The UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has prosecuted an engineering company after an employee sustained life-changing injuries whilst welding an industrial steel fabrication. Press release here.
A worker was undertaking work to fabricate and weld dolphin jackets, devices which are secured to the seabed and used for mooring boats. A dolphin jacket, which weighed approximately 7.7 tonnes, moved in an uncontrollable manner trapping him and crushing his feet. Half of his left foot was severed in the incident and a further portion had to be surgically amputated. His right foot could not be saved and was later surgically removed below his right knee to enable a prosthetic limb to be fitted.
What went wrong
HSE investigation found that:
- There were no written risk assessments nor work method statements for the task;
- A method was devised by the workers to move the dolphins into position and secure them, using a combination of forklift trucks and temporary steel supports, but this method failed;
- While the company may have had significant confidence in their employees’ abilities, it remained the company’s responsibility to ensure work was carried out in a safe manner at all times.
The inspector noted “Those in control of work procedures have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working and to provide the necessary information, instruction and training to their workers to ensure the safe system of working. If a suitable safe system of work had been in place prior to the incident, the life changing injuries sustained by the employee could have been prevented.”
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