted by a complaint voicing concern about the condition of the firm’s vehicles.

The notices covered a multitude of safety and health risks ranging from improvements needed to a variety of plant and lifting machines to the provision of basic welfare facilities for staff.

The court heard that there were a further four visits by HSE between then and early August when additional enforcement notices were issued. These included seven which banned use of three forklift trucks, three mechanical grabs and a loading shovel that had no brakes.

In total 31 notices were served between May 29 and Aug 2012 identifying 57 safety breaches.

Meadowbank Vac Alloys specialises in recycling super alloys for the aerospace sector and is a supplier to the global vacuum, air melting and blending industries.

The company was fined a total of £36,000 and ordered to pay £36,000 toward prosecution costs after pleading guilty to a single breach of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998; and multiple breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 974, three relating to Prohibition Notices and two for offences of non-compliance with Improvement Notices.

After the hearing, investigating HSE inspector Denise Fotheringham said: "Meadowbank Vac Alloys displayed a reckless disregard for the safety of its employees and a persistent contempt for the legal notices issued requiring the firm to bring equipment to an acceptable standard.

"HSE exercised protracted patience with the company and was in regular contact with the director to ensure what was needed to comply was clear, unambiguous and fully understood.

"Despite being given ample opportunity, Meadowbank chose to ignore their responsibilities; put workers in danger on a daily basis; defy the law and turn a deaf ear to information, advice and guidance conveyed by inspectors and an independent engineer."

HSE website

Images: Meadowbank Vac Alloys

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