HSE International

The Future Of Solar Technology Could Be As Thin And Flexible As A Piece Of Paper

Researchers in Denmark recently claimed a major breakthrough in the production of organic photovoltaic (OPV) solar cells. Unlike traditional silicon solar cells, used in rooftop solar panels and large-scale solar farms, OPVs use organic semiconductors — made from plastics and other flexible materials — and are much lighter, more flexible and less expensive.

Because they use environmentally friendly materials and can be produced quickly with lower processing and materials costs, OPVs can be used in much more innovative ways, according to Jade Jones, Solar Analyst with GTM research. The flexibility of OPVs has its proponents thinking of potential uses that never would have been possible — solar cells on electronics, backpacks, clothing, windows. Jones said she’s even heard of researchers talking about using them for curtains.

Organic photovoltaics could be particularly useful in places that don’t see a lot of sunlight, Dr. Fernando Castro with the U.K. National Physical Laboratoryrecently told The Atlantic. Because they don’t require direct sunlight like traditional silicon cells, OPVs can generate power for a larger portion of the day.

While Castro said it has improved significantly in recent years, the most commonly cited downside of OPVs is the fact that they are less efficient than traditional solar cells. This is what the team at the Technical University of Denmark sought to address by accomplishing the first roll-to-roll manufacture of tandem OPV modules. By stacking the layers on top of one another, they were able to print them out rapidly on a large sheet. The team argued that by spreading the cells over a large area, the lack of efficiency becomes less of an issue.

“If I have made a kilometre of solar cells, then I am not interested if one module has an efficiency of 10 percent and the rest are two percent — I think what is important is what you can make for the public,” Frederik Krebs, head of the research team, told Chemistry World. “I am the guy that makes a lot of it and tries to look for the average and what is practical, and then there are the other guys that look at what is obtainable. Everybody has their role to play and hopefully we will meet some day, probably somewhere in the middle.”

Krebs and his team started the freeOPV initiative, which builds on the concept that polymer solar cells should be made available to anyone interested in them. Krebs encourages anyone with a technical or academic interest in OPVs to “make use of this special offer to study, posses, claim, reverse engineer, copy, and use these OPV modules that have been created to propagate OPV and hopefully enable us to reach the objective of supplying the globe with energy from OPV in the future.”

Another key limitation of organic photovoltaics is the short lifespan, something researchers in Germany are hoping to address by embedding the solar modules in flexible glass to better protect the components. “Glass is not only the ideal encapsulating material, it also tolerates process temperatures of up to 400 degrees,” explained Danny Krautz, project manager at Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research. The specialized glass is fracture-resistant, extremely strong, and can be used to make layers that are only 100 micrometers thick — roughly the same thickness as a sheet of paper.

While recent technological advancements could be promising, Jones said it’s important to point out that “there is a difference between commercial cell efficiency and research cell efficiency. A cell produced in the lab will have a higher efficiency than a cell produced at mass scale.”

And until the efficiency and durability of organic photovoltaics is improved, we likely won’t see them produced on a large scale. “OPV is still in the research/working group phase,” said Jones. “We aren’t seeing any big commercial manufacturers talk OPV.”

Nevertheless, citing the vast potential for mass adoption of the technology, the German government recently invested €16 million ($21 million) into the research and development of organic photovoltaics. The project will be spearheaded by Merck, the pharmaceutical, chemical and life science giant, and by developing more stable and efficient OPV materials, seeks to facilitate large-scale deployment for uses such as powering onboard electronic systems in cars and solar-powered glass facades on buildings.

Original Story: http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/06/23/3451684/future-of-solar-technology/

Primark shopper finds cry for help sewn into dress

A Primark customer in Swansea, Wales was shocked to find a disturbing label sewn into a £10 dress she had purchased from the high street store. The handstitched message, which sewn into the garment next to its regular labels, reads: “Forced to work exhausting hours”.

“You hear all sorts of stories about people working in sweatshops abroad – it made me feel so guilty that I can never wear that dress again,” Rebecca Gallagher told the South Wales Evening Post“I’ve got no idea who put it there but it really took the wind out of my sails.

“It makes me think that it was a cry for help — to let us people in Britain know what is going on.”

Gallagher says that she tried to contact Primark customer service to notify them about the label, but was put on hold for 15 minutes before being cut off. You can see a photograph of the taghere.

The manufacturing practices of Primark and other high street stores have come under increasing scrutiny since last year’s Rana Plaza collapse, which killed 1,129 garment workers and other residents. Initiatives such as Fashion Revolution Day have sought to raise awareness around sweatshop labour and kickstart a conversation around sustainable fashion.

A spokesperson for Primark has discredited the handstitched cry for help, pointing out that the dress had been on sale last year and that there had been no other reported incidents of this kind.

“We would be grateful if the customer would give us the dress,” the representative told Vogue, “so we can investigate how the additional label became attached and whether there are issues which need to be looked into.”

Original Story: http://www.dazeddigital.com/fashion/article/20448/1/primark-shopper-finds-cry-for-help-sewn-into-dress

Firm fined after worker loses leg in scaffold fall

A worker who had no recognised training as a scaffolder had to have a lower leg amputated after he fell from unguarded scaffolding, a court has heard.

Andrew Gore, 37, from Mountain Ash, was helping to dismantle the scaffolding outside a nursing home in Merthyr Mawr Road, Bridgend, when he fell around four metres to the ground.

The incident, in June 2013, was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which prosecuted his employers, Mills Scaffold Company Limited, at Bridgend Magistrates today (23 June).

The court heard that the scaffold, erected by Mills Scaffold Company Ltd, was three lifts high and Mr Gore was working on the second lift. Another scaffolder was on the lift above, passing down parts of the scaffold to him, which he, in turn, passed on to a labourer on the ground.

Mr Gore was not wearing a harness and the lift was just two boards wide. The firm had failed to put any guardrails in place. Mr Gore had undone the swivel coupling at the bottom of a brace, which he then inadvertently leaned on. The brace moved and he fell to the ground, causing severe injuries. Since the incident, he has spent most of the last year in hospital and undergone a number of operations.

The incident was only reported to HSE six months later, when he made an insurance claim after he had to have his lower leg amputated because of an infection following the injury. The company was issued with a Prohibition Notice by HSE in 2012 for a similar offence.

HSE’s investigation found that Mr Gore had not been given training in the safe erection or dismantling of scaffolding.

Mills Scaffold Company Ltd of Church Street, Mountain Ash, pleaded guilty to a breach of the Work at Height regulations and Reporting of Injuries Regulations, as the incident was not reported to HSE. The company was fined a total of £15,000 and ordered to pay £1,118 in costs.

HSE Inspector Hayley Healey, speaking after the hearing, said:

“Mr Gore has suffered a great deal of pain and life changing injuries. As a single parent of two young children, one of whom he has custody for, his life has changed dramatically.

“This was a totally needless incident which could have been avoided if Mills Scaffold Company had ensured a safe system of work had been in place. And it was their responsibility to make sure trained workers were used on the scaffolding. There is plenty of industry guidance available about safely dismantling scaffolding.

“If simple methods of work had been followed, levels of competency checked and good supervision in place on site, this work could have been carried out safely. Falls from height remains one of the most common causes of fatalities and major injuries in the construction industry, with more than five incidents every day.”

Further information about working safely at height can be found on the HSE website at www.hse.gov.uk/falls

Original Story: http://press.hse.gov.uk/2014/firm-fined-after-worker-loses-leg-in-scaffold-fall/

Balfour seals financial close on £46m Irvine hospital

Balfour Beatty has reached financial close for the £46m NHS Ayrshire & Arran Acute Mental Health and Community Development project. 

The project will be located alongside the Ayrshire Central Hospital site in Irvine and provide 206 beds for people who need a level of care and rehabilitation that can only be provided by a stay in hospital.

Balfour Beatty will finance, design and construct the project and operate the concession for 25 years.

Construction work will start next month, with the new facility expected to be operational in summer 2016.

The project is being funded using the Scottish Government’s non-profit distributing model and ranks as the fastest of the current tranche to achieve financial close.

Balfour Beatty Investments’ Scotland Director, Stephen Gordon said: “We are delighted to bring this project to financial close, enabling construction to get underway.

“Balfour Beatty has extensive experience in the PPP health sector and we look forward to working with NHS Ayrshire & Arran to provide a high-quality healthcare facility for the local community.”

Original Story: http://www.constructionenquirer.com/2014/06/23/balfour-seals-financial-close-on-46m-irvine-hospital/

Van maker in court over serious safety failings

A vehicle manufacturer has been told to pay nearly £180,000 in fines and costs for safety failings after a crane operator suffered severe crush injuries in a lifting operation at the company’s press shop in Luton.

The worker, who does not wish to be named, suffered multiple injuries including fractures to the upper left arm, breastbone, right collarbone and ribs; as well as collapsed lungs.

The incident, on 1 July 2011 at IBC Vehicles Ltd factory in Kimpton Road, was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), who prosecuted the firm today (23 June).

Luton Crown Court heard the employee had lowered an eight-tonne die block – used to make van parts – into its storage position, and was unhooking it from the crane’s lifting chains when the 50-tonne crane started to move, dragging the block towards the worker and crushing him against another block behind him.

The crane operator was hospitalised for two weeks and has had numerous operations since, but has not been able to return to work.

HSE found a protective frame around the control levers of the crane designed to prevent inadvertent operation was missing. There were also serious shortcomings with the company’s maintenance of lifting equipment and management of lifting operations, including the provision of training and information for crane operators.

The court was told that a number of the ten cranes in the press shop at the factory had previously missed annual examinations by as much as 12 months, and that some failed to have identified maintenance issues acted upon. In addition, the provision of training and information for employees was inadequate to ensure that lifting operations were carried out safely.

IBC Vehicles Ltd, of Kimpton Road, Luton, was fined a total of £155,000 and ordered to pay £22,795 in costs after pleading guilty to two breaches of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and two breaches of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998.

After the case, HSE Inspector Stephen Manley, said:

“There were multiple failings on the part of IBC Vehicles Ltd. Cranes had not been maintained or inspected properly, operators had not been given adequate information or regular training, and lifting operations were not properly planned, including in particular the systems for daily checks on the equipment, to ensure the lifts were then carried out safely.

“Although only a small number of these failings may have contributed towards the incident in July 2011, as a whole they had the potential to create a serious risk to which many employees at the company would have been exposed for some considerable time.”

For more information and guidance about how to prevent injuries when carrying or lifting, visit http://www.hse.gov.uk/work-equipment-machinery/loler.htm

Original Story: http://press.hse.gov.uk/2014/van-maker-in-court-over-serious-safety-failings/

Firm fined after worker seriously injured in four metre fall

A 23-year-old worker was left seriously injured after falling more than four metres from a ladder while installing audio visual equipment at a North Yorkshire school, a court has heard.

Lee Rutherford, from Durham, suffered fractures to his lower right leg and upper right arm, and a shattered elbow as a result of the fall at Filey Junior School on 21 June 2013. He required reconstructive surgery and also developed serious side-effects in his left shoulder as a result of his treatment. .

His employer, Peterborough-based Hedley Solutions Ltd, was prosecuted today (20 June) by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an investigation identified safety failings.

Scarborough Magistrates’ Court heard that Mr Rutherford was installing audio visual equipment at the school with a colleague, and was using a set of combination ladders to enable him to work at height.

The ladders were being used as an extension ladder, positioned against an internal wall of the school hall, so that he could feed an IT cable through to a loft area. for his colleague.

While working at the top of the ladder, it slipped and he fell around four and a half metres to the floor.

HSE found that the ladders had not been secured and there was no effective anti-slip device or any other measure in use to provide stability.

It was also found that the work had not been properly assessed or planned by Hedley Solutions Ltd. If a proper assessment had been carried out, the risks would have been identified and more suitable access equipment, such as a tower scaffold or mobile elevated working platform, could have been used.

Hedley Solutions Ltd, of Millenium House, Dukesmead Werrington, Peterborough, was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £1,296 in costs after admitting a breach of Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

After the hearing, Lee Rutherford said:

“I still get a lot of pain in my arm, there’s a lot of scarring from where I had to have surgery and skin grafts to rebuild my arm and I don’t have the same amount of movement as I used to.

“I have managed to go back to work, though I’m no longer with Hedley, but things are not the same as they were.

“No-one will ever understand how a fall from a ladder will affect the rest of their life. The constant pain and lack of movement I now have has affected me in so many ways. You need to stop and think before using an extension ladder – always think of yourself first.”

HSE Inspector Victoria Wise added:

“The height of the ceiling in the hall at Filey Junior School was around five metres and the consequences of a fall from this height onto a wooden floor could have been fatal. As it was this young man suffered serious injuries from which he is still recovering.

“The real tragedy is that it could so easily have been avoided if Hedley Solutions Ltd had properly assessed and planned the work in advance. An assessment of the risks would have shown that due to the length of the task, the distance and consequences of a potential fall, and the work required, ladders were not appropriate and an alternative means of access could have been provided.

“Falling from height remains one of the biggest causes of death and major injury in the workplace. It is crucial that employers properly assess and plan any task that involves working from height and use the most appropriate work equipment which prevents a fall occurring. There is a wide selection of work equipment available that is designed specially for work at height and there is no excuse for putting workers at unnecessary risk of serious injury, or even death.”

Free guidance and information on safe working at height is available athttp://www.hse.gov.uk/work-at-height/index.htm

Original Story: http://press.hse.gov.uk/2014/firm-fined-after-worker-seriously-injured-in-four-metre-fall/

‘Mayhem’ in Northampton as hot-air balloon lands in street

A hot-air balloon pilot has told how he “caused mayhem” after he was forced to land in the middle of a street.

The balloon was brought down by Matt Rate in Hilldrop Road, Northampton, on Friday evening.

Mr Rate said the wind had suddenly dropped and if he had left the landing any later he could have come down over the town centre.

“It was the safest option at the time,” he said. Both Mr Rate and his two passengers were unharmed.

“I told the two passengers ‘it is going to be tricky’ and to trust me. I think people were a bit shocked that I got the balloon down into such a tight shape.”

Pilot Matt Rate had tried landing in a nearby park before coming down in a Northampton street

Mr Rate had called his ground-based crew to let them know about the lack of wind and what he was planning to do.

Before coming down in the street he tried landing in a nearby park. But as he was descending he realised he was at risk of striking a tree and decided to pull up and find an alternative landing site.

As he came towards Hilldrop Road, his ground team sectioned off an area of the road to traffic.
Matt Rate says he was forced to land his hot-air balloon in a Northampton street because of a lack of wind.

“The only control you have is up and down,” said Mr Rate, who first got into ballooning at the age of 10 or 11.

“In a way this was the same as any other landing. You have to compose yourself and not damage anything – you have to have that heightened awareness and be completely on the ball.”

The main obstacles in the Hilldrop Road landing were people’s homes and a lamp-post.

Once he landed, residents in the area helped him fold up the balloon’s envelope.

A police spokeswoman said they were alerted shortly before 21:00 BST by members of the public who had seen the balloon come down.

“Officers attended and it was established there had been no accident,” said the spokeswoman. “The balloon had just landed in an unexpected spot.”

ORIGINAL STORYhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-northamptonshire-27971658

Just 29% of food businesses satisfactory on hygiene – HSE

Only one-quarter of food businesses visited by HSE inspectors last year were deemed to be operating satisfactorily for hygiene and food safety, according to the HSE annual report for 2013, which has just been published.

Environmental health officers employed by the HSE carried out more than 33,000 inspections of food businesses last year. In 29 per cent of cases, the outcome was judged to be satisfactory. There was minor non-compliance in 47 per cent of cases. Some 18 per cent of assessments resulted in an “unsatisfactory” finding, 5 per cent were judged to be “unsatisfactory significant” and 1 per cent were “unsatisfactory serious”.

Inspectors issued 465 formal food safety enforcement actions, including 311 improvement notices and 11 prosecutions.

The HSE dealt with more than 650 infectious disease outbreaks, some involving more than a hundred people. The report notes a rise in some forms of bacteria commonly associated with food poisoning. For example, the number of VTEC (verocytotoxigenic E.coli) cases rose to more than 700, from 530 in 2012.

The report also says more than 1,000 people were diagnosed with gonorrhoea last year. The number of cases increased by 33 per cent in 2012, while young men and women aged 17 to 29 years have been identified as being particularly at risk.

The report shows that while targets are being achieved for treating breast and lung cancer, just 55 per cent of patients with prostate cancer are being offered an appointment within 20 working days of referral, compared to a target of 90 per cent. Rapid access clinics in WaterfordLimerick and Cork are experiencing “particular pressures”, but approval has been given for additional urologist posts.

The report says significant progress was made last year in clearing patient waiting lists, with just four patients waiting longer than eight months for an inpatient procedure and 4,937 people waiting longer than 12 months for an outpatient appointment. However, the same waiting lists have begun to grow again in the early months of this year.

HSE director general Tony O’Brien says the health service is continuing to implement what it is learning from reports into the death of Savita Halappanavar and, in Britain, into the Mid-Staffordshire trust inquiry. “We do not get everything right and when we do not we must learn from our mistakes,” he said.

Original Story: http://www.irishtimes.com/news/health/just-29-of-food-businesses-satisfactory-on-hygiene-hse-1.1838616#.U6XI3AtG2zo.twitter

UK Will Be Largest Solar PV Market In Europe In 2014, According To New Report

The UK will very likely be the biggest solar photovoltaic market in Europe in 2014, according to the new NPD Solarbuzz UK Deal Tracker report.

The dominance will be largely fueled by big growth in ground-mounted solar PV projects this year — over 120 large-scale solar PV projects in the region have been approved, many of which will be completed before the end of the year.

“In the past six months, the Department of Energy and Climate Change released the United Kingdom’s ‘Solar PV Roadmap’ and ‘Solar PV Strategy’ reports, restating aspirations to hit 20 GW of cumulative capacity by 2020,” stated Finlay Colville, vice-president at NPD Solarbuzz. “While reaching the long-term goal is expected to involve a blend of rooftop and ground-mounted systems, solar PV farms above 10 MW will provide the dominant contribution in 2014.”

To explain how rapid the growth is, consider this — to date, over 325 solar PV projects in the MW class have been completed in the UK; of these, more than 60 possess an installed capacity of over 10 MW. Now, consider the fact that over 444 large-scale, ground-mounted solar PV projects are currently at various stages of development. Brings the point home, doesn’t it? :)

Of these 444 pending projects, 124 have already been approved and will be aiming to complete installation “before the level of support under the Renewable Obligation scheme is reduced in April 2015.”

“With the UK projected to be the largest solar PV market in Europe in 2014, global component suppliers and project developers need to quickly understand the dynamics of the UK solar PV industry,” noted Colville. “Aligning with suitable partners and choosing the most attractive PV projects in the pipeline will ultimately determine the winners and losers over the next 12 months.”

NPD Solarbuzz makes some observations on the growth of investments into completed projects:

In addition to the opportunities arising from the multi-gigawatt pipeline of projects yet to be built, a thriving secondary market has developed for completed solar PV farms. Based on recent acquisitions of completed solar farms, the UK’s existing solar farm portfolio is valued at approximately £2.5 billion ($4.2 billion).

“Establishing a large portfolio of solar PV assets has become an attractive long-term financial proposition within the United Kingdom,” stated Colville. “The race is now on to develop and acquire solar PV farms, before the Renewable Obligations scheme is discontinued in 2017, or ahead of any legislative changes that may occur after the May 2015 general elections.”

In related news, SunEdison just recently finished construction on a 117 MW portfolio of utility-scale photovoltaic solar power plants in the UK. The capacity — spread out amongst eight different power plants — represents a pretty big boost to the country’s solar capacity, as well as being the company’s first completed development in the UK market.

SunEdison also just recently completed a deal with Statkraft that will see the energy from an 88 MW portfolio of six utility-scale photovoltaic solar power plants, currently under construction in the UK, purchased by Statkraft under a 15-year power purchase agreement (PPA).

Original Story: http://cleantechnica.com/2014/05/19/uk-will-largest-solar-pv-market-europe-2014-according-new-report-120-large-scale-projects-approved-construction/

Pinewood-Shepperton boosted by go-ahead for £200m expansion

Pinewood-Shepperton, the studios used for Maleficent, Guardians of the Galaxy and the new Star Wars film, has finally won planning permission to double its capacity.

More than two years after being knocked back, the government has now given permission for the company to go ahead with a £200m project to double the size of the existing Pinewood studio, with new stages, workshops and production offices.

Chief executive Ivan Dunleavy welcomed the news, saying:

 

Our project builds on the success of the government’s policy for the creative industries and addresses the shortage of stage space in the UK. As a result of today’s green light….thousands of much needed new jobs will be created in this growing sector of the economy.

 

He said the approval would secure the future growth of Pinewood, and it wanted to begin construction as soon as possible. In 2012 the project, which then included housing, was blocked due to local objections. Even with the housing element removed, it was blocked again last year by the local authority. But a new appeal to the secretary of state for communities and local government has now succeeded.

The company has already benefited from the tax breaks designed to attract film-makers to the UK, but the development should drive its next phase of growth.

Pinewood’s shares have jumped nearly 11% to 457p, and analyst Sahill Shan at N+1 Singer called the news “game changing”, saying:

 

Given current capacity constraints this is hugely positive for the investment case. We anticipate Phase 1 development to commence on a 6-9 month view to help satisfy excess studio demand in the UK, with clarity on funding anticipated in the months ahead. 2014 finals are due next Thursday and we anticipate the strong momentum seen in the first half to have continued into the second and the first quarter of 2015.

[The planning permission] is highly positive news given the initial set-back in Jan 2012. It provides the platform from which Pinewood can drive incremental growth, having been capacity constrained. [The project] would double the existing Pinewood Studios by adding a total 100,000 square metres of new facilities, including studios and stages, workshops and production offices. Total cost is estimated at around £200m over three phases, with phases 2 and 3 subject to demand requirements over time.

The objective for management now will be to convert the planning outcome into income generation by completing the detailed design, getting the reserved matters approved by South Bucks District Council and initiating the construction process in the months ahead. Obviously funding will be a key component of the process given the long-term nature of the project will require a heavy call on capital. The addition of new capacity on the 100 acre site will not be undertaken all at once, but phased over a 10-15 year period. The average cost per 1000 square feet of development is anticipated to be £135, so one 30,000 square foot stage would cost around £4m.

Original Story: http://www.theguardian.com/business/marketforceslive/2014/jun/19/pinewood-shepperton-planning-permission-studio

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