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Places for People Homes fined after five employees developed Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS)

A property management and development organisation has been fined after five employees developed Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS).

Aylesbury Crown Court heard that between 2009 and 2014 five employees of Places for People Homes Limited used vibrating powered tools to carry out grounds maintenance tasks at sites in Milton Keynes, Rotherham and Hull.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the company failed to assess or manage the risks associated with vibrating tools. It also failed to provide suitable training or health surveillance for its maintenance workers and failed to maintain and replace tools which increased vibration levels.

Places for People Homes Limited of Cheapside, London pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The companyhas been fined £600,000 and ordered to pay costs of £13,995.06

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Andrew McGill said: “Companies must manage the risks associated with vibrating tools. Hand arm vibration can be a significant health risk wherever powered hand tools are used for significant lengths of time.

“HAVS is preventable, but once the damage is done it is permanent. Damage from HAVS can include the inability to do fine work and cold can trigger painful finger blanching attacks. Health surveillance is vital to detect and respond to early signs of damage.”


Groundworks contractor fined for cable strike

A groundworks contractor, G&R Groundworks (South East) Ltd, has been fined after an operative struck an underground electricity cable resulting in multiple serious burn injuries.

Folkestone Magistrates’ Court heard that, on 15th October 2018, G&R Groundworks (South East) Ltd operatives were using an electric ground breaker to dig fence post holes for a car park perimeter fence at a Cummins Power Generation site in Ramsgate, Kent.

Source: https://press.hse.gov.uk/2019/11/11/groundworks-contractor-fined-for-cable-strike/

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Two people sentenced after failing to control the risk of Legionella bacteria

Two people have been sentenced after failing to control the risk of exposure to Legionella bacteria in the cooling tower at their business premises in Spring Hill, Birmingham.

Birmingham Magistrates’ Court heard that, between June 2017 and February 2018, Kulwant Singh Chatha and partner Satpaul Kaur Chatha of Isher Hangers failed to put suitable measures in place to control the risk of Legionella bacteria from the cooling tower on their premises. Concerns raised by their own water treatment consultants were ignored, and no Legionella risk assessments were in place.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the cooling tower was not being managed to control the risk from Legionella bacteria. This failure exposed employees of Isher Hangers, as well as members of the public, to Legionellosis – a collective term for diseases caused by the bacteria including Legionnaires’ disease, which can be fatal. People who have underlying or current medical issues are especially susceptible to infection, which was a particular concern as Isher Hangers’ premises are in the vicinity of two major hospitals.

Kulwant Singh Chatha and Satpaul Kaur Chatha pleaded guilty to breaching section 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and were each sentenced to serve 12 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to pay costs of £12,115 each, including a victim surcharge of £115.

Speaking after the case, HSE inspector Karen Sweeney said, ‘Isher Hangers were operating a cooling tower without biocide, ignoring the advice of their own consultants. Cooling towers have the potential to spread bacteria that can cause serious illness or death, if not maintained in accordance with the published guidelines.

Source: https://press.hse.gov.uk/2019/10/31/two-people-sentenced-after-failing-to-control-the-risk-of-legionella-bacteria/

Unregistered gas fitter sentenced for carrying out gas work

A gas fitter has been sentenced after carrying out gas work at a GP Practice and domestic premises without being registered with Gas Safe Register.

Mansfield Magistrates’ Court heard that, between November 2015 and April 2017, Neil Hawkins carried out unsafe gas work at a GP Practice and two domestic properties in Kirkby-in-Ashfield and Mansfield, whilst not registered with Gas Safe Register.

Registration with Gas Safe Register requires engineers to demonstrate that they hold the relevant competencies and qualifications for the work they intend to carry out, ensuring that gas work is carried out to an appropriate standard and the public are not put at risk of serious harm.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed that Mr Hawkins had fraudulently issued Landlord Gas Safety Records for both properties, and a Gas Safety Inspection report for the GP practice using the details of a Gas Safe registered engineer unknown to him.

Neil Hawkins of Welbeck Street, Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, pleaded guilty to one breach of Regulation 3(3) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 (as amended), and one breach of Regulation 3(7) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 (as amended) at each property. He was sentenced to 20 weeks imprisonment for each offence to run concurrently, suspended for 12 months. He was also ordered to carry out 120 hours of community service and to pay costs of £4,345.04.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Aaron Rashad said:

“Neil Hawkins undertook gas work which he knew he was not registered to do. All gas work must be done by registered Gas Safe engineers to ensure the highest standards are met to prevent injury and loss of life.”

Source: https://press.hse.gov.uk/2019/11/06/unregistered-gas-engineer-sentenced-for-carrying-out-gas-work/

HSE releases annual injury and ill-health statistics for Great Britain

The number of injuries and incidents of ill-health in workplaces across Great Britain is still too high, new statistics show.

The annual report by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) includes statistics for work-related ill health, workplace injuries, working days lost, enforcement action taken, and the associated costs to Great Britain.

Figures show that around 581,000 workers sustained non-fatal injuries in 2018/2019, with 1.4 million workers suffering from work-related ill-health.

The statistics, compiled from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) and other sources, illustrate that in Great Britain in the 2018/2019 period there were;

The estimated economic cost to Great Britain totalled £15 billion in 2017/2018.

There have been no significant changes to industries in which there is a higher risk of sustaining an injury while at work, with construction and agriculture still amongst the high-risk sectors.

Despite Great Britain continuing to be one of the safest places to work, the reported figures highlight there are still areas to be improved upon to prevent fatalities, injuries and ill-health. The figures highlight the scale of the challenge HSE currently faces in making Britain a healthier and safer place to work.

In response to the report, Martin Temple, HSE Chair, said:

“Great Britain’s position as one of the safest places to work should be a point of pride for us all, but these figures show there is still much to be done to ensure workers go home both healthy and safe…. More>>