Tag Archives: safety advisor prosecuted

Use of Plant on Construction Sites – New HSE guidance on Overturning

There have been more instances of tele-handlers and dumpers overturning on construction sites with often tragic consequences. These days we have trained operators and good site traffic management on most sites we see but in spite of this we are still seeing too many overturns.

This gave use cause to think and discuss this in the office and we have the following thoughts for you to consider which will be helpful when seeking to manage these risks;

  1. Are roll bars always in the upright position – staff sometimes do not put them into place following delivery;
  2. Seat belts are still not being worn and warning systems are being defeated as operators are still under the impression that they could somehow ‘jump free’ of the vehicle if it should overturn  this just isn’t the case;
  3. Training often does not teach good practice for using this machinery (in particular dumpers) on slopes, this is essential and should make up a toolbox talk and really should be part of any operators training – check your training satisfies this area;
  4. Some zones may not be suitable for dumpers and telehandlers – mark exclusions zones for soft ground and steeper slopes;
  5. Tyre pressures are crucial – make sure staff check pressures daily as a small change in pressure (as little as 5 psi) can have an enormous effect on load capacity.  Tyres must be check when cold at the start of each day.

Find out more about the safety of telehandlers here by reading the latest research report from HSE.  General information about plant safety can be found on the HSE website here.

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Clients receives huge fine after self employed contractor falls from MEWP

falls from heightYou are most probably aware of the duties you have as a client to select contractors which are competent and adequately resourced for safety.  Sometimes you will also need to convince others within your supply chain or business of the need to complete a thorough assessment and the case below may offer assistance.

In this case a major company had employed a self employed contractor to carry out work installing updated fire detection equipment at its Yate factory site. Due to a failure to plan and supervise the work correctly an overhead conveyor was started which ultimately led to a fall of over 5 metres for from the Mobile Elevating Work Platform (MEWP) which the contractor was using.

Maintenance workers employed by Whirlpool UK Appliances Ltd were unaware that starting the conveyor system would results in this tragedy as they had not been told that this work was taking place.  An HSE investigation found that there were no effective controls or supervision in place to prevent these conflicting work tasks from being undertaken at the same time.

The company pleaded guilty at Bristol Crown Court to breaching section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £700,000 and ordered to pay costs of £11,466.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Matt Tyler said:

“This is a tragic case where the incident could have been prevented if the company had planned and controlled the work properly.”

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£2m fine for a fall and injury at breadmaker

Warburtons Limited, a large national breadmaker has been fined £2 million plus costs of £19,609.28 after a worker carrying out routine mixing machine cleaning  lost his footing and fell nearly 2 metres to the floor below.falls from height

He was hospitalised and suffered a compression fracture to his spine and was unable to return to his work for several months. He was unable to return to his original role and was dismissed in December 2015 after a long period of sick leave.

An HSE investigation found that the firm routinely asked its employees to access the top of the mixers when they undertook cleaning tasks, in order to do this the workers had to access and then brace themselves to prevent themselves from falling.

It was found that supervision was not adequate and no training had taken place on how cleaning risks at height could be controlled.

HSE Inspector Mahesh Mahey commented;

“This case highlights how important it is for companies to fully assess the risks from work activities at height and to take appropriate action to prevent injury in the workplace.

This should have been prevented, falls from height is one of the biggest killers in the workplace and even falls from fairly low levels can be extremely dangerous. Mr Sears life has been changed forever but his injuries could have been more severe.”

Contact us on 01453 800100 if you need expert help with health and safety for a fixed cost or use contact us above or the form below to request a proposal;

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Slips on a Icy Path… A Case Law example

As we have a cold weather front approaching and some real winter may well be approaching… that leads us to the old stories and tales about slips on ice and who is responsible.

Most of what we hear from good intentioned colleagues has to be taken with a pinch of salt – even advice from experts can be somewhat hit and miss.

We can argue that ice is naturally occurring but case law leads us to recommend that anti slip overshoes or similar may be a wise investment for some staff, particularly those visiting homes without the benefit industrial footwear.

Read on below for some case law to shed some light on the matter.

Kennedy v Cordia

This is one of the most significant cases in this area and concerns a care home worker who, in December 2010, slipped on a path. She had been making an essential visit during that period of very cold weather, wearing flat shoes with some ridging of the soles but they were not a match for the icy path conditions.  She fell and broke her wrist and the case was eventually heard at the Scottish Court of Session in August 2013 where the Court found in her favour and against her employer, Cordia (Services) LLP.

However, her employer appealed the case and was successful in its defence BUT the case was then referred to the Supreme Court which then concluded that Cordia (Services) LLP were liable after all.  Hope you are following this so far!

The above gives some insight into both the legal process and the difficulty of the courts in deciding who is actually at fault. The key issue was the fact that icy conditions had been identified as a risk AND that similar accidents had occurred in the past, this meant that ice could be seen then as an obvious hazard affecting the worker.

One other key fact was that staff were advised to wear appropriate footwear but that this was not specified in terms of what appropriate was.  Other similar businesses (mostly larger ones) had begun to provide anti slip over shoes (Yaktrax and similar) and it was decided that their provision would have been reasonable to expect in the circumstances.  The company was found guilty under the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992.

Contact us on 01453 800100 if you need expert help with health and safety for a fixed cost or use contact us above or the form below to request a proposal;

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PPE: Can staff bring in their own?

This is an interesting question which sometimes arises for the hundreds of clients we support across the UK.  Imagine that a new employee starts working at your business or a temporary employee becomes permanent and they already have their own Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

Given the links back to the Health and Safety At Work Act and its requirement not to charge employees for protective equipment some staff can become confused on whether this is actually permitted.  Looking in more detail at the specific regulations covering PPE leads us to Regulation 4 of the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 which states that employers have a duty to “ensure that suitable PPE is provided” to employees who need it.

Can staff bring their own PPE to work?

Looking at the above you can see that if you haven’t provided PPE that isn’t the issue but you do have to ensure that it’s correct for the job.  The key issue here relates to suitability and here are a few instances which you may like to check;

  • Safety boots provide the right slip resistance and protection – mid sole protection for example;
  • Respiratory protection is adequate and will give protection from the dusts or vapours encountered (FFP rating);
  • Eye protection is adequate (impact rating or chemical protective);
  • Hard hats are within your requirements for manufacture date (typically 3-5 years from manufacture depending on your policy.

One final thing to remember is that fake PPE is surprisingly common, particularly when individuals buy PPE from the internet at a reduced cost, and individuals are likely to be more cost sensitive.

The final choice is yours, if you’re in a higher risk industry you may wish to start afresh with issuing equipment which you know to be right for the job.  If on the other hand if you’re an occasional user of PPE you may well not need to go to the expense of issuing new equipment if an employee can bring suitable items themselves.

Don’t forget, once they do work for you you will need to pay for the supply of their PPE.

Contact us on 01453 800100 if you need expert help with health and safety for a fixed cost or use contact us above or the form below to request a proposal;

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HSE to Issue Construction Sector Plan for 2017 – 2022: emphasis on CDM 2015 compliance

HSEThe Board of HSE met in December to discuss draft sectors plans for construction for the coming 3-5 year period, the summary of the points for consideration are listed below with the emphasis being placed on Health, Smaller Business and CDM 2015;

HSE Priorities

  1. Health Hazards – reducing incidents of ill-health, with a particular focus on occupational lung disease and musculoskeletal disorders;
  2. Small Businesses – supporting small businesses to achieve improved risk management and control; and
  3. CDM Regulations 2015 – embedding the principles of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM).

HSE will secure effective management and control of risk by:

  • Project Regulation – directing inspection and enforcement at those failing to manage and control risks, focusing on health risks refurbishment, and licenced asbestos removal;
  • Central interventions – visiting dutyholders to review their health risk management arrangements using leading indicators in the Construction Health Risks Toolkit; and
  • CDM 2015 Pre-Construction Phase – intervening with construction clients, principal designers and designers to ensure proportionate CDM understanding and compliance, working with or through other health and safety regulators (eg ONR) where necessary.

HSE will lead and engage with others to improve workplace health and safety by:

  • Health Ownership – working with the Health in Construction Leadership Group in promoting the ownership by industry of good health risk management, and the development of case studies and health-specific leading indicators;
  • Awareness Research – funding communication insight research enabling improved risk awareness, management and mitigation in small and micro businesses;
  • CDM 2015  for SMEs – helping small businesses to comply proportionately with CDM, eg case studies on social media;
  • Designer Risk Mitigation – working with professional bodies to enhance the competence of designers through the effective teaching of design risk mitigation across built environment higher education courses;
  • BIM Promotion – demonstrating the effective use of building information modelling (BIM) to improve risk information sharing, coordination and collaboration throughout the construction process; and
  • Manual Handling – working with supply chains to reduce risks from manual handling.

HSE will reduce the likelihood of low-frequency, high-impact catastrophic incidents by:

  • Major Projects – early and strategic interventions with major projects, including Crossrail, HS2, Thames Tideway, power generation decommissioning and new build; and
  • Risk Leadership – working with industry to develop clear standards of construction risk leadership and leading performance.

Contact us on 01453 800100 if you need expert help with health and safety for a fixed cost or use contact us above or the form below to request a proposal;

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Polishing on lathes still causing injuries at work, £400k fine

When you start out in health and safety you usually end up on a 10 day NEBOSH Certificate and this is often taught in a college.  You all file down to an old engineering workshop and are told about holding emery cloth on lathes and the terrible injuries it can cause.

However, you suspect that when you get into industry proper you won’t see such an obvious breach of the Regs and good common sense… how wrong you were.

These accidents are as old as lathes themselves but we’re still seeing the awful injuries which result from them, read on to find out more and perhaps make this the subject of a toolbox talk or take a quick walk down to engineering and just do a double check for used pieces of emery cloth…

Cammell Laird Shiprepairers and Shipbuilders Ltd has been fined £400,000 after a workman suffered serious injuries whilst carrying out repair work on a lathe.

The 59 year old worker from Ellesmere Port suffered fractures and crush injuries to his right hand and was off work for 5 months after carrying out repair work to a lathe the 20th July 2015.

Liverpool Magistrates Court heard  on 5 December that while he was repairing the lathe  he noticed that the shafts and couplings were dirty decided to clean these parts by wrapping an emery cloth around the lead screw with the lathe under power.   This resulted in the rotating machine parts pulling him to the moving parts of the machine.

The company pleaded guilty to a breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £400,000 And ordered to pay costs of £7,683.

Speaking after the hearing HSE Inspector Karen Fearon said:

“The Defendant had developed a Health and Safety Management System (HSMS) but failed to ensure that the system had permeated all parts of the organisation. If the HSMS had been followed this accident may not have occurred.

Maintenance was being carried out on machinery which was energised whilst someone was in the dangerous part of that machine. There was no lock off, poor control and poor management. Prior to maintenance the equipment was not shutdown, isolated and residual energy released and secured with a means to prevent inadvertent reconnection (e.g. by locking off with a padlock) as it should have been.”

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CDM Client and their Contractors fined more than £1.5m

A local authority and its two contractors have been fined in excess of HSE£1.5 million following two incidents involving roadworks on a busy Liverpool city centre road. A man died and another was seriously injured while attempting to cross Queens Drive in Liverpool during major resurfacing works which happened in the summer of 2012.

In the case, heard at Liverpool Crown Court, it was reported that on the 3 July 2012 a 74-year-old man suffered head injuries after he was hit by a car while using a crossing at temporary lights. One side of the Queen’s Drive dual carriageway had been put into a contraflow to allow vehicles to travel in both directions but temporary pedestrian lights were not working and no alternative was provided.

The Court also heard that on the 19th August 2012, 69-year-old Ernest Haughton died when he was struck by a car whilst crossing a single lane of traffic on the same road using a temporary pedestrian crossing.

Following complaints from motorists changes were made to the traffic control lights to alleviate congestion but this  resulted in the removal of the natural break in traffic flow needed to allow pedestrians to safely cross the carriageway.

When Mr Haughton died the temporary lights were removed but no alternative control measures were put in place to enable pedestrians to cross. In addition, a large A-frame sign was placed on the crossing which obscured the view of both pedestrians and motorists.

Liverpool City Council pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 9(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 (CDM) and were fined £15,000 and ordered to pay £100,000 costs.

HSE investigators found that Liverpool City Council had failed to ensure that the arrangements for managing the roadworks were suitable, including failing to appoint a suitable co-ordinator for the work. Instead the council sought to delegate responsibilities to Enterprise Liverpool Limited who pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 22(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 (CDM) and were fined £25,000 and ordered to pay £80,000 costs.

HSE found that Enterprise Liverpool Limited failed to ensure the designs for the traffic management were checked or approved and failed to check that the construction plan for pedestrian routes and provision of barriers was being followed.  At the time of the incidents they were found not to have provided a safe means of pedestrians crossing the works area or the carriageway.

Tarmac Trading Limited of Solihull, pleaded guilty to Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act, 1974 and were fined £1.3 million and ordered to pay £130,000 costs.

Tarmac Trading Limited, who were responsible for the provision and installation of the traffic and pedestrian management, failed to provide alternative assistance for pedestrians at the time of the first incident despite it being known that the temporary lights were broken. A temporary bus stop had also been placed in the middle of the road at the crossing.

HSE Inspector Jacqueline Western commented:

“The risks associated with road works are well known in the industry and specific guidance is available to assist with the planning and implementation. It is not unreasonable to expect that those who regularly engage in this type of construction work should be well aware of their roles and responsibilities.

The combined failure of all three dutyholders to comply with their duties on more than one occasion during the Queens Drive resurfacing project, led to one man losing his life and another suffering serious injury. It could quite easily have been two fatal incidents.

By engaging with the entire project team at the very start of a project, clients like Liverpool City Council, can ensure that a good health and safety culture is embodied throughout the life of the project. Ongoing communication and cooperation between the principal contractors and sub-contractors ensures that the project is being adequately planned, managed and monitored.”

Contact us on 01453 800100 if you need expert help with health and safety for a fixed cost or use contact us above or the form below to request a proposal;

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Is there a case for intuition in safety?

Sintuition safetyometimes you just feel that something isn’t right, you can’t explain exactly why but you have that feeling, your subconscious is telling you to look a little more closely or probe a bit deeper.

I read an interesting article recently by Dr Travis Bradberry which discusses the subconsciousnesses role in guiding our actions and asks us to use these  feelings more to guide us in our decision making, it contains in interesting quote;

“Intuition will tell the thinking mind where to look next.” – Jonas Salk

In a study by the Salk Institute participants were asked to play a card game by pulling cards from two different decks, unknown to them the decks were rigged.  Its took around 50 cards for these participants to realise something was unequal and about 80 cards to realise what the actual difference was.

However, after just 10 cards most players starting to sweat slightly on their palms before pulling a card from the ‘losing’ deck, at about the same time they started subconsciously favouring the ‘winning’ deck.

The above study serves to demonstrate the power of intuition, something which comes from the primitive brain and which served us well in days where danger was all around us, and something which we should, perhaps, be happier to rely on more often in our modern lives.

Experiments in intuition

If you remain unconvinced why not try a little game, stare intently at the back of someone’s head in the office or walking down a corridor. Perhaps you’re sat across a table or hall from someone you know at lunch.  The wait and see how long it takes them to raise their head and search for the person looking at them, it might not work every time but I think you’ll be surprised at how often it does (and if you do know them don’t forget to at least nod a hello!).

So next time you’re completing a safety tour, audit or inspection don’t be afraid to slow down and listen to your gut feeling, it might lead to you in the right direction.

About: Roger Hart  is Managing Director of Outsource Safety Ltd, a consultancy specialising in ISO9001, ISO14001 and OHSAS18001 Management Systems.  The company employs 10 staff and works for hundreds of retained clients across the UK in all sectors from Defence and Aerospace to Education and Museums with a specialism in the contracting, construction and renewables sectors, www.outsource-safety.co.uk

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Occupational Health: Styrene Vapour Prosecution, Templetown Canopies Ltd

We’ve carried out many monitoring programmes which have involved exposure to styrene over the past 20 or so years.  The substance is in common use and because of this businesses and their staff can sometimes become too familiar with the substance and fail to take adequate precautions.

We also have heard staff assuring us that they don’t need to use protective equipment as they have developed a tolerance or even an immunity to styrene’s effects – wouldn’t it be good if that could ever be the case…

In the case below styrene exposure simply wasn’t guarded against and although HSE Inspectors know that small businesses have pressures on them they quite rightly won’t allow this as an excuse to endanger the health of their employees.

If you need occupation health advice, air monitoring for styrene or any other safety support please speak to your retained advisor or contact us on 01453 800100 to get some sound advice.

Styrene vapour not controlled by extraction and RPE

Templetown Canopies Limited from Tyneside has been prosecuted over the lack of controls regarding the use of the hazardous substance styrene during the production of fibre glass door and window canopies.

Styrene exposure causes irritation to the nose, throat and lungs and neurological effect including difficulty in concentrating, drowsiness, headaches and nausea.

HSE inspected the company premises in May 2013 issued an Improvement Notice. However, the company did not take action to comply with the Notice until they moved premises in March 2015 failing to adequately control exposure of their employees to styrene.

An extraction system should also have been in place to remove the heavier than air vapours and RPE provided with the correct filters (FFP3) to protect operators.

Employees exposed to styrene vapour for almost 2 years

Templetown Canopies Limited, of Shaftsbury Avenue, South Shields, Tyne and Wear, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 7(1) of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH) and was fined £8,500 and ordered to pay costs of £4,500.

Speaking after the hearing HSE Inspector Fiona McGarry said:

“Workers’ health was put at risk from exposure to styrene for a period of 22 months, even after the company had been made aware of the actions it needed to take.

Whilst HSE is sympathetic to the pressures faced by small businesses, this is simply not acceptable. Employers need to take action to ensure they are providing adequate control to protect the health of their employees.”

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