The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has just published revised INDG383 guidance on manual handling assessment charts (the MAC tool).

The revision includes:

  • minor changes to terminology to improve clarity;
  • replacing purple category in the chart to "unacceptable level of risk" where operations in that category pose a serious risk of injury and must be improved;
  • references to a variable manual handling assessment chart (V-MAC) for complex jobs that involve a variety of lifting tasks;
  • improved information regarding gripping the load with pictures of different items and how difficult it is to carry them;
  • improved pictograms for different styles of carrying different loads to improve the visualisation of the task to the assessor;
  • introduction of possible control measures to reduce the risk of amber/red factors to the Score Sheet (such measures could include the use of mechanical aids, reduction of the weight of the load, design of the packaging etc.);
  • introduction of a short questionnaire, which is included in the Score Sheet, to determine whether a full risk assessment is necessary for a particular task.

 For more information on this subject, see:

Waste crime is "more organised"
Published: 07 Nov 2018

The Environment Agency have stressed that waste crime is becoming a lot more organised, with the same amount of illegal sites opening as it closes.

The comments were made following the publication of the annual "Regulating for People, the Environment and Growth" report, which annually assesses the performance of businesses holding environmental permits in England, and how effective the Environment Agency's regulatory approach is.

This year, the report identifies a total of £25.5 million in fines for environmental offences brought by the Agency, compared to just £8 million the previous year. Again, waste crime continues to be a huge problem for communities, causes environmental damage and impacts legitimate businesses. Although the Agency is closing more than two illegal waste sites every day, a similar number of new ones are being discovered.

The report acknowledges the need to do more to tackle the growing concern of organised waste crime, which is something that will be addressed in the Government's upcoming waste crime review.

It also highlights the increased use of enforcement undertakings for less serious environmental incidents. For example in 2017/18, £2.2 million were accepted by the Agency. By companies admitting liability and making a financial contribution to remedy the harm they have caused, both the environment and communities can benefit.

Other key findings of the report include:

  • 812 illegal waste sites were closed in 2017/18, which is more than two a day;
  • serious pollution incidents fell to 419, down 18% from 2016;
  • the amount of poorly managed sites reduced by 18% from 2016;
  • environmental charities, organisations and projects received almost £2.2 million in enforcement undertakings, compared to £900k in 2016.

Commenting on the report, Executive Director of the Environment Agency Harvey Bradshaw said:

"Our regulation is supporting a healthier environment and safer communities – serious pollution incidents fell by 18%. We closed down over 800 illegal waste sites, and the courts have imposed record levels of fines on companies for environmental offences.

"We are committed to supporting businesses to innovate and grow, in return, we expect that businesses take their responsibilities to protecting the environment seriously."

For more information, see:

Woodlands Homecare Ltd was sentenced last week for safety breaches after a worker was killed. Leeds Magistrates Court heard how on the 23 July 2012, the worker was pushing a trolley when he was struck by a side loader fork lift truck (FLT) that had been unloading a delivery wagon at the time of the incident. Following investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), it was found that as the FLT was unloading the worker passed a ventilation system cyclone and was then struck by the reversing FLT. 

Woodlands Homecare Ltd of Railway House, Calverley Lane, Rodley, Leeds pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. This confirms it is the duty of every employer to ensure, as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all employees. The guilty plea resulted in the company being fined £233,334.00 with £21,620 costs. 

Following the hearing, HSE inspector Rachel Brittain commented: "This was a tragic and wholly avoidable incident, caused by the failure of the company to implement the findings of their own transport plan." HSE noted that vehicles at work continue to be a major cause of fatal and minor injuries. Every year there are over 5000 incidents involving transport in the workplace, with approximately 50 of those result in people being killed. 

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) seeks views and opinions in a public Consultation on how the country's most cherished landscapes can be enhanced for the future generations, as a part of an independent review of the National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

The scope of that Consultation is to provide information to DEFRA about "what makes National Parks and AONBs special to you", with a possibility to attach a picture of such area (copyrights apply) which would sum up what is special about the designated landscapes.

It also aims to explore how access to such areas could be improved, including public transport, how local communities can be supported better and ways to improve habitats for wildlife.

The Environment Secretary, Michael Gove said: "We want to ensure the people who live, work and visit these cherished places have a say in their future. As we look afresh at these precious landscapes, I look forward to hearing from everyone who shares an interest in conserving and enhancing them for the next generation."

The Consultation also considers proposals to expand such areas, with possibilities of introducing new National Parks or AONBs.

Responding to this consultation

The Consultation runs from 20 October 2018 until 18 December 2018.

The way to respond is by completing an online survey on DEFRA's website.

For more information, see the:

New evidence provided in a study carried out by the United Nations called "Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion: 2018" shows that the ozone layer is showing signs of continuing recovery from man-made damage, and it is possible that it might heal completely by 2060.

The Montreal Protocol is a landmark international agreement between 197 parties that involves legally binding restrictions on the use of chemicals and aerosols that contain chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) which deplete the ozone in the upper layers of earth's atmosphere, which protects all living things from most of the harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun.

The recovery of the ozone layer has been progressing at a rate of about 1% to 3% a decade since 2000. At this pace, the ozone layer in the northern hemisphere could recover completely by the 2030s, if the current recovery rate is sustained. The southern hemisphere, especially in the Antarctic region, where the damage to the ozone layer is the worst, might take much longer to repair.

The phasing out of CFCs has also had a beneficial effect on climate change as some of the substances had a very high global warming potential.

Also, in 2019 the Montreal Protocol will be strengthened by an addition of the Kigali Amendment, which aims to phase out hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), mostly found in refrigeration systems and air conditioning, which have very high global warming potential if released into the atmosphere. As one of the first nations, the UK ratified the Kigali Amendment in November 2017, legally committing to phasing out the HFCs from the general use.

The phasing out of HFCs will start as a 10% reduction in 2019 and delivering an 86% cut by 2036, compared with the baseline 2011-2013 period.

For more information on this subject, see:

  • Decision 1988/540/EEC on the Vienna Convention and Montreal Protocol;
  • Regulation (EC) 1005/2009 on substances that deplete the ozone layer;
  • Regulation (EU) 517/2014 on fluorinated greenhouse gases

By the middle of the century, British summers could be powered entirely by clean energy, without "breaking the energy market", according to a report.

The report aims to answer the burning question, whether the country can manage the ambitious greenhouse gas emissions reduction target to 80% of 1990 baseline level by 2050.

The analysis used in the report considers a 2050 scenario with a combined total of 130GW of solar, wind and nuclear capacity in Britain. A significant spike from 40GW used today. The predictions set out that power demand will increase by two thirds and the use of cars and household heating will be 80% electrified.

The report focuses mainly on the state of the energy market once Great Britain has committed to a very high input of renewable energy into the grid. Under these predictions, the price of power could drop to nearly zero between April and October due to lower demand and a great share of energy produced by solar and wind installations.

Energy firms would still continue to have a viable business model because for the other half of the year, where there would be increased demand for gas to support the energy production, prices could spike up to £70 per MWh. Higher than the current annual average of £50-60 per MWh.

The report finds that the implementation of a much greater share of clean energy might not mean that the overall energy bill will be lower. The wholesale part of an energy bill would certainly fall, but other components such as backup power payments, renewable subsidies and network costs could increase.

Cedrec's take

Where this prognosis can be a ray of light on the grim predictions that Britain will not be able to transform into clean energy by 2050 and the 80% reduction target is seen to be achievable, there are a few issues with that prediction.

Whereas some could argue whether nuclear energy is "clean", the other issue is the target itself. While 80% carbon emissions reduction is a great step, there are calls for the whole UK to be carbon zero by 2050, as announced in 2016 by the Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom. This was following the Paris Agreement, to amend the target in the Climate Change Act 2008. The new target, if introduced, is based on the implementation of new technologies that have not been invented yet.

Also with the cuts to the subsidies for the renewable energy installations, while allowing conventional energy production as usual and fracking for shale gas to continue, even the 80% target could seem far-fetched for some.

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