Last reviewed 22 September 2020

Industrial services company Leadec has been fined after a worker suffered a fatal injury while cleaning waste-water pipes.

Birmingham Magistrates’ Court heard how an employee of Leadec was using high-pressure water jetting equipment to clear paint residue from pipes in the paint shop at a car manufacturing site in Solihull. During the process he was struck by the end of flexi-lance, causing a fatal injury.

Investigating Health and Safety Executive (HSE) officers found that the company recognised the risks of operating high-pressure water jetting equipment, but they had failed to put in place appropriate measures to mitigate the risks. They had not implemented or enforced the use of various control measures such as a pressure regulator or an anti-ejection device, which were missing at the time of the incident and, training and supervision were also not up to standard.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching s.2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work, etc Act 1974 and was fined £2 million and ordered to pay £30,000 in costs.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Richard Littlefair said: “Companies must understand that high risk activities require a thorough risk assessment process and robust management systems to protect their employees from risk of serious or fatal injuries.

“It is not good enough for companies to assume they are doing all they can to control the risk just because there have been no previous incidents.”

In this case, the employee’s death could have been prevented had the company put in place the necessary, simple control measures and management systems.