Week Commencing 29/05/2023 – In The News

Serco fined £2.25m after death of custody officer

Security firm, Serco, has been fined £2.25 million for health and safety failings following the death of custody officer Lorraine Barwell.

Ms Barwell, a 54-year-old grandmother was kicked twice, once in the body and once in the head, at Blackfriars Crown Court in 2015 during the restraint of a prisoner in custody. She died from brain injuries caused by the second blow.

Ms Barwell had worked for Hampshire-based security firm Serco for 10 years when the attack took place.

The incident led to an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) that found that Serco Limited had failed to properly analyse risk intelligence on prisoners and communicate risks and safety precautions to staff. There was also a failure to have sufficient procedures in place and follow them, to provide readily accessible protective equipment and to ensure further training was provided where identified as required.

Read more on the HSE website.

New mental health charter to benefit energy industry workers after almost half admitted to suicidal thoughts

Nearly 200 representatives of leading organisations in the industry have joined together to develop the charter after research found 40% of onshore and offshore workers experienced suicidal thoughts some or all of the time while on duty.

The charter, which is being driven by the North Sea Chapter of the International Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC), will be shared with stakeholders – including psychologists – before being issued in the coming weeks.

Darren Sutherland, Chair of the IADC North Sea Chapter, believes there is a desire for meaningful and lasting change and hopes companies will show their support and sign the charter.

He said: “The response has been phenomenal and to have so many stakeholders determined to play a part in improving the mental health support available to energy workers, both offshore and onshore, is heartening.

“Despite past efforts, the needle on mental health improvement does not seem to be moving in the right direction, let alone at pace.
“Tools have been created to better support mental health previously, but these have largely been activated through sign posting tactics and have failed to address the necessary cultural change required.

“The current generation of oil and gas workers will be remembered for being at the head of the energy transition – but that transition must include improving how we care for each other. And it must start today.”

The charter includes contributions from operators, contractors, psychologists and third sector organisations.

For more on the charter, visit the SHP website.

Fatality following salmon farming company’s failings

A salmon farming company has been fined £800k after an employee was crushed and drowned when he fell into the water during a boat transfer.

Fife based Mowi Scotland Limited pled guilty to health and safety breaches at Inverness Sheriff Court on 9 May 2023.

The prosecutor told the court that on the afternoon of 18 February 2020 at the company’s Ardintoul fish farm on the South side of Loch Alsh the work boat Beinn Na Caillich was preparing to transfer assistant fish farm manager, Clive Hendry (58) to a floating permanent structure known as a Sea Cap.

The ‘touch and go’ transfer would see the boat stop with one of its gates lined up with the Sea Cap’s ladder so that he could step through the gate onto the ladder.

The Beinn na Caillich approached the Sea Cap starboard side on at half a knot, with the engines in neutral. This would have been just prior to putting it into reverse to slow the vessel to a stop and allow Mr Hendry to step off to the Sea Cap’s ladder.

While the vessel was still moving slowly ahead Mr Hendry stepped through the gate, putting both hands and his right foot on the rungs of the Sea Cap’s ladder.

The boat’s skipper shouted in surprise as he did so and saw the boat hit Mr Hendry in the right side. As the boat was now reversing it also clipped him on the left side.

A technician on board the Sea Cap saw Mr Hendry ‘struggling and distressed’ and having difficulty holding onto the Sea Cap’s ladder. He attempted to stop him from falling by holding onto his lifejacket and clothing, but the severely injured man slipped out of them into the water.

He was submerged for about twenty seconds and recovered from the water shortly afterwards. Despite the efforts of colleagues, emergency services and medical staff, Mr Hendry could not be resuscitated.

Read more about the incident on the HSM website.

Accidents are “inevitable” – two fifths of construction workers believe

Two fifths of people in the construction industry believe an accident is “inevitable” on their sites, research has revealed.

The study also showed almost half of respondents believed their boss could have done more to improve construction site safety and 41% said they have been made to work in unsafe conditions before.

The research, carried out by legal services company Slater and Gordon, surveyed 500 people in physical construction jobs across the UK – it also revealed 40% of construction workers sometimes feel unsafe at work and 78% of respondents had been involved in an accident in the workplace.

Nicholas Hagi Savva, senior associate at Slater and Gordon said: “While we recognise that people do work hard to improve safety on construction sites, our research shows that they are still an extremely dangerous place.

“As a law firm that specialises in personal injury cases, we have seen first-hand the devastating consequences of accidents on construction sites.
“We are committed to holding those responsible for construction site accidents accountable, however, we would much rather see these accidents prevented in the first place.

“Often, those who have been injured whilst at work aren’t sure of their rights and what their next steps should be.

“We want to make sure everyone has access to the information they need to make informed decisions and our toolbox of content will do exactly that.”

Learn more on the SHP website.

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