• Total Access Total Access Ethentic Ethentic
    Higher Safety Higher Safety Chipmunk Data Chipmunk Data

    WEAPONS PLANT FAILED TO MANAGE FIRE RISK

    Lack of assessment for dangerous substances triggers large fine 

    The Atomic Weapons Establishment PLC (AWE PLC) has been ordered to pay more than £280,000 in fines and costs for significant failings relating to its use and control of explosive materials after a worker was injured when a fire broke out in an explosives processing building.

    Ashley Emery, aged 29, suffered burns to his arm and face in the incident at the site in Berkshire on 3 August 2010. Reading Crown Court heard today (28 May) that he was breaking dry nitrocellulose (NC) into a plastic bucket containing methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) as part of the process of producing a lacquer. The contents of the bucket ignited and produced a fireball.

    HSE investigators established that:

    • the company possessed data sheets identifying the risks associated with the use of NC and MEK;
    • the data sheets provided direct guidance about situations to be avoided when using the substances;
    • insufficient heed was paid to the data sheets; and
    • storage of unnecessary hazardous materials in the manufacturing area.

    In addition, a number of explosives processes were taking place at the same time.

    Collection of shortcomings demonstrated multiple failures

    AWE Plc, of Aldermaston, near Reading, was fined £200,000, ordered to pay £80,258 in costs, plus £2,500 in compensation to the injured man after pleading guilty to a single breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

    After sentencing HSE inspector Dave Norman said:

    “The fire could have caused multiple casualties and it was entirely preventable had better control systems been in place. The failure to instigate such controls was dependent on AWE identifying potential hazards and risks, all of which were well documented, but that simply did not happen.

    The building and equipment within it did not comply with the-then current standards required for storing and handling explosives, which are potentially sensitive to static electricity, nor for storing and handling extremely flammable liquids.

    The risks associated with the lacquer preparation were not fully recognised by the company. This was compounded by a decision to run numerous explosives processes at the same time and in the same building, which is completely unacceptable by industry standards.

    We also found that the personal protective equipment (PPE) provided for employees, principally a lack of flame retardant coveralls, was inadequate. This collection of shortcomings demonstrates that there were failures of supervision, monitoring and auditing over time, including in relation to the conducting, validating and approval of risk assessments.”

    Latest Construction Health and Safety News

    HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE 13th JUNE 2018

    hselogo1Prosecutions and enforcement notices register latest version

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 13th June 2018

    DIRECTOR FAILED COMPLY WITH HSE PROHIBITION

    Precautions not taken to prevent excavation collapse and falling

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 11th June 2018

    SCAFFOLD NOT TO INDUSTRY STANDARD OR DESIGN

    Specialist and contractor in court over unsafe work at height

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 7th June 2018

    ROAD WORKER RUN OVER BY ROAD ROLLER

    Reversing alarm not working and warning light not fitted

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 5th June 2018

    CLIENT AND SURVEYOR FINED OVER ASBESTOS SURVEY

    Refurbishment and demolition asbestos survey proved inadequate

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 5th June 2018

    FATALITY: ROAD WORKER DRAGGED ALONG ROAD

    Night shift worker loses life when struck by road sweeping vehicle

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 3rd June 2018

    CDM PRINCIPAL DESIGNERS AVOID HSE ENFORCEMENT

    Regulator enforcement database reveals few notices involve CDM PDs

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 3rd June 2018

    PROPERTY MANAGERS FINED WITH CONTRACTOR

    Defendants failed to check for asbestos during soffit replacement works

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 29th May 2018

    EXCAVATION CAUSED RETAINING WALL COLLAPSE

    Precautions not taken to secure stability of free-standing wall

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 29th May 2018

    OVERHEAD CABLE STRIKE FIRM FINED £500,000+

    Inadequate system caused risk of harm despite lack of worker injury

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 29th May 2018

    CDM 2015 PRINCIPAL DESIGNER FINED OVER FIRE RISK

    PD and PC failed to comply with CDM 2015 responsibilities

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 23rd May 2018

    SENTENCING GUIDELINES UNDER THE MICROSCOPE

    Lawyer argues guidelines undermine reduction in ‘regulatory burden’

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 23rd May 2018

    PANEL STRUCK WORKMAN DURING LIFTING OPERATION

    Third party contractor falls victim of poor lift planning

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 21st May 2018

    DIRECTOR LED HAZARDOUS WORK AT HEIGHT

    Three occasions when work lacked suitable and sufficient precautions

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 21st May 2018

    RISK ASSESSED BUT CONTROLS FOUND WANTING

    Joiner fell through unprotected opening on roof of new building

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 21st May 2018

    RIBA CRITICAL OF HACKITT REVIEW FINAL REPORT

    High rise residential review dismissed as “major missed opportunity”

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 21st May 2018

    CONSTRUCTION SECTOR DEATHS: THE ‘BIG THREE’

    HSE in-year fatalities for 2017/18 may indicate upward trend

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 16th May 2018

    SCAFFOLDING SITE ACCIDENTS AT RECORD LOW

    NASC Annual Report reveals all time low in 2017 incidents

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 14th May 2018

    DUMPER TRUCK HAND-BRAKE NOT MAINTAINED

    Workman injured when pinned against stack of concrete blocks

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 14th May 2018

    SPARE POWER INTERLOCK KEY CAUSED DEATH

    Dangerous machinery safety precautions defeated for maintenance tasks

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 10th May 2018

    COLLAPSED CAR PARK WAS UNDER REPAIR

    Rusted steel supports triggered collapse of fascia and floor

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 8th May 2018

    DUMPER OVERTURN CAUSED FATAL INJURIES

    Precautions during spoil heap creation were inadequate

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 8th May 2018

    HARDWOOD DUST CONTROL NOT MAINTAINED

    Manufacturer failed to examine and test local extraction system

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 8th May 2018

    SCAFFOLD CONTRACTOR OVERLOOKED MAJOR HAZARD

    Well-known risk unidentified during scaffold erection project

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 8th May 2018

    THREE FIRMS FINED £1/2M FOR FRAGILE RISK FAILURES

    Fall through rooflight hazard poorly planned and managed

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 2nd May 2018
    Total Access Total Access Ethentic Ethentic
    Higher Safety Higher Safety Chipmunk Data Chipmunk Data