Friday, 13 July 2018

Johnson & Johnson to pay $4.7bn to 22 women

Interesting that Johnson & Johnson have had to pay $4.7bn to 22 women because of a claim that ovarian cancer was caused by talc [Magnesium Silicate Mg3Si4O10(OH)2 ] which was apparently tainted with Chrysotile ("White" asbestos) [Magnesium Silicate MG3Si2O5(OH)4 ].

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Example of very poor SWL notices on new racking.

Here's an example of some really confusing safe working load (SWL) information on racking just installed by a specialist company.  The bays were of varying length (and varying beam depth, hence the otherwise surprising ability of a longer beam to sustain heavier loads than a short one.)

The first thing that is confusing is the variation between the notices.  Is the SWL for a 1150mm long level 500 kg or 750 kg? Similarly, is that for a 2235mm long level 1000 kg or 1500 kg?

The other thing that is confusing is positioning the 2225 and 3600 bay SWLs on the beam.

The whole thing is very poor and you cannot expect forklift truck drivers to understand, let alone follow, this.

A typical SEMA notice is as shown below. 

Note how it is quite clear what the bay load is and what the level load is.

In my opinion, what needs to be done in this situation where you have bays of varying width is to have the SWL per level and per bay marked on the lowest of the beams in each bay, eg "SWL: 500 kg per level, 2500 kg per bay".

Sunday, 18 March 2018

York House (Meat Products) Limited fined £110,567 after fall whilst adjusting racking

York House (Meat Products) Limited was fined £110,567 (inc.costs) for safety breaches after a worker was injured whilst adjusting storage racking.

The circumstances were:
  • The company required the height of shelves on storage racking to be adjusted.
  • The company failed to adequately manage the risks associated with working at height. 
  • No safe system of work was in place.
  • Employees were not aware of the dangers associated with climbing storage racking.
  • On 12 April 2016, an employee was instructed to adjust the height of shelves on storage racking with the assistance of co-workers.
  • To enable them to reposition the top shelves of the racking the workers climbed up onto one of the lower crossbars 
  • This crossbar gave way underneath them
  • One of the workers fell, hitting his head on the racking before landing on the floor. 
  • The dislodged crossbar fell from a height of 3.2m, hitting the employee on the back of the head and shoulders.
  • The injured individual suffered soft tissue damage to his right shoulder and required physiotherapy for several months. He was also unable to work for two months.

The HSE inspector said:
“This incident could have been prevented had York House Meat Products provided a risk assessment or a safe system of work for the task in hand. Employees should be made aware of the risks associated with climbing storage racking.”

Glynwed Pipe Systems Ltd., fined £1million after a delivery driver was fatally injured.

Plastic product manufacturer Glynwed Pipe Systems Ltd., was fined £1million + costs after a delivery driver was fatally injured.
The circumstances were:
  • Glynwed Pipe Systems Ltd failed to properly manage workplace transport in the yard area.
  • The systems of work in place were not, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe.
  • Gareth Wilson, a delivery driver for Mark Doel Transport Ltd, was fatally injured when he was struck by a fork lift truck which had large coils suspended from the forks.

The HSE inspector said:
“There are more than 5,000 accidents involving transport in the workplace every year, and, like in this case, sadly some of which are fatal. The HSE investigation found the yard was not organised to allow safe circulation of people and traffic as appropriate routes were not identified and therefore insufficient in number. A properly implemented Traffic Management Plan should have identified sufficient measures for the separation of vehicles and people including protected walkways, clear signage and barriers.”

Lack of guarding causes arm injury on roll forming machine

Agricultural engineering company Malcolm E Taylor Ltd., was fined £14,967 (inc.costs) for serious safety failings after a worker was injured at its premises near Blackburn, Lancashire.
The circumstances were:
  • The accident occurred on a roll forming machine used to make cladding for agricultural buildings.
  • Malcolm E Taylor Ltd had failed to suitably guard the machine and it was possible to reach in-running nips.
  • On 25 November 2016, a 17-year-old trainee was pulled into machinery.
  • His left arm became trapped between the metal sheeting he was holding and rollers as it was fed into the machine. 
  • He suffered extensive damage to his left forearm, leaving him in chronic pain and with significant impairment to the use of his arm.

The HSE inspector said:
“The dangers of unguarded machinery are well-known. If Malcolm E Taylor Ltd had ensured that suitable guarding was in place, then this incident would have been avoided. Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take enforcement action when the required standards are not met”.

Friday, 2 March 2018

Lack of system of work or instruction causes saw blade to fall, severing the fingers on one hand

Mercury Specialist Frames Limited, based in Gloucester, was fined  £12,057 (inc.costs) after an incident at its site resulted in a worker having his fingers and part of his palm severed.
The circumstances were:
  • The accident occurred on an Omga chop saw.
  • There were no risk assessments.
  • There were no safe systems of work in place and the company failed to provide sufficient information and instruction.
  • On 2 August 2016 Petr Jelinek was using this saw when the blade fell onto his right hand, severing the fingers of his right hand above the knuckles.

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 the safe system of working. 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.”

Unguarded section on recycling line claims another victim

Rochdale recycling company Anglo Recycling Ltd was fined £13500 (inc.costs) after an employee’s arm was dragged into unguarded machinery.
The circumstances were:
  • The accident occurred on a carpet recycling line.
  • There was a missing guard.
  • The injured worker had brought the company’s attention to the missing rear guard but no action had been taken to address it.
  • On 23 March 2016, the worker suffered a compound fracture when his arm was drawn into machinery and trapped between a conveyor and roller.

The HSE Inspector said:
“This case is a stark reminder of the consequences of a failure to adequately guard machinery and implement safe systems of work.”

The combination of exposed rollers and gloves causes loss of finger

A J Metal Products Limited was fined £25220 (inc.costs) after a worker lost their finger after it got caught whilst operating a machine used for bending metal.
The circumstances were:
  • The incident occurred on a machine where there was unguarded access to in-running rollers.
  • The injured person was wearing gloves.
  • A glove on the injured person's hand was caught in the rollers, pulling his index finger and thumb in.
  • Surgery couldn’t save the worker’s finger and it had to be amputated.

The HSE Inspector said:
“This incident could have been easily prevented had measures been taken to control the risk of workers’ hands being pulled into this machine. Employers should make sure they properly assess and apply effective control measures to minimise the risk from dangerous parts of machinery.”
SSS comment: If gloves are worn near moving machinery, they must have low tensile strength so that they rip, rather than draw the hand in