Health and Safety Update: May 2018Untitled-1

Fines for construction company dumper accidents

A Swindon-based construction firm pleaded guilty of a breach of Regulation 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and received a fine of £200,000 after an employee suffered serious head injuries and died on one of its sites.

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The worker who died had been driving his dumper onto a spoil heap, as was common practice in the company, when it became stuck and then turned over, striking him and causing fatal head injuries.

During the HSE investigation it was found that there were not suitable and sufficient risk assessments in place. The company has since employed a safer method of work, avoiding the need for dumpers to drive onto spoil heaps.

Another building firm, in Sussex, was fined £27,000 after a six-tonne dumper tipped and injured an untrained operator. The HSE found that the company had failed to: provide the operator with appropriate training; train the site manager to manage a site and ensure that those operating under the site manager were doing so safely. The company admitted a breach of Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Dust exposure leads to fine

A furniture company was fined after exposing its employees to large quantities of hardwood dust. The company had previously received visits from the HSE and yet failed to ensure its extraction system was working as it should. A further HSE inspection found that the extraction system was working inefficiently, and there was no robust cleaning regime in place. This resulted in the exposure of workers to the hazardous dust, which is known to cause asthma and to be a carcinogen.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 7(1) and 9(2)(a) of COSHH 2002.

ISO 45001 standard published

The final ISO 45001 international standard for occupational health and safety management has been published, with a three-year transitional period for implementation anticipated. This means that if you are currently certified to OHSAS 18001 standard, your company needs to start putting in place the new standards in plenty of time for recertification.

This is a timely reminder that if you are currently certified to the ISO 14001:2004 standard for environmental management, your company has until September of this year to move onto the 2015 standard for recertification.

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Traffic movements accidents result in large fines

DHL was fined £2m after a worker died at its Milton Keynes depot when he was crushed between a reversing lorry and the loading bay. It was found that the company had not properly assessed the risks of loading and unloading vehicles, and did not have a safe system of work in place.

In a separate incident, a Crewe company received a fine of £30,000 plus £35,000 costs after a contractor was hit by a forklift truck, resulting in amputation of his right leg. Although the company had risk assessments in place, and some safe working procedures, there was no provision to ensure the segregation of vehicles and pedestrians. The company was prosecuted for a breach of Regulation 17.1 of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, which stipulates that "every workplace shall be organised in such a way that pedestrians and vehicles can circulate in a safe manner".