Week Commencing 12/02/2024 – In The News

£2.15m fine following recycling worker fatality

HSE inspector Stephen Garner explains the background to a fatal accident at a paper recycling plant.

On 30 January 2020, 32-year-old Dean Atkinson was returning from the employee welfare cabins to his workstation on the picking line at Ward Recycling’s paper recycling plant in County Durham, England. Dean needed to walk across an area at the site where mobile plant, including two loading shovels, operated. He was fatally struck and run over by one of the loading shovels.

‘The circumstances leading to the accident were relatively simple. Dean Atkinson was employed at Ward Recycling in Hartlepool via a recruitment agency – Sterling Recruitment Services Limited. The directors of Sterling Recruitment were also managers at Ward Recycling,’ Stephen said.

‘At the site, all of the waste sorting operations were contained inside what was essentially a large steel shed. Outside of this shed were welfare cabins – a place for employees to have their lunch – and toilet facilities. Inside the shed was the picking cabin, where workers would manually sort waste materials at a conveyor belt. Dean was a worker in the picking cabin.

‘To get from the welfare facilities to the picking cabin, Mr Atkinson had to walk across the tipping floor, which is the ground floor of the main shed building. He would enter the main shed then walk along a narrow passage between the shed wall and the back wall of a bay where waste was piled. He then had to turn left, alongside the bay wall, before crossing an area where two loading shovels and potentially other mobile plant could be operating.

‘On the day of the incident, Dean was struck by a loading shovel.’

For more on the incident, visit the IOSH Magazine website.

Most dangerous industries for employees revealed

Health and safety experts at Horizon Platforms have analysed data to see which occupations and industries have the highest risk of worker injury. They also looked at the biggest causes of workplace injury.

The data showed that health and social work is the industry workers are most likely to become injured in. There were around 10,834 incidents of worker injuries within health and social care in the  last year of recorded data. Within health and social care, the biggest cause of injury is slips and falls, followed by acts of violence as the second biggest cause of injury.

Across all industries, carrying heavy items was the main cause of worker injury, emphasising the importance of proper health and safety training for lifting. The second biggest cause of workplace injury across all roles was slips and falls. Falling from heights was the biggest cause of fatal injury at work, additionally emphasising how key following safety procedures when at work is. Interestingly, managers and senior leaders were statistically more likely to fall victim to injury at work compared against their assistants or secretaries – however secretaries were more likely to take more days of sickness absence for injury versus their seniors.

Read more on the HSM website.

Protection for Everyone – SHP launches inclusive PPE campaign

SHP reveals its inclusive PPE campaign with goals around awareness and legislative change.

The campaign called Protection for everyone, aims to raise awareness around the effect of ill-fitting PPE and lobby Government to bring about change.

A new mini-site on SHP hosts a suite of editorial content on the topic including news and personal experiences, and will eventually include podcasts, webinars, reports, and a specially commissioned e-book on the topic. The campaign will also have a live space at SHP’s sister event, Anticipate London.

SHP plans to work alongside a range of stakeholders including suppliers and distributors, industry bodies, and, importantly, those who have experienced ill-fitting PPE.

Learn more about the campaign on the SHP website.

Director avoids prison after wood dust failings

The director of a Norwich woodworking company has avoided an immediate spell behind bars after he exposed his employees to harmful wood dust.

Wood dust can cause serious and often irreversible health problems, including sino-nasal cancer, asthma and dermatitis. Employers have a legal responsibility to prevent or adequately control exposure in the workplace.

John Risby, the director of Turners and Moore Limited, was given a four month custodial sentence, suspended for two years, at Norwich Magistrates Court. The 33-year-old’s company was also fined £40,000.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out an inspection at the firm’s Hurricane Way site on November 2017, which identified significant failings in its measures to control exposure of employees to wood dust. Enforcement action was taken, however a subsequent inspection in August 2022 showed the company had failed to maintain standards and further enforcement action was taken.

Visit the HSM website for more.

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