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Group Newsletter Issue 2 Volume 5 August 2013 1. Group NewsPage 3 Exhibitions InformationPage 4 SGUK NewsPage 6 HSE Information Page 7 Other stories/informationPage.

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Presentation on theme: "Group Newsletter Issue 2 Volume 5 August 2013 1. Group NewsPage 3 Exhibitions InformationPage 4 SGUK NewsPage 6 HSE Information Page 7 Other stories/informationPage."— Presentation transcript:

1 Group Newsletter Issue 2 Volume 5 August

2 Group NewsPage 3 Exhibitions InformationPage 4 SGUK NewsPage 6 HSE Information Page 7 Other stories/informationPage 12 2

3 Please remember that the book written by Doctor Bob Rajan on Controlling Skin Exposure to Chemicals and Wet-Work, a practical book is still available on loan to members. Contact either Mike or Cathy on or for more Please remember that if you are employed by an SME or are an individual wishing to do a NEBOSH Certificate then please contact us as some sponsorship may be available if you meet the criteria. Courses are provided either by SETA in Stockport or ACT Associates Please contact the Secretary for details 3

4 Please add these dates to your diary and consider visiting the shows. These shows are supported by Safety Groups UK

5 Other local events taking place, though not supported by Safety Groups UK include 18 September – North West Regional Association Conference, Barton Grange Hotel, Barton, nr. Preston Exhibition enquiries to Mike Nixon on Conference reservation enquiries to 17 October: South Cumbria Conference contact Lucy on for further 5

6 Discounts available through SGUK Please remember if you work for a small company, or Consultant, who perhaps do not receive a discount at Arco to request a Safety Groups UK card which gives 15% off in Arco shops only (not online). You must produce a card to obtain the discount. (only available to members). Members 15% Exclusive discount Safety Groups UK has negotiated corporate benefits for Group members. ACT is working with Safety Groups UK to provide an exclusive discount to all Safety Groups UK members. ACT offer an exclusive 15% discount off the list price of any product or service to all Safety Groups UK members. ACT is established as a high quality single point solutions provider of auditing, consultancy and training services. We have evolved into an integrated provider of all learning solutions including conventional, e-learning and blended learning options. Obtaining the 15% discount Call ACT on – Quote ACTSG12 For more info on our products and services go to 6

7 Half baked or overcooked? The evidence is clear but there are still so many commentators out there who just don't get it. Lord Young and Professor Löfstedt's reviews both concluded that it is NOT the regulations that lead to ridiculous decisions on health and safety grounds, but rather the over interpretation and over application of regulations in inappropriate and disproportionate ways. The Myth Busters Challenge Panel has demonstrated this to be true in more than 200 cases we've looked at over the last 15 months. When 'health and safety' is not being used as a convenient excuse - or non-existent rules being created - it seems even sensible regulations are being applied in silly ways. No one would reasonably argue that an industrial electric pressure washer used by a variety of operators on a busy construction site should not be subject to regular tests to ensure that it is in a safe condition. Common sense and proportion would tell most of us the same level of testing for kettles and computers in offices is over the top. Indeed the regulations have never required it - but that didn't stop some people from interpreting them in that way. We've seen again this week health and safety "rules" being lambasted as "half baked" in the national press. This time the story is about Georgie Hippolite, from the Isle of Wight, whose mum baked cakes to sell at school for a charity. Because her mum didn't have a food hygiene qualification, she was told they couldn't be sold - because of "health and safety”. A perfect cue for the comment pages to go into overdrive, mocking the deadly dangers of cooking a Sunday roast or the hidden threats which lurk in every kitchen.the story is about Georgie Hippolite 7

8 This reaction is amusing up to a point. But I struggle with any argument that blames the regulations for turning us into a nation of cowards and scaredy-cats, obsessed with red tape and bureaucracy and hell bent on stopping people doing harmless and very low risk activities. I've seen all 200 or so of the mythbuster cases we've dealt with. I know the cases are not made up - many of them you literally couldn't make up, they're so silly. Only this week we heard of parasols being banned at a racecourse on grounds of you-know- what. Apparently, they could be used as a weapon. This problem of over application is a real one, but until we can get more people to see that the problem is one of "overcooking” the rules, not the rules themselves being "half baked”, our rate of progress is going to be limited. But it's not been all bad in the press this week. Dr Mike Esbester, of Portsmouth University, reached some interesting conclusions after studying the history of health and safety. You can read them in this report in the Telegraph. Given the cooking theme of this blog I only really need to say two words to Dr Mike - well done.this report in the Telegraph 8

9 A Bolton limousine and hearse manufacturer has been fined after seven employees developed a debilitating nerve condition over a six and a half year period. Woodall Nicholson Ltd was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after the workers were diagnosed with Hand Arm Vibration syndrome as a result of almost daily use of hand-held equipment, such as grinders, saws and pneumatic tools, all of which constantly vibrate. Trafford Magistrates' Court in Sale heard that the men, aged between 25 and 62, developed the condition while working at the plant on Wigan Road in Westhoughton between July 2005 and December Symptoms include tingling and numbness in their fingers which can cause sleep disturbance, not being able to feel things with their fingers, loss of strength in their hands, and suffering pain in their fingertips during cold weather known as Vibration White Finger. The condition is incurable and will affect the workers for the rest of their lives. HSE's investigation found that Woodall Nicholson Ltd failed to ensure that risk from exposure to vibration from the tools was reduced as low as reasonably practicable and over a protracted period of time. The court was told HSE issued an Improvement Notice requiring changes to working practices after being made aware of the workers' condition. The company has since introduced measures to reduce the level of vibration by buying new lower-level vibrating tools and reducing the amount of time workers spend using them. Woodall Nicholson Ltd was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £13,485 in prosecution costs after pleading guilty to a breach of the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Mike Lisle said: "Some of the workers now have difficulty picking up small objects, such as screws and nails, which is essential for the job they do. They will also suffer some level of pain in their hands for the rest of their lives. "The risks of Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome are well known in the manufacturing industry and employers have a legal duty to make sure the exposure of workers to vibrating equipment is kept as low as possible. "Sadly employees at Woodall Nicholson regularly used high-level vibrating equipment over several years that was badly maintained, with few controls in place over its use. This made it almost inevitable that they would develop the condition." Almost two million people in the UK work in conditions where they are at risk of developing Hand Arm Vibration syndrome. Information on preventing the condition is available at 9

10 The owner of Vauxhall has been fined £150,000 over the death of a long-serving worker who was crushed in machinery at its car factory in Ellesmere Port. General Motors UK Ltd was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after Ian Heard was found at the North Road plant on 22 July The 59-year-old from Birkenhead, who joined Vauxhall as an apprentice at the age of 16, was taken to the Countess of Chester Hospital where he died 11 days later. Liverpool Crown Court heard today (14 August 2013) that Mr Heard had been working in the paint unit at the factory where trolleys - known as skids - carry cars through a conveyer system to be spray painted. He had entered the part of the unit where the skids are stacked in order to try and free some after they became stuck. As he moved them the machine restarted and he was crushed. The HSE investigation found a doorway had been created through a wall at the back of the paint unit, sometime after the machine had been installed in the 1990s, which allowed access without the power being cut. The court was told it had previously not been possible to get to the conveyor system while it was still operating as light sensors at the front of the machine meant it stopped if a worker walked over them. There was also an access gate in the fence around the machine, which could only be opened once the power had been switched off. A risk assessment carried out in ten years before Mr Heard's death - identified the potential danger posed by the new door but no further action was taken by the company. It had also become standard practice for workers to use the door to free skids when they became stuck. General Motors pleaded guilty to single breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 by failing to ensure the safety of employees, and failing to prevent access to dangerous parts of machinery. The company, of Osborne Road in Luton, Bedfordshire, was fined £150,000 and ordered to pay £19,654 in prosecution costs. Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Martin Paren said: Ian Heard receiving a long service award following 40 years with General Motors "Ian Heard was a dedicated and loyal worker at Vauxhall for more than 40 years, but sadly he lost his life because of the company's safety failings. 10

11 A builder has been given a community service order for taking his 10-year-old son on to "unsafe" scaffolding in Merseyside where he was working. The 51-year-old man from Kirkby, who cannot be identified, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). A passing HSE inspector took a photograph of the boy on the scaffolding in February six metres above the ground. Magistrates ordered his father to carry out 80 hours community service. The boy was photographed in a half-term holiday as his father was carrying out repairs the property. Liverpool Magistrates' Court heard the boy shimmied along a narrow plank on the scaffolding as he made his way towards the top of a ladder where his father was waiting for him. A passing HSE inspector ordered the builder to dismantle the scaffolding as it was unsafe. No boards had been fitted around the edge of the scaffolding to stop tools or materials falling to the ground below. After the hearing, Insp Matt Greenly said: "Building sites have the potential to be dangerous places if the proper health and safety procedures aren't followed, with dozens of deaths reported in the industry every year. They're certainly no place for a ten-year- old boy." 11

12 Employee narrowly avoids having arm amputated A cable manufacturer has been fined after two employees were injured in separate incidents on the same machine at a factory in Leigh, Greater Manchester. TCB Arrow Ltd, which produces ignition cables used by the automotive industry, was prosecuted on 26 July after an HSE investigation found serious safety failings, including poor maintenance of the machine, inadequate safety features and a failure to put a safe system of work in place. The first incident took place on 12 October 2011 in the TCB Arrow factory on the Firsdale Industrial Estate in Leigh, when a 24- year-old man, who has asked not to be named, was cleaning the blade of a machine used to mould rubber together and accidently leant on the operating pedal, causing his finger to become trapped. Trafford Magistrates' Court was told there should have been a guard on the pedal to prevent the machine from being started accidentally. Less than a month later, on 9 November, a 23-year-old man, who has also asked not to be named, caught his arm when he was cleaning the rollers on the same machine. Despite pressing the stop bar, the machine took several seconds to come to a halt and his arm was dragged into the rollers, raising his body off the floor. The court heard that the rollers continued to rotate three quarters of the way round after the stop bar was pressed, which is nearly five times more than the legal maximum of 57 degrees. Doctors initially thought they would need to amputate the arm, but eventually managed to stop the bleeding. The worker required 21 different operations for skin grafts and has lost 90 per cent of the use his arm. HSE inspector Helen Mansfield said: "Our investigation found TCB last carried out a generic risk assessment for the factory in 2003, and there had never been a specific assessment of the machine – despite the risks of workers being injured by rollers being well known in the manufacturing industry." TCB Arrow, of Watchmoor Road, Camberley, Surrey was fined £18,000 and ordered to pay £10,984 in prosecution costs after admitting a breach of the HSWA

13 "But of course we are concerned about the number of fatalities – one is too many – and we remain committed to our original aim to eliminate fatalities and reduce RIDDOR incidents by a further 10 per cent. But the pragmatic reality is that in any one year they are difficult to eliminate completely." Commenting on the overall figures, HSE chair Judith Hackitt said: "These figures are being published in the same week as the 25th anniversary of the Piper Alpha disaster, and are a reminder to us all of why health and safety is so important. "The fact that Britain continues to have one of the lowest levels of workplace fatalities in Europe will be of little consolation to those who lose family members, friends and work colleagues. "HSE is striving to make health and safety simpler and clearer for people to understand so that more people do what is required to manage the real risks that cause death and serious injury. "We all have a part to play to ensure people come home safe at the end of the working day and good leadership, employee engagement and effective risk management are key to achieving this." IOSH said it is encouraged by the fall in work-related fatalities but called for a redoubling of efforts to push the figure down even further. The Institution's Jane White added: "We also believe that the current measurements do not represent the bigger picture, because they exclude the 12,000 people who died in the same time frame from occupational diseases. "Last year alone, some 8000 people died from cancers caused by work. These are avoidable deaths.” IOSH's comments were echoed by the TUC, whose general secretary, Frances O'Grady said it is "worth remembering that the number of immediate fatalities is less than 1 per cent of the total number of people who are killed as a result of their jobs – mainly as a result of diseases such as mesothelioma and other cancers." Even more worrying, she said, are cuts to inspection budgets, which mean "fewer workplaces will receive a visit from the safety inspector this year. This risks creating an environment where some employers will pay less attention to workplace safety, content in the knowledge that any safety corners cut are unlikely ever to come to light." Ms O'Grady also highlighted that a third of immediate workplace deaths are among the self-employed – "these workers have a fatality rate almost three times higher – 1.1 deaths per 100,000 compared to 0.4 – than other workers". 13

14 Workplace injury lawyers agreed that changes in the law prompted by Löfstedt and otherwise are having a detrimental effect, and warned that "tampering with regulations" could undermine much of the hard work invested in improving health and safety in Britain. David Urpeth, national head of workplace injury and illness at Irwin Mitchell solicitors, said: "Any number of fatalities and injuries at work is too many, yet the Government's recent changes to the law through the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act only serve to make it much more difficult for those whose lives have been transformed by work accidents to get the answers and the justice they deserve. "While we welcome moves to cut unnecessary red tape, often the biggest deterrent stopping businesses from cutting corners with safety is the threat of legal action. Our primary concern is that the increased difficulty of holding employers to account will only be to the detriment of safety and, ultimately, this will lead to the number of reported workplace deaths and injuries rising in the future." The provisional workplace fatality statistics for 2012/2013 can be found here: 14

15 A Lancashire housebuilder and the firm's director have been fined following two incidents at a new-build development in South Wales. Blackburn-based Paddle Ltd was building new homes as part of a phased development over several years at a site at Cae Canol in Baglan, near Port Talbot. On 9 August 2011, self-employed bricklayer Daniel King injured his back and foot in a four-metre fall from a scaffold at the site. The victim himself reported the incident and the subsequent HSE investigation found the scaffold to be in very poor condition. It was missing vital guardrails, toe boards, and other fall-protection measures. Inspectors discovered that the structure was also being used to take loads of bricks and blocks that it was not fit to carry. Six months after this incident, in March 2012, a contractor was seen working from height in the elevated bucket of an excavator at the same site and in clear view of Paddle Ltd's sole director, Derek Hugh Barnes. This time, the incident was photographed by a concerned householder, who then reported it to the HSE. Swansea Crown Court heard that Paddle Ltd has a lengthy history of HSE enforcement action and had received several Prohibition Notices relating to unsafe work at height. It had previously been prosecuted in 2010 over failings at a site in St Athan. On 19 July, Paddle Ltd was fined a total of £56,000 and ordered to pay £11,000 costs after pleading guilty to breaching reg.4 of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and section 3(1) of the HSWA Barnes pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 37 of the HSWA 1974 and was sentenced to eight months' imprisonment, suspended for two years, and disqualified from acting as a company director for three years. In addition, he was fined £32,000 plus £11,000 in costs. He resigned his post leading up to the trial and the company has since put two new directors in place. HSE inspector Phil Nicolle said: "Paddle Ltd and Derek Barnes, have, over the years, shown a blatant disregard for health and safety management on their construction sites, as was clearly evident when we investigated the Baglan incidents. "Companies and directors have clear duties of care and safety responsibilities, and it is vital they properly assess, manage and supervise all work activity to mitigate risks at all times.“ 15

16 A Staffordshire building firm has been fined after two of its contractors fell through two floors of a building during unsafe renovation work. Clark Brothers (Builders & Developers) Ltd, from Bilston, was sentenced at Wolverhampton Magistrates' Court on 13 August after an HSE investigation revealed the company failed to properly plan, manage and supervise the refurbishment work. The contractors, a father and son from Penkridge, aged 51 and 20 and from, were working as bricklayers inside the former shop building on Bilston High Street on 25 June 2012, when the second floor on which they were working suddenly gave way. The weight of the collapsing floor was such that it smashed through the first floor below, and sent the pair crashing all the way to the ground floor, leaving the father buried under rubble. The son had to pull him out from under the debris. HSE inspectors found that the refurbishment was unsafe and immediately issued a Prohibition Notice to stop any further work at the site. Clark Brothers (Builders & Developers) Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching section 3(1) of the HSWA 1974, and was fined a total of £10,000 and ordered to pay £1844 in costs. Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Paul Cooper said: "Nobody at the company had any refurbishment experience and no proper health and safety- related training. Their failure to manage this project placed workers and the public at serious risk." The two men, who have asked not to be named, avoided serious injury. They were both taken to hospital for treatment but were discharged later the same day with only relatively minor injuries. "The fact that the father and son escaped relatively unharmed in this collapse is remarkable," added the inspector. "A floor collapse, as with any unplanned demolition work, prevents very serious, or fatal injury." In mitigation, the company entered a guilty plea and cooperated fully with the investigation. 16


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