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  3. Scottish company penalised for pipe incident

A company based in Aberdeen has been fined following a guilty plea, after a worker was struck on the back by steel pipes.

A guilty plea was submitted by North East Stevedoring Company Limited, to breaches of Regulation 17(1) of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, and also section 33(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The firm provides cargo, vessel and quayside handling services at harbours in Lerwick, Kirkwall and Aberdeen.

During May 2013, the employee, Christopher Smith, was working at Clipper Quay, guiding the loading of steel pipes. As he turned to walk away from the area where the pipes were stored to go back to the ship, a number of steel pipes that were being lifted on to the quayside struck him in the lower back. He was knocked to the ground by the impact, sustaining a fractured shoulder and fractures of the lumbar spine.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive discovered that a safe system of work had not been implemented at the time of the accident. The safe system of work would have informed operatives how to maintain a safe distance between vehicles and pedestrians. Inspectors stated that reasonable precautions would have prevented the accident from occurring.


The company received a fine of £12,000, and has since put in place a safe system of work and clear instructions for employees working on loading operations.

All employers have a duty of care to their workers, which often involves the use of PPE and safe working practices.

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