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Latest ISO 45001 Draft out for consultation

The latest Draft of the International Standard for Occupational Safety and Health Management Systems, ISO 45001 has been released for consultation.

Previous amended drafts of the new standard were rejected, however it is hoped this this may possibly be the last draft before the new standard comes into publication. If the latest draft is accepted by a ballot of National Standards Body (NSB) which is due to take place between May and July, rules allow the NSB to vote to drop the final draft stage, as long as technical changes are not made to the previous draft. This could mean that the standard may be published by the end of November 2017. However if a final draft is required, publication will yet again be delayed and is anticipated to be around February or March 2018.

Richard Jones, Head of Policy at the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) commented: ''The terms and definitions have all been agreed and the whole thing has been tidied up.'' He also added that the Annex to the draft Standard which details advice on measures to meet the standard, has been substantially simplified.

The next public consultation on the draft is due to take place on 19 May 2017.

A copy of the draft along with the template for consultation question submissions can be found on the IOSH website.

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Hostel owners sentenced over asbestos failings

Fines have been handed to two families after health and safety failings were found at a site in Manchester.

Hatters Taverns Limited employed sister company Hatters Hostel Limited as the main contractor to strip and refurbish the basement of the former restaurant, in order to be used as a bar venue.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) made an unannounced visit to the premises to inspect the ongoing refurbishments. It was found during this visit that no asbestos surveys had been carried out before tradesmen began stripping out the venue.

Hatters Taverns Limited pleaded guilty to breaching the Control of Asbestos Regulations SI 2012/632 and was fined £10,000.

Hatters Hostel Limited of Liverpool pleaded guilty to breaching the same Regulations and was fined £24,000 and ordered to pay the combined costs for both defendants of £10,232.50.

HSE inspector Matt Greenly said after the case: “Both Hatters Hostel and Hatters Taverns have failed in their duty to protect their workers, subcontractors and visitors to his site from harm. Asbestos related diseases are currently untreatable and claim the lives of an estimated 4000 people per year in the UK. Exposure to asbestos fibres can potentially cause life shortening diseases in the long term and Hatters Hostel Limited and Hatters Taverns Limited should have taken more care to protect workers from a totally preventable exposure. This case sends a clear message to any company that it does not pay to ignore well known risks on site.”

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Electricity supplier fined after worker killed

Electricity supplier, Electricity North West Ltd, have been fined following the death of a worker.

Mr John Flowers, an experienced linesman, died after falling 6 metres while carrying out routine maintenance on power lines. He had climbed a ladder which was resting against a wood pole, in order to trim ivy away from the power lines, and it is thought that Mr Flowers accidentally cut through his work positioning strap causing him to fall.

The Health and Safety Executive's (HSE) investigation into the incident found that the work has not been properly planned. The task of trimming the ivy off the pole should not have been carried out from a ladder, it was not short duration work, so a proper work platform such as a mobile elevated work platform, should have been provided to undertake the task.

The HSE found that there was a lack of information provided to the linesman and employees were not given information on how to safely carry out the work required.

HSE Inspector, Rose Leese-Weller commented: 'Electricity North West failed to ensure that working at height was properly planned, appropriately supervised and carried out in a manner that was safe. Had these steps been taken we may not have had this tragic outcome.'

Electricity North West Ltd were found guilty of breaches of the Work at Height Regulations SI 2005/735, and were fined £900,000 with costs to be agreed at a later date.

For more information, see the:

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Oil company fined 1.7 million after refinery explosion

The owner and operator of the Stanlow Manufacturing Complex in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, Essar Oil UK, has been fined following an explosion at their refinery.

During the start up of the main distillation unit at the site, highly flammable hydrocarbons entered an unused furnace. Heat from a nearby furnace then triggered the explosion. The explosion caused several fires across the site.

Fortunately no one was injured in the incident, however the explosion which led to the collapse of internal structures, caused more than £20 million worth of damage.

An investigation into the incident by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company had installed a safety critical valve incorrectly, and had failed to properly validate the operation of it. Furthermore the installation of a new safety critical trip was also found to have been inadequately assessed as the system had a bypasss line in place which defeated the operation of the trip system.

The HSE added that although it was company policy to isolate the main fuel lines to the furnace, a secondary fuel line had not been isolated during shutdown. It was this failure that allowed the hydrocarbons to enter the furnace.

Joanne Eccles, HSE principal inspector, commented: “The industry should take notice of this case; there were no injuries but mistakes were made and could have been prevented.”

Essar Oil UK pleaded guilty at Liverpool Crown Court to breaches of the Control of Major Hazards Regulations SI 1999/743 for failing to prevent a major accident. They were fined £1.65 million and ordered to pay costs of £57,645.

For more information, see the:

  • Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations SI 2015/483.
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HSE publish a new business plan focusing on cyber risk, REACH and blue tape

The new business plan published by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) outlines the future budget expectations for the 2017-2018 period and sets out the key elements of the HSE's strategy Helping Great Britain work well.

The priorities set out for the coming year focus on:

  • establishment and delivery of a comprehensive three-year Health and Work programme that aims to reduce work-related stress, musculoskeletal disorders and occupational lung disease;
  • new approaches to risk profiling of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to target certain groups that need the improvement the most;
  • improve how the HSE shares learning and influence dutyholders to amplify the impact of their interventions and enforcement action;
  • improve the timeliness of decisions on applications for authorisation of biocides and pesticides;
  • provide support to UK-based companies, (SMEs in particular), with Directive 2006/121 on the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) 2018 registration responsibilities;
  • start digitising the provision of the services provided by the HSE, starting with radiological protection registration and licensing as well as asbestos licensing.

The HSE also emphasises on the continuous development of its “usual” duties, which include:

  • engage and collaborate with organisations and individuals to improve work-related health and safety;
  • campaign to achieve improvements in safety awareness and act on the key issues;
  • provide guidance and support through support materials that are easily accessible and tailored to the circumstances for the users;
  • develop science and evidence to support the regulatory activities, provide access to specialist facilities and research to improve health and safety performance.

For more information see, the:

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Recycling company fined following death of worker

A paper recycling company has been fined after a worker died of injuries he sustained in an accident at work.

Mr Mohammed Yasin was working for Recycle Paper UK Ltd when he was involved in the tragic incident. Mr Yasin was using the fork lift truck to carry a load weighing 980kg when it overturned. He was thrown from the truck before the overturning truck struck him. Mr Yasin unfortunately died as a result of the injuries he sustained.

The Health and Safety Executive's (HSE) investigation found that the company had failed to provide any supervision and had also failed to provider workers with appropriate training to operate the fork lift truck.

HSE inspector Caroline Lane commented: “This was an extremely tragic incident which highlights the importance for duty holders to appropriately supervise and train workers to the required standard when operating such machinery.”

Recycle Paper UK Ltd were found guilty at Wolverhampton Magistrates' Court. A starting fine of £160,000 was considered but due to the company entering in to liquidation, the fine payable was a nominal fee of £1. 

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Construction firm prosecuted following worker’s fall from height

The construction company Kier Construction Ltd, have been fined £400,000 after a worker suffered serious injuries after falling from height.

Employee Jair Morales was installing plywood boards on the third floor of a building at a construction site in Uxbridge, when he fell 3.95m to the floor. As a result of the fall Mr Morales suffered a fractured arm and pelvis and has been unable to work since the incident.

The Health and Safety Executive's (HSE)  investigation into the incident found that no steps had been taken to prevent workers from falling through openings in the floor during the installation of the plywood boards. Kier Construction had failed to ensure the work was planned properly and that work was carried out in a safe manner. 

HSE inspector Owen Rowley commented: “This incident could have been a lot worse. The system that Kier Construction Ltd has in place to control the risk from installing the protection for openings was not implemented on site, ultimately resulting in the accident. The risks of working at height are widely recognised throughout the construction industry. This case highlights the importance of ensuring that all work at height is properly planned and carried out safely.”

Kier Construction Ltd pleaded guilty to breaches of the Work at Height Regulations SI 2005/735. The company received a £400,000 fine and were ordered to pay costs of £1,534.

For more information, see the:

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Leading businesses pledge to prevent occupational cancer

IOSH's high profile “No Time to Lose” campaign which seeks to tackle work-related cancers, has now managed to attract pledges of support from 100 leading organisations.

Launched back in November 2014, the campaign aims to get carcinogenic exposure issues more widely understood and help businesses take action. So far it has worked to:

  • raise awareness of a significant health issue facing workers in the UK and internationally;
  • suggest some solutions on a UK scale to tackle the problem – a national model that can be transposed internationally; and
  • offer free practical, original materials to businesses to help them deliver effective prevention programmes.

IOSH Executive Director of Policy, Shelley Frost, commented: “It's estimated that cancer related to work causes about 666,000 deaths a year worldwide, and the biggest killer is asbestos. So it's good timing, during Global Asbestos Awareness Week this week, that we can announce our 100th pledger for No Time to Lose. Through the efforts of these outstanding businesses, almost half-a-million employees are now aware of carcinogens such as asbestos, diesel fumes, silica dust and solar radiation. It's fantastic to see support for our campaign growing day by day, but there's still more that needs to be done. Next year we'll be launching free resources to help businesses worldwide raise awareness of, and manage, the risks of exposure to asbestos. We believe by working together, we can beat occupational cancer.”

Companies who have pledged their support to the campaign include, VS Rail, National Federation of Roofing Contractors, McLaren Construction Ltd, Wills Bros Civil Engineering Ltd and Mapeley Estates Limited.

IOSH President Graham Parker, who is Head of Health and Safety at Mapeley Estates Limited, added: “Occupational cancer is preventable and it's excellent to see so many companies pledging to demonstrate their commitment. Mapeley Estates Limited is proud to support No Time to Lose, which has helped us to develop management controls and systems.”

More information on IOSH's No Time to Lose Campaign, can be found on their dedicated website, www.notimetolose.co.uk.

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Call for “sunset clauses” to be attached to EU laws

There have been calls for Prime Minister Theresa May to attach “sunset clauses” to European Unions laws when they are written into UK law. These “sunset clauses” would effectively set a use by date on EU-derived legislation. If implemented they would force civil servants to review, reform or scrap the legislation in a given time frame. Any legislation which is not reviewed by this point would then automatically become void past the sunset date.

The Chief Economist at the Institute for Economic Affairs, Julian Jessop, is one of those calling for the attachment of “sunset clauses”. He believes that time limits would put the burden on civil servants to ensure they “review legislation properly” after the UK leaves the EU. He commented: ''Writing in sunset clauses would be more credible because it puts the onus on people to justify these regulations rather than just staying by default. Brexit should provide an opportunity to reduce the burden of regulation on UK households and firms alike.''

Another supporter was MP Grant Shapps, who Tweeted: “Welcome #GreatRepealBill, but will propose 10yr Sunset Clause on all but workers' rights & environment so Parliament can fully scrutinise 50k laws.”

A recent House of Commons report stated that as part of the Great Repeal Bill ministers will have to import up to 19,000 pieces of EU legislation into UK law. Legislation that covers a broad range of areas including trade, financial services, agriculture and the environment to name but a few. The Great Repeal Bill White Paper made no mention of any 'sunset' dates being implemented into EU-derived legislation. However, if this approach were to be taken there is the potential for it to have a drastic impact on UK legislation if large areas of law are not reviewed in time and then cease to have effect past a given date.

There would then be a scenario where the UK is left with legislative gaps.

For more information on the UK's withdrawal on the European Union, see:

For more information on the Great Repeal Bill White Paper, see:

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Government publish Great Repeal Bill White Paper

The Government have published their Great Repeal Bill White Paper, which explains how the UK Government intends to manage legislation regarding the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union. The Government intends to produce a Great Repeal Bill which will, where practical and appropriate, convert EU law into UK law from the day we leave the European Union.

The Great Repeal Bill will repeal the European Communities Act 1972 on the day we leave the EU. The European Communities Act 1972 is the principal piece of legislation that gives effect to EU law in the UK.

To achieve a stable transition on leaving the UK, the Government intends to convert the body of existing EU legislation into UK domestic law. This means that the same rules and laws will apply after we leave the EU as they did before. Parliament will then be able to decide upon which elements of that law to keep, amend or repeal once the UK has left the EU. The Bill intends to provide the UK Government with the necessary power to correct or remove legislation that would otherwise not function properly once the UK has left the EU.

Failure to convert existing EU law into domestic law at the same time of the repeal of the European Communities Act 1972 would create significant gaps in UK legislation. However, converting EU legislation into UK law is not enough, as some EU law will not achieve its desired legal effect. An example of this is where legislation refers to the involvement of an EU institution, or be reliant on access to an EU regime or system that the UK would no longer be a part of. Consequently when we leave the EU this legislation would no longer operate properly, so the Government must act to make sure domestic law continues to function once the UK leaves the EU.

Not all of these necessary changes will be incorporated into the Great Repeal Bill itself, this is due to time constraints and some of the changes not being best suited to inclusion in primary legislation. Some changes will be required for devolved law and it would be more appropriate that these changes are made by devolved institutions. Therefore the Bill will create power to correct legislation where necessary to rectify any problems that arise as a consequence of leaving the EU.

Three things the Great Repeal Bill will do:

  • repeal the European Communities Act 1972 and return power to UK institutions;
  • convert EU law as is stands at the moment of exit into UK law before we leave the EU, allowing businesses to continue operating knowing the rules have not significantly changed overnight;
  • create powers to make secondary legislation.

The Great Repeal Bill will convert the following into UK law:

  • directly applicable EU laws, EU Regulations;
  • rights in the EU Treaties that can be relied on directly in court by an individual;
  • make provisions that historic Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) case law be given the same binding or precedent status in our courts as decisions of our own Supreme Court.

The Great Repeal Bill will not aim to make major changes to policy or establish new legal frameworks in the UK beyond those that are necessary to make sure the law continues to function properly from the day we leave the EU. Therefore the Government will introduce a number of further Bills over the course of the next two years so we are prepared for withdrawal from the European Union.

For more information see:

Legislating for the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union.

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