New “Workplace Transport Safety” online training module published

Our latest title ‘Workplace Transport Safety’ is now available online.

This course will help employers, and those responsible for workplace transport, to reduce the risk of accidents occurring.

Others, such as drivers of on-site vehicles, and employees who are likely to encounter them as pedestrians, will also find it useful.

The course includes a module on Whole Body Vibration.
Request information and booking by ringing Eric on 07961346544

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!

Excavator firm fined after worker’s fingers severed

John Watson, 55, from Wheatley Hill, County Durham, was drilling holes in steel plates at Komatsu UK Ltd Birtley, when his right hand became caught in the rotating parts of the machine. Komatsu UK Ltd, of Durham Road, Birtley pleaded guilty of one breach of Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £6,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,421.10.

Builder prosecuted for ignoring health and safety rules

A builder whose employees were forced to work in unsanitary conditions, with no toilet or washing facilities, in Rochdale has appeared in court. Michael Connolly, of Simonstone Lane in Burnley, pleaded guilty to failing to comply with Regulation 22(1)(c) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 by not providing suitable and sufficient washing facilities, and Section 33(1)(g) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 by failing to comply with an improvement notice. He was fined £400 and ordered to pay £1,000 costs.

Worker paralysed after being crushed by reel of paper

An employee of a major paper producer in North Wales has been left paralysed from the chest down after being crushed by a two tonne reel of paper.

Christopher John Shaw, from Wirral, was working as an assistant winder for SCA Hygiene Products UK Ltd when the incident occurred on 29 July 2007.

Mr Shaw (38) was involved in producing and preparing paper reels at the firm’s site in Oakenholt, Flint. He was using his body weight to slow down a moving paper reel when he slipped. The reel, which was around two metres in diameter, then rolled onto him causing serious crush injuries which left him with paralysis.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted the firm after an investigation and at Mold Crown Court it pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. It was fined £120,000 and ordered to pay full costs of £18,514

HSE inspector Will Gretton said:

“Employees using their body weight to slow down such large and potentially dangerous items as paper reels, clearly isn’t a safe way of working.

“There were clear risks that weren’t properly managed by the company, which resulted in Mr Shaw’s horrific injuries.

“The consequences of this incident could have been even more serious. The company has now put into place more effective measures to protect the health and safety of their employees, unfortunately too late for Mr Shaw.”

Two workers exposed to asbestos at Aston University

A Birmingham-based university has been fined, along with a security systems firm, after two workers were exposed to dangerous asbestos fibres while fitting CCTV cameras.

The worker and a 17-year-old trainee were installing the cameras in the reception area at Aston University’s Recreation Centre on 21 July 2009 when they drilled into material containing asbestos fibres.

Both the university and Warwickshire-based Access Fire and Security Ltd – the contractor carrying out the work – were prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following the incident.

Birmingham Magistrates’ Court heard the university failed to follow its own procedures on managing, planning and preparing for the installation and the arrangements were unclear and not widely known within the university.

Aston University, of Aston Triangle, Birmingham, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 5(1) of the Management of Health and Safety Regulations 1999 and Regulation 4(9)(c) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 and was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay £2,000 costs.

Access Fire and Security Ltd, which operates from a unit in Henley Court, Henley-in-Arden, and is registered at an address in Yardley Wood, Billesley, Birmingham, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 5(a) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 and was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay £1,000 costs.

Karl Raw, the investigating inspector at HSE, said:

“While the amount of asbestos involved in this incident was small, two people now have to live with the knowledge that they may become ill from lung disease in the future.

“Aston University failed to ensure university employees and others working across the site were aware of the presence of asbestos fibres.

“Surveys on the location and conditions of asbestos and materials containing asbestos had been carried out across the university but there was no procedure for communicating the details to contractors.

“Access Fire and Security Ltd, a long-term contractor with the university, had never been given any information about asbestos – and had never asked for it. They also failed to assess whether asbestos was present, what type of asbestos was involved and what condition it was in, before undertaking work.”

Demolition firm fined after teenager blinded in one eye

A demolition firm has been fined £8,000 after a teenager was blinded in one eye while helping to demolish a mill in Tameside.

The 19-year-old was using a pickaxe to lever up wooden floorboards at Hyde Mill, on Ashton Road in Hyde on 8 September 2009, when he was hit in his left eye by a splinter.

Dovestone Contractors Ltd, which has an annual turnover of £2.7 million, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after it failed to ensure the teenager wore goggles or other eye protection.

Trafford Magistrates’ Court heard that the teenager, from Bradford in West Yorkshire, had been working for the company for one and a half years before the incident. He had been helping to remove wooden planks from four floors at the mill, ahead of its demolition.

Neil Martin, the investigating inspector at HSE, said:

“A young man has suffered a life-long, irreversible injury because he wasn’t given safety goggles that would have cost less than £5.
“He hasn’t returned to work in the demolition industry because he’s frightened of losing the sight in his other eye. He may also have difficulty trying to get a drivers licence. This was a life-changing injury.

“Dovestone Contractors should have known there was a serious risk of its workers being blinded by splinters if they didn’t wear eye protection while using pickaxes to lift floorboards.

This is required by law and there is simply no excuse for such a basic health and safety error.”

Dovestone Contractors Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 by failing to provide eye protection for its employees.

The company, of Ocean Village in Southampton, was ordered to pay £4,000 towards the cost of the prosecution in addition to the fine on 1 December.