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.

Brexit must build, not erode, workplace safety and health standards

Brexit must build, not erode, the UK’s world-leading safety and health system, the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), the global Chartered body for safety and health professionals, has urged today.  A transition period until 31 December 2020 will follow the UK’s departure from the European Union at 11.00pm today, with trade and other negotiations taking place in the coming months and years.  The EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018 transfers EU-derived laws into UK law, meaning workers continue to have the same workplace protections. The Health and Safety (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018 come into force today (Brexit-day), to ensure existing protections and regulatory frameworks and The EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020 gives effect to the transition period.

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Workers left to plan task that resulted in crush death

An employee of a farming business who fell from a trailer was crushed to death by a concrete beam that fell with him.  On 13 March 2018, Trevor ‘Ted’ Elson of A.A. Clifton Limited, Burmarsh, was working with other employees to move six-metre-long concrete beams from the farmyard to the farmhouse, where an extension was under construction at the site at Haguelands Farm, Burmarsh Road, Burmarsh, Kent. Each beam weighed more than 300kg and needed to be lifted by a mechanical telehandler. Whilst on the trailer, attaching lifting chains to unload a beam, the deceased tripped and fell from the edge, catching one of the beams which was unstable from the way previous beams had been removed. This beam then fell from the trailer, landing on his upper body and crushing him to death.

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Health and Safety Executive investigating contractor's death at Müller's Market Drayton factory

An incident at Müller's Market Drayton factory where a contractor died is being investigated by the health and safety watchdog, it has been confirmed.  The company confirmed that it was conducting its own investigation into the incident last week. The Health and Safety Executive has now confirmed that it is also investigating the circumstances around the man's death. A spokesman for the HSE said: 'We are investigating the incident.'   The man died after the incident at the factory on Tern Valley Business Park in Hollygrove, last Tuesday. 

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College fined for asbestos failings

Newnham College has been fined for failings that exposed employees and subcontractors to asbestos during refurbishment of a flat owned by the college.  Cambridge Magistrates’ Court heard that in March 2018, employees of Newnham College and subcontractors were carrying out a refurbishment of a flat on Grange Road, Cambridge when asbestos insulation debris was discovered in the floor voids after work had been carried out in them. No asbestos refurbishment survey was carried out prior to insulation debris being found. One employee, who contaminated his gloves and clothing with loose asbestos debris, did not have asbestos awareness training and spread asbestos from his clothing outside the flat.

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Carlisle company fined after customer fatally crushed

A Carlisle auto-salvage company was fined after a customer was trapped and fatally crushed when a lift truck he had purchased was being loaded onto his own recovery vehicle.  Carlisle Crown Court heard that on 15 February 2018, a lift truck purchased from Michael Douglas Autosalvage Ltd was lifted using the company’s skip lorry onto a recovery vehicle at Stainton Road, Etterby. The metal ring on the lift truck that the winch wire was attached to failed, causing the lift truck to fall and trap Mr Paul Spence against the skip lorry.

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Roofing boss forged signature of dead workman to dodge blame for his fatal fall

A roofing company boss who forged an employee’s signature on health and safety forms in an effort to shift the blame after he fell to his death while working has been jailed for two years.  Foreman Kenneth Drake, 54, suffered severe head injuries including a fractured skull and died less than an hour after the accident on September 24, 2015.  He had been leading a team of roofers working atop an ironmonger’s in Rochdale and had previously complained that the roof was rotten.  Manchester Crown Court heard that contracts manager Mark Bray, 48, climbed up to have a look at the roof just a day earlier, but did ‘nothing to change how the men were working – with no harnesses, no safety decks, nothing’.  In the aftermath of the tragedy, Bray – knowing he’d be held responsible after declining to supply safety netting in order to cut costs – copied Mr Drake’s signature to make it appear as if he had agreed to procedures on the £55,000 project.

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Steel fabrication company fined after steel cages fall onto employee

A steel fabrication company has been fined after steel cages fell onto a worker’s leg, resulting in multiple fractures.  Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court heard that, in November 2017, an employee of Lemon Groundwork Solutions Limited was using a gantry crane to lift a steel cage from a stack of cages at the company site in Wickford, Essex. These steel cages were free-standing on the floor, each weighing 1188kg, and were stacked between 2-4 cages high in an unstable pyramid formation, without chocks to support the load. When the employee used the gantry crane to lift the top cage from the stack, two cages at the bottom rolled onto his left foot and leg, fracturing his tibia and fibula bones. As a result, the worker had to undergo reconstructive surgery where metal rods, plates and pins were inserted into his leg.

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Sheffield company fined £700,000 after worker killed

Chesterfield Special Cylinders Ltd was fined £700,000 today for safety breaches after a 64-year-old worker was fatally wounded by shrapnel ejected from testing equipment.  Sheffield Crown Court heard that on 10 June 2015, John Townsend was leak testing eight 1500 litre cylinders, by applying compressed air inside to create pressure, at the company’s Sheffield site. Whilst in the process of venting the air through the test manifold, it catastrophically failed and fatally injured Mr Townsend.

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Construction company fined after worker killed during demolition work

A construction company was fined half a million pounds after a father-of-two was killed when a re-enforced concrete slab collapsed underneath him during a demolition project.  Southwark Crown Court heard that on 14 April 2014, 33-year-old labourer Dainius Rupsys from Lithuania was working with an excavator operator at the site on Grosvenor Square in London, as part of the operation to demolish the existing multi-storey building before 31 residential flats could be built.

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Worker killed on his first day

A vehicle recovery and repair company has been sentenced after a worker suffered fatal crush injuries during maintenance work. It was his first day on the job.  Birmingham Magistrates’ Court heard that on 24 November 2014, Albert Road Recovery and Repair Limited employee John Glenn was fatally injured when a rigid vehicle fell suddenly from an inadequate axle support prop at Siskin Parkway East, Middlemarch Business Park, Coventry.

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