September 2015 Newsletter
September is National Fork Lift Truck Safety Month
Safetember: see danger, speak up
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Yorkshire schoolgirl, 12, dies on French trip
A 12-year-old girl from Yorkshire has died on a school trip to an adventure centre in France, after what organisers called a “swimming incident”.
The pupil from Wolfreton School, near Hull, was taken to hospital in Limoges by air ambulance on Tuesday afternoon, but died later.
Twenty four students and three staff were on the trip to an adventure centre in the Massif Central region of France.
Head teacher Dave McCready said: “We are all deeply saddened.”
He added: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the student’s family at this difficult time.”
The school trip was organised by the company Activ4 whose managing director Steve Scott said the exact circumstances surrounding the death remain unclear.
He said: “We can confirm that a student on one of our trips to the south of France passed away this morning following a swimming incident yesterday afternoon.
“The owners of the activity centre and senior management from Activ4 are working closely with the local authority and the school to provide all necessary support and assistance.”
The East Riding of Yorkshire Council said it was also providing close support to the school and to the student’s family and arrangements were being made for the school party to return home.
Mike Furbank, head of schools at the council, said: “Our deepest sympathy is with the student’s family, the pupils, staff and everyone else in the wider school community
“There will be a full investigation into the incident and it would be inappropriate to comment further about the details of these tragic events, which the authorities in France are looking into.”
Council sentenced after toddler is injured by park ranger’s vehicle
Nottinghamshire County Council has appeared in court following an incident in which a three-year-old girl suffered bruising to her head and leg, after she was struck by a park ranger’s vehicle.
Mansfield Magistrates’ Court heard Nottinghamshire Council staff were using a lightweight all-terrain vehicle to travel around the park whilst emptying litter bins at the Robin Hood Festival in August 2011.
The utility vehicle on which two council staff were travelling went out of control and collided with the child who was seated in a pushchair.
The HSE prosecuting told the court that its investigation had found the council had not undertaken a suitable and sufficient risk assessment. HSE told the court that had it undertaken such an assessment then another method of collecting litter would have been used.
The court also heard the council had received previous warnings in the shape of HSE Improvement Notices in relation to undertaking risk assessments.
Nottinghamshire County Council of County Hall, Fox Road, West Bridgford pleaded guilty to breaching regulation 3(1)(b) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. It was fined £6,000 with £5,597 costs.
Cleaning company fined for putting workers’ lives at risk
A Sheffield property and cleaning company has been fined for breaching height regulations.
Turbo Property and Cleaning Services Ltd of Wade Street, Sheffield was issued with a Prohibition Notice on 13 November 2014 after an employee was found to be working on a fragile roof with no protection measures in place to prevent them from falling.
The company was then found to have breached the conditions of the notice and had failed to take sufficient measures to prevent workers from falling a distance liable to cause injury.
On Monday 20 July, Sheffield Magistrates’ Court heard that the company had breached section 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and section 33(1)(c) and 33(2) of Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 for contravening the Prohibition Notice.
Turbo Property and Cleaning Services were found guilty in their absence and were fined £2,000 for the breach of the work at height regulations, £4,000 for the breach of prohibition notice with £853.70 costs.
Director sentenced after 24-year-old dies on second day of job
A company director has been sentenced following the death of a young worker, who died on his second day at work, after a trench collapsed in on him. Despite the effort of rescuers who dug for 15 minutes to free him, the 24-year-old died of traumatic asphyxia at the scene.
The director of Coopers Services Limited, a now-dissolved company, appeared at Canterbury Crown Court for sentencing following an HSE investigation into the incident in Swalecliffe, Whitstable in April 2011. He was given two years to pay his fine of £75,000 or face 18 months in prison.
An inspector from HSE said that it was “unlawful and highly dangerous” for the director to allow the work to proceed.
Following an earlier inquest which ruled the death as accidental, the HSE investigation looked further into the case; however the director refused to answer any questions about safeguards taken at the site, simply responding “no comment”.
In court it was heard how the young worker, whose partner was eight months pregnant at the time, had been working for Cooper Services Ltd and the director for just two days when the incident occurred.
The company had been employed by a domestic client to connect new build bungalows to mains drainage, water and gas supplies.
Access to the site was along a narrow driveway and the director started the work on 29 March to dig a trench for gas and water which was back filled by 1 April.
Work was then started on the drainage – a few feet from the previously dug trench and by 4 April a manhole chamber was prepared at the entrance to the drive. This work was done by Coopers Services Ltd workers and over the next two days manholes and trenches were prepared around the bungalows.
On 7 April, the young worker was acting as a banksman and taking measurements of trench depth while a colleague was digging the main trench down the centre of the driveway for the drainage pipes and banking soil either side of the trench.
The director arrived on site late morning and took over operation of the digger. At around 12.30pm there was a delivery of shingle, then shouting was heard and it became apparent the young worker had been buried in the trench in front of the digger.
He said: “the young woker was there, I could just see his head, and then I just panicked, screaming for help and started digging, just to try and save him.
“I tried my hardest and screamed and tried to get him out. I started to dig with my hands.”
He said he had also used a spade.
“I was using just anything to try and get him out.”
Emergency services attempted to save the young worker but he was pronounced dead at the scene.
At the earlier inquest it was heard how the workers had previously been using a piece of wood laid across the trench, to lower pipes into it. Some pipes had been laid but towards the end the pipes were out of the ground.
The director said a laser level had been used to establish the trench gradient and the young worker had been checking it as they worked their way down, using a staff and receiver, picking up a signal from a laser on a tripod.
He had been putting the staff in the trench to do this by holding his arm out and touching the bottom.
An HSE investigation found that the drive was about three metres wide. The material excavated from the trench had been piled up alongside each side of the trench which had no means of support to prevent collapse and no barriers or edge protection to prevent falls into the trench.
The, director of Coopers Services Limited (Coopers Services Ltd is now dissolved) of Watchester Farm Cottages, Ramsgate, Kent pleaded guilty to breaches of regulation 31 (1) (a, b and c) and 31 (2) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007.
He was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for two years. He was also fined £75,000. If the fine is not paid within two years, He faces 18 months imprisonment. Prosecution costs of £25,000 were awarded against him.
HSE inspector, said after the case: “HSE’s sympathies are extended to the family of the young man whose life lay ahead of him.
“This was a totally preventable accident. The director was an experienced ground worker and knew the way he was allowing the work to proceed was unlawful and highly dangerous.
“This incident happened because of the director’s failure to plan and manage the job properly. Had he taken measures to prevent a trench collapse at the planning stage or on the day of the incident, the family would not have to endure the heartbreak of losing someone so dear to them.
“This was only the young workers second day working for the director. He would still be alive today had well established working practices been followed.”
Pizza Express fined £200,000 after worker fell out of restaurant window
PizzaExpress (Restaurants) Ltd was fined £200,000 today (31 July) after a maintenance worker was seriously injured after falling 5 metres out of a restaurant window onto the pavement below.
The man, suffered serious spinal injuries and was left a tetraplegic after surviving the fall on 8 December 2011.
On the day of the accident, the former head chef required the workerl to carry a heavy hot cupboard up a back staircase leading from the first to the second floor, assisted by three other employees.
The hot cupboard, weighing 168kg, became stuck on the first landing in close proximity to a low-level first floor window. While trying to free the unit, he fell backwards through the window and onto the pavement.
Westminster City Council prosecuted PizzaExpress (Restaurants) Ltd after an investigation identified serious safety failings.
PizzaExpress (Restaurants) Ltd had pleaded guilty to breaching section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 for failing to protect the health, safety and welfare of one of its employees.
The company was fined £200,000 and ordered to pay costs amounting to £58,453 at a sentencing hearing at Southwark Crown Court.
After the hearing, a Westminster City Council’s cabinet member for public protection, said: “This was an awful incident, and this young man suffered life changing injuries which were wholly avoidable.
“We hope the sentence sends out a strong message to any businesses that are ever tempted to cut corners, especially when people’s lives and health could be put at risk.”
Manufacturer fined after worker suffered head injuries
A Bath-based manufacturer, Rotork UK Ltd, has been fined for safety failings after a worker was hit in the face by a chuck key, suffering serious head injuries.
Mansfield Magistrates’ Court heard on 6 August that on the 31 January 2014, a 30-year-old worker was struck in the face by a chuck key at their site in Huthwaite. The chuck key was ejected from the lathe. There was no chuck guard fitted to the machine at the time of the incident.
The worker was left with a fractured right eye socket, damaged teeth and bruising to the brain that was fortunately not life threatening, although he was unable to return to work for 10 months and is unable to carry out physical sports or drive at night.
Rotork UK Ltd was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay £1,741.12 in costs and a victim surcharge of £120 after pleading guilty to breaching regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and section 33(1)(c) and 33(2) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.
The HSE inspector said: “Failing to identify appropriate guarding for machines can lead to serious accidents. There are well established standards which Rotork UK Ltd had failed to achieve.”
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