Unicorn fined in hometown
Published: 01 May 2012
A construction company has been fined £20,000 and ordered to pay £5,940 in costs after repeatedly ignoring safety warnings.
Unicorn Services Limited were in the process of building a four-storey block of flats when the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) identified multiple issues at the project site. In total, eight prohibition notices were subsequently served as a means to stop dangerous practices which breached the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations SI 2007/320.
The prohibition notices were served for issues relating to dangerous scaffolding, unsafe working at height, fire-related hazards and dangerous electrical equipment. The company had also supplied inadequate documentation for risk assessments and the HSE found, in a follow up inspection, that improvements had not been made.
An improvement notice was then issued which required the site manager to arrange training in order to safely manage construction operations, but the compliance date specified in the notice was not met.
HSE inspector Andrew Verrall-Withers said,"Unicorn Services Limited blatantly ignored enforcement notices and continued to neglect its duty of care to its workforce, most of whom were vulnerable migrant workers. The construction site at Sylvan Hill was a potential death trap, with scant regard for safety or employee welfare. Even though there were no reported incidents at the site, serious safety breaches were routinely committed that could have resulted in death or serious injury."
He added, "The work was underpinned by poor management and appallingly inadequate paperwork - total recklessness according to the court. General standards fell well below those expected of a competent principal contractor, which the HSE will simply not tolerate."
For more information, see the:
Fairground ride spawns trouble
Published: 30 Apr 2012
A fairground ride operator has been ordered to pay more than £1,000 after one of its workers was thrown off the Crazy Frog Ride at the 2010 May Bank Holiday fair in Barnard Castle.
Martin Brown, 17, from Thirsk, North Yorkshire was working for Elliot Crow, of ride owners Alan Crow Amusements, as a ride attendant on the Crazy Frog Ride. Mr Brown occupied one of the cars in order to balance the ride, however, the teenager had his feet on the seat and was not strapped in properly. Shortly after the ride started he was thrown from it and suffered serious injuries including a fractured skull, wrists, jaw and eye socket.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found Mr Crow failed to check Mr Brown was seated in the ride properly or was adequately restrained, leading to his colleague being thrown from the car once the ride had started.
HSE Inspector Andrew Mulligan said, "Fairground rides are designed to be safe and fun but operators have a duty to ensure all passengers are seated correctly and are using any restraints provided. Unfortunately for Mr Brown this was not the case. It should have been clear to the defendant that Mr Brown was not properly seated or secured, particularly due to the number of times the car passed the control cabin prior to him being flung from the ride. If Mr Crow had supervised the ride properly he would have noticed this and could then have either not started the ride, or stopped it before the incident happened, thus saving Mr Brown the great physical and emotional harm he suffered."
Elliot Samuel Crow was found guilty of breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £520. He was also ordered to pay £500 costs and a £15 victim surcharge, the proceeds of which will be spent on services for victims and witnesses.
For more information, see:
- HSG175 - Fairgrounds and amusement parks: Guidance on safe practice.
Driving emissions down
Published: 23 Apr 2012
Motor industry body SMMT have claimed that drivers in the UK are choosing fuel efficient cars with low carbon dioxide emissions over cars with higher emissions. In 2011, 46.8% of cars sold emitted less than 130 grammes of carbon dioxide per kilometer (g/km), whereas only 10.6% of cars sold in 2007 were that efficient.
In line with European law, average emissions for new cars must fall below 130g/km by 2015 and then below 95g/km by 2020. Although the average emissions from new cars sold in 2011 was 138.1g/km, the new figures certainly suggest that reaching the target by 2015 is not impossible.
As well as being 'cleaner' thanks to new technologies, new cars are also more fuel efficient, delivering an average of 54 miles per gallon. However, SMMT believe further improvements can be achieved, and are lobbying the Government to adjust taxes to encourage investment in new technologies and to offer incentives to buy more efficient cars.
Paul Everitt, SMMTs Chief Executive, said, "Future environmental and economic success will be determined by sustained investment in new technology, research and development, infrastructure and consumer incentives."
With fuel prices currently at an all time high, more efficient cars may be both ecologically and economically attractive.
For more information, see:
Gas fitter jailed after carbon monoxide death
Published: 20 Apr 2012
A gas fitter has been jailed for three years after incorrectly installing a boiler which led to the death of a woman from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Zoe Anderson, 24, died within 30 minutes of being exposed to carbon monoxide fumes as she took a shower in the bathroom of her father's house
Jailing Andrew Hartley for three years, Judge Neil Ford QC said there were "absolutely no malicious or hostile intentions in this case" but the loss to the young woman's family was profound and a prison sentence was "simply the price" he had to pay.
During a two-week trial at Bristol crown court earlier this year, a jury was told that Hartley did a "rushed" and "botched job." They found him guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence, and sentenced him to three years with one year to run concurrently for breaching the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations SI 1998/2451.
Garden waste collection service binned
Published: 19 Apr 2012
Local authorities in Newcastle, Melton and Bracknell Forest are facing a backlash by residents over the introduction of garden waste collection charges.
From 2 April, residents in Melton have had to pay an annual £32 subscription fee to waste firm Biffa if they want their garden waste bin collected on a fortnightly basis - a service which was previously free. A petition calling for the charge to be dropped, started by local resident Rob Watson, has secured 1,800 signatures.
Meanwhile, in Bracknell Forest, residents who purchased a brown garden waste bin from the council on or after 5 December 2011 have had to pay an annual fee of £26 to continue having their garden waste collected. All residents who purchased a bin before then are exempt from paying the charge for a year.
In Newcastle, only 18,000 out of a possible 75,000 residents have signed up to a garden waste collection service which is being introduced in the city in May 2012. This service will see residents paying £20 a year to have their green waste collected.
Council bosses are now desperately trying to find somewhere to store all the garden waste bins returned by residents who are refusing to pay the charges.
Newcastle Gateshead Friends of the Earth UK said they were worried about the problem of fly-tipping and increasing recyclable rubbish sent to landfill. It has also emerged that some homes signed up to the service may miss out on collections if demand in their area is too low.
Northern Ireland consult over bag charges
Published: 18 Apr 2012
The Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland (DoE NI) has opened a consultation on new legislation that will see a 5p charge introduced for single use carrier bags.
- require sellers to charge customers at least 5 pence for each new single use carrier bag;
- require sellers to pay the net proceeds of the charge to the DoE NI, and stipulate how net proceeds should be calculated;
- make provision for certain exemptions from the charging requirement; and
- provide for a regime of civil sanctions in the event of breaches of the Regulations.
Consultation on the Draft Regulations closes on 9 July 2012.
For more information, see the:
- consultation document, at http://cedr.ec/5y.