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Scaffolding company fined after scaffolding collapsed

A scaffolding company has been fined for safety failings after scaffolding collapsed on to a street in Maidenhead while it was being dismantled.

High Wycombe Magistrates Court heard how the collapse could have resulted in serious injury or loss of life.

 

An investigation was carried out by the Health and Safety Executive following the incident that occurred on the 30 April 2018. It was found that the underlying cause of the scaffold collapse was a lack of training and adequate instruction.

 

The worker carrying out the dismantling of the scaffold and removal of the scaffold ties was not adequately trained. Subsequent high winds acting upon the monoflex sheeting on the day of the collapse caused then caused scaffold to act as a “giant sail” and subsequently toppled over into the street.

 

Formula Scaffolding (London) Limited of Church Lane, Chessington was found guilty in their absence to breaching section 3(1) of Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and have been fined £160 000.00 and ordered to pay costs of £11 533.36

 

After the hearing, HSE Inspector John Caboche commented: “This was a very serious incident and it is fortunate nobody was injured as a result of it.

 

“Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working, ensure that their workforce is adequately trained and provide the necessary information, instruction and training to their workers in the safe system of working.”

 

Notes to Editors:

 

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. We seek to prevent work-related death, injury and ill health through regulatory actions that range from influencing behaviours across whole industry sectors through to targeted interventions on individual businesses. These activities are supported by globally recognised scientific expertise. hse.gov.uk
  2. More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at: legislation.gov.uk/
  3. HSE news releases are available at http://press.hse.gov.uk
  4. For more information on scaffold safety go to: https://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/safetytopics/scaffoldinginfo.htm

 

 

 

 

 

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Logistics company fined after a worker was injured in explosion

A&D Logistics Limited, a national logistics haulier, has been fined after a worker suffered flash burn injuries when there was an explosion as he opened the door of a container.

Paisley Sheriff Court heard how, on 7 January 2019, a team leader was requested by a member of the management team to dry out condensation from the office accommodation container. The custom and practice within the yard was to use a propane fuelled open-flame gas torch attached to a 47Kg LPG cylinder which was left burning within the container.

The team leader did this work and returned four hours later to check on progress of the container. The door appeared closed further than when he had left it. He opened the door by putting his hand in the gap between the doors and pulling. There was an explosion and he was thrown by force against a steel workshop container. Whilst on the ground he saw his arms burning, saw they were on fire, and felt the same of his face and hair.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company allowed the gas torch and propane cylinder to be left unattended with the torch lit whilst the team leader attended other work. The container did not contain sufficient oxygen to support safe combustion because of inadequate ventilation. Yard personnel had no ‘hot work’ training. The workwear worn by the team leader was not suitable for ‘hot work’ activities. Formal training and instruction for drying out wet containers with a propane gas torch was absent.

A&D Logistics Limited, Pegausus Avenue, Linwood, Paisley pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 of the Health and Safety at work etc Act 1974 and was fined £48,000.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Tom Allan said: “This incident could so easily have been avoided by simply carrying out control measures and safe working practices.

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

 

 

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. We prevent work-related death, injury and ill health through regulatory actions that range from influencing behaviours across whole industry sectors through to targeted interventions on individual businesses. These activities are supported by globally recognised scientific expertise. www.hse.gov.uk
  2. More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at: www.legislation.gov.uk/
  3. HSE news releases are available at http://press.hse.gov.uk

 

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Company and director fined after incident leaves worker paralysed

A company and an individual have been fined after a worker suffered life changing injuries while dismantling an external platform lift.

Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 31 August 2017, a worker was injured whist working on an external lift shaft at Alton College. A heavy component of the lift toppled to the ground and he fell with it, suffering serious life changing injuries that resulted in him being paralysed and confined to a wheelchair.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that The Platform Lift Company was contracted to dismantle an external lift shaft to enable building works to provide ramped access for wheelchair users. The work was sub-contracted to premier lift solutions of which Davey Marcus was a director at the time.  The companies failed to ensure dismantling of an external platform lift was undertaken without risks of persons falling or structural collapse.

The Platform Lift Company, Millside House, Anton Mill Road, Andover, Hampshire have pleaded guilty to breaching a single charge of section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and have been fined £6,000 and ordered to pay costs of £9,104.50.

Mr Davey Marcus, Windsor Avenue, Whitehead, County Antrim  pleaded guilty to two charges of Regulations 20(1) and 20(2) of Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2015 and was fined £480 and ordered to pay costs of £1,000.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Dominic Goacher said: “Neither party adequately planned the work and failed to identify suitable control measures such as scaffold to prevent falls.

“If a suitable safe system of work had been in place prior to the incident, the life changing injuries sustained by the employee could have been prevented.”

 

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. We prevent work-related death, injury and ill health through regulatory actions that range from influencing behaviours across whole industry sectors through to targeted interventions on individual businesses. These activities are supported by globally recognised scientific expertise. www.hse.gov.uk
  2. More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at: www.legislation.gov.uk/
  3. HSE news releases are available at http://press.hse.gov.uk

 

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HSE’s Chief Scientific Adviser welcomes introduction of new Covid-19 research programme

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has been asked to lead one of seven studies as part of a national COVID-19 research programme funded by the UK government and fronted by the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance.

Britain’s regulator for workplace health and safety has been asked to lead a study addressing the transmission of COVID-19 in the environment, including in workplaces, transport and other public settings. The study is structured around five themes, each led by a leading scientist in the field: Professor Cath Noakes (Leeds University), Allan Bennett (Public Health England), Prof Wendy Barclay (Imperial College), Prof Martie van Tongeren (University of Manchester) and Dr Yiqun Chen (HSE).

Reacting to the news, HSE’s Chief Scientific Adviser, Professor Andrew Curran said:

“HSE is privileged to lead this programme and use our experience in workplace risk management to improve our understanding of how the virus is transmitted. We employ some of the leading scientists in workplace health and safety who are skilled in addressing complex issues such as this. We will also harness the knowledge and expertise of our counterparts in other organisations to coordinate the most effective response to answer these important questions.

“As findings emerge, they will be shared. We hope they will feed directly into effective approaches and guidance that will help improve practices in workplaces. This work will yield information on an ongoing basis, improving our understanding of what a COVID-Secure workplace looks like. When infection rates will allow sustained re-opening of the economy, working safely will be even more crucial than it is now.”

The National Core Studies are a small group of key research projects and infrastructure programmes designed to answer essential policy and operational questions as the UK enters the first winter period of the coronavirus pandemic.

The seven studies will examine fundamental questions such as: the levels of infection in the general population and in specific settings such as schools and nursing homes, the role of different environments in enhancing spread, and whether antibodies confer protection and for how long.

The programme will be a multi-agency response with each study lead drawing upon the best scientific knowledge and expertise available in the UK from within government and academia to help ensure these and other critical questions are answered quickly and well.

About HSE

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. We prevent work-related death, injury and ill health through regulatory actions that range from influencing behaviours across whole industry sectors through to targeted interventions on individual businesses. These activities are supported by globally recognised scientific expertise. www.hse.gov.uk

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HSE releases annual injury and ill-health statistics for Great Britain

Statistics released today show that Great Britain is still one of the safest places in the world to work with the lowest number of deaths on record.

However, more than half of Britain’s working days lost in 2019/20 were due to mental ill-health.

The annual report by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) includes statistics for work-related ill health, workplace injuries, working days lost, enforcement action taken, and the associated costs to Great Britain.

The emergence of COVID-19 as a national health issue at the end of final quarter of 2019/20 does not appear to be the main driver of changes seen in the 2019/20 data, although it is possible that COVID-19 may be a contributory factor.

HSE has been at the heart of work across government for getting Great Britain’s workplaces Covid Secure. As part of HSE’s response to COVID-19, it has continued to support the wider health response through working closely with National Public Health Bodies, Local Authorities and local health teams.

Figures show that around 693,000 workers sustained non-fatal injuries in 2019/2020 and 1.6 million workers suffering from work-related ill-health.

The statistics, compiled from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) and other sources, illustrate that in Great Britain in the 2019/2020 period there were;

  • 111 fatal injuries at work
  • 1.6 million working people suffering from a work-related illness
  • 38.8 million working days lost due to work-related illness and workplace injury
  • 325 cases were prosecuted and resulted in a conviction. Fines from convictions totalled £35.8 million

In 2019/2020, the estimated economic cost to Great Britain totalled £16.2 billion with 38.8 million working days lost.

In response to the report, Sarah Newton, HSE Chair said:

“The Covid pandemic has focussed attention on the health and safety issues people face in the workplace. HSE remains committed to taking action where workers are not protected, to ensure the guidance and assistance we provide for employers in managing risks is the best available, based on the latest evidence and science.

“Although Great Britain continues to be up there with the safest places in the world to work, these figures highlight the scale of the challenge HSE currently faces in making Britain an even healthier and safer place to work, this includes our role in the response to the pandemic to ensure workplaces are Covid Secure.

“We must continue to drive home the importance of managing risk and promoting behaviours to ensure employers work right so that workers are able to go home healthy and safe at the end of each day.”

The full annual injury and ill-health statistics report can be found on HSE’s website.

 

Ends

 

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. We prevent work-related death, injury and ill health through regulatory actions that range from influencing behaviours across whole industry sectors through to targeted interventions on individual businesses. These activities are supported by globally recognised scientific expertise. www.hse.gov.uk
  2. HSE news releases are available at http://press.hse.gov.uk
  3. Further information on annual fatal injury statistics released in July can be found https://press.hse.gov.uk/2020/07/20/figures-reveal-that-numbers-of-people-killed-have-fallen-yet-agriculture-continues-to-have-the-highest-rates-of-worker-fatal-injury/

 

 

 

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Company fined after worker loses fingers

Insulation panel company, Panelbond Ltd was sentenced today for safety breaches after an employee had three fingers cut off while he was working alone cutting metal sheets using an ‘Edwards’ metal cutting guillotine.

 

Grimsby Magistrates Court heard how, on 26 April 2017, the sheet of metal being cut had an upturned corner which didn’t fit flush against the backstop. The worker managed to get his left hand beyond the ‘guard’ to attempt to hold the upturned corner against the backstop. He operated the foot pedal activating the guillotine blade, consequently he suffered the loss of three fingers

 

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the guillotine had been purchased from auction and had been supplied with ‘finger guards’ which prevents access to the blade from the front of the machine. Over time, the supplied guard had become damaged and therefore had been replaced by Panelbond. However, the replacement guard was not adequate to prevent access to the guillotine blade.

 

Panelbond Ltd of Omega Business Park, Estate Road Grimsby N E Lincolnshire     pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. The company has been fined £4000 and ordered to pay £7335.05 in costs.

 

After the hearing, HSE inspector Kirstie Durrans commented: “Serous accidents occur each year due to companies not identifying and managing the risks posed by machinery. The dangers of unguarded machinery are well known.

“If the company had ensured that suitable guarding was in place this incident could easily have been avoided”

 

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. We prevent work-related death, injury and ill health through regulatory actions that range from influencing behaviours across whole industry sectors through to targeted interventions on individual businesses. These activities are supported by globally recognised scientific expertise. hse.gov.uk[1]
  2. More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at: legislation.gov.uk/ [2]
  3. HSE news releases are available at http://press.hse.gov.uk[3]
  4. Please see the link below to the page on HSE’s website that is the best guide to doing it the right way:

https://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/priced/hsg129.pdf

 

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HSE’s Chair pays tribute to George Brechin

The Chair of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has paid tribute to fellow Board member George Brechin OBE, who passed away on Saturday 17 October after a short illness.

Sarah Newton said:

“We all feel great sadness about this news. 

“In addition to being the senior member of the Board, offering guidance to his peers to help them settle in and make an effective contribution to HSE’s governance, George worked closely with colleagues leading HSE’s EU Exit Programme, providing assurance to the Board that this immensely important work was continuing at the right pace and delivering its objective of supporting the work to prepare the United Kingdom for a future outside of the European Union. He was also a member of the Board’s Renumeration and People Committee; a role which was reflective of his interest in our people.

“George took every opportunity to engage with HSE colleagues. He particularly valued the insight into the work of the various parts of the organisation that he gained from these opportunities. His interest was genuine and he was always very gracious in recognising everyone’s contribution to our mission, particularly at Board meetings.

“He will be sorely missed by the health and safety community in Scotland where his connections and understanding of working in a devolved nation made him a brilliant Chair of the Partnership on Health and Safety in Scotland (PHASS). His meticulous attention to fairness and balance (and his good humour) at PHASS events encouraged mutual respect amongst partners from very different viewpoints and constituencies. George’s knowledge but above all his commitment made him such a strong leader in HSE’s work to engage with others to improve workplace health and safety.

“George epitomised what it is to be a public servant. Starting at the Department of Health in London in 1972, he moved to the NHS in Scotland in 1988, holding three NHS Trust Chief Executive posts before his appointment to NHS Fife. ‘Retirement’ however did not slow him down. He was also a non-executive Board Member of Food Standards Scotland, Chair of the Scottish Teachers’ Pension Board and had recently been appointed as Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland. He was awarded the OBE in 2013.

“HSE and those who benefit from our work owe George a huge debt of gratitude.

“My thoughts, and those of the HSE Board, are with George’s family, friends and colleagues, both in HSE and the other organisations in which he served, who had the honour to know him and benefit from his wise counsel.”

Mims Davies, the Minister for Employment, said:

“George was an influential figure on the HSE Board, having served for over eight years alongside Dame Judith Hackitt, Martin Temple and Sarah Newton. A Board member who was extremely well respected by all who worked with him and also amongst the wide variety of HSE stakeholders. He will be greatly missed by the HSE Board and the wider organisation.”

 

 

 

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HSE and Sefton Council target Liverpool City Region for COVID-secure spot inspections

Sefton Council is one of many local authorities working with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) checking on businesses to make sure they are COVID-secure.

Sefton is part of the Liverpool City Region that has just been placed in the highest lockdown tier following discussions between central and local government.

HSE inspectors and Sefton Council’s Environmental Health officers have been conducting spot checks and inspections on businesses from all different sectors in the area to check they are following government guidelines.

Being COVID-secure means that businesses need to put adjustments in place to manage the risk from coronavirus to protect workers, visitors and customers.

Sefton Council is responsible for the enforcement of health and safety legislation in sectors which includes shops, pubs and restaurants, whereas HSE regulates health and safety in areas such as construction and manufacturing.

By putting in COVID-secure measures to protect employees, visitors and members of the local community, it will help businesses to continue to operate which is key to the local economy.

Sally Nicholson, HSE Head of Operations, North West, said: “Across the country we are working with local authorities, like Sefton Council, ensuring businesses are checked and are COVID-secure.

“All workplaces are in scope which means businesses of any size, in any sector can receive an unannounced check, by us or a local authority.

“If you are contacted by the HSE or your local authority, please engage with us as it is your duty to ensure employees and visitors at a workplace are protected from the virus.

“By making sure that businesses have measures in place to manage the risks, we can benefit the health of local communities as well as support the local and national UK economy.”

During the checks, advice and guidance can be provided to help the business to implement work practices that reduce the risk of virus transmission, but where businesses are not managing this, enforcement action can be taken. This can range from the provision of specific advice, issuing enforcement notices, stopping certain work practices until they are made safe and, where businesses fail to comply, prosecution.

Cllr Paulette Lappin, from Sefton Council, said: “As the Liverpool City Region has further lockdown measures in place, ensuring workplaces are COVID-secure needs to remain a main priority for all businesses in Sefton and beyond.

“It is a legal duty for businesses to protect their workers and others from harm and this includes taking reasonable steps to control the risk and protect people from coronavirus.

“Being COVID-secure can help reduce these risks and we want every business in the borough to follow the guidelines that ultimately protects our communities.

“Working with the HSE has enabled us to target the whole of the Sefton area from small businesses to large manufacturers, whether Local Authority or HSE enforced, ensuring all workplaces understand the importance of being COVID-secure.”

HSE and local authority inspectors are finding some common issues across a range of sectors that include: failing to provide arrangements for monitoring, supervising and maintaining social distancing, and failing to introduce an adequate cleaning regime particularly at busy times of the day.

For more information on HSE’s spot checks and inspections, see www.hse.gov.uk/campaigns/spot-inspections.htm

For the latest information and safer business guidance, see www.gov.uk

/Ends

 

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. We prevent work-related death, injury and ill health through regulatory actions that range from influencing behaviours across whole industry sectors through to targeted interventions on individual businesses. These activities are supported by globally recognised scientific expertise. https://www.hse.gov.uk
  2. Local Authorities have the same enforcement responsibilities and powers as the HSE for certain types of businesses within their area, including shops, restaurants, licenced premises, offices and warehouses.
  3. HSE news releases are available at https://press.hse.gov.uk

For HSE’s working safely guidance see https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/working-safely/index.htm

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Transport company fined after employee fatally crushed

A transport company has been fined after a worker was fatally injured when the pallet of stone tiles he was attempting to deliver fell onto him.

High Wycombe Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 23 November 2016, an agency driver was carrying out a delivery for Reason Transport UK Limited at Fraser Road, High Wycombe. The driver was delivering a pallet of stone tiles using a tail-lift and a manual pallet truck. He spent several minutes struggling to lift and manoeuvre the pallet onto the truck’s tail-lift. When he eventually succeeded in doing so, he lost control of the pallet, which fell onto him, causing him to suffer fatal crush injuries.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the weight of the pallet was recorded as 1,200 kg but the actual weight of the pallet was in excess of 1,400 kg. The pallet was therefore in excess of the 1,000 kg weight limit set by the pallet network for tail-lift deliveries. The investigation also found that the driver had worked for the company for two weeks and had not received any training for the safe delivery of pallets using a tail-lift.

Reason Transport UK Limited, now in liquidation, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and have been fined £5,000.

After the hearing HSE inspector Stephen Faulkner said: “This was a tragic and wholly avoidable incident, caused by the failure of the host company to provide training to this agency worker on the safe delivery of pallets from a vehicle with a tail-lift.

“Transport companies should be aware of the importance of identifying and managing the risks involved with delivering heavy loads and the need to adequately train new staff before undertaking such deliveries.”

Notes to editors 

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. We prevent work-related death, injury and ill health through regulatory actions that range from influencing behaviours across whole industry sectors through to targeted interventions on individual businesses. These activities are supported by globally recognised scientific expertise. www.hse.gov.uk[1]
  2. More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at: www.legislation.gov.uk[2]
  3. HSE news releases are available at http://press.hse.gov.uk

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Spot checks and inspections at schools in Scotland

Using coloured spots to highlight frequency touched points and introducing alternatives to staggered start and stop times were some of the examples of good practice carried out by schools in Scotland to ensure they are COVID-secure.

These are some of the examples of good practice discovered by Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspectors after carrying out a programme of COVID-secure school spot checks in Scotland regarding the implementation of school reopening guidance.

Since August, a total of 500 schools have been contacted to check they are COVID-secure and compliant with the Scottish government’s school reopening guidance.

To give a representative sample of schools across Scotland, 16 local authorities were selected for the focus of the checks, and a proportionate number of primary schools and secondary schools were selected in each area. In addition, a sample of Additional Support Needs (ASN) schools and independent schools were also contacted.

Following the initial calls, HSE found around 80% of schools had a good understanding on being COVID-secure. Where levels of compliance were less certain in 100 schools, HSE undertook follow-up site visits.

Harvey Wild, Head of HSE’s Transport and Public Services Unit, said: “In our view the Scottish government’s school reopening guidance was very good quality, and was viewed positively by schools in what can only be described as very challenging circumstances.

“It appeared to be flexible enough to be implemented appropriately in different settings and adapted to local circumstances ensuring most schools we contacted were COVID-secure.

“The majority of schools in Scotland reacted very quickly to implement new measures. For those schools where compliance was less certain, formal spot inspections were carried out by a team of HSE inspectors.

“This enabled the inspectors to go to the schools and see what COVID-secure measures were in place so they could then offer formal advice and guidance where needed.”

All the HSE spot inspections at schools in Scotland were completed by the beginning of October and, based on the inspections undertaken, HSE found no need for any formal interventions requiring improvement. Any areas of concerns were dealt with by verbal advice.

Our inspectors did find some common areas of concern where schools needed to make changes. This centred around social distancing in staff room areas, cleaning regimes and ventilation in school buildings.

For ventilation, most schools were relying on windows and doors being open for long periods of time and HSE’s feeling was that schools/local authorities may need to conduct a simple risk assessment of fresh air in schools. In light of this the Scottish Government developed further guidance to assist schools – see www.gov.scot

Harvey Wild added: “While highlighting some areas of concern to schools, our inspectors also found some novel and new examples of good practice.

“Regarding social distancing, one primary school had considered replacing the two metre lines to separate teachers from pupils with a painting of a river, to help pupils understand the concept of not crossing it.

“Another school introduced creative alternatives to staggered start and stop times by using multiple exits at the same time. This prevented parents waiting for long periods of time at the school gate.

“These examples show how well most schools have adopted COVID-secure measures, but there can’t be room for complacency. Ensuring a school has measures in place to manage any COVID risks can only benefit the health of the local community they serve.”

For more information on being COVID-secure, visit www.hse.gov.uk and for details on spot checks and inspections www.hse.gov.uk/campaigns/spot-inspections.htm 

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. We prevent work-related death, injury and ill health through regulatory actions that range from influencing behaviours across whole industry sectors through to targeted interventions on individual businesses. These activities are supported by globally recognised scientific expertise. https://www.hse.gov.uk
2. HSE news releases are available at https://press.hse.gov.uk
3. For HSE’s working safely guidance see https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/working-safely/index.htm

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