Week Commencing 10/06/2024 – In The News

Scientists charge ‘charcoal sponge’ to soak up CO2

Scientists have devised a low-cost, energy-efficient method of capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) directly from the air, new research suggests.

The team at the University of Cambridge used a method similar to charging a battery to charge activated charcoal, which is often used in household water filters to remove contaminants.

The capture and storage of CO2 has been used as a way of reducing emissions that contribute to global warming.

Dr Alexander Forse, who led the study, said capturing from the atmosphere was a “last resort”, but added: “Given the scale of the climate emergency, it’s something we need to investigate.”

The charged charcoal sponge required lower temperatures to remove the captured CO2 so it could be stored, making it potentially more energy-efficient than current methods, researchers found.

Read more on the BBC website.

Tata Chemicals fined £1.1m following man’s death

Tata Chemicals Europe Limited has been fined after a man died following an incident while erecting a scaffold tower in a chemical plant in Northwich.

Michael Densmore, from Halewood in Merseyside, died following complications to the wound he sustained after his right foot slipped into a trough containing a liquid chemical calcium hydroxide – more commonly known as ‘milk of lime’ – causing chemical and thermal burns.

The 37-year-old father-of-four was one of a number of scaffolders employed by Altrad NSG to erect scaffolding at Tata’s Lostock Hall site.

On 30 November 2016, during the course of this work, Mr Densmore stepped over a trough which contained milk of lime – which had been heated to approximately 90 degrees centigrade. His right foot slipped on an unfastened lid covering the trough, resulting in him sustaining chemical and thermal burns to his foot and ankle.

He was airlifted to Whiston Hospital burns unit, where he received specialist treatment and underwent surgery on 8 December and was discharged just over a week later.

However, on 3 January 2017, while at home, he suffered a haemorrhage to his right foot and was taken to hospital following a 999 call, but tragically died.

For more on the incident visit the SHP website.

Car wash firm fined for failing to protect workers and the public

A car wash firm in Devon has been fined £40,000 after it repeatedly failed to protect workers and members of the public from electrical safety risks.

Investigators from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out multiple visits to Best Car Wash Ltd in Tavistock between July 2021 and November 2022. They found employees were carrying out car washing outdoors, using electrical appliances such as pressure washers and vacuum cleaners. However, the company had failed to ensure the installation had been constructed or maintained to prevent danger to both the employees and members of the public. As a result of the electrical hazards identified, the company was issued with five enforcement notices.

Despite the notices, subsequent visits found they had not been complied with and it wasn’t until April 2023 that a competent person inspected, tested and repaired the installation.

The HSE investigation found the failure of the employer to comply with the initial notice resulted in electrical safety risks to the vulnerable workers persisting for longer.

Learn more on the HSE website.

Environmental health should be key in the general election, says CIEH

Environmental health should be a key issue and at the forefront of the political agenda in the upcoming general election, the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) has said.

The Institute has launched a General Election campaign which includes a Manifesto for Environmental Health 2024 outlining critical issues and a Pledge Campaign which invites parliamentary candidates to commit to change.

Any candidates which sign up will pledge to engage with CIEH on vital environmental health issues listed in the manifesto, elevate the profile of environmental health in parliament, supporting key concerns through questions and legislative amendments, and collaborate to establish an All-Party Parliamentary Group on Environmental Health, driving focused discussions and actions in parliament.

Read more about the campaign on the SHP website.

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