Latest HSE figures for Great Britain
Published: 08 Aug 2011
Official statistics published have shown an increase in the number of people killed at work last year. Provisional data released by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for the year April 2010 to March 2011 highlight the number of workers killed was 171; an increase on the previous year when 147 died - the lowest on record.
The published figures also show the rate of fatal injuries in various key industrial sectors:
- 50 fatalities to construction workers, an increase from 41 in 2009/10;
- 34 fatalities to agricultural workers, a fall from 39;
- nine fatalities to waste and recycling workers, a sharp increase from the three recorded deaths last year.
Published: 03 Aug 2011
Employment Minister Chris Grayling has visited Brussels this month to attend a meeting on Directive 92/85/EEC, on improvements in the safety and health at work of pregnant workers and workers who have recently given birth or are breastfeeding.
He reiterated the UK opposition to the proposals which have been put forward by MEPs. The Government is concerned that measures for 20 weeks of maternity leave at full pay will result in considerable costs to Member States when they can least afford it. Ministers have also said that they believe the proposals to be "socially regressive".
The proposals are currently with EPSCO so the Ministers of the 27 EU Member States can consider their position. At the EPSCO meeting last December, the UK joined the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, the Netherlands, Slovakia and Sweden in signing a formal minutes statement which expressed concerns over the plans.
RIDDOR in Northern Ireland
Published: 03 Aug 2011
A consultative document has been issued which contains proposals to amend the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (Northern Ireland) SR 1997/455.
The main aim and objective of the proposals is to extend the period for reporting injuries that lead to a worker being incapacitated for work from over three days to seven days. The closing date for receipt of comments is no later than noon on Friday 30 September 2011.
School worker takes a dive
Published: 01 Aug 2011
An independent school near Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, has been prosecuted after an employee fell from the loft of the swimming pool changing rooms to the ground below.
The incident occurred when swimming pool attendant Stacey Paine, 19, was retrieving paperwork stored in a loft above the Kimbolton School changing rooms. To reach the documents, she walked along a beam of the unboarded loft but lost her footing. She fell two and a half metres onto the the tiled floor below, narrowly missing a benched area. She suffered a fractured wrist in the fall on 20 April 2010.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuting told Huntingdon Magistrates' Court that Kimbolton School had not carried out a risk assessment for entering the loft and failed to ensure that its staff did not work on or near a fragile surface.
The school admitted breaching the Work at Height Regulations SI 2005/735 and was fined £6,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,276.40.
After the hearing, HSE Inspector Stephen Faulkner said, "The outcome of this incident could have been very different. Falling from height, particularly onto such a hard surface often results in severe injuries or even death. It is an employer's duty to ensure the safety of all staff and anyone working at height needs to be protected. In this case, the documents could have been stored somewhere easier to reach and if a simple risk assessment had been carried out, this would have been identified. I urge any organisation to consider where they store items including paperwork and how safe it is for an employee to access."
For more information, see the:
- Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations SI 1999/3242.
Published: 01 Aug 2011
Two companies have been charged a total of £115,000 for breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 after a worker was dragged through a 125mm gap by a machine, suffering extensive injuries.
Matthew Lowe became caught on a conveyor system used to move steel beams after he looked into an outline point to check that a beam was connected. He was then dragged through a gap, no bigger than a CD case, between a moving measuring head and a wall. His injuries included a broken back, a ruptured stomach and bowel, shattered pelvis, a fractured right arm and several broken ribs.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that there were no guards in place to protect Mr Lowe from the moving machinery. They determine that although Mr Lowe was inexperienced in using the machinery the fact that there was no guarding was the main factor in the accident.
Judge Robert Moore said some of the safety features on the machinery "could be regarded as the equivalent of a chocolate fireguard". Mr Lowe was therefore lucky to survive.
Sheffield Crown Court heard that Compass Engineering Ltd, Mr Lowe's employer, was the owner of the machine and was liable but Kaltenbach, who built and installed the machine, was also liable as they had signed-off the equipment as being ready to use. As a result, both firms were successfully prosecuted.
HSE inspector Chris Chambers said, "Had appropriate guarding been in place the incident could never have happened. While this prosecution will live long in the memory because of the shock details, I hope it serves as a reminder to those involved in manufacturing, processing and the supply of machinery of the need to prevent access to dangerous parts".
Health and Safety is clear cut
Published: 26 Jul 2011
Nicholls and Clarke Glass Ltd has been fined £11,200 with £3,977.40 costs after one of their employees was seriously injured when their arm was cut to the bone.
Ian Swain from Dunstable worked in the glass manufacurers' glass toughening section in Bedfordshire. In October 2009, he picked up a large piece of glass which cracked and then shattered, lacerating his right arm and severing muscle, nerves and the artery.
Although Mr Swain was wearing wrist guards, the shard of glass that caused the injury cut into his arm above the guard. The injury was so severe, Mr Swain was given 250 stitches and had to wear a cast for three months and has lost the full feeling in his forearm.
An investigation from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the manufacturer had provided their employees with inadequate and insufficient protective equipment and were therefore in breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. However, the HSE also found that a similar accident in 2008 had not been reported, so they had also breached the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations SI 1995/3163.
HSE inspector Emma Rowlands said "Had Mr Swain been provided with full arm protection he would have avoided serious injury. Guidance on the provision of personal protective equipment for employees is freely available from HSE and trade associations, this could easily have been referred to".
Although Nicholls and Clarke Glass Ltd are now providing appropriate protective equipment to all of their workers, Ms Rowlands stated that "HSE will not hesitate to take action against companies failing to comply with the law".
For more information, see:
- Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations SI 1992/2966.