Prison Sentence for Roofing Contractor
Aug
01

Council H&S officers reported dangerous roof work to HSE – Prison Sentence for Roofing Contractor. A roofing contractor has been sentenced for safety breaches after workers were left at risk of falling from unprotected roof edges in February 2016. The failures of C Smith Roofing (Mr Chris Smith T/A) were discovered by local council health and safety staff who could see unsafe scaffolding from their office window.

Leeds Crown Court heard that in November 2015 Mr Smith was contracted to carry out some roof repairs to a Guest House roof in Northallerton. Scaffolding was erected along the full length of the roof at the front of the property. There was a conservatory structure at the rear of the property and the company erected only a partial scaffold at the rear. The scaffolding erected at the rear failed to take the conservatory into account which left approximately two-thirds of the rear roof edge unprotected.

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Unsafe roof work
Aug
01

Unsafe Roof Work – a roofing contractor employed by Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council has had its unsafe working practices exposed after an employee fell through a roof light.

In a prosecution brought by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), Dudley magistrates heard how people were working on the roof for Woodhull Roofing had no safety measures in place to prevent them from falling. Woodhull Roofing Ltd was contracted to carry out work for Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council. The work was to coat roofing bolts in an asbestos cement roof, to seal leaks. While working on the corrugated roof a worker misplaced his footing when moving a board and stepped onto a fragile roof light. He fell through the roof onto a concrete floor approximately four metres below. He broke several ribs and suffered spinal injuries.

An HSE investigation found that the roof work was not undertaken with inadequate precautions to provide support or protection – unsafe roof work. Woodhull Roofing Ltd of Stratford Road, Shirley was fined £40,000 and ordered to pay costs of £495.27 after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 9 (2) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

HSE inspector Gareth Langston said after the hearing: “Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work-related fatalities in this country and the risks associated with working at height are well known. In this case, suitable measures such as sufficient platforms, handrails and netting should have been provided to ensure the health and safety of people working at height on the roof.”

Unsafe roof work is a significant (but avoidable,) cause of workplace death and injury.

Workers leg crushed by concrete block
Jul
31

Leg crushed – life-changing injuries for an agency worker

The construction company Kier Infrastructure has been fined £600,000 after a seven-tonne concrete block fell on an agency worker on a rail bridge site in Cardiff.

The court was told that agency worker, PW aged 42, suffered life-changing injuries when a seven-tonne block of pre-cast concrete fell on to his leg on 15 August 2016. PW had started work as an agency worker at the Maerdy Bridge, Cardiff site, where Kier was the Principal Contractor on a Network Rail project to build two bridges, a few days before the accident. On the day of the incident, the concrete units which would form the bridge were due to be delivered. PW was on a ladder removing lifting chains from one of the blocks when it toppled and crushed his leg between the fallen block and the one beside it.

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Untrained banksman crushed by reversing lorry
Jul
31

Death of a banksman

Tooles Transport has been fined £150,000 after a ‘caring’ and ‘selfless’ father was crushed to death by a reversing lorry following a series of health and safety blunders. Mr Kevin Scott died while acting as an untrained banksman at Tooles Transport yard in Rushock Trading Estate, Droitwich.  He was crushed by the goods vehicle at the yard at around 6 pm. The lorry was performing a blindside reversing manoeuvre with Mr Scott acting as a banksman. Emergency services were called, but he could not be saved.

It is understood that the sentencing brought some measure of closure to his family, including sons, Greg and Christopher Scott, who attended the hearing and described the loss of their father as ‘devastating’.

Greg Scott said after the sentence:

We’re just happy it’s all done. It’s closure. He was stoic. He was strong. He was caring. He gave 100 per cent. He cared for people more than himself at times. He was very selfless. He was my dad at the end of the day. He was someone me and Chris could talk to, a shoulder to cry on.

Tooles Transport Limited was convicted of the single count after a four week trial at Worcester Crown Court.

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New Sentencing Guidelines for Gross Negligence Manslaughter
Jul
31

Significant changes to the law were published today. Negligent employers and managers in England and Wales who blatantly disregard employee safety could be sentenced to up to 18 years in prison under the new court Sentencing Guidelines for Gross Negligence Manslaughter

These guidelines will come into force on 1 November and mark the first time the Sentencing Council has provided instructions to courts on how to deal with offenders convicted of gross negligence manslaughter. They identify factors that would make the offence particularly serious.

Sentences of between ten and eighteen years in prison for the worse offenders

An individual’s culpability would be put at the highest level for a longstanding and serious disregard for the safety of employees, motivated by financial gain (or avoidance of cost), warranting a prison sentence between ten and 18 years (see table below).

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Sit-Stand Desks – an alternative way to work in the normal office environment
Jul
17

Studies have connected being sedentary for long periods of time with all sorts everything from obesity, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and good old neck pain. That’s bad news for millions of us who work at a desk. However, Sit-Stand Desks foster more movement during the working week, which can help counteract a sedentary lifestyle.
So I wanted to give it a try and found that when working at my standing desk at home, I feel like I’ve got more energy as I do when working at the traditional seated desk in the office.
According to many medical reports, standing desks allow you to burn slightly more calories than you would do sitting while you work, and reduces shoulder and back pain. Another perk:
Now I’m no medical man but they say it may help blood sugar levels return to normal more quickly after eating (which keeps energy levels up, regulates hormones, and promotes good metabolism) and could potentially counteract all the detriments of lengthy sitting. More research is required to say anything definitively regarding this. There’s also a good possibility you’ll actually move more in general throughout the day, beyond the confines of a desk and computer screen.

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Working safely in the sun
Jul
16

The summer this year has been one of the hottest and sunniest for a long time, and it is essential to think about working safely in the sun.  As it is now a sunnier time of year, those who (control) work outside should think about working safely in the sun. When working outdoors the effects of the weather in this environment can potentially have a very serious impact on an employee’s welfare if the risks have never been previously considered or managed properly. This impact may be immediate or it can occur over a long time period of time.  Exposure to the sun can cause skin damage including sunburn, blistering and skin ageing and in the long term can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. Skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in the UK with over 50,000 new cases every year.

Each year many people suffer, unnecessarily, from sunburn and over 2300 people die from skin cancer caused by sun exposure.

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Machinery Safety Failure leads to fatality
Jul
09

This is another reported case of a machinery safety failure leading to a fatality.

In this case, Leeds Magistrates Court heard how, on 28 February 2014, a 50-year-old employee of WE Rawson Limited leant into a packaging machine whilst attempting to free a stuck package. Whilst doing so, he became trapped between an upper and lower moving conveyor. The employee suffered severe crush injuries and later died in hospital.

During the investigation carried out by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident, it was found the company had failed to take measures to prevent access to the danger zone between the moving conveyors. The investigation also found that no safe system of work had been provided for the removal of trapped packages from the machine.

WE Rawson Limited of Castlebank Mills Portobello Road Wakefield pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £600,000 and ordered to pay costs of £20,165.09.

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Asbestos failures lead (again) to substantial fines
Jun
22

A building contractor has been fined after failing to carry out the correct procedures after asbestos was found during the refurbishment of a building at Bedford School in Bedford. Asbestos failures included the lack of a demolition/refurbishment survey and failure to manage asbestos after it was disturbed.

Luton Crown Court heard how on 11 August 2015, SDC Builders Ltd failed to carry out a suitable and sufficient assessment to identify the presence of asbestos in all areas of the building where work was to be carried out.

An investigation by the HSE found that SDC Builders Ltd failed to carry out the procedures required under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. Continue reading