Water Controlled Activities for Scotland
Published: 16 Mar 2011
The Water Environment (Controlled Activities) (Scotland) Regulations SSI 2011/209 aim to protect Scotland's water environment by prohibiting the carrying out of certain activities that pose a risk to it, unless they have one of the following levels of authorisation:
- general binding rules;
- registration; or
- water use licence.
They consolidate the provisions originally introduced in the Water Environment (Controlled Activities) (Scotland) Regulations SSI 2005/348, and bring the Regulations in line with the Better Regulation agenda by introducing emergency provisions and improving transparency.
The controlled activities which were prohibited under the previous Regulations remain prohibited unless they are authorised, and all authorisations previously granted will be treated as an authorisation granted under the new Regulations.
CRC changes for Great Britain
Published: 16 Mar 2011
Its first phase has been extended by one year, and the original phases replaced with new ones. The phases, other than the first and seventh phases, will be six years. The seventh phase will be five years so that the scheme ends on 31 March 2046.
Each phase will overlap the previous phase by one year instead of two years.
Company found guilty of corporate manslaughter
Published: 11 Mar 2011
Cotswold Geotechnical (Holdings) has been fined £385,000 over the death of a junior geologist. The fine is the first of its kind under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007.
The geologist died from asphyxia by being buried beneath several tonnes of mud after the sides of an excavated trench collapsed. He had been working alone in a 3.8m deep and unsupported pit.
The judge, Mr Justice Field, explained the fine reflected the gravity of the offence and that it should act as a deterrent to companies that fail to adhere to health and safety legislation. A sentencing guideline issued to judges last year by the Sentencing Council set a benchmark fine for corporate manslaughter of £500,000. However, courts were given leeway to reduce or increase the fine according to mitigating or aggravating circumstances and the convicted company's financial health. Cotswold Geotechnical, which was described in court as in a perilous financial state, can pay the money back over 10 years at a rate of £38,500 per annum.
The judge said the company was operating on a small scale and a larger fine would cause it to be liquidated, and four people presently employed would lose their jobs. Mr Justice Field added that the company was well aware of a rule dating back to 1981 which said that pits over 1.2m deep should be supported due to the danger of collapse, but ignored it. He said, "This approach to trial pitting was extremely irresponsible. It flew in the face of the rationale of the 1.2 metre rule." Defence lawyer, Richard Lissack QC, had argued that industry guidance, which says that workers should not enter unsupported excavations more than 1.2m deep, "gives best advice to a broad sector" rather than dictating a hard rule.
Paul Verrico, a partner specialising in health and safety law firm Eversheds said he expected the successful conviction would lead the Crown Prosecution Service to progress other corporate manslaughter cases.
Published: 08 Mar 2011
A new online directory to help businesses find a health and safety consultant was launched on 21 March.
More than 1,600 highly qualified professionals in the UK have signed up to the online Occupational Safety and Health Consultants Register (OSHCR), which has been established by a number of professional bodies, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland, in response to the Government commissioned "Common Sense, Common Safety" report into the current health and safety regime.
Landfill tax raises for 2011
Published: 08 Mar 2011
The UK's landfill tax increased by £8 per tonne on 1 April 2011, making the cost of sending waste to landfill £56 per tonne.
In 2008, it was announced that the tax would increase by £8 per tonne per year until 2010. This date was later revised and 2014 is now the end date for any increases, by which time landfill tax will stand at £80 per tonne.
Company fined over roofer death
Published: 07 Mar 2011
A Fife paper-making company has been hit with a penalty of £260,000 after failing to ensure the safety of one of its workers.
Thomas Sturrock, had been contracted to clean the roof of the premises owned by Tullis Russell. However, instead of using crawl boards to cross the fragile roof, Mr Sturrock and the other workers accessed the roof by stepping onto it.
The worker from Methil crashed through the roof and plunged more than 50 feet onto the concrete floor of the warehouse. An ambulance was called to the scene but the roofer was pronounced dead at the scene as a result of head injuries.
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that Tullis Russell Papermakers had instructed the contractor who employed Mr Sturrock to clear 24.5 tons of vegetation from the fragile roof of the factory at Southfield Industrial Estate. However, pre-contract safety paperwork had not been filled-in and Tullis Russell had failed to control, monitor and review the way the work was taking place.
Tullis Russell Papermakers Ltd of Glenrothes, Fife, were fined after pleading guilty to breaching the duty under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 to ensure the health and safety of everyone at their premises, whether working directly for them or not.
Following the case, HSE Inspector Mac Young said, "Thomas Sturrock might be alive today if simple safety measures had been put in place. If Tullis Russell had ensured the contractor's activities were monitored then it is possible the incident with Mr Sturrock may have been prevented."
For more information, see the:
- Work at Height Regulations SI 2005/735.