Week Commencing 21/10/2019 – In the News

£1.2 MILLION Fine After Arm Amputation

The inside of a factoryMid-UK Recycling Ltd has been fined a hefty £1.2 million after an employee lost part of his arm in a conveyor belt in April 2015. This happened when the employee, whose role was a line operator, tried to fix a blockage on the line – his glove got dragged into the in-running nip between the belt and the powered roller of the conveyor. This resulted in his left arm being amputated above the elbow. The HSE’s investigation revealed that the company had failed to prevent access to dangerous parts of the conveyor by bypassing a system that allowed the system to be operated in automatic mode with persons still inside the enclosure. As a result of these shortcomings, Mid UK Recycling Limited (now known as MUKR Limited) pleaded guilty to breaching section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act (1974) and was fined £1.275 million and ordered to pay costs of £45,065.59.

Read more on the case from SHPOnline.

Failings of Bus Company and Council Lead to Passenger Death

A red double-decker bus in a busy city.A local council and bus company have faced heavy fines after a passenger was run over by a lorry at the bus station. On 13 February 2015, Nicola Berridge stepped off the bus and was run over by a grab lorry as she walked across a pedestrian crossing at the bus station. She suffered fatal injuries. The grab lorry was delivering sand to a contractor as the bus station had been demolished and was being reconstructed at the time. An investigation by the HSE found that:

  • the visibility at this crossing was obstructed by buses which had been permitted to park on double-yellow lines between the crossings for several years
  • Bedford Borough Council and Cambus Limited, a bus station operator, failed to coordinate and cooperate with one another to manage pedestrian and vehicle interaction within the bus station.
  • They had joint responsibility to assess the risk to members of the public from vehicle movements within the bus station and to put in place reasonable measures to reduce that risk so far as was reasonably practicable.

Bedford Borough Council pleaded guilty to their charges and were fined £300.000 and ordered to pay costs of £16,803.59. Cambus Limited pleaded not guilty and were fined £350,000 and ordered to pay costs which are still to be agreed.

Read more on the case from the HSE.

Employee Ran Over By Reversing Vehicle

Wheels of a truck with a red centre, with another green truck behind them.In an unfortunate but very real example of what can happen when plant movement is carried out unsafely, an employee suffered serious physical and mental injuries after being run over by a reversing truck. George Boon, a pontoon traffic marshall working for Stena Line Ltd, a ferry operator, hit by a 3.5-tonne truck as it was reversing. The vehicle knocked him down and then ran over his head and body whilst he was on the ground. Mr Ball suffered multiple injuries that included numerous fractures to his skullribs and other bones, and loss of sight in one eye. He has been left with double vision in the other eye and ongoing mental health problems. A HSE investigation concluded that there was no consideration of physical segregation of pedestrian operatives from moving vehicles when vessels were being unloaded. Stena Line Ltd had failed to adequately assess the risks to pedestrians from moving vehicles and consequently put in place effective control measures leading to a safe system of work. As a result, the company was fined £400,000 with costs of £6,576.15.

Read more on the case from SHPOnline.

DHL Fined £2.6M After Worker Was Crushed to Death

A stack of tyres.The logistics company DHL has been fined £2.6 million over the death of an employee who was crushed when a stack of car and lorry tyres collapsed at a warehouse on 2 February 2016. Another man suffered serious injuries and two other people were hurt during the same incident at DHL’s tyre distribution centre in Prologis business park on Central Boulevard. A three-and-a-half year investigation by Coventry City Council concluded that DHL had “fundamentally and systematically failed to manage health and safety” and there was a “multi-layered systemic failure of DHL management.” DHL pleaded guilty to failure to ensure the health and safety of its employees and failure to make a suitable and sufficient risk assessment; the jury at an inquest, held in April 2018, found the practice of high and top heavy stacking of tyres in metal frames adjacent to the office were too close to each other and at risk of being knocked over by fork lift trucks. A DHL spokesperson said it accepted the judge’s findings and fine. “Once again we offer our sincere condolences to Mr Baynham’s family and our regrets for the injuries sustained by the three other colleagues,” a statement said.

Read more on the case from the BBC.

The Future of Technology in Health and Safety

A drone flying in the air above.A SHPOnline article has predicted three new trends for the future of technology in Health and Safety. These are:

  1. Drones – The use of drones in the management of Health and Safety appears as a substitute for working at height. The next generation will bring machines equipped to fix the problems they find.
  2. Virtual Reality – These goggles can help workers enrich their training and help employers better discharge their duty of care. They can do this by trainees being able to practise being in a dangerous place or working with a potentially hazardous piece of equipment with the knowledge that they can practice, and fail, as many times without any danger.
  3. Assistive Technology – This is technology that physically aids risk reduction by extending human capabilities, such as exoskeletons and assistive mechanical frames that are strapped on to a worker’s back or arms. These are increasingly used by manufacturers and construction companies among others to help them lift heavy loads or to reduce the risk of musculoskeletal disorders from tasks that require repeated awkward movements.

Read more of the article from SHPOnline.