HSE Fines Vauxhall Over Workplace Death

Car manufacturing company Vauxhall has been fined £150,000 by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for an accident at work that led to the death of an employee. The accident, which occurred in 2010, saw electrician Ian Heard die as he was crushed by a piece of machinery. The HSE carried out a full investigation due the nature and severity of the injuries. The investigation found that employees were able to enter a dangerous part of machinery while stuck, and it was this that ultimately led to the death of Mr Heard.

It is the responsibility of all employers to ensure that employees and visitors to their site are safe and free from hazards. Where accidents at work are found to be due to the negligence of an employer, it is possible for the employer, or their family, to make a claim for compensation against the employer. Typically, the Health and Safety Executive will not be involved in judging cases or investigating what happened but they do become involved where accidents are considered serious.

With a death at work, it is possible for the victim’s family to make a claim against the employer. Losing a loved one is not only emotionally difficult for the family but can place a major financial strain on those that are left behind. Compensation for accidents at work will usually include some value for loss of earnings and a similar inclusion will normally be found in a death at work claim too. However, the HSE fine for Vauxhall was separate to this compensation.

A court case began in July, when Vauxhall was charged with failing to ensure the safety of employees and failing to ensure that employees could not access dangerous parts of machinery. The company pleaded guilty on both counts and the hearing was completed this week with Vauxhall being handed the fine by the HSE.

Pirelli have also been investigated by the HSE for similar problems. A 57 year old employee from Carlisle was working on a machine that inflated and checked the pressure of tyres when the machine jammed. The employee set the machine to manual, fixed the problem, and then returned to automatic operation. Unfortunately, after completing two more tyres, the machine jammed again. Without thinking, the worker attempted to free the jam without setting the machine to manual and once the jam was rectified, the machine began operating, trapping his arm and seriously damaging his shoulder in the process.

Pirelli Tyres received a £20,000 fine and more than £4,000 in prosecution costs. They too pleaded guilty to the case as the HSE found that the company did not complete a risk assessment or ensure that adequate safety procedures were in place.

Accidents at work can leave employees with serious injuries and unable to work. A compensation package can include the money that is needed to attend medical appointments, seek the rehabilitation and care that is required, and cover a loss of earnings. Call StocksLegal.co.uk today on 0800 988 9055 if you have been involved in an accident at work of if you have suffered the loss of a loved one through a workplace accident.


Making a claim for your personal injuries with Stocks Legal is really easy. You can speak to an experienced personal injury solicitor today by calling 0800 988 9055 or you can use our online claim enquiry form by clicking here. There is no obligation and you have nothing to lose by speaking to us.


Mike Topper is the litigation manager at Stocks Legal Personal Injury Solicitors. Mike is highly experienced in all types of personal injury cases. He is highly focussed on client care and getting the maximum compensation that is available for his clients and their families. He rightly sees personal injury claims as a real must for the English legal System as without a proper compensation structure, many injury people can be left with no support or ongoing medical treatment.

If you have any questions arising from this article to can contact Mike by calling 0800 988 9055 or by sending him an email by clicking here.

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