Tuesday 30 July 2013

2 separate accidents on the same machine

A cable manufacturer has been fined after two employees were injured in two separate incidents on the same machine at its factory in Leigh.
The circumstances were:
  • The machine is used to mould rubber as part of the production of ignition cables for the automotive industry.
  • It was poorly maintained and safety features were missing or inadequate.
  • Workers had not received suitable training and a safe system of work was not in place.
  • It was possible for employees to stand on the concrete ledge under the machine, putting them in a position where they were at risk of being trapped by the rollers.
  • The rollers rotate three quarters of the way around after the emergency stop is pressed
  • The first incident occurred when a worker  was cleaning the blade on the  machine. He accidentally leant on the operating pedal which caused his finger to become trapped.
  • The second incident occurred less than a month later when a worker  was cleaning the rollers on the machine when his left arm became trapped.
  • He hit the stop bar but the machine took several seconds to stop, dragging his arm into the rollers and raising his entire body off the floor. It took the emergency services almost an hour to release him and he was kept in hospital for nearly a month.
  • He lost almost all of the use of his left arm, and narrowly avoided having to have it amputated.
TCB Arrow Ltd, was  fined  £28,984 (inc. costs) at the court hearing on 26th July 2013.
The HSE Inspector said:
"Two employees were injured within a month of each other because TCB Arrow's health and safety procedures fell way below the minimum legal standards. One of the men will be affected by his injuries for the rest of his life after losing almost all of the use of his left arm. His injuries could have been avoided if the company had taken action to improve safety following the first incident. Our investigation found TCB last carried out a generic risk assessment for the factory in 2003, and there had never been a specific assessment of the machine - despite the risks of workers being injured by rollers being well known in the manufacturing industry. If the company had put more thought into the health and safety of its employees then the injuries both men suffered could have been avoided."

ISO 14001 the most popular ISO standard for certification

ISO 14001 is the standard which showed the greatest number of certifications. This is true both worldwide and in the UK.  For 2011, which is the latest year for which data is available, there were 15,230 ISO 14001 certifications in the UK, representing a growth of over 500% over a 10 year period.

SSS have provided ISO 14001 systems for over 40 companies and we make it pain free.
Click on this link to see how simple it can be and how it can benefit your company.

Monday 29 July 2013

Mixing FSC and PEFC papers

Given the antagonism between these two approaches, it is better to avoid mixing them in a single product. However, there is nothing in either standard which says you can't mix them so that you have, say, an FSC cover and PEFC text.

This blog tells you the rules to follow.

Note that there is nothing in either standard to prevent this. However, were you to have predominantly FSC paper and make an FSC claim, then FSC put the onus on you to prove that the non-FSC paper meets a list of requirements; you cannot take the paper supplier's word for it. This tends to make it not worth doing.

Which claim to use?
You cannot claim that the product meets both standards. This is because both standards require a minimum of 70% content. Therefore, use the standard for the predominant content.  

Chosing paper to achieve the minimum final content
As the minimum is 70%, you cannot use 70% paper for the bulk of the product and then dilute it with paper from the other standard as the result would be below 70%, even if the difference is minor, say 1%. Therefore, you must specify paper which is sufficiently higher than 70%, eg choose 80%, 100% or credit.  Note that you cannot go for a 50/50 mix as this would not meet the 70% requirement.

Positioning the logo.
As you can only make one claim, you can only use one logo. This logo must be printed on the paper to which it applies. For example, if you are making a PEFC claim because the text paper is PEFC, then the logo must be on the text paper; it must not be on the cover.

Calculating the claim

128 pp text 80 gsm 100% PEFC
4pp cover 200 gsm FSC 100%
4pp insert 80 gsm FSC 100%

Calculate as follows:

Text content
128 x 801

Cover content
4 x 200

Insert content
4 x 80

Total content
10240 + 800 + 320


PEFC content
10240 x 100%


1Strictly, this should be multiplied by the area of the page to calculate the weight, but you get the same end result either way.

A word about inserts

Inserts are not normally regarded as being an inherent part of the product. Therefore, you can normally ignore them. If you think about it, it would be a nightmare with the normal situation where inserts are supplied by other printers over which you have no control.

Further support
Strategic Safety Systems provide systems and support for companies who require FSC and/or PEFC certification. To date, we have helped over 40 companies with this.

See http://www.strategicsafety.co.uk/EnvironmentalServices.html

Friday 26 July 2013

What you should have in your health and safety system

Most of the systems I see fall into 2 categories:

  1. Lacking in any useful information
  2. Comprising too much information, masking that which is really required.
So, what should you have to be both useful and meet legal requirements?
You need the following:

  1. Risk assessments of your operations
  2. Assessments of substances hazardous to health
  3. Fire risk assessment
  4. Specific risk assessments, such as manual handling or noise
  5. Systems of work, including items such as an evacuation procedure

1. Risk assessments
There is a legal requirement to assess and record risks, and to put into place control measures. Don't get carried away. What I recommend is: 

  • Identify the hazard, what might happen as a result of this and the likelihood of it occurring.
  • Then define how it is controlled and, where appropriate, how you ensure that you keep in control. For example, if you have interlocked guards, then you need to periodically check that the interlocks work.
  • If there is no risk control or it is inadequate, then define the action to correct this.
  • If the risk cannot be controlled, define how you are going to minimise it. For example, forklift trucks are always a risk and the minimisation measures may be to restrict driving to trained and authorised drivers and to keep the trucks maintained.  
When identifying what to assess, look at the processes. A machine when it is running poses different risks to when you are setting it up.  And don't forget non-standard operations; you probably can't second guess what these will be, but you need a system to prompt a consideration of identifying risks before you carry out a particular operation.

See How to Carry out a Risk Assessment

2. CoSHH assessments
These are NOT a collection of datasheets. You need to look at each substance and decide if it poses a risk in the quantity and manner in which you are using it.  If it does then list:

  • Who is exposed to it, for how long and doing what
  • What the risks are
  • How you are to control the risks
By far the best control method is to substitute high-risk substances with lower risk ones. At SSS, we have a traffic light colour coding system and we try to promote movement away from "red" substances.

When you have done this, you need to have a summary available at the point of use; its is pointless having perfect assessments sitting on a shelf if nobody knows about them.

See How to Carry out a CoSHH Assessment

3. Fire risk assessment
This should comprise:
  • The risk of fire and how you control that risk
  • Fire containment and fire fighting
  • Fire escape ability, adequacy of escape routes and how you account for people
  • Fire management system, ie who checks the alarm system, etc.
  • Actions arising
Don't forget that many fires occur from events outside the direct control of the companies affected, so you need to look at your neighbours and also take measures to ensure you minimise the outcome of vandalism.

4. Other assessments
With most workplaces, manual handling assessments are necessary. There are several ways of doing these and the HSE's MAC system is worth following. With noise, you may need specialist help (such as that available from Strategic Safety Systems.) 

5. Systems of work
Systems of work are always the final control method for a risk, but may be necessary. Follow these guidelines:

  • Have them short and sweet.
  • Write them as instructions and avoid the "should" word
  • Use pictures where possible
  • Have them available at the point where the operations they cover are carried out.
This may seem a bit daunting, but what you end up with short be simple and workable. If you still find it daunting, Strategic Safety Systems can do all the above for you and, for typical companies, this can be done in a couple of days.

Contact us.

Wednesday 24 July 2013

Not a good idea to write a risk assessment after the task has been carried out

Hot-oil burns occurred whilst jet washing a large oil storage tank at PAS (Grantham) Ltd., who manufacture frozen potato products.
The circumstances were:
  • The company had failed to carry out a risk assessment for the cleaning operation, and instead decided to do the work first and write it retrospectively.
  • Harvey Hopwood (actually the health and safety manager) climbed between the guard rails on the gantry at the top of the tank to check how the work was progressing. 
  • As he did so he knocked a pipe connected to a pressure gauge, which came off and released 160°C oil over his upper body.

PAS (Grantham) Ltd, was fined £17,000 (inc. costs).
The HSE inspector said:
"The whole point of a risk assessment is to ensure the risks associated with a particular task are considered and measures put in place to mitigate against them in order to keep workers safe. To carry out the work first and then write the assessment afterwards is foolhardy to say the least. Mr Hopwood was extremely fortunate not to be more seriously injured. If it hadn’t been for the incredibly quick actions of colleagues who dragged him to an emergency shower this incident may have had a very different outcome."

Tuesday 23 July 2013

Man entangled in unguarded drill

A Shropshire steel engineering company has been fined after a worker got the sleeve of his overalls caught in an unguarded drill bit, causing serious neck and arm injuries.
The circumstances were:

  • The employee from Shropshire was working with a twin pillar drill.
  • CRF (UK) Ltd had not provided any guards to prevent access to the rotating spindles and no formal systems of work were in place. 
  • It was left to operator experience and discretion how work should be set up and performed and there were no formal systems of supervision or trainin
  • While drilling holes into a metal box section, the sleeve on his overalls became entangled in the unguarded running drill spindle.
  • He was pulled into the rotating spindle and as it continued to run, his arm and upper body were dragged into the machining area resulting in him being pinned to the machine bed. 
  • The man suffered three fractures in his neck and serious cuts and burns on his right forearm. 
CRF (UK) Ltd was fined  £20,871 (inc. costs) 
The HSE inspector said:
"The risk of contact with rotating drills is a recognised hazard in the engineering industry and is supported by well-documented accident statistics. Incidents involving entanglement on rotating drills are easily avoided if manufacturers like CRF (UK) Ltd follow their risk assessments and provide guarding. The custom and practice of the company was to rely on experience rather than on the need for guarding with the addition of, supervision and further instruction and training, as necessary. These failings had existed for a considerable amount of time until the practise of using unguarded machines became normal working practice for the employees. The result was that this was an accident waiting to happen and the employee suffered serious injuries. This accident could have been prevented by the simple measure of providing guarding to prevent access to the rotating parts. Employers who neglect their duty to protect workers will continue to be held to account where they fail to do so."

Company fined £175,000 after man was crushed by falling machinery.

Special Metals Wiggin Ltd. of Hereford has been fined after an employee suffered life-threatening injuries when he was crushed and burned by falling machinery.
The circumstances were:
  • The accident occurred on a casting machine, of which there were 33 in the factory
  • The system of work for removing ingot moulds from the casting machine was unsafe 
  • It involved using overhead cranes to pull the moulds free, which damaged the bolts and their fixing points. 
  • This, coupled with the company’s failure to have a proper maintenance programme in place, led to the mechanical failure of the machine.
  • Stephen Bond-Lewis was removing waste material from the casting machine when part of it became detached, fell forward and pinned him against a nearby storage bin.
  • The falling machinery weighed 964 kilogrammes and had a temperature of between 100 and 250°C
  • Mr Bond-Lewis suffered severe burns to 25 per cent of his body, namely his abdomen, chest and left arm, half of which were full thickness burns. He required skin grafts, while his crush injuries meant he also had to have part of his bowel removed. He had to go into intensive care and was on life support for 18 hours.
  • A second employee severed the tip of the ring finger on his left hand in the incident, on 8 May 2009, while trying to free him
  • All of the 33 machines had the same fault.
Special Metals Wiggin Ltd., was fined £175,000 (inc. costs) on 22nd July 2013.
The HSE inspector said:
"The company failed to make sure there were suitable safe systems in place for removing moulds from its casting machines. Yanking moulds free with the crane caused damage to bolts and their fixings and directly resulted in the collapse of the machine. The fixing bolts on a large number of casting machines were in poor repair, but this had not been spotted or put right because routine maintenance checks were not being carried out. We also found that the operators responsible for maintaining the machines had not received training and instructions in the replacement of damaged bolts. This was an extremely serious incident and Mr Bond-Lewis is fortunate to be alive today. His injuries were life-changing and he has suffered physically and emotionally. He knows he will never be able to work as a foundryman again – a job that he loved."

Inadequate guarding allowed a worker's arm to become trapped

Inadequate guarding allowed a worker's arm to become  trapped in a machine at Superglass Insulation Ltd., who were subsequently fined £20,000.
The circumstances were:

  • The machine was a production line where fans drew trimmed edges of mineral wool insulation into ducting and recycled them back into the production process.
  • Two days before the accident,  the company had replaced one of the fans on the production line and re-located both it and the ducting on the floor next to the trimming mill guide roller. It was this section of ducting beneath the conveyor belt that was blocked.
  • On 25 November 2010 the trimmed edges of wool had become trapped inside the ducting.
  • Superglass Insulation Ltd had not carried out any risk assessment on the area of the production line where the injury occurred, although the company had previously identified the need to undertake a risk assessment for guarding the production lines.
  • Adequate guarding had not been put in place to prevent access to the area of the conveyor belt and roller and the area underneath.
  • The injured person, Scott Robinson, was trying to dislodge the blockage.
  • As Mr Robertson crouched under the machine his hi-vis vest became entangled in the conveyor belt and started to pull him head-first towards the roller. He put out his right hand to stop his head and body being drawn into the machine, and it was pulled into the in-running nip in the trimming mill guide roller, trapping it between the conveyor belt and the roller
The HSE Inspector said:
"This incident was entirely foreseeable and preventable. It would have been prevented by a proper risk assessment and the installation of adequate guarding. Guarding is essential to prevent fingers, hands and limbs from being drawn into the nip joint and this kind of hazard is well known and acknowledged in the design and operation of industrial machinery. Guarding should have been provided prior to re-routing the ducting as there was a clear risk of an operator being pulled, either by a limb or by their clothing, into the conveyor belt and roller."

Sunday 21 July 2013

Don't go for non-UKAS 9001 etc ;certification

There are people claiming that they can provide systems and certificates to 9001 and other standards. There is no legal requirement to use a UKAS-accredited certification body, but accreditation is the assurance that the body follows rigorous systems and therefore major if not most customers regard non-UKAS certification as worthless.

Done sensibly, you can get certification in a short time, but UKAS rules are that you should have been running the system for at least 3 months. So, if someone is claiming less than that, be wary.

At SSS, we provide repair services for unworkable systems. One client has just asked us about repairing existing 9001 & 14001 systems which the non-UKAS auditor accepts, but which don't add internal value to them. Could SSS bring them up to the standard of the UKAS-acceptable 18001 system we provided.

See more about certification and accreditation (people get mixed up about these).

Friday 19 July 2013

Drinks company fined after major injury in poorly guarded machine

Brothers Drinks Co Ltd., has been fined £22,859 (inc. costs) on 18th July 2013 for safety breaches after an employee severed an artery in an unguarded machine.
The circumstances were:
  • Brothers Drinks had made modifications to the access to a depalletiser, which takes empty bottles off a conveyor to be filled.
  • However, they had failed to install an interlocking device or guard to prevent workers accessing the machinery while it was still active.
  • The injured man did not usually work at that machine and was covering for a colleague at the time of the incident. 
  • He had been given no additional training or information about the machine on which he was asked to work.
  • He went to investigate the cause of a stoppage in the depalletiser machine during the evening shift on 12 July 2012
  • Just as he put his hand into the machine, it automatically restarted, catching his clothing and pulling his right arm into the moving parts.
  • Although he managed to pull his arm free it was badly cut in several places and an artery in his bicep was severed.
  • He needed three operations, one of which was described by the hospital as ‘life and limb saving’ surgery.

The HSE Inspector  said:
"This entirely preventable incident could have led to the employee’s death and has left him in a great deal of pain. Had the equipment been properly risk assessed by Brothers Drinks Co Ltd after the modifications had been made, the absence of an interlock would have been identified. The need for proper guarding, training and the use of safe systems of work are vital for all employers to prevent similar incidents. There is plenty of information freely available from the HSE about the practical measures that must be taken to ensure safety."

Waste crime boss has jail sentence extended

An unrepentant waste crime boss has been sentenced to a further three years in prison, after failing to pay back the proceeds of his illegal waste business.
The circumstances were:
  • Hugh O’Donnell’s illegal waste business netted millions of pounds in profit by taking skips loads of construction and demolition waste to a site in Aldermaston, Berks, to be dumped in an illegal landfill.
  • He was first jailed in 2009 for possession of an illegal firearm, uncovered during an Environment Agency investigation.
  • He was sent back to prison the day after his release in 2011 for money laundering and waste offences.
  • Mr O’Donnell was ordered to pay the sum of £917,000 under the Proceeds of Crime Act but still owes a total of £578,845.71.
  • He has refused to pay this and was jailed for an additional 1036 days.

On completion of this third sentence, Mr O’Donnell will have served longer in prison than any other criminal for waste-related crimes
The Prosecution Team Leader for the Environment Agency, said: “The Environment Agency wants to make sure that serious waste crime doesn’t pay, we don’t just catch criminals - we want to confiscate the assets they’ve gained from crime. This sentence sends out a message that failure to pay proceeds of waste crime is dealt with by the courts seriously and you can and will be sent to jail until the monies are paid in full.'
Hugh O’Donnell is the second waste criminal to be sent to prison this month. Amrik Johal, 55, was jailed for three years after he was stopped while boarding a flight to Delhi on May 16, 2013 without paying the full amount of a £881,513 confiscation order – money he needed to pay up for waste crimes he was convicted of in 2010.

Thursday 18 July 2013

Skip company fined over work at height issues

Simpson Eco Skips Ltd., was fined on 17th July for dangerous working practices and other failings arising from its storage of skips.
The circumstances were:
  • Skips were stacked, some to heights around 10m.
  • Workers had the practice of ascending stacks with nothing to prevent or mitigate a fall.
  • HSE inspectors witnessed a worker descending from a 10m high stack.
  • They also witnessed a second worker clambering up and down a smaller stack just a few metres away.
  • This clearly-dangerous practice is indicative of poor management and a lack of competence and training.
  • Simpson Eco Skips also failed to produce a valid certificate for the crane in use at the time to confirm it had been properly examined and was in good working order – as is required by law.

Simpson Eco Skips Ltd was fined £31,260 (inc. costs) after pleading guilty to single breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc., Act and the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations. 5 improvement notices were also served.
The HSE Inspector commented:
"Standards for controlling risks arising from working at height, as well as the general management of health and safety, can be pretty poor in the skip hire sector of the waste industry – as was clearly the case at Simpson Eco Skips. The failings we uncovered were for technical breaches, but workers could have been seriously hurt or possibly even killed as a consequence of the dangerous practices and lack of safety awareness and provisions. The onus is on dutyholders to take proactive steps to protect and safeguard their workforce and others before an incident occurs."

Saturday 13 July 2013

5 indicators that your quality or safety management system is a dog's breakfast

Many people are resigned to living with systems which don't add value to the company's operations.  This is pointless. Here are 5 indicators of scope for improvement and how it could be improved.

Indicator 1 It's a big, thick wordy manual, or even worse, a collection of them
Instead of being structured sensibly, the system is written around what is perceived as being required at the time. Typically, quality management systems are structured clause-by-clause of ISO 9001, but this isn't how you operate. Also, you tend to get phrases like, "On receipt of the production order, the Operations Manager is accountable for..."

Also, instead of having a sensible record system, everything gets stuffed into the folders. So, the core of the system gets obscured by forms and copies of published information. 

Indicator 2 Nobody ever looks at it
Because it is so unworkable, it tends to sit on a shelf somewhere. Typically, one person looks after it and it's a nightmare if that person leaves. Because nobody looks at it, it drifts towards indicator 3.

Indicator 3 It doesn't reflect what actually happens
This is what we call the "Parallel Universe Syndrome". A quality management system gets written in semi-legal language in order to gain ISO 9001 certification, but this isn't how you actually operate. The documented and actual practices diverge.

Indicator 4 There's panic whenever an external body asks for information
So, when it's time for an external audit, there's a mad panic to "get everything up to date for the auditor". Because actual and documented practices are different, this entails considerable work.

When people, like insurance companies, the HSE or solicitors, ask for information, it's a nightmare to find it.

Indicator 5 It's an absolute pig to use

Because of all of the above, nobody wants to refer to the system and everybody regards it as an irrelevance to normal work.

So, what do you do about it?

Step 1 Restructure manuals
  • Instead of having procedures written in semi-legal language, have simple flowcharts. These still meet ISO standards, but are far more usable.
    Refer to ISO Without the Agony to see examples.
  • Structure the procedures so that they reflect the flow of work. So, you'd have estimation and order receipt followed by materials control and so on.
  • Write them from the perspective of the user.
  • Make sure that the procedures follow what you do, or what you want to do.
  • And if you have certification to more than one standard, have a single, integrated manual, rather than separate ones. 
  • Now that you've got a simple manual, install copies at relevant positions, so that everyone can see them. Don't go crazy; dependant on the size of the company, you may have one on the shop floor and one in the offices. Then make sure that people know about them.
Step 2 Have useful health and safety documentation
It's pointless having wonderful risk and other assessments if they are not translated into working practices.
  • Where the control for a risk is a system of work, safe working practices or whatever name you give it, have simple versions (I like to use pictures) at the point of use.
  • With CoSHH assessments, have summaries of the controls and any emergency measures at the point of use.
Step 3 Use paperless systems as much as is practicable
Get rid of paper forms and make use of electronic systems to do all the work for you. The SSS INTACT system does this for most of the paperwork. The full benefits of INTACT are beyond the scope of this e-mail, but click on the link below to see more. 

What support can Strategic Safety Systems provide?

You can do all of the above yourself and reap the benefits. However, we provide a cost-effective alternative and if you want help, we have 17 years of experience in providing such systems and services for many companies.  For example, we have 180 certifications for 75 companies under our belt and we have provided safety support for several hundred companies. Just click on the Contact Us button at the bottom.

We pride ourselves in providing workable solutions and here is just a sample of what we can do:
  • Provision of systems (or repair of existing systems) for ISO 9001, ISO 14001, OHSAS 18001, ISO 27001, FSC, PEFC and other standards.
  • Provision of health, safety and environmental services including risk, CoSHH and other assessments, substance and noise measurement.
  • Provision of computerised systems for action management (INTACT), risk and other assessments, and as a spin-off, other computerised business management systems.
Sources of information
We hope you found this of use. In line with anti-spam regulations, you can unsubscribe to these information sheets, but if you find this of use, subscribe to our twice-monthly newsletter which keeps you up to date with legislation, incidents and other points which are of interest.  Click on the Contact Us link below.

 Phil Chambers

Effects on printers of the Timber Products Regs. 2013

The Timber and Timber Products (Placing on the Market) Regulations 2013 came into force on 3rd March 2013.

What has this to do with printers?
Those of you with PEFC certification will already be aware of this which is in the new regs. PEFC ST 2002:2013.  Strategic Safety Systems is sending out updates to companies whom we have helped with FSC/PEFC to procedure 6.6 prA Supplier Review that has a sentence stating that this procedure already meets the new requirements.

There are 2 categories:

  • Operator - organisation that imports paper into the EU 
  • Trader - person who subsequently uses the paper. 
Printers will predominantly be classed as "Traders".

Obligations on traders
Maintain records on their suppliers and customers in relation to these products.

Obligations on operators
You have a duty to undertake a due diligence operation to ensure that the timber has been felled legally.
If you are buying FSC or PEFC paper (even if you are not making a claim), this is already covered.  However if you are importing paper from outside the EU and it is not FSC or PEFC, you need to undertake a due diligence check on the source of paper. This should also include the pallets on which the paper is delivered, but not the packaging around the paper.

How do I do this?
You need to do the following:

Gather the following information on the timber:
Description (including the trade name, type of product and common name/full scientific name of species);
  • Country of harvest (and, if applicable, region of harvest, as well as the concession of harvest – i.e. any arrangement conferring the right to harvest timber in a defined area);
  • Quantity (expressed in volume, weight or number of units);
  • Name and address of the supplier to the operator;
  • Name and address of the buyer (trader) who purchases the timber;
  • Documents or other information indicating compliance of the timber and timber products with the applicable legislation. For some concrete examples of what counts as ‘documents or other information’, please see section 4 of the Guidance Document.

Risk assessment
Analyse and evaluate the risk that the timber you are dealing in is illegally harvested. When making this assessment, investigate the wood you are dealing in using the following criteria:
  • Assurance of compliance with applicable legislation, which may include certification or other third-party-verified schemes which cover compliance with applicable legislation;
  • Prevalence of illegal harvesting of specific tree species;
  • Prevalence of illegal harvesting or practices in the country of harvest and/or sub-national region where the timber was harvested, including consideration of the prevalence of armed conflict;
  • Sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council or the Council of the European Union on timber imports or exports;
  • Complexity of the supply chain of timber and timber products.

Risk mitigation
If you are not satisfied that the risk of placing illegally harvested timber on the market is negligible, you must take action by implementing risk mitigation measures. These may include:
  • Requiring additional information from your suppliers;
  • Requiring additional documents from your suppliers;
  • Requiring third party verification, etc.”

Friday 12 July 2013

Worker loses fingers at brewery

A Dorset brewery has been prosecuted for safety breaches after an employee lost two fingers in unguarded machinery.
The circumstances were:
  • Hall and Woodhouse had re-located the grain dust extractor at their brewery in Blandford.
  • Operatives had been tasked with emptying it when necessary.
  • Hall and Woodhouse had failed to identify the risks associated with the grain dust extractor in its new location. 
  • It was foreseeable that employees would try to deal with a blockage if one occurred and an alternative system should have been provided to prevent access by workers to dangerous moving parts.
  • A worker was trying to clear a blockage in a grain dust extractor during a night shift on 27 August 2012.
  • He reached into the chute of the extractor to dislodge the build-up, but his right hand made contact with the rotary valve, which was still running. His middle and index fingers were severed.
Hall & Woodhouse Ltd.  was fined £16,000 (inc. costs).
The HSE Inspector said:
"An employee has suffered painful and needless injuries because of the failure by Hall & Woodhouse Ltd. to put simple safety measures in place. This was an incident that could have easily been prevented by carrying out a suitable assessment of the risks presented by the new location of the extractor. This would have identified the need for guarding to prevent access to the dangerous rotary valve within the chute. The company should also have provided employees with information and instruction on how they wished potential blockages within the extractor to be dealt with. In the absence of these measures, an employee has suffered a serious injury.

Worker loses fingers in poorly guarded saw

Two businesses have been prosecuted for safety failings after an employee's hand was caught in a saw, resulting in debilitating injuries.
The circumstances were:
  • Envirowales Ltd., were responsible for the day-to-day running of the Jamestown Industries lead recycling plant in Ebbw Vale
  • An employee of Envirowales Ltd., was operating a saw to cut lengths of lead into smaller, more manageable pieces on 21 February 2012.
  • The guarding on the saw was not effective and the companies failed to inform employees of the risks from the saw when retracted.
  • The employee was not supervised at the time of the incident and there was no experienced operator working with him. 
  • Training had been undertaken but it was not adequate to ensure that all employees understood the risks in place when the saw was retracted, or the procedure for removing material that had become jammed in the saw.
  • He tried to dislodge a piece of lead which had become jammed, believing the saw blade was fully retracted and out of reach.
  • However, his right hand made contact with the blade, severing his third finger. 
  • He was taken to Morriston hospital, where he had his finger amputated above the second knuckle. The saw had also gone through the tendons and artery of his middle finger.

Envirowales Ltd and Jamestown Industries Ltd  were fined  £12,600  (inc. costs) to be split equally between Envirowales and Jamestown.
The HSE Inspector  said:
"This accident was foreseeable and both companies have fallen woefully short of the standard required by law. They both failed in their roles to protect workers by not properly guarding this machine. The injured employee should never have been placed in the position he was, and has suffered a debilitating injury as a result. Employers must fully assess the dangers associated with their work and put in place control measures. In this case, the risks associated with saws are well known, and should have been adequately controlled."

Wednesday 10 July 2013

RIDDOR changes in October 2013

RIDDOR is due to change in October 2013, although the changes remain subject to Parliamentary approval.
The main changes are to simplify the reporting requirements in the following areas:
  • The classification of ‘major injuries’ to workers is being replaced with a shorter list of
    ‘specified injuries’.
  • The existing schedule detailing 47 types of industrial disease is being replaced with eight categories of reportable work-related illness.
  • Fewer types of ‘dangerous occurrence’ will require reporting.
Specific injuries will now be:

  • a fracture, other than to fingers, thumbs and toes;
  • amputation of an arm, hand, finger, thumb, leg, foot or toe;
  • permanent loss of sight or reduction of sight;
  • crush injuries leading to internal organ damage;
  • serious burns (covering more than 10% of the body, or damaging the eyes, 
  • respiratory system or other vital organs);
  • scalpings (separation of skin from the head) which require hospital treatment;
  • unconsciousness caused by head injury or asphyxia; 
  • any other injury arising from working in an enclosed space, which leads to 
  • hypothermia, heat-induced illness or requires resuscitation or admittance to 
  • hospital for more than 24 hours.
Work-related illness will now be:
  • carpal tunnel syndrome; 
  • severe cramp of the hand or forearm; 
  • occupational dermatitis; 
  • hand-arm vibration syndrome; 
  • occupational asthma;
  • tendonitis or tenosynovitis of the hand or forearm;
  • any occupational cancer;
  • any disease attributed to an occupational exposure to a biological agent.
Changes to dangerous occurrences are presently a bit obscure.
There are 21 instead of the present 27 dangerous occurrences, but they haven't said which yet.
We will keep you updated.