Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Swann I&M Services fined £56,442 after forkift overturned during unsafe operation

Telecommunication inspection and maintenance company Swann I and M Services Limited was fined £56,442 (inc.costs) after a forklift truck overturned during an unsafe lifting operation.
The circumstances were:
  • The accident occurred on 11 February 2017 at their factory on the Springwood Industrial Estate in Tonbridge.
  • The operation to level a support column had not been properly planned and supervised by Swann I and M Services to ensure it was carried out safely
  • Two forklifts on Springwood Industrial Estate were used to level this column by repeatedly pushing it with one truck and then “catching” it with the other.
  • The HSE has described this operation as ‘high risk’, leaving one worker to carry out this unsafe work practice on his own.
  • As a result, the column rolled on its base and fell – pulling over the forklift truck it was attached to.
  • The operator escaped injury as he was operating the other forklift truck at the time.
  • The company then went on to use two forklift trucks to try to right the overturned truck which was also unsafe and put workers at risk.

The HSE Inspector said: “The use of forklift trucks was both impractical and unsafe, putting workers at unnecessary risk. This incident could so easily have been avoided by simply having a competent person plan a safe lifting operation and providing adequate supervision to ensure the lifting operation was carried out safely. Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”

Sunday, 19 May 2019

Aviramp fined £55,339 after hand was severed in saw

Aviramp Limited who specialises in the design and manufacture of aluminium access systems for the aviation industry was fined £55,339 (inc.costs) after an employee suffered serious injuries when using a chop saw.
The circumstances were:

  • Aviramp failed to suitably and sufficiently assess the risks from working on the chop saw. 
  • They failed to provide a safe system of work.
  • They failed to adequately maintain and guard the saw.
  • They failed to provide suitable information, instruction and training.
  • They failed to provide adequate supervision and monitoring..
  • On 21 October 2016, an employee was injured using a chop saw. 
  • The rotating blade of the chop saw came into contact with the employee’s hand and it was severed.

“This injury was easily prevented, and the risk of injury should have been identified. Employers should make sure they properly assess and apply effective control measures to minimise the risk from dangerous parts of machinery.”
The HSE inspector said:

Waste management company fined £514,000 after employee was killed by reversing vehicle

Sanders Plant and Waste Management Limited were fined £514,041(inc.costs) after an employee was fatally injured when he was struck by a reversing JCB loading shovel.
The circumstances were:

  • There was a lack of pedestrian and vehicle segregation in the waste shed meaning that pedestrians and vehicles could not circulate in a safe manner. 
  • The company had carried out a risk assessment prior to the incident that identified some control measures to reduce the risks from operating the loading shovel and a Fork Lift Truck on site. 
  • These control measures had not been fully implemented 
  • They were also not sufficient to manage the risk of collision between vehicles and pedestrians. 
  • There was no risk assessment
  • There was no traffic management plan considering the safe movement of vehicles across the site.
  • On 15th June 2015, a wheeled front-loading shovel was being operated in the main waste processing shed at the company’s waste recycling facility.
  • The vehicle was loading waste into both a trommel (a large waste separation and sifting machine) and a parked haulage vehicle. 
  • During the course of this operation the vehicle struck a site operative who died at the scene from his injuries.
The HSE inspector said:
“The HSE investigation found an inadequate assessment of the risks of vehicle movements in the waste shed and a lack of segregation of vehicles and pedestrians. There are more than 5,000 accidents involving transport in the workplace every year, and, like in this case, sadly, some are fatal. A properly implemented transport risk assessment should have identified sufficient measures to segregate people and vehicles and provide safe facilities.”

Tinplate printer fined £30,713 after hand was caught in press after an interlock has been defeated

Tinplate printing company Tinmasters Swansea Limited was fined £30,713 (inc. costs) after an employee was seriously injured when working on a printing press.
The circumstances were:

  • There was no risk assessment for fault finding on the printing press.
  • The printing press front guard's electronic interlock device had been defeated.
  • There was no safe system of work.
  • There was a lack of suitable training for employees.
  • On Monday 19 June 2017, an employee trying to rectify an intermittent fault on the printing press.
  • His hand became trapped between the rollers.
  • He sustained a serious crushing and de-gloving injury to his hand.
 “This injury was easily prevented, and the risk of injury should have been identified. Employers should make sure they properly assess and apply effective control measures to minimise the risk from dangerous parts of machinery, especially during maintenance and fault finding activities.”
The HSE inspector said:

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Present approach to noise exposures may be inadequate

Research from hearing protection and noise monitoring company Eave has identified that the present approach to noise exposures may be inadequate.
According to Eave's founder and Chief Executive David Greenberg:
"The Control of Noise at Work Regulations were put in place before we had today’s understanding of ‘hidden hearing loss’, which can mean reduced ability to perceive speech or communicate in noise, and there is evidence that this can happen at noise exposures below 80 dB(A).  The regulations don’t account for the cumulative effect of lower noise levels.”
Hidden hearing loss is linked to degradation of the auditory nerve in the brain, and means that an individual might be able to hear speech sounds, but would have difficulty processing them.
This could also mean that an individual with hidden hearing loss would pass some forms of hearing tests used in the workplace today, such as pure-tone audiometry testing, which is based on responding to sound tones and frequencies rather than speech.
Greenberg believes that the precautions and thinking set out in the Control of Noise at Work Regulations fail to capture this risk. “The current regulations assume that if you build up 98% of your exposure levels for one day, then you go back to zero the next day.
“That is factually incorrect. Our hearing declines because of the cumulative effect of noise. People might not be identified as being at risk under the current guidelines, but they still go deaf.” 

Friday, 3 May 2019

2 Sisters Food Group fined £1.4 million + costs after a worker was injured while unblocking a machine.

Food processing company, 2 Sisters Food Group, was fined  £1.4 million + costs after a worker was injured while unblocking a machine.
The circumstances were:
  • 2 Sisters Food  had failed to identify deficiencies in the guarding on the machine on which the accident occurred.
  • The clearing of blockages was usually carried out while the machine was still in operation.
  • On 6 September 2012, an employee of 2 Sisters Food Group Limited was attempting to clear a blockage on a conveying system.
  • He was struck by a large metal stillage. 
  • As a result, his body was crushed at chest height against the end of the unit.
  • He sustained multiple injuries including several fractured ribs, fractures to his back and a punctured lung.

The HSE inspector said:
“The employee’s life-threatening injuries could easily have been prevented had the company identified the guarding deficiencies and put in place simple measures to prevent access to dangerous parts of machinery. This should serve as a lesson to others in the food processing industry about the importance of effectively guarding their machinery to stop others being similarly injured.”
SSS comment: Note that in addition to the injuries and the fine, this has been hangng over the company for 6½ years.

Mid Cheshire Pallets fined £13,362 after a worker was struck by a fork lift truck.

Cheshire-based woodworking company Mid Cheshire Pallets Ltd was fined £13,362 (inc.costs) after a worker was struck by a fork lift truck.
The circumstances were:
  • There was inadequate segregation of fork lift trucks and pedestrians within the workspace of the Mid Cheshire Pallets factory.  
  • A risk assessment had been carried out but had not highlighted the importance of marking segregation areas.
  • On 27 March 2017, an employee of Mid Cheshire Pallets Ltd was carrying a pallet across the workshop when he was struck by an FLT being driven by another employee. 
  • The worker suffered serious fractures to his leg and ankle in the incident and was off work for several months.

The HSE inspector said:
“Those in control of work have a responsibility to provide safe methods of working and a safe working environment. If a suitable system of work had been in place the injuries sustained by this employee could have been prevented.”