Friday 27 April 2012

HGV ran over worker at congested site

A worker at a packaging manufacturer suffered life-changing injuries when he was dragged along a road underneath the wheels of a heavy-goods vehicle (HGV).

Pete Newsum, 55, was working as a forklift driver at The Corrugated Case Company Ltd’s facility in Danesmoor, Chesterfield, when the incident took place on 14 December 2010. After finishing his lunch break he returned to the site, which was congested with vehicles that had been prevented from undertaking deliveries and collections owing to a period of bad weather.

As he approached the yard, he noticed a HGV reversing to allow another vehicle to move, so he stood on the kerb and waited until the HGV had manoeuvred past him. Expecting it to continue reversing, he stepped in front of the vehicle, but it stopped and began moving forwards. Mr Newsum was knocked to the ground and dragged underneath the vehicle’s wheels.

A member of the public spotted the worker’s high-visibility jacket underneath the wheels and alerted the driver to stop. Mr Newsum was pulled free and taken to hospital, where he needed to be resuscitated on two occasions. He also received treatment for damage to his lower spine and shoulder, fractures to his pelvis, ribs and leg, and cuts to the head. He has been unable to return to work owing to his injuries and still suffers post-traumatic epilepsy, breathing difficulties, and has reduced mobility.

The HSE’s investigation found the company had failed to implement safe workplace transport procedures at the site. There was no enforced speed limit and no measures in place to separate pedestrians and vehicles. Inspector Fiona Coffey explained: “On the day of the incident, the site was congested with unusually high levels of traffic, yet there were no pedestrian-crossing points, speed restrictions, mirrors or signage, or any other means of segregating pedestrians and vehicles.

“The company had been visited by HSE six months prior to the incident and had been given verbal instruction on how to better control workplace transport, which a director and the health and safety manager had agreed to. As a result of the company’s failure to implement this guidance, their employee suffered painful and life-changing injuries.”

The Corrugated Case Company appeared at North East Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court on 18 April and pleaded guilty to breaching reg.17(1) of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 and reg.3(1)(a) of the MHSWR 1999. It was fined a total of £8000 and ordered to pay costs of £7435.

Source: SHP 25th April 2012

Thursday 26 April 2012

Proposed reforms of No Win - No Fee legislation

The Government is pushing ahead with plans to reform ‘no win no fee’ deals and overhaul the civil-justice system, as part of its efforts to release businesses from the fear of a compensation culture.

In a new consultation launched on 29th March and aimed at creating a simpler, quicker and more proportionate civil-justice regime, the Government is proposing to expand the use of an online system for resolving road-traffic accident personal-injury claims of up to £10,000, by making it available to process employers’ liability and public liability personal-injury claims.

The Government also plans to introduce automatic referral to mediation in small-claims cases, automatic referral to mediation-awareness sessions in higher-value cases, and consulting on making mediated settlements enforceable by courts.

Other proposals include raising the maximum value for small claims from £5000 to £15,000, enabling more cases to be heard through the small-claims process rather than through a costly trial.

Announcing the plans, Justice secretary Kenneth Clarke said: “With no major reform for 15 years, the civil-justice system has got out of kilter. Businesses and other people who have been sued can find that spiralling legal costs, slow court processes, unnecessary litigation, and the ‘no win no fee’ structures, which mean greater payments to lawyers than to claimants, are setting them back millions of pounds each year.”

According to the Government, statistics provided by insurers show that in 1999 claimant solicitors’ costs were equivalent to just over half the damages agreed, or awarded. By last year, however, average claimant costs represented 142 per cent of the sums received by injured victims.

Seeking reform in this area, the Government also confirmed it would be implementing Lord Justice Jackson’s blueprint to reform the cost of civil litigation. These plans include:

  • Abolishing recoverability of success fees and associated costs in ‘no win no fee’ conditional-fee agreements. Under the current regime, defendants must pay these additional costs if they lose. Under the reforms, claimants will pay their lawyer’s success fee, and will therefore take an interest in controlling the costs being incurred on their behalf.
  • Allowing damages-based agreements (also known as contingency fees) in litigation before the courts. These are another form of ‘no win no fee’ agreement, under which lawyers can take a proportion of the claimants’ damages in fees, and would increase the funding options available to claimants.
  • Introducing a 10-per-cent increase in general damages, and introducing a mechanism to protect the vast majority of personal-injury claimants from paying a winning defendant’s costs.
Justice minister Jonathan Djanogly said the reforms would help tackle “the perverse situation in which lawyers can be awarded a greater proportion of payouts than claimants” and “help put an end to the fear of a compensation culture”.

Following the announcement, EEF head of health & safety, Steve Pointer, said: “This is a welcome step forward in delivering a system that reflects a fair balance between rewarding those who have been harmed, and the significant efforts of companies to manage risks. The current system of high legal costs for small claims is encouraging poor claims and is failing to meet the needs of genuine claimants, insurers and employers.”

He added: “Today’s reforms must now be followed by further action. The HSE is already doing a great deal to reduce the paperwork burden imposed by regulation, and this needs to be followed through into the compensation system, where straightforward changes could make a real difference.”

But TUC general secretary Brendan Barber attacked the proposals, saying: “This review has nothing to do with justice. It is simply lining the pockets of insurers at the expense of claimants seeking compensation for injuries caused by the negligence of others.”

The consultation, ‘Solving disputes in the county courts’, can be found at

Source: SHP 30th March 2012

New chemical safety forum launched

Strategic Safety Systems today launced a chemical safety forum.
The idea of this is to share experiences and information on the use of chemicals, normally in industry. It intended for those chemicals where there is direct contact (intentionally or unintentionally) such as using solvents to clean an object.  It is not intended for major chemical plant; we're not aiming to prevent another Flixborough explosion.
 Anyone can read it, but one of the rules of forums is that you have to register if you want to add your own experiences. As the prime reason is to share knowledge, this is a pain; I'm sorry, but its something with which we're stuck.
You can get into the forum from the button on or directly by going to .

Thursday 5 April 2012

Cleaning firm fined £217,000 for compactor crush death

An international cleaning company has been ordered to pay £217,000 in fines and costs following the death of a porter at a hospital in Bolton.Manchester Crown Court heard that ISS Mediclean Ltd provides porters and cleaning services for more than 80 NHS Trusts across the UK, including the Royal Bolton Hospital.

On 8 October 2006, Peter Bonomy, who was a porter at the hospital, was collecting cardboard to place inside a cardboard compactor. He was found dead by one of his colleagues with his head and neck underneath the lid of an industrial waste compactor, which was used to crush general waste. There were no witnesses to the incident, but it’s thought that the 58-year-old had found some general waste, while he was collecting the cardboard, and placed it inside the compactor. When he leant over the side of the compactor it’s likely that he knocked an L-shaped lever that operates the lid, causing it to come down on him, breaking his neck.

The HSE visited the site the following day and discovered that a cam switch on the compactor had been tampered with, which allowed the ram on the machine to operate when the lid was open.

Inspectors issued a Prohibition Notice, which ordered the hospital to fix the switch before the unit could be used again. They issued a second Prohibition Notice requiring it to place an open box around the L-shaped lever so that workers could not knock it. The investigation identified that the manufacturer’s recommendations for the compactor stated that it should be loaded from the front, away from the controls, but it had become standard practice for porters to load it from the side.The compactor, which was owned by the hospital, had been moved to a new position at the hospital a few months prior to the incident and ISS Mediclean had failed to carry out a risk assessment to ensure it was safely operated in its new location.

HSE inspector Rose Leese-Weller told SHP there was insufficient evidence to bring charges against the hospital. “Peter Bonomy’s employer, ISS Mediclean, should have done more to make sure he and his colleagues were using the waste compactors safely”, said inspector Leese-Weller. “The lids snapped down instantly when the levers were operated so he had no chance of getting out of the way. The industrial waste compactors clearly had the potential to put lives in danger so the company should have carried out a proper risk assessment to make sure its employees stayed safe.”

ISS Mediclean appeared in court on 30 March and pleaded guilty to breaching s2(1) of the HSWA 1974. It was fined £175,000 and ordered to pay £42,000 in costs. In mitigation, the company entered an early guilty plea and admitted it failed to implement a safe system of work. The hospital has subsequently purchased a new compactor and ISS Mediclean has trained its staff how to use the machine safely.

Source: SHP

Regulations to be removed post Loftsted

Proposed regulations to be removed following the Loftsted review are as follows. Two questions arise:
  1. With the exception of the Docks Regs., why do they still exist anyway?
  2. Will this have any effect claimed by the PM of reducing the burden of H&S regulations on UK industry?
Phase 1
  • The Anthrax Prevention Order 1971 etc (Revocation) Regulations 2005;
  • The Employment Medical Advisory Service (Factories Act Orders etc Amendment) Order 1973;
  • The Health and Safety (Foundries etc) (Metrication) Regulations 1981;
  • Non-ferrous Metals (Melting and Founding) Regulations 1962;
  • Pottery (Health and Welfare) Special Regulations 1950
  • Pottery (Health etc) (Metrication) Regulations 1982
  • Regulations for use of locomotives and wagons on lines and sidings in or used in connection with premises under the Factory and Workshop Act 1901 (1906) (1906 No.679)
Phase 2
  • Celluloid and Cinematograph Film Act 1922
  • Celluloid and Cinematograph Film Act 1922 (Exemptions) Regulations 1980
  • Celluloid and Cinematograph Film Act 1922 (Repeals and Modifications) Regulations 1974
  • Construction (Head Protection) Regulations 1989
  • Docks Regulations 1988
  • Docks, Shipbuilding etc (Metrication) Regulations 1983
  • Gasholders (Record of Examinations) Order 1938 and a related provision (section 39 (2)) in the Factories Act 1961
  • Gasholders and Steam Boilers (Metrication) Regulations 1981
  • Locomotives etc Regulations 1906 (Metrication) Regulations 1981
  • Notification of Conventional Tower Cranes Regulations 2010
  • Notification of Conventional Tower Cranes (Amendment) Regulations 2010
  • Notification of Installations Handling Hazardous Substances Regulations 1982
  • Notification of Installations Handling Hazardous Substances (Amendment) Regulations 2002
  • Shipbuilding and Ship-repairing Regulations 1960