An eye for an eye — man loses sight to compresed air hose!

A Tyneside autoparts firm has been fined after a worker lost his sight in one eye when a compressed air hose whipped him in the face.

The injured man, who has asked not to be named, was carrying out maintenance work to clean a paint fume filter at Faltec Europe Ltd’s site in Boldon on 7 July 2012.

When he had finished, he isolated the compressed air supply at the connection point and went to disconnect the equipment.

However, he was unaware the pressure from the flexible hose needed venting before disconnection. As a result, the hose whipped and struck him in the face, hitting his eye and breaking his cheekbone.

The 49 year-old, from South Shields has permanently lost the sight in his right eye but he has been able to return to work.

The incident was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) which today (10 June) prosecuted Faltec Europe Ltd for safety failings at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court.

The HSE investigation found the company had failed to provide the worker with sufficient information, instruction or training on the equipment he was using when the incident happened.

Faltec Europe Ltd, of Didcot Way, Boldon Business Park, Tyne and Wear, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay £7,813.70 in costs.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Fiona McGarry said:

“This was an entirely preventable incident which has resulted in a worker losing his sight in one eye – an injury which will affect him permanently.

“The sudden release of compressed air is a known hazard in industry. Faltec Europe Ltd should have ensured that there was a safe system of work in place and that anyone working with compressed air had been given sufficient information, instruction and training to keep themselves and others safe from air blasts and whipping or snaking hoses.”

Plus Safety comment: Pressure in any flexible hose if released suddenly will cause the hose to whip about. This is one of those common hazards which practically everyone knows about. It is no different at work. Basic maintenance procedures should dictate that all hoses and lines are vented before work starts.

Guess what? Reversing vehicles are dangerous!

A Bolton company has been ordered to pay almost £130,000 in fines and costs after a worker suffered serious injuries when he was crushed between two trucks at a recycling plant. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted DS Smith Paper Ltd after the firm failed to observe correct safety procedures around the tipping area at its Severnside site on Turton Street. The company was sentenced at Manchester Crown Court today (11 June 2013).

The 61-year-old worker from Towyn, North Wales, who has asked not to be named, suffered fractured ribs, a fractured right collar bone, a punctured right lung and multiple bruising after being crushed between his own HGV and another vehicle on 26 February 2010. During a four-day trial at Manchester Crown Court last month, the jury heard the worker had emptied his load of paper and had got out his truck to close its rear doors, using two buttons on the side of the vehicle. As he did this, another truck reversed into the warehouse through a separate doorway and trapped him between both vehicles. The court was told that, at the time of the incident, there were no barriers in the tipping shed to separate vehicles entering through different doors, and that a supervisor wasn’t present to indicate whether it was safe for drivers to enter the site.

A HSE investigation found it was common practice for two vehicles to be in the warehouse at any one time, putting drivers at risk when they had to leave their trucks. DS Smith Paper Ltd also failed to enforce its own system for controlling entry into the tipping shed as there was not always a supervisor present. It has since introduced new safety procedures, which mean only one HGV is allowed in the warehouse.

A new safety area has also been introduced for pedestrians. DS Smith Paper Ltd, of Turton Street, Bolton, was found guilty of breaching the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 by failing to make sure the site was safe for vehicles and pedestrians.

The company was fined £80,000 and ordered to pay £49,822 in prosecution costs.

Plus Safety Comment: The risks of reversing vehicles are well known- a simple rule (one truck at a time) would have prevented this accident. It is not rocket science!

SME’s beware, poor health and safety can close you down!

Plus Safety Comment – Poor Health & Safety control can lead directly to major accidents and ultimate closure of your business, if you are a small to medium sized business then beware, as this example below shows, heavy fines can lead to insolvency. One wonders what the cost of emplacing good health & safety control would have been in this company, one thing I can guarantee, it would have been a fraction of the actual cost of not doing so, somewhere in the region of 1-2%, So what exactly did this company save by not doing so? or 01257411827 for a general chat on establishing health & safety control in your company.

A Sheffield company that crushes rubble from construction and demolition waste, ultimately found to have poor health & safety control, has been fined £300,000 after an employee was killed by an overturning skip lorry in Derbyshire.

David Vickers, 37, of Walton, was tipping a skip at Adis Scaffolding Ltd’s site in Markham Lane, Duckmanton, when the incident happened on 22 July 2008.

Derby Crown Court heard today (7 June) that he had exited the cab of the truck he was driving to deploy the stabilising rear outriggers before raising a skip using the lifting arms. However, as he did so the vehicle overturned and landed on top of him, causing fatal injuries. He died at the scene.

A subsequent investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the skip was mis-hooked, with the hooks engaging on the lip of a base plate rather than a catch bar, the correct part of the skip. This meant that it tipped normally until reaching an angle of approximately 70 degrees, at which point it broke free and swung out backwards causing the front of the vehicle to lift several feet off the ground. During the course of tipping the offside outrigger retracted causing the lorry to tip over.

HSE also established that there was no safe system of work for the skip operation, including how to handle mis-hooks and other foreseeable problems; that there was inadequate training and instruction; that the skip lorry controls were not marked; and that the risk assessment for loading and unloading skips fell short of identifying all significant risks and controls.

Adis Scaffolding Limited, now in liquidation but formerly of Queen Street, Sheffield, was fined £300,000 and ordered to pay £124,468 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

After the hearing HSE inspector Edward Walker said:

“The failings by Adis Scaffolding Limited were substantial, ranging from unsuitable equipment, an inadequate risk assessment, inadequate training and instruction, and an absence of safe systems of work.

“These failings led to a situation where things went badly wrong, and where David was placed in an impossible situation. His tragic death could easily have been avoided with better planning, management and foresight.”

As a result of the incident HSE issued an industry-wide safety alert highlighting the dangers of incorrect engagement of hooks on skips.

Factory horror: Teenage apprentice dies after being dragged into machinery at site

Cameron Minshull was dragged into machinery at the factory
10 Jan 2013
He suffered serious head injuries when he is believed to have become trapped in an industrial metal lathe at the engineering site

The teenager died in an horrific factory accident just weeks after starting an apprenticeship.

Cameron Minshull, 16, suffered serious head injuries when he was dragged into an industrial metal lathe and died later in hospital.

A joint police and Health and Safety Executive investigation has been launched and part of the probe will include examining the machinery at Zaffar Engineering UK in Bury, Greater Manchester.

Cameron, who lives in the town, had only just started an apprenticeship at the factory when he was injured at 10.45am yesterday.

He was flown by air ambulance to Wythenshawe Hospital but pronounced dead a short time later. He leaves two sisters, aged two and 13, and a 15-year-old brother.

Mum Joanne Hill said: “We have lost a very precious part of our lives and there are no words to describe how we are feeling.

“Cameron was a much-loved son, brother, nephew, grandson and great-grandson and a friend to many. He will leave a big hole in many people’s hearts.”

A GMP spokesman said: “A joint investigation by GMP and the Health and Safety Executive is now underway to establish the circumstances surrounding the incident.”

Plus safety comment:
1 more to add to the 180+ other compelling reasons why health and safety is important and not a joke in this country.
We await the HSE investigation report before making judgment but what the hell was a 16 year old lad, weeks into the job in a dangerous environment doing on a lathe???? I am at a loss to find any reason to justify this. For the sake of the lads family and the employer who have now to live with this tragedy I hope there is one. But I suspect there isn’t. 16, all to live for, and probably totally preventable , words escape me. Our sincerest condolences to the lads family.

Preston steel firm fined for forklift truck accident

 EDV Reinforcements Ltd has appeared in court after a working platform slid off the forks of a forklift truck and struck one of its employees. The company, which manufactures and supplies steel products, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an investigation found  the truck was being used to lift a pile of steel mesh when the platform slid off.  The platform had not been secured to the forklift, and instead was just resting on the forks.

The injured worker, who was on the ground nearby, was hit by the heavy metal platform and suffered a fractured  rib and  muscle and back injuries.

The company, of Longridge Road in Preston, was fined £7,000 and ordered to pay £3,566 in prosecution costs.

Speaking after the hearing, the investigating inspector at HSE, Richard Clarke, said:

“The company should never have allowed the platform to be lifted on the forklift truck without it being properly secured. Sadly, one of EDV’s employees suffered serious injuries as a result of this negligence, and it was an incident that could easily have been avoided. This case should act as a warning to companies to make sure heavy equipment is properly secured to forklifts before being lifted.”

Lack of forklift training led to death

Cammell Laird Shiprepairers & Shipbuilders Ltd, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) over the death of a welder who became trapped while using a forklift truck to transport heavy welding equipment on 18 August 2010. He died in hospital from his injuries four days later. An investigation found he had been able to drive the forklift despite not having any forklift driver training.

The court was told that keys were routinely left in the ignition of forklifts, and that Mr Dunroe had driven a truck on several occasions without being challenged about his lack of training. No procedures were in place to inform employees who was and who was not authorised to drive the trucks.

Cammell Laird Shiprepairers & Shipbuilders Ltd admitted breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 by failing to ensure the safety of its employees. The company, which has around 500 employees, was fined £120,000 and ordered to pay £12,294 in prosecution costs on 22 March 2012.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Richard Clarke said:

“A company the size of Cammell Laird should have known better than to have allowed keys to be routinely left in forklift trucks, making driving a truck the easy option for employees wanting to transport heavy equipment. Mr Dunroe may well have thought he was doing his employer a favour by moving the welding equipment as quickly as possible, but instead he has ended up losing his life”.

Cammell Laird has since introduced new procedures to ensure keys are safely locked away, and that a list is available of trained drivers. Had these procedures had been in place Mr Dunroe’s death may well have been prevented.

On average, there are eight deaths and 1,500 injuries reported every year as a result of incidents involving forklift trucks. Information on the safe use of forklifts is available at[2].


Tragic strimmer death leads to European ban

Tony Robinson, 37, from Ulverston, died after a link from a chain, spinning at around 300 miles an hour on a petrol strimmer, became detached and struck him on the back of the neck, causing fatal injuries at Ramsden Dock in Barrow on 8 February 2010. Three Shires Ltd, which specialises in ecological and forestry work, has been sentenced over the death of a father-of-four in Barrow-in-Furness, who was struck by a piece of metal that flew off a strimmer at high speed.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the work had not been planned or carried out safely.  Barrow Crown Court heard Mr Robinson, a self-employed contractor, had been hired to help clear undergrowth at the site during the construction of the new Waterfront business park. He was using a chainsaw to cut back the overgrown vegetation, with another worker using the strimmer on a nearby bank. The chain attachment had been added to the strimmer so it could be used for more heavy-duty work. But the HSE investigation found ThreeShires had not properly considered the risks of using the attachment, and had allowed Mr Robinson to work close to where the strimmer was being operated.

Tony Robinson’s widow, Jenna, said  “Even though I am no engineer, when I was shown the piece of equipment, common sense told me that it was an accident waiting to happen, with links that could easily fly off. It is obvious that insufficient care was taken to protect anyone in the vicinity. “I cannot comprehend that a company, supposedly experienced in this type of groundwork, didn’t use common sense to realise the equipment was dangerous. This oversight has shattered and ruined my life and that of our children. “The only small comfort is that the equipment has now been banned so hopefully another family will be spared the anguish we have had to go through and continue to experience with every birthday, Christmas or family occasion.”

ThreeShires Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 by failing to ensure the safety of workers. The company, of Kings Gardens in Grantham, Lincolnshire, was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay £10,000 in prosecution costs on 12 March 2012.
Speaking after the hearing, Allen Shute, the investigating inspector at HSE, said:  “This was a tragic case which has resulted in the needless death of a worker because the company responsible for his safety didn’t do its job properly. The chances of him being struck by a piece of metal when the chain became detached were increased by the fact that the strimmer was being operated nearby on a bank above where he was working. The company should have properly considered the risks of using a heavy-duty piece of equipment before it allowed the work to take place. If it had, then Mr Robinson’s death could have been avoided.

“The chain attachment has since been banned across Europe, and I would urge anyone who still has one to dispose of it immediately.”

HSE issued a Safety Alert following Mr Robinson’s death, warning that there was a risk of death or serious injury from the use of the strimmer attachment.
It also served an immediate Prohibition Notice against the sole importer of the chain attachments in the UK, which resulted in a nationwide ban on the sale or supply of the product. The attachment has now also been banned across Europe, after HSE alerted the European Commission to the issue.
HSE issues Safety Alerts when major faults are identified in a product, which require immediate action to reduce the risk of death or serious injury. More details are available at

Work at height regs change pressure brought about by the scaffolding industry.

Responding to the recent government report by Professor Löfstedt on the review into existing Health and Safety legislation, the NASC (National Access & Scaffolding Confederation) react in particular to the recommendation to review the Work at Height Regulations by 2013.

Since their introduction in 2005 these regulations have provided an increased awareness to both operatives and employers on the inherent risk when working at height, including what the requirements are to work safely and legally. However some aspects of the regulations can be improved.

One particular ‘grey’ area is the use of the terms ‘competent’ and ‘competence’ which occur frequently throughout the current legislation. These terms are both ambiguous and open to interpretation. This non-specific term has resulted in different interpretations and hence different standards of safety protocol – yet these terms are also at the ‘heart’ of the regulations.

The NASC recommend that these terms be replaced by the term ‘qualified’ (as already adopted in the gas fitting industry). The work at height industry, including scaffolding can demonstrate clearly and accurately that an individual is ‘qualified’ by virtue of the fact that he has completed suitable training, which includes theoretical, practical and on site experience – the aptitude of the Scaffolder to continue to carry out his/her skilled works is also challenged every five years to ensure continued compliance. Scaffolding contracting companies are also able to be audited to ensure continued compliance/qualification via existing regulated protocol such as the NASC’s membership criteria which is already acknowledged by many clients and main contractors as the only method of determining scaffolding prowess that meets all current Scaffolding and Health & Safety legislation.

By replacing the terms ‘competent’ and ‘competence’ with the clear and indisputable term ‘qualified’ the new edition of the regulations in 2013 will help achieve the objectives of the report’s recommendation – ensuring that those actions carried out in accordance with the Working at Height legislation are proportionate. Adoption of the term ‘qualified’ will also help overcome those continually legislation challenging sectors, such as SMEs and the self-employed.

Plus Safety comment: Providing “qualified” means a proper course of training backed up by examination and relevant experience checked by an independent authority, then OK! But all to often “qualified” can mean anything you want it to mean, particularly length of time in the job,which doesn’t always mean fully competent or qualified! Someone needs to qualify what qualified actually means! Which is exactly the problem with competence! Interesting!

Tyre worker 46, killed in horror tyre blast

A tyre firm worker has been killed after a tyre he was repairing exploded.

The man, dad-of-one Gary Jackson, 46, from Preston, was working alone at Red Scar Tyres, when a tipper wagon belonging to one of the firm’s contractors was brought in for a tyre repair.

The driver said one of the tyres was damaged and needed changing, and Mr Jackson started working on it in one of the company’s buildings.

He repaired what he believed was the damage, before the tyre was lifted to test the repair.

But the tyre then exploded, causing a large tear in it, and the air hit Mr Jackson and blew him across the building.

The wagon driver, who was stood nearby, tried to help him and paramedics were called.

But despite attempts to resuscitate him, Mr Jackson was pronounced dead at the Royal Preston Hospital.

Police, council representatives and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) were all at the firm’s base, on the Red Scar Industrial Estate, Longridge Road, Ribbleton, in the aftermnath of the accident.

Det Sgt John Crichton, of Preston CID, said: “All we will be doing is reporting the death to the coroner. We are satisfied there is no criminal element.”

Det Insp Dave McKenna, also from Preston CID, said police would continue to work with the Health and Safety Executive.

The HSE returned to the site the next day when experts were expected to examine the tyre.

An HSE worker at the site confirmed they are fully investigating the incident.

Red Scar Tyres employs around six people, but all except Mr Jackson were believed to be off the premises when the accident happened.

Plus Safety Comment: Sometimes accidents just do happen! I was a firm believer that all accidents could be avoided but this one has challenged that belief.