Making Sense of Health and Safety

Health and Safety News

We scour the Internet for Health and Safety related news items on an almost daily basis.

The news articles and clippings, curated by MD Safety, highlight the requirements for compliance with UK Health and Safety Legislation and best practice across all industry sectors.

The majority of the information and cases will apply to a greater or lesser degree to our broad range of Clients and lessons to be learned will be able to be gained.

Holiday Inn fined after wedding staircase collapse

The owners and operators of the Holiday Inn Hotel in Hemel Hempstead have been ordered to pay almost £160,000 after the wooden staircase that a wedding party was standing on for a group photograph collapsed beneath them.  The incident occurred in 2017 during a wedding that was being held at the Holiday Inn Hotel in Breakspear Way, Hemel Hempstead, in south east England. Guests of the couple were told to assemble on exterior wooden stairs for photographs when the upper flight of stairs collapsed. Ten people and part of the stairs fell onto the hard courtyard below. Seven people required hospital treatment, with two suffering long-term injuries. 

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Employee seeks damages after fall from height

A labourer working at mezzanine level suffered skull fractures and a brain injury because of the negligence of his employers.  The labourer was working on a project on the mezzanine of a factory premises when he was injured. There were three defendants: the builder who planned the work (first defendant); the labourer’s employer, who was subcontracted to work on the project (second); and the company that hired the builder (third).

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Serious fire safety law breaches at London flat lead to £20k fine and prison sentence

The London Fire Brigade has prosecuted a West London building owner after major breaches of fire safety law were discovered following a significant blaze on 9 August 2018.  Three years ago, firefighters were called to a fire at a flat above a shop on Queensway in Bayswater, West London. It took 70 firefighters and 10 fire engines to control the blaze that destroyed half of the four-storey building. Two women were rescued from the building and treated for smoke inhalation at the scene.

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Construction company fined for employee asbestos exposure

MS Properties (Northern) Ltd have been fined for safety breaches after employees were exposed to asbestos on 22 March 2019 after removing false ceiling tiles during a shop conversion at 309-315 Hessle Road, Hull.  Beverley Magistrates’ Court heard that the company had not commissioned a refurbishment asbestos survey prior to the work commencing. Employees removed over 1000m2 of asbestos insulation board (AIB) ceiling tiles in an uncontrolled manner, exposing them to asbestos.

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Worker balanced in wooden crate on forklift to access crane

Rotherham’s principal environmental health officer Adrian Monkhouse explains how a crane engineer’s six-metre fall resulted in fines totalling £100,000 and a renewed focus on contractor safety.  On 9 September 2021, two Rotherham-based companies – Yorkshire Stainless Limited and Technical Cranes – pleaded guilty to health and safety offences and each received fines of £50,000 for their roles in an incident where an engineer fell six metres to a concrete floor.

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£25k fine for engineering firm after employee suffered serious injuries

An engineering company was fined after one of its employees, a blacksmith, sustained life-changing injuries whilst welding an industrial steel fabrication.  Kenneth McIntosh was undertaking work to fabricate and weld dolphin jackets, devices which are secured to the seabed and used for mooring boats, on 23 June 2017, Dundee Sheriff Court was told. A dolphin jacket, which weighed approximately 7.7 tonnes, moved in an uncontrollable manner trapping Mr McIntosh and crushing his feet.

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ILO adopts code of practice on safety and health in textiles, clothing, leather and footwear industries

More than 60 million workers around the globe will benefit from concrete guidance on improving safety and health in one of the world’s oldest manufacturing sectors.  The adoption of this ILO Code of Practice is a milestone in the textiles, clothing, leather and footwear industries'

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Sole trader who repaired agricultural and industrial sheds fined after worker injured

William Henry Swanson, trading as LTS Construction has been fined following an incident when a worker suffered serious injuries after falling through a fragile roof light of a grain store. LTS Construction has now ceased trading.  Wick Sheriff Court heard that on 25 September 2019, an employee of Mr Swanson was working on a grain store roof to remove and replace damaged cement roof sheets and fragile roof lights. He stood on a moss-covered roof light which gave way beneath his weight. He fell approximately 4.5m onto the concrete floor below. He sustained injuries to his head, ribs, pelvis and wrist. He suffers from short term memory loss and anxiety and has not worked since.

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£300,000 fine following leg amputation

A sawmill company has been fined after a worker was crushed by a 1.8 tonne concrete panel.  BSW Sawmills Ltd has been fined, after admitting to health and safety breaches which led to a 19-year-old worker having his leg amputated above the knee after being crushed by a concrete beam.

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Father died in explosion while working with son

Chemical company Briar Chemicals Ltd has been fined £1 million after a 46-year-old maintenance contractor died in an explosion at its site Norwich.  On 27 July 2018, Rob Cranston was carrying out repair work on a mixing vessel during a planned period of shutdown maintenance.  

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