The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is hot on the toes of companies that breach their strict guidelines and put their employees at risk in the process. Prohibition notices are issued on a regular basis and amazingly, often they are not followed. When this happens the HSE comes down hard, because the risk to the safety of workers, or the public, can be considerably heightened.
In St Ives, Cornwall, a landowner was sent to prison because he ignored safety issues highlighted by the HSE which found part of his land used as a car park overlooked a steep drop of thirty metres to houses below.
The HSE issued a Prohibition Notice to prevent vehicle and pedestrian access within five metres from the edge of the slope. The landowner was advised, by way of an Improvement Notice, to install a barrier to prevent access onto the dangerous land.
However, no action was taken by the landowner. Subsequently, in August 2009, a car was seen hanging over the edge of the slope and emergency services were called. Homeowners had to be evacuated whilst the car was removed.
Notices issued on risk of death or injury
The HSE serves Prohibition Notices where there is a ‘clear, immediate risk of death or injury to employees or the public’. A limited timescale to enhance safety is allowed by Improvement Notices.
In Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria, a restaurant manager was given a suspended jail sentence after ignoring warnings concerning fire safety. Failings were found during an inspection that could have led to risks for workers, and patrons of the restaurant.
What could have happened had the car in Cornwall plunged over the drop onto the houses below? And if fire had broken out in the Cumbria restaurant? It doesn’t bear thinking about.
When a business ignores prohibition or improvement notices not only does it face fines or imprisonment, it puts innocent people at risk and if an incident occurs, it could be met with compensation claims.
For anyone who has suffered injuries due to the failure of a business to take action as advised by the HSE, there is the opportunity to pursue a claim for losses, damages and any resulting treatment or care needs. A specialist injury claims solicitor with specific experience in dealing with cases involving HSE prosecutions will ensure the maximum award is achieved.
The Stephensons' personal injury claims team has a range of specialists who have specific expertise in all types of accident claims, including those caused by a failure to comply with HSE notices. If you think you have a claim, you can talk to us in complete confidence. Call 01616 966 229 to speak directly to one of our experts.