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Property owner sentenced after builder seriously injured 23/03/2023

A DERBYSHIRE property owner has been given a community order after a father-of-two sustained life changing injuries when a wall collapsed on top of him during a barn conversion.

Nigel Edwards failed to have a structural assessment of the outbuildings carried out as part of his planning for the project at his home in Woodhouses. The outbuildings were being converted into holiday let accommodation when a stone wall collapsed on 40-year-old Steven Tyson on 8 October 2021.

The married father of two daughters from Melbourne, suffered a catalogue of serious injuries, including a fractured skull, a bleed on the brain and multiple broken bones, including 11 of his ribs. He was rushed to hospital, where he spent the next 18 days in “immense pain”.

He said: “The pain was made worse by the fact I was unable to see my daughters in hospital due to the Covid-19 restrictions on visitors.

“I am still in pain today and struggle to put weight on my right ankle. Due to the traumatic head injury, I was unable to drive for six months.”

Derby Magistrates Court heard how the building had undergone significant structural alterations. It was while Mr Tyson was clearing up outside, that the external face of the stone gable wall collapsed on top of him causing life threatening injuries.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Nigel Edwards had failed to have a structural assessment of the outbuildings undertaken prior to starting the work. As a result, no measures had been identified or implemented to stabilise the building while underwent the alteration. Similarly, there was no plan in place for dismantling parts of the building safely, exposing workers and members of the public to the risk of injury or death from the full or partial collapse of the structures.

Mr Tyson, who has been left blind in one eye as well as losing hearing in his right ear, went on to say how the incident had left him unable to work in the construction industry.

“I might never be able to,” he added. “The injuries have also impacted on my hobbies, which included karate, dog walking and metal detecting.

“I have also had therapy sessions to try and come to terms with the physical and psychological impacts of what happened. This is something I thought I would never have to do.”

Nigel Edwards of Tutholme, Woodhouses, Melbourne, Derbyshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 19(1) and 20(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015. He was made the subject of a 12-month community order and told to complete 80 hours of unpaid work. He must also pay costs of £4,098.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Robert Gidman said, “It is vital that all demolition and dismantling is adequately planned and that a competent structural engineer is engaged by those in control of work where there is the risk of collapse of any structure.

“If this project had been planned effectively, engaging the right people at the right time to ensure a suitable safe system of work was implemented, the life changing injuries sustained by the injured person could have been prevented.”

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Concrete pump operator suffers brain trauma 22/03/2023

A LONDON company has been fined £175k after a worker suffered serious head injuries that saw him hospitalised for seven months.

The man, who was 35 at the time, was working at a domestic property on Elmfield Avenue, Crouch End, London, on 3 March 2019 when he sustained head injuries during concrete pumping operations carried out by sub-contractor Singh Will Mix It Ltd.

A concrete pump operator was cleaning the pump’s hose after it had been used to pump concrete for a ground floor extension at the property. As the pump operator was doing this, the pump became blocked, leading to a sudden release of pressure and causing the hose to whip and strike the worker in the head. The pump operator was not qualified to operate the machine.

The injured worker spent seven months in hospital following the incident, suffered brain trauma, and continues to have difficulties with his speech, memory and movement.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found Singh Will Mix It Ltd failed to ensure workers had the necessary skills, knowledge, experience and training to carry out the work and they failed to have appropriate health and safety systems in place to carry out the work safely.

Singh Will Mix It Ltd, of Larkshall Road, Walthamstow, London, was found guilty of breaching Sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 following a trial at Southwark Crown Court. The company was fined £175,000 and ordered to pay £75,722 in costs at Southwark Crown Court on 15 March 2023.

HSE inspector Gordon Nixon said, “HSE will not hesitate in prosecuting where contractors and operatives do not have the appropriate skills, knowledge, experience and training when carrying out dangerous tasks and putting people at risk.”

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Fines after house partially collapses 21/03/2023

A CONSTRUCTION company and its director have been fined for health and safety failings after a house partially collapsed in Manchester.

THE HEALTH and Safety Executive (HSE) visited the property on Caxton Road, Fallowfield, on 22 September 2020 after being informed an exterior wall had collapsed during construction work undertaken by Servotec Ltd.

Following HSE’s visit, a Prohibition Notice was issued to Servotec Limited after the roof on the property was found to be unstable with the company also failing to provide a temporary works design (TWD).

Additionally, HSE issued Improvement Notices to the company for the poor welfare on site and insufficient asbestos survey. HSE has just launched a campaign highlighting the dangers of asbestos and has guidance on the safe working with asbestos.

HSE returned to the site on 25 September 2020 and a second Prohibition Notice was issued to Servotec after another structural problem was identified.

Servotec complied with all of the enforcement action issued.

Following this, HSE set out to investigate the initial cause of the partial building collapse, however the company and its director, Shaun Brae, were not forthcoming with the requested information over a number of months.

HSE made another visit to the house on 10 February 2021 when further health and safety breaches were found which included inadequate prevention of exposure to silica dust whilst cutting roof tiles. Servotec was then served with a Prohibition Notice and Improvement Notice.

The investigation by HSE found the company failed to comply with this final Improvement Notice and that significant risks across a multitude of areas were present at the site from start to finish, including structural safety, working at height and welfare. As Mr Brae was involved, directly served all Prohibition Notices and had demonstrated a persistent poor attitude and lack of accountability throughout HSE’s interactions, he was also found to have failed to comply in his role as a director.

Servotec Limited, of Mauldeth Road West, Chorlton Cum Hardy, Manchester pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1), Section 3(1) and Section 33(1)(g) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £5,000 at Manchester Magistrates’ Court on 10 March 2023.

Shaun Brae of Repton Avenue, Ashford, Kent, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1), Section 3(1) and Section 33(1)(g) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, by virtue of 37(1) of the Act. He was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay £2,000 in costs at Manchester Magistrates’ Court on 10 March 2023.

HSE inspector Mike Lisle said, “This was a very serious incident, and it is fortunate nobody was injured as a result of the collapse or any of the subsequent failings.

“Where contractors demonstrate persistent poor health and safety and ignore Notices served, HSE will not hesitate to take necessary action.

“Directing minds playing a significant role in a Company’s failings will also be held accountable as was the case here.”

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BOHS publishes Workplace Health Protection guide 22/03/2023

IN CELEBRATION of 70 years of preventing worker ill health, the British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS), a leading scientific charity and the Royal Chartered Society for Worker Health Protection has brought together for the first time its past and current technical guidance for free access in one place.

An A-Z guide has been prepared by the Society’s Faculty of Occupational Hygiene. The guide presents a unique resource for scientists, health and safety professionals, and also for industrial disease lawyers as it includes materials which lay out the standards of protection achievable for controlling exposures to hazards at work responsible for serious illness in later life. The guide to current and archived Technical Guidance can be found on the Society’s website Technical Guidance page. There are also links and signposting to relevant guidance published by other organisations.

A wealth of additional scientific research is also accessible via the Society’s Journal, the Annals of Work Exposures and Health, with many free to access papers.

BOHS celebrates its 70th Anniversary in 2023 and since it was founded has worked tirelessly to understand and prevent immediate threats to health, but also “long latency diseases” which result in serious illness sometimes decades later. It has been responsible for leading on standards, technical and scientific practice in the prevention of illness in the workplace over decades. It is also the world’s biggest awarding body for Occupational Hygiene and Asbestos-related qualifications, which lead to competence in protecting people from ill-health ranging from occupational cancers through to noise induced hearing loss, back injury, and Legionnaire’s Disease.

Chris Keen, BOHS president and HSE principal occupational scientist says, "Over the years scientists and occupational hygiene practitioners in BOHS have led the way in the development of protection of health in the workplace. The range of expertise which has been voluntarily offered to address every manner of occupational health risk from radiation to rare metals is amazing as demonstrated in this archive. BOHS continues to be a leading voice in worker health protection, and we will continue working hard to ensure people enjoy a better quality of life at work and a healthier life into their retirement."

Sarah Leeson, registrar of the Faculty of Occupational Hygiene says, "The Faculty is delighted to make freely available valuable technical guidance which is regularly applied by those practicing Occupational Hygiene.  Guidance on better protection from illness related to metalworking is currently being developed. Links to this and other new resources will be added to the A-Z guide as they become available."

The Society is also supporting work to reduce exposure of nurses to cancer-causing chemicals, protecting demolition workers from long-term health risks and developing training to prevent mental health problems caused by work.

BOHS CEO, Professor Kevin Bampton comments, “Every day we see the crisis in health and social care worsening and a spiralling benefits bill. By stopping people getting ill in the workplace, where we spend most of our waking adult lives, we can turn this around. The workplace is an environment which is entirely human created. BOHS is dedicated to making that environment a safe one whatever job you do.”

He adds, "The Society’s scientific endeavour is motivated by the belief that no person should ever enter a workplace thinking that as well as their time and skills, they need to sacrifice their long-term health for wages. But not all of this is rocket science. I’d much rather see cancer specialists dealing with rare genetic cancers for children than having to treat cancers that could have been prevented by someone wearing, at the very least, a £20 respirator at work."

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Research highlights fire knowledge gaps 22/03/2023

ALMOST NINE in ten (85%) UK tradespeople would not know how to react if they encountered a fire at work, according to new research.

The study, conducted by IronmongeryDirect, the UK's largest supplier of specialist ironmongery, surveyed 500 UK tradespeople to reveal how prepared workers are for emergencies.

Despite a third (33%) of respondents having witnessed a fire while on a job, fewer than one in eight (12%) say they always have access to an extinguisher, and 85% say they don’t have one in their vehicle.

It appears that some trades are more likely to come across fires than others. Locksmiths encounter incidents the most often (56%), followed by joiners and plasterers (both 50%).

The UK trades most likely to encounter fires at work are:

  1. Locksmith (56%)

  2. Joiner (50%)

  3. Plasterer (50%)

  4. Building Surveyor (48%)

  5. Electrician (39%)

  6. Builder (34%)

  7. Plumber (28%)

  8. Carpenter (28%)

  9. Window Fabricator (27%)

  10. Landscaper (23%)

The level of fire safety knowledge also varies by trade, with landscapers and joiners the least prepared for such emergencies. More than nine in ten (94% and 92% respectively) admit that they wouldn’t know how to respond.

The correct way to handle a situation depends on whether the fire is electrical, gas or chemical. However, almost seven in eight (86%) tradespeople say they are unaware of the differences between them.

With this in mind, IronmongeryDirect has partnered with Edgaras Zilinskas, director at Fire Immunity, to share the safest ways to treat each type of fire.

1) Electrical fires

“Electrical fires should be dealt with by cutting the power, and then spraying the area with a dry powder or water mist fire extinguisher.”

2) Gas fires

“For gas fires, turn off the gas supply, cover the flames using a fire blanket and utilise the appropriate fire extinguisher, such as dry powder.”

3) Chemical fires

“Chemical fires can be dangerous to tackle, but try to remove any sources of fuel, heat and oxygen by using carbon dioxide, foam or dry powder fireextinguishers.”

Dominick Sandford, managing director at IronmongeryDirect said, "It's clear from our research that many tradespeople are unprepared when it comes to fire safety, with worrying numbers not knowing what to do in the event of a fire or how to advise their customers on fire safety.

“We hope that by highlighting these issues, we can help to raise awareness and encourage tradespeople to take steps to improve their fire safety knowledge and preparedness."

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New NEBOSH chief executive outlines charity's plans 22/03/2023

ANDY SHENSTONE stated his intention to continue the charity’s mission for social good as he took up the post of NEBOSH chief executive.

“NEBOSH’s social and charitable purpose is clear: to make the world a healthier and safer place through education. I’m dedicated to continuing the phenomenal work that the organisation does. Just this financial year, more than 100,000 people from over 170 countries have taken a NEBOSH qualification and I’m determined that our impact will continue to grow, reaching new regions, countries and industries with the learning and knowledge they need to keep people and communities safe.

“I want to nurture our existing culture of collaboration, partnering with organisations who share our vision. By working together, we will further increase the opportunities and quality of learning available in occupational health and safety.”

Andy has 23 years’ experience in education, training and consultancy. His early career was as a civil servant in the then HM Customs and Excise. In the following 16 years Andy established and grew an education consulting practice, culminating in a position as Group Sales Director for Capita PLC.

In his most recent role, Andy was a lead executive involved in the creation and development of Advance HE – an internationally active, member-focused UK registered charity dedicated to the development and enhancement of higher education for the benefit of students, staff and society. He was responsible for executive leadership of domestic and international marketing, sales, business development and commercial solutions.

Les Philpott, NEBOSH chair added, “I am delighted to welcome Andy Shenstone to NEBOSH. Andy has an excellent track-record in realising the potential of educational and charitable organisations. The NEBOSH Board is confident he will bring a strong sense of purpose and fresh direction to NEBOSH’s activities so that, through our globally recognised qualifications, we can make an even greater contribution to the management of health and safety in workplaces at home and internationally.”

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Take survey to help charity 20/03/2023

A MANUFACTURER is asking HSM readers to take part in a brief online survey and it will donate £1 to charity for each completed survey.

The survey aims to learn more about the safety knife market and the perception of their brand and product with the attached questionnaire.

Answering the questions should take less than 5 minutes and, for every completed one, £1 will be paid to the charity, ‘The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents’ (ROSPA), up to a maximum of £200*.  The company looking for your help to support ROSPA because it is an important voice in accident prevention. The name of the company conducting this survey is disclosed until the end of the questionnaire. 

You can take part in the survey at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/LMGHT8L

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Pit fall lands firm £190k fine 20/03/2023

A HEREFORD company has been fined £190k after an employee was seriously injured after falling into a pit.

The man was working for Wyman-Gordon Limited, a company that produces forgings for the aerospace industry, when he fell into the bottom of a pit on 25 November 2018. He sustained deep cuts to his head that required eight stitches. He had been working at the company’s premises on Spa Road, Lincoln.

While changing an oil seal on a counterblow hammer, a lifting sling containing a 169kg load broke. The load fell and broke the board the worker was standing on, causing him to fall into the bottom of the pit.

The man has revealed how the incident left him feeling anxious after returning to work.

The worker said in his victim impact statement: “I was on sick leave for three weeks. After the accident I became more anxious while doing high risk work. I continue to have a problem with my back. I go to physiotherapy via the NHS when necessary. Currently, it has become difficult for me to get up in the morning because of my back.

“I also have frequent headaches. I have been to different hospitals in connection with that, but no cause has been determined.

“Also the accident had a partial impact on looking after my wife as I could not lean forward and bend down for about two weeks. My daughter had to assist both me and my wife during all that time.”

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found Wyman-Gordon Limited failed to ensure so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of its employees during the ram seal replacement. There was no safe system of work that properly addressed work at height and lifting operations. The company should not have lifted loads over employees and either prevented the need to work at height, or used alternative methods for doing so. HSE guidance on equipment and machinery can be found at: Equipment and machinery – HSE

Wyman-Gordon Limited, of Holmer Road, Hereford, Herefordshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £190,000 and ordered to pay £35,000 in costs at Lincoln Magistrates’ Court on 16 March 2023.

HSE inspector Stacey Gamwell said, “Employers have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working that properly address the risks, had one been in place prior to the incident, the injuries sustained by the employee could have been prevented. There is guidance freely available on the HSE Website regarding the safe planning, organisation and undertaking of lifting operations. Guidance is also freely available in relation to working at height safely.”

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Farmer fined after walker trampled by cow 20/03/2023

A DOG walker was thrown 8ft into the air by a cow which then repeatedly trampled on him as he tried to crawl away, breaking six ribs of his ribs and leaving him with damage to his lungs and spleen.

Steve Adams, from Coleshill, Warwickshire, was on holiday with his wife Jane near Sidbury, East Devon when they went for a walk with their Springer Spaniel, named Lisa.

They were walking along a public footpath through a field containing cows with calves when one of the cows attacked, leaving Steve badly injured. He spent seven days in intensive care.

The farmer responsible for the cattle has been ordered to pay a fine and costs totalling more than £3,500.

Farmers should not put cattle with young calves in fields with a public right of way. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has advice for farmers, landowners and other livestock keepers on dealing with the risks posed by cows with calves.

Steve, who is now 63, and is a dad of three with two grandchildren, is retired from the transport industry. He said: “My own grandfather was a farmer, so I’d been around cattle as a child, and I wasn’t scared of them. Now, I wouldn’t go into a field with cows, you don’t know what’s going to happen. People should be very wary of cows.”

Steve and Jane were on holiday at the East Devon caravan and motorhome campsite in July 2021 when they decided to go for a walk with their dog, which was on a lead.

Their route took them from a pub through fields. As they headed towards a pedestrian gate at the edge of one of the fields, they came to an electric fence surrounding the fields edge.

They were then surrounded by more than 20 cattle, some with calves. A cow approached, lowered its head and tossed Mr Adams into the air. It then trampled him on the ground until he managed to crawl away.

A HSE investigation established that cattle with young calves were being kept in a field with a public right of way across it. Cattle with young calves are known to be protective and unpredictable, and can pose a risk to walkers, especially to those with dogs. Farmers should not put cattle with young calves in fields with a public right of way.

Steve Adams said, “It was just the one cow, the biggest one. It came up and threw me into the air with its head and then it trod all over me. I was trying to crawl out of the way, but it just kept landing its hooves on me.

“The dog was on its lead and I’d managed to let it go and it made it away. My wife had one of those plastic ball throwers for the dog and she was hitting the cow with it but it made no difference at all. I managed to roll away from under it.

“I wasn’t feeling too good at all, I couldn’t breathe. It had taken us about 15 minutes to walk to where it happened, but it took us about two and half hours to make it back to the van. An ambulance was called to the site and they said straight away that I’d broken my ribs. It was a pretty scary day.

“I don’t walk too much now. I’m not as healthy as I was, and I can still feel my injuries now.”

Barry Fowler, of Sidbury, Sidmouth, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(2) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £555 and ordered to pay costs of £3,000 at Exeter Magistrates’ Court on 8 March 2023.

HSE inspector Simon Jones said: “The serious injuries to Mr Adams sustained when he has attacked and trampled by cattle with their calves was totally preventable.

“Cattle are extremely protective of their calves and even calm cattle can become aggressive if they think the calves may, in any way, be threatened, even by members of the public walking past.

“Farmers should not place cattle with calves in fields where members of the public have a legal right to walk unless appropriate measures are in place such as robust fencing separating cattle from people. Had Barry Fowler done this then the incident could not have happened.”

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Director jailed following asbestos failings 20/03/2023

AN ASBESTOS removal company has been convicted and its director given a prison sentence after failing to ensure the safe removal of asbestos.

Asbestos Boss Limited, also known as Asbestos Team and its director, Daniel Luke Cockcroft, advertised as a licensed asbestos removal company and removed licensable material from domestic properties throughout Great Britain.

An investigation carried out by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Asbestos Boss Limited had never held a licence and their poor working practices resulted in the large scale spread of asbestos and exposure to homeowners and their families. Little to no precautions were taken by Asbestos Boss Limited and so their own workers, as well as anybody at the premises they were working on, were at serious risk of exposure to asbestos. The company and their director also breached a prohibition notice on several occasions.

HSE has just launched a campaign highlighting the dangers of asbestos and has guidance on the safe working with asbestos.

At Manchester Magistrates’ Court on 10 March, Asbestos Boss Limited of Old Gloucester Street, London was found guilty of breaching regulations 8(1) and 11(1)(a) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. They were also found guilty of one charge relating to the failure to comply with a prohibition notice at two separate addresses which prevented them from working with licensed asbestos materials. The company are awaiting sentence.

Company director Daniel Luke Cockcroft of Darnes Avenue, Halifax, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 in relation to the company’s failing of regulation 8(1) and 11(1)(a) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 as well as the charge for breach of a prohibition notice. He was immediately imprisoned for 6 months and ordered to pay victim compensation.

HSE Inspector Matt Greenly said, “Asbestos is a killer. Companies and their directors need to recognise the dangers of removing asbestos by themselves both to their employees and others. Asbestos removal should only be carried out by trained personnel who understand the risks and how to control them.

“Asbestos Boss Limited have deliberately removed a highly dangerous material resulting in a significant risk of exposure to cancer causing asbestos. They not only have put their customers at risk but have also undoubtedly put themselves, their workers, and their families at serious risk.

“By undertaking asbestos removal work himself, Mr Cockcroft has also chanced his own life, and the life of his family by working unsafely with asbestos, despite knowing full well what the risks were.

“This case should serve as a warning to any other companies who think they can make a quick profit by cutting corners and risking lives. I also hope that potential customers will be able to avoid rogue companies like Asbestos Boss by carrying out simple checks to ensure that any company they employ is legitimate and competent to prevent them and their families being put at serious risk.”

Asbestos Boss Limited and Mr Daniel Cockcroft, of Darnes Avenue, Pyenest, Halifax were also prosecuted by Stockport Trading Standards, in a jointly run case with HSE. Daniel Cockcroft and the company were both charged with fraud in relation to falsifying training certificates, a business insurance document and unauthorised use of trade association logos. This gave the impression that the business was credible and that workers were adequately trained and competent in relation to asbestos removal.

Daniel Cockcroft pleaded guilty to fraud and the company was also convicted. Daniel Cockcroft was sentenced to an additional 4 month in prison making a total prison term of 10 months. The company is awaiting sentence at an additional hearing

Councillor Helen Foster-Grime, Stockport Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing, said: “Our Trading Standards team, work closely with other agencies and will do our utmost to ensure offenders like this, who carry out work with no regard for the safety of our residents, are brought to justice.

“I am delighted that these criminals have been held to account. The message is very clear – we will not tolerate this in Stockport and will take robust action wherever possible.

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