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Carlisle company fined after customer fatally crushed 21/01/2020

A CARLISLE auto-salvage company was fined after a customer was trapped and fatally crushed when a lift truck he had purchased was being loaded onto his own recovery vehicle.

Carlisle Crown Court heard that on 15 February 2018, a lift truck purchased from Michael Douglas Autosalvage Ltd was lifted using the company’s skip lorry onto a recovery vehicle at Stainton Road, Etterby. The metal ring on the lift truck that the winch wire was attached to failed, causing the lift truck to fall and trap Mr Paul Spence against the skip lorry.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company had failed to ensure that this complex lifting process was properly planned by a competent person and that it had failed in its duty not to expose customers to risk.  A competent person would have identified that this loading method with this equipment was fundamentally unsafe.

The company Michael Douglas Autosalvage Ltd of Stainton Rd, Etterby, Carlisle pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £23,000 and ordered to pay costs of £8,000.

Sandra Spence, Mr Spence’s widow said, “Paul was taken too early, in a tragic way, and didn’t deserve his life to end this way. There is a big empty hole in my heart, he was a very loving husband and father. Paul always had a smile on his face and lived for his family.”

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Matthew Tinsley commented, “This incident could so easily have been avoided should the lift have been properly planned and appropriate equipment and safe working practices been employed as a result.

“Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”

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Agency worker severs fingers at printers 21/01/2020

HARRIER LLC, a photo processing, printing and gift manufacturing business based in Newton Abbot has been sentenced after a worker suffered serious injuries when his hand was caught in machinery.

Exeter Magistrates’ Court heard that on 19 January 2017, 44-year-old agency worker Neil Williams was working on a corner rounding machine at a site in Newton Abbot. The machine is hand operated with top and bottom blades and can also be activated by a foot pedal. While adjusting the settings of the cutter, Mr Williams put his fingers between the blades to ensure a flush fit. While he tightened them in place, his foot slipped and hit the foot pedal even though it was of a protected or “shrouded” design. The blade came down and severed his ring finger, middle finger and most of his index finger.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found Mr Williams was not suitably trained and the safe system of work for the corner cutter failed to set out a safe way to change the template size.

Harrier LLC of Brunel Road, Newton Abbot pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 3(1) of the Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999. The company has been fined £98,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6,756.50 plus a victim surcharge of £170.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Melissa Lai-Hung said, “The company fell significantly below the expected standard. Mr Williams’ injuries have been life changing. This incident was foreseeable and preventable.

“Employers should make sure they properly assess and apply effective control measures to minimise the risk from dangerous parts of machinery.”

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Fine after steel cages fall on employee 21/01/2020

A STEEL fabrication company has been fined after steel cages fell onto a worker’s leg, resulting in multiple fractures.

Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court heard that, in November 2017, an employee of Lemon Groundwork Solutions Limited was using a gantry crane to lift a steel cage from a stack of cages at the company site in Wickford, Essex. These steel cages were free-standing on the floor, each weighing 1188kg, and were stacked between 2-4 cages high in an unstable pyramid formation, without chocks to support the load. When the employee used the gantry crane to lift the top cage from the stack, two cages at the bottom rolled onto his left foot and leg, fracturing his tibia and fibula bones. As a result, the worker had to undergo reconstructive surgery where metal rods, plates and pins were inserted into his leg.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that prior to the incident, Lemon Groundwork Solutions Limited had failed to implement a safe system of work for storing cages and had not provided their employees with sufficient information, instruction, training and supervision to store and handle cages safely. The company had additionally failed to determine the maximum height that the cages could be stacked and suitable means to secure the cages to prevent movement and collapse. The task of stacking cages was also not adequately risk assessed.

Lemon Groundwork Solutions Limited of Russell Gardens, Wickford, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £130,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5589.99.

Lemon Groundwork Solutions Limited had previously been served Improvement Notices by HSE regarding the safety of its lifting operations and the management of vehicles and pedestrians in its yard. In November 2018, the company was fined £100,000 for a breach of Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, following an incident in 2016 in which an employee was struck by a bundle of steel rebar that fell off a forklift, causing multiple fractures to his leg.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Eleanor Kinman said, “This incident could easily have been prevented if the company had adopted safe control measures for storing and handling cages, and adequately supervised the task.”

“Companies should be aware of the risks of handling metal stock, and that it should always be stored and stacked so it is not likely to move, fall and cause injury.”

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Hotel fined for fire safety failures 21/01/2020

A STRATFORD hotel and its owner have been ordered to pay a total of £45,000 for “serious and systemic” fire safety failures which “put staff and guests at risk”.

Act Grange Ltd, which runs The Baytree Hotel in Vicarage Lane, and the company’s sole director Falgun Patel were sentenced at Southwark Crown Court on Monday 13th January after pleading guilty to five breaches of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. If Mr Patel fails to pay his fine, he could face six months imprisonment.

London Fire Brigade fire safety officers visited the 16 room hotel, which is above a traditional East-End pub, in January 2019 as part of a routine audit.

During the visit, they found serious fire safety deficiencies including no smoke detection, numerous fire doors tied open and missing or malfunctioning door closers.

Officers also found a first floor external emergency exit route was being used to store large amounts of rubbish and was blocked along almost its entire length. It led to a gate which was locked and could not be opened by staff.

There was no fire risk assessment in place or any evidence of methodical management of fire safety and on duty staff could not explain emergency procedures.

Following the visit, an Enforcement Notice was served on Mr Patel and he was interviewed under caution in relation to the deficiencies. The Brigade then took the prosecution forward to court.

The Brigade’s assistant commissioner for fire safety, Dan Daly, said, “There were serious and systemic fire safety failures at The Baytree Hotel and what few steps were taken to satisfy fire safety duties were amateurish and half-hearted.

“A fire in a building with serious fire safety failings such as those our inspectors uncovered could have been lethal and the owner has put staff and guests at very real risk by failing to maintain standards.

“If occupants had tried to escape in the event of a fire, they would have found their escape route compromised and unusable, trapping them in the building.

“It was simply a matter of luck that there hadn’t been a fire at the hotel. There is no excuse for leaving people’s safety to chance, especially when information is so readily available to those with responsibility for safety in buildings to understand what their duties are and ensure they comply with the law."

List of charges and penalties

The defendants pleaded guilty to the following:

  • No suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment
  • No alarm/detection which also meant the Automatic Opening Vent (AOV) would not work
  • Fire doors tied open and missing or malfunctioning door closers
  • Blocked and ultimately locked escape route
  • No training for staff 

The defendants were sentenced to the following fines, to be paid within 12 months:

  • Act Grange Ltd: Fined £20,000
  • Falgun Patel: Fine £10,000 with six months imprisonment if fine not paid
  • Additionally, each defendant to pay half of full prosecution costs of £14,420
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New safety guidance for gig economy couriers 20/01/2020

ROSPA HAS launched new guidance aimed at helping self-employed gig economy workers, such as couriers and taxi drivers, stay safe on the road.

According to Government data, in 2018 around 4.4 per cent of the UK adult population had undertaken some work in the gig economy within the past 12 months – this equates to around 2.8million people.

The main topics covered in RoSPA’s new guidance are the importance of maintaining bicycles and motor vehicles, how to avoid experiencing fatigue while on the road, and how to drive and ride safely in the dark.

Nick Lloyd, head of road safety at RoSPA, said, “The nature of work is changing, with the growth of digital platforms giving rise to new ways of working beyond traditional shift patterns. With this in mind, safety advice must also keep pace. 

“Driving is one of the most dangerous activities that most of us will ever do, and driving for work tends to be riskier than driving for private reasons. People who drive professionally are more likely to crash even after their higher mileages are taken into consideration. 

“Our hope is that by providing tailored guidance to gig economy workers, we might be able to help avoid incidents on the road. We also want to see a move away from a relentless targets-driven culture which can lead to unsafe workloads, cause fatigue and result in collisions.”

The guidance includes a reminder that it is illegal to use a handheld mobile phone while driving, whether for calls, texts, taking photos or using social media. This is pertinent because many gig economy workers use apps on their phone to monitor workload and communicate with customers. The pentalty for using your phone while behind the wheel is a £200 fine and six points on your licence. If a collision happens while using your phone for any reason, you could be charged for careless driving.

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Publication of new NI Workplace Exposure Limits 20/01/2020

NEW AND revised Workplace Exposure Limits (WELs) for thirteen substances listed in the European Commission’s Directive (EU) 2017/2398, which amends the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive 2004/37/EC, have been published.

WELs are set to help employers meet their legal responsibilities under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2003 (S.R. 2003 No. 34), as amended, which require employers to prevent, or if this is not reasonably practicable, to adequately control, their employees exposure to hazardous substances. 

The new WELs are published in the Health and Safety Executive publication “EH40/2005 Workplace exposure limits” available on the Great Britain Health and Safety Executive website and the HSENI website at https://www.hseni.gov.uk/publications/eh402005-workplace-exposure-limits and came into force on 17 January 2020. The Health and Safety Executive publication “EH40/2005 Workplace exposure limits” is approved for use in Northern Ireland.

A WEL is defined as the concentration of a hazardous substance in the air that people breathe, averaged over a specified reference period referred to as a time-weighted average. 

Details of the changes can be summarised as follows:

There are new or revised entries for the following substances:

  • Hardwood dusts (including mixed dusts)
  • Chromium (VI) compounds
  • Refractory ceramic fibres
  • Respirable crystalline silica
  • Vinyl chloride monomer
  • Ethylene oxide
  • 1,2-Epoxypropane
  • Acrylamide
  • 2-Nitropropane
  • O-Toluidine
  • 1,3-Butadiene
  • Hydrazine
  • Bromoethylene

New skin notations have been added for the following substances:

  • Ethylene oxide

The following substances required reductions to the existing WELs:

  • Hardwood dusts
  • Chromium (VI) compounds
  • Refractory ceramic fibres
  • Vinyl chloride monomer
  • Ethylene oxide
  • 1,2-Epoxypropane
  • Acrylamide
  • 2-Nitropropane
  • O-Toluidine
  • 1,3-Butadiene
  • Hydrazine
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Lyreco headline sponsor of SHE Awards 2020 20/01/2020

THE SHE Awards are now in its third year and aims to recognise the key role that companies and individuals play in keeping people and premises safe.

Entries for the SHE Awards must be submitted by the deadline of 31 January 2020. You can enter now for FREE at www.she-awards.co.uk

The Awards themselves will be presented at a gala dinner at The Vox, Resorts World Birmingham on 29 April 2020 hosted by popular comedian Hugh Dennis.

Lyreco has more than 18,000 stocked PPE products sourced from the leading brands in the industry. Its team of PPE specialists have over 50 years’ experience and can advise on everything from the latest regulation changes to order consolidation.

Lyreco were one of ten sponsors for the SHE Awards last year and were so impressed by the event that it has signed up as headline sponsor to show its dedication to celebrating and promoting excellence in health and safety.

Lyreco managing director Peter Hradisky said: “At Lyreco we pride ourselves on being a responsible partner in your day-to-day working life. First and foremost, that means caring for our people and of course, supporting you in caring for your teams. That’s why we are excited to be this year’s headline sponsor for the SHE Awards. We are proud to help reward those who deliver excellence in health and safety and hope that through these awards other businesses are left inspired and motivated to innovate and excel in this field.”

SHE Awards Event Director Mark Sennet adds: “We are delighted to have secured the support of Lyreco for the Safety and Health Excellence Awards. They are the perfect partner as they are dedicated to raising standards across the sector. We are really grateful for their continued support.

“The SHE Awards continue to grow from strength to strength with more than 550 people attending last year and 200+ entries. There’s still time for you to enter the awards for free before the 31 January deadline and this is the perfect way for you to recognise yourself, your company, an employee, one of your team or a product for making a material difference to the safety of buildings or people.”

For more information on the Awards please visit www.she-awards.co.uk

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Construction company fined £500,000 for demolition death 20/01/2020

A CONSTRUCTION company was fined half a million pounds after a father-of-two was killed when a re-enforced concrete slab collapsed underneath him during a demolition project.

Southwark Crown Court heard that on 14 April 2014, 33-year-old labourer Dainius Rupsys from Lithuania was working with an excavator operator at the site on Grosvenor Square in London, as part of the operation to demolish the existing multi-storey building before 31 residential flats could be built.

Mr Rupsys had been burning through reinforcing steel bars with an oxy-propane lance to assist the excavator operator’s efforts to remove part of the re-enforced concrete slab. Another worker had alerted the supervisor that their work had made the structure unsafe and the demolition was halted. However, the supervisor then ordered the removal of props supporting the remaining slab and less than ten minutes later it collapsed. The Court heard that the 360 excavator may have moved back onto the slab after the props were removed.

Mr Rupsys, the 360 excavator and its operator in the cab all fell with the slab. Mr Rupsys suffered severe head injuries and died at the scene, while the excavator operator injured his back.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that in the weeks before the incident CCTV from overhead cameras showed demolition work had been carried out unsafely, that Mr Rupsys was not adequately trained to use the oxy-propane lance and that he had no training on using the safety harness, which was not attached when the incident occurred.

McGee Group Limited (McGee) of Athlon Road, Wembley, Middlesex, who was the principal contractor for the project, pleaded guilty to a breach of Regulation 22(1)(a) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007. The company was fined £500,000 with £66,236.22 in costs.

HSE inspector Andrew Verrall-Withers commented after the hearing, “In the weeks prior to this tragic incident workers were regularly put at an acute risk of falling. This is a case of a company wanting to have good systems to protect the workers, but not paying enough attention to what was actually happening at the site.

“This young man’s death could have been prevented. Mr Rupsys should not have been allowed to operate an oxy propane lance. Employers have a duty to check workers have sufficient skills, knowledge, experience and training before they allow them to use equipment.”

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Tributes to IOSH’s first chief executive 16/01/2020

TRIBUTES HAVE been paid to the first chief executive of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), the global Chartered body for safety and health professionals.

John Barrell OBE, who served as IOSH Chief Executive between 1981 – 2000, passed away last week aged 83.

John started with IOSH in 1978 as company secretary. He was awarded his OBE in 1996, and after retiring from his role as Chief Executive served as an Honorary Vice-President at IOSH until the time of his death.

IOSH was founded in 1945 when the Institution of Industrial Safety Officers (IISO) was formed as a division of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA). In 1981, the IISO was renamed as the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health and in 2002 was awarded a Royal Charter.

Tributes have been made by former and current members of staff who worked alongside John:

 “John was an amazing person, he gave me a fantastic opportunity in my career and I will never forget him or his loyalty.”

 “John was a true inspiration and a lovely man.”

“John was an amazing lovely person, who was dedicated to Health and Safety and will be truly missed.”

Bev Messinger, who has served as IOSH chief executive since October 2016, said, “IOSH’s shared objective is a world where work is safe and healthy for every working person, every day. John’s legacy, leading IOSH from its inception and pioneering the importance of safety and health in the workplace at this critical time, was vital in shaping the organisation and wider profession we see today.”

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Fine after teacher ran over by delivery van 20/01/2020

ST ANDREW'S Tutorial Services Ltd has been fined after a teacher sustained serious injuries when she was struck by a delivery van.

Cambridge Crown Court heard that on 26 February 2016, the 48-year-old teacher was on a trip to the UK, bringing students to the college from Italy. Whilst at the front of St Andrew’s College, Station Road, Cambridge, the driver reversed over the teacher, only stopping his delivery vehicle after members of the public alerted him. The teacher sustained multiple fractures and crush injuries; her head was just inches away from one of the tyres.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that St Andrew’s Tutorial Services Ltd had not adequately segregated vehicles and pedestrians. Although the company had identified measures that would likely have prevented this incident, it failed to implement them.

St Andrew’s Tutorial Services Ltd of Station Road, Cambridge pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 17(1) of the Workplace Health & Safety and welfare Regulations. The company was fined £30,000 and ordered to pay costs of £9,197.78.

After the hearing HSE inspector Sandra Dias said, “This was a distressing and completely avoidable incident, the failure of the host company to implement safe systems of work, caused a visiting driver to carry out his own flawed assessment and an unsafe manoeuvre, resulting in horrific injuries to a teacher carrying out work on an overseas visit to the UK.

“The company failed to undertake a number of simple safety measures including segregated areas for vehicles and pedestrians, implementing a one-way system to reduce reversing in areas there were likely to be pedestrians and designated areas for delivery vehicles.”

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