The aftermath of the BP Texas city refinery explosion in 2005 that killed 15 workers



Pakistan: Anger at new spate of mine accidents
A global union has condemned the ‘apathy and negligence’ behind a spate of worker deaths in Pakistan mines. Glen Mpufane, IndustriALL director for the mining sector, said: “To stop the recurrence of fatal accidents, Pakistan must act swiftly to improve safety in mines, strengthen supervisory mechanisms and punish those responsible for the accidents, adding: “The government should also work together with workers’ representatives to improve the situation.”
IndustriALL news release and campaign for health and safety in Pakistan mines. Risks 844.
Hazards news, 14 April 2018

Britain: Foundry fined after workers suffer serious burns
A Nottinghamshire foundry has been fined after two employees suffered serious burns from an electrical flashover. Southern Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court heard the workers at BAS Castings Ltd attempting to reinstate the power supply to one of the furnaces after repair work had been completed by contractors.
HSE news release. Risks 844.
Hazards news, 14 April 2018

Britain: Groundworker trapped in trench by concrete lump
A Rotherham civil engineering contractor has been fined for criminal safety offences after a worker suffered life-threatening injuries. Sheffield Magistrates’ Court heard that, in September 2016, a 48-year-old employee of KDS Construction Company Ltd was working in a 2-metre-deep excavation when he was struck on the head and pinned down by a large segment of concrete, suffering multiple injuries, including fractures to his skull, ribs, left arm and vertebrae.
HSE news release. Construction Enquirer. Risks 844.
Hazards news, 14 April 2018

Italy: City strikes after deadly port explosion
Members of the CGIL, CISL and UIL unions in the Tuscan port city of Livorno went on strike on 29 March following the death of two workers when a fuel tank exploded the previous day. The victims, named as Lorenzo Mazzoni, 25, and Nunzio Viola, 53, died while doing maintenance in the industrial section of the port, which was evacuated after the incident.
CGIL news release (in Italian). Xinhua. Risks 843.
Hazards news, 7 April 2018

Thailand: At least 20 migrant workers killed in bus inferno
At least 20 workers have died after a double-decker bus erupted in flames in Thailand. The bus, which was carrying migrant workers from Myanmar, was heading to a factory in an industrial zone near Bangkok when the fire broke out in the early hours of 30 March near the Thai-Myanmar border.
Washington Post. London Evening Standard. WHIO News. Risks 843.
Hazards news, 7 April 2018

USA: Worker death exposes Disney's poverty policies
More than 10 per cent of working people at Disneyland resorts have been homeless or have not had a place to sleep in the past two years. Yeweinisht ‘Weiny’ Mesfin, despite working six days per week from 11:30pm to 8am, was one of those Disney employees who was homeless – and was found dead in the car that doubled as her home.
USW news release. Left Voice. AFL-CIO blog. USA Today. 2017 report in the Guardian. Risks 843.
Hazards news, 7 April 2018

Britain: Ex-UKIP millionaire jailed for work manslaughter
A corner-cutting former UKIP parliamentary candidate and millionaire has been jailed for the manslaughter of a handyman after ignoring his safety pleas. Keith Crawford, 73, tried to cut costs while having a leak in his outdoor swimming pool repaired at his home in Exeter, admitted paying workers cash-in-hand to do jobs, adding he disliked “red tape.”
BBC News Online. The Mirror. Daily Mail. Plymouth Herald. Risks 843.
Hazards news, 7 April 2018

Britain: Religious group fined for scaffold death ‘cover-up’
A religious group that attempted a ‘cover-up’ when a man died after falling from scaffolding in its hall, has been fined £364,000. Amrik Blaggan, 57, died in hospital two days after he fell about 2m (6.5ft) from a platform at the Science of Soul centre in Haynes Park, Bedfordshire.
Central Bedfordshire Council news release. BBC News Online. Bedford Today. Risks 843.
Hazards news, 7 April 2018

China: Concern at government plan to abolish work safety body
The Chinese government is to abolish the State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS), merging its functions into a new national Emergency Management Department. China Labour Bulletin commented: “The move seems to confirm the suspicion that, on the issue of work safety, the Chinese government is more concerned with disaster management and control rather than in preventing workplace accidents in the first place.”
Xinhua. China Labour Bulletin. Caixin Global. China Digital Times. Risks 842.
Hazards news, 24 March 2018

Pakistan: Unions launch new campaign for mine safety
A new union campaign is urging the government of Pakistan to ratify the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) mine safety convention. The action by ten IndustriALL affiliates follows a decision by the global union’s executive committee in November 2017 to pursue a global campaign to end fatalities in Pakistan’s mines.
IndustriALL news release. Risks 842.
Hazards news, 24 March 2018

Turkey: Report highlights over 2,000 ‘work murders’ last year
A new report has revealed that over 2,000 workers were the victims of ‘work murders’ in Turkey last year. The report from Health and Safety Labour Watch says a marked rise in insecure work and repressive laws were major contributors to a sharp rise in deaths at work.
DİSK news release. Risks 842.
Hazards news, 24 March 2018

Britain: Plastics firm fined £1 million after delivery driver killed
A plastic product manufacturer has been fined after delivery driver Gareth Wilson was fatally injured when he was struck by a forklift truck which had large coils suspended from the forks. Glynwed Pipe Systems Ltd pleaded guilty to two criminal safety offences and was fined £1 million and ordered to pay costs of £27,942.57.
HSE news release. Risks 842.
Hazards news, 24 March 2018

Britain: Call for review of emergency towing vessel cover
Seafarers’ union Nautilus has backed a call by the UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) for a review of emergency towing vessel (ETV) cover in the Dover Strait. The call comes in a report on a collision between the Hong Kong-flagged general cargo ship Saga Sky and a rock-carrying barge off the coast of Kent during a storm in November 2016.
MAIB news release. Nautilus news release. Risks 842.
Hazards news, 24 March 2018

Britain: Safety action to continue on South Western Railway
Rail union RMT has confirmed plans for a further phase of industrial action on South Western Railway in the dispute over safety, the role of the guard and the roll out of driver only operation. The union statement came in response to management’s continued failure “to engage with the union in talks and stepped up their threats and intimidation aimed at frontline staff.”
RMT news releases on South West Trains and bad weather response. Risks 842.
Hazards news, 24 March 2018

Global: Human rights activists face growing risks
Human rights defenders who challenge big corporations are being killed, assaulted, harassed and suppressed in growing numbers, researchers have claimed. A survey by the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre recorded a 34 per cent global rise in attacks against human rights activists last year, including 120 alleged murders and hundreds of other cases involving threats, assaults and intimidation.
The Guardian. Business and Human Rights Centre website. Risks 841.
Hazards news, 17 March 2018

USA: Trump targets safety rules ‘written in blood’
While attention has focused on President Trump’s disputed decision in January to reverse drilling restrictions in nearly all US coastal waters, the administration has also been pursuing a rollback of Obama-era regulations in the Gulf. Those rules include safety measures put in place after the explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon rig in 2010, a disaster that killed 11 people and resulted in the largest marine oil spill in drilling history.
New York Times. Confined Space blog. Risks 841.
Hazards news, 17 March 2018

Britain: BBC makes human rights appeal to UN
For the first time in its history, the BBC has made an appeal to the United Nations in Geneva to protect the human rights of BBC journalists and their families. The move comes in response to years of persecution and harassment of London-based journalists by the Iranian authorities, which it says escalated in 2017.
BBC news release. IFJ news release. NUJ news release. ITUC news release. Risks 841.
Hazards news, 17 March 2018

Britain: Northern Rail to face further action over safety
Rail union RMT has confirmed there will be a further 48 hours of strike action on Northern Rail over ‘attacks on the role of the safety-critical guard and the extension of driver only operation in the name of increased profits’. The 24-hour stoppages, scheduled for 26 and 29 March, were announced as the union demanded tripartite talks with the company and the Department for Transport (DfT) aimed at reaching a resolution.
RMT news release. Risks 841.
Hazards news, 17 March 2018

Britain: Radical overhaul needed following Amey prison scandal
Unite is calling for a radical overhaul in the way prison maintenance work is undertaken following revelations that two workers at Liverpool Prison were unfairly dismissed for raising safety issues. The union said John Bromilow and Harry Wildman, who had combined service of 45 years, were employed by private contractor Amey, which took over the running of maintenance and other functions in 60 prisons in June 2015.
Unite news release. The IndependentRisks 841.
Hazards news, 17 March 2018

Britain: ‘Pointless paperwork’ warning on new safety standard
A new health and safety standard must be much more than “pointless paperwork”, the TUC has warned. The ISO 45001 standard, a commercial product produced by the International Organisation for Standardisation and launched on 12 March, allows companies to get certification that confirms their health and safety management systems have passed a set of requirements.
TUC news release and ISO 45001 - Using the new health and safety standard in the workplace: A TUC guide for trade union activists. ISO news report. Risks 841.
Hazards news, 17 March 2018

Britain: Brexit plans for safety are still guesswork, says TUC
Discussing what is likely to happen after Brexit “is just crystal-ball gazing”, the TUC’s Hugh Robertson has asserted. Writing a guest blog for the Society of Occupational Medicine (SOM), the union body’s head of safety argues that rather than wait and see, the better approach “is trying to influence what will happen. Those in the occupational health world need to ensure that they are trying to defend what we have and use any opportunities to improve it regardless of the final agreement.”
SOM blog. Health and Safety (Miscellaneous Amendments) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018 (draft). The Independent. Report by Caroline Lucas. Risks 841.
Hazards news, 17 March 2018

Britain: Apprentice, 16, badly injured in fall from scaffold
A scaffolding company has been fined for criminal safety breaches after a 16-year-old apprentice joiner fell approximately four metres from a scaffold platform. Sheffield Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 6 September 2016, the apprentice was passing roof tiles from the loading bay to a colleague on the scaffold when fell backwards under a single guard rail to the ground below, sustaining injuries including a fractured cheekbone, broken wrist and injuries to his ribs.
HSE news release. Construction Enquirer. Risks 840
Hazards news, 10 March 2018

Britain: Recycling plant blast left worker in coma, eight injured
A recycling company responsible for an explosion and blaze at a Lingfield industrial site, that left a worker in a coma and eight people injured, has been fined. The explosion at Ereco EMEA Corporation Ltd on 3 October 2011 ripped the side out of the building and blew debris across the neighbouring field, injuring eight workers, five seriously.
Surrey County Council news release. HSE news release. Get Surrey. Risks 840
Hazards news, 10 March 2018

Britain: Air baggage handling firm in double trouble
Airport baggage and cargo handler Swissport GB Limited has been fined following two worker injuries in the space of a few weeks at Luton Airport. The firm pleaded guilty to three criminal safety offences and was fined £502,000 and ordered to pay costs of £44,444.
HSE news release. Risks 840
Hazards news, 10 March 2018

Britain: Union safety warning over privatised probation hostel staff  
The government is gambling with safety by privatising night-time probation hostel staff, unions have warned. The warning came as private companies Sodexo and OCS starting night-time supervision in probation hostels accommodating high risk ex-offenders, with its workers not required to have the usual vetting or training.
UNISON news release. Morning Star. Risks 840
Hazards news, 10 March 2018

USA: Safety regulations deliver massive economic benefits
Not only does a combination of better rights and better regulations save lives, they are good for the economy, an official US government report has concluded. A draft report to the US Congress prepared by the US Office of Management and Budget estimates that for workplace health and safety, costs from regulations in 2015 were US$0.5bn to US$0.6bn, but these were dwarfed by the benefits, calculated at US$1.2 to US$3.1bn.
Draft Report to Congress on the Benefits and Costs of Federal Regulations and Agency Compliance with the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act, US Office of Management and Budget, published February 2018. Public Citizen news release. Risks 839.
Hazards news, 3 March 2018

Britain: Worker died in fall at 'lethal' Qatar World Cup stadium
Zachary Cox, a UK-based construction worker, was killed in a fall at a Qatar 2022 World Cup stadium building site where management employed a work system that “was chaotic, unprofessional, unthinking and downright dangerous.” an inquest has heard. Giving a narrative verdict, coroner Veronica Hamilton said: “The site managers at the stadium knew or should have known that they were effectively requiring a group of their workers to rely on potentially lethal equipment.”
The Telegraph. BBC News Online. Business Insider. Risks 839.
Hazards news, 3 March 2018

Britain: Ejection seat firm fined £1.1m over Red Arrows death
Ejection seat manufacturer Martin-Baker Aircraft Ltd, prosecuted over the death of a Red Arrows pilot thrown from his jet, has been fined £1.1m. Flt Lt Sean Cunningham, 35, was ejected while conducting pre-flight safety checks at RAF Scampton in 2011, but the parachute on the seat did not then deploy and the airman was fatally injured.
BBC News Online. Risks 839.
Hazards news, 3 March 2018

Britain: Unguarded machine broke recycling worker’s arm
A Rochdale recycling company been fined after an employee’s arm was dragged into unguarded machinery - despite the worker having previously alerted management to the safety breach. Manchester and Salford Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 23 March 2016, the Anglo Recycling Ltd worker suffered a compound fracture whilst working on a carpet recycling line, when his arm was drawn into machinery and trapped between a conveyor and roller.
HSE news release. Risks 839.
Hazards news, 3 March 2018

Britain: Worker seriously injured in fall through fragile roof
A construction firm has been prosecuted after a worker was seriously injured when he fell through the fragile roof of a farm building that was due to be demolished. Liverpool Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 4 February 2016, an inexperienced labourer working for Fine Dimensions Limited was asked to assist in minor roof work, but fell through a skylight panel the concrete floor below, sustaining head and chest injuries.
HSE news release. Risks 839.
Hazards news, 3 March 2018

DRC: Glencore ‘gravely mistreating’ workers at cobalt mines
A global union fact-finding mission to Glencore’s copper and cobalt mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has uncovered alarming mistreatment of workers, directly contradicting Glencore’s claims. At a meeting with about 80 workers from the mines, IndustriALL heard of “systemic human and workers’ rights abuses ranging from constant threats of dismissal, poor health and safety practices, occupational diseases, racism and discrimination, unfair and unjust job classifications, low remuneration, and inferior salaries for local workers compared to foreign workers.”
IndustriALL news release. Risks 839.
Hazards news, 3 March 2018

Global: Unions to target multinational LafargeHolcim on 28 April
Global building union BWI is urging union members working for multinational building materials company LafargeHolcim (LH) to use 28 April to highlight the firm’s deadly record and to call for improvements. It said: “Let us stand shoulder to shoulder to make change and save workers’ lives in LafargeHolcim. And the very first condition is the establishment of a fair global social dialogue at all levels.”
BWI news release. TUC 28 April 2018 webpages. Email details of UK events to the TUC health and safety office to be included in the TUC listing. ITUC/Hazards 28 April 2018 campaign website and theme announcement in English, Spanish and French. Hazards Campaign 28 April 2018 resources. Risks 839.
Hazards news, 3 March 2018

Britain: Cheshire firefighters protect fire cover
Following a ‘robust campaign’ sustained over two years, the firefighters’ union FBU has succeeded in overturning a decision to downgrade fire appliances at Crewe and Ellesmere Port from full-time to on call, protecting 40 firefighter posts. FBU secretary Andrew Fox-Hewitt said: “Bottom line is that FBU members refused to allow firefighter and public safety to be put at risk.”
FBU news release. Risks 839. 3 March 2018
Hazards news, 3 March 2018

Britain: British brands criticised over safety deal footdragging
Twenty British brands have still not signed up to a new safety accord for garment workers, originally introduced following the 2013 Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh, campaigners have revealed. So far, 109 garment companies across the world have signed the new agreement, but 20 British companies, including Debenhams, Marks and Spencer, Next, Morrisons and Sainsbury's, are among those that have not.
IndustriALL news release and list of 2018 Accord signatories. Clean Clothes Camaign news release. Morning Star. Risks 839.
Hazards news, 3 March 2018

Britain: RMT calls further safety strike action on Southern Rail
Rail union RMT has confirmed that guards and drivers on Southern Rail will take further strike action in the on-going dispute in defence of the role of the guard, the extension of driver only operation and the guarantee of a second safety-critical member of staff on Southern services. RMT’s national executive decided that because neither the company nor the government had made “any serious efforts to resolve the dispute”, further strike action will take place on Monday 12 March 2018.
RMT news release. Risks 839.
Hazards news, 3 March 2018

Georgia: Unpoliced workplaces are killing workers
Unpoliced workplaces and high death rates in Georgia are the target of a global cyber campaign. The Georgian Trade Union Confederation (GTUC) has teamed up with online labour campaign group Labourstart to call for an end to the carnage.
GTUC news release. Georgian Trade Union Confederation/Labourstart campaign – sent a message to the Georgian government. Georgia Today and follow up article. Risks 824.
Hazards news, 24 February 2018

India: Suicides and deaths blight textile mills
A trail of worker suicides and deaths is blighting textile spinning mills in south India, the global union for the sector has said.  IndustriALL reports that in the latest incident, on 6 February, child labourer Dharshini Balasubramani’s body was found in a hostel at Dollar Spinning Mills in Tamil Nadu.
IndustriALL news release. Risks 824.
Hazards news, 24 February 2018

India: Unions call for action after deadly shipyard explosion
Shipyard unions have called for a thorough probe into a 13 February explosion that killed five workers and injured several others at Cochin Shipyard Ltd (CSL). The vessel on which the blast occurred is a drilling ship owned by India's biggest oil explorer, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC).
New Indian Express. The Hindu. Deccan Chronicle. Asian Age. BBC News Online. Risks 824.
Hazards news, 24 February 2018

USA: School unions call for prevention after gun tragedy
School unions in the US have called for action to prevent further gun deaths, after 17 people were killed and another 16 injured in a 13 February attack by an excluded former pupil. Randi Weingarten, president of the teaching union AFT, said that with 18 school shootings this year in the US, one had to wonder “when is enough enough?”, adding the union “will continue to fight to prevent gun violence from becoming the new normal in our schools.”
EI news release. AFT news release. NEA news release. The Pump Handle. Statement by President Donald Trump. Statement by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and related speech. Risks 824
Hazards news, 24 February 2018

Britain: Lidl depot builder poisoned by carbon monoxide
A builder who collapsed after being overcome by poisonous gases while working on a Lidl warehouse was lucky to survive, his lawyer has said. Luke Daniels, 29, and fellow construction workers said they had raised concerns about ventilation at the building in Belvedere, south-east London, before they fell ill.  
Plymouth Herald. Evening Standard. Risks 824.
Hazards news, 24 February 2018

Britain: MoD censured over death of Royal Navy technician
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has been issued with a Crown Censure after a Royal Navy engineering technician was killed during lift maintenance work. Leading engineering technician Neal Edmonds, originally from Kidderminster, was crushed between a moving lift and the lift shaft on 11 June 2014.
HSE news release. Risks 824.
Hazards news, 24 February 2018

Britain: Strike threat as ScotRail axes safety department
A rail union has expressed ‘horror’ after ScotRail axed the health and safety department covering its stations. Manuel Cortes, leader of the white collar rail union TSSA, said the news that voluntary severances and reorganisation at Abellio ScotRail would see all the department’s staff depart, was ‘a potential safety nightmare’.
TSSA news release. The Herald. Risks 824.
Hazards news, 24 February 2018

Britain: Government dangerously confused on post-Brexit rights
The UK government’s confused and troubling messages on workers’ rights post-Brexit have been criticised by the TUC. While Brexit secretary David Davis maintained that the UK wanted to lead a “global race to the top” in rights and standards, foreign secretary Boris Johnson had a week earlier said complying with EU rules post-Brexit would be “intolerable”.
TUC response to David Davis. Speech by Brexit secretary David Davis.
Huffington Post. The Guardian. BBC News Online. Risks 824.
Hazards news, 24 February 2018

Britain: Boris Johnson says your rights are ‘intolerable’
Boris Johnson has called EU legal protections ‘mad’ and called for major regulatory divergence from the EU. In a 14 February speech, the foreign secretary said: “It is only by taking back control of our laws that UK firms and entrepreneurs will have the freedom to innovate, without the risk of having to comply with some directive devised by Brussels, at the urgings of some lobby group, with the specific aim of holding back a UK competitor.” He added: “That would be intolerable, undemocratic, and would make it all but impossible for us to do serious free trade deals.”
TUC response to Boris Johnson. Speech by Foreign secretary Boris Johnson. IPPR report. Morning Star. The Guardian. Politico. Risks 824.
Hazards news, 24 February 2018

USA: Biggest cluster ever of fatal coal miners' disease
US government scientists say they have identified the largest cluster of advanced black lung disease ever reported. In a research letter published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), epidemiologists from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) confirm 416 cases of progressive massive fibrosis (PMF) or complicated black lung in three clinics treating coal miners in central Appalachia from 2013 to 2017.
NPR investigation and radio report. David J Blackley, Laura E Reynolds, Connie Short and others. Progressive massive fibrosis in coal miners from 3 clinics in Virginia, JAMA, volume 315, number 5, pages 500-501, 6 February 2018. The Pump Handle. Risks 837
Hazards news, 17 February 2018

Global: Report reveals the hidden cost of jewellery
Jewellery and watch companies need to do more to ensure their supply chains are free of human rights abuse, a new Human Rights Watch (HRW) report has concluded. A total of 29 civil society groups and trade unions have joined the group in an appeal to the jewellery industry to improve its sourcing practices.
HRW news release and report, The hidden cost of jewelry: Human rights in supply chains and the responsibility of jewelry companies, February 2018. Risks 837.
Hazards news, 17 February 2018

Britain: Potentially lethal disease risks in UK bio labs     
Safety breaches at UK laboratories that handle harmful bacteria, viruses and fungi have spread infections to staff and exposed others to potentially lethal diseases, the Guardian has reported. The paper says the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has investigated a series of mistakes over the past two years that led to scientists falling ill at specialist labs run by hospitals, private companies, and even Public Health England (PHE), the government agency charged with protecting and improving the nation’s health and well-being.
The Guardian. Risks 837.
Hazards news, 17 February 2018

Britain: Road works commissioner takes action after near miss
An incident where a worker on a Lanarkshire Council contract was almost hit by a car as he painted road markings without protection has triggered a £5,500 fine from the Scottish Road Works Commissioner. Road Works Commissioner Angus Carmichael said: “Road works carried out on behalf of the authority, by contractors, resulted in endangering road workers and the general public.”
Scottish Road Works Commissioner news release. The Scotsman. Risks 837.
Hazards news, 17 February 2018

Britain: Scaffolder crushed to death in front of his son
A construction firm and its subcontractor have been fined after a scaffolder was crushed to death on a Liverpool construction site. Liverpool Crown Court heard how Henry Jones, 67, was walking across the Redrow site in Knotty Ash when he was struck by a reversing dumper truck in a tragedy witnessed by his son, who was also working at the construction site.
Construction Enquirer. Risks 837.
Hazards news, 17 February 2018

Britain: Firm convicted after employee crushed by lorry
A Fife firm has been fined following the death of a mechanic, crushed under the wheels of a lorry. Robert Purvis Plant Hire was convicted of breaching health and safety legislation after the death of employee Ian Bratchie, 50.
The Courier. Central Fife Times. Risks 837.
Hazards news, 17 February 2018

Britain: Firefighters' union 'horrified' at increase in fire deaths
A rise in the number of fires and fire deaths in England for the second year running has been described as ‘horrifying’ by the firefighters’ union FBU. Matt Wrack, general secretary of the FBU, said: “It isn’t complicated – the fire and rescue service is cut to the bone, and the result is more people dying in fires because crews can no longer respond promptly and in sufficient numbers to tackle fires professionally, quickly and effectively.”
FBU news release. Risks 837.
Hazards news, 17 February 2018

Britain: Unsafe ‘fish bowl’ windscreens scupper plans for new trains
ScotRail must ensure its new style trains are fit for purpose, train drivers’ union ASLEF has warned, saying that unless modifications are made to their ‘fish bowl’ windscreens, drivers will refuse to work them. Kevin Lindsay, ASLEF’s organiser in Scotland, said: “The windscreen is curved and, at night, is making drivers see two signals.”
ASLEF news release. BBC News Online. Risks 837.
Hazards news, 17 February 2018

Britain: Train split shows the need for train guards
Rail union RMT has called on Northern Rail to withdraw its threat to axe guards and to investigate cost-cutting maintenance after train carriages 'de-coupled' outside Leeds Station. RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “What we do know is that there was a guard on board this service who was at the rear of the train with the full suite of safety competencies for exactly this kind of situation.”
RMT news release and related news release. Yorkshire Evening Post and related article. Risks 837.
Hazards news, 17 February 2018

Global: Media workers call for end to impunity as 82 die
At total of 82 journalists and media staff were killed doing their jobs in 2017, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has said. ‘Time to end impunity’, the global media union’s report, said the number of work-related killings of journalists fell to their lowest level in a decade, but added “the death toll in journalism remains unacceptably high.”
NUJ news release. IFJ news release and report, Time to end impunity: Journalists and media staff killed in 2017. Risks 836.
Hazards news, 10 February 2018

Britain: Tata Steel fined £1.4m after crane crushes electrician
Tata Steel has been fined £1.4 million for its criminal safety failings nearly eight years after a crane crushed and killed an electrician at its Scunthorpe steel plant. Hull Crown Court heard how, on 23 April 2010, Thomas Standerline was examining a crane as part of his inspection duties as a maintenance electrician. While carrying out this work, an overhead crane travelled over the cage he was in, trapping and then crushing him.
Scunthorpe Telegraph. Construction Enquirer. Risks 836.
Hazards news, 10 February 2018

Britain: Skip hire company fined after lorry driver fatally crushed
A skip hire company has been fined after a lorry driver was fatally crushed between two vehicles. Leicester Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 4 November 2015, MAC Skip Hire Limited employee Beverley Upton was crushed between her lorry and the bucket of a shovel loader while it was being loaded.
HSE news release. Risks 836.
Hazards news, 10 February 2018

Britain: Work secretary McVey resigns from Samaritans board
Work and Pensions secretary Esther McVey has resigned from the advisory board of the Samaritans after accusations of hypocrisy. While serving as minister for disabled people under David Cameron, McVey was accused of introducing benefit sanctions to force people with disabilities into work, a move unions and disability rights groups said was driving desperate people to suicide.
Morning Star. Work and suicide: A TUC guide to prevention for trade union activists, January 2018. More on work-related suicide. Risks 836.
Hazards news, 10 February 2018

Britain: Further rail safety action on ‘pig-headed’ South Western
Rail union RMT has confirmed that members working on South Western Railway will be taking further industrial action from 16 February in a dispute over safety, the role of the train guard and a roll out of driver-only operation. RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “It is frankly disgraceful that South Western Railway point-blank refuse to engage with the union in meaningful talks over their plans to run trains without a safety-critical guard on board across this franchise.”
RMT news release. Risks 836.
Hazards news, 10 February 2018

Britain: Fire lessons not learned in new sprinkler-free schools
Ministers have been accused of a “shockingly cavalier” approach to fire safety after it emerged only just over a third of new schools have been fitted with sprinklers. The revelation has prompted union FBU and NEU to write to education secretary Damian Hinds to demand action.
NEU news release and NEU and FBU letter to Damian Hinds. Huffington Post. Risks 836.
Hazards news, 10 February 2018

Britain: TUC alert on looming safety standard
A new international occupational health and safety (OHS) management standard which was heavily criticised by unions throughout the drafting process is due to be launched in March. The TUC says flaws in International Organisation for Standardisation’s (ISO) certifiable ISO45001 standard include the absence of rights to necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) without charge, to refuse dangerous work with protection from victimisation and to OHS training in work time, all of which are in International Labour Organisation (ILO) standards.
TUC facebook posting and briefing on the ISO standard. EHS Today. Risks 836.
Hazards news, 10 February 2018

USA: Pork line speed up puts greed before workers
The US food union has warned an official move to speed up pork processing lines puts greed before the health of workers. The union UFCW was speaking out after the US department of agriculture (USDA) announced a proposal to allow pork producers to run their slaughtering lines as fast as they want, in exchange for conducting their own privatised food safety inspections.
UFCW news release. NELP news release. The Pump Handle. Risks 835.
Hazards news, 3 February 2018

Britain: Cornish gangmaster shutdown for safety abuses
A Cornish gangmaster who systematically exploited her workers through skimming off their pay, sending them to work double shifts with insufficient breaks and charging them to live in unhygienic and unsafe caravans has been shut down by the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA). Neringa Butkeviciute, 29, operated her business DNK Recruitment out of the Bosparva Caravan Park in Leedstown, Hayle, where she provided workers for jobs in the GLAA regulated sector.
GLAA news release. Risks 835.
Hazards news, 3 February 2018

Britain: Mother dismayed at son’s ‘accidental death’ verdict
The mother of a young man who was killed in a faulty lift while working in a Swansea pub says she is “totally disillusioned” with the inquest system after a verdict of “accidental death” was recorded. Bar worker Cyran Stewart, 20, was injured while working at a Walkabout pub in Swansea on 24 February 2014, dying in hospital four days later.
FACK news release. Morning Star. Risks 835.
Hazards news, 3 February 2018

Britain: Wind farm worker, 74, dies after being stranded in snow
A 74-year-old man has died after he became stranded in heavy snow while working on a wind farm in East Ayrshire, Scotland. The worker and a younger colleague were left without heat or power at Craigdarroch Farm in New Cumnock when power failed on Sunday 21 January.
BBC News Online. Risks 835.
Hazards news, 3 February 2018

Britain: Farmer gets conditional discharge after man electrocuted
Farmer David Heywood has been given a conditional discharge after a man was electrocuted when the arm of his lorry-mounted crane contacted overhead power lines. Manchester Crown Court heard how on 8 April 2016 self-employed tipper wagon driver Matthew Drummond had been in the process of unloading sand at Heaton Farm near Rochdale, when the incident took place.
HSE news release and guide to working safely near overhead electricity power lines. Risks 835.
Hazards news, 3 February 2018

Britain: UK safety laws don’t meet international obligations
The UK’s health and safety laws are ‘not in conformity’ with its international legal obligations, a major review has concluded. The findings are particularly critical of the impact of a UK government move in 2015 that exempted many self-employed workers from the Health and Safety at Work Act.
TUC blog. European Committee of Social Rights news release and decision. European Social Charter. The Independent. Risks 835.
Hazards news, 3 February 2018

Australia: Minister recommends electric shocks for truck drivers
The roads minister in the Australian state of New South Wales, Melinda Pavey, has been slammed after suggesting truck drivers could be zapped with electric shocks to reduce the carnage on the roads. The Transport Workers Union slammed her “offensive” suggestion as “heartless, arrogant and completely incompetent”.
The New Daily. Daily Liberal. The Morning Bulletin. Big Rigs. Risks 834
Hazards news, 27 January 2018

Canada: Rail workers cleared over Lac-Megantic disaster
A Canadian jury has found three former rail workers not guilty of criminal negligence for their connection to the Lac-Megantic disaster five years ago. On 6 July 2013, a runaway train filled with petroleum crude oil derailed in the small eastern Quebec town; forty-seven people were killed in the tragedy and much of Lac-Megantic's downtown was destroyed.
Montreal Gazette. Vancouver Sun. CBC News. Confined Space. BBC News Online. Risks 834
Hazards news, 27 January 2018

Global: Unions win US$2.3m Bangladesh factory payout
Trade unions representing Bangladeshi textile workers have reached a US$2.3m (£1.6m) settlement with a multinational fashion brand accused of postponing the process of fixing life-threatening hazards in factories. The fashion brand, which cannot be named under the terms of the agreement, will pay $2m to fix safety issues in more than 150 textile factories in Bangladesh and a further $300,000 towards improving pay and conditions for workers in global clothing supply chains.
IndustriALL news release and signatories to the 2108 Bangladesh Accord. UNI news release. War on Want news release. The Guardian. The Independent. Risks 834
Hazards news, 27 January 2018

Pakistan: Unions blame criminal neglect for workers’ deaths
Criminal negligence by government watchdogs and the refusal of employers to provide health and safety measures are killing workers, labour rights campaigners in Pakistan have said. Addressing a demonstration outside the Karachi Press Club, Nasir Mansoor, deputy general secretary of the National Trade Union Federation (NTUF), said: “According to the International Labour Organisation, around 2.3 million workers are killed annually at workplaces across the world,” adding: “If the situation here is not improved then it would be no wonder that Pakistan may top that list.”
Daily Times. The International News. Risks 834
Hazards news, 27 January 2018

Britain: Construction company fined after worker killed
A construction company has been fined after an employee died after falling over six metres. Plymouth Magistrates’ Court heard how an employee of C&R Construction (SW) Ltd suffered fatal injuries in the preventable incident after falling while installing roof sheets on a new agricultural building; the victim is identified in the HSE fatalities listing as Neil Phillips, 45.
HSE news release and workplace fatalities listing 2016/17. HSE news release on maintenance of agricultural buildings. Risks 834
Hazards news, 27 January 2018

Britain: Lives on Merseyside at risk from cuts to fire service cover
Lives are being put at risk in Merseyside because it will take firefighters far longer to arrive at emergencies due to a cut in the hours that fire engines are crewed, firefighters’ union FBU has said Kevin Hughes, brigade secretary of the FBU in Merseyside, said: “These dangerous cuts could cost lives,” adding: “It puts the public, as well as the firefighters themselves, at greater risk of serious injury or even worse.”
FBU news release. Risks 834
Hazards news, 27 January 2018

Colombia: Workers die in motorway bridge collapse
A motorway bridge under construction in Colombia has collapsed, killing at least nine workers and injuring several others. The bridge in Chirajara was to be part of a highway connecting the capital, Bogotá, with the city of Villavicencio.
The Times. BBC News Online. Risks 833.
Hazards news, 20 January 2018

Namibia: Union protests poor zinc mine safety
Hundreds of mineworkers have demonstrated against worsening health and safety standards at the Skorpion Zinc Mine, about 600km from Windhoek, the Namibian capital. The Mineworkers Union of Namibia (MUN) members are demanding improved communication on safety issues at the mine, which is owned by Vedanta Zinc International.
IndustriALL news release. The Namibian. Risks 833.
Hazards news, 20 January 2018

USA: New landscape for work injury and illness tracking
US federal agencies should collaborate to improve injury and illness reporting, to account for a shift in the traditional workforce toward a ‘gig economy’ and to collect information on race and ethnicity to identify vulnerable worker populations, according to a new official report. The consensus report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine was developed by a committee of academic experts, regulators, a union representative and Scott Mugno, an employer representative who is now Donald Trump’s nominee to head the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) – the US federal safety agency.
Business Insurance. Confined Space blog. Risks 833.
Hazards news, 20 January 2018

Britain: Poundstretcher fined £1m for health and safety failures
Budget chain Poundstretcher has faced action by three local authorities for 24 criminal health and safety breaches across three of its stores. Judge Heatherington said the blame did not lie with local management, but with the “complacent attitude” revealed by how “senior management, often at director/company secretary level, dealt with requests for interview by enforcing authorities.”
Lewes District Council news release. Environmental Health News. Risks 833.
Hazards news, 20 January 2018

Britain: BP takes another £1.2bn hit from Deepwater Horizon
British oil multinational BP has said it will book another US$1.7 billion (£1.2 billion) charge from the deadly Deepwater Horizon oil disaster in 2010 as part of its financial settlement. But the group said despite the fourth-quarter payout, which takes the total cost of the disaster to US$65 billion (£47 billion), the lengthy settlement process for the mammoth claims related to the spill is now winding down.
BP news release. The Courier. The Guardian. The Independent. Risks 833.
Hazards news, 20 January 2018

Britain: Government ‘bung’ stops safety dispute resolution
Rail union RMT says the government has been caught red-handed ‘bunging’ Southern Rail £22 million of taxpayers’ money to keep a rail safety dispute running. The total, revealed in a 8 January parliamentary answer, equates to operator GTR’s lost revenue related to the dispute - this sum is underwritten by the public purse.
RMT news release. NAO news release. Risks 833.
Hazards news, 20 January 2018

Britain: London fire deaths soar as cuts bite
Firefighters’ union FBU has said its members in London are ‘deeply upset and angry’ after hearing that the number of people killed in fires has risen sharply in the capital. Paul Embery, FBU executive council member for London, said: “This disturbing increase has happened at a time when over a thousand frontline firefighter posts have been ditched, 10 fire stations closed, and specialist rescue equipment and fire engines have been removed from service.”
FBU news release. Risks 833.
Hazards news, 20 January 2018

Britain: Esther McVey 'deeply unsuitable' to hold safety brief
The prime minister should reconsider the appointment of Esther McVey as work and pensions secretary, the GMB has said. The cabinet position gives McVey ultimate responsibility for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and work and health, but GMB says when McVey was the employment minister in charge of HSE in 2013, she was ‘unceremoniously stripped’ of this responsibility after it emerged she had been the director of a now-defunct demolition firm run by her father, JG McVey and Co, which was served with two prohibition notices for criminal health and safety breaches.
GMB news release. Prime minister’s office news release. DWP webpage. The Guardian. Risks 833.
Hazards news, 20 January 2018

Britain: RMT hits out at latest North Sea decommissioning ‘scandal’
Offshore energy union RMT has raised concerns over the North Sea decommissioning industry, following the cash sale of three semi-submersible drilling platforms to a company that transports offshore oil and gas infrastructure to be scrapped in India and Bangladesh. RMT general secretary Mick Cash said sending the rigs to Asia was “a continuation of the disgraceful practice of dumping ships and oil and gas infrastructure on South Asian beaches, where workers are regularly killed and injured in highly dangerous and poorly protected conditions.”
RMT news release. Morning Star. Risks 833.
Hazards news, 20 January 2018

Australia: Rise in truck deaths prompts union warning
A spike in fatal accidents involving trucks in the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) has prompted the transport union to call for the return of a road safety watchdog. The Transport Workers Union (TWU) said deaths were “out of control” and demanded something be done.
TWU news release. Daily Liberal. Risks 832.
Hazards news, 13 January 2018

Canada: Asbestos ban moves forward
Unions and campaigners have welcomed progress on Canada’s promised asbestos ban. The Canadian federal government had now published a draft law prohibiting the use, sale, import and export of asbestos and products containing the hazardous material.
CELA/CAUT news release. CBC News. Risks 832.
Hazards news, 13 January 2018

Britain: Civil engineering firm fined after death of employee
A civil engineering company has been sentenced for criminal safety breaches after father-of-three Darren Richardson suffered fatal crush injuries. Sheffield Crown Court heard that on 5 December 2014 RMB Contractors Ltd was laying a new concrete slab at Ballast Phoenix Ltd in Sheffield.
HSE news release. Risks 832.
Hazards news, 13 January 2018

Britain: Lost leg costs engineering firm just £8k
An engineering company has been fined £8,000 after its criminal safety failings cost a worker his leg. West Hampshire Magistrates’ Court heard how the Puma Engineering and Construction Limited employee was seriously injured when carrying out a lifting operation involving transporting and loading pipe spools onto a flatbed truck.
HSE news release and guidance, Safety in the storage and handling of steel and other metal stock. Risks 832.
Hazards news, 13 January 2018

Britain: RMT demands action after ‘shocking’ cruise boat incident
Maritime union RMT has written to safety regulators and the cruise ship industry body demanding urgent action on lifeboat safety after a routine training exercise on a Bermuda-registered vessel almost ended in tragedy. Five people were hurt in the incident on the Carnival Cruises vessel MV Arcadia in the Azores on 6 January, one seriously.
RMT news release. Risks 832.
Hazards news, 13 January 2018

Britain: Shop worker murdered for enforcing the law
A 16-year-old boy who is alleged to have attacked a shop worker who refused to sell him cigarette papers has been arrested on suspicion of murder. DI Ian Lott, who is leading the investigation, said: “A man has lost his life for no reason other than trying to uphold the law.”
Metropolitan Police news release. The Guardian. Risks 832. Hazards news, 13 January 2018

Britain: Farm fined after 'easily preventable' electrocution
The owners of a farm have been ordered to pay almost £100,000 after a scrap metal collector was electrocuted when his crane hit overhead power lines. Edward Evans, 52, was killed as he attempted to collect broken lightweight metal cages by prior arrangement, from Holme Farm in Ince on 17 January 2015.
HSE news release. Chester Chronicle. Risks 831.
Hazards news, 6 January 2018

Britain: Companies fined after death of road worker
Two companies that admitted criminal health and safety breaches following the death of a Suffolk road worker have been ordered to pay fines and costs totalling nearly £2 million. Sentencing Kier Integrated Services and Ipswich-based Sean Hegarty Ltd, Judge Martyn Levett said the death of 34-year-old Aidan Gallagher in 2014 was “avoidable”.
HSE news release. Ipswich Star. Risks 831.
Hazards news, 6 January 2018

Britain: Police drop probe into five Birmingham recycling plant deaths
West Midlands Police has ended its investigation into the deaths of five workers at a Birmingham metal recycling plant. The move takes the possibility of manslaughter charges off the table and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will now have ‘assumed primacy’ in the investigation into the 7 July 2016 tragedy.
HSE news release. Risks 831.
Hazards news, 6 January 2018

Britain: CWU criticises lax dangerous dog sentences
Postal union CWU has questioned whether the police and the courts are ‘going soft on dog attack crimes’ after a succession of offenders faced no or little penalty after their dogs savaged postal workers. CWU head of safety Dave Joyce said: “Of course every case before the courts is different and it would be wrong to single just one instance, but this is now starting to look like a developing trend – it’s very worrying and it makes me wonder if the law is going soft on dog attacks suddenly at a time when attacks, including fatalities, are on the increase.”
CWU news release. Risks 831.
Hazards news, 6 January 2018

Britain: A million more trains a year to run without guards
Rail union RMT has predicted that over a million more trains a year will run without safety critical guards on the five companies with whom the union is currently in dispute - Greater Anglia Railway, Merseyrail, Northern Rail, Southern Rail and South Western Railway.
RMT news release and new Unguarded: Keep the Guard campaign film. Risks 831.
Hazards news, 6 January 2018


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