HSE International

More than half of forklift-related injuries suffered by pedestrians

More than half (57%) of those who suffer injuries in accidents involving forklift trucks are workers on foot and not the drivers themselves, according to Mentor Training.

The statistic was revealed at the launch of Mentor Training’s Safely Working with Lift Trucks training programme in Tower Bridge on 10 February. The new two-hour course focuses on the dangers faced by everyone working with or around forklifts; not just the operators themselves.

There are more than 1,000 serious injuries reported – including amputations, broken bones and crush injuries – every year in accidents involving forklifts.

And recently the rules around employee liability have changed so that workers now face an unlimited fine and even a prison sentence if found guilty of negligence following an incident. Previously the highest fine that could be imposed was £20,000.

The new course attempts to make forklift operators and all others who work in their environments, including factory pickers, aware of the ways accidents can happen and the best ways to avoid them. The acronym STOP – representing safe working practices, think, observe and pedestrians – underpins the teachings of the trainers.

Mentor Training MD, Stuart Taylor said: “So often when there are forklift accidents pedestrians are the ones who suffer. But by staying observant and avoiding complacency they can make a difference to safety.”

Original Source: http://www.worksmanagement.co.uk/Health-and-Safety/news/forklift-truck-training/115161/#sthash.klBvWaXZ.dpuf

Border tensions rumble over ageing Belgian nuclear reactors

Decision to restart 40-year-old nuclear reactors places strain on relations between European neighbours, as Germans and Dutch voice concerns.

Belgium’s decision to restart two 40-year-old nuclear reactors is putting pressure on northern Europe’s political fault lines, with Germany announcing that it would send experts to inspect the plants.

Concerns have been stoked by the discovery of thousands of defects in the reactors’ pressure vessels, a fire, and one unresolved sabotage incident at the plants, which also border Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

In December, the Doel 3 reactor on the Dutch border had to be turned off just one week after it was switched back on, following repairs that lasted 21 months, due to a water leaking on a (non-nuclear) generator.

Two nearby cities, Maastricht in the Netherlands and Aachen in Germany, are said to be considering legal action to force plant safety – or closure, and on Tuesday the German environment minister waded into the row.

Barbara Hendricks said that she would accept the nuclear status quo “for now”, after Jan Jambon, the Belgian interior minister, refused her request for a joint environmental risk assessment at a meeting in Brussels. But she immediately took to twitter to express German frustrations.

“A transboundary assessment of the environmental impact should not only be mandatory when it comes to new builds of plants but also when the lifetime of aging nuclear power plants is being extended,” Hendricks tweeted.

A German press statement spoke of “significant deviations” from required safety procedures at the Tihange 2 plant on the Dutch border, and Doel 3, which is also close to Germany and Luxembourg.

Belgium depends on seven nuclear reactors for around 60% of its electricity, although it says it will phase these out by 2025.

After the Fukushima accident in Japan, Germany began mothballing its entire nuclear fleet, but some of its citizens fear they could still be at risk from nuclear accidents across the border with Belgium.

One of them, Simon Sybertz, a student in Aachen, said that fears among local people in the city were growing. “People are starting to realise whats happening across the border,” he said. “They’re scared because nobody is really prepared for something happening in Tihange. We don’t even have iodine. I want the Belgian government to shut the reactor.”

More than 825,000 people have signed an Avaaz petition calling for the two reactors to be mothballed. German government sources say that Hendricks told Jambon that if Brussels was serious about shutting its reactors, it should start now.

“We didn’t get the impression that the Belgians really have a plan to phase out nuclear within a fixed time schedule,” one source at Tuesday’s meeting told the Guardian.

European nuclear industry groups insist that plant safety is a strictly national affair under EU law, and say that EU stress tests of three Belgian nuclear reactors after the Fukushima disaster – as well as Belgium’s more recent examinations of its reactors – should give confidence in plant safety.

Jean-Pol Poncelet, the director general of Foratom, Europe’s nuclear trade association, said that Belgian reactors were “considered safe not just by the Belgian authorities but by their partners in the EU”.

“It is amazing to see that there are complaints from theNetherlands,” he said. “The Dutch are operating a reactor in Borssele which is expected to run longer than the Belgian ones – with an extension of 60 years!”


Wilko driver’s death was ‘accident waiting to happen’

Retail giant Wilko has been fined £200,000 after pleading guilty to health and safety breaches which resulted in the death of an employee at a Worksop depot…