January 2016 Newsletter
Winter Driving – Vehicle Checks
Keeping your vehicle well maintained is important all year round, but doubly so in winter. For example, worn tyres won’t hold the road in wet conditions as well as those with a good, deep tread.
Make sure all exterior lights are working correctly and that windscreen wiper blades are in good condition. Check the oil, coolant and washer fluid levels. And, don’t leave home on that long trip over lonely country roads without enough fuel for the journey.
The following checks will help ensure your vehicle is ready for winter:
Note: Before carrying out these checks, make sure your vehicle is cold and parked on a flat, level surface.
1. Car Battery – The RAC attends more call-outs for batteries than any other problem. During February 2012 they went to more than 50,000 battery-related call-outs. Remember, if your car has not been used for a period of time, the battery may need charging before you come to use it.
2. Coolant – ensure that coolant is between the minimum and maximum markers. It is also important that there is sufficient anti-freeze in the coolant. If you’re uncertain, have a look at your handbook or get your local garage to check the strength. Anti-freeze is cheap but damage from a frozen engine can be very expensive to put right.
3. Tyres – check tyre condition to see if there is adequate tread. Look for damage such as splits or bulges and check the pressure. If you live in an area particularly at risk of snow consider purchasing winter tyres or snow socks which give you greater traction and control.
4. Screen-wash – make sure you have enough screen-wash and that the concentration is suitable for cold conditions. Not all screen-wash is the same so look for the temperature it protects down to. You should be looking for protection down to down to -10 degrees C and if you live in areas subject to the greatest extremes of weather, down to -20 degrees C. If you don’t use a good quality screen-wash there is a danger your washer pump could freeze which might lead to the fuse blowing and your wipers not working because they are often on the same fuse.
5. Wiper blades – check wiper blades for damage and replace if necessary. When wiper blades become frozen to glass it is very easy to damage them when freeing them up.
Subway sentenced after woman trapped in chiller overnight
Subway, the fast food restaurant franchise, has been sentenced after a woman spent the night trapped in a chiller after a door handle stopped working.
Mr Vicoli, CM Ventures Limited the franchisee of a Gloucester food outlet was found guilty of failing to comply with section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
The Court were told that the incident happened late one evening on 29 December 2014 at Subway in Gloucester’s Kings Walk, involving a female lone worker. The woman had needed to go into the walk-in chiller but when she tried to get out she found the internal handle to release the door was not working.
Despite her attempts to open the door the employee remained trapped in the chiller where she remained all night until she was discovered when a colleague opened the store the next morning. Food safety legislation requires that the temperature in the chiller was maintained at or below 5OC and it is therefore fortunate that she did not suffer any lasting health effects from her ordeal.
Employees interviewed as part of the investigation had stated that the internal handle was damaged and that Mr Vicoli had been informed of the issue but that the handle had not been repaired or replaced until after the incident had occurred.
Concerns were also raised concerning the lone working procedures and policies in operation at the time of the incident. As a result the lone working risk assessment was reviewed and revised following the incident.
The Health and Safety Officer at Gloucester City Council, said: “In this case there was a failure to comply with health and safety legislation and if simple repairs had been made the incident would have been avoided. The owner of the franchise had been made aware of the faulty door handle but had not taken any action to put things right”.
Mr Vicoli was sentenced in Cheltenham Magistrates Court on 2 November 2015 and ordered to pay a fine of £4,000 and costs of £1,950.
Sub-contractor fined: worker falls from unsafe ladder
A Nottingham sub-contractor has been sentenced to community service after a worker suffered major injuries when he fell from an unsafe ladder.
Lincoln Crown Court heard that the worker had been employed by Hardev Gutheran Singh to carry out refurbishment work at a site in Ark Road, North Somercotes, Louth.
On 11 May 2013, the worker, was painting metal roof struts more than three metres high when the ladder he was working on gave way. He hit the concrete floor below, dislocating his shoulder and shattering his knee.
He spent ten days in hospital and had to have a knee replacement. He has been unable to work since as he still suffers discomfort and has mobility problems.
An HSE investigation found the aluminium ladder had been poorly maintained. A non-slip foot was missing and another was damaged, as was one of the rungs.
On 6 November 2015, Hardev Gutheran Singh, 32, of Park Street, Lenton, Nottingham, was ordered to complete 180 hours community service after being found guilty of breaching regulation 7(2) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and regulation 5(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.
Speaking after the hearing, the HSE inspector said: “Falls from height are the biggest cause of death and serious injury in the construction industry. It is essential that equipment with the proper fall protection measures are provided to prevent incidents of this kind.
“The condition of the ladder was such that it should never have been used. Other more suitable equipment which was readily available on the site, such as a tower scaffold, this was not considered for this task by Hardev Singh and as a result, a man suffered major injuries that have had a significant impact on the rest of his life.”
Fine for not protecting bearded workers
The owner of a stone masonry company has been fined for failing to supply the right masks to workers with facial hair.
Thomas Bushby (trading as JLD Stone) did not provide adequate control of silica – exposure to which can cause silicosis and lung cancer.
Consett magistrates’ court heard that operators were not provided with masks for tasks which needed them while other workers were provided with masks which were not suitable due to their facial hair.
Stone dust was also swept up rather than vacuumed on sites.
Employees also carried out tasks using vibrating tools including air hammers where no assessment was made of the risk.
An employee of Thomas Bushby (trading as JLD Stone) was diagnosed with hand-arm vibration syndrome in 2009 and another was diagnosed with the condition in 2014.
An HSE investigation found that no health surveillance was carried out on Bushby’s employees between 2008 and 2014.
Regular health surveillance is a way to identify early symptoms of disease so action can be taken to stop it getting worse.
Thomas Bushby, of Castleside, Consett, was fined a total of £2,500 and was ordered to pay £1,921.29 in costs after pleading guilty to safety offences.
Speaking after the hearing Health and Safety Executive inspector Fiona McGarry said: “Serious irreversible ill health or even death can result from exposure to silica and hand arm vibration syndrome is a permanent disabling condition.
“Employers need to take action to ensure they are providing adequate control to protect the health of employees.”
Court hears how worker was fatally crushed by machine
A Wrexham firm has been ordered to pay over £200,000 following the death of a worker in December 2012, who was crushed by a machine weighing an estimated half a tonne.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) discovered that the lifting operation being undertaken was unsafe and the worker was not properly trained in lifting non-standard loads.
Chester Crown Court heard that Christopher Williams, a maintenance supervisor at Morgan Technical Ceramics Limited, was moving a power press that was stored in a shipping container in the yard behind the factory.
He was moving the press on a pallet truck when it toppled over, striking the 51-year-old, causing fatal injuries to his chest.
On sentencing Judge Rhys Rowlands rejected claims from the company that Mr Williams had been sufficiently trained in loading and unloading heavy or unusual loads.
The firm had conceded that although a system was in place for such work, it had not been “adequately communicated” to all staff.
Morgan Technical Ceramics Limited, of Vauxhall Industrial Estate, Ruabon, was fined a total of £180,000, and ordered to pay £23,300 in costs after pleading guilty to offences under Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Katherine Walker said: “Thirty per cent of fatal accidents in manufacturing in Great Britain involve the fall of a heavy item. It is important that everyone involved in maintenance understands the risks and lifts are properly planned by a competent person.”
Following sentencing Mr Williams’ family said they hoped lessons had been learned from the tragedy and nobody ever has to go through the pain they have endured.
They added that it had been a long three years and the “big hole” left by the father-of-five, who also had two grandchildren, would never be filled.
Morgan Technical Ceramics Ltd, said: “The company regret most sincerely the death of Mr Williams. Everyone has been affected by the incident and outcome.”
Fine for boss who failed to protect his workers’ health
The owner of a stone masonry company has been fined £2,500 for failing to protect the health of his workers, after he neglected to provide adequate control of silica, exposure to which can cause silicosis and lung cancer.
Thomas Bushby (trading as JLD Stone) had received previous advice from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), but did not take the required actions to protect workers from the risks posed by working with silica and using vibrating tools.
It was heard that:
• operators were not provided with masks for tasks which needed them;
• other operators were provided with masks which were not suitable due to their facial hair; and
• stone dust was swept up rather than vacuumed.
Consett magistrates’ court also heard how employees carried out tasks using vibrating tools including air hammers, no assessment was made of the risk from this and lower vibration tools were not identified which would have greatly reduced exposure to vibration. The tools in use had very high vibration levels meaning employees were likely exposed above the exposure limit value.
An employee of Thomas Bushby was diagnosed with hand-arm vibration syndrome in 2009 and another was diagnosed with the condition in 2014.
During an investigation, HSE found that no health surveillance was carried out on Mr Bushby’s employees between 2008 and 2014. Regular health surveillance is a way to identify early symptoms of disease so action can be taken to stop it getting worse.
Thomas Bushby, of Castleside, Consett, was fined a total of £2,500 and was ordered to pay £1,921.29 in costs after pleading guilty to offences under Regulation 7 (1) of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 and Regulation 5 (1) and 7 (1) of the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005.
Speaking after the hearing Health and Safety Executive inspector said: “Serious irreversible ill health or even death can result from exposure to silica and hand arm vibration syndrome is a permanent disabling condition. Employers need to take action to ensure they are providing adequate control to protect the health of employees.”
Poundworld fined £63,000 for selling non-reflective hi-vis vests
Poundworld has been fined over £63,000 after it sold non reflective hi-vis jackets, with the logo ‘be safe, be seen’.
More than 95,000 of the vests had been sold for £1, but tests carried out by trading standards revealed that the reflective nature of the jackets was no more than 2.4 per cent of what it should have been.
Joe Tyler, Hertfordshire Trading Standards, bought the jacket from Poundworld on Watford High Street.
He said: “Whilst the produce purported to be a high visibility safety vest, it was in fact no such thing. It was little more than an item of clothing.
“Neither the fluorescent yellow background material or the retro-reflective strips were of a standard anywhere near that which was necessary to ensure the visibility of the user.”
In a written response to Trading Standards’ questions, Poundworld said the vest tested was from a batch of 7,200.
In response to Trading Standards’ questions, Poundworld said the vest that was tested was part of a batch of 7,200, but over a period beginning in January 2010 it had imported and sold 95,700.
The company, which has its HQ in Normanton, West Yorkshire, appeared for sentence on Friday, having pleaded guilty to two offences of engaging in misleading commercial practice at an earlier hearing.
Stan Reiz, defending, said the Chinese manufacturers had provided test certificates that were misleading to Poundworld . He said there had been no complaints or safety incidents reported.
But he said: “The company admits it fell short of due diligence. It has now changed its policies and has increased its UK test centres.”
Judge John Plumstead fined Poundworld £15,000 and ordered it to pay £42,395.10 in an agreed confiscation order as well as £6,123.16 prosecution costs.
He said: “People would have gone out of the shop believing they had improved the safety of their children or themselves when out after dark on foot or on a bicycle.
“The fine demonstrates the court’s disapproval of those who put on the market safety aids that are not safety aids at all.”
The jacket was withdrawn from sale on June 5 2014 and the national recall took place in January this year.
Pet food manufacturer fined after injury to teenage worker
A Nottinghamshire pet food company has been fined £18,000 after an 18-year-old worker was seriously injured when a forklift truck he was driving overturned. He sustained serious lower limb injuries including compound fractures in both legs, vascular and nerve damage and a crushed left heel.
The worker was employed by Alpha Feeds Limited, which has now changed its name to Grove Pet Foods Limited, as a factory operative at the company’s Grove Road, Retford site.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuting, told Mansfield Magistrates’ Court that on 30 July 2014 the worker was operating a forklift truck but it began to overturn, and as he jumped clear, the truck fell onto him. He had been working at the company as a factory operative for just two weeks.
HSE’s investigation found that:
• although he had been allowed to operate the forklift truck under supervision, the worker had received no formal training in its safe use;
• the worker was able to operate the vehicle as a set of keys had been left in it;
• the company’s system to control keys to access lift trucks was not effective, since operators regularly left keys in the lift truck, and operated them using those keys;
• had the keys only been available to trained, authorised operators, then the injured worker would not have been able to operate the lift truck; and
• it was common practice for seatbelts not to be worn.
Grove Pet Foods Limited (previously known as Alpha Feeds Limited) of Grove Road, South Leverton, Retford, Nottinghamshire admitted breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £18,000 and ordered to pay full costs of £1,332.
Incorrect eye protection lands building company in court
A building company has been fined for safety failings after an employee suffered permanent injury to his eye from lack of correct protection.
Luton Magistrates’ Court heard how on 15 November 2013 an employee of Steele & Bray Limited, of Northampton, was injured when he was hit in the eye by a shard of metal when a work colleague was operating a nail gun to fasten a piece of timber to a steel lintel. The court also heard that the eye-protection being worn by the nail gun operator, being lightweight ‘spectacle’ types rather than impact absorbing ‘goggles’, were not adequate for use with nail guns.
Steele & Bray Limited, of Moore Street, Kingsley, Northampton, was fined a total of £6,500 and ordered to pay £898.20 in costs after pleading guilty to an offence under Regulation 4(1) of the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992.
For more information about Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) log onto the website at http://www.hse.gov.uk/toolbox/ppe.htm
Corporate manslaughter firm ordered to publicise conviction
A building firm which was fined £200,000 following the death of a 28-year-old worker who was fatally crushed when a 2.9 metre retaining wall collapsed onto him, has been ordered to take out an advert on the Construction Enquirer detailing its prosecution.
This is the first time a publicity order has resulted in an advert being taken out in the trade press. Previously notices have appeared in local papers or on a company’s own website.
Linley Developments’ ad will appear throughout December on the Construction Enquirer website.
The site’s pages are viewed around 60,000 times a day, though the advert does not appear on every page.
The firm was fined £200,000 after pleading guilty to corporate manslaughter and the company’s managing director and project manager were both also given suspended prison sentences after pleading guilty to breaching CDM Regulations.
The publicity order states: “Linley Developments Ltd was convicted on 7 September 2015 of corporate manslaughter arising out of the death of Gareth Jones, a subcontracted employee, at a development in St Albans on 30 January 2013.
“Linley Developments Ltd admitted acting in a gross breach of their duty by failing to take sufficient care for his safety. Failings included failing to prepare a risk assessment for the excavation works, failing to assess and monitor the stability of the wall and failing to ensure that the wall did not become unstable as a result of the excavation work.”
Train the Trainer Manual Handling Courses
Face – Fit Testing
More information to follow in next months newsletter.
And the winner is:-
Nicky Jetson Shepherd, Human Resource Manager – Zyro Ltd, has won the complimentary meal for two, courtesy of the Bridge Inn Walshford, for achieving the overall highest IOSH Managing Safely mark (96%) in 2015.
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