Archive for December, 2013

Decision 2013/753/EU (OJ:L334/37/2013) amending Decision 2012/226/EU on the second set of common safety targets for the rail system

This Decision amends Decision 2012/226/EU, on the second set of common safety targets for the rail system.
It replaces the National Reference Values contained in the Annex to Decision 2012/226/EU.

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

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Higgledy-piggledy cabling ends Christmas lighting

A village Christmas tree in Meavy, Devon, finds itself without lights after Devon County Council forced the lights to be turned off following a health and safety complaint.

The tree, which is standing outside a local pub, was donated by villagers and lit via cables suspended from a garage over the road. However, Devon County Council received an anonymous complaint from a concerned resident about the cables, and agreed that the cabling looked “higgledy-piggledy”. Stephen Earp, the landlord of the pub, plans to light the tree up once again using a 12-volt battery.

Mr Earp said, “A lot of people are upset about the lights being taken off. The Grinch has taken away Christmas. How sad in this season of goodwill.”

However, a council spokesperson didn't seem to agree. They said, “Any cable crossing a public highway must maintain an absolute minimum clear height above the carriageway, which must be just over 5m. In this instance the height was not an issue, but it was felt the cabling was a bit higgledy-piggledy and not particularly safe.”

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Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Code of Practice Consolidated

The second edition of L138 – Dangerous Substances and explosive atmospheres, which applies to workplaces that manufacture, store, process or use dangerous substances, has been published by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

This updated version of the Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) and guidance provides practical advice on how to comply with the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations SI 2002/2776, and the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations (Northern Ireland) SR 2003/152 (DSEAR).

The consolidated ACOP text and guidance has been clarified, simplified, streamlined and restructured to help the reader, and the content has been updated in light of changes to European and domestic legislation, such as substance classification and labelling issues and general fire safety. However, no significant new duties are placed on businesses that are already in compliance with the replaced ACOPs and the Regulations themselves are unchanged.

In addition, this second edition incorporates the following ACOPs, which have now been withdrawn:

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Railways (Interoperability) (Amendment) Regulations SI 2013/3023

These Regulations came into force on 1 January 2014 and apply to England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
They amend the Railways (Interoperability) Regulations SI 2011/3066 in order to implement Directive 2013/9/EU, which amends Annex 3 to Directive 2008/57/EC on the interoperability of the rail system within the Community.
Legislative background
Directive¬†2008/57/EC sets…

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

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Regulation (EU) 1272/2013 (OJ:L328/69/2013) amending Annex 17 to Regulation (EC) 1907/2006 on the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) as regards polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons

This Regulation amends Annex 17 to Regulation (EC) 1907/2006, on the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), as regards polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).
The amendments alter the limit values for PAHs.
Legislative background
The polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are:

Benzo[a]pyrene;
Benzo[e]pyrene;
Benzo[a]anthracene;
Chrysen;
Benzo[b]fluoranthene;
Benzo[j]fluoranthene;
Benzo[k]fluoranthene;
Dibenzo[a,h]anthracene,

and are classified as carcinogens of category 1B in accordance with Regulation (EC)…

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

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Oh Christmas tree, taken away ’cause of safety

Stockton Town Centre came under the spotlight recently as residents dubbed the town's Christmas tree as the “worst”. The offending object, which looks like a large white cone with snowflakes printed on it, was mocked by residents. In response to resident's complaints, Stockton Council said that because of the huge redevelopment programme going on in the town centre, there was no room for their normal Spruce tree, but have promised it will return next year.

However, the alternative Christmas tree was not good enough for one pub landlord, Craig Harker, who was so unapproving of the negative publicity surrounding the town's “tree” that he went and bought his own natural tree and put it up outside his pub near to the Christmas “cone” in Stockton.

However, the fir tree, which was decorated with baubles and lights, lasted less than 24 hours before the Council removed it on 'elf and safety grounds after it blew over. Mr Harker said, “A bar worker saw the council workers driving away with the tree and she called me. She was too late to do anything about it, as they were already leaving when she saw them.” Mr Harker was disappointed as he claimed nobody bothered to tell staff that the tree was being removed.

Leader of Stockton Council, Bob Cook, said, “The tree was blown over during the early hours, narrowly missing a passer-by. Thankfully nobody was injured but I think the CCTV footage speaks for itself really – this is not a case of the council overreacting, more a case of being sensible in light of the windy conditions.”

However, Mr Harker is determined, and has even offered to gift the tree to the Council so that they themselves can put it up, but he is yet to hear a response.

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Decision 2013/710/EU (OJ:L323/35/2013) amending Decision 2012/757/EU on the technical specification for interoperability relating to the “operation and traffic management” subsystem of the rail system in the EU

This Decision amends Decision 2012/757/EU on the technical specification for interoperability relating to the “operation and traffic management” subsystem of the rail system in the European Union.
Legislative background
Regulation (EC) 881/2004, which establishes a European Railway Agency, requires the European Railway Agency to ensure that the technical specifications for interoperability (TSIs)…

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

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A little helmet, ensures that Mary, is carried safely, on her way

In an unusual twist to the traditional nativity play, a performance of the Christmas story in south Wales will see Mary wearing a safety helmet as she rides the donkey to Bethlehem, or the square in Neath in this case.

Organisers of the church performance were told that the female star of the show, eight-year-old Libby Doorman, would have to wear a riding hat and possibly riding shoes because of fears she could fall off the donkey and to comply with health and safety laws.

“We've been advised that any young child riding a horse or donkey needs a hard hat for health and safety purposes,” said Mark Barrett, 44, a youth worker at The Bridge Church in Neath, south Wales, who has organised the performance which involves a procession through Neath to the square.

“We’ve got to consider that Mary will be riding a donkey on a public highway. I know that the donkey will not be moving very quickly but we don’t want to flout the law.

“The owner of the donkey has told us because of his licence she will need to wear a riding hat.”

Mr Barrett said they didn’t have a problem complying with the regulations and that they had also had to ensure that the child riding the donkey did not weigh more than eight stone. He said the riding hat was likely to be covered by Mary's costume on the day.

Mr Barrett added: “We take her through the procession area to the town centre, crossing a main road. We’ve had to put marshals along the way to make sure the crossing is safe and the animals don’t get startled.”

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The Housing Company who stole Christmas

The Baggott family have been left in dismay this year after Scrooge council bosses ordered them to pull down their Christmas decorations, as well as ordering them to tear down their shed where they kept their decorations.

For the last eight years, John and Teresa Baggott have transformed their front-garden into a dazzling Santa’s grotto, along with a mechanical Father Christmas, much to the delight of their disabled teenage son.

However, Sanctuary Housing in Devon told the family, whose decorations raise thousands of pounds for charity, that they had to take down all the hooks and the electric boxes on the wall because they didn't want electrics outside the house.

Mr Baggott says the family are so upset they want to move to a new home with their three boys, including disabled son Shea, 14, who suffers from a muscle and nerve-wasting condition.

He added: “We put a lot of work into it. We put our heart and soul into it and it looked pretty good. Shea loved the light. He would sit out there for hours in his wheelchair looking at them. He's upset and he has picked up that we're stressed.”

The annual display, which takes around two weeks to assemble, last year earned them first place in the the residential category of the Torbay Winter Glitterland competition and has raised more than £8,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

A spokeswoman for Sanctuary Group confirmed the family were told they were 'not allowed to tamper with the electrics of the property'.

She said: “As standard with rented accommodation, tenants should not tamper with the electrics, build onto or extend the property without their landlord's consent, and Sanctuary has only very recently been made aware of the extent of work done to the home.

'The family has significantly altered and extended the electrics at the property and we have serious concerns about the safety of these works.'

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The 12 tips for Christmas

'Tis the festive season again, and no doubt all over the UK employers and employees are preparing their offices for Christmas and possibly even an office Christmas party. If so, here are a few handy tips containing very simple steps to make sure you stay safe in the office:

  • remind staff that alcohol should be consumed in moderation, especially if the day after the party is a working day! Ensure they know what is and what is not acceptable behaviour;
  • make sure you have policies in place that address issues that could occur at Christmas, especially at an office party. This should include alcohol, occupational health and safety and harassment;
  • carry out a risk assessment to make sure there are no risks – for instance if you are having an office Christmas party you might want to put measures in place to make sure no liquids are consumed next to electrical equipment;
  • make sure you assess the risk of Christmas decorations. This does not mean they cannot be put up though! Analyse potential fire hazards, such as decorations covering the vent of a computer, and tidy trailing cables away to avoid trip hazards – simple steps to ensure a festive but safe office;
  • if providing food at an office party, make sure you double check any dietary requirements of employees;
  • label any foods containing nuts or gluten (or other ingredients which employees could be allergic to);
  • if your party is off-site, remember it is still a work function and your office policies around health and safety and harassment may still apply;
  • make arrangements for appropriate and safe transport at the end of the night;
  • if putting up Christmas decorations in the office, make sure you use safe ladders and don't ever use a swivel chair;
  • avoid using the photocopier to photocopy images of your anatomy. The top of the copier is glass and could shatter under weight – sitting at the Christmas table will therefore not be a comfortable occasion;
  • turn off any Christmas lights at the end of the working day; and
  • make sure the Christmas tree is sturdy – unsafe trees could topple on employees causing injury.

But most importantly, enjoy it!

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