News

UCATT calls for 'humane' ban on construction work in cold weather

Wednesday 16th November 2016

UCATT is calling for the housebuilding sector to introduce winter weather health and safety guidelines for construction workers to halt work on site when temperatures drop below two degrees Celsius. The construction union has written to the chief executive of the National House Building Council (NHBC), Mike Quinton, calling on the NHBC to introduce clear guidance alongside the rules it operates on the risks of frost damage to materials in cold weather. The NHBC has told Health and Safety at Work that it is formulating its response. A UCATT spokesperson said that the call was a "bottom up" issue brought to UCATT's attention by members. He added that the problem appeared to be at its worst on housebuilding sites run by small…

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Three fined after man loses life due to fall through fragile roof

Tuesday 15th November 2016

A company, its director, and a self-employed contractor have been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), after Terry Lewis (a 65 year old retired mechanic) was fatally injured by falling through a roof light. Warrington Crown Court heard how on 11 June 2013, Terry Lewis was working with his friend, Leigh Bakewell. They were cleaning roof lights on the roof of a building at Radnor Park Industrial Estate, Congleton. Mr Lewis fell approximately 7m through a roof light to the work-shop floor underneath, and subsequently died. Both the roof and the roof lights were not able to support the weight of a person. The HSE investigation found that Leigh Bakewell, who primarily was a gardener and not a…

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Window fitter in court after worker suffered fatal head injuries

Monday 14th November 2016

A Southampton window installation company has been fined after a worker suffered fatal head injuries following a fall from a ladder. Brighton Magistrates Court heard how Mark Taylor, 48, a window fitter from Southampton, was helping in the installation of UPVC windows at a 3 storey house in Brighton on the 10 September 2014. He was working from an unsecured ladder when it slipped sideways and he fell to the ground. The father of two was taken to hospital suffering from head injuries but died the following day. The Health and Safety Executive investigation found Kevin McLean trading as South Coast Installations, failed to ensure that the work at height was adequately planned and carried out in a manner, which was safe. Kevin…

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Chemical company fined £3mil after the release of toxic vapour cloud on two separate occasions

Sunday 13th November 2016

A chemical company was sentenced today after a worker was killed and one left with life changing injuries when they were overcome by a toxic vapour cloud. A little over sixteen months later there was another incident involving the same toxic chemical. Hull Crown Court heard that in the early hours of the 5 March 2010, at the Grimsby plant of Cristal Pigment UK Limited (formerly Millennium Inorganic Chemicals), there was a build-up of Titanium Tetrachloride within a vessel. The chemical came into contact with water creating a violent reaction, which ruptured the vessel. The liquid came into contact with the air creating a large toxic vapour cloud. One worker Paul Doyley, 48, was showered with the corrosive liquid and blanketed by the…

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Timber-frame firm fined for fire safety and traffic offences

Wednesday 10th August 2016

J G Hale Construction Ltd based in South Wales has been fined £100,000 for running an unsafe timber-frame construction site. Cwmbran Magistrates' Court heard that HSE launched an investigation on 27 July after making an unannounced visit to inspect Hale's site in the centre of Blaenavon. Fifty-four timber-frame houses were under construction, which carry a serious fire risk if not planned or managed properly, as the structures are made from wood. If a fire starts, the speed and intensity of fire spread can be extreme - putting workers and even members of the public at risk of harm. HSE found that measures to prevent a fire starting and getting out of control had not been properly taken. All the houses were under construction…

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Advice to Employers on the use of Blended Learning in First Aid Training

Wednesday 15th June 2016

"Blended learning is an accepted means by which workplace first aid training can be delivered. It is important that Employers conduct the necessary additional checks (due diligence) to decide if staff should be trained in first aid using this method (a combination of electronic distance based and face to face classroom based instruction). "Employers should also ensure they are complying with Regulation 13 of the Health and Safety Management Regulations 1999, which has a requirement to ensure adequate time is set aside during the working day to undertake any first aid training employees receive. HSE Guidance document GEIS3 will be updated to reflect this change." Puresafe Training Ltd will be developing a blended learning programme. This is a major development and…

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Fire safety in the workplace

Friday 27th May 2016

As the responsible person you must: carry out a fire risk assessment of the premises and review it regularlytell staff or their representatives about the risks you've identifiedput in place, and maintain, appropriate fire safety measuresplan for an emergencyprovide staff information, fire safety instruction and training Take a look at the latest guidance. Guidance

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Ban on throwing mortar boards is a tired health and safety myth

Thursday 19th May 2016

A number of media outlets have reported today (Wednesday 18 May 2016) that a university plans to ban their students from throwing mortar boards in the air on graduation day for health and safety reasons. HSE has provided a response to this age-old myth: Geoff Cox, who heads the Health and Safety Executive public sector team, said: "You'd think universities would study history and do a bit of research before repeating tired health and safety myths like this one. The banning of mortar board tossing on supposed 'health and safety' grounds is one of our most popular myths and actually appears in our Top 10 all-time worst health and safety excuses. "As far back as 2008, HSE made clear the law does…

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Employers guidance on first aid training

Thursday 28th April 2016

What employers need to do You must make appropriate first-aid arrangements for your workplace. In doing so you should consider the circumstances of your workplace, workforce and the health and safety risks that may be present to help you decide what arrangements you need to put in place. Some small low-risk workplaces need to have only a first-aid box and a person appointed to take charge of first-aid arrangements such as calling the emergency services and stocking the first-aid box. The appointed person does not need specific first-aid training. If your workplace has more significant health and safety risks, for example you use machinery or hazardous materials then you are more likely to need a trained first-aider. You must provide all your employees with…

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Man sentenced after worker is fatally crushed in a trench

Saturday 16th April 2016

A self-employed contractor has been sentenced after an employee was killed when the trench he was working in collapsed on him. Swansea Magistrates' Court heard how William Ryan Evans was contracted to construct a drainage field comprising of infiltration pipes laid at the bottom of deep trenches. He employed two workers and a subcontractor excavator to undertake the work at Longstone Farm, in Pembrokeshire. Hywel Glyndwr Richards, aged 54, entered the trench to remove a clump of soil that had fallen into the trench when it collapsed, burying him. He died at the scene. An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident which occurred on 26 June 2012 found that the work was not planned appropriately and the risk…

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