Week Commencing 03/10/2022 – In The News

Company fined after employee becomes drawn into machine

Stack of papersA manufacturer of paper and paperboard has been fined after an employee was injured when they were drawn into a large paper re-winding machine.

An employee of Amberset Limited based in Ashford, Kent, sustained injuries of three broken bones in their shoulder, bruising of the elbow and wrist and superficial damage to their head on 19 July 2021. The man then underwent surgery following the incident, where metal plates and pins were fitted in his shoulder and arm.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the paper rewinder was not suitably guarded and that this had been the case since August 1998. The rewinder allowed access to dangerous parts of machinery at various places including the front of the rewinder where the employee was drawn by their hand between two exposed rollers.

At Folkestone Magistrates Court on 21 September Amberset Limited pleaded guilty to breaching regulation 11(1)(a) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. The company was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay full costs of £2,197.65.

Read more on the SHP website.

Safety at Work 2022 report highlights concerns

Safety equipmentNew research into the state of safety in UK workplaces has been published by Draeger Safety UK.

Key findings include:

  • Despite Covid serving as a catalyst for health & safety improvements, offering ‘unprecedented’ opportunity for businesses to create a lasting health and safety legacy, UK businesses expressed concerns about a major industrial disaster amidst safety ‘brain drain’ as older, experienced workers leave the workplace.
  • Positives: The majority of British workers (52%) feel safer at work than they did a year ago, with the top three reasons for this being:
    • ‘My business is taking safety more seriously’ – 67%
    • ‘Safety training at my workplace following Covid’ – 54%
    • ‘My company is ‘spending more money on workplace safety than before’ – 33%
  • Concerns: Despite the positive headlines, significant threats were highlighted, including:
    • Safety ‘brain drain’ – amidst record employment flux, the research showed that the leading reason for people feeling less safe at work was the loss of older, more experienced workers from the workforce (32%).
    • 37% stated that there needs to be more effort made to make sure that experience is handed down to the next generation of workers.
    • Younger people (25 – 34 year olds) feel the least safe of any age group, with almost one in five (18%) saying they feel increasingly less safe at work.
    • Concerns about a major industrial disaster on the scale of Buncefield or Piper Alpha, more than half (55%) of managers have concerns about such an incident happening in the next five years.
    • Supply Chain issues – Four in ten (40%) managers stated that the current supply chain problems posed the most significant current threat to workplace safety, due to lack of availability of parts such as sensors and semiconductors.

For more on the research, visit the HSM website.

New partnership suggests robots could handle hazardous materials

Person controlling robot with VRA collaboration between two UK-based robotics companies could potentially have an impact on the safe handling of hazardous materials.

Extend Robotics and Shadow Robot, believe their combined technology could be applied to sectors where there is a need to handle hazardous materials, where a high degree of dexterity precision is crucial. 

The firms recently carried out a virtual reality experiment around teleoperated robotic technology.

Advances are needed in terms of technology’s acumen around handling and dexterity, an area that Shadow Robot’s specialises in. “We found that one of the things that we were lacking was depth perception,” explained its TeleOp Technical Lead Ethan Fowler, “When you’re trying to do a remote task, being able to tell how far away things are and make the robot hand reach that position is extremely difficult. 

Learn more on the SHP website.

Global modern slavery figure hits 50 million – up 25 percent

Arms in a suit wearing handcuffsOur global fight against the misery of modern slavery just got a whole lot tougher, according to one seasoned campaigner.

News from the International Labour Organization (ILO), Walk Free and the International Organization for Migration that the number of people worldwide estimated to be living in modern slavery is now 50 million, a 25 percent increase over five years, was received with grave concern by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH).

This month’s ILO report defines modern slavery as being comprised of two principal components – forced labour and forced marriage. Both refer to situations of exploitation that a person cannot refuse or cannot leave because of threats, violence, coercion, deception, or abuse of power. The ILO defines ‘forced labour’ as referring to “all work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty and for which the said person has not offered him/herself voluntarily”.

The deteriorating global picture identifies migrants, women and children as being disproportionately vulnerable, with more than three million (one in eight) of those in forced labour – half of them subject to commercial sexual exploitation – being children. Migrant workers are over three times more likely to be found in forced labour environments than non-migrant adult workers.

Visit the IOSH website to learn more.

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