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Council fined £1.4m after child injured 05/12/2019

HAMPSHIRE COUNTY Council has been fined after a six-year-old girl playing on an unsecured street bollard suffered a life-changing head injury.

Bournemouth Crown Court heard how, on 28 December 2015, the girl was visiting Lymington with her family. She climbed onto the cast iron hinged bollard on Quay Hill, a cobbled pedestrianised street. The bollard fell to the ground taking the child with it. As a result, she suffered serious, life-changing head injuries that were initially life-threatening and spent six months in hospital in a critical condition. The extent of her brain injury will not be fully known until her brain has matured.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the bollard which weighed approximately 69kg was damaged and not appropriately secured. This matter had been reported to Hampshire County Council prior to the incident and monthly scheduled inspections had failed to identify this. The investigation also found insufficient information, instruction and training were provided to the council’s highways department personnel conducting ad hoc and monthly inspections, and the inspection guidance was misleading.

Hampshire County Council of The Castle, Winchester, Hampshire was found guilty after a trial of breaching Section 3(1) of Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and has been fined £1.4m and ordered to pay full costs of £130,632.

Speaking after the case, HSE inspector Angela Sirianni said, “Councils have a duty to adequately assess and control risks to members of the public from street furniture. 

“A child has been left with life-changing injuries as a result of what was an easily preventable incident. Council inspections failed to identify this risk over a long period of time and then, when alerted to the damage to the bollard, failed to take the urgent action required to prevent injury.”

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Married couple jailed for exploiting workers 05/12/2019

A HUSB and wife who pretended to help people find work in factories in order to exploit them, have been sentenced.

The authorities were alerted to Alexander Goran’s scheme when a charity was approached by a Romanian victim who said Goran had been exploiting him and other Romanian workers.

Goran, 30, would ‘recruit’ people looking for a job and arrange factory work for them, but controlled their wages, where they lived and where, when and what hours they could work.

Instead of receiving wages into their own accounts, Goran arranged for the money to be paid into his wife’s account.

Before paying the workers, Goran deducted money for transport, arranging the work and accommodation, which left the workers with very little.

After they were charged for their illicit activity, Alexander and Ana Marie, 34, fled to Spain. The Crown Prosecution Service successfully secured their return after applying for European Arrest Warrants.

Pamela Jain of the CPS said: “This was a corrupt operation where Goran took advantage of desperate people looking for work and took their hard-earned money. He dictated where they would live and when and where they would work, taking money from their salaries.

“He and his wife presented themselves as two people who were there to help but instead they used their position to exploit them.”

Building the case

Items uncovered by the multi-agency operation between the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority and Merseyside Police at Goran’s property proved he was the driving force behind the conspiracy.

Goran had a ledger full of the personal details of people he’d found work for, as well as a number of bank cards in the names of these employees.

Witnesses confirmed that Goran had been the person who had sourced work for them and had managed their wages.

Goran had also sent a number of messages which revealed a sustained abuse of the workers’ position in order to exploit the employees for financial gain.

Despite having no legal licence to supply workers into this factory work, Ana Marie Goran helped workers to fill in forms under the guise of assisting them.

Both Ana Marie Goran and Alexander Goran pleaded guilty to acting as an unlicensed gangmaster and aiding and abetting an unlicensed gangmaster at an earlier hearing. Alexander Goran has also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud by abuse of position.

On 3 December at Liverpool Crown Court Ana Marie Goran was sentenced to 15 months in prison and Alexander Goran was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison.

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Director sentenced after his brother’s fatal fall 05/12/2019

A SOLAR panel company and its director have been sentenced after his brother’s fatal fall from height.

Worcester Crown Court heard that on 9 December 2015, during installation of solar panels on the roof of a barn at Manor Farm, Orleton, Hereford, Stephen Webb fell approximately seven metres through a fragile roof ridge panel to the ground below suffering fatal injuries.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that no measures were in place to prevent falls from the roof or through the roof.

Light Power Grp Limited of Keady Orchards, Boraston Bank, Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4 (1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. The company has been fined £80,000 with a victim surcharge of £120.

The director of Light Power Grp Limited, Michael John Webb of Keady Orchards, Boraston Bank, Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4 (1) of The Work at Height Regulations 2005. He was given a 12-month community order to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay costs of £15,000 with a victim surcharge of £60.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector James Lucas said, “There are no winners in this tragic case. Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work-related fatalities in this country and the risks associated with working at height are well known.”

“This tragic incident led to the avoidable death of a young man, who had only that year become a father. This death could easily have been prevented if the company and director had acted to identify and manage the risks involved, and to put a safe system of work in place.”

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Engineering company fined after workers injured 04/12/2019

AN ENGINEERING company has been fined after two workers were seriously injured after being thrown from the chuck of a large vertical boring machine.

Birmingham Magistrates’ Court heard that on 5 September 2018, two employees of Sulzer Electro Mechanical Services (UK) Limited, were standing on the chuck of a large vertical boring machine at a site in Bordesley, Birmingham, to set it. The start button was inadvertently pressed and, despite the interlocked perimeter fencing access doors being open, the chuck started to rotate.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident found that the interlocks on the perimeter fencing access doors were not working, and there were no safety checks in place to ensure that the interlocks were in working order.

Sulzer Electro Mechanical Services (UK) Limited of Camp Hill, Bordesley, Birmingham pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The company has been fined £86,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,111.48.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Christopher Maher said, “We hope that as a result of this case, industry will better understand the importance of maintaining effective control measures.

“It is important that guarding arrangements, including interlocks, are checked regularly, to ensure that they are in good repair and efficient working order.”

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Six-figure fine for packaging company 04/12/2019

A PLASTIC packaging manufacturer has been fined after an accident at its site resulted in an employee suffering multiple fractures to their pelvis and legs.

Peterlee Magistrates’ Court heard that, on 12 September 2017, the employee of Sirap UK Ltd, of Salters Lane, Sedgefield was operating a forklift truck near to a row of Flexible Intermediate Bulk Containers (FIBCs). FIBCs are more commonly known as bulk bags or dumpy bags and are used in many industries, including construction and manufacturing, to transport products or materials.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that the FIBCs were stacked in an unsafe manner at a height of approximately 2.2 metres. The employee reversed the forklift truck and it caught one of the lower FIBCs causing it to tear and spill its contents. The employee attempted to repair the tear but the top FIBC, weighing about 1 tonne, fell and struck the employee.

HSE considered arrangements at the site, for the everyday use such as storage, reuse and repair of FIBCs, created a risk of injury.

Sirap UK Limited, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and Regulation 10(4) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005; and was fined £150,000 and ordered to pay £1061.47 costs.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Clare Maltby said, “There are many companies using this type of container and they should note that the use of FIBCs requires safe stacking formations and safe systems for reuse and repair. Had the company adopted the correct standards this worker would not have been injured”.

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Metal company fined for non-compliance 04/12/2019

A LINCOLNSHIRE metal fabrication company has been fined for not complying with three improvement notices issued by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Boston Magistrates’ Court heard that, in December 2018, W S Barrett & Son Limited was issued with three improvement notices relating to testing wood dust and powder coating local exhaust ventilation (LEV), and providing LEV for welding fume extraction on its site in Boston, Lincolnshire. Improvement notices are legal documents requiring improvements to be made by a specified date. WS Barrett & Son Limited failed to comply with all three notices by the completion date.

An investigation by HSE found that the company was first advised of the problem in February 2018 but did not act following receipt of a Notification of Contravention letter. A further visit by HSE in December 2018 found the company had still not made the necessary improvements. A subsequent follow up visit in April 2019 showed they still had not done the work to meet the improvement notices.

W S Barrett & Son Limited of Marsh Lane, Boston pleaded guilty to breaching Section 33(1) (g) of the Health and Safety At work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £12,000.00 and ordered to pay costs of £1,740.40. 

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Martin Giles said, “The failure to comply with an improvement notice is a serious offence. If you receive a notice, you should ensure you take appropriate action to correct the health and safety problems and breaches that are identified in the notice.”

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Self-employed workers suffer burn injuries 04/12/2019

A COMPANY has been fined after failing to protect its self-employed workers from the risk of a cable strike explosion or electrocution whilst carrying out repairs at AVL Powertrain, Viggen Way, Coventry.

Coventry Magistrates’ Court heard that on 28 November 2018, two self-employed workers received serious burns to their hands whilst using a drill to attach a pre-fabricated cowling to a cable tray. The incident occurred when one of the fixings went into a cable, striking one of the phases and causing an explosion.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Unique Envelope Façade Solution Limited’s risk assessments and method statements did not consider the risk of drilling into cable trays containing live cables, isolating the electrics to complete work, or other methods of fixing which did not involve drilling.

Unique Envelope Façade Solutions Limited of Winster Grove Industrial Estate, Great Barr, Birmingham pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(3) of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989. The company was fined £20,160 and ordered to pay costs of £1,178, as well as a victim surcharge of £170.

Speaking after the case, HSE inspector Gareth Langston said, “This incident demonstrated the importance of the role of those preparing the job. The company overlooked the 415V 3 phase cabling they were drilling in towards. A cable strike, even at this voltage, can cause a major explosion.

“This incident has left two men with long-lasting burn injuries and they are now unable to work for a long time.”

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Painter suffers life-changing fall injuries 02/12/2019

A NORTHAMPTONSHIRE painting and decorating employer has been sentenced after an employee sustained serious, life changing injuries after falling from height.

Wellingborough Magistrates’ Court heard that, on 7 August 2018, an employee of Ian Ramsay was severely injured when he fell from height whilst installing a roof ladder on a pitched roof at a property in Mawsley, Northamptonshire. The fall resulted in the employee being permanently paralysed from the chest down. The homeowners hired Mr Ramsay to paint the exterior windows and soffit boards of their property, including the painting of dormer windows within their roof. The employee was in the process of setting up ladders to access the dormer windows when he fell from height.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the incident could have been prevented if the work at height hierarchy had been followed in the planning process and if appropriate equipment had been provided to employees, such as fully compliant scaffolding. The risk assessment should have identified that this work was not short duration and that the use of ladders was not appropriate.

Ian Ramsay of Padmans Close, Mawsley, Northamptonshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. He was sentenced to a 12-month community order, 160 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay costs of £2,124.28 with a surcharge of £85.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Rachel Grant said “Employers and those in control of any work at height activity must make sure work is properly planned, supervised and carried out by competent people.

“This includes using the right type of equipment for working at height. In this instance, the painting of the soffits and windows was not short duration work and should have been done from appropriate work platforms. Ladders were not the appropriate equipment.”

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Biological agent breach results in large fine 02/12/2019

A BIO-SCIENCES company has been fined £40,000 and ordered to pay costs of £80,000 for being in possession of high hazard infectious biological material without a licence.

Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court heard that in September 2017, concerns were raised in connection with Thermo Electron Ltd (trading as Fisher BioServices) regarding the nature of biological agents that had arrived at its site in Bishop Stortford, in a shipment from overseas.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that between April 2016 and February 2018, Thermo Electron Limited was in possession of a large quantity of infectious avian influenza and West Nile virus. Both of these biological agents are specified as requiring a licence under the Specified Animal Pathogens Order 2008 (SAPO). Enquiries confirmed the company had obtained no such licence.

Thermo Electron Ltd (trading as Fisher BioServices) of Ashley Road, Altrincham, Cheshire, admitted to two breaches of Section 73(a) of the Animal Health Act 1981.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE specialist inspector Dr David Johnson said, “The use of high hazard animal pathogens is tightly regulated in the UK to ensure that exotic animal diseases such as Avian influenza, are not introduced which could threaten the UK livestock economy. The licencing regime enables HSE to authorise possession of such agents and requires the implementation of strict conditions for those wanting to conduct work with specified animal pathogens. Companies like the defendant contribute to critical scientific research and in vast majority of cases the sector complies with the understandably stringent regulations in place.

“However, as soon as Thermo Electron Ltd became aware it didn’t have the appropriate licence, immediate steps could have been taken including safely destroying the material, returning it to the sender, or transferring it to an appropriately licenced site.

“There are lessons to be learnt here and we’d ask those involved in the biosciences sector to take note of this case.”

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IOSH competency framework to 'drive highest standards' 02/12/2019

THE INSTITUTION of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) has today revealed further details about the 69 competencies in its updated framework for the OSH profession.

Expectations of professionals working in health and safety have changed significantly in the past decade. As businesses strive to become more sustainable, OSH professionals must demonstrate a range of competencies to embed good health, safety and wellbeing effectively in workplace cultures. 

Factors influencing change and transformation, including increased business complexity, technological advances, the gig economy and evolving platforms and processes, all challenge the capability of today’s OSH professionals. 

This new competency framework – Professional standards for safety and health at work – expands on strong technical skills, to include the ‘soft skills’ and business skills OSH professionals need to influence and drive change.

The 69 competencies are divided into 12 areas across Technical, Core and Behavioural categories. 

They are: 

  • Technical
    • Health and safety law
    • Risk management
    • Incident management
    • Culture
    • Sustainability
  • Core
    • Strategy
    • Planning
    • Leadership and management
  • Behavioural
    • Stakeholder management
    • Personal performance
    • Communication
    • Working with others

The newly updated competency framework covers all the skills, knowledge and behaviours needed by occupational safety and health professionals. 

It reflects the findings of an extensive research project which included focus groups, desktop research and analysis of over 250,000 data sets from Blueprint, IOSH’s first generation self-assessment tool.

Vanessa Harwood-Whitcher, director of professional services said, “As the Chartered body that sets the standards for occupational safety and health, one of IOSH’s key roles is to help OSH professionals keep pace with rapid change in the workplace. 

“When combined with the enhanced tools coming from IOSH in 2020, the new competency framework will help to drive the highest standards of capability within the profession. In the meantime, it is a powerful resource that individuals and their managers can use to steer career development and optimise team performance.”

The release of the updated framework will be followed in 2020 by the launch of an enhanced suite of practical tools to assist employers and professionals. 

These will include Blueprint 2.0, a new CPD scheme, new technical guides and a free Career Hub for members, with access to thousands of learning resources and career planning tools.

For more information please visit www.iosh.com/competencyframework

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