A Carlisle vehicle-salvage company has been fined after a customer was trapped and fatally crushed when a lift truck he had purchased was being loaded onto his own recovery vehicle.
On 15 February 2018, a lift truck purchased from Michael Douglas Autosalvage Ltd was lifted using the company’s skip lorry onto a recovery vehicle at Stainton Road, Etterby. The metal ring on the lift truck that the winch wire was attached to failed, causing the lift truck to fall and trap Mr Paul Spence against the skip lorry.
The HSE investigation found that the company had failed to ensure that this complex lifting process was properly planned by a competent person and that it had failed in its duty not to expose customers to risk. A competent person would have identified that this loading method with this equipment was fundamentally unsafe, the HSE adds.
The Company Michael Douglas Autosalvage Ltd of Stainton Rd, Etterby, Carlisle pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £23,000 and ordered to pay costs of £8,000. Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Matthew Tinsley commented: “This incident could so easily have been avoided [if] the lift have been properly planned and appropriate equipment and safe working practices been employed as a result”.
1-2Call Worksafe Ltd advise that all lifts are planned appropriately and that suitable segregation is in place to protect pedestrians and other unauthorised persons from entering the lift area. If you require guidance or advice on these sort of work processes contact the office on 01553 340754.
Directors - do you have an internal competent person to support health & safety? What skills do they have? 1-2Call Worksafe Ltd is running an IOSH Managing Safely course on 24th - 26th February, spaces are still available.
Employers and employees put themselves at risk of prosecution by not having in place and not following risk assessments, safe systems of work and personnel being trained correctly.
The contracts manager of a roofing firm has been jailed after forging health and safety documents after a worker fell to his death.
On 24 September 2015, Mr Drake was working on the roof of an ironmongers in Rochdale when he fell through a fragile roof light and sustained fatal head injuries.
An investigation by Greater Manchester Police and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found there had been fundamental breaches of duty on the part of those who organised the work to the roof.
Netting should have been provided, but the company contracts manager Mr Bray insisted it was not needed. Experts in the field assessed the site after Drake’s fall and advised that netting was necessary. Another expert in the field stated that it was not difficult to net and if it had been installed, would have caught Drake. Experts told investigators that netting would have costed about £1,250 to safely install.
Manchester Crown Square Crown Court was told that following the incident, Bray copied Drake’s signature on a risk assessment document to make it appear as if he had agreed to procedures on the £55,000 project.
Earlier this week, at Manchester Crown Square Crown Court, Mr Bray was sentenced to serve two years in prison after admitting failing to take reasonable care of other persons, pursuant to s 7 of the Health and Safety at Work Act, contrary to s 33(1)(a). He also pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice.
The company was also fined £100,000 plus £30,000 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching s 2(1) Health and Safety at Work Act.
“[These sentences] should serve as a stark reminder to those who employ people and have a responsibility to look after them in the workplace - cutting corners in this way is dangerous and can ultimately rip families apart, because it was these actions that had absolutely cataclysmic consequences and led to Ken’s unnecessary and preventable death, " said GMP's detective chief inspector.
“The fact that Bray went onto forge Drake’s signature demonstrates than rather than thinking about [Drake] and his loved ones in the aftermath of his death, Bray’s sole thought was to cover his tracks and prevent the investigation from establishing what had occurred."
The HSE principal inspector said: “This was an entirely foreseeable and preventable incident which resulted in a tragic and needless loss of life. Falls from height remain the biggest cause of workplace fatalities in the UK construction industry. “It is vital that those involved in planning, managing and carrying out work at height understand the risks and identify and implement suitable control measures to prevent injury. Had such steps been taken in this case, this incident would not have occurred.”
A Northamptonshire painting and decorating employer has been sentenced after an employee sustained serious, life-changing injuries after falling from height.
On 7 August 2018, an employee was severely injured when he fell from height whilst installing a roof ladder on a pitched roof at a property in Northamptonshire. The fall resulted in the employee being permanently paralysed from the chest down.
The homeowners hired the company to paint the exterior windows and soffit boards of their property, including the painting of dormer windows within their roof.
The employee was in the process of setting up ladders to access the dormer windows when he fell from height.
Investigating, the HSE found that the incident could have been prevented if the work at height hierarchy had been followed in the planning process and if appropriate equipment had been provided to employees, such as fully compliant scaffolding.
The risk assessment should have identified that this work was not short duration and that the use of ladders was not appropriate.
The owner of the company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. He was sentenced to a 12-month community order, 160 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay costs of £2,124.28 with a surcharge of £85.
Speaking after the hearing, the HSE Inspector said: “Employers and those in control of any work at height activity must make sure work is properly planned, supervised and carried out by competent people.
This includes using the right type of equipment for working at height. In this instance, the painting of the soffits and windows was not short duration work and should have been done from appropriate work platforms. Ladders were not the appropriate equipment.”
Enforcement expectations by the HSE have been strengthened for all welding fume, including mild steel welding; because general ventilation does not achieve the necessary control. Control of the cancer risk requires suitable engineering controls for all welding activities indoors e.g. Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV). Extraction will also control exposure to manganese, which is present in mild steel welding fume, which can cause neurological effects similar to Parkinson’s disease.
Where LEV alone does not adequately control exposure, it should be supplemented by adequate and suitable respiratory protective equipment (RPE) to protect against the residual fume. Appropriate RPE should be provided for welding outdoors.
You should ensure your welders are suitably instructed and trained in the use of any controls.
Regardless of duration, HSE will no longer accept any welding undertaken without any suitable exposure control measures in place, as there is no known level of safe exposure. See below to find out what you need to consider.
During the next round of inspections planned for January 2020-March 2020 HSE inspectors will be looking to:
Checks will be completed on Local Exhaust Ventilation systems to ensure they are:
In most situations, welding fume can be easily seen. If you can see that most of the fume is going up the extractor, then the position of the extractor is about right.
Actual exposure can only be accurately measured by personal exposure monitoring.
The exact level of risk of exposure to either the gases or particulate fumes will depend on a number of factors:
Check RPE is:
Please contact us if you require support and advice, prohibition and improvement notices are expensive and preventable.
If an HSE inspector visits, they will look at the workshop in general as well! Now is a good time to review, update and implement what is in place currently.
It’s nearly the “season to be jolly”, so it’s time to put plans in place to ensure that your workforce doesn’t take the idea too literally. How can you make sure employees on your watch remain safe over the festive season?
The problems with alcohol consumption go beyond the obvious issues of drunkenness at work. Not only should staff avoid consuming alcohol while on the job, they must not work while still under the influence from the night before.
Even a small amount of alcohol in the system has the potential for staff to act differently: reactions may become slower, co-ordination reduced and judgement impaired.
None of this makes for a safe working environment, especially when using machinery or operating transport.
In addition, alcohol can cause short tempers or other unpleasant behaviour, and no one should be put in an uncomfortable position of this nature while in the workplace.
Tip 1. Make it abundantly clear to anyone completing safety-critical operations, e.g. driving or operating machinery, that they must not have any alcohol in their system.
If staff are unsure how much they’re able to drink the night before, issue them with guidance explaining how long alcohol stays in the bloodstream (see The next step ).
Tip 2. Encourage workers to report to management if they have reason to believe a colleague is under the influence of alcohol. During training explain that it’s in everyone’s interests to do so.
Your policy on alcohol needs to be made clear regardless of your type of business. Even in a low- risk environment, e.g. an office, employees need to travel to work and be able to carry out their duties.
Tip. In your terms and conditions of employment, include a general requirement to comply with the company’s health and safety policies - including drug and alcohol. This will make it a disciplinary offence if staff ignore your requirements.
When organising Christmas functions ensure that your rules on alcohol are consistent with your usual policy. If you make an exception you’ll find it difficult to enforce your requirements at other times.
Tip 1. If a staff party is on the agenda, think about the timing to reduce the risk of staff being under the influence at work. For example, a mid-week party could well result in inebriated staff coming to work the next day. If you can’t avoid bad timing for all staff, state up front that your usual rules on alcohol apply so that staff expectations are managed.
Tip 2. If you have reason to believe that a member of staff is under the influence of alcohol, take them to one side and calmly challenge them. There is no possible way of reducing the amount of alcohol in the bloodstream quickly. So if you remain concerned send them home - but make sure they’re not driving. Make it clear that under no circumstances are staff to come to work while under the influence of alcohol. If you have reason to believe they are send them home. If staff need persuading that they could be affected the next day, issue guidance on how long the body takes to break down alcohol.
Taken from Tips & Advice Health & Safety, Issue 4, 30th October 2019
Tel.: (01233) 653500
Fax: (01233) 647100
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Indicator - FL Memo Ltd
39-41 Bank Street
Ashford, Kent TN23 1DQ
Two cases heard in 2019 illustrate how the availability of training and other records can influence the likelihood of prosecution after an accident. What happened in these cases?
In August 2019 Volvo Group UK (V) was fined £13,333 after it pleaded guilty to breaching s.2(1)Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (HSWA).
The charges followed an incident in which a worker was crushed by a rolling vehicle, fracturing his spine.
The worker had used a pit jack to raise an HGV trailer off the ground but he had not applied the truck’s handbrake or used wheel chocks to prevent movement.
This allowed the truck to roll forward while he was adjusting the brakes, causing it to slip from the jack, crushing him against a set of steps in the pit.
The HSE’s investigation found that V had not given its employees enough wheel chocks nor provided them with training in how to prevent the unintended movement of vehicles they were working on.
Note. It’s safe to assume that the worker had some relevant training and experience. V’s mistake was not having the written evidence to show that it had passed on its safe working requirements.
If it had provided training in strict safety rules for supporting vehicles staff would have been far more likely to request additional wheel chocks.
The second case involved an unsafe lifting operation. An apprentice electrician fell four metres from a large wooden crate which had been balanced on a fork lift truck. As a result he broke several ribs and suffered a punctured lung.
The driver of the fork lift truck was Francis Yardy (Y), a more senior colleague who had been put in charge on site.
He pleaded guilty to a breach of s.7HSWA and was fined £2,000 with £560 in costs.
Y’s employer was not prosecuted because a risk assessment had been completed and suitable equipment purchased. Y failed to use this, despite his knowledge and training.
Where you’ve undertaken a risk assessment, developed safe systems of work, provided the right equipment and trained staff correctly, the risks to your business are reduced.
Not only does this make it less likely that there will be an accident in the first place, but should one occur you’ll be ready to defend yourself.
Tip. Each time an employee completes training, ensure that you have a detailed record to prove that it was carried out. Include the date, the trainee’s signature, contents of the training and who delivered it (see The next step ).
An inspector will ask far fewer questions if you can promptly produce signed and dated records.
An employer was prosecuted when it was not able to show that staff were given training in how to work safely. Ensure you retain detailed records to show that staff were trained in safe working practices - include names, dates, contents and details of the trainer.
We are delighted to announce that in addition to our usual training courses, we can now offer a range of on-line learning courses. Why not head over to our E-learning Suite and take a look?
Contractor Westdale Services Limited was fined £160,000 after a 12-year-old boy slipped off a scaffold ladder on an inadequately guarded site. On 6th May 2017, two boys were able to climb the rungs of a ladder within scaffolding erected by Westdale Services by placing their feet either side of a ladder guard that did not cover the rungs completely. One boy climbed to the top platform of the scaffold and climbed the uppermost ladder to a height of approximately 10 metres. The ladder slipped, causing him to lose his balance and fall to the ground. He sustained life-changing injuries requiring multiple operations.
Good order and site security
18.—(1) Each part of a construction site must, so far as is reasonably practicable, be kept in good order and those parts in which construction work is being carried out must be kept in a reasonable state of cleanliness.
(2) Where necessary in the interests of health and safety, a construction site must, so far as is reasonably practicable, and in accordance with the level of risk posed, comply with either or both of the following—
(a) have its perimeter identified by suitable signs and be arranged so that its extent is readily identifiable; or
(b) be fenced off.
(3) No timber or other material with projecting nails (or similar sharp object) must—
(a) be used in any construction work; or
(b) be allowed to remain in any place, if the nails (or similar sharp object) may be a source of danger to any person.
A court has heard how an agency worker’s hand injuries were made worse by a lack of trained first aiders on shift at the time. What mistakes were made and what can you do to avoid a similar situation?
In October 2017, during an agency worker’s second shift with NPS Worldwide UK Limited (N), a blockage occurred in a filling machine. The worker tried to unblock the machinery but as she did so her fingers were caught up in an unguarded rotating fan. As a result, she sustained serious injuries, losing parts of all the fingers on her right hand. But her ordeal didn’t end there.
Although the HSE has not released full details, it has stated that the injuries were made worse because incorrect first aid treatment was administered. This occurred due to a lack of trained first aiders on the night shift at the time of the accident.
Doctors tried to create new skin from grafts taken from her stomach. However, these failed and she was left with substantial scarring.
The HSE’s investigation identified a lack of suitable guarding to the fan. It also found that the company had not completed a sufficient risk assessment or provided its staff with adequate training. This was in addition to the lack of compliance with first aid legislation.
N pleaded guilty to breaching s.2(1) and s.3(1)Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and Regulation 3(2)Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 . It was fined £28,000 with £7,771 in costs.
N had a duty to ensure it carried out suitable and sufficient risk assessments and an assessment for first aid needs.
Tip 1. For dangerous machinery it’s sensible to carry out one risk assessment per machine. Use our template form which has been specially developed for this purpose (see The next step ).
Tip 2. This process can be tricky to get right. Make use of maintenance staff and experienced operators who know their way around the equipment. If needed, arrange for your health and safety consultant or advisor to complete the assessment for you.
Tip 3. A good way of understanding what protection might be absent from older machinery is to review what is fitted to the latest version of the equipment. This can help greatly when completing your risk assessment.
Tip 4. Write down your procedures for clearing blockages and cleaning the machinery. Your step-by step procedure should always begin with the isolation of the power supply. This will ensure that workers do not come into contact with dangerous moving parts.
Tip 5. Ensure that your first aid provision covers all shifts and takes into account the activities carried out. As happened in this case, the wrong treatment can do more harm than good. Make sure that your first aiders’ training prepares them for the likely types of injury in your workplace, and their certification is kept up to date.
The accident was caused by missing guarding and made worse by incorrect first aid. If you use dangerous machinery, undertake a risk assessment to look in detail at the need for safety devices. Devise written instructions for safely clearing blockages and ensure that your first aid provision covers all shifts.
Taken from Tips & Advice Health & Safety, Issue 1, 16th September 2019
Tel.: (01233) 653500
Fax: (01233) 647100
E-mail Customer Services
Indicator - FL Memo Ltd
39-41 Bank Street
Ashford, Kent TN23 1DQ
Started off the New Year very Busy, Wishing all our customers a very Happy and Prosperous 2017. Don’t forget we have the new IOSH working Safely course needed to apply for the Labourers Green Card running on 16th February.