HSE International

Worker punctures lungs falling 8m through Salford storage shed roof

The man fell through a timber storage shed roof in 2016 and suffered multiple injuries including a broken leg, elbow and ribs. He punctured his lungs and also had his spleen removed as a result of the fall…

INAB and the UK Space Agency sign agreement to protect forests in Guatemala

The UK Space Agency will fund a three-year £5.3 million project in Guatemala to use cutting edge technology to tackle illegal logging…

DHF plea safety checks for all gates after timber gate death

The DHF appeal follows the recent death of a 49-year-old tradesman, when a timber gate fell on him at a residential address in Lincolnshire on 9 March…

Fencing contractors given suspended sentences after timber post hits worker

Raymond Lainsbury suffered injuries when timber posts and frames fell from a fork lift truck. Hoo Farm Fencing owners Maurice James Blackford and Susan Hawthorne…

Forestry worker killed by falling tree in Scottish Borders

Emergency services were called to Sunderland Hall estate, near Selkirk, on Tuesday evening, following reports that the man very badly injured. He was pronounced dead at the scene…

Timber-frame firm fined for fire safety and traffic offences

J G Hale Construction Ltd based in South Wales has been fined £100,000 for running an unsafe timber-frame construction site.

Timber company fined for safety failings

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) served a Prohibition Notice on the company prohibiting work at height approximately three metres above the ground without adequate precautions.

Is Europe doing enough to ensure long-term health of forests?

Image © Annemarie Bastrup-Birk

Climate change, pollution and encroaching human development are posing an increased threat to the long-term stability and health of European forests, according to a new European Environment Agency (EEA) report released today.

Forest ecosystems play a vital role for the environment and in combatting climate change. The report recommends that better sustainable management is needed to ensure this precious green resource is there for future generations.

The EEA report European forest ecosystems: state and trends, gives an updated health check on how our forests are coping with the many challenges they face. It assesses whether forest ecosystems can still manage to play their part providing key ‘services’ for the environment. Forests help regulate our climate and sustain watersheds, providing clean water. They also act as ‘carbon sinks’, clean the air we breathe and help preserve and protect biodiversity as many species depend on forests for their home. There is a growing awareness of the important role forests play in mitigating climate change, in particular after the climate talks in Paris (COP21).

The report identifies habitat loss and degradation, the risk posed by invasive alien species, pollution and climate change as the top four challenges European forests face today. These threats, combined with economic activities such as logging, urban sprawl, or the increasing use of forests by humans for leisure, make forests more vulnerable to degradation.

To tackle these problems and to improve the protection of forests, the report calls for enhanced research and data collection on a European level, tapping into national forest inventories and monitoring to better track changes in forest cover and conditions. It also calls for EU policies to take forest activities more into account.

Enhanced coordination among stakeholders, forest owners, timber industry, policy makers, and the general public is needed to improve the sustainable management of forests, not only when it comes to timber production but also on the use of forests for other ecosystem services.

 

Other findings

  • Forests remain the dominant natural habitat across most of Europe. In 2015, forests and other wooded land covered more than 40% of the total land surface in the 33 member countries and six cooperating countries of the EEA. This is equal to 186 million hectares (ha).
  • European forests have increased in area by about 10% since 1990. The increase in forest cover is likely due to the natural expansion of forests on, for example, abandoned farmland in rural and remote areas.
  • Almost 70% of forested areas in Europe is within six countries: Sweden (28 million ha), Finland (22 million ha), Spain (18 million ha), France (17 million ha), Norway and Turkey (both 12 million ha).
  • Climate change is likely to have a significant impact both on the zones where tree species can live and the range of tree species that can thrive in Europe. Increased periods of droughts and warmer winters are expected to further weaken forests against invasive species and make trees more susceptible to disease, pests and pathogens.
  • For the 2007-2012 period, the 27 EU Member States reported that only 26% of forest species and 15% of forest habitats of European interest, as listed in the EU’s Habitats Directive, were in ‘favourable nature conservation status.’ Recent reports by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) indicate that 27% of mammals, 10% of reptiles and 8% of amphibians linked to forests are threatened with extinction within the EU.

Original Source: http://www.eea.europa.eu/highlights/is-europe-doing-enough-to?utm_source=EEASubscriptions&utm_medium=RSSFeeds&utm_campaign=Generic

New guidance has been produced on managing the risk of fire during the construction of timber frame structures

The advice has been produced by the Health & Safety Executive, in conjunction with the Structural Timber Association (STA), which represents the industry’s manufacturers and suppliers.

The HSE has acted in the wake of serious incidents where fires involving timber frame structures under construction have affected neighbouring buildings.

“Evidence from recent HSE inspections indicates that the risk of harm to occupants of neighbouring buildings from fire during the construction phase is not always effectively managed…” the HSE says, “and that not all duty holders understand what is required of them.”

HSE head of construction sector & policy Simon Longbottom has written an open letter to all parties involved in the design, specification, procurement and construction of timber frame structures. He reminds them that Regulation 11 of The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 (CDM) requires risks to be designed out as far as is reasonably practicable.  This duty is imposed on anyone who makes decisions affecting the design, including architects, structural engineers, clients, suppliers, principal and other contractors and even those involved in the planning approval process where they specify particular construction methods or products.

The primary legal responsibility for assessing off-site fire risk rests with those making design and procurement decisions before work starts on site, the HSE says.  Designers and manufacturers of timber frame structures have duties under CDM Regulation 11 that cannot be passed on to the principal contractor.  Risk should be designed out as far as possible and information about residual risk must be passed to the principal contractor, who is then obliged to consider and manage risks arising from the activities under their control at the site stage.

Original Source: http://www.theconstructionindex.co.uk/news/view/hse-acts-on-timber-frame-fire-risks?

Timber firm fined after worker loses finger

A Lincolnshire timber firm, Select Timber Products Ltd, was fined £9,900 on September 11 after an agency worker lost the top of his finger in an unguarded machine.

The 23-year-old, from Holbeach, was helping to clear a blockage on a woodworking machine at the firm’s Donington premises when the incident happened on 15 July 2013. An HSE investigation found two of the machine’s guards had been removed.

Grantham Magistrates’ Court heard how, in order to clear the blockage, the machine operator had lifted the main guard, while a fixed guard on one of the machine’s six cutting heads had also been taken off to make cleaning easier. However, the machine was still under power, and when the agency worker reached in his left hand came into contact with one of the moving cutting heads.

The middle finger on his left hand had to be amputated, and he also suffered severe lacerations to two other fingers, leaving him with only partial movement in these and his middle finger. After pleading guilty to three separate breaches of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, the timber company was handed a £9,900 fine and ordered to pay £1,193 in costs.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Neil Ward said: “About 30 to 40 similar incidents are reported to HSE every year. Nearly all result in amputation injuries and most, including this one, could have been prevented if the cutters had come to rest before operators approached them.

“Neither the machine operator nor the injured man had been trained to a suitable standard by Select Timber Products.”

Original Source: http://www.shponline.co.uk/timber-firm-fined-worker-loses-finger/