200k fine for recycling company
Published: 14 Nov 2013
A wood recycling company has been fined £200,000 with costs of £34,000 for major safety failings after a worker was killed when he was struck by a loading vehicle in December 2008.
Raymond Thomas Burns, who worked as a load inspector for UK Wood Recycling Ltd at its site in Wilton, Redcar, was walking between a wood pile and a skip in the yard when he was hit and run over by a load shovel. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that no segregation measures were in place to separate vehicles and pedestrians working on the site. Workers were unprotected from the dangers of constantly moving vehicles - despite previous near misses and incidents where vehicles had collided.
UK Wood Recycling Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations SI 1992/3004.
Speaking after the case, HSE Inspector Bruno Porter, said, "A conscientious and hard-working man has lost his life in this senseless way. There was simply an acceptance by UK Wood Recycling Ltd of the established working pattern. Solely relying on drivers or workers noticing each other is not adequate control. This was an entirely preventable death caused by the company failing to have a system to allow vehicles and pedestrians to move safely around each other. Ideally, this segregation is achieved by the vehicles and pedestrians having separate traffic routes. If they share a route or area then physical barriers should be used to keep them apart, or other means of preventing moving vehicles and people being in the same place at the same time".
He went on to say, "The waste industry has a very high injury rate, and most of the fatal and major injuries relate to transport issues. The risks of serious injury and, all too frequently, death, resulting from the failure to control the safe movement of vehicles and pedestrians are widely recognised".
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Party Pieces' packaging promise
Published: 12 Nov 2013
Party Pieces, the party planning company run by Michael and Carole Middleton, parents of the Duchess of Cambridge, has donated £12,650 to the Woodland Trust as part of a civil sanction agreed with the Environment Agency. The generous donation came after it was found that the company had not been complying with the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations SI 2007/871.
Despite being eligible, the company had not registered under those Regulations. However, rather than going to court and paying a fine, the company volunteered to make a donation to Woodland Trust; a move known as an enforcement undertaking.
An†Environment Agency spokesperson said, "Party Pieces was not complying with Packaging Waste Regulations, however they have since changed the way they operate and volunteered a donation of £12,600 to the Woodland Trust. The donation was made in accordance with civil sanctions, which are a proportionate and cost-effective way for businesses to make amends for less serious environmental offences."
The company is now reported to be fully compliant with the Regulations.
Chimney sweep fall firm fined
Published: 12 Nov 2013
D Henderson Chimney Specialists and Roofers Ltd. has been fined £20,000 after pleading guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The prosecution followed an incident in 2011 where one of the company's chimney sweeps fell from a chimney stack of a two-storey house in Falkirk.
Dylan Skelhorn was sweeping a chimney from the top of the stack when he fell. He broke two ribs and suffered from a collapsed lung as well as fracturing his pelvis. As a result, Mr Skelhorn was in hospital for five days and requires physiotherapy and pain relief. He has not yet been able to return to work.
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that no precautions were taken by the company to prevent the fall. In addition, the company had not carried out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment, had not provided adequate training or employed a safe system of work for employees. As such, workers were exposed to risk.
Following the case,†HSE inspector Kerry Elliot said, "This incident was entirely preventable. Falls from height are the biggest cause of death and injury in the workplace, and wherever possible employers should try and avoid the need for working at height. HSE’s investigation clearly showed that this chimney could have been cleaned from within the property – something this company did not even consider at the time.
"If it is not possible to avoid working at height then employers must ensure that they provide employees with the necessary equipment to keep them safe. Mr Skelhorn wasn’t provided with any equipment to prevent fall or injury and is still suffering from the effects of his injuries two years later."
New Northern Ireland Controlled Waste Regulations
Published: 08 Nov 2013
New Controlled Waste and Duty of Care Regulations (Northern Ireland) SR 2013/255 will come into force on 30 November 2013.
- classify waste as household waste, industrial waste or commercial waste for the purposes of Part 2 of the Waste and Contaminated Land (Northern Ireland) Order SI 1997/2778;
- determine the meaning of "controlled waste";
- state the types of household waste for which a charge for collection may be made;
- provide that certain litter is to be treated in the same way as waste collected under the Waste and Contaminated Land (Northern Ireland) Order SI 1997/2778.
In addition, they also amend the Controlled Waste (Duty of Care) Regulations SR 2002/271 to specify the information required on a Waste Transfer Note and place a new duty on waste holders and transporters to carry Waste Transfer Notes along with the waste they relate to and to produce them if stopped by an authorised officer or a constable.
As a result, these Regulations revoke and replace the Controlled Waste Regulations (Northern Ireland) SR 2002/248.
Bonfire flames doused by council
Published: 06 Nov 2013
A 6ft bonfire was dismantled by a council after officials found that the organisers had failed to apply for a temporary events licence.
The bonfire has taken†place on the recreation ground in Lower Hartshay, near Ripley, for more than 20 years and residents say it is an important opportunity for families to get together.
However, after Amber Valley Borough Council responded to a fly-tipping complaint, they also realised that there was no licence for the event and left a warning sign at the scene which stated "we are watching you".
Villager David Crowder said villagers had never asked the council for permission because they "never felt they needed to". He added, "I've been in the village for 29 years and every year we build a bonfire. It's just garden waste and hedge-cuttings. You've only got to look at the ground to see there's a scorch mark, so the council must be aware it happens."
Sandra Starkey, 53, said collecting the wood for the fire was all part of the village's tradition. She commented, "It seems that, this year, without any prior word or discussion, an excellent and long-standing social event, where villagers in their busy lives can, for one evening, get together and relax and catch up has been spoilt".
In the end, about 30 people turned out for a party on the recreation ground on Saturday night with a small number of fireworks and sparklers.
A spokesperson for Amber Valley Borough council said today that the removal of the bonfire was "standard practice as there had been no application for an event licence".
Five figure fine for Fife failings
Published: 05 Nov 2013
Fife Council has admitted to health and safety breaches after one of its workers lost a toe while cutting down a tree.
Janitor Craig Davies had been sent to Canmore Primary School in Dunfermline in January 2012 to cut back branches of an ash tree that had blown over in high winds. Realising the job was too big for him alone, Mr Davies contacted a colleague for assistance.
The two men cut back the tree's branches until they were left with the trunk and a single limb attached above shoulder height. Mr Davies climbed on to the trunk and began cutting through the bough. The limb then sheared away from the tree, landing on his foot and trapping it against the trunk.
Mr Davies required three surgical procedures but doctors were unable to save one of his toes. He spent three months recuperating before returning to work.
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that Fife Council failed to properly assess the risks to employees in the educational facilities service while undertaking chainsaw operations. The probe also found the local authority had failed to maintain a safe system of work and provide sufficient training and supervision to enable them to undertake chainsaw work.
Fife Council admitted charges under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. They were fined £20,000 at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court.
Following the case, HSE Inspector Kerry Cringan, said, "The failures by Fife Council resulted in Mr Davies suffering a significant and serious injury. Chainsaw operations are, by their very nature, hazardous. Fife Council, having reached a position where these employees had the most basic of chainsaw qualifications, dispatched them to single-handedly tackle a job that was far in excess of their capabilities.
As a result they found themselves in a situation outside of their experience, but without recognising it was beyond their abilities.”