March 2016 – In the News

Suspended Jail Sentence For Construction Worker With ‘Staggering Disregard For Personal Safety’

A steel erector has received a suspended jail term after a member of the public photographed him balancing on scaffold tubes about 27 m off the ground and alerted the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Manchester Magistrates’ Court was told that David Mullholland, a 25-year-old employee of a steel erection company, was working at height during a hotel development project in Manchester. On 21 January 2015 he climbed up the scaffolding to hammer some steel beams into position.

A nearby worker took the photo of Mullholland from their office window and contacted the HSE. Inspectors went to the site and questioned him.

They found that all contract workers had access to a full-time scaffolder on site to ensure safe working platforms were in place, but Mullholland did not ask him to make the area safe. He said the project was three weeks behind schedule and wanted to finish the job quickly.

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HSE Warning To Businesses After Kier Construction Is Fined £400k

Construction company Kier Construction Limited has been fined £400,000 after a worker fell from height. The HSE has said that the case highlights the importance of ensuring that all work at height is properly planned and carried out safely.

Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard how Jair Morales was installing plywood boards covering holes on the third floor of the building when he fell a distance of 3.95m to the floor below.

The court heard no steps had been taken to prevent him falling through the opening as he installed the plywood boards. Mr Morales suffered fractures in his pelvis and his arm following the fall and has been unable to work since the accident.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Kier failed to ensure the work was properly planned and carried out in a safe manner.

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Production Line Failures Cost Jaguar Land Rover £900,000

Jaguar Land Rover has been fined £900,000 after a worker was crushed by an inadequately trained driver and left with life-changing injuries.

The company has since introduced new systems to reduce the risk to workers from vehicles being driven onto the production line.

Mark Widnall, aged 59, from Coventry, was carrying out vehicle checks on the Land Rover line at Jaguar’s Lode Lane plant in Solihull in the West Midlands on 8 February 2015 when the accident occurred.

Delivery driver Daniel Leahy was driving a Range Rover Sport vehicle onto the start of the production line, an event that normally happens 48 times an hour. As Leahy approached the line, he accidentally hit the accelerator, hitting the back of the last car he had parked and causing a four-car shunt.

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Jail For Bosses Who Tried To Cover Up Details Of 25-Year-Old’s Fatal Fall

Three company bosses have been jailed following the death of 25-year-old father of one, Benjamin Edge, who fell from a roof he was working on, without safety equipment and in windy conditions.

Following the incident safety failings were covered up, a new risk assessment was written and an employee was “sent home to collect harnesses to make it look like the accident was Mr Edge’s fault, because he had not worn safety equipment” it was reported.

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Construction Worker Seriously Injured In Wall Collapse

A Manchester building contractor and a company owner have appeared in court after a worker was seriously injured on a refurbishment site.

The 53-year-old father of two from Salford was employed as a labourer at the site of a refurbishment project at Manchester One, Portland Street Manchester when the incident occurred on 29 August 2014.

The incident was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and on 9 March 2017 Workspace Design and Build Ltd, the principal contractor for the project, and Paul Harrison former director of Access Flooring Specialist Ltd were prosecuted for serious safety failings.

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The Rise And Rise Of DSE And The Implications For Safety Managers

Recent research has revealed the extent of the use of display screen equipment (DSE) in the workplace and related concerns regarding eyesight.

The research, carried out by YouGov on behalf of Specsavers Corporate Eyecare, surveyed over 1,000 employees.

It found that 85% of employees spend at least an hour a day using DSE for work purposes, and 73% spent at least four hours a day working with DSE.

Almost half of employees (48%) spent at least 7 hours a day at a digital screen – nearly their entire working day.

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£160,000 Fine For Aircraft Company After Workers Fell From The Tail Of A Plane

An aircraft engineering company has been fined after two men fell about 15 feet while they were carrying out checks at the tail of an aeroplane.

Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court heard that an employee of Inflite Engineering Services and an agency worker suffered broken bones after the fall at Stansted Airport on 10 June 2015.

They were working either side of the tail using mobile elevated work platforms when another employee closed the wrong circuit breaker, inadvertently opening the plane’s airbrake, which knocked over both platforms.

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Thames Water Fined £20m For Sewage Spill

Thames Water has been fined a record £20m after pumping 1.9 billion litres of untreated sewage into the River Thames.

The company admitted water pollution and other offences at sewage facilities in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.

Fish and birds died following the spills in 2013 and 2014.

The £20.3m fine is the largest penalty handed down to a water utility for an environmental disaster.

Judge Francis Sheridan said the scale of the problem was such that it must have been known up the chain of command.

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