Fine for Northern Ireland Water
Published: 22 Nov 2012
Northern Ireland Water Limited (NIW) have pleaded guilty to two charges of making polluting discharges and have been fined a total of £8,000 plus court costs of £31, at Newtownards Magiatrates' Court.
On 10 March 2011, a Water Quality Inspector from the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) observed extensive sewage fungus on the bed of a stream adjacent to the Moneyreagh Wastewater Treatment Works, in County Down. The investigation revealed that the storm tank at the site was full with settled sewage discharging from the outlet overflow weir into the stream.
On 26 March 2011, an inspector again observed extensive sewage fungus on the bed of the stream adjacent to the works. Settled sewage was still discharging from the storm tank into the same waterway.
Draft Pollution Prevention and Control Regulations published for Scotland
Published: 21 Nov 2012
Draft Pollution Prevention and Control (Scotland) Regulations have been published by the Scottish Government for the purposes of:
- implementing Directive 2010/75/EU, on industrial emissions (integrated pollution prevention and control) (Recast); and
- regulating other environmentally polluting activities not covered by Directive 2010/75/EU.
Directive 2010/75/EU is currently implemented through the Pollution Prevention and Control (Scotland) Regulations SSI 2000/323, however as these Regulations have been amended numerous times, it is difficult for users to determine what the current requirements are.
Therefore, these Draft Regulations consolidate the Pollution Prevention and Control (Scotland) Regulations SSI 2000/323 and incorporate the changes required to implement Directive 2010/75/EU in order to produce a single clear set of Regulations.
The proposed date for the coming into force of these Regulations is 7 January 2013.
For more information, see:
South Armagh company fined for waste offences
Published: 21 Nov 2012
South Armagh waste company Transco Waste Limited, and its former director Mr Vivian Devlin, have been fined a total of £6,000 plus £72 court costs at Newry Magistrates Court for unauthorised waste activities.
During a site inspection in November 2011 at the company's waste transfer facility at 124 Concession Road, Cullaville, officials from the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) discovered that both plasterboard and hazardous waste in the form of fuel laundering waste were being stored on-site.
Both the company and its sole director at the time were each fined £1,000 for the following offences under the Waste and Contaminated Land (Northern Ireland) Order SI 1997/2778:
- depositing controlled waste and knowingly causing or permitting controlled waste to be deposited in or on any land without a waste management licence;
- treating, keeping or disposing of controlled waste, or knowingly causing controlled waste to be treated, kept or disposed of without a waste management licence;
- knowingly permitting controlled waste to be kept in a manner likely to cause pollution to the environment or harm to human health.
Tyre company treading dangerous ground
Published: 21 Nov 2012
OM Tyre Recycling Limited have this month been fined £7,500, in addition to a 12 month conditional discharge, plus £1,764 costs after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing at Newry Crown Court on 24 September 2012, to four breaches of health and safety legislation.
The case relates to an incident on 22 July 2011 at the company's premises in Mayobridge. An employee was trying to clear a blockage of accumulated shredded tyre pieces from an operating conveyor when his right hand and arm came in contact with an unguarded tail pulley.
The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSE NI) found that on the day of the accident the conveyor being used in the tyre shredding process was not safe because a section of the fixed guarding around the tail pulley was missing and there was no pull cord operated emergency stop switch on the conveyor to prevent risk when an irregular event occurs. The investigation also found that such blockages were happening regularly and the system of work being used to clear the blockages was not safe.
HSE NI Inspector, Denise Donaghy commented, "This incident should have been avoided and highlights the dangers involved when clearing blockages from machinery. It is important that companies identify and address hazards in the workplace. Companies must ensure that guards are maintained in place and that procedures are in place to ensure that work is not carried out while machinery is still moving."
This marks a bad few months for OM Tyre Recycling, who as we reported in September, were subject to a £120,000 confiscation order under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 at Newry Crown Court, in relation to a series of waste offences. You can read that article here: http://cedr.ec/ht.
Construction firm ignored safety warnings
Published: 19 Nov 2012
Peak Construction (London) Ltd has been fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £4,629 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching the Work at Height Regulations SI 2005/735 and the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations SI 2007/320.
The firm was carrying out a redevelopment project in Bristol city centre in order to convert the upper floors of Riverside House to residential accommodation and to add two new timber framed floors on top of the building.
However, members of the public raised concerns about some of their working practices, which led to six site visits from the Health and Safety Executive's (HSE) inspectors. On each visit, inspectors found failings relating to unsafe work at height, including the use of a mobile elevating work platform without worker harnesses, a lack of edge protection and poorly constructed scaffolding. Fire risks were also identified.
Despite being issued with seven prohibition notices, the firm still continued some dangerous practices at the site.
HSE inspector Steve Frain said, "Right from the start of the job, the company was warned about its health and safety performance and individual directors were made aware of the initial failings we identified at the site. The number of follow-up inspections and interventions we made in this case went far beyond what would normally be required. The same risks were clearly pointed out at each inspection, yet still the company failed to take sufficient action."
He added, "These are not minor technical breaches of the law. They show a failure of leadership across the company which led to a high risk of significant injuries."
Worker not feeling too well after plummeting into sewage
Published: 16 Nov 2012
A company has been fined £15,000 and ordered to pay £3,000 in costs for breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, after a worker fell and slid seven metres into a sewage well in Halesowen, Dudley.
The 34-year-old worker, who has asked not to be named, was clearing a blockage for Tardis Environmental UK Ltd at a partially completed housing development when the incident occurred on 26 August 2011.
To remove the waste from the bottom of the sewage well, which consisted of bulky material like nappies, the employee used a road tanker with pump and hose attachments. He opened a grid at the top of the well and stood over it to support and manipulate the hose. As he did, the hose kicked back and hit him, causing him to lose balance and fall into the chamber.
He managed to grab the hose as he fell and slid down it into the waste at the bottom where he stood disorientated for around twenty minutes before he realised he had his mobile phone with him and was able to call for help. He ingested raw sewage, sustained friction burns to his arms, and bruised his elbows, knees and head in the fall. He was off work for a number of days.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the Tardis employee had been trained in the use of the pumping equipment but had not received any instruction or training in how to empty deep, below-ground sewage wells with specific regard to the risks involved with working at height.
After the hearing HSE inspector Anthony Woodward said, "The incident was entirely preventable. The nature of the work meant the worker was right next to, and leaning over, the deep well. Although he was working at ground level the depth of the pit meant he was working at height so reasonable precautions to prevent a fall should have been provided by the company, such as a worker’s restraint or harness."
For more information, see:
- INDG401 - The Work at Height Regulations 2005 (as amended): A brief guide.