Culling team seek to extend their badgering
Published: 09 Oct 2013
The team in charge of the controversial Somerset badger cull has applied for an extension of the cull by up to three weeks, after it emerged they had failed to reach their targets.
Sources at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) say that 850 badgers have been shot in the area over the six-week trial, just over 40% of an initial target of 2,081.
The pilot cull set out to study if badgers could be killed safely, effectively and humanely. The plan was to kill 70% of the badgers in the areas of west Somerset and Gloucestershire by free shooting. Across both regions this meant around 5,000 badgers were to be killed in total.
"I would stop the culls now," said the UK's leading badger expert, Prof Rosie Woodroffe. "They have failed to meet the legal licensing target. There are now many serious questions about this whole approach to TB control."
Environment secretary Owen Paterson has argued the cull is an essential part of TB control but leading scientists have dismissed the policy as "mindless" and a "costly distraction" from improving vaccination and controls on cattle movements.
Defra sources said the culling teams were seeking a two to three week extension, to begin within days in Somerset, where the strict six-week culling period ended on Monday. "Extending the cull still further will potentially cause more damage as culls conducted more slowly have a substantially greater impact in raising TB infections," Woodroffe said.
Companies to make disclosures on greenhouse gas emissions
Published: 08 Oct 2013
The Companies Act 2006 (Strategic Report and Directors' Report) Regulations SI 2013/1970 will come into force on 1 October 2013, and amongst other things, require quoted companies to include disclosures on greenhouse gas emissions in the directors' report.
The aim is to simplify and restructure companies’ non-financial reports by amending the Companies Act 2006 to create a separate strategic report to replace the existing requirement for a business review.
The Regulations also amend the Large and Medium-sized Companies and Groups (Accounts and Reports) Regulations SI 2008/410 and the Small Companies and Groups (Accounts and Directors’ Report) Regulations SI 2008/409, which prescribe the contents of the directors’ report, to remove certain items of information from the report, and limit the need to provide information on a company’s purchase of its own shares to public companies.
The Large and Medium-sized Companies and Groups (Accounts and Reports) Regulations SI 2008/410 are also amended to require quoted companies to make certain disclosures regarding greenhouse gas emissions.
Chemical firm fine
Published: 07 Oct 2013
A chemical firm has been fined £150,000 after three workers suffered serious injuries following an explosion.
Personal Hygiene Services (PHS) Ltd pleaded guilty at Liverpool Crown Court to a health and safety breach back in October 2010, where 150 aerosol cans were put in a nearby shredder at Burscough industrial estate. Employees were caught in a fireball and surrounding buildings had to be evacuated while firefighters dealt with the blaze.
A joint investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Environment Agency found the company allowed 150 cans containing extremely flammable substances to be put into a shredder at the site. They found that PHS had no procedure for checking the contents of boxes of waste materials delivered to the site. The company also failed to ensure that a chemical specialist monitored the waste being put into the shredder to check for flammable substances.
A risk assessment carried out in April 2010, was found to be wholly inadequate after the company wrongly identified the risk of aerosols being added to the shredder as "very unlikely".
Principal HSE Inspector Neil Rothwell said, "The chemical waste industry has the potential to be extremely hazardous, and PHS could and should have done more to protect the lives of its employees and the public. The explosion and fire led to three workers being seriously injured and caused considerable disruption in the local area."
A spokeswoman for PHS said, "We have co-operated fully with the HSE and Environment Agency at all times during the course of their investigations and have taken steps to prevent any such incident happening in the future, including reviewing and updating our processes and investing in state-of-the-art equipment in all of our relevant sites."
RIDDOR changes in force
Published: 07 Oct 2013
As of 1 October 2013, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has formally implemented changes to simplify the mandatory reporting of workplace injuries.
The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations SI 2013/1471 aim to clarify and simplify the reporting requirements, and make sure the data collected gives an accurate and useful picture of workplace incidents. The changes affect all employers (including the self-employed) and include:
- replacing the classification of "major injuries" to workers with a shorter list of "specified injuries";
- swapping the existing schedule detailing 47 types of industrial disease with eight categories of reportable work-related illness;
- fewer types of "dangerous occurrence" which require reporting.
There are however no significant changes to the reporting requirements for:
- fatal accidents;
- accidents to non-workers (members of the public);
- accidents resulting in a worker being unable to perform their normal range of duties for more than seven days.
Commenting on the changes, Dave Charnock, HSE policy lead for RIDDOR said, "Reporting under RIDDOR is a legal requirement for companies. The changes will not alter the current ways to report an incident at work. The principles of what must be recorded remain largely unchanged - everything that is reportable must also be recorded (other than gas events), together with over-3-day lost time accidents."
He continued, "The aim is to simplify and clarify reporting requirements, whilst ensuring that a useful supply of information is retained, to provide sufficient data for the HSE and others to act in a risk-based manner, and to enable European and international obligations to be met. The changes will facilitate improved reporting of such information, whilst not requiring businesses to provide information that is either not used or could be better obtained from other sources."
Updated code chimes relaxed rules for ice-cream vans
Published: 07 Oct 2013
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has published updated guidance which relaxes some of the rules placed on the playing of ice-cream van chimes.
The "Code of Practice on Noise from Ice-Cream Van Chimes Etc. in England 2013" replaces the 1982 version of the code, and provides guidance on minimising noise from ice-cream van chimes.
The biggest change is to extend the length of time ice-cream vans can play their music from bursts of four seconds to 12 seconds. They can also sound them once every two minutes, rather than every three. Defra said the slight relaxation was part of the RedTape Challenge to ease regulatory burden on businesses.
The Code also includes measures designed to curtail tension between competing ice-cream sellers. They are advised against playing their chimes "when in sight of another van" if it might "reasonably be taken to be in the street for trading purposes".
A spokeswoman for Defra said the rule would also reduce the risk of so-called "stereo-chiming" between two ice-cream vans. "From a noise management point of view it reduces the risk of two vendors either chiming in close proximity at the same time or competitive chiming which can cause noise annoyance," she said.
In December last year a vendor in Dudley was banned from driving his van for two years after a road-rage attack on a rival. It came only a week after a seller, who called himself Mr Yummy, was convicted of assault and criminal damage after a row with a rival called Mr Whippy over the price of a double cone and flake.
The guidelines also include a ban on vendors sounding their tunes within 50 metres of a hospital, a school during classes, or churches during services. There is also a restriction on playing the jingles after 7pm so as not to disturb children’s bedtimes, as well as a requirement to display a copy of the code of conduct inside the van so that anyone responsible for pressing the button can read them.
For more information, see the:
- Control of Noise (Code of Practice on Noise from Ice-Cream Van Chimes Etc.) (England) Order SI 2013/2036.
HSE release provisional fatal injury statistics
Published: 07 Oct 2013
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published statistics that show there were 57 work-related fatalities in the first three reporting months of 2013/14.
The statistics show that of the 57 fatalities that were reported under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations SI 1995/3163 (RIDDOR), 34 occurred in the services industry, with two fatal injuries notified to the HSE by the water supply, sewerage, waste and recycling industry.
There were also 10 fatalities in the agriculture industry between 1 April and 30 June 2013, six in the construction industry and five reported by the manufacturing industry.
However, some of the cases may still be under investigation, therefore these statistics are released on a provisional basis.
There are also deaths excluded from these statistics as they are reportable under other legislation. The main exclusions are as follows:
- fatal accidents involving workers travelling on a public highway (road traffic accidents) and those killed whilst commuting;
- fatal accidents involving workers travelling by air or sea;
- fatal injuries at work due to "natural causes", usually heart attacks or strokes, unless brought on by trauma due to the accident;
- accidents to members of the armed forces.