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Sales Director’s Community order after fall of an apprentice

Posted by on Jan 11, 2018 in Quantum Blog |

The sales director of a West Midlands roofing firm has been fined and handed a community order.  This comes after an untrained 18 year old apprentice sustained severe head, facial and back injuries after a fall of more than 6 meters through a fragile skylight on to a concrete floor.  The incident happened on 29th November 2016. The  inexperienced apprentice was unfamiliar with the type of roof being repaired before and had not received any training for work near skylights. He was placed in an induced coma for three weeks and has not returned to work. An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the apprentice was carrying out roof surveying work on a factory roof.  The contractors had failed to properly plan the roof work and did not supervise the trainee. Steven Dickson, a senior manager and acting sales director of Adam Askey of Starley Way, Solihull, pleaded guilty to breaching s 37 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. He was given a community order that required him to do 200 hours’ unpaid work and to submit to an electronically-monitored curfew between 8pm and 6am for a period of four weeks starting immediately. Dickson was also ordered to pay £1,749 in costs. The company pleaded guilty to breaching reg 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations at Coventry Magistrates’ Court on 13 December. The company was fined £120,000 and ordered to pay £1,309 in costs....

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Legionnaires’ disease outbreak

Posted by on Jan 8, 2018 in Quantum Blog |

Five companies have denied Health and safety breaches relating to an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in Edinburgh, Scotland where four people died and a further 92 were infected during the outbreak in 2012. The source of exposure is most likely to have been a cluster of cooling towers at a site on Wheatfield Road, Gorgie, and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) served four enforcement notices on three companies during its investigation. It was however, never confirmed that the disease originated from any of these cooling towers and the Crown decided at the time not to prosecute. Pharmaceutical research firm MacFarlan Smith was served two improvement notices to thoroughly clean one of its cooling towers and to provide access for inspection and maintenance. The National Museum of Scotland and North British Distillery were each served one improvement notice. North British Distillery had failed to implement an effective biocide control programme in one of its cooling towers. The firm took all three cooling towers out of operation in response, though the notice only covered one. Alistair Darling, who at the time was MP for Edinburgh South West, tabled questions in parliament that revealed the HSE had not visited the whisky distillery in the previous five years. The new charges relate to the maintenance and cleaning of the cooling towers at the premises, which allegedly exposed people to the risk of Legionella between 2009 and 2013. MacFarlan Smith and North British Distillery, along with chemicals wholesaler Ashland Industries, who also operated at the site, and legionella risk assessment service provider Pera Services and water management company Chemtech Consultancy, have all been charged under the Health and Safety at Work Act. A date for the trial, which could last up to 12 weeks, has not been...

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Contractor and Retail Company fined over safety failings

Posted by on Jan 4, 2018 in Quantum Blog |

Martin McColl Limited and JMS Retail Concepts Limited have both been sentenced on 22nd December 2017 9OLafter two members of the public tripped and fell over construction work outside a convenience store in Dinas Powys, Vale of Glamorgan. It was heard at Cardiff Magistrates’ Court that during the three-day construction of a concrete disabled ramp in January 2016, two members of the public were injured whilst attempting to enter the store. On 12th January an elderly member of the public tripped over the construction work breaking her wrist, hitting her head and suffering severe bruising. The following day, the 13th January 2016 another elderly member of public fell from the partially constructed ramp breaking his collar bone and suffering severe bruising. The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that construction work which was undertaken while the store was open, meant customers were required to walk through the construction site to enter and exit the store. It found that it would have been reasonably practicable to close the store during the construction of the ramp and install barriers and signs to prevent access by members of the public. Martin McColl Limited of Ashwells Road, Brentwood, Essex pleaded guilty on the first day of a two day trial after initially pleading not guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, and have been fined £600,000 and ordered to pay costs of £11,520. JMS Retail Concepts Limited of Stump Lane, Chorley, Lancashire pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, and have been fined £40,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,038. Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Gemma Pavey said “These incidents could so easily have been avoided by simply carrying out correct control measures and safe working practices. Commercial clients and companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”...

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HSE accepts Crown Censure for injury at own laboratory

Posted by on Dec 18, 2017 in Quantum Blog |

On 4 October 2016 a worker at HSE’s Laboratory in Buxton suffered serious burns while setting up an experimental hydrogen test rig. He has since returned to work. The incident happened when a prototype hydrogen storage vessel was being tested to determine if the design would be suitable for its intended use. While filling the vessel a connector failed and a quantity of hydrogen escaped under pressure. The hydrogen ignited and the HSE employee who was close to the vessel was injured. HM Inspectors of Health and Safety investigated the incident and served a Crown Improvement Notice requiring HSE to provide a system of work for proof testing and leak testing an assembled hydrogen line and test tank to ensure, so far as is reasonable, the safety of employees and other people in the vicinity, with which the HSE complied.  The investigation concluded that the pressure testing went wrong because of failings to assess, plan, manage and control a well-known risk of death or serious injury. The investigation team also found the incident could have been prevented by putting in place recognised control measures available in longstanding published guidance. Director of field operations, Samantha Peace said: “The Act is not intended to stop people from doing work that may be inherently dangerous, such as pressure testing. It is about ensuring that where work involves danger then this is reduced as much as it properly can be. In this case, HSE bear this responsibility as an employer. They fell below the required standard and as the failings exposed workers to the risk of death or serious injury, a Crown Censure is the right course of action. HSE has co-operated fully with the investigation and we are satisfied that action has been taken to put matters right.”   Richard Judge commented: “As chief executive of HSE, and on behalf of my colleagues on the Management Board and the HSE Board, I very much regret this incident happened, and especially that our colleague was injured. On this occasion, we did not meet the standards we expect of others and that is deeply disappointing. HSE accepts the Crown Censure. We took early action to resolve the immediate issues identified by the regulatory and internal investigations. In line with our spirit of continuous improvement, we are using the findings from the investigations as an opportunity to learn and to do significantly better.”   By accepting the Crown Censure, HSE admitted to breaching its duty under Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 in that it exposed employees to risks to their health, safety and welfare. As a Government body, HSE cannot face prosecution in the same way as private or...

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Worker paralysed after simple safety failings

Posted by on Dec 18, 2017 in Quantum Blog |

A Scottish road paving contractor, M&W Tarmacadam Contractors, has been fined after its failure to safely plan a branch cutting job.  This left one of its workers partially paralysed. On 7 November 2016 employee Darren Mundell was standing on the bonnet of a paver to cut overhanging branches at the Arkleton Estate in Langholm. He lost his balance and fell into a tar hopper, Dumfries Sheriff Court was told.  He sustained a spinal fracture and a damaged spinal cord which caused permanent paralysis from the waist down. The Health and Safety Executive said the bonnet was not a safe place to work. Inspector Kirstin Lynchahon said: “Planning the branch cutting activity would have included an assessment of the risks and either avoidance of working at height using long reach tools or measures being put in place to prevent a fall.” M&W was fined £10,000 after it pleaded guilty to breaching reg 4 of the Work at Height...

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Principle Contractor ignored own safety policies

Posted by on Dec 14, 2017 in Quantum Blog |

A London-based principal contractor has been fined for repeatedly failing to manage fall risks at Prideway Development’s sites. During an investigation by The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), it uncovered serious safety failings, including unsafe work at height, Westminster Magistrates’ Court was told.  The HSE inspected several sites during 2016 and 2017 after workers and members of the public had raised concerns. A follow-up investigation found that Prideway had ignored its comprehensive policy on work at height that it had drawn up following a HSE intervention in 2013. During the past five years it had been served four enforcement notices relating to work at height issues, the HSE said. Prideway pleaded guilty to breaching reg 13(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015. It was fined £200,000 plus costs of £1,500. HSE inspector Gabriella Dimitrov said: “Pride Way has been repeatedly warned by HSE about the need to manage risks and have been held to account for failing to take adequate action to protect the health and safety and its...

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