Friday, 22 December 2017

Examples of good and bad practice within 100m of each other.

How to get it right. 

Drain closers available right next to drain

How to get it wrong. 
Lorry driver (in orange) standing within range of an item being lifted by forklift truck.

In this case, the load appears to be stable, but with something less stable, he'd be in the line of fire.

Monday, 18 December 2017

Europlast fined £66,000 after worker loses four fingers in unguarded machine.

Packaging company Europlast (Blackburn) Ltd was  fined £66,055 (inc.costs) after a worker’s hand became trapped in machinery.
The circumstances were:
  • It was possible to reach dangerous parts of a bubble wrap machine.
  • The HSE had prosecuted Europlast id 2012 for serious hand injuries in a similar machine.
  • The arrangements for cleaning the machine were that is was done when it was running.
  • On 11 August 2015, a worker was cleaning the machine when his left hand became trapped between rollers, causing four of his fingers to be severed. 
  • The company failed to report the incident until nine months later, which significantly delayed investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and left other employees at risk.

The HSE inspector said:
“These were life-changing injuries that could have been prevented. Sadly, in this case lessons from previous incidents had not been learned.  Duty holders should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”

Poor stacking practice

In this picture, long cardboard boxes straddle two standard pallets and it is the strapping round the boxes which keeps the pallets together.

Done once, this is poor, but having them stacked
three-high results in a very unstable stack.  

Only minor pressure causes it to wobble (audibly as well).

Associated British Ports was fined £674,688 after a 600 kg bag of fertiliser hit an employee

Associated British Ports was fined £674,688 (inc.costs) after a bag of fertiliser fell and struck an employee.
The circumstances were:
  • The company had earlier incidents of bag spills and stack collapses at their Ipswich and King’s Lynn docks.
  • However, the company continued to follow a practice of stacking 600kg flexible intermediate bulk container (FIBC) bags directly on top of one another.  
  • The recognised industry standard is to stack them in a more stable pyramid fashion.
  • On 16 May 2016, an employee  was removing pallets from the front of a stack and was struck by a bag as it fell.
  • The incident caused him to sustain multiple fractures, a dislocated ankle and knee and back injuries, and he was unable to work for thirteen weeks.

The HSE inspector said
“This case highlights the importance of ensuring FIBC bags are stacked according to industry guidance. This incident could so easily have been avoided if the company had followed their own risk assessments and reviewed their systems following previous bag collapses.”

Monday, 2 October 2017

This is a good example of a bad design; a case of style over common sense.

The daylight running lights on this Nissan are a V on its side comprising very bright LEDs.

The indicators are much smaller an sit at the bottom of the V.
This means that the indicators are very indistinct.  
I had one of these Nissans facing me and wanting to turn right.  I could only just make out that the driver was actually signalling.

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Pyronix Limited fined £143,133 after worker sustained flash burns

Pyronix Limited was fined £143,133 (inc. costs) after a worker suffered flash burns to her face, neck, chest and both arms.
The circumstances were:
  • The accident occurred with a process to apply Fluorocoat Thin Film Coating, which is a highly flammable substance.
  • This involved dipping baskets of printed circuit boards into a tank containing the coating.
  • The printed circuit boards already had a battery installed.
  • There was no local exhaust ventilation and no prevention of static discharges.
  • In April 2015 a worker was dipping baskets containing a variety of the PCBs into the tank. 
  • As she removed a basket out of the tank, she saw a “burning cloud” go through the tank and was unable to avoid being burnt after the Fluorocoat had been ignited.

The HSE inspector commented:
“This incident could so easily have been avoided by simply carrying out correct control measures and safe working practices. Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”

Implications of the GDPR for health surveillance

As most people know, the Data Protection Act (DPA) will be replaced by the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) which come into force in May 2018.

The GDPR is quite complex but there are implications for records where an employer has carried out health surveillance as part of their health and safety programme.

The requirements for confidentiality presently under the DPA remain but the following apply:

  • Employers have access to the results from this health surveillance.( See 1.)
  • Employers can, and are strongly advised to, keep the records from such surveillance, even if the person to whom they apply wishes them to be destroyed. (See 2.)

We quite often find that health surveillance providers refuse to release results such as audiograms which are essential to understanding how well health protection measures are working.  They typically claim that release is prevented by the DPA, often in ignorance of the DPA.

GPDR Article 6 (1)(c) states that processing is "lawful if it is necessary for compliance with a legal obligation to which the controller is subject". In this context, the employer is the controller and the employer has a legal obligation under Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work, etc., Act. Article 6 (4)(b) reinforces this. Therefore, employers have access to the results from health surveillance they have arranged to meet Section 2 obligations. It would be worth making this a stipulation in any contract with a health surveillance provider.

Article 9 (2)(h) allows processing where it "is necessary for the purposes of preventive or occupational medicine or for the assessment of the working capacity of the employee..."

Articles 15 to 22 state the rights of the data subject (ie the employee). This includes, in Article 17, the right of erasure.
However, Article 17 (3)(c) states that this "shall not apply to the extent that processing is necessary for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims."

So, if it is possible that data are necessary for the defence of, say, a civil claim for noise-induced hearing loss, then the wise employer will retain such data, citing Article 17 (3)(c). 

Monday, 21 August 2017

Olympic Varnish fined £20,505 for flash fire

Paper and board coating company Olympic Varnish Company was fined £20,505 (inc.costs) after a worker suffered burns following a fire on a coating machine.
The circumstances were:
  • On 10th July 2015 the machine was being cleaned using solvent.
  • The factory doors were closed, meaning that highly flammable solvent fumes could accumulate.
  • There were exposed electrical conductors.
  • When a water spray was used during the cleaning operation, contact of water with the conductors caused a spark.
  • This spark ignited the fumes, causing a short-lived fire which cause burn injuries to the employee carrying out the cleaning operation.

The HSE inspector said:
“Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working and to inform, instruct, and train their workers in that safe system of working. In this case, if a suitable safe system of work had been in place prior to the incident, the serious injuries sustained by the employee could have been prevented.”

Thursday, 3 August 2017

West Coast Corrugated fined £84,000 after an employee was struck by a fork lift truck.

West Coast Corrugated Ltd., was fined £84,337 (inc. costs) after an employee was struck by a fork lift truck.
The circumstances were:
  • West Coast Corrugated failed to consider the risk created by vehicles and pedestrians operating in the same area.
  • They failed to implement a traffic management plan to ensure workers and vehicles were adequately segregated. 
  • They also failed to install physical barriers to clearly segregate pedestrians and vehicles.
  • On 13 April 2015 an employee was struck by a reversing clamp truck. 
  • This resulted in him fracturing his pelvis.

The HSE inspector said:
“This incident could so easily have been avoided by simply carrying out correct control measures and safe working practices. Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”

Murfitts Industries fined £28,000 after work got caught in unisolated baler

Suffolk based Murfitts Industries Limited was fined £28,462 (inc costs)after an employee suffered serious injuries when his hand was got caught in a machine.
The circumstances were:
  • The accident occurred on a baler.
  • The guards were not maintained in a good condition and were not securely fixed to the machine.
  • On 3 February 2016 an employee was trying to clear the blocked baler 
  • The machine was not isolated.
  • His hand and arm got trapped.
  • He suffered a broken arm, loss of skin and muscle damage. His injuries kept him off work for 17 months.

The HSE inspector said:
“Employees of Murfitts Industries Limited were not being adequately supervised to ensure that the safe system of work for clearing blockages was followed. This incident could have been prevented if the worker had received adequate information and instruction.”

Fishgate Limited fined £119,000 after worker falls 6m from forklift truck

Fishgate Limited, a food manufacturing company, was fined £119,032.63 (inc. costs) after a worker fell six metres from the forks of a fork lift truck.
The circumstances were:
  • An employee of Fishgate Limited was instructed on 16 July 2013 to paint guttering and drainpipes on the outside of their factory.
  • The work was not properly planned nor was it adequately supervised.
  • The worker had not received any training or advice on how to correctly carry out the task.
  • He was raised up by a forklift driver in an unsecured tote box to paint the guttering and drainpipes.
  • He fell to the ground from a height of around six metres.
  • This resulted in a dislocated arm, cracked pelvis, broken foot and shattered leg.

The HSE inspector said:
“This work activity should have been properly planned. The injured worker should have been given the correct equipment as well as instruction as to how to carry out the work. The company also failed to adequately supervise the activity which could have prevented the incident.”

Man looses hand in unguarded machine

The Stuffing Plant Ltd, a soft toy filling company was fined £37,486 (inc.costs) after a worker lost a hand in an unguarded machine.
The circumstances were:
  • The accident occurred on a carding machine which had attachments left the discharge chute off to allow it to supply loose fibre to other machines.
  • This meant that a spiked discharge roller was accessible.
  • On 8 March 2016 a worker was attempting to clear a blockage.
  • The machine was still operating which meant that the spike roller was rotating.
  • This grabbed his left hand, drawing him into the machine and severing most of his fingers. 
  • He was airlifted to hospital where surgeons amputated his hand from the wrist due to the seriousness of his injuries.

The HSE inspector said:
“This man’s life changing injuries could have been prevented if a suitable and sufficient planning had been completed and the correct control measures were identified and implemented. The consequences of leaving off the flange and discharge pipework were foreseeable and could have easily been prevented.”

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Warburtons fined over £1.9 after worker was caught in exposed conveyors

Warburtons Ltd was fined £1,921,459 (inc.costs) after a worker was injured when his arm got trapped against a running conveyor belt.
The circumstances were:
  • The accident occurred on two conveyors on a bread line on 4 August 2015.
  • These conveyors had exposed moving parts which could have been guarded.
  • An agency worker was cleaning parts of the line.
  • As he reached into the line he became trapped between the two conveyors.
  • Part of the machine had to be dismantled to release him.
  • This left him with friction burns which required skin grafts.

The HSE inspector said:
“Warburtons failed to guard the machine sufficiently to prevent access to the running conveyors, which in this case could have prevented the injuries. Employers should ensure that all equipment used by agency and their own workers alike are sufficiently guarded and take appropriate measures if any deficiencies are found.”

HMG Paints fined £119,669 after electric floor scrubber ignited solvent fumes

Paint manufacturing company HMG Paints Ltd was fined £119,669.40 (inc.costs) after a worker suffered burns while cleaning the floor of a spray booth.
The circumstances were:
  • The employee was using a highly flammable solvent to clean the floor of a spray booth.
  • He had done several times since the spray booth was installed.
  • After complaints about how difficult it was to remove the dried paint he was allowed to purchase an industrial floor scrubber to carry out the task.
  • The planning for cleaning floors using solvent failed to recognise the hazards and level of risk associated with the use of highly flammable solvents to clean floors. 
  • No DSEAR assessment was carried out with respect to the use of this scrubber with these solvents.
  • The employee who was injured had not been trained to clean floors 
  • He was not adequately supervised when carrying out the cleaning activity.
  • On 18 November 2014 electric motor on the floor scrubber ignited the cloud of flammable vapour that had built up in the spray booth.
  • The employee was seriously injured, receiving 26% burns, and was treated at the specialist burns unit at Wythenshawe Hospital.

The HSE inspector said:
“This is a company that handles large quantities of flammable solvent, the hazards are well known and the company has a duty to control the risks arising from the hazards. It was custom and practice to clean floors using highly flammable solvents applied using a mop and bucket. In this instance the company failed to adequately control the risks and an employee was seriously injured.”

Spectral colours fined after unstable machine toppled

Spectral Colours Limited was fined £25,444 (inc.costs) after a worker was crushed under machinery.
The circumstances were:
  • The accident occurred on a dispersion mixing machine  on 30 April 2014.
  • This machine was not properly fixed to the ground.
  • A worker was cleaning this machine.
  • He sat on one of the clamping arms when it suddenly toppled over and pinned his leg underneath the machine.
  • He suffered a fractured ankle and serious crush injuries to his foot.

The HSE inspector said:
“This case highlights the need for all duty holders to ensure all machinery in their workplaces are properly fixed and maintained to the required safety standard. If Spectral Colours had been more thorough in ensuring that the installation of the machinery was completed properly then this accident wouldn’t have happened.”

SSS comment: The fine was only £3000, with the remaining £22,444 being costs.  Bearing in mind that the Sentencing Guidelines are now in place, this is incredibly low.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

What will happen as a result of Grenfell Tower?

There are various calls for a cessation of deregulation following the Grenfell Tower fire but I can't really see that any removal of regulations caused this.

Anybody who remember foam polystyrene ceiling tiles and fires that occurred when they were used in kitchens would realise that it is not a good idea to place a similar material on the outside of high rise buildings where there is a chimney effect.  It is inexplicable to continue to do so when there is evidence from fires at the Lacrosse building in Melbourne in 2014 and the Lakanal fire in Lambeth in 2009, both of which had the same type of cladding and caused multiple deaths.

There seems to be some confusion about what the standards and regulations are, and that may be the root cause of the problem. If people slavishly follow the regulations without assessing the possible outcome and making appropriate choices, then such tragedies occur.

The Ronan Point building collapse changed the way tower blocks were built. The cause of that was the method of building similar to a house of cards.  Hopefully, Grenfell Tower will change the fire standards with tower blocks as well.

Monday, 26 June 2017

ATE fined £495,000 after worker was killed by the roof of a trailer he was dismantling

ATE Truck and Trailer Sales Ltd, a company that buys, refurbishes and sells Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) and trailers was fined £495,000 (inc.costs) after the death of a worker.

  • 63-year-old worker William Price was dismantling a trailer on 21 February 2013.
  • ATE had assessed the risks and had a established method of work.
  • However, the risk assessment was inadequate as it failed to properly consider the risks involved in this work.
  • ATE did not provide Mr Price with any information in relation to his safety when ‘stripping down’ the trailers.
  • Mr Price was struck by the roof of a trailer he was dismantling.
The HSE inspector said:
“This tragic accident was preventable had all parties considered the risks involved and taken appropriate measures to reduce that risk.”

Holt JCB fined £69,929 after 400kg wheel falls on worker's feet

Holt JCB Limited was fined £69,929 (inc.costs) after the wheel of a JCB digger fell onto one of its workers.
The circumstances were:
  • The worker was tasked with changing air filled wheel with foam filled wheels on
    8 April 2016.
  • Each wheel weighs more than 400kg.
  • There was no handling equipment for the wheels.
  • Holt JCB has not assessed the risks of this operation.
  • They had not trained workers on how to handle wheels.
  • A wheel fell, leaving the man with broken bones in both feet.
  • The company were prosecuted under Regulation 4(1) of the Manual Handling Regulations 1992.

The HSE inspector said: 
“This incident could have been prevented if the company had used a mechanical wheel handler costing less than £700. Measures such as this would have been apparent had the task been properly assessed.”

Thermal Engineering Ltd fined £40,834 after worker loses part of finger in manually-operated lathe.

Thermal Engineering Ltd was fined £40,834 (inc.costs) after a worker suffered a serious hand injury after a machinery incident.
The circumstances were:
  • On 15 December 2015 Chris Davis was using a manually operated  metalworking lathe.
  • The lathe had a faulty emergency footbrake, which had been reported to the company at an early date, but had not been taken out of service.
  • Mr Davis was using hand-held emery cloth when when his hand became entangled  with the rotating workpiece.
  • He required surgical amputation to part of his left index finger.

The HSE inspector said:
“Thermal Engineering Ltd failed to identify that employees were routinely carrying out an unsafe work practice when hand applying emery cloth to a workpiece rotating at speed. The company also failed to take the faulty lathe out of service, resulting in Mr Davis not being able to stop the lathe immediately. “All companies have a duty to ensure employees carry out work in a safe way and the machinery they are using is in good working order.”

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Encirc fined £507,000 for broken arm after forklift truck collision

Encirc Ltd, a producer of glass bottles for the drinks industry was fined £507,290 (inc.costs) after an employee was struck by a fork lift truck in Chester.
The circumstances were:
  • Encirc failed to take effective measures to ensure its workers were correctly segregated from fork lift trucks.
  • Encirc had a poor system of work which was not enforced for the workers who were most exposed to the risk.
  • Encirc were served with an Improvement Notice in 2007 for poor segregation in the yard and warehouse areas.
  • There was an incident involving an FLT in 2008 when an employee was injured.
  • On 14 December 2015 an employee collided with a fork lift truck which resulted in him breaking his arm.

The HSE inspector said
“Poor segregation leads to accidents. There was a failure to properly plan work and this accident highlights the risks that are involved. Incidents relating to work place transport can be avoided if effective measures are taken.”

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Nottinghamshire County Council fined £1,010,269 after a member of the public was struck by a tractor in a park

Nottinghamshire County Council was fined £1,010,269 (inc costs) after a disabled member of the public was struck by a vehicle used for collecting branches.
The circumstances were:
  • Council employees were working in the County Park in Rufford Abbey on 1 June 2015, collecting branches and transporting them, using a tractor mounted grab attachment, to be burned.
  • The branches in the grab attachment obscured the vision at the front.
  • The council failed to implement a safe system of work for this activity in that they failed to segregate vehicle movements from the public.
  • They failed to train the workers to the required level to operate the mounted grab and act as banksman. 
  • The machine was not suitable for transporting materials long distances.
  • The company also failed to supervise and adequately plan the work sufficiently in a public place and 
  • As a result they put their own employees and members of the public at risk.
  • During these operations, a disabled man was on a guided walk in the park. 
  • The worker using the tractor to transport branches through the park could not see the member of public ahead and collided with him.
  • The 71-year-old man suffered serious bruising and injuries to arms legs and head.

The HSE inspector said:
“The failure to properly plan this work and put in place straight forward control measures not only put the gentleman at risk but also endangered other members of the public walking with him. Duty holders have the responsibility to assess the work they do in public areas to lower the risk of harm and injury, particularly when they introduce new plant or equipment.”

Poor guarding causes loss of 2 finger in noodle-making machine

SCLA Limited was fined £30,000 + costs after a worker suffered life changing hand injuries while operating machinery.
The circumstances were:
  • On 17 December 2015 the worker was working to clear a blockage on one of the noodle production lines.
  • A risk assessment was in place but was unsuitable.
  • The company failed to ensure that the guards on the machine being used provided the necessary protection for the operators.
  • The worker's index and middle fingers on his right hand were severed by the machine.

The HSE inspector said:
“The consequences of not guarding dangerous machinery are often catastrophic and life changing. This case demonstrates a straightforward, systematic approach to assessing machinery and ensuring that it is adequately guarded can play a significant part in reducing the risk of injury.”

New speeding fines introduced

Quite Draconian new speeding fines have recently been introduced.

The above chart shows the different bands.  For example, if you were doing 43 mph in a 40 mph zone, you'd be in band A.  The police normally allow a 10% error, so they'd probably ignore 43 mph, but not necessarily so. However, if you were doing 52 mph in a 40 mph zone, you would be in band B.

The following is what could happen:

  • Band A means any combination of 3 points on your licence and a fine of up to 50% of
           your weekly
  • Band B means any combination of 4 to 6 points on your licence, a disqualification of 7
           to 28 days and a fine of up to 100% of your weekly earnings.
  • Band C means any combination of 6 points on your licence a disqualification of 7 to 56
           days and a fine of up to 150% of your weekly earnings.

  • Friday, 14 April 2017

    Essar fined £1.7M for explosion at oil refinery

    Oil company Essar has been fined £1,707,644 (inc.costs) following an explosion at its Stanlow refinery.
    The circumstances were:
    1. A furnace as part of the main distillation unit had been shut down.
    2. A safety critical valve was ordered but installed incorrectly.
    3. Essar failed to correctly validate its operation.
    4. Essar failed to recognise the system also had a by-pass line  which defeated the trip’s operation.
    5. Although the main fuel line to the furnace had been isolated, because of [4] the secondary fuel line had not been isolated.
    6. During restart on 14 November 2013, extremely flammable hydrocarbons were allowed to enter the unignited furnace via the secondary line.
    7. Heat from another furnace nearby triggered an explosion.
    8. This destroyed the furnace and started a number of fires which the Fire Service had to safely bring under control.
    9. There were no injuries but the damage totalled £20M.

    Bakery fined £78,000 for two injuries due to insufficient guarding

    Penrith based bakery Bells of Lazonby Limited was fined £77,990 (inc.costs) after two workers suffered hand injuries while operating machinery on site.
    The circumstances were:
    • The company failed to equip machinery with the correcting guarding.
    • On 26 January 2016 a worker lost the top of their right hand middle finger, after it caught the moving blade of a dough-dividing machine.
    • On 29 March 2016 an employee’s left index finger made contact with the cutting jaws of a wrapping machine.


    Lincolnshire company fined £211,000 for laceration to hand

    Moy Park Ltd was fined £211,924 (inc.costs) after a worker was injured when a machine started up.
    The circumstances were:
    • There was no safe system of work in relation to isolating procedures.
    • An engineer was checking the blades on the cutting line when the machine restarted. 
    • He wasn’t able to move his hand away from the blade he was inspecting when the machine started up. 
    • He suffered deep laceration to his hand.

    Sunday, 26 March 2017

    Aircraft loses entire propeller assembly on approach to Sydney.

    On 17th March, a SAAB 340 flying from Albry to Sydney lost the entire starboard propeller assembly.  The aircraft made a safe landing on runway 16R (arrowed red below).

    The propeller assembly was not found for several days and was found in bush area. From reports, it looks like it was found in the red circled area.  If this is correct, then it must have been only a minute of so from falling into the suburbs.

    The propeller assembly became detached as the crew shut down that engine and feathered the prop. It is reasonable to expect that the shut-down and prop-loss were related. Fortunately, the prop did not strike any of the flight surfaces.

    Nine years ago in the USA, a SAAB 340 suffered a similar prop. loss.  This was caused by a manufacturing fault in the ingot used for the prop. shaft where there was sub-surface slag. This lead to a fatigue failure of the shaft.  It will be interesting to see if the same fault is found on the remnants of the shaft and if this shaft came from the same ingot or batch of ingots as the US aircraft.

    Friday, 24 March 2017

    Chose the right class of ladder

    Quite often, I see domestic ladders used in industrial environments, for which they are totally unsuited.  When choosing a ladder, look at the label, as shown above.

    Class 1 Industrial -  This is the type best suited for industrial use.
    Class EN131 -         This is suitable for light industrial use and heavy domestic DIY work.
    Class III Domestic - This is exactly all that it should be used for. It is not substantial enough
                                     for any industrial use.

    Tuesday, 14 March 2017

    MOD agency driver killed by reversing lorry

    The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has been issued with a Crown Censure after a driver was fatally injured by a reversing vehicle.
    The circumstances were:
    • On 19 November 2013 Graham Wood, an agency driver working for the MoD, and a colleague were delivering goods to a large holding area in MoD Kineton.
    • The MoD failed to assess the risks created by the movement of large vehicles in the area.  
    • They failed to ensure a safe system of work was in place to identify and control the risks presented by the movement of large vehicles in this area.
    • Mr Wood was crushed between a reversing lorry and a stationary vehicle. 
    • Following the incident, a safe system of work including marked parking bays, well defined walkways for pedestrians and a one way system has been introduced.

    After delivering the Crown Censure, Jane Lassey, HSE’s deputy director of field operations said:
    “The risks arising from vehicle movements are well known and suitable measures required to reduce these risks are understood. Like any other employer, the MoD has a responsibility to reduce dangers to agency workers, as well as their own employees, on their sites as far as they properly can, and in this case they failed Graham Wood. By accepting the Crown Censure, the MoD admitted breaching its duty under Sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 in that they exposed their employees and those not directly employed by MoD, to risks to their health, safety and welfare. Those risks manifested themselves in a lack of a safe system of work.

    Man loses leg due to concrete block falling from forklift truck. Company fined £300.000.

    Buchan Concrete Solutions Ltd., a producer of concrete blocks was fined £300,000 after an employee had to have a leg amputated.
    The circumstances were:
    • On 30 June 2015,  large concrete blocks were being unloaded onto the outside yard area of Buchan's site.
    • The unloading operation was not properly planned, 
    • The forklift truck’s weight capacity of five tonnes was not enough to be able to cope with the weight of the blocks. 
    • There was no system of work to excluded people from being in the vicinity while the concrete blocks were being lifted.
    • The man was removing wooden struts that the concrete blocks had been resting on, while the concrete blocks were unloaded by a forklift. 
    • One of the blocks slipped off from the forklift, and fell onto the worker.
    • He was taken to hospital for treatment to serious crush injuries to one of his legs. The leg was eventually amputated from the shin down.

    The HSE inspector said: “The injured man suffered life-changing injuries. This incident was entirely avoidable, had the lifting operations been properly planned, appropriately supervised and carried out in a safe manner.”

    Thursday, 2 March 2017

    Only one more certification to our century

    The auditor's recommendation for certification to ISO 9001:2015 for a roll printing company this week was our 99th certification to 9001, 14001 or 18001 standards.  These were spread over 62 companies.  

    March will see another certification which will make our century.

    Then there are 40 FSC and 39 PEFC certifications plus others, such as ISO 13485.

    Strategic Safety Systems have provided health, safety, environmental or quality services for over 300 companies in the Printing Industry over the last 20 years.  This was our 10th roll printing company and our familiarity with their operations smoothed the process considerably.  But we cover many other industries.

    All of the certifications use the SSS standard of simplified systems which are implementation-focused, rather than being thick, wordy documents one normally associates with ISO certifications.  Both the user companies and external auditors find them so easy to follow.  Because of this reputation, SSS are often approached to simplify unworkable systems created by other organisations.

    Saturday, 25 February 2017

    Insurance companies note: Common sense judgement in claim against Ronnie Scott's

    Common sense judgement from Judge Heather Baucher:
    She said that Eren Hussein, who claimed against Ronnie Scott's Club after falling down stairs, was intoxicated, obese, wearing shoes with high platform heels and not taking care by holding the bannister as she descended.

    Mrs Hussein said that the bannister was on the right whilst she was on the left.  Judge Baucher stated that this should not have prevented her from using the rail as the stairs were only 1m wide. "Mrs Hussein, at 115kg must have taken up much of the width of the stairway."

    The claim against Ronnie Scott's was thrown out.

    Saturday, 11 February 2017

    HSE announce proposal to make FFI cost recovery scheme independant

    The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has announced that it is to consult on proposals to make its cost recovery scheme dispute process fully independent.
    The scheme, Fee for Intervention (FFI) was introduced in October 2012 to shift the cost of regulating workplace health and safety from the public purse to businesses which break the law and ensures the cost burden of HSE intervention is picked up by those companies and not taxpayers.

    This announcement follows on from the publication of figures which show a £2.7m shortfall in the scheme.  Income in the year to April 2016 was £14.7m, but the operating costs were £17.4m.

    Until now, disputes were considered by a panel which consisted of two members from HSE and one independent person. However, after reviewing the current process HSE will consult with relevant stakeholders with a view to making the process fully independent.
    A spokesperson for HSE said:
    “HSE has always kept the dispute process under review and following a recent application for a judicial review we believe the time is right to move to a dispute process which is completely independent of HSE.”

    Recresco fined nearly £60,000 after roller shutter door failure injured employee

    Recycling firm Recresco Limited was fined £59, 944 (inc.costs) after a worker suffered crush injuries from a roller shutter door.
    The circumstances were:
    • None of the electronically operated roller shutter doors at the company’s site had been adequately maintained to keep the equipment safe.
    • On 17 April 2015 the barrel of a door fell on an employee.
    • This resulted in three cracked ribs and a damaged spleen.
    • This caused him to miss eight weeks of work.

    The HSE inspector said:
    “This case highlights the importance of regular pro-active maintenance and inspection of work equipment, including roller shutter doors, to ensure equipment does not deteriorate to the extent that it puts people at risk. In this case Recresco failed to effectively maintain their equipment and it could have easily resulted in a fatal injury.”

    2 owners of Kidderminster company each fined £12,150 following forklift truck accident

    The two owners of Kidderminster based fencing firm Hoo Farm Fencing have been given suspended sentences and each fined £12,150 (inc.costs) after a worker was hit by timber posts and frames which fell from a fork lift truck.
    The circumstances were:

    • On 12 February 2016, Raymond Lainsbury was helping to dip timber posts and frames in preservative.
    • The posts were on a frame on a forklift truck.
    • The equipment was not suitable for the task. 
    • The operator had not been properly trained to operate a fork lift truck. 
    • The company also failed to have the fork lift truck thoroughly examined.
    • The posts fell from the fame, striking him.
    Maurice James Blackford and Susan Hawthorn both pled guilty to breaching section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
    They were sentenced to 18 weeks imprisonment suspended for two years and each fined £10,000 and half the costs of £4318.
    The HSE inspector said
    “The seriousness of the safety failings could have resulted in much more severe injuries to Mr Lainsbury who was lucky to walk away from this incident. This case highlights the importance of maintaining proper safety practices and also all duty holders will be held accountable for failing to do so.”

    H E Realisations fined £42,230 for injury due to unsafe overhead crane use

    H E Realisations Ltd., a Cleckheaton engineering firm, was fined £42,230 (inc.costs) for safety breaches after a worker suffered life changing injuries.

    The circumstances were:

    • On 24 February 2015, Kevin Tait was using equipment to lift an 18 tonne steel roll.
    • The equipment was poorly maintained. 
    • The lifting operation had not been suitably planned.
    • 18 tonne was above the safe working load of the equipment.
    • Part of one of the shortening clutches sheared causing the load to swing and strike Mr Tait on the head.  
    H E Realisations are now in liquidation, hence the low level of the fine.
    The HSE inspector commented:
    “Lifting operations are hazardous and require a competent person to properly plan and supervise them to ensure that suitable and properly maintained equipment is used in the right configuration to avoid exceeding safe working loads. Kevin is incredibly lucky that he was not killed in this incident and he has suffered permanent life changing injuries as a result. This workplace accident has changed the lives of Kevin and his family irrevocably.”

    Sunday, 5 February 2017

    Categorising head protection

    Useful section in IOSH Magazine's PPE Guide supplement categorising head protection with examples of where it may be applied:

    EN812 Bump Caps

    • Vehicle manufacture and maintenance
    • Loft insulation
    • Plumbing
    • Removals

    EN 397 Industrial safety helmets-Lightweight 

    • Low rise construction
    • Highway maintenance
    • Utilities

    EN 397 Industrial safety helmets-Standard

    • Construction
    • Manufacturing
    • External terlecoms

    EN 12492 Mountaineering helmets

    • Rigging
    • High rise construction
    • Building sites
    • Tower climbing
    • Energy and network sites

    EN 14052 High-performance industrial safety helmets 
    • High rise construction
    • Mining
    • Demolition

    Wednesday, 18 January 2017

    Felt Supplies Ltd. fined £239,000 and director given suspended sentence after fatality

    Felt Supplies Ltd., a textile manufacturing company was fined £239,000 (inc.costs) and one of its directors, Wazir Hussain sentenced after a fatal accident to the company’s Managing Director, Nasir Hussain.
    The circumstances were:
    • On the 1 February 2012 the carding machine had become blocked with waste. 
    • Nasir Hussain gained access to the line whilst it was still running.
    • Nassir overrode the safety system using a spare key to unlock one of the gates. 
    • He then stood on top of the carding machine with a metal bar in order to clear the blockage while the line was still running. 
    • Although the machine was switched off after a time it was still running down when his clothing became entangled and he was pulled into the machine and killed.
    • The use of a spare key to access machinery, whilst it was operational, was commonplace by the workforce. 
    • It was custom and practice for workers to gain access to the machinery in order to clear a jam or blockage.
    • Despite HSE issuing a Prohibition Notice to stop these unsafe practices and taking the spare keys into possession the unsafe practices were allowed to continue for a sustained period following the fatal accident with the knowledge and consent of company director Wazir Hussain.

    Felt Supplies Ltd was fined £239,000 (inc. costs).
    Wazir Hussain received a 12-month suspended prison sentence for 18-months.
    The HSE inspector commented:
    “This is a tragic incident that could so easily have been avoided. In this case it was the Director that was fatally injured and it could so easily have been an employee, in which case, we may have been looking at a corporate manslaughter charge. Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards especially where there has been a deliberate breach or a flagrant disregard for the law.”

    Tayto Group fined £341,750 after an agency worker lost the tops of three fingers

    Tayto Group Limited who manufacture crisps and snacks was fined £341,750 (inc.costs) after an agency worker lost the tops of three fingers.
    The circumstances were:
    • The agency worker was clearing a blockage of material from a machine on the production line.
    • The guard on the machine was not secured at the time of the incident. 
    • The company had not implemented a formal monitoring system on this machine, to ensure that all guards were in place and secure before the machine was started.
    • The worker's hand came into contact with shears and three fingers on his right hand were severed, below the first knuckle.

    The HSE Inspector said:
    ‘This man suffered a life-changing injury in what was an entirely preventable incident. Employers must have adequate and robust systems to ensure that guards used to prevent access to dangerous parts of machinery are in place and secure before machinery is put into use.’

    North Eastern engineering company fined £150,000 after 2 employees sustained chemical burns

    PSL Worldwide Projects Ltd., were fined £150,000 for safety breaches after two of its workers were burned when they were sprayed with chemicals during chemical cleaning of a pipework system.
    The circumstances were:
    • The accident occurred during cleaning of pipework at a Hyclone UK Ltd site, in Cramlington on 31 July 2014.
    • The cleaning of the pipework system used sodium hydroxide (caustic soda).
    • PSL Worldwide Projects Ltd., had not adequately risk assessed the task.
    • The equipment provided to do the job, in particular the hosing, was not suitable for the solution.
    • PSL failed to provide adequate personal protective equipment.
    •  A reaction occurred between the chemicals and water in the system that caused the liquid to heat up building up pressure in the hose. 
    • The hose detached and sprayed the two workers with the solution, causing severe burns.
    • One operative received life threatening burns to his back, buttocks, arms, leg, neck and one side of his face. 
    • The other operative received burns to the right side of his head, his neck, and back, left arm and behind his right ear.

    No costs were awarded due to the company being in liquidation.
    The HSE inspector commented:
    “If a suitable risk assessment had been undertaken it would have identified that the equipment being used was not right for the chemicals or the work being carried out. All companies who work with high hazard chemicals should learn from this case and ensure that their workers are properly protected.”