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    SHOOTING RAISES RISK ASSESSMENT PROBLEMS

    Action on risk assessment findings is what stops injury and ill-health

    The shooting of a civilian working for Thames Valley Police is being used by HSE to raise the importance of following through risk asssessments with positive action.

    Thames Valley Police and a police firearms instructor have been prosecuted following the shooting on 30 May 2007. 

    The instructor was conducting basic firearms awareness training with new civilian police control room staff when what he thought was non-live ammunition from an unmarked sweet tin was loaded into a revolver. However, the ammunition was live and the round hit the civilian worker in the stomach causing major injuries – he has not yet been able to return to work.

    HSE investigators found that a risk assessment had been prepared to cover the use of firearms. This included a section on dealing with a situation where live and non-live ammunition were mixed. This assessment was also based on the weapons and ammunition being under the control of a competent person (firearms instructor). Had the control measures detailed in the assessment been followed then the accident would not have happened.

    HSE Inspector, Matthew Lee, said: “Risk assessments are necessary and an important way of enabling employers to safeguard their workers safety, but, as this case demonstrates, it is not the pieces of paper or certificates that will stop workers getting injured. It is vital that employers follow up on actions highlighted in risk assessments and ensure staff follow them”

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