A director has been jailed and the company fined after a 39 year old worker died.

Gaskell’s (North West) Limited and Jonathan Gaskell were sentenced following the death of Zbigniew Galka in 2010.

£ 0
fine for health and safety breaches

Baler Machine

Mr Galka died whilst trying to clear an obstruction from a baling chamber. This obstruction had caused the machine to stop. Once the blockage was cleared, the machine automatically restarted.

Mr Galka suffered haemorrhaging, shock and severe traumatic injury.

The extent of his injuries meant he died on the way to the hospital.

Normally, when a member of the team would enter the machine, the baler would not function. However, this contraption was deliberately disabled.

An investigation jointly managed by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) and Merseyside Police found that his mechanism had been disabled.

Added to this – the machine was not routinely maintained meaning constant operator intervention was needed.

Further Breaches

Despite the incident mentioned above, the company continued to use the baler machine in its current state of ill repair and lack of safety mechanisms.

They continued in this fashion when HSE inspectors visited the site five years later. This was viewed as a serious aggravating factor by the judge upon sentencing.

risk assessment

Guilty

Gaskell’s (North West) Limited of Foster Street, Liverpool pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company has been fined £700,000 and ordered to pay costs of £99,886.57.

Jonathan Gaskell of Peckforton Hall Lane, Tarporley, Cheshire pleaded guilty to breaching Section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. He was sentenced to eight months in prison. 

"This case indicates that the courts will not tolerate the blatant disregard of Directors and owners."

Health and Safety General Manager, Ellis Whittam

Comment

David Paveley, Health and Safety General Manager at Ellis Whittam suggest “This case indicates that the courts will not tolerate the blatant disregard of Directors and owners where it is shown that they played a part in a serious incident or fatality by turning a blind eye.

In this case the courts decided to apply Section 37 of the Health & Safety at Work Act.

Section 37 will be applied ‘where an offence is committed by a body corporate and is proved to have been committed with the consent or connivance of, or to have been attributable to any neglect on the part of, any director or manager, then he as well as the body corporate shall be guilty of that offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly.’”

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