Archive for May, 2013

Boss sentenced for gross negligence manslaughter

A company boss has been sentenced to three years in prison for gross negligence manslaughter following the death of a worker at Swan Hunter shipyard in Wallsend, Newcastle.

After a four week trial into the death of Kenneth Joyce, Allan Turnbull was found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence. North Eastern Maritime Offshore Cluster Ltd (NEMOC) and one of its directors were also fined for their safety failings.

The incident occurred on 2 December 2008, when Mr Joyce was dismantling a building at the shipyard. He was working from a cherry picker while two colleagues were working from another and a crane to lower steel beams to the ground. While removing a beam brace connecting two plate girders, one of the girders struck the basket of the cherry picker in which Mr Joyce was standing, causing the equipment to topple over. He fell to the ground and suffered fatal head injuries.

Jurors at Newcastle Crown Court were told that a catalogue of health and safety failings led to the death, including the fact that Mr Turnbull did not carry out a specific risk assessment. There were also failures to identify the risks of the job and to take advice from a competent person.

Prosecutor Richard Matthews QC said, “It was high hazard work that required careful planning and close supervision by someone who knew what they were doing. There was an obvious risk of death arising from these activities.”

In addition to the prison sentence given to Mr Turnbull, Christopher Taylor, a director of NEMOC, was fined £30,000 (plus £50,000 costs) for failing to carry out his duties under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. NEMOC were also fined for their failings under the Act, and with the company now in liquidation, ordered to pay £1 for each offence.

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Farmer fined for friend fall

A farmer from County Durham has been fined £3,000 and ordered to pay £4,000 in costs after a friend, who was helping him out on his farm in Stanley, fell approximately four metres through a barn roof and broke his back.

Leonard Laxton, 64, was helping David Barron to remove roof sheets. Both Mr Laxton and Mr Barron were then manually carrying them across the roof to the edge. Consett Magistrates' Court heard that the pair essentially used scaffold boards as a tightrope to prevent them from stepping onto the roofing material below them.

At some point in the process, Mr Laxton must have either stepped or fallen off the board onto the barn roof, which gave way beneath him. As a result, Mr Laxton broke his back in two places, broke some ribs and suffered bruising to his brain, resulting in a five week stay in hospital.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the measures in place to prevent a fall were insufficient and nothing was in place to prevent a fall over the edge of the roof.

Mr Barron was fined after pleading guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

HSE inspector Jonathan Wills said, “Deaths in agriculture are often caused by fragile roofs and advice on precautions to prevent or reduce the risk from falls when working at height and working on fragile material is well publicised. Mr Barron failed to put suitable measures in place to prevent or reduce the risk to both himself and Mr Laxton from falling through or from the barn roof.”

He added, “The risk of sustaining serious injuries could have been dramatically reduced had Mr Barron carried out the work from a mobile platform beneath the roof, or if he had arranged for nets or other equally effective fall protection to be positioned beneath the areas where both he and Mr Laxton had been working.”

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Regulation (EU) 293/2013 (OJ:L96/1/2013) amending Annexes 2 and 3 to Regulation (EC) 396/2005 as regards maximum residue levels for emamectin benzoate, etofenprox, etoxazole, flutriafol, glyphosate, phosmet, pyraclostrobin, spinosad and spirotetramat in or on certain products

This Regulation amends Annexes 2 and 3 to Regulation (EC) 396/2005, on maximum residue levels of pesticides in or on food and feed of plant and animal origin, as regards maximum residue levels for:

emamectin benzoate;
etofenprox;
etoxazole;
flutriafol;
glyphosate;
phosmet;
pyraclostrobin;
spinosad; and
spirotetramat,

in or on certain products.
Regulation (EC) 396/2005, as it stood before being amended by this…

Details on this legislative text is provided by Cedrec. Please click here to see the summary.

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Regulation (EU) 414/2013 (OJ:L125/4/2013) specifying a procedure for the authorisation of same biocidal products in accordance with Regulation (EU) 528/2012

This Regulation sets out the procedure applicable where an authorisation is sought for a product which is identical to another biocidal product or product family (a “same product”):

which has been authorised or registered in accordance with:

Directive 98/8/EC, on the placing of biocidal products on the market, or
Regulation (EU) 528/2012, on…

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Proposal COM(2013)288 for a Regulation amending Regulation (EU) 528/2012 on the making available on the market and use of biocidal products with regard to certain conditions for access to the market

Details on this legislative text is provided by Cedrec. Please click here to see the summary.

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Man from Moira stewing over fine

John Lewis, trading as John Lewis Plant Hire and Contracts, has been sentenced at Laganside Crown Court. He received a suspended six month sentence on each of the five counts he pleaded guilty to.

The case arose after the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) visited a demolition site on the Broadway Industrial Estate following a complaint from the general public. In February 2011, they found a building that was in the process of being demolished, and immediately stopped the work due to concerns about asbestos contamination.

A subsequent survey of the site by HSENI's Scientific Services found large quantities of asbestos insulating board and asbestos cement debris present on the ground and amongst building rubble in an area where demolition work was in progress at the site. The same contractor had previously been stopped in 2008, whilst in the process of demolishing other similar buildings on the site without having an asbestos survey carried out.

Following that intervention, Mr Lewis had a survey of all the buildings compiled, including the building he was demolishing in 2011. The investigation revealed he had this asbestos survey in his possession, which clearly showed that the building he was demolishing contained significant asbestos which required a licensed asbestos contractor to remove. Mr Lewis was not a licensed asbestos contractor.

To make matters worse, employees of John Lewis were found on the site of the partial demolition picking pieces of asbestos out of the contaminated rubble without appropriate protection, such as respiratory equipment and showering facilities.

After the hearing Mr Louis Burns, Principal Inspector for the HSENI's Major Investigation Team said, “The dangers of asbestos are well known. It is vital that buildings are properly surveyed for asbestos and that asbestos is removed by a licensed asbestos contractor prior to demolition. If these vital steps are not followed there is the potential for asbestos to be released and spread in an uncontrolled manner. This potentially gives rise to serious health concerns.”

For more information, see the:

  • Control of Asbestos Regulations (Northern Ireland) SR 2012/179.
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Huge fine for BAE Systems after death of worker

A global defence company has been fined £250,000 and ordered to pay costs of £97,153 after one of its workers was crushed to death by a 145 tonne metal press. 

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) described the death of maintenance engineer Gary Whiting, 51, as an “entirely preventable tragedy” caused by the serious safety failings of BAE Systems (Operations) Ltd at its plant in Saltgrounds Road, Brough.

Mr Whiting died in November 2008 while working as part of a four-man team doing routine servicing of a large metal press. Two men were working at one end of the machine and two at the opposite end. The court was told neither pair could properly see the other.

Mr Whiting entered the machine to remove a piece of equipment he’d been using but at the same time, one of his colleagues at the far end started the full test cycle of the press frame. The 45-square-metre frame descended, trapping Mr Whiting. He died the same day in hospital from his crush injuries.

Safety failings uncovered by the HSE’s investigation included an absence of a suitable assessment of the risks associated with the test process and a lack of engineering control measures to prevent entry by workers to dangerous parts of the machine during testing or to stop the machine if anyone did enter a danger zone.

BAE Systems pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 at a hearing in April last year.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Mark Welsh said, “The dangers of maintenance work on these types of machines are well-known yet BAE Systems Ltd failed to identify those risks and its serious failings led to this tragedy. Although the press machine had been serviced regularly, it was done in the same unacceptable way and it is surprising there had not been an earlier incident.

The guarding was inadequate and there were no key safety systems, no light guards or interlocks on the doors of the machine; nothing that would have either prevented entry to dangerous parts or stopped the machine if entry was made. In addition, there were no instructions, either written or verbal, given by BAE to workers about how to carry out the testing process safely.

This incident should serve as a reminder to companies to ensure that dangerous parts of their machines are identified and measures taken to properly protect their workers. No company should put its employees at unnecessary risk.”

For more information, see:

  • Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations SI 1998/2306;
  • INDG375 -Power presses: A summary of guidance on maintenance and thorough examination;
  • L112 – Safe use of power presses.
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Fire and Rescue Services (Appointment of Inspector) (England) Order SI 2013/1120

This Order came into force on 16 May 2013 and applies to England only.
It appoints Peter Michael Holland as an inspector under the Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004.
This Order also revokes the Fire and Rescue Services (Appointment of Inspector) Order SI 2007/3474 which appointed his predecessor, Sir Kenneth Knight.
Revocations and amendments
This Order…

Details on this legislative text is provided by Cedrec. Please click here to see the summary.

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Downturn for Abbey

An engineering firm based in the Midlands has been fined £133,000 after its emergency plans failed to prevent contaminated fire-fighting water and chemicals from polluting the River Anker.

In April 2010, a large fire broke out at Abbey Metal's Nuneaton metal finishing works. Tackling the blaze resulted in a “cocktail of hazardous substances” being washed into the river, killing some 27,000 fish. Birmingham Crown Court heard that the company's emergency measures were inadequate and that no plan had been made to access the sewerage system for the emergency storage of contaminated water.

Despite the fire service using pollution prevention equipment, water from the site containing cyanides, copper and cadmium from metal treatment processes reached the river running along the back of the site.

The fire qualified as a major incident under the Control of Major Accident Hazards (COMAH) Regulations SI 1999/743, which the firm pleaded guilty to breaching, along with three offences under the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations SI 2010/675.

An Environment Agency officer commented, “The Agency expects high standards from COMAH establishments. Where accidents are foreseeable, the operator must plan to prevent or mitigate them. This is what Abbey Metal failed to do.”

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A consultation on the revised Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) L24 – “Workplace health, safety and welfare”

Details on this legislative text is provided by Cedrec. Please click here to see the summary.

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