Totton director fined after worker suffers burns
10 May 2012 12:45 PM
The director of a Totton company has been fined after an employee suffered burns while cutting the top off an unused propane gas tank at the director's home.
The 29 year-old worker from Winchester, who does not want to be named, suffered burns over his left arm, torso and abdomen when he was asked by Jamie Thomas Jewell, of Calmore, Totton, to cut off the top of the tank with a disc cutter which set the flammable gases alight, on 2 September 2011.
The employee had to take three weeks off work and return to his job on light duties for a further month.
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found the gas tank had not been emptied and made safe. The risks of the work had not been assessed and no information, instruction or training was passed to the employee.
West Hampshire Magistrates' Court heard yesterday (9 May) that Jamie Thomas Jewell, 40, director of Suffix Pre-cast Ltd of Brokenford Business Park, Brokenford Lane, Totton, Southampton, was out of his depth with the work. He did not have sufficient knowledge of the hazards associated with working with propane gas to carry out the work competently or to supervise others as they did so.
Jamie Thomas Jewell, of Calmore, Totton, Hants, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act. 1974 and was prosecuted as an individual under Section 37 of that Act.
He was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,451.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Ray Kelly said:
"This incident should never have happened and it was only a matter of good fortune that the worker was not killed. It was irresponsible of the defendant to take an employee to his house. He was out of his depth with this work, having never before tried to do anything like it. Neither the defendant nor the employee had any prior experience of this type of work and as such there was the potential for further and more widespread damage to life and property.
"It's important to stress that there was no wrong doing on the part of the company. This was an irresponsible act of a director who should have known better.
This case emphasises the need for employers to understand the hazards of work activities before they place their employees in situations where they might be affected. Employers need to take responsibility for ensuring they understand the dangers they introduce so they can adequately control them."
Notes to editors
The Health and Safety Executive is Britain's national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to prevent death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice, promoting training, new or revised regulations and codes of practice, and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. www.hse.gov.uk
Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act. 1974 states: 'It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees.'
Section 37 of The Health and Safety at Work etc Act. 1974 states:
Where an offence under any of the relevant statutory provisions committed by a body corporate 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, manager, secretary or other similar officer of the body corporate or a person who was purporting to act in any such capacity, he as well as the body corporate shall be guilty of that offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly.
Where the affairs of a body corporate are managed by its members, the preceding subsection shall apply in relation to the acts and defaults of a member in connection with his functions of management as if he were a director of the body corporate.
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