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Demolition PC fined for salt slag plant death

A Spanish firm appointed as principal contractor to demolish redundant processing machinery at a salt slag recycling facility in Wales has been handed a £3m fine after one of its workers died.

Demolition PC fined for salt slag plant death
Image credit: HSE

The client on the project was also sentenced and asked to pay £75,000 for failing to supervise and monitor the demolition work adequately.

A Health and Safety Executive investigation found that Jose Luis Santos Canal, who worked for Spanish construction firm Porvi Construcciones y Contratas, was part of a demolition team dismantling redundant machinery at Befesa Salt Slags’ plant in Fenns Bank, just inside the Welsh border near Wrexham, when the incident happened on 14 July 2015.

Canal was using flame cutting machinery to cut through the steelwork that supported a large metal hopper. The hopper collapsed and knocked him from the structure where he was standing. He was killed in the fall.  

The investigation identified key failings that contributed to his death. The hopper was not supported before it was cut from the structure. Canal had no edge protection for working at height and was not wearing his harness. 

During a further site inspection in October 2015, HSE inspectors found that Befesa Salt Slags had not reported several incidents at the site, and that two workers had been diagnosed with HAVS earlier in the year.

Porvi Construcciones y Contratas of Zamora, Near Valladollid, northern Spain, was convicted in absentia of breaching ss 2 and 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act. The construction firm was fined a total of £3m and full costs.

At a hearing at Caernarfon Crown Court on 30 November, Befesa Salt Slags, which specialises in the recycling of steel dust, salt slags (a byproduct of aluminum recycling) and other aluminum residues, was fined a total of £225,000. It was also ordered to pay full costs of £67,092.

The firm, based at Fenns Bank, Whitchurch, pleaded guilty to breaching ss 2 and 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act and reg 5(1) of the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrence (RIDDOR) Regulations 1995. It also admitted breaching reg 4(2) and two breaches of reg 8(d) of the 2013 RIDDOR regulations. 

It was handed a £150,000 fine for these offences.


Nic Warburton is acting editor, IOSH Magazine

 Nick Warburton was previously acting editor of IOSH Magazine. Before that he was editor of SHP and he has also worked on Local Authority Waste and Recycling and Environmental Health Practitioner


  • Maybe a good research project

    Permalink Submitted by tc on 12 December 2017 - 03:39 pm

    Maybe a good research project for an MSc or Doctorate, investigating how many serious injuries / fatalities involve foreign owned / controlled companies or UK companies controlled by non UK Nationals. Leadership comes from the top and in certain cultures / countries, H&S is not a high priority.
    I have worked for and with many companies around the world some of which provided excellent safety leadership, one in particular being DuPont. It is as I read injury / fatality reports and follow up ownership of companies, there could be a cultural / leadership problem in some cases.

  • Having a look on the

    Permalink Submitted by Cathal Ferris on 14 December 2017 - 10:00 am

    Having a look on the breaches in this case and interesting to note that CDM 2015 Breaches not recorded for a demolition project. The client failed to supervise and monitor the work £75k in this case a recorded death. IMO the HSE having recorded a previous visit Belfasa SS had not reported HAVS should IMO have a prohibition notice served until failings were addressed. Probably a cultural relationship between behavior and management and how in many cases cost/profit before safety ultimately leads to the statistic you dont wish to be involved with


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