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UK HSE: uncontrolled movement of fabrication caused injury

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.

What happened

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.”

Members may wish to refer to:

Safety Event

Published: 10 January 2022
Download: IMCA SF 01/22

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