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JUNE 2008

PROSECUTIONS AND OTHER ENFORCEMENT

Substantial fine imposed after change in work process led to fatality

The company involved in this case has been ordered to pay over £170k in fines and prosecution costs after an HGV driver died when he fell 4m from a trailer.The firm were about to start supplying metal poles as a new product line and the deceased (who was concerned about the height of the new product load) fell when he climbed onto the vehicle. Comment: This case highlights the importance of procedures to identify the impact that the introduction of new or changed products or processes might have on existing safety systems and levels of risks. Policy in this area needs to be driven by the Boardroom which is why the Institute of Directors/HSE Guide to Leadership (see page 4) refers specifically to this issue. If this death had occurred post April 2008 it may have been prosecuted under the Corporate Manslaughter Act 2007 and the starting point for the fine imposed would have been around 5% of turnover. Every year some 2000 workers are seriously injured after falling from a vehicle and there a range of solutions are available to reduce the risk. See also Boardroom Leadership topic below.

Scaffolding contractor jailed after failing to train and equip scaffolders

The owner of a scaffolding firm has been jailed for 3 months after failing to provide adequate training and equipment. The prosecution followed an incident in which untrained workers were dismantling a scaffold that collapsed causing one man to fall 6m. The defendant was found guilty of contravening the requirements of a Prohibition Notice served by HSE after previous incidents. Comment: This case illustrates the importance of acting on clear established guidance and of ensuring compliance with the requirements of any notice etc served by an HSE Inspector.  The Courts take a very dim view of failure to follow HSE advice or well established written guidance. In this case the outcome was a prison sentence for the business owner.

Excavator operator sentenced to 12 months imprisonment

The defendant pleaded guilty to manslaughter after the excavator bucket became detached and struck a fellow worker causing fatal injuries. The safety pin was not inserted in the semi-automatic quick hitch. Comment: There have been a number of  deaths involving semi-automatic quick hitches in recent years and has HSE issued a safety alert explaining the problem and providing advice on the required precautions. The EC is considering quick hitches and it is possible that they may be banned on new machines. Meanwhile, there are many semi-automatic quick hitches still in use and it is vital that contractors follow the HSE advice contained in the safety alert.   

Prosecutions added to the HSE database in the last 7 days

The above link finds 4 prosecutions taken by HSE Construction Division which were added to the database in the last week.  These involved: reversing telehandler; overturning telehandler; fall from flat roof and; asbestos removal.

Notices added to HSE database in the last 7 days

The above link finds the 48 Prohibition and Improvement Notices issued by HSE Construction Division and added to the database in the last week.

RECENT INCIDENTS

Construction worker dies in possible excavator incident

Police are are working with HSE to establish the full circumstances surrounding the death of a construction worker on 24 June 2008 near a rail bridge in Lincolnshire. Our enquiries suggest the incident may have involved an excavator. We are aware of a second construction fatality during the last week that occurred when a thatcher fell from the roof of a building on a farm.

BOARDROOM LEADERSHIP

HSE plan to promote Institute of Directors (IoD)/HSE leadership guidance

The HSE Business Plan (page 10) has announced that HSE will undertake a programme of action to promote the IOD/HSE Guidance on Leadership during 2008/09. Directors and board members have a crucial role in leading their organisations to high standards of health and safety performance. The Guidance sets out what Boardrooms need to do to be effective and will be used as a benchmark should a death at work be investigated for the offence of Corporate Manslaughter. HSE will communicate and promote the guidance through:

  • conferences, house journals, trade press etc;
  • survey of director awareness to help shape further action that might be needed;
  • inspectors employing the guidance during inspection, investigation etc. and;
  • encouragement of benchmarking and practical workshops;

Comment: The Corporate Manslaughter Act 2007 did not go far enough for those stakeholders who called for greater personal legal responsibility to be placed upon company directors. However, legislators were persuaded that the IoD/HSE Guidance would be sufficient to prompt effective action in UK Boardrooms. There is a commitment by HSE to review the impact of the Guidance and propose further regulation if required. The Boardrooms of construction clients and contractors will need to act swiftly if further legislation on director duties is to be avoided. A good starting point is to review how well your organisation measures up to the IOD/HSE Leadership Guidance test and then take action in any areas of weakness. 

Boardrooms fail to recognise risk management

A survey suggests that risk management has yet to be fully integrated into board-level decision-making.

WORK AT HEIGHT

Safety whilst working at height depends upon securing safe access to a safe place of work. The two industry organisations below are dedicated to this aim and one has just published a new Code of Practice on edge protection systems.

Edge Protection Federation (EPF) publish new Code of Practice

EPF aims to provide a single, authoritative body to act as a representative voice and ensure that high standards in manufacture, supply and application of edge protection systems are maintained and advanced. Their new Code covers use of all popular edge protection systems in typical site situations, including concrete and steel frame structures and provides information for those involved in the installation, use and control of modern edge protection systems. EPF members include CITB-Construction Skills and a number of other well known organisations.

Access Industry Forum (AIF)

AIF is an umbrella organisation for trade bodies and associations involved in the access industry. It is committed to: advancing safety and best practice; being a collective voice of the industry and; bringing together those organisations with an interest in all types of scaffolding and cradles, rope access, ladders and powered access. AIF support the HSE Work at Height Solutions database. Questions asked go to an AIF member organisation and enquirers can then choose from a range of solution that best fit their work at height problem.

WORKPLACE TRANSPORT

Workplace transport report published

HSE have reported on an initiative involving audits of workplace transport (WPT) risks. The main findings are:

  • More could be done to reduce WPT risks but there are difficulties e.g. financial constraints and lack of management ‘buy in';
  • Cultural barriers exist to making WPT changes e.g. awareness, attitudes and behaviour of employees;
  • International drivers can lead to language confusion, differences in expectations of safe behaviours and inappropriate PPE. Prior use of multi-lingual instruction cards are one solution and;
  • Audits were seen as positive and a chance to work with HSE Inspectors in a cooperative rather than enforcement environment. The audits provided an opportunity to highlight WPT issues and gain or reaffirm management commitment.

Road safety statistics show significant improvement

The risk to those undertaking work related driving on public roads appears to be reducing. The National Statistics on road casualties in GB for 2007 show that the number of people killed in road accidents fell by 7 per cent from 3,172 in 2006 to 2,943 in 2007 and that 4% fewer people were killed or seriously injured in 2007 than in 2006. This is the first time since records began that road deaths have fallen below 3000 per year.

CHILD SAFETY

Construction companies advised to act as school holidays draw near

HSE is alerting the construction industry and parents to the practical advice that needs to be followed by parents and workers so as to help keep children safe this summer.

OTHER NEWS

HSE refurbishment initiative in Newcastle reveals further problems

MPs debate teenagers killed at work

Corporate Social Responsibility is affecting supply chain relationships

US Congressmen call for new Crane safety code to be published

AND FINALLY…

Bus takes crane into river…a scary incident that thankfully caused no injury.

Latest Construction Health and Safety News

ROPE ACCESS WORKER FELL THROUGH FRAGILE ROOF

Prison sentence imposed on owner of rope access firm

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Posted on 24th April 2018

FIRMS FINED £2M OVER FALLING PIPE FATALITY

Incorrect stacking of pipes triggered fall and crushing of workman

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Posted on 20th April 2018

DOMESTIC PROJECT PC HANDED JAIL TERM

Workman fell from unprotected roof edge on dormer extension

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Posted on 20th April 2018

MAJOR CONTRACTOR ERRED ON FRAGILE ROOF RISK

Firms fine £965,000 after painter fell through waiting room roof

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Posted on 19th April 2018

HSE ENFORCEMENT UPDATE 19th APRIL 2018

hselogo1Prosecutions and enforcement notices update and analysis

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Posted on 19th April 2018

STRUCTURAL SAFETY BODY LATEST NEWSLETTER

CROSS publishes reports and expert comment on a range of issues

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Posted on 18th April 2018

NEW BIM SPEC FOR SHARING H&S INFORMATION

Specification for sharing health and safety info during construction projects

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Posted on 17th April 2018

MANAGERS FORGED ASBESTOS DOCUMENTATION

Removal licence obtained using fake training and medical certificates

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Posted on 17th April 2018

FINE OVER INCORRECT AND MISLEADING SURVEY

Specialist asbestos company failed to detect AIB on demolition project

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Posted on 17th April 2018

IGNORING HSE ADVICE PENALISED BY LARGE FINE

Contractor fined over £50k for persistent WAH and welfare failings

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Posted on 17th April 2018

PRISON OVER BASEMENT EXCAVATION AND COLLAPSE

Building contractor jailed after house collapsed in Brighton

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Posted on 17th April 2018

DEFEATING POWER INTERLOCK CAUSED FLASHOVER

Systems for managing electrical safety found to be inadequate

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Posted on 17th April 2018

LADDER SAFETY FAILURES ATTRACT MASSIVE FINE

National window firm left workers to ‘own devices’

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Posted on 12th April 2018

FALLING MATERIAL STRUCK WORKMAN IN EXCAVATION

Risks of working in and near excavations highlighted by incident

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Posted on 4th April 2018

HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE 4th APRIL 2018

hselogo1Prosecutions and enforcement notices weekly update and analysis

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Posted on 4th April 2018

HOUSING ASSOCIATION FAILED ON VIBRATION RISK

Assessment, management and health surveillance all found wanting

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Posted on 3rd April 2018

OCCUPIER AND CONTRACTOR FINED OVER FALL

Employee assisting contractor fell through roof during re-roofing project

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Posted on 3rd April 2018

HSE FEARFUL OF GROWING ’BLUE TAPE’ BURDEN

hselogo1ISO 45001 could generate fresh business to business demands

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Posted on 3rd April 2018

HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE 21st MAR 2018

hselogo1Prosecutions and enforcement notices weekly update and analysis

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Posted on 28th March 2018

INCIDENTS: PASSER-BY STRUCK BY BRICKS

Pack of bricks appear to have fallen from crane

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Posted on 28th March 2018

HSE RECONSIDER HOW TO INFLUENCE SMALLER FIRMS

hselogo1Regulator advice and messages are failing to chime with the SME businesses

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Posted on 27th March 2018

DANGEROUS REMOVAL OF ASBESTOS CEMENT

Workers smashed asbestos sheets with crowbars whilst at risk of falling

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Posted on 27th March 2018

HSE LAUNCH CONIAN SHARING AND SUPPORT PLATFORM

hselogo1New HSE web community now open to the public

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Posted on 27th March 2018

FIRM FAILING ON HAVS SURVEILLANCE FINED £50,000

Door manufacturer failed to manage sanding and buffing tool vibration

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Posted on 27th March 2018

PRE-CAST FIRM FINED OVER FINGER AMPUTATION

Lack of guarding and training triggered table saw injury

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Posted on 26th March 2018
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