Recent Health and Safety Convictions

Recent Health and Safety Convictions


A South Wales based company, British Airways Avionic Engineering Limited, has been fined for failing to assess the risk to workers from hand arm vibration.

Employees of the company were exposed to vibration from use of a wet blasting cabinet and vibrating hand tools. The company only started to assess and reduce vibration risk in 2013, despite the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations having been in force since July 2005 and were preceded by similar risk assessment requirements.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated and found that the company failed in their duty to recognise and properly assess the risk from hand arm vibration at their facility.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 5 of the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005, and has been fined £80,000 and ordered to pay costs of £25,297.57.

In another recent case a building company and its director have been sentenced after carrying out unsafe and unnecessary building work.

The company, BBS Improvements Limited and sole director Barrie John Henry Birch, were sentenced after a joint investigation by Worcestershire Trading Standards Service and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found a string of health and safety and fraud offences.

In one example, Mr Birch, operating under BBS Improvements Ltd, was employed to carry out building work on a domestic property in Redditch in 2017. A complaint was made to Trading Standards who instructed an expert to examine the roof. The expert confirmed that the work was wholly unnecessary and that the work done had no value whatsoever. During the investigation Trading Standards also identified potential health and safety issues.

HSE inspectors found that the company was carrying out work at height without scaffolding and that there were no measures in place to prevent employees from falling.

In addition, people were walking on the roof of the house with no safety measures in place to prevent them from falling and Mr Birch was present and fully aware of the people working unsafely on the roof.

To make matters worse, at the time the complaint was received Mr Birch was also before the court for similar offences committed while trading as a sole trader under the name BBS Improvements.

In another example the Court heard how Mr Birch was employed to carry out minor roofing repair work on a domestic property in Bromsgrove in 2016. After inspecting the roof Mr Birch advised the homeowner that the whole roof required replacing. A Trading Standards investigation, involving an expert examination of the roof found that the work to replace the roof was totally unnecessary.

Mr Birch admitted an offence under the Fraud Act 2006 and an offence under the Consumer Protection from unfair Trading Regulations 2008 in relation to unnecessary work carried out at a property in Bromsgrove during 2016. He also pleaded guilty to breaching Section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

Mr Birch also asked for 5 other, similar matters to be taken into consideration, including two offences of failing to provide the 10 Year Insurance Backed Guarantee.

Mr Birch was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment, suspended for 2 years, ordered to do 250 hours of unpaid work and was disqualified from being a Company Director for 5 years. He was ordered to pay compensation to the victims and to make a contribution to the prosecution costs.

BBS Improvements Limited pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 6 (3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and the company was fined £200.

If you have any questions around Health and Safety matters, please contact the FSB Legal Advice Line.

Tags HSE, health and safety, work safety, regulations, workplace regulations, markel law, sme