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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

TIPPER TRUCK STRUCK PEDESTRIAN ON SITE ROAD

Contractor fined £500,000 over poor traffic management arrangements

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Posted on 16th February 2018

FALLING SCAFFOLD CLIP STRUCK PASSER-BY

Firm failed to follow risk assessment and method statement

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Posted on 16th February 2018

HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE 14th FEB 2018

hselogo1Prosecutions and enforcement notices weekly update and analysis

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Posted on 16th February 2018

HOMES FIRM FINED £1/2M OVER DUMPER DEATH

Developer and contractor failed to manage people and plant interface

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Posted on 14th February 2018

SUPREME COURT RULES ON HSE ENFORCEMENT NOTICES

Post service evidence can be used to support HSE notice appeals

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Posted on 9th February 2018

SAFE INSTALLATION OF PRE-CAST FLOORING

Code of Practice for health and safety updated by industry federation

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Posted on 8th February 2018

HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE 8th FEB 2018

hselogo1Prosecutions and enforcement notices weekly update and analysis

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Posted on 8th February 2018

MANUAL HANDLING MUST INVOLVE ‘REAL RISK’

Court provides clarity on manual handling risk assessment rules

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Posted on 7th February 2018

SKIP LORRY DRIVER FATALLY INJURED BY LOADER

Hire company fined after lorry driver crushed between two vehicles

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Posted on 5th February 2018

PUBLIC RISK COSTS CONTRACTOR DEARLY

Principal Contractor failed to assess and supervise work

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Posted on 5th February 2018

TUBES FELL WHILST LIFTING OVER PERSONS BELOW

Lifting operations were not carried out in safe manner

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Posted on 2nd February 2018

‘DAREDEVIL’ SCAFFOLDER LANDS IN DOCK

Former HSE Inspector snaps dangerous working practices at 60 feet

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Posted on 2nd February 2018

HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE 1st FEB 2018

hselogo1Prosecutions and enforcement notices weekly update and analysis

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Posted on 1st February 2018

DIDCOT FATAL COLLAPSE: INVESTIGATION UPDATE

Police and HSE still seeking to understand why boiler house collapsed

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Posted on 1st February 2018

SCAFFOLDER TRAINING REACHES NEW HEIGHTS

CISRS training card renewal by CPD embraced by scaffolders

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Posted on 30th January 2018

HSE SUMMARY OF CONSTRUCTION SECTOR HARM

Infographic provides insight into industry priority hazards

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Posted on 29th January 2018

FIRM FAILED TO IMPLEMENT AGREED CONTROLS

Risk assessment carried out but precautions not taken

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Posted on 29th January 2018

HSE MUSCULOSKELETAL DISORDERS SUMMIT 2018

hselogo1Regulator focuses on MSDs in construction and others sectors

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Posted on 28th January 2018

LOAD FELL FROM MAGNET AND STRUCK WORKMAN

Firm failed to properly assess and revise crane safe working load

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Posted on 25th January 2018

RAISING THE BAR ON LIFTING OPERATIONS SKILLS

New ‘Lifting Technician Trailblazer Apprenticeship’ ready for delivery

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Posted on 24th January 2018

HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE 24th JAN 2018

hselogo1Prosecutions and enforcement notices weekly update and analysis

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Posted on 24th January 2018

SCAFFOLDING FIRM FINED OVER UNSAFE LOADING

Bin of scaffold fittings lifted by crane struck scaffolder

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Posted on 24th January 2018

FATAL FALL FROM EDGE OF INDUSTRIAL ROOF

Suitable protection missing during installation of roof sheets

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Posted on 23rd January 2018

MANAGER AND PC FAILED TO ACT ON ASBESTOS SURVEY

Principal contractor and site manager sentenced over AIB dust

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Posted on 23rd January 2018

VEHICLE COLLISION ‘EJECTED’ MEWP OPERATOR

Fatal fall caused by failure to manage WAH and transport operations

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Posted on 23rd January 2018
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