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.

Sir Robert McAlpine fined £260k after fall from height

Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd has been sentenced for safety breaches after a worker fell 4.8 metres through an unprotected opening.  On 28 April 2016, Mark Smith, aged 36, was working at Stone Gappe Hall, Lothersdale, Keighley, owned by Richard McAlpine, a director of the McAlpine group of companies. Mr Smith was attaching straps to a water tank whilst preparing to move it to a lower floor of a water tower at the property, in order to paint the floor. The HSE found that Mr Smith fell through an opening that did not have fixed edge protection. As a result, he sustained serious injuries including: a right tibial shaft fracture, a distal fibular fracture, a fracture to the left patella, orbital and nasal fractures, lacerations to the face, a concessional head injury, injury to his ribs and he was hospitalised for nine days. Mr Smith continues to suffer from psychological damage and has been unable to return to work.

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Haulage company fined after employee fell from height and sustained severe injuries

W D Cormack & Sons, a partnership operating a haulage business, has been fined after a driver fell from a trailer to the ground.  Perth Sheriff Court heard that on 9 February 2016, the employee was securing a load of grain bags on a curtain-sider trailer, at Thormean Granary, Milnathort, when he fell 2.88 metres from the trailer to the ground. He sustained severe injuries as a result of the fall.  An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) identified that there was a failure to make a suitable and sufficient risk assessment and a failure to provide and maintain a safe system of work.

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Urgent action is needed to reduce fatal and serious crashes involving at-work drivers, says IAM RoadSmart

Urgent action is needed to tackle the stagnation in the number of people killed or injured in collisions involving drivers working or travelling on business, according to IAM RoadSmart.  The road safety charity’s concerns about a worrying lack of progress in driving down the number of work-related traffic incidents are highlighted in its latest white paper, ‘The Role of Business Drivers.’

In the paper IAM RoadSmart calls on all groups – the Health and Safety Executive, drivers and their employers, government and police – to do more to address the fact that there has been virtually no change in the number of fatal and serious injury road crashes on UK roads in the last decade.

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Driver jailed after crashing sewage tanker while drink and drug-driving

A lorry driver has been jailed for flipping a 26-tonne sewage tanker as he drove around the M25 while over the drink and drug-drive limits.  The former employers of Simon Shea have slammed the “poxy” eight-month prison sentence and 40-month driving ban handed out to him at Maidstone Crown Court for charges of dangerous driving, drug-driving, and drink-driving.  Hydro-Cleansing Ltd (HCL), which operates from Croydon but provides services across the South East, said it has been left to deal with the ramifications after Shea wrote off the £420,000 tanker by crashing it at the interchange for Junction 2 of the M25 near Dartford.

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Fedex UK Ltd fined after worker seriously injured by reversing forklift truck

A parcel carrier has been fined after an employee was seriously injured when he was struck by a forklift truck.  Cannock Magistrates’ Court heard that in the early morning of 2 November 2017, an employee was walking across the depot at Burntwood Business Park, near Cannock, Staffordshire when he was struck by a reversing forklift truck. The worker was trapped on the ground by the forklift truck and had to be freed by colleagues using a pallet truck. He suffered serious fractures to his arm and soft tissue injuries to his legs. He was off work for several months.

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Fines escalate for health & safety violations

Figures from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) show that fines for health and safety offences have increased by almost 450% since the introduction in February 2016 of new sentencing guidelines. The construction industry has been hit hard by this tougher regime, with penalties for health and safety offences amounting to £15.7m in 2018/19 alone, at an average of £107,000 per conviction.

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Festive period travel: Keeping employees safe over Christmas

There’s the work Christmas party for one thing, which could be mean some later than usual travel. If there are shifts to be worked on bank holidays, it’s likely that public transport will be unavailable. And, during those days between Boxing Day and New Year, fewer people are around to share lifts and travel together.  It’s therefore important to remember your duty of care as an employer. After work team drinks, for example, employers have a responsibility for their workers’ actions and safety because social events are seen as an extension of the workplace, regardless of the time or place. In fact, even when the event has finished, employers could still be held responsible should something happen to their staff. From both a moral and business point of view, it is imperative that all employers do what they can to make sure that staff get home safely.

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Company sentenced following serious incident in sewer

A water and wastewater company has been fined following an incident in which three workers were carried along a sewer following the collapse of a 150-year-old sewer gate. Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard that, on 29 August 2017, three workers were carrying out preparatory work in a sewer for the Thames Tideway Tunnel at East Greenwich, which is controlled by Thames Water Utilities Limited (TWUL). A 150-year-old cast iron penstock failed engulfing the workers and carrying them along the sewer. The three workers suffered minor physical injuries but have been mentally affected. One worker has been treated for the long-term traumatic stress because of the incident which has prevented him from continuing work in his specialised career.

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Mild steel welding fume reclassified as a human carcinogen: How to avoid the damaging health effects of welding fume

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) released a safety alert for those undertaking welding activities, including mild steel, in any industry. In order to protect workers, the HSE is strengthening its enforcement expectation for exposure control for all welding fume including mild and stainless steels, high chrome steels, armour plating and exotic metals.  Prior to this new regulation there were guidelines around the risk posed by welding fumes and the types of protection that could be used and implemented. Simon explains that the level of risk posed was determined by the Health and Safety Manager in the place of work, based on the concentration of welding fumes in the working environment, the length of exposure, the type of weld fume and so on. Based on these factors, the Safety Manager then would suggest the level and methods of control required for the worker to be safe.

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Protecting people with disabilities – A concern for all of us

December is a good month to think about the safety needs of everybody in our communities and to remember that those needs aren’t all the same. For all safety and security teams, not just at campuses and universities like mine, this is particularly important. We have a legal, duty of care obligation to ensure that help is accessible to people with disabilities when they need it.  The need to support those with disabilities is reinforced by a variety of regulations across the globe, including the UK’s Equality Act.

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