Health and Safety Update: September 2017Untitled-1

HSE Sector plans published

The Health and Safety Executive has published its sector plans for 2017-18, which outline its plans for regulation, guidance and engagement with industry in Great Britain. It divides British industry into 19 sectors, including Agriculture, Construction, Manufacturing, Public Services and Commercial Consumer Services.

For each sector, the HSE has a plan covering health and safety performance, and has identified the top three strategic priorities for the next 3-5 years, and actions it proposes to take.  For example, in the construction sector, the priorities of the HSE are to: embed the principles of CDM 2015; and focus on a reduction of occupational lung disease, musculo-skeletal disorders and work-related stress.

To read each sector plan in detail, go to the HSE website.


£2.5m fine for Iceland after fatal fall

A contractor working for Iceland Foods fell three metres from a plant platform and through a suspended ceiling while replacing filters on an air conditioning unit at a store in Rotherham. He died from his injuries.

Investigation into the incident revealed that there were no barriers on the platform, which was restricted in width in places and contained trip hazards such as cabling and fixing points. Iceland Food Ltd had not carried out a risk assessment for access to or use of the plaform, either by contractors or their own staff.

The company claimed that it was entitled to rely on its specialist contractors to identify the missing handrail. This claim was rejected in court, and the company found guilty of breaching Sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. It was fined £2.5m with costs of £65,000.

Engineering company fined for inadequate vibration measures

An engineering firm in Rochdale has been fined £20,000 for failing to implement adequate control measures for vibration.

Health surveillance implemented by the company found that one of its employees had developed hand-arm vibration syndrom (HAVS) through exposure to vibration while sanding plastic components.

An HSE investigation found that health surveillance had not been implemented until 2014, despite it becoming a legal requirement in 2005. Employee training was found to be inadequate. The company had not carried out suitable and sufficient vibration risk assessments: subsequently control measures to mitigate exposure had not been implemented.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Ladder-fall death attracts £1m fine for employer

In October 2013 a worker was contracted to complete electrical work at a site in Hull. The worker was instructed to use a stepladder provided by the company to complete the work. He fell and suffered fatal injuries.

An investigation carried out by the HSE found that the company had failed to plan the activity properly from the beginning and had not considered suitable access arrangments.

The company this month pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £1 million, with costs of £30,000.

 For a recap of the Sentencing Guideline please click here.

Roofing contractor given prison sentence for putting workers at risk

A roofing contractor in Northallerton was contracted to carry out roof repairs to a guest house and erected scaffolding along the full length of the roof at the front of the property. At the rear however, the company only erected a partial scaffold, leaving a large portion of the rear roof edge unprotected.

This left two workers on a roof with inadequate fall protection measures. Neither in fact fell or was hurt, but the roofer was prosecuted. He pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was given an eight-month suspended prison sentence and ordered to pay nearly £6000 in costs.