Week Commencing 17/08/2020 – In The News

Coronavirus Cases Rise at Newark Bakkavor Dessert Factory

An image of an virus/infection under a microscope.Coronavirus cases at a dessert factory testing its entire workforce have risen to more than 70 as some 1,600 staff at Bakkavor in Newark, Nottinghamshire are undergoing testing. So far 1,130 have been checked, with 74 confirmed cases, Nottinghamshire County Council said, while 33 people have been able to return to work. The company, which makes desserts for Waitrose and Tesco, said it “understood the importance of the testing”.

Richard Wiles, from Collingham, who works next to the site, told the BBC the outbreak did not come as a surprise. “The workers have been upset for quite a while that they don’t think enough has been done to protect them,” he said. “People here are somewhere between baffled and very angry because when there have been outbreaks at food plants elsewhere, they have been closed instantly. It seems there has been a slow, modern British response to this and cakes have come before Covid safety.”

The council had previously said the entire workforce would be tested after the number of positive cases increased from 20 to 39 and the district was added to the government’s hotspot watch list last week.

Read more from the BBC.

Peatlands Set To Become Large Source of Greenhouse Gases

A 4x4 driving through peatlands.The world’s peatlands will become a large source of greenhouse gases as temperatures rise this century, say scientists. Right now, huge amounts of carbon are stored in boggy, often frozen regions stretching across northern parts of the world. But much of the permanently frozen land will thaw this century, say experts. This will release warming gases at a rate that could be 30-50% greater than previous estimates.

Using data compiled from more than 7,000 field observations, the authors of this new study were able to generate the most accurate maps to date of the peatlands, their depth and the amount of warming gases they contain. They show that the boggy terrain covers 3.7 million sq kilometres (1.42 million sq miles). The researchers say the northern peatlands store around 415 gigatonnes of carbon. That’s roughly equivalent to 46 years of current global CO2 emissions. In their study, the authors projected that the peatlands would become a major source of CO2 as the world warms up.

Read more from the BBC.

Company Fined After Causing M8 Gas Leak

A brightly-lit motorway against the night sky.John Murphy and Sons Ltd has been sentenced for safety breaches after damaging a 10-inch gas pipeline whilst undertaking work to allow the widening of the M8 motorway. On 16 January 2014, during the course of the excavation works for the gas pipeline diversion, John Murphy and Sons Ltd hit the high pressure pipeline which was operating at 39 barg. This resulted in 271 tonnes of gas being released into the atmosphere in the vicinity of employees near the M73 junction.

The HSE found that the high pressure pipeline had been hit by an excavator during works for the gas pipeline diversion. J. Murphy and Sons Ltd, of Highgate Road, London, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 15 of The Pipelines Safety Regulations 1996 and Section 33(1) (c) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £150,000.

Read more on this incident from SHPOnline.

Keep Up-to-Date with Training!

CITB logoBookings for training courses such as SMSTS & CSCS cards are now available for September/October through CITB.

These are running with longer waiting times due to a reduced capacity so it is worth planning in advance if you have qualifications coming up for expiry!

Remember also that our First Aid training courses are now back up and running; we are able to run them for up to 6 people at a time. So if your first aid training is expiring or you need more staff trained up, make sure to get in contact with us to be booked onto a course now!

Heatwave Closes Hammersmith Bridge Completely

Hammersmith bridge in LondonHammersmith and Fulham Council have closed London’s Hammersmith Bridge indefinitely, to all traffic, after the recent heatwave was discovered to have caused further cracks. First constructed in 1824, the bridge was waiting to undergo refurbishment when it was closed in 2019 as ‘critical faults’ were discovered. At the time, pedestrians and cyclists were still able to cross the bridge from Barnes to Hammersmith, but seven buses services were suspended. The latest discovery means that all traffic will now be blocked from using the bridge and no boats will be allowed to pass underneath it.

Hammersmith and Fulham Council stated that the 123-year-old bridge’s structure was never designed for modern traffic and high volumes of heavy vehicles such as buses and Government budget cuts meant that TFL has been unable to keep up the repairs, which are now estimated to cost in excess of £140m. It is estimated that up to 16,000 people used the bridge every day, before the original closure.

Read more from SHPOnline.