Importance of public liability insurance shown by court case

Once again the importance of public liability insurance for businesses has been shown thanks to the outcome of a recent court case that involved the HSE.

The Health and Safety Executive recently prosecuted a food manufacturer based in Hull for safety failings that violated public liability regulations.  As a result, the manufacturer was told to pay £14,000 in fines for safety failings that led to severe injuries to two of its employees. The court found that failure on the company’s part to put proper safety measures in place was the direct cause of both employee injuries.

32 year old James Hardcastle sustained severe injuries to one of his hands when it became caught in a piece of industrial tenderising equipment.  His injuries were so serious that his hand ultimately required amputation. Not three months after the first incident, a food packaging sealing machine claimed two fingers on the right hand of another employee as he was feeding plastic film into it.

Wombwell’s Alley Park Industrial Estate’s, Cranswick Convenience Foods premises, was the site of both incidents.  Operating company Studleigh-Royd Ltd faced prosecution at the hands of the HSE for the role it played in the maiming of both workers.

HSE investigators indicated that having proper safety measures in place could have easily prevented both incidents. Court testimony revealed that both machines had their safety devices bypassed in an effort to decrease production time.

Industry experts agree that smaller firms can be wiped out in one fell swoop thanks to one negligence claim.  Having a proper professional indemnity insurance policy in place is one of the best ways to protect such a business from unforeseen losses. However firms are still responsible for taking the appropriate precautions when it comes to the health and safety of their workers.

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