HSE International

UCATT slams Tory Government for making construction worker deaths collateral damage

Construction union UCATT says the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) is being told by the Tory Government to prioritise company profits over the health and safety of construction workers.

New guidelines just issued by the Government have redirected the HSE to give greater consideration to “supporting businesses.” The life threatening changes come as part of a new Enforcement Policy Statement (EPS) which the HSE’s Board has been required to adopt under the Government Regulators Code. The new enforcement statement is clear – it gives greater consideration to the growth of construction companies.

Couched in bureaucratic language the message is clear – if the cost of some health and safety measures are too high – don’t worry about a few construction worker deaths. The key sentences in the EPS are: “adopt a proportionate approach” and “recognising the importance of supporting businesses to comply and grow.”

The Government guidance goes on to emphasise the need for “a sensible and proportionate approach to managing health and safety, focussing on significant risks.”

UCATT Acting General Secretary, Brian Rye, said: “The message is clear. Profit before people. Effectively they’re saying a few worker deaths are ok, as long as the bosses are still making money.”

Mr Rye added: “The Health and Safety Executive is supposed to be the guardian of the people, not the lapdog of the rich. These new guidelines are immoral and venal. There is no “proportionate” approach to health and safety – you are either safe or you’re not. And under this Tory Government no one is safe.”

The two key paragraphs in the new EPS are:

“5.1 We adopt a proportionate approach to enforcing the law across different industries and sectors, recognising the importance of supporting businesses to comply and grow.”

“5.3 We expect that duty holders, in turn, will adopt a sensible and proportionate approach to managing health and safety, focussing on significant risks ie. those with the potential to cause real harm.”

Original Source: https://www.ucatt.org.uk/ucatt-slams-tory-government-making-construction-worker-deaths-collateral-damage?#sthash.Q5fghKnl.dpuf

Swire Pacific Offshore hit with HSE notice after Shell Curlew FPSO gas leak

Swire Pacific Offshore has been hit with a Health and Safety (HSE) improvement notice after an incident involving Shell’s Curlew FPSO in the North Sea.
The move comes after Shell were also hit with a warning notice last year following the incident in January 2015.

An investigation had been launched after the suspected gas leak on the FPSO, which is 130 miles south east of Aberdeen.

The HSE notice said Swire Pacific Offshore had “failed” to ensure the health and safety of its employees and others, on the station keeping assist vessel (SKAV) Pacific Dolphin, from the risk of “serious injury from an uncontrolled release of hydrocarbon gas” from the export pipeline connected to the Shell FPSO Curlew’s subsea isolation valve skid.

The notice read: “On January 19, 2015 the SKAV Pacific Dolphin was connected with a towline to Shell’s FPSO Curlew with an inadequate safe system of work, in that you did not carry out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment for the operation, your job specific analysis worksheet (JSA) failed to identify the specific risk of damaging the live export pipeline and so releasing its 125 barg hydrocarbon inventory.

“The Curlew 2014/2015 Station Keeping Bridging Document, issued December 2014, revision 2.2, was not being adhered to in that the activity specific operating guidelines were not being followed, in that the tow line underwater catenary depth was not maintained in accordance with the catenary table.

“As the Curlew swung to the tide the distance between the Pacific Dolphin and the Curlew was allowed to decrease and the tow line tension decreased allowing the towline catenary to reach the seabed.

“Further, the Pacific Dolphin was operating in Dynamic Positioning (DP) mode which was not a specific requirement for the station keeping operation and the vessel was not adequately manned to operate in DP mode or manual mode at the time of the incident in that there was only one officer on the bridge to control and monitor this critical operation.

“As a result the tow line snagged the gas export pipeline connected to the subsea isolation valve skid located on the seabed at a depth of 90 metres and with a gas inventory directly proportional to its 12 inch diameter, 125 bar operating pressure and 21 km length, the SKAV crew applied increased tension to the towline until the pipeline ruptured and released its inventory of gas to the sea surface resulting in a major hydrocarbon release thus exposing employees and others to a risk of serious injury from fire and/or explosion.”

At the time of the incident, Shell had planned to evacuate more than 50 members of staff at the time but bad weather had prevented the safety measure.

In 2014, Shell had decided it was necessary to connect the Station Keeping Assist Vessel (SKAV), the Pacific Dolphin, to the Curlew FPSO because of concerns about its mooring lines.

A spokesman for Swire Pacific Offshore said: “Swire Pacific Offshore can confirm that it has received the HSE Improvement Notice issued on 5th January 2016.

“This is the first Improvement Notice in the history of the company since it was founded in 1975.

“Health and safety of our employees and contractors is our top priority at Swire Pacific Offshore and avoiding any damage to property and the environment is of the utmost importance.

“Following the FPSO Curlew incident back in January 2015, Swire Pacific Offshore has given the HSE authorities its full cooperation and we have taken prompt actions to conduct a thorough review to improve our work practices, policies, procedures and training materials.

“A comprehensive Corrective Action Plan that addresses all the specific recommendations made by HSE has been drawn up and the plan puts in place additional measures that go above and beyond the specific requirements.”

A Shell spokesman said: “Shell can confirm that it was issued with an Improvement Notice on 28th July 2015, in relation to our Management of Change Processes and Marine Operations at our Curlew Floating Production, Storage and Offloading vessel (FPSO).

“The relevant authorities were informed and the matter remains under HSE investigation.”

Original Source: https://www.energyvoice.com/other-news/healthandsafety/104654/swire-pacific-offshore-hit-hse-notice-shell-curlew-fpso-gas-leak/?_ga=1.9978933.1285781654.1458648494

Peter Forshaw: What can Harrison Ford teach theatre about health and safety?

As fans of Star Wars: The Force Awakens may be aware, Harrison Ford had to be taken to hospital as a result of injuries sustained when the hydraulic door of the Millennium Falcon fell unexpectedly. Shooting schedules had to be revised while the actor recuperated, and Foodles Production UK is being prosecuted.

The consequences of this incident are not unique to film. Over the years, the theatre profession has suffered its share of accidents and injuries as the result of falling scenery, or defective equipment or props.

In 2013, Equity’s in-house magazine reported that actor David Birrell had settled his compensation claim for “substantial damages”, arising from injuries sustained in the Donmar Warehouse’s production of Stephen Sondheim’s Passion when a replica prop gun misfired. In 2007, an actor suffered a leg injury when it became caught in the set machinery of the epic musical Lord of the Rings, causing producers to cancel performances while revisions to staging could be considered.

The potential fines are unlimited

In such incidents, the injured person may have to take weeks or months off, suffering financial hardship and being unable to attend auditions. In some cases, actors may not be able to return to their chosen profession. Furthermore, accidents can have an impact on the morale or anxieties of the wider cast and crew. There may be lost revenue through cancelled performances or delays in filming.

In the most extreme cases, the Health and Safety Executive or local authority may even order a show to be cancelled altogether, or be heavily revised to the point where it might be no longer viable. If charges are successfully brought for safety breaches, the potential fines are unlimited. The aftermath – the bad press – can cause lasting damage to a brand.

Foodles is being prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 for failing to ensure the health and safety of its employees, failing to avoid exposing non-employees to safety risks, and breaches regarding inadequate risk assessing and contact with dangerous machinery. Such regulatory duties apply to all employees in whatever workplace they are required to work – a point the HSE has been quick to highlight: “By law, employers must take reasonable steps to protect workers – this is as true on a film set as a factory floor”.

What’s unusual in this particular case are the multiple and wide-ranging charges pleaded, suggesting the HSE is grappling with the employment status of performers such as Ford. In one respect, an actor is a freelance artist akin to an independent contractor in other industries, though in many respects actors are in a relationship with their contracting party akin to employment – in respect of payment, obligations and reciprocal duties. The HSE is clearly playing it safe in pursuing the charges applicable to both scenarios. As the charges show, the status of the injured person is probably irrelevant where safety is concerned – there will always be a health and safety regulation to pin liability on an offending party.

Fans may think it a privilege to perform on a hallowed stage or enter the Millennium Falcon, but for actors it is simply their workplace (though I query whether spaceships were envisaged when the 1974 act and the workplace regulations were drawn up). Actors, like anyone else, are entitled to assume that their employers and others with overall responsibility over working environments have complied with necessary duties. Such duties inevitably become more onerous and wide-ranging the more technically demanding shows become, and as audiences’ expectations demand greater spectacle.

As the Foodles charges allude to, such safety precautions begin with the risk assessment to ensure all risks are considered and suitable control measures are put in place.

Inevitably on large contracts, there are likely to be a number of assessments, covering each aspect of the job and contributing to an overall assessment governing all the aspects of safety within the theatre or on set. The complexity of such assessing is generally the reason why (unlike in some other industries) independent safety specialists are engaged to undertake this task, and co-ordinate the get-in, fit-up and running of a production. This has a number of benefits – not only is the assessment and control of risk likely to be comprehensive (there isn’t much the established practitioners haven’t seen and managed before), there is an opportunity to involve them in the event something goes wrong.

In respect of Star Wars, it will not, presumably, have been Foodles which designed or built the offending door. Depending on the cause of the door falling, this may point the finger of blame at the designer, manufacturer or crew member who installed it. For the purposes of an HSE prosecution, this may be irrelevant – the HSE in the index case clearly consider the buck stopped with Foodles for health and safety breaches. However, the reliance on others can be used in mitigation and can also be used in respect of trying to pass off any civil liability should a claim for damages result.

And let’s be clear. While the HSE’s sentiments about the universal application of safety are true, an actor (particularly one of the action hero variety) arguably accepts more risks than a desk-based office employee, and therefore the nature of the workplace does have an impact on what the reasonable steps are that the employers and producers must take.

Yes, the producing entity must ensure systems are in place to check the inherent safety of staging, rigging and props before daily usage, and must be able to show that systems put in place to minimise safety risks have been explained (where to stand, how to lift and so on). However those actors who sign up to, say, a panto, or play such as The Play That Goes Wrong undeniably accept a degree of rough and tumble in a controlled environment. It’s part of the actor’s life – they have just as much a part to play to ensure a risk-free production as anyone else.

Original Source: https://www.thestage.co.uk/opinion/2016/peter-forshaw-what-can-harrison-ford-teach-theatre-about-health-and-safety/?

Man is buried alive by cement after he fell asleep in hole on construction site

A man was buried alive by cement after construction workers mistakenly poured it over him while he slept.

Jai Ram, 24, had taken a nap inside a duct at the Pench River Dam Project in Madhya Pradesh, central India.

But while he slept, workers accidentally buried him in concrete they poured to fill up the duct before checking to see if anything was inside.

They then flattened the concrete using a steam roller to level the gravel at 4.30am yesterday.

Mr Ram’s family raised the alarm after he went missing, and workers later said they noticed a hand sticking out of the gravel before digging up the cement and finding a body.

The workers are now on the run from police who have said they will be arrested for culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

Senior Superintendent of Police Dr Girijia Kishore Pathak, 52, said it was a severe case of negligence.

He added: “We are investigating the matter and the search is on to find the accused.

“It has been confirmed that Jai Ram was sleeping and this is a case of utter negligence. The person in the driving seat of the roller will be the prime accused in this case.

People gather at construction site and show anger after Jai Ram,24, who was buried alive when construction workers failed to spot him in the dark and built over him at a dam project in Madhya Pradesh, India

Friends and family gathered at the construction site when they heard the news

“Meanwhile we are collecting statements of the people present in the area at the time and other workers on duty that morning.”

This is the second incident in the last six months of a man being killed on a construction site due to negligence in India.

Police officers investigate at a construction site after Jai Ram,24, who was buried alive when construction workers failed to spot him in the dark and built over him at a dam project in Madhya Pradesh, India

Police officers investigate the incident

Latori Burman, 45, was found buried at a construction site in Katni district, of Madhya Pradesh, last September.

Original Source: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/man-buried-alive-cement-after-7540290

 

McCain admits safety breaches

McCain Foods has admitted breaching health and safety regulations after a worker nearly lost an arm in an industrial accident at a factory.

Automotive company fined after worker loses finger

A Birmingham-based automotive company has been fined after a worker lost his finger.

Birmingham Magistrates’ Court heard how a welder at Lander Automotives Limited was expected to work on a variety of jobs as required by production. While he was working on a machine the employee’s glove became entangled in the drill bit. He suffered partial amputation to the third finger on his right hand.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident which occurred on 17 June 2015 found that the company failed to provide adequate training, a safe system of work, a risk assessment or method statement.

Lander Automotive Limited, of Clapgate Lane, Birmingham, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, and was fined £27,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,574 and a £120 victim surcharge.

For further information good work practice visit:http://www.hse.gov.uk/humanfactors/topics/good-practice-guidelines.htm

Original Source: http://press.hse.gov.uk/2016/automotive-company-fined-after-worker-loses-finger/?

Businessman to be sentenced over food hygiene offences

The director of a company which operates the franchise for Stapleford’s Pizza Hut branch is to be sentenced over food hygiene and health and safety offences.

Nadim Choudary, of Ocean Success Limited, the current franchisee for Pizza Hut in Stapleford, will appear at Nottingham Crown Court later this month to be sentenced for ten offences under the Food Safety & Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013 and one offence under The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Choudary, from Northampton, who has a chain of Pizza Hut franchises around the country, appeared unrepresented at the first hearing at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court on February 26. He entered a guilty plea to 11 out of 13 offences. Broxtowe Borough Council, as prosecuting authority offered no evidence in relation to the two remaining offences.
Magistrates considered the facts of the case and the financial worth of Choudary and determined that in the circumstances, their powers were insufficient to deal with the level of sentence. The case was therefore referred to the crown court for sentence

Broxtowe Borough Council is also seeking an ancillary order to include a Hygiene Prohibition Order to prevent Choudary from participating in the management of any food business.

Choudary is currently on bail until sentencing on March 30.

Original Source: http://www.ilkestonadvertiser.co.uk/news/local/businessman-to-be-sentenced-over-food-hygiene-offences-1-7808898#ixzz43XsQ6ktP

Bodies search begins as debris removal starts at Didcot power station

Work to locate the bodies of three missing men and clear debris from the site of the collapsed Didcot power station, has started.

Heavy lifting gear has been brought in to clear the site of the accident which killed one man whose body was recovered, and injured five others.

The recovery operation has been criticised by their families of the missing menfor being too slow.

The plant was set for demolition when it collapsed on 23 February.

Work at Didcot to clear rubble

Heavy machinery is lifting rubble from the site in the search for the missing three men at Didcot power station

Thames Valley Police and the Health and Safety Executive said returning the missing men to their families “remains a priority”.

The bodies of Christopher Huxtable, 34, from Swansea, Ken Cresswell, 57, and John Shaw, 61, both from Rotherham, have not been found following the collapse.

The body of Michael Collings, 53, from Cleveland, North Yorkshire, was recovered from the site.

Emergency workers at Didcot power station

Emergency service workers have been at the site in Didcot for the past three weeks, but there have been fears over the “unstable” pile of rubble

His funeral was held near Redcar on Tuesday, with hundreds of bikers attending.

In a joint statement on Wednesday, Thames Valley Police and the Health and Safety Executive said: “Starting today, large equipment and people will be arriving on site to start work to enable the recovery operation to resume at the weekend, sooner if possible.

“Our priority remains the recovery of the missing men so they can be returned to their families and to understand what caused this incident.

“Specialist officers from Thames Valley Police continue to support the families and are providing them with regular updates on the progress of this work.”

Demolition company Coleman and Co said: “Our over-riding priority remains to support the families of those who have died or are still tragically missing, and the start of the recovery operation is an important milestone in a process to re-unite our missing colleagues with their families.”

Michael Collings

Michael Collings died when part of the building at Didcot power station collapsed

Original Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-oxfordshire-35850889

Asbestos fear at 88 Stoke-on-Trent schools

Every school in Stoke-on-Trent is to be tested for asbestos – after an academy was closed down for health and safety reasons.

concerns the city council’s records are incomplete.

It follows the closure of Blurton’s Sutherland Primary Academy last year after ‘sprayed asbestos’ started bubbling and cracking on the walls.

A Department of Education report has also revealed 75 per cent of state schools are likely to contain asbestos.

Now Stoke-on-Trent City Council is spending up to £146,000 to carry out the surveys at all 88 schools.

A council report states: “Failure to identify asbestos-containing materials could put the health of pupils, teaching staff and the public at risk of asbestos-related diseases.

“This work will reduce the risk to those who may be exposed to asbestos fibres.”

Headteacher and parents have welcomed plans and experts have drawn up a priority list for the school inspections from April.

The top priority schools include Birches Head and Trentham High Schools, Abbey Hulton Primary School and Forest Park Primary School.

The survey comes as it is revealed staff and pupils at Sutherland Primary Academy are unlikely to return to their Blurton home until September.

It was triggered by a letter from Transform Schools, which maintains Stoke-on-Trent’s school buildings.

In the letter, project director Craig Fullwood said: “We have raised issues with the council about the asbestos registers, including multiple versions of asbestos registers and out-of-date registers.

“We require further assurances that the council has plans to proactively survey and monitor the condition of asbestos across the schools’ estate in accordance with the required legislation.”

Burnwood Nursery School, in Chell Heath, will be one of the first buildings to be tested.

Operations leader Grahame Colclough said: “Part of my role is managing the school premises and asbestos is a big thing.

“This survey is definitely welcomed and anything to show our buildings are safe for the children and staff is a positive thing.”

Maple Court Academy, in Bentilee, is within the fourth phase of the works at a cost of £2,000.

 

Original Source: http://www.stokesentinel.co.uk/Asbestos-fear-88-Stoke-Trent-schools/story-28944999-detail/story.html?

TUC launches new guidance to recruit more union members and health and safety reps

The TUC has today (Friday) launched new guidance to help recruit more union members and encourage more existing union members to become health and safety reps.

The UK’s current network of 100,000 union safety reps work hard to reduce injuries and ill-health at work, and the TUC trains around 10,000 safety reps every year, who focus on finding and resolving potential problems at work. Union reps first highlighted risks including asbestos, violence at work, RSI, the effects of passive smoking and stress.

Prevention of workplace injuries and work-related ill-health as a result of this ‘union safety effect’ saves the economy the equivalent of £219m-£725m a year at 2014 prices. The contribution of the union safety role in the public sector alone is £130m-£360m.

However, the TUC believes that the government’s Trade Union Bill may seriously affect health and safety at work, if reps are unable to get the facility time off they need to keep their members safe or if union membership falls.

As a result the TUC in partnership with Hazards has produced new guidance aimed at helping unions attract new members and to encourage existing members to become more involved with health and safety issues.

The TUC advice suggests that health and safety is a good way of recruiting members as concerns about workplace safety are one of the main reasons that people join a trade union.

In addition, many employers are more interested in working with unions on health and safety issues than others, and areas like well-being can provide a good way of involving the workforce and engaging with the employer.

To encourage current union members to be more interested in health and safety issues, the guidance suggests unions can:

• involve members in identifying hazards at work, finding solutions and dealing with problems.
• continue to increase the number of confident, trained health and safety reps, ensuring they are representative of their workplaces.
• deal with problems early, when they are manageable, rather than leaving them to get worse.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Union health and safety reps are unsung heroes, working tirelessly to look after people at work and saving the economy millions.

“Staff who are worried about health and safety issues in their workplace are more likely to consider joining a union to protect themselves. It’s vital unions take the chance to encourage workers to sign up and to become more involved.

“Good employers recognise the importance of working with unions to ensure their shops, offices and factories are safe. It’s a shame the government is putting this good work at risk with its ill-conceived Trade Union Bill.”

Original Source: https://www.tuc.org.uk/union-issues/tuc-launches-new-guidance-recruit-more-union-members-and-health-and-safety-reps?