Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Pseudo Emergency stop

I found this on 5 machines today.

Looks like an emergency stop because it is a yellow box with a red mushroom headed button.
But the button doesn't move when you press it because it's not an emergency stop.
Slide the button to one side and it allows the lid to hinge up to expose the start and stop controls.

In this picture there are 3 yellow boxes with red mushroom head buttons. In an emergency, I'd go for the top one, but that's the spurious one.

There are two problems with this device:
  1. People recognise red mushroom buttons on a yellow background as emergency stops and therefore will go for this device in an emergency; I know I would.
  2. The practice of hiding the real stop button behind the cover is an impediment to stopping the machine, whether in an emergency or not.

What we're doing is to cut off the hinged lid so you end up with the stop and start buttons in a yellow box.

Note that these machines are from a British company, not a company in a distant country who may be unaware of harmonised European standards.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

3 companies fined a total of £77,000 after incidents because of poor H&S consultancy

An employer and two safety consultancies were fined after 2 incidents at the Haverhill site of Jan Cavelle Furniture Company.
The circumstances were:
  • In 2013, Jan Cavelle Furniture Company commissioned Worksafe Training & Consultancy Ltd., to review all risk assessments and work procedures and to provide updated risk assessments and procedures where required.
  • Worksafe Training & Consultancy sub-contracted this work to Tony Baker of Leading Health & Safety Consultants Ltd., who provided risk assessments and recommendations relevant to both the biscuit cutter and the overhead router. 
  • The risk assessments and procedures provided by Mr Baker were neither suitable nor sufficient to control risks arising from the operation of these two machines.
  • An employee of the company sustained serious injuries when operating a biscuit cutter and the rotating blade made contact with his hand, cutting his thumb to the bone.
  • Also, an employee sustained injury to his hand whilst using the cutter of an overhead router and received serious lacerations and crush injuries to his right index finger.
  • Both incidents occurred due to the operators adopting unsafe working practices. This was due to a lack of training, inadequate supervision and insufficient and unsuitable risk assessments.

Jan Cavelle Furniture Company was fined £22,000 (inc.costs).
Workplace Training and Consultancy was fined £45,000 (inc.costs).
Health and Safety Consultants was fined £10,000 (inc.costs).

Legal requirement to remove IPPC mark on reused timber

For those of you who like to make bird boxes and the like from broken pallets, did you know that you have to remove the IPPC mark before it's reused?

The mark signifies that the item has undergone treatment (in this case, heat treatment) to kill off organisms that can affect trees. 

Friday, 1 April 2016

Poor economics when ignoring improvement and prohibition notices

We reported in February about William Fry Fabrications Limited being fined £15,860 (inc.costs) for failure to comply with improvement and prohibition notices regarding the lack of inspection of 2 cranes. 
A report in the April addition of IOSH magazine gives some more information and shows what poor economic sense the practice at William Fry Fabrications made.
They claimed that they could not find an engineer to carry out the inspection. However, during the court appearance, the HSE Inspector stated that he easily found 3, ranging in costs from £375 to £650 + VAT.
The £15,860 figure was just the fine and court costs, and the HSE's Fees For Intervention could quite easily have doubled this.
So for the sake of saving a maximum of £650, the company lost £30,000. 
The lesson to be learnt is to not make silly savings when it comes to health and safety. Fortunately in this case, nobody was hurt.