Latest HSE statistics show huge increase in prosecution fees

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have released their annual statistics on Britain's annual workplace injury and ill health.

Latest figures show that Britain remains one of the safest places to work, but as always much can be done to make workplaces even safer.

There was a decrease in both the amount of fatal injuries and non-fatal injuries to workers between 2016/2017. The amount of workers suffering from a work-related illness remained the same at 1.3 million workers. In 2016/2017 there were:

  • 137 fatal injuries to workers, (144 the previous year);
  • 609,000 non-fatal injuries, (621,000 the previous year);
  • 70,116 non-fatal RIDDOR reportable injuries, (72,702 the previous year).

Despite the decrease in reported injuries and fatalities the costs of workplace injury and days lost due to injury increased on the previous year:

  • costs of workplace injury, £5.3 billion, an increase from £4.8 billion last year;
  • costs of new cases of work-related illness, £9.7 billion, an increase from £9.3 billion last year;
  • days lost due to non-fatal injuries, 5.5 million, an increase of 1 million days from the previous year.

There was however a slight decrease in the amount of days lost due to work-related ill health which decreased from 25.9 million working days to 25.7 million working days.

This year's figures represent the first full year that the sentencing guidelines for England and Wales were in force. Consequently there was a marked increase in fines resulting from prosecutions, which increased from £38.3 million the previous year to £69.9 million. Another interesting point on this is that this increase in fines occurred despite 106 fewer cases brought to prosecution. There was however an increase in the amount of notices issued by the HSE, with 510 more notices issued in 2017 than the previous year.

Both last year's and this year's statistics show 500,000 workers suffer from work-related stress, depression or anxiety and a further 0.5 million workers suffer from musculoskeletal disorders. 

Figures for 2016/2017 indicate the increasing issue of stress, depression and anxiety in the workplace with 526,000 workers suffering from this type of ill health (236,000 of these are new cases this year). Work-related stress, depression and anxiety has led to 12.5 million working days lost, which equals a total of 49% of the total days lost due to ill health.

Musculoskeletal disorders also remain an issue in the workplace, with 35% of the total days lost due to ill health attributed to musculoskeletal disorders, this equates to 8.9 million working days lost. There are approximately 507,000 workers suffering from this, 159,000 of these are new cases.

HSE Chair, Martin Temple commented on the latest statistics: “These latest figures should act as a spur to reduce the impact of ill-health and injury on Britain’s workforce and businesses and we cannot rest on our reputation. We will only achieve long term improvement by a collective approach to improve workplace standards. Poor standards lead to poor health and increased injuries which is bad for the workforce and business.”

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Regulation (EU) 1526/2017 (OJ:L231/1) on the non-approval of the active substance beta-cypermethrin in accordance with Regulation (EC) 1107/2009 on the placing of plant protection products on the market

This Regulation states the active substance beta-cypermethrin is not approved in accordance with Regulation (EC) 1107/2009 on the placing of plant protection products on the market.
Legislative background
Regulation (EC) 1107/2009 sets out rules for the authorisation of plant protection products in commercial form and for their marketing, use and control within the Community. It…

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

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RIBA calls for repeal of Fire Safety Order

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has said that the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order (RRFSO) SI 2005/1541 should be scrapped. They have said it should be replaced by a regime similar to that which preceded it, where fire services would issue building owners with fire certificates.

The RIBA said in its submission to the independent review of building regulations and fire safety, established following the Grenfell Tower fire, that the problems with the current regime were highlighted by the 228 high-rise buildings across the country that have been found by Government checks to have flammable cladding, meaning that they are a fire risk and fail to comply with Building Regulations.

The RIBA made fifteen recommendations, for example that sprinklers should be mandated in all new and converted high-rise residential buildings, and retrofitted to all buildings over eighteen metres in height. They further recommended a review of the 'stay put' policy, central fire alarms that can facilitate phased evacuations, and the introduction fo a requirement for more than one means of vertical escape in residential buildings higher than three storeys.

The RRFSO came into force in 2006 and repealed around 70 pieces of legislation related to fire safety, principally the Fire Precautions Act 1971 and the Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations SI 1997/1840. Under the Fire Precautions Act, fire services or local authorities were required to issue a fire certificate to certain classes of premises that assessed issues such as the provision of adequate precautions and means of escape.

A system of self assessment was introduced by the RRFSO, placing a duty on a building's 'responsible person' to carry out a fire risk assessment. Often, a fire risk assessor will be hired by the responsible person to carry out the assessment. However, the RIBA's submission claims that the appointment of fire risk assessors is made in an “unregulated professional environment”. The RIBA would like to see the re-introduction of mandatory fire certificates for designated premises that are based on independent inspections by fire brigades, as well as firefighters being given statutory powers of entry to buildings.

The chair of the RIBA expert advisory group on fire safety, Jane Duncan, said: “The RIBA welcomes Dame Judith Hackett’s review but we believe it must be more comprehensive, addressing the details of Building Regulations guidance as well as the broader regulatory system. The review should cover all building types and construction methods, not just those relating to high-rise, multiple occupancy residential buildings.”

The independent review is to look at regulatory systems used in different industries and other countries as it examines the effectiveness of regulation in the UK with regard to protecting people and buildings. Its call for evidence closed on 13 October, with an interim report expected this autumn. The Government will then make a written response, identifying any changes that can be made while the review continues. The final report is due by spring 2018.

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Massive fines for two companies following death of a worker

A manufacturer of large concrete panels and a plant hire company were sentenced following the fatal crush of a worker by a concrete panel at construction facility in Worksop, Nottinghamshire.

On 8 July 2014 Richard Reddish, a 29 year old father of one, who was employed by Explore Manufacturing Ltd, was working in a mobile elevating working platform (MEWP) in the finishing area, removing the lifting attachments from the top of a concrete panel, which weighed around 11 tonnes and was stored on a transport pallet.

The accident took place when the panel started to topple, while Reddish was standing in the raised MEWP basket. The first panel struck the MEWP, throwing the worker from the basket, also causing other panels to topple like dominoes, one of which fatally crushed him. The transport pallets were supplied by Select Plant Hire Company Ltd who shared the responsibility for their maintenance with Explore Manufacturing Ltd.

An investigation carried out by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) confirmed that a rectangular metal frame attached to the pallet was not correctly connected to the pallet and there was no system of pre-use checks. The pallets were also in a poor condition, with a number of defects, including missing support bearers and stabilising legs. Other failings included inappropriate storage of freestanding concrete panels in the finishing area, which should have been secured in storage racks, and a lack of sufficient planning. The investigation also identified failings in the other storage systems on site.

Explore Manufacturing Ltd pleaded guilty for breaching the Health and Safety at Work Etc Act 1974 for failing to ensure safety and welfare of its employees during the transportation and storage of pre-cast concrete panels. The company was fined £1.3 million and ordered to pay costs of £13,922.

Select Plant Hire Company Ltd pleaded guilty for breaching the same Act for failing to properly maintain the transport pallets, exposing the Explore employees to risks to their health and safety. The company was fined £1.2 million and ordered to pay costs of £13,922.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Stuart Pilkington said: “This tragic incident led to the avoidable death of a young man, whose death could easily have been prevented if the companies had acted following previous warnings to identify and manage the risks involved, maintain the equipment, and put a safer system of work in place.”

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Recycling company fined 650k following death of worker

Savanna Rags International Limited, a clothing and textile recycling company, have been prosecuted following the death of a 76-year-old employee. The woman was fatally injured by a reversing delivery vehicle on 26 April 2016.

Mansfield Magistrates' Court heard that the woman had been walking towards the smoking shelter in the rear yard during her afternoon break when a delivery vehicle being driven by a visiting driver reversed towards the rear yard. She was struck by the rear of the vehicle and sustained fatal injuries.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation showed that the company had not made suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks arising from vehicle movement. It was custom and practice for vehicles to reverse from the weighbridge that was also used by employees to access the factory. No measures were in place to adequately separate pedestrians from moving vehicles and there was no safe system of work to ensure that vehicles could safely manoeuvre.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations SI 1999/3242, and the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations SI 1992/3004. The company was fined £650,000 and ordered to pay full costs of £3,300.25.

Following the hearing, HSE Inspector Aaron Rashad said:

“This was a tragic and wholly avoidable incident, caused by the failure of the company to undertake a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks arising from the movement of vehicles and implement safe systems of work. This meant the company failed to put in place a number of simple safety measures including segregating vehicles and pedestrians and reducing the need for vehicles to reverse. Sadly, this is the most common cause of fatal injuries in this sector. HSE is currently in the middle of targeting waste and recycling premises with an inspection initiative that will look at certain activities to ensure effective management and control of risk.”

He further called on people working in the industry to refresh their knowledge of HSE advice and guidance, adding that “every worker has the right to return from work safe in the knowledge that their employer takes their health and safety seriously.”

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Railway Closures (Exclusion) (Scotland) Order SSI 2017/280

This Order came into force 17 October 2017 and applies to Scotland only.
The Railways Act 2005 provides for a closure procedure where there is a proposal by a funding authority to close a station and enables the exclusion of stations from that procedure. This Order excludes the station at Forres,…

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Railway Closures (Exclusion) (Scotland) Order SSI 2017/280

This Order came into force 17 October 2017 and applies to Scotland only.
The Railways Act 2005 provides for a closure procedure where there is a proposal by a funding authority to close a station and enables the exclusion of stations from that procedure. This Order excludes the station at Forres,…

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

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CD285 – Consultation on proposals to amend the Control of Asbestos Regulations

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

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CD285 – Consultation on proposals to amend the Control of Asbestos Regulations

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

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DVSA to fine tired drivers

Traffic examiners and police officers will soon start issuing fines of up to £300 for a single offence to bus and lorry drivers who have not rested properly, and consider rest patterns in the past 28 days.

Currently, the agency can only issue on the spot fines of up to £300 for the offences committed on that day, or for manipulating tachograph readings.

From 1 November 2017, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) will introduce new fines and powers to officers to curb the amount driving hour offences among professional drivers. Lorry, bus and coach drivers must take a 45-hour rest break every fortnight, but the DVSA said that too many drivers spend their breaks in cabs, which may not allow them to rest properly.

Fines will also apply to drivers that are from outside the UK, and if they committed such offence, they will be immobilised and required to pay any fees before they will be allowed to continue their journey. It will not matter if the offence was committed in Britain or elsewhere.

The DVSA also said that it will soon have powers to fine bus and lorry drivers for any driving hours offences they have committed in the last 28 days.

DVSA chief executive, Gareth Llewellyn, said: “These tougher fines will help us to take stronger action against any drivers or operators who break drivers' hours rules and will help make our roads safer”.

“There's no excuse for driving while tired. The results of falling asleep at the wheel of 44-tonne lorry can be devastating to families and communities. Any driver breaking these rules is putting other road users at risk and could face losing their license and livelihood.”

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