HSE International

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

J&J must pay $72 million for cancer death linked to talcum powder

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) was ordered by a Missouri state jury to pay $72 million of damages to the family of a woman whose death from ovarian cancer was linked to her use of the company’s talc-based Baby Powder and Shower to Shower for several decades.

 

In a verdict announced late Monday night, jurors in the circuit court of St. Louis awarded the family of Jacqueline Fox $10 million of actual damages and $62 million of punitive damages, according to the family’s lawyers and court records.

The verdict is the first by a U.S. jury to award damages over the claims, the lawyers said.

Johnson & Johnson faces claims that it, in an effort to boost sales, failed for decades to warn consumers that its talc-based products could cause cancer. About 1,000 cases have been filed in Missouri state court, and another 200 in New Jersey.

Fox, who lived in Birmingham, Alabama, claimed she used Baby Powder and Shower to Shower for feminine hygiene for more than 35 years before being diagnosed three years ago with ovarian cancer. She died in October at age 62.

Jurors found Johnson & Johnson liable for fraud, negligence and conspiracy, the family’s lawyers said. Deliberations lasted four hours, following a three-week trial.

Jere Beasley, a lawyer for Fox’s family, said Johnson & Johnson “knew as far back as the 1980s of the risk,” and yet resorted to “lying to the public, lying to the regulatory agencies.” He spoke on a conference call with journalists.

Carol Goodrich, a Johnson & Johnson spokeswoman, said: “We have no higher responsibility than the health and safety of consumers, and we are disappointed with the outcome of the trial. We sympathize with the plaintiff’s family but firmly believe the safety of cosmetic talc is supported by decades of scientific evidence.”

Trials in several other talc lawsuits have been set for later this year, according to Danielle Mason, who also represented Fox’s family at trial.

In October 2013, a federal jury in Sioux Falls, South Dakota found that plaintiff Deane Berg’s use of Johnson & Johnson’s body powder products was a factor in her developing ovarian cancer. Nevertheless, it awarded no damages, court records show.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc (VRX.TO) now owns the Shower to Shower brand but was not a defendant in the Fox case.

The case is Hogans et al v. Johnson & Johnson et al, Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis, Missouri, No. 1422-CC09012.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York. Additional reporting by Jessica Dye in New York; editing by Steve Orlofsky and Alan Crosby)

Original Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-johnson-johnson-verdict-idUSKCN0VW20A

Royal Mail suspends delivery to block of flats over safety fears as postman slips on urine

Royal Mail has suspended delivering post to a block of flats because their posties kept slipping on urine.

Deliveries to a block of flats in Dundee have been suspended by Royal Mail amid safety concerns after a postman slipped on urine in the stairwell.

The company insists the building at 221 Albert Street is unsafe and said its staff will not return until a series of issues are addressed.

These include a lack of handrails and missing window frames.

Residents living in the flats have had to collect their mail from a delivery office instead.

Royal Mail spokeswoman Julie Pirone said: ‘Royal Mail can confirm that it has temporarily suspended deliveries to 221 Albert Street, Dundee, until the tenement building is made safe for our staff to undertake deliveries.

‘We wrote to the customers when the suspension was put in place, following an injury sustained by one of our postmen who slipped on urine in the stairwell.

‘The stairs don’t have a handrail and the window frames from the stairs are also missing.

‘Royal Mail has now carried out several risk assessments in recent months and unfortunately the building is still not safe.

‘We have been trying to ascertain who owns the building to ask when the building will be made safe.’

She added: ‘The safety and welfare of our staff is paramount. The suspension of delivery is always a last resort and we sincerely apologise to customers for the inconvenience caused, and we urge the owners of the building to make it safe as soon as possible so deliveries can be restarted.

‘In the meantime, customers can continue to collect their mail from Dundee east delivery office or they can contact us to make alternative arrangements to receive their mail.’

Original Source: http://bit.ly/1Q26d9y

Food checks 25% down despite horsemeat crisis

Cuts to council budgets are putting public health at risk, say experts

Public health is being put at risk because councils are failing to carry out the required number of inspections at restaurants, takeaways and food processing plants, a report by the Food Standards Agency claims.

This is despite heightened concerns about food quality and standards following the horsemeat scandal and revelations about the potentially lethal food-poisoning bug campylobacter in supermarket chickens.

The report, which has tracked trends in enforcement activity over the past five years, found that many local authorities are failing to meet their obligations under UK law. Between 2010 and 2015, while there was growth of almost 7% in the number of UK food businesses, there was a similar fall in “food hygiene interventions” – inspections into the quality and contamination of food.

The number of food standards interventions, which examine whether food has been adulterated or mislabelled, fell by 6% over the same period.

“The overall position is one of growing concern,” the report notes, warning that there is worse to come. “At a local level, there are a good number of authorities which are struggling to undertake interventions of food businesses at the required frequencies. More generally, the number of food businesses and customer complaints continue to rise, while local authority staff resources, intervention and sampling levels continue to fall.

“These trends … highlight that many are not able to deliver a food service as set out in the statutory food law code of practice. We are also acutely aware that local authority resources, particularly in England, will face further significant reductions over the next few years.”

Anne Godfrey, the new chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, warned that trust in the UK’s multibillion pound food manufacturing and hospitality sectors was in danger of being undermined.

“Going out to eat should be an enjoyable experience and consumers should expect that the food they are eating is safe,” Godfrey said. “Food inspections and sampling are important checks, forming the basis of the food hygiene ratings scores, which are designed to provide robust information as well as allowing consumers to know exactly what the inspector has found. If the system fails in places, then the risks to people’s health and wellbeing are likely to increase.”

One particular concern is the steep drop in the random sampling of food, which has occurred despite calls for more testing of products in the wake of the horsemeat scandal. The report states: “The number of UK official samples has followed a steep downward trend (apart from a small increase in 2013-14, which was likely the result of increased activity relating to the horsemeat incident) from 92,122 samples in 2010-11 to 68,471 samples in 2014-15. This equates to a reduction of 25.7%.”

Analysis by Environmental Health News, the trade magazine for health inspectors, reveals that seven councils are carrying out less than 80% of the required interventions. The decline in interventions may be attributed in part to a 17% fall in the numbers of environmental health inspectors, from 2,775 in 2010 to 2,303 last year.

In a letter to the chancellor, George Osborne, several leading food safety experts, including Professor Chris Elliott, the man who led the official review into the UK’s food supply chain following the horsemeat controversy, warn that “the regulatory system is under tremendous pressure as a result of increasing demands, such as the need to effectively address food fraud and the continuing public sector cuts”.

They note that since 2013, the year of the horsemeat crisis, the FSA has been asked to make £22m in savings, while councils are having to cut their environmental health budgets by about 20%. With further cuts to come, they warn that public health could be jeopardised.

“It is our view that such further budget cuts will decrease the effectiveness and resilience of the regulatory system, reduce consumer confidence in its ability to protect their health and risk undermining trust in the food safety standards of the UK food industry.”

Original Source: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jan/31/food-checks-health-concerns?platform=hootsuite

 

The New Deb Stoko® Range: Helping Health & Safety Managers Combat Occupational Skin Issues

 

1 February 2016, Denby, UK – Deb has launched its new Deb Stoko® range – the broadest range of products designed specifically for occupational skin care across a variety of industries that Health and Safety Managers are responsible for.

The portfolio of Deb Stoko® pre-work creams, hand cleansers and after-work restore creams have been formulated to minimise the risks of skin disease and stress that are common in the workplace.

Health and Safety Managers perform their duties across numerous scenarios, but the threat of employees contracting a form of occupational skin disease on their premises is universal. Grease, oil, solvents, detergents, soapy water, dust, paper and cardboard – exposure to these common workplace materials can be damaging to employees’ skin if the issue is disregarded.

Whilst costly for an organisation economically, for the employee, the consequences of contracting such skin conditions can be costly on an individual level too – both in terms of lost income resulting from a prolonged absence from work, as well as the impact on their personal life and general well-being.

Through the use of Deb Stoko® products and by implementing a 3-step skin programme in the workplace – protect, cleanse, restore – Health and Safety Managers will be able to maintain a happy, healthy workforce, whilst ensuring their facilities are in line with health and safety compliance. The new Deb Stoko® range offers a number of products that are well-suited to many common working environments:

Protect

  • Stokoderm® range – a unique collection of specialist creams that protect the skin from harmful contaminants.

Cleanse

  • Solopol® Classic – a solvent free, heavy duty hand cleansing paste to minimise the risk of skin irritation. Also available with a light lime fragrance.
  • Solopol® GrittyFOAM® – heavy duty hand cleansing foam with scrubbers suspended in the foam to effectively wash away dirt and grime.

Restore

  • Stokolan® Range

 

In addition to the most expansive range of occupational skin care products available on the market, Deb provides employers and employees with training and supporting educational materials to help encourage stakeholder buy-in on an issue that is largely overlooked amongst staff and their employers.

“Occupational skin disease is a serious health issue that goes largely unreported in the workplace: an invisible threat that affects both an organisation’s efficiency and the health and well-being of its employees,” said Paul Jakeway, Marketing Director at Deb UK.

“This is where the new Deb Stoko® range comes in,” he continued. “The products and usage programme address the skin care requirements of all end users. They are essential for effective skin health and in reducing the risk of occupational skin disease.”

To find out more about the Deb Stoko® range, visit www.debgroup.com

Yorkshire Water fined £600K for sewage pollution

Yorkshire Water has been hit with a £600,000 fine after an ageing sewage pipe burst, polluting a fishing lake in Wakefield.

The company was sentenced at Leeds Crown Court after pleading guilty to one charge of causing a water discharge that was not authorised by an environmental permit.

Yorkshire Water was also ordered to pay investigation and prosecution costs of £24,000 to the Environment Agency (EA), which brought the case to court.

The court heard that in October 2013 a rising main sewage pipe from the company’s Shay Lane pumping station burst, and raw sewage flowed into a fishing lake in Walton Park, which flows into the Barnsley Canal.

There had been four bursts on the rising main in the previous two years and on each occasion Yorkshire Water had put the failure down to age deterioration of the pipe.

EA environment management team leader Mark West said: “Utility companies have a responsibility to properly manage their infrastructure and ensure that their operations do not put the environment at unnecessary risk.

“This pollution incident had a significant impact on the ecology of the lake and the canal and it could have been avoided had the company taken action to replace the pipe following earlier bursts.

“Aside from the devastating loss of fish, this incident has had an impact on the lake that will last for some time. The angling club has also lost a significant amount of income during the time that the lake has been out of use. They’ve only recently been able to start fishing there again.”

Yorkshire Water apologised for the incident and insisted the judgement “in no way” reflects the performance of the company as a whole.

A spokesperson said: “We work every day to manage our water environment across Yorkshire and we care a great deal when our assets don’t perform as we would expect. We began on site in Walton in November to invest around £1 million to replace the pipe which burst and caused this incident to try to avoid this happening again.”

Original Source: http://utilityweek.co.uk/news/yorkshire-water-fined-600k-for-sewage-pollution/1208032#.VqDwGfmLTIV

Westminster Hall Debate on Hand Hygiene, Infections and the NHS

On Wednesday 13th January, Nigel Mills, MP for Amber Valley held a Westminster Hall debate highlighting the importance of hand hygiene in reducing healthcare associated infections (HAIs) in the NHS. Ben Gummer MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Quality in the NHS responded to the debate setting out the Government’s position on this matter.

During the debate, Nigel Mills MP requested that the Government look at how to ensure that proper checks are introduced to provide patients with confidence that everything is being done to enforce proper hand hygiene best practice within hospitals across the NHS, to keep patients safe and prevent them acquiring of HAIs.

According to data from 2011, patients in England have a 6.4% chance of contracting an HAI. This manifests in more than 300,000 patients developing HAI every year, 5,000 of which result in mortality. The impact of HAIs are not only physically damaging, but financially also – it is estimated HAIs add £1bn to the NHS bill annually.

It is thought that more than 30% of HAIs could be avoided simply through better application of existing knowledge and realistic infection control practices – which would save lives and prevent unnecessary and prolonged hospital stays.

Following the debate Nigel Mills MP said, “The statistics highlight that more needs to be done to tackle HAIs in the NHS, I was therefore glad to raise this issue with the Minister and I am encouraged by his response.

 “I am pleased that he now plans to raise issues surrounding public engagement with the Chief Medical Offer, Dame Sally Davies and I welcome his commitment to encouraging Trusts to look at how to better capture data on hand hygiene to ensure quality improvements in patient safety.”

The Minister responding to the debate, Ben Gummer MP said: “[compliance] is a very interesting area, and I would encourage local trusts to look at it in detail. The CQC has it as one of its main targets and, in the new inspection round, which will come very soon, it will want to look at the area as a central part of its monitoring.”