Tuesday 27 July 2010

Forklift accident despite risk assessment

Tyre manufacturer Pirelli failed to act on the findings of a risk assessment that identified a failure to separate vehicles and pedestrians at its factory in Carlisle.

North Cumbria Magistrates’ Court heard that 62-year-old contractor, Alan Miller, was feeding an electric cable into a sub-floor gallery when the incident took place on 29 October 2008. Once he had finished, he walked through an area within the curing department at the Dalston Road site, and was struck from behind by a pallet being carried on a forklift truck. He suffered a broken leg and has been unable to return to work owing to his injuries.

HSE inspectors learned that several similar incidents had previously taken place in the same area of the factory. In March 2008, a contractor stepped off a walkway in front of a forklift, which forced the vehicle to make an emergency stop. The truck’s sudden halt caused one of the pallets it was carrying to fall and land on the contractor, who suffered a broken leg.

The investigation found that forklift drivers’ vision was frequently obscured because they had to lower their loads to avoid overhead obstructions. Pirelli had identified the problem during a previous risk assessment but had failed to take steps to make the area a pedestrian-free zone.

HSE inspector Michael Griffiths issued an Improvement Notice on 4 December 2008, which required the firm to ensure that vehicles and pedestrians were separated.

Inspector Griffiths said: “The storage area should have been clearly marked as ‘pedestrian free’, and the injured worker should have been told of the risks prior to the incident in October 2008.

“Site operators should provide contractors with appropriate health and safety information, so that they can do their work safely. In practice, this means sharing information about the workplace, the routes to be used, and types of vehicles and equipment on site. Specific hazards and other people on site, including other contractors or visiting drivers, should also be considered.”

Pirelli appeared in court on 16 July and pleaded guilty to breaching s3(1) of the HSWA 1974. It was fined £9000 and ordered to pay £4282 towards the costs of the prosecution.

In mitigation, the company told the court that it had subsequently put up signs to warn employees that the area was a pedestrian-free zone. It also identified safe crossing points and put barriers in particularly dangerous areas. It has also installed CCTV to ensure that drivers follow the marked-out routes.

Source: SHP

Thursday 15 July 2010

Upgrades to INTACT

Upgrades are being made to INTACT to meet the requirements of Bushell & Meadows, one of our clients, who make extensive use of it. These upgrades include bespoke non-conformance cards which can be printed and added to products, plus advanced analysis and reporting facilities which replace existing spreadsheet and Word methods.

See more about INTACT

Get up to speed on risk assessments

There are two companies I have now started working with after they have fallen foul of the HSE.
After accidents resulting in a minor injury in both cases, the improvement notices state that "the company had failed to carry out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment", with the implication that the accident would not have occurred if the assessment had been sufficient to identify the risk and the company had installed risk control measures.

Don't get into this situation.
Carry out suitable and sufficient risk assessments.

See how to carry out a risk assessment and download a risk assessment form from our "Useful information" page.

Wednesday 14 July 2010

Hunts open print cafe

Hunts People in Print, near Oxford, opened their Print Cafe on 8th July 2010.
This picture shows Timon Colegrove, MD of Hunts, explaining the concept before the formal opening by Michael Johnson, CEO of the BPIF.
Strategic Safety Systems are proud to have provided, and continue to provide, support for Hunts in the areas of:

Thursday 8 July 2010

Ruling on legal costs could see HSE shy away from prosecution

Companies facing prosecution by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) can take some comfort from a recent High Court decision, writes lawyer Bob Davies.

Serving its judgement on R (On the application of The Law Society) v The Lord Chancellor, the High Court declared that the lord chancellor’s scheme of capping the recovery of an acquitted defendant’s costs to legal-aid rates was unlawful.

Had the scheme, which came into force on 31 October 2009, not been declared illegal, a defendant that had successfully defended an HSE prosecution could have faced recovering its defence costs at an amount significantly below those that it had actually incurred.

However, the High Court’s decision restores a court’s power to award a successful defendant an amount of costs which “the court considers to be reasonably sufficient to compensate the defendant for any expenses which he has properly incurred in the proceedings”. This ensures that a defendant’s costs order (DCO), which an acquitted defendant is entitled to, is paid at market rates and reflects the true cost of the litigation.

Any DCO will have to be met out of public funds, so in an era when intense pressure is going to be applied to public funding, the HSE is going to face stern criticism if several of its prosecutions turn out to have little or no merit. Consequently, this could lead to the HSE taking a less aggressive approach and less keen to prosecute in the more risky cases.

However, it is not known at this stage whether the Government will accept the High Court’s decision, and the health and safety arena waits with bated breath to see whether it will appeal.

Source: SHP Plus.
Bob Davies is an associate at law firm Berrymans Lace Mawer LLP