May 2017 – In the News

£750,000 fine for ‘reckless’ asbestos failure

Some 200 workers were put at risk to the exposure of asbestos during the early demolition phase of a project, resulting in a £750,000 fine for a construction firm.

The HSE carried out two investigations of working practices at a site in 2013 and 2014 while Barroerock Construction Limited were converting a former nine storey office building into flats in Ashford, Kent, which was known to contain asbestos.

Canterbury Crown Court heard that the first investigation arose from a routine inspection during one of HSE’s refurbishment campaigns. The Court was told that while a refurbishment and demolition (R&D) survey had been carried out the company had failed to act upon it. This resulted in up to 40 workers being exposed to asbestos.

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Volvic water recalled in Japan amid plastic fear

About 3.7 million bottles of Volvic mineral water are being recalled in Japan, over fears pieces of plastic have got into some of the products.

Local distributor Kirin Beverage said part of a bottle-filling machine in the French Volvic factory had been damaged, and fallen into the water container.

Kirin apologised but said there had been no reports of any health problems.

The voluntary recall applies to 500ml plastic PET bottles of Volvic with an expiry date of October 2019.

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Construction worker crushed by vehicle in unsegregated area

A worker was killed by a reversing vehicle while he was working at a construction site in Dawlish, in Devon.

Exeter Crown Court heard how the employee of Steve Hoskin Construction Limited (SHCL) was working for the groundwork contractor when he was crushed by a reversing telescopic material handler.

John Small, 47, was crushed by the vehicle after it reversed while he was walking alongside it on 28 June 2013. Mr Small was pronounced dead after suffering multiple injuries.

The HSE found that Cavanna Homes, the principal contractor for this site, failed to ensure this area of the construction site was organised to enable pedestrians and vehicles to move safely.

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Brexit puts health and safety protections for workers at risk, says TUC

The TUC has warned trade unionists and working people that health and safety protections are at risk from the government’s Brexit plans.

“The next government needs a watertight plan”, says  TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady

In a new briefing, Protecting Health and Safety after Brexit, the TUC says that although the government has set out its intention in a white paper to transfer all existing health and safety protections from EU law to UK law, there are no guarantees for what happens afterwards.

The TUC adds that the next government must make sure that a commitment is written into the Brexit deal to match present and future EU standards for workplace health and safety, as a minimum. Otherwise existing protections will be vulnerable to erosion and repeal.

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Fiat Chrysler recalls 1.25m trucks over software error

Fiat Chrysler is recalling more than 1.25 million pickup trucks worldwide over a software error that “may be related” to a death and two injuries.

The faulty code could potentially disable the side air bag and seat belt locking mechanism when a vehicle rolls over during a crash, the firm said.

Recalled vehicles will be reprogrammed.

Just over one million of the trucks were sold in the US, with thousands of others in Canada, Mexico and outside North America.

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Three company directors jailed following warehouse death

Three company directors have been sent to jail following the death of a man who fell while working at a warehouse in Essex.

Nikolai Valkov, 63, died in hospital after falling through the roof of a warehouse in Harlow on 13 April 2015.

At Chelmsford Crown Court, Koseoglu Metalworks Ltd admitted an offence of corporate manslaughter and its sole director, Kadir Kose, admitted an offence under the Health and Safety at Work Act (HSWA).

Ozdil Investments Ltd denied corporate manslaughter and a HSWA offence but was convicted following a trial at Chelmsford Crown Court. Two of its directors, Firat Ozdil and Ozgur Ozdil, were convicted of a HSWA offence.

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Recycling body criticises Pringles and Lucozade packaging

Pringles tubes and Lucozade Sport bottles are the “villains” of the recycling world, a trade body has said.

The Recycling Association named them in a list of products that pose the biggest challenges for reuse.

The greater the number of materials used in packaging, the harder it is for recycling machines to separate them.

The distinctive Pringles packaging – with its metal base, plastic cap, metal tear-off lid, and foil-lined cardboard sleeve – was said to be a “nightmare”.

Lucozade’s bottle is recyclable but it is enclosed in a sleeve made from a different kind of plastic.

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