Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Advanced Gate fined £25,000 after gate fell off runners

Advanced Gate Limited, who produce and install gate systems was fined £25,000 (inc.costs) after a leaf of a gate fell and struck a man.
The circumstances were:
  • Advanced Gate were contracted to manufacture and install a gate system at PHS Limited in Caerphilly.
  • The gate consisted of two leaves; one of which was driven by a motor and connected to the second leaf by a chain and sprocket which provided the drive motion for the second leaf.
  • The design was inadequate, as were assessment and control measures to ensure the gate was safe for use.
  • There was a failure of the gate mechanism.
  • On 30 September 2014 an employee of PHS Limited went to manually close the gate. 
  • The leaf he was pulling came out of the runners and it collapsed on him.
  • A vertical rail struck his leg and resulted in severe trauma to his leg with muscle and nerves torn away. 
  • He was hospitalised for ten days and off work for one year.

The HSE inspector:
“Powered gates pose a risk to employees and members of the public. Those responsible for installing, maintaining and operating these gates need to make sure they are safe during installation and use. This accident could have been avoided if the clearly foreseeable risk of the gate falling had been identified and controlled.”

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Defeated interlock on press cause finger injury and £41,000 fine.

Walraven Limited, an Oxford based company who supply heating equipment, was fined £41,353.60 (inc.costs) after a worker suffered injuries to his fingers in a hydraulic press.
The circumstances were:
  • The employee was setting up a horizontal press.
  • It had become custom and practice to defeat the interlock during the set-up of the press.
  • The risk assessment for the work was inadequate and had not been reviewed regularly.
  • Because the press had a defeated interlock, when he inadvertently activated it, it crushed the tips of his index finger and thumb.

The HSE inspector said:
“A risk assessment needs to be suitable and sufficient and carried out by a competent person. It should identify the risks associated with all aspects of a machine’s operation including setting and maintenance. Had this been the case then the defeated interlock would have been identified and suitable control measures put in place”

Worker's arm trapped in forklift truck mast for 2 hours

Scrap metal firm Ultimate Traders Ltd, were given a nominal fine and its director a suspended sentence after a worker suffered severe injuries to his left arm when it became stuck in a forklift truck.
The circumstances were:
  • On 8 November 2013 Nasir Rashid told to stand on the forks on the truck to help move scrap cars into the back of a shipping container at the Ultimate Traders. site in Manchester.
  • His arm became trapped in the mast of the truck.
  • He remained trapped for over two hours
  • It took the combined effort of three fire crews, a specialist major rescue unit, two air ambulances, a medical team from Manchester Royal Infirmary and three ambulance crews to rescue him. 
  • He sustained nerve damage to his left arm which makes it difficult for him to grip or lift items, and was in hospital for nearly two months. 
  • He still needs to visit Manchester Royal Infirmary for treatment and has been unable to return to work due to the extent of his injuries. 
  • Ultimate Traders failed to report the incident to HSE for nearly three months, despite being told on several occasions that this was a legal requirement.
  • Ultimate Traders Ltd, was given a nominal fine of £2 after discussion concerning the company’s finances.

The gap in which the injured man’s arm was trapped
The HSE Inspector said:
“The worker remained trapped for over two hours while the emergency services battled to cut him free, but this incident could easily have been avoided. 
Ultimate Traders and Nasir Rashid had a legal responsibility to make sure the worker stayed safe, but instead he was instructed to climb onto the forks of a forklift truck to move scrap cars into a container. He suffered severe injuries as a result which will affect him for the rest of his life.  Workers should never be allowed to stand directly on the forks on a forklift truck because of the risk of them falling or being injured by moving parts on the mast. This case should act as a warning to firms that they will find themselves in court if they do not take the safety of workers seriously.” 

William Fry Fabrications fined £15,860 for failure to have cranes examined

William Fry Fabrications Limited, who fabricate structural steel products was fined £15,860 (inc.costs) for failure to comply with improvement and prohibition notices.
The circumstances were:
  • William Fry Fabrications had two cranes.
  • There is a legal obligation to have these examined by a competent person every 12 months.
  • Following failure to do this, the HSE issued improvement and prohibition notices in 2011.
  • An investigation by the HSE found that between 2012 and 2015 the cranes had not been thoroughly examined.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Hampshire boat company was fined £16,119 after hatch closes on contractor

R F Composites Limited, a Hampshire based boat company was fined £16,119 (inc.costs) after one of their contracted boat builders was left unconscious for 10 minutes when a hydraulic engine hatch closed on him.
The circumstances were:
  • On 10 December 2014, a self-employed boat builder, contracted to work at the company, was looking inside an engine hatch on a boat. 
  • There was no prop fitted to the engine hatch to prevent it from inadvertently closing. 
  • The company also failed to carry out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment.
  • The engine hatch closed on him, trapping him in the chest. 
  • He sustained trauma to his heart and lungs from the impact and was taken to hospital.

The HSE inspector said:
“The incident was wholly avoidable had RF Composites had in place a safe system of work to ensure the hydraulic engine hatch on a boat was suitably propped, eliminating any possibility of the hatch inadvertently closing on someone. 
I hope this incident will raise awareness in the boat building industry to ensure that when working with powered engine hatches, they should always be suitably propped to prevent them from inadvertently closing.”

Solvay Solutions was fined £444,000 for hazardous gas leak

Chemical producer, Solvay Solutions UK Limited, was fined £444,000 (inc.costs) after a dangerous gas was released into the atmosphere causing disruption to the M5 and thousands of homes nearby.
The circumstances were:
  • The chemical processing plant in Oldbury included a welded steel bar, called a "rodder".
  • Solvay had failed to properly assess and act upon the risk of the rodder failing.
  • On 2 January 2009, the rodder failed at the weld and broke in two. 
  • One piece fell back and the other piece pulled clear, leaving an opening through which phosphorus and phosphine gas escaped.
  • Upon contact with air, these spontaneously ignited to produce phosphorous pentoxide. 
  • This reacted with the moisture in the air to produce a mist of phosphoric acid which drifted to a densely populated area.
  • During the incident the police set up road closures in the vicinity of the site; local sections of the M5 were closed by the Highways Agency,  and an estimated 4,500 people were asked to stay indoors for 2-3 hours.
  • The incident was reported to the European Commission.

The HSE inspector said:
“This was a long and complex case, but at the heart of it lay the fact that this company’s actions caused an incident that affected the public and workers. 
The loss of containment and failure in Solvay’s systems caused huge disruption and the outcomes could have been far worse. This case should serve as a warning to other companies dealing with harmful substances that they need to get their processes absolutely right, in order to ensure the safety of the public, if they don’t they will face the consequences.”

Vitacress fined £61,000 for accident allowed by modified guards

Vitacress Salads Limited, who grow and package salads were fined £61,088 (inc.costs) after an employee lost the tips of two fingers in a bagging machine.
The circumstances were:
  • The bagging machine had a hole cut in the guards to allow larger bags of salad out of the machine on a conveyor. 
  • This also meant that access to the heat sealing and cutting jaws was possible.
  • On 21 April 2015 the operator of the bagging machine had reached under the guard to pull film through the machine. 
  • The heat sealing and cutting jaws of the machine closed on his fingers. 
  • His left middle and ring fingers had the tips amputated.

The HSE inspector said:
“Cutting a hole in the guards led to access to dangerous parts being possible. The company had not properly considered the risks from making this alteration.”
SSS comment:
If you need a larger hole in a guard for larger product, then you need a "tunnel" on the guard so it is still not possible to reach the danger zone.

Updates to ISO 9001 and ISO 14001

As most people will know, both of these standards were changed last September and now become ISO 9001:2105 and ISO 14001:2105.

However, many people are unaware of the timescale of the changes that need to be made to company quality and/or environmental management systems.  There is a 3-year window during which you need to make the appropriate upgrades.  So therefore you have until September 2018 to upgrade your systems.

I would strongly advise against leaving it too late and Strategic Safety Systems have a target date of the end of 2016 to make changes for those clients for whom we have provided such systems and with whom we have an on-going relationship.

Those clients who use the INTACT integrated action management system will have an upgrade which covers the risk aspects of ISO 9001:2015 and the SWOT aspects of ISO 14001:2015. 

See white paper on what's changed in ISO 9001:2005 and ISO 14001:2015.