HSE International

Landlord fined £12k for breaches of safety rules

A landlord has been ordered to pay £12,400 after breaching management regulations.

Beckhall Properties Ltd of Stockport have been fined a total of £11,000 for 11 separate offences. The company was also ordered to pay the city council’s costs of £1280, along with a victim of crime surcharge of £120.

Representatives of Beckhall Properties Ltd failed to appear at a Magistrates’ hearing and the case was proved, in their absence.

The company is required to meet management regulations for their building, which is converted in to self-contained flats, under Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) legislation. These regulations ensure that minimum safety standards are maintained including fire safety and gas safety.

In May of 2015 a tenant of a Whalley Range building owned by Beckhall Properties Ltd, complained to Manchester City Council about the poor condition of the premises.

When council officers arrived at the property to undertake an investigation they unearthed a number of management regulation breaches, including a defective fire alarm, faulty fire extinguishers and a fire door that did not meet regulations. The stairs of the property were also in a dangerous condition whilst there was no safety certificate for the building’s electrics.

The city council invited Beckhall Properties Ltd to an interview under caution in order to discuss the areas of concern, but they received no response.

Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council Councillor Bernard Priest has stated, “We take the issue of tenant safety extremely seriously and the size of the punishment shows the court shares our concern. Let this action send a message to any unscrupulous landlords – who may be considering neglecting their legal obligations – that we will not hesitate to prosecute”.

Original Source: http://www.blacknet.co.uk/landlord-charged-12k-for-breaking-regulations-in-whalley-range/

HSE to prosecute film company after Star Wars incident

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has today informed Foodles Production (UK) Ltd that it will be prosecuted over an incident in which actor Harrison Ford was seriously injured during the filming of Star Wars: The Forces Awakens.

Foodles Production (UK) Ltd is based in Queen Caroline Street, London, and will appear at High Wycombe Magistrates Court on 12 May 2016 to face four charges.

Mr Ford suffered a broken leg and other injuries when he was struck by a heavy hydraulic metal door on the set of the Millennium Falcon. The incident happened on 12 June 2014 at Pinewood Studios.

A spokesman for HSE said:

“HSE has today informed Foodles Production (UK) Ltd that it will be prosecuted over four alleged breaches of health and safety law. The charges relate to an incident during filming of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, which left Harrison Ford with serious injuries after he was hit by a heavy hydraulic door.

“By law, employers must take reasonable steps to protect workers – this is as true on a film set as a factory floor. We have investigated thoroughly and believe that we have sufficient evidence to bring the case to court.”

Foodles Production (UK) Ltd is the company responsible for producing Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens and under health and safety law for managing the risks created during production.

Original Source: http://press.hse.gov.uk/2016/hse-to-prosecute-film-company-after-star-wars-incident/

Company fined for safety failings when dealing with asbestos at a school

An Oxford based company has been fined after disturbing asbestos insulation board (AIB) at a school.

Northampton Magistrates’ Court heard how Amey Communities Limited (ACL) were contracted to carry out roof refurbishment at Lings Primary School, Hayeswood Road, Northampton. During the course of this refurbishment workers from ACL disturbed AIB in a small plant room.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive into the incident which occurred on 6 November 2014 found failings in ACL’s project management arrangements. They failed to monitor and identify asbestos materials during this specific roof refurbishment work at the school and ensure key personnel had suitable asbestos awareness training.

Amey Community Limited, of Edmund Halley Road, Oxford, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 13(2) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007, and was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,737.

HSE inspector Sam Russell said after the hearing: “The serious health risks of asbestos which is a class one carcinogen are well-known and publicised. Any maintenance or construction work undertaken in buildings built before 2000 must consider and manage the risk of possible asbestos containing materials. It is important this material is considered at every stage of a construction project and failure to do so places workers, buildings occupants and the public at risk to possible exposure to asbestos fibres.”

Original Source: http://press.hse.gov.uk/2016/company-fined-for-safety-failings-when-dealing-with-asbestos-at-a-school/?

Star Wars to be prosecuted for alleged health and safety breaches

Photograph: Allstar/Disney/Lucasfilm. Harrison Ford, 73, was seriously injured after being hit by a metal hydraulic door in June 2014 while filming scenes on board the Millennium Falcon

A Star Wars production company is to be prosecuted over an injury to Harrison Ford during the filming of box office smash The Force Awakens, the Health and Safety Executive has announced.

Ford, who was reportedly paid more than $34m to reprise his role as Han Solo in the revived space opera saga, was hurt by a hydraulic metal door of the Millennium Falcon during an on-set accident in June 2014 at Pinewood Studios near London. The incident saw the 73-year-old sidelined for almost two months, with director JJ Abrams forced to halt production in order for the actor to recover.

The HSE is prosecuting Foodles Production (UK) Ltd over the incident. The BBC reports the firm, which is based at Disney’s UK headquarters in Hammersmith, London, was the primary production company behind The Force Awakens.

The national watchdog said it believed there was sufficient evidence to bring four charges relating to alleged health and safety breaches against the firm. A spokesperson said: “By law, employers must take reasonable steps to protect workers – this is as true on a film set as a factory floor.”

Ford, who was airlifted to hospital following the incident, was reportedly left with serious injuries. There has been no suggestion that the actor himself is considering action against Disney.

Original Source: http://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/feb/11/star-wars-to-be-prosecuted-health-and-safety-harrison-ford-injury

 

Apache appeals HSE notice after supply vessel crash

A tribunal hearing has begun after US oil and gas company Apache appealed an improvement notice issued by the HSE (Health and Safety Executive).

The company disputes the notice from the safety body, which was given after a supply vessel crashed into the Forties Echo on March 16th last year.

Today evidence was heard from HSE specialist inspector Alan Keith Pemberton, who said an improvement notice was issued after the incident’s risk factor was categorised as “significantly large”.

Speaking at the tribunal, Mr Pemberton said the 291ft Sea Falcon, owned by Norwegian offshore supply company Deep Supply, was going at a speed of 4knots.

Guidelines state the vessel should have maintained a speed of 0.5knots.

The supply vessel had been understood to have been offloading cargo when the collision occurred.

The case, which is being heard at Atholl House, will continue to hear further evidence this afternoon.

Original Source: https://www.energyvoice.com/oilandgas/north-sea/101195/apache-appeals-hse-notice-after-supply-vessel-crash/?

Fuel giant sentenced over offshore platform gas releases

One of the world’s largest oil and gas exploration and production companies has been fined after gas leaks on a gas platform off the Lincolnshire coast put workers’ lives in danger. 

ConocoPhillips (UK) Limited admitted serious safety failings in Lincoln Crown Court after two uncontrolled and one controlled but unexpected gas release, which occurred on the Lincolnshire Offshore Gas Gathering System (LOGGS) between 30 November and 1 December 2012.

The LOGGS Complex is situated 70 miles off the Lincolnshire coast and is made up of five interlinked platforms. As well as having its own wells, the installation collects natural gas from other gas platforms in the Southern North Sea and pipes it to the onshore Theddlethorpe gas terminal.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the releases on 30 November resulted from maintenance work to replace a gas pressure control valve on one of three gas turbines used to generate electricity for the installation.

To do this, the fuel gas pressure safety valve and a flexible hose had to be removed.

Releases of gas occurred as a result of a number of deficiencies in isolation and planning, allowing gas to come out of an open ended pipe connected to the high pressure vent system.

Breakdowns in communications across the five platforms of LOGGS also meant some workers incorrectly believed the platform was gas-free, putting the lives of up to 66 workers on board in danger if an ignition occurred.

A loss of electrical power made management of the emergency more difficult. Workers sent to investigate were put at extreme risk of death or serious injury as ignition of the gas would’ve resulted in an explosion.

It is estimated around 603kg of produced hydrocarbon gas was released into the Turbine Hall during this incident.

On 1 December, another gas release happened after batteries ran down. In this case, the isolation valve was closed in time. This stopped the gas accumulating in the turbine hall, which would have put workers at risk.

HSE served ConocoPhillips (UK) Ltd with a Prohibition Notice on 13 December 2012, for failing to control the gas releases. The company confirmed on 21 December that modifications to LOGGS incident command system had been made to prevent a repeat of these incidents.

ConocoPhillips (UK) Limited of Portman Street, London, pleaded guilty to three breaches of the Offshore Installations (Prevention of Fire and Explosion, and Emergency Response) Regulations 1995. It was fined £3,000,000 (£1m for each offence) and ordered to pay costs of £159,459.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector John Hawkins said: “There was a failure to identify the risk posed by the high-pressure vent systems when carrying out intrusive maintenance work.

“ConocoPhillips failed to put in place appropriate process isolations to isolate the high-pressure vent from the worksite.

“An assessment of the full extent of the maintenance intervention work was not carried out and the full isolations required were not identified.

“Our investigations indicate there was a deviation from following procedures fully. The underlying cause of the incident was the inadequate implementation, control and oversight of the permit to work system, and the common isolation procedure.

“It is only a matter of good fortune these incidents didn’t result in a serious, tragic incident.”

For further information and guidance on risk assessment for offshore installations visit: http://www.hse.gov.uk/offshore/sheet32006.pdf PDF

Original Source: http://press.hse.gov.uk/2016/fuel-giant-sentenced-over-offshore-platform-gas-releases/?

Tougher penalties for farm health and safety breaches

Farmers or farming businesses who are found guilty of breaching health and safety rules face tougher penalties from this month.

The Sentencing Council has introduced new guidelines for health and safety offences, corporate manslaughter, food safety and hygiene breaches.

They will apply to anyone over 18 who is sentenced from 1 February.

Phil Cookson, partner at agricultural law firm Roythornes Solicitors, said the new sentencing guidelines put the bar much higher when it came to fines for health and safety offences.

Fines of up to £450,000 can now be applied to companies with a turnover of up to £2m who are found to have breached the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Big businesses with a turnover in excess of £50m could face fines of up to £10m.

Individuals found guilty of breaching the law, face unlimited fines or the possibility of a two-year prison sentence.

Until now, there has been limited guidance for judges and magistrates in dealing with what can be complex and serious offences that do not come before the courts as frequently as some other criminal offences.

Custodial sentences were only available in certain circumstances and fines in the lower courts were limited to £20,000.

“We can expect to see some small farm businesses hit really hard if they end up on the wrong end of an health and safety prosecution,” said Mr Cookson.

“Everyone in the industry wants to see farmers’ health and safety record take a turn for the better, for obvious reasons.

“These new fine ranges should act as a wake-up call; the days of businesses cost-cutting on health and safety thinking fines will be manageable are a thing of the past.”

According to the Health and Safety Executive, in the past 10 years, almost one person a week has been killed as a direct result of agricultural work.

While not all deaths or serious injuries on farm are as a result of breaches in health and safety regulations several are.

The sentencing guidelines are the first time there will be comprehensive sentencing guidelines covering the most commonly sentenced health and safety and food safety offences in England and Wales.

For example, smaller businesses found to have breached food hygiene regulations will now face fines of up to £120,000.

As a general rule courts must following the guidelines when sentencing.

The level of fines for breaches depend on the level of culpability (low, medium, high, very high), the risk of harm and the level of potential harm, and the turnover of the offending business.

Example

A farm partnership with a turnover of £400,000.

A farmworker is seriously injured when caught under a reversing trailer in the yard.

The business is found guilty of an offence under section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act, which requires an employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of all its employees, for failing to carry out a risk assessment or devise a safe procedure for reversing vehicles where vision is restricted.

The risk of harm is found to be high, and the level of harm was found to be the highest (death or serious impairment resulting in lifelong dependence on third-party care).

The level of culpability is established as being high because the business had failed to make changes following an earlier safety incident and had ignored concerns raised by the foreman.

The business could be fined between £150,000-£350,000, with £250,000 as the starting point before other factors (mitigating for example, the business generally had a good health and safety record, or aggravating, such as the existence of recent convictions).

Original Source: http://www.fwi.co.uk/business/tougher-penalities-for-farm-health-and-safety-breaches.htm

Oxfordshire company guilty of allowing waste crime

Environment Agency prosecuted a company and an individual associated with the company for allowing illegal waste activities.

Mr David Crossley Cooke was described by the sentencing Judge, HHJ Eccles QC, as the controlling mind of Tapecrown Limited, which owns Chowle Farm , a site off the A420 near Faringdon, Oxfordshire, also known as Faringdon Business Park. The defendants appeared at Oxford Crown Court on Monday 25 January 2016.

Tapecrown Ltd was fined £20,000 with the costs to be determined at a later date. Mr Crossley Cooke was fined £4,000 with costs also to be determined at a later date.

Between April 2010 and June 2013, various waste operations took place at Faringdon Business Park. In particular, a skip hire business operated illegally from the site, and another tenant deposited large quantities of tyres.

All commercial waste activities are regulated by the Environment Agency. Whenever waste is stored or treated, the operator is required to hold an environmental permit or register for an exemption, which is reserved for low-risk waste activities only.

The Court heard that Tapecrown Ltd allowed the storage, treatment and burning of waste at the Faringdon premises without the necessary permits.

Two individuals have already been convicted of waste offences committed at Faringdon Business Park during the charge period. Mr David Ham pleaded guilty in 2011 to depositing controlled waste likely to cause pollution to the environment or harm to human health between April 2010 and March 2011, and to operating a regulated facility, a waste transfer station, without an environment permit over the same period. Mr Wayne Clarke pleaded guilty in December 2012 to operating a regulated facility, recovering metal components from wheels of vehicles and storing or depositing the tyres, without an environment permit between October 2011 and January 2012.

In July 2013 Mr Ham pleaded guilty to further offences of failing to comply with a court order to remove waste from the site and of keeping controlled waste likely to cause pollution to the environment or harm to human health between June 2012 and January 2013.

Tapecrown Ltd knowingly permitted these waste crimes to be carried out at Faringdon Business Park. The waste operations occurred on the company’s land over a prolonged period of time, April 2010 to June 2013. The Environment Agency wrote to the company repeatedly and advised as to what had been witnessed on site and reported by others. David Crossley Cooke was present during many of the visits made by Environment Agency officers; and lives only a few hundred metres away from the site.

Jack Knight of the Environment Agency said:

It is very disappointing that Mr Crossley Cooke continued to allow the operation of an illegal site despite having an understanding of his responsibilities.

The net is closing in on people who think they can make easy money undercutting legitimate waste businesses by putting the local environment at risk. We are constantly gathering information on illegal waste sites, criminal activities and environmental crime in Oxfordshire and across the south east.

We are taking a zero tolerance approach against offenders. In cases like this where individuals consistently operate illegally, we have absolutely no hesitation in prosecuting them as we want to make sure that waste crime doesn’t pay.

This extends to landowners and their agents who fail to take steps to prevent such offences once they are made aware of them.

To report any illegal dumping or waste crime please call Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.

Original Source: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/oxfordshire-company-guilty-of-allowing-waste-crime?utm_content=buffer9e54d&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Mesothelioma lawyer secures financial settlement for client

Bryan Harvey, a former carpenter with mesothelioma settled his claim against his former employers after contracting mesothelioma.

Mr Harvey was in his late 50s when he was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a fatal cancer of the lining of the lungs caused by exposure to asbestos.

Before the diagnosis Mr Harvey was healthy and fit, and intended to continue working into his 70s.

Mr Harvey was exposed to asbestos whilst working as a carpenter in Kent from the mid to late 70s.

Even though extensive information about the dangers of asbestos was available at the time, he was frequently required to cut up asbestos sheets which caused him to be exposed to clouds of asbestos dust.

Mr Harvey was not given any suitable protection against asbestos exposure. Towards the end of his employment, a non-asbestos alternative was available but his employers never used this.

The business for which Mr Harvey worked was no longer trading by the time he was diagnosed with mesothelioma.

Mr Harvey was represented by mesothelioma lawyer Vijay Ganapathy who, carried out investigations at HM Revenue and Customs, where he discovered that the business was a partnership rather than a limited company.

In order to start Court proceedings, it was necessary to track down the individual partners who employed Mr Harvey in the 70s.  Despite the challenges associated with this, Vijay was able to locate them and identify the company that provided insurance at the relevant time.

Mr Harvey’s claim was settled for more than £250,000.

Mesothelioma lawyer Vijay Ganapathy said:

“As with many of the mesothelioma claims we handle it can be necessary to carry out extensive research to determine against whom the claim should be advanced.

“I am therefore pleased we were able to overcome these hurdles in Bryan’s case which meant that he and his family were provided with some measure of financial security.”

Original Source: https://www.leighday.co.uk/News/News-2016/February-2016/Former-carpenter-settles-mesothelioma-claim

Asbestos – Royal Navy veteran seeking cancer compensation

A Royal Navy veteran who is living with incurable cancer says he is waiting to hear if he will get any compensation.

Fred Minall, 74, of Northampton, said he was diagnosed with mesothelioma in October after working with asbestos as a naval engineer from 1958 to 1963.

He is campaigning to get compensation in line with payouts he says civilian employees are entitled to.

Mark Lancaster, defence minister, said the Ministry of Defence (MoD) was “reviewing the options”.

Cut-off date

Mr Minall said his diagnosis was related his service on HMS Trafalgar, where asbestos was used to insulate pipes.

He said he was not entitled to compensation because he was diagnosed before a cut-off date of 16 December 2015.

“The asbestos had to be removed and replaced by hand and we were covered head-to-foot in the white asbestos powder – we’d get it in our eyes and up our noses,” he said. “I’ve got severe back pain, chest pain and feel pretty grotty all the time.

“What dates have got to do with it is beyond my comprehension, and they’ve got to step forward and pay us proper compensation in line with our civilian counterparts.”

Mr Minall said he had about two months to live and wanted his three sons to benefit from any compensation payment.

Northampton South MP David Mackintosh has backed his case and told the House of Commons it was “an anomaly that we need to look at”.

In a statement issued by the MoD, Mr Lancaster said: “Whether [compensation] should be applied to this group is a complex issue that has been the subject of much discussion.”

Original Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-northamptonshire-35454429