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

 


DEADLY BUSINESS NEWS

India: Inquiry into major power plant tragedy
India’s Power Ministry has established a committee to investigate a deadly 1 November explosion at NTPC’s thermal power plant in Unchahar in Uttar Pradesh state. Estimates of the death toll from the blast have risen steadily, reaching 36 on 7 November.
The Daily Brief. Power Magazine. Risks 825
Hazards news, 11 November 2017

India: Abysmal conditions persist on tea plantation
The World Bank should fulfil its commitment to protect workers in tea plantations in Assam, India, human rights campaigns have said. The groups say in November 2016, the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO) - the accountability office of the World Bank Group’s private sector lending arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) - released an investigation report that found low wages, abysmal sanitation, lack of pesticide safety equipment, and inadequate housing on India’s tea plantations – but the bank has since done little to address the problems.
HRW news release. Project AccountabiliTEA. Risks 825
Hazards news, 11 November 2017

Britain: Suspended sentence for director after workplace manslaughter
Company director Jagbir Singh has escaped jail after the corporate manslaughter of an employee at his firm, who fell into machinery at a recycling yard. Safi Qais Khan, 29, died at Master Construction Products (Skips) Ltd (MCPS) after he became entangled in a machine called a trommel, used to sort waste material.
CPS news release. BBC News Online. Risks 825
Hazards news, 11 November 2017

Britain: Suspended sentence for director after lorry power line scare
The director of London-based waste contractor Hanly Waste Services Limited has been fined, handed a suspended sentence and been barred from running a company for seven years after a lorry contacted 132kV overhead power lines (OHLs) in north London. Donal Hanly pleaded guilty to a criminal safety offence and was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay costs of £7,068.34, given a six-month prison sentence suspended for 12 months and a director disqualification order for a period of seven years.
HSE news release. Risks 825
Hazards news, 11 November 2017

Britain: Hostel operator fined after man died in fall from roof
Park House Hostel Ltd has been fined after a retired builder fell 25ft from a ladder and died. John Switalski suffered unsurvivable head injuries after the incident at Park Hostel in October 2015.
Bristol City Council news release. Bristol Post. Risks 825
Hazards news, 11 November 2017

Britain: Train firm forced to backtrack over strike safety claims
Rail union RMT has warned that contingency plans put in place by train operator Greater Anglia for RMT strike days over rail safety have collapsed into “dangerous chaos.” The union was commenting after what it described as “an extraordinary row” developed last week between the rail regulator ORR and Greater Anglia’s owner, Abellio.
RMT news release. Risks 825
Hazards news, 11 November 2017

Britain: OHS nurse blows whistle on private health provider
A health care provider has been fined £550,000 after it failed to act on workplace health concerns raised by an occupational health nurse. Southwark Crown Court heard how on 28 June 2014 the nurse, Lynne Betts, raised concerns with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) relating to the running of the internal occupational health service of Ramsay Health Care (UK) Operations Ltd.
HSE news release. Risks 824
Hazards news, 4 November 2017

Britain: Textile recycling firm fined following worker’s death
A clothing and textile recycling company has been prosecuted after a 76-year-old worker was fatally injured by a reversing delivery vehicle. The Magistrates’ Court in Mansfield heard today how on 26 April 2016 Bella Richards, an employee of Savanna Rags International Limited, was walking from the weighbridge towards the smoking shelter in the rear yard during her afternoon break when she was struck by a reversing vehicle.
HSE news release and waste and recycling industry webpages. Risks 824
Hazards news, 4 November 2017

Britain: Contractor escapes jail after worker seriously injured
A contractor from London has been given a six-month prison sentence suspended for eighteen months after an employee was seriously injured in a site fall. Southwark Crown Court heard how, on 11 November 2016, local builder James Gibson was undertaking a refurbishment project when a worker fell through an unprotected hole in the ground floor.
HSE news release. Risks 824
Hazards news, 4 November 2017

Britain: Grenfell seminar looks at ‘social murder’, London, 15 November
A free seminar on the topic ‘Grenfell: from social harm to social murder?’ is to be held in London on the afternoon of 15 November. Speakers at the event, taking place at Queen Mary University London (QMUL), are Aditya Chakrabortty of The Guardian, Open University criminology experts Vickie Cooper and Steve Tombs and Pilgrim Tucker, a housing campaigner and supporter of the Grenfell Tower Action Group.
Grenfell: from social harm to social murder?. Seminar, ArtsOne lecture theatre, QMUL, London, 2-4pm, Wednesday 15 November 2017 Register for the free event. Risks 824
Hazards news, 4 November 2017

USA: Database on ‘crimes against workers’
The US Center for Progressive Reform (CPR) has launched the country’s first-ever database of state prosecutions of health and safety ‘Crimes Against Workers’, including case files, court decisions, media clips, and advocacy resources. CPR says: “We're hopeful this database will serve as a resource for prosecutors, advocates, reporters, and others who are seeking to ensure that those who commit crimes against workers are punished accordingly and that other potential bad actors hear the message that they will be held accountable for criminal misconduct.”
CPR blog and Crimes Against Workers Database. Risks 824
Hazards news, 4 November 2017

Global: Human rights victims need a voice
Victims seeking redress for corporate human rights abuses are suffering intimidation, harassment, detention and in some cases even murder, a group of UN experts has said. The UN group sets out new proposals to give victims a key role in the processes designed to protect their rights and provide effective remedies.
UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights news release, report and Standup4humanrights campaign. Business and Human Rights Resource Centre. Risks 824
Hazards news, 4 November 2017

Indonesia: Major loss of life in fireworks factory blasts
Two explosions and a subsequent blaze at a fireworks factory on the western outskirts of Indonesia’s capital Jakarta have killed at least 48 people and injured dozens more, officials have said. Police arrested Indra Liyono and Andri Hartanto, the owner and the operational director of the factory, for allegedly employing underage workers, violating regional minimum wage standards and negligence causing death.
ABC News. The Guardian. BBC News Online. Risks 824
Hazards news, 4 November 2017

Qatar: Major breakthrough on migrant workers’ rights
The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) has welcomed a commitment from the government of Qatar to end the kafala system of modern slavery. The global trade union body said it now plans further meetings with Qatar’s labour minister on implementing labour rights for two million migrant workers in the Gulf State.
ITUC news release. ITF news release. The Guardian. Risks 824
Hazards news, 4 November 2017

Britain: ‘Huge’ safety threat as firefighter numbers plummet
Firefighters’ union FBU has warned of a ‘huge’ safety threat as official figures showed the number of firefighters employed by fire and rescue services has been reduced by over a fifth in the past decade. The Home Office report also reveals that 11 per cent of staff have left the service within the last year, prompting fears that low morale is leading to firefighters seeking employment elsewhere.
FBU news release. Home Office report. Risks 824
Hazards news, 4 November 2017

USA: Inspections waiver leaves firms free to kill
A voluntary safety scheme that gives qualifying US companies a get-out-of-official-inspections card has been criticised as a deregulatory and deadly ruse. Jordan Barab, a former deputy head of the US government safety regulator OSHA, said in the last months two workers have been killed at companies participating in OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Programs.
Confined Space blog. Risks 823
Hazards news, 28 October 2017

Britain: Strike breaking leaves passengers’ lives on the line
Rail workers are calling for Abellio to be stripped of its Greater Anglia franchise after safety inspectors found “deficiencies and failings” arising from the use of poorly trained managers as substitutes for striking guards. The RMT complained to the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) after Greater Anglia drafted in the hastily trained managers to break a strike by guards fighting the company’s attempt to abolish their safety-critical jobs.
Morning Star. Risks 823
Hazards news, 28 October 2017

Australia: Queensland unions welcome industrial manslaughter law
Unions say an industrial manslaughter law passed in the Australian state of Queensland will deter companies from cutting corners and putting profits ahead of people. Michael Ravbar, divisional branch secretary of the construction, forestry and mining union CFMEU, said: “This is a huge win for Queensland workers and everyone who has campaigned to achieve industrial manslaughter legislation for the last 20 years.”
QCU news release. CFMEU news release. Brisbane Times. Risks 822.
Hazards news, 21 October 2017

Global: Safety failure part-and-parcel of Amazon’s plan
Ignoring the health and safety of workers is just part-and-parcel of Amazon’s anti-union plan, unions have said. A meeting of the UNI Amazon Alliance, involving 30 trade unionists from 10 countries, agreed an action plan to organise at Amazon, where UNI said jobs “can be physically and mentally brutal - muscle problems, joint problems and the mental exhaustion that comes with constant surveillance are all part and parcel of working for them.”
UNI news release. Risks 822
Hazards news, 21 October 2017

Britain: Promise of no more human sewage on tracks
Train toilets emptying their contents directly on to Britain’s rail tracks will end in 2019, rail bosses and ministers have promised. A combination of new trains and retrofitting old stock with modern, holding-tank toilets will end the dumping of raw sewage on the railways.
The Guardian. Swindon Advertiser. RMT no sewage on the tracks campaign. Risks 822
Hazards news, 21 October 2017

Britain: Director escapes jail after worker killed by telehandler
The director of a Brighton-based waste collection and recycling company has been given a suspended jail sentence after a worker died from injuries sustained when he was struck by a reversing telehandler. Brighton Magistrates’ Court heard how on 7 July 2016, United Grab Hire Ltd employee Joe Stevenson was struck by a reversing telehandler when crossing the work yard in Horley, East Sussex.
HSE news release. Risks 822
Hazards news, 21 October 2017

Britain: Director avoids jail after scaffolder loses limbs
Jonathon Lee Griffiths-Clack , the director of Swindon-based scaffolding company Boundary Scaffolding Limited has received a suspended jail term after worker Jamie Mines lost his hands and feet when a scaffold pole hit electric cables.
HSE news release and overhead work guidance. Construction Enquirer. Risks 822
Hazards news, 21 October 2017

Britain: RMT demands safety action from ‘biased’ rail regulator
Rail union RMT says it has written ‘yet again’ to the industry’s safety regulator demanding action over ‘serious safety failures by strike-breaking managers’ on Greater Anglia. The union has also accused the regulator of colluding with the company to cover up safety breaches.
RMT news release. Risks 822
Hazards news, 21 October 2017

Britain: Over a quarter of fire safety inspectors have gone
Fire services have lost over a quarter of their fire safety inspectors since the Conservatives came to power, research by the firefighters’ union FBU has found. The union, which compiled the figures from a series of Freedom of Information requests, says the ‘staggering’ 28 per cent drop in inspector numbers across the UK is a risk to public safety
FBU news release. FBU October parliamentary briefing paper, Fire and Rescue Service Matters. Morning Star. Risks 822
Hazards news, 21 October 2017

Britain: Waste firm MD evades jail after worker is crushed to death
Lee Heaps, the managing director of a Widnes waste processing company, has been given a suspended jail sentence after a worker was crushed to death. Fresco Environmental Limited employee Kevin Wright, 27, was processing waste carpet to be re-baled when one of the bales fell from a stack onto him, causing injuries from which he later died.
HSE news release and baling guide. Runcorn and Widnes World. Liverpool Echo. Risks 821
Hazards news, 14 October 2017

Britain: Recycling bosses exposed workers to toxic soup
A Bristol waste recycling company dumped thousands of tonnes of hazardous waste illegally at a development site in Avonmouth, exposing unwitting workers to mix of chemical irritants and carcinogens. Churngold Recycling Ltd has been fined more than £20,000 while two of its directors have been given suspended prison sentences for using the unprocessed toxic waste as building aggregate in the construction of a new Co-op distribution centre.
Environment Agency news release. Bristol Post. Risks 821
Hazards news, 14 October 2017

Britain: Road haulage company fined after worker killed
An Essex-based road haulage firm has been fined after a 23-year-old worker was crushed between two articulated vehicles and later died from his injuries. Southend Magistrates Court heard how Martin Greenwood, an HGV driver employed by YCT Limited, suffered fatal injuries when his vehicle rolled forward out of control as he was coupling the HGV tractor unit to a trailer.
HSE news release. Risks 821
Hazards news, 14 October 2017

Britain: Keep ban on Super Puma helicopters, urges Unite
Plans to lift a ban on the use of two helicopter types, imposed following a crash that killed 13 people, should be dumped offshore union Unite has said. Unite regional officer Tommy Campbell said: “Without all the details being fully known in the Norwegian tragedy, Unite believes the decision by Airbus to reintroduce Super Pumas is not only premature but it potentially jeopardises confidence in the offshore helicopter health and safety system.”
Unite news release. Morning Star. BBC News Online. Risks 821
Hazards news, 14 October 2017

Britain: Rail firm risking ‘catastrophe’ to break strike
Rail union RMT has written to MPs and the rail safety regulator, alerting them to two incidents on 3 October where Greater Anglia’s decision ‘to put strike breaking before safety’ could have had potentially catastrophic consequences. After a third incident affecting a train bound for Ipswich on 3 October, the union called for “full disclosure of all Greater Anglia’s safety breaches after it emerged that strikebreaking members of staff had opened the train doors on the wrong side resulting in passengers going onto the tracks.”
RMT news release and follow-up news release. BBC News Online and update. Risks 821
Hazards news, 14 October 2017

Britain: We shouldn’t need to prove the case for safety
Keeping the workplace safe is good for business, fact - but just because that’s a no brainer doesn’t mean it should be the sole motivation for firms, the TUC has said. TUC head of safety Hugh Robertson said workers do not want the decision on whether to protect their health to be based on whether it is in an employer’s economic interest.
TUC blog. Risks 821
Hazards news, 14 October 2017

Qatar: World Cup workers ‘subjected to life-threatening heat’
The authorities in Qatar should adopt and enforce restrictions on outdoor work to protect the lives of the migrant construction workers at risk from the country’s intense heat and humidity, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has said. “Enforcing appropriate restrictions on outdoor work and regularly investigating and publicising information about worker deaths is essential to protect the health and lives of construction workers in Qatar,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at HRW.
Human Rights Watch news release. The Guardian. The Independent. Risks 820
Hazards news, 7 October 2017

Canada: Wrong people on trial for train disaster
Three workers are currently on trial on charges relating to the Lac-Mégantic train derailment that killed 47 people and destroyed much of the small Quebec town on 6 July 2013. But many believe the three are scapegoats, and those responsible for corner-cutting and poor regulation should instead be in the dock.
Global News. Confined Space. Lac-Mégantic defence campaign. Risks 820
Hazards news, 7 October 2017

Britain: Safety critical train guards safe in Wales
Rail unions have welcomed the announcement by the Welsh government that it will require the next franchise to keep a safety critical conductor or guard on all of the Wales & Borders trains and services, including the South Wales Metro. The administration said the commitment follows a ‘clear public response’ in consultations, where more than 90 per cent of respondents said a second member of staff was either quite important or essential in the Wales and Borders region.
RMT news release. ASLEF news release. ITV News. South Wales Argus. Risks 820
Hazards news, 7 October 2017

Britain: HSE launches phase two of site inspection blitz
Construction projects across Britain are being told to ensure the health and safety of their workers is protected, as the second phase of a targeted inspection initiative gets underway. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said 43 workers were fatally injured in 2015/16, and an estimated ten times that number died from construction related ill-health, with a further 65,000 self-reported non-fatal injuries.
HSE news release and Go Home Healthy campaign. Risks 820
Hazards news, 7 October 2017

Britain: Waste and recycling sector told to clean up
The waste and recycling industry has been told it must pay closer attention to how it manages workplace risk or face serious penalties. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) says a programme of proactive inspections will review health and safety standards in waste and recycling businesses across the country, with the unannounced inspections to take place in October.
HSE news release and waste and recycling webpages. Risks 820
Hazards news, 7 October 2017

Britain: Recycling directors refused to take notice of HSE
A recycling company and its two directors have been prosecuted after ignoring a succession of official warnings from the safety regulator and concerns raised by the company’s own staff. Northampton Crown Court heard how Monoworld Recycling had failed to manage risks when its staff worked at height, failed to suitably maintain work equipment and failed to control risks from electrical systems.
HSE news release. Risks 820
Hazards news, 7 October 2017

Britain: Unlicensed waste contractor fined for asbestos jobs
A waste removal contractor from Bridgend has been fined after undertaking asbestos removal work at two locations without the required licence. Swansea Magistrates’ Court heard how on 1 September and 7 November 2016 Mark John Gibson, who advertised as asbestos removal service All-Gone Waste, was contracted to remove asbestos containing materials from properties in Pont Y Clun and Dyffryn Chapel, Caerau.
HSE news release. Risks 820
Hazards news, 7 October 2017

Britain: Explosion firm fined after grinder ignites gases
An oil storage company has been fined after contractors cut into a sealed pipe causing a tank to explode. Liverpool Crown Court heard that on 19 January 2015 contractors working at ESL Fuels Ltd cut into a sealed pipe using a grinder causing flammable gases within the pipe to ignite.
HSE news release. Risks 820
Hazards news, 7 October 2017

Britain: Cuts and deregulation implicated in Grenfell fire
Members of the first fire crews to attend Grenfell Tower have expressed frustration at the time it took to send backup engines, a delay that hampered their ability to evacuate more people, the head of the firefighters’ union FBU has said. General secretary Matt Wrack, who has spoken to firefighters who attended the blaze, added that government cuts and safety deregulation were implicated in the tragedy.
The Guardian. Risks 820
Hazards news, 7 October 2017

Britain: Worker injured in fall from unsafe scaffold declared ‘safe’
Two scaffold inspectors who provided a fraudulent safety sign off on a scaffold have been prosecuted after a worker fell through a gap between the scaffolding and the building, resulting in serious injuries. Stephen Harper and Garry Arnold pleaded guilty to a criminal safety offence and were each sentenced to 170 hours community service and ordered to pay £1,500 costs.
HSE news release. Risks 819
Hazards news, 30 September 2017

Bangladesh: Brands ‘to step up’ on factory fires
The deaths of at least six people in a textile mill fire in Bangladesh highlights the pressing need for new compensation scheme for bereaved families, a labour rights group has said. The Clean Clothes Campaign said “in order not to leave them destitute without just compensation for employment injury, it is imperative that brands, employers and the government of Bangladesh step up to improve access to and provision of remedy in the short-term and by moving forward towards a permanent solution with adopting the National Employment Injury Scheme.”
Clean Clothes Campaign news release. Human Rights Watch news report. Risks 819
Hazards news, 30 September 2017

USA: Call to put people ahead of profits in poultry
Chicken has dethroned beef as the USA’s favourite meat. As demand increases, the industry’s friends in Congress are dusting off previously rejected proposals to dramatically and dangerously increase speeds on the poultry production lines.
The Hill. Confined Space. Risks 819
Hazards news, 30 September 2017

Britain: Police to quiz 336 firms over Grenfell – but not ministers
Over 300 firms are to be interviewed by the Metropolitan Police as part of the Grenfell Tower investigation. Hoewver, the Met has confirmed to the Hazards Campaign their investigation will not involve questioning ministers about the government’s deregulatory and cost-cutting policies, factors linked to the tragedy by the TUC and unions, safety bodies, the international media and campaigners.
Metropolitan Police news release. Construction Enquirer. Risks 819
Hazards news, 30 September 2017

Britain: Unite calls on for review mobile crane regulations
Unite has written to transport secretary Chris Grayling urging him to take action to ensure the safety of mobile cranes when they are driven on roads. The union says mobile cranes are exempt from requiring an annual MoT.
Unite news release. Risks 819
Hazards news, 30 September 2017

Britain: Rail union warns of ‘scab army’ threat to safety
Rail you RMT has warned of a severe threat to passenger safety on Greater Anglia rail services “from a hastily cobbled together scab army of managers.” It said the replacements were drafted in by Abellio in a desperate bid to break strike action planned for the first week in October, part of the union fight to maintain safety critical jobs. 
RMT news release. Eastern Daily Press. Risks 819

Hazards news, 30 September 2017

USA: Watchdog’s excuses for hiding the bodies fall flat
Two weeks ago, the agency responsible for enforcing workplace safety and health - the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) - removed the names of fallen workers from its home page and has stopped posting information about their deaths on its data page.” Rebecca L Reindel of US union federation AFL-CIO said the regulator’s stated reasons for the move – citations hadn’t yet been issued and protecting the privacy of bereaved families – were excuses made by an agency “clearly in denial that it has a job to do.”
AFL-CIO blog. Risks 818
Hazards news, 23 September 2017

Britain: Newspaper vindicated over work ‘killer’ story
A newspaper criticised in court by a defence barrister for referring to a property developer as a ‘killer’ after a carpenter died on the job has been vindicated. Millionaire Mike Holland and his site foreman Grant Oakes were jailed for an “inexplicable failure” which caused Dave Clark’s fatal fall.
Sussex Police news release. Brighton Argus. Brighton and Hove News. Construction Enquirer. BBC News Online. Risks 818
Hazards news, 23 September 2017

Britain: Frozen food giant Iceland convicted over work death
Iceland Foods has been fined £2.5m over the death of a contractor who fell through a ceiling. Tony Hopkins was working at one of the firm's stores in Rotherham when he fell about 10ft (3m) from a platform that was missing a handrail.
Rotherham Council news release. Rotherham Star. Grimsby Telegraph. BBC News Online. Risks 818
Hazards news, 23 September 2017

Britain: Tyre firm fined after forklift truck death
Vacu-Lug Traction Tyres Limited has been fined after a worker died when the forklift truck he was driving overturned at the company base in Grantham. Lincoln Crown Court heard Stephan Woollas, 49, was crushed between the forklift truck and the ground and later died from his injuries.
HSE news release. Risks 818
Hazards news, 23 September 2017

Britain: Unite blasts ‘rogue’ scaffolding scheme
A proposed new scaffolding card scheme, set up as an alternative to an existing more rigorous system, will undermine standards and lead to scaffolders having different skills cards for different projects, construction union Unite has warned.
Unite news release. Risks 818
Hazards news, 23 September 2017

Britain: TUC promotes union role in fire safety
The TUC has published new fire safety advice for trade union representatives in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy. The TUC guidance sets out the law around fire safety, explains what is required from a thorough fire safety assessment, and looks at how to implement fire safety policies that will prevent and protect workers – and there’s also a checklist for reps on what to look out for in terms of fire safety when they carry out their workplace inspections.
TUC news release and guidance, Fire safety: A TUC guide for union activists, September 2017. Risks 818
Hazards news, 23 September 2017

Pakistan: Factory workers still toiling away in deathtraps
On the fifth anniversary of the deadly Baldia garment factory fire, a research group in Pakistan has expressed serious concerns about the persistent unsafe working conditions prevalent in Pakistan’s factories. The Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (Piler) said that majority of the country’s workplaces still do not have any health or safety precautions in place for workers.
The News. Labour Watch Pakistan. ANROEV. Risks 817.
Hazards news, 16 September 2017

Britain: Cake firm fined £1m over death of contractor
A cake manufacturer has been fined £1m over the death of a contractor at its factory in Hull. David Shanks, 55, died from a head injury the day after falling from a stepladder while working at Greencore Grocery Ltd.
HSE news release. Hull Daily Mail. BBC News Online. Risks 817
Hazards news, 16 September 2017

Britain: Worker's foot plunged into hot deep fat fryer
The owners of a Leeds restaurant have been fined after a worker’s foot plunged into a hot deep fat fryer. Piotr Sawicki was standing on top of a range in the kitchens of Restaurant Bar and Grill as he cleaned up at the end of service on 14 January 2016.
Yorkshire Post. Risks 817
Hazards news, 16 September 2017

Britain: Director pays for taking no notice of HSE
A car repair company and its director have been fined after failing to comply with legally binding improvement notices issued by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard that on 10 June 2016, Rochdale MOT Centre Limited and director, Nazar Hussain, failed to undertake the thorough examination of three two-post vehicle lifts by the dates specified in the three improvement notices.
HSE news release. Risks 817
Hazards news, 16 September 2017

Australia: Cleaning can be more dangerous than construction
The work of a cleaner can be more hazardous that construction work, according to figures from Safe Work Australia. A new analysis by the official safety regulator shows the average rate of workplace injury in New South Wales since 2010 is 11.4 workers compensation claims per million hours worked in cleaning and related industries, compared to 9.5 for construction and 7.5 for mining.
Sydney Morning Herald. Risks 817
Hazards news, 16 September 2017

Bangladesh: Call for brands to sign up to new safety Accord
Global unions representing garment and retail workers are urging global garment brands to be part of the 2018 Bangladesh Accord on fire and building safety. To date, 30 brands have signed the 2018 Accord, bringing more than 1,160 Bangladesh garment factories into the scope of the new agreement which comes into effect after the 2013 Accord expires in May 2018.
IndustriALL news release. Risks 817
Hazards news, 16 September 2017

Britain: Government told schools must not be fire traps
The government must ensure schools are safe from fires with all new and refurbished school buildings fitted with fire sprinklers, education unions have said. In the meantime, the National Education Union (NEU), National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) and Association of School & College Leaders (ASCL) have taken their own action, publishing joint guidance for school leaders on fire risk assessments in schools in the light of the Grenfell Tower tragedy.
NEU news release. Morning Star. Risks 817
Hazards news, 16 September 2017

Britain: Light-touch regulation means no regulation
The dangers of ‘light-touch’ regulation at work have been highlighted at the TUC’s Congress. Unions voted to call on the government to scrap light-touch regulation and to provide additional funding to urgently address the decline in the capacity of the regulator, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
PCS news release. BALPA news release. TUC Congress 2017. Risks 817
Hazards news, 16 September 2017

Britain: Rogue developer let untrained workers do demolition job
The owner of block of flats has been fined after a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspection identified serious criminal safety breaches while the block was being demolished. HSE found the owner of the property, Selliah Sivaneswaran, had ignored advice from HSE and had not appointed a site manager and used untrained workers for the development project.
HSE news release. Construction Enquirer. Getwestlondon. Risks 816.
Hazards news, 9 September 2017

Britain: Firm fined £450,000 after teen killed at work
A company has been fined £450,000 after admitting criminal safety failings following the death of a teenage worker. Manchester Crown Court heard how Ben Pallier-Singleton, 19, had been driving a forklift truck at Chinley-based Vinyl Compounds Ltd on 10 February 2015, without adequate training, across uneven ground and in an area which was not properly lit, in an area known to employees as the ‘graveyard’.
HSE news release. Buxton Advertiser. Risks 816
Hazards news, 9 September 2017

Britain: Steel firm fined after worker crushed to death
A manufacturer of steel building components has been fined after a worker suffered fatal crush injuries from a steel beam. Worcester Crown Court heard how a Thomas Panels & Profiles Limited employee Jeffery Warner, 65, was fatally crushed when a steel beam emerging from a machine pushed another beam and crushed him against a closed door.
HSE news release. Risks 816.
Hazards news, 9 September 2017

Britain: Bin strike continues to defend safety role
Unite has expressed dismay after Birmingham city council reneged on a deal that had restored ‘grade 3’ jobs on refuse wagons and had led to the suspension of a seven-week bin strike. The grade 3 workers include those responsible for safety at the rear of the refuse vehicles.
Unite news release. BBC News Online. Risks 816
Hazards news, 9 September 2017

Britain: Tory peer says Brexit will free him to overwork youngsters
A Tory peer has argued Brexit is a good thing because it will mean the end of safety laws that protect young people from long working hours. Lord Harris, a retail tycoon estimated to be worth more than £100m, claimed he could only employ staff for 35 hours a week under current EU laws - however, the European Working Time Directive states employees should not be forced to work longer than 48 hours, and they can opt-out.
TUC Touchstone blog. The Independent. Protecting health and safety after Brexit, TUC, May 2017. Risks 816
Hazards news, 9 September 2017

Britain: RMT astonished at Northern Rail ‘hypocrisy’
Train operator Northern Rail has told its staff – including guards whose roles it wants to axe – that they are a first line of defence against terrorism. The message was sent to the firm's 5,700 strong workforce just 36 hours before a strike by RMT members, part of the ongoing dispute over plans to halve the number of safety critical guards on the firm's trains.
RMT news release. News and Star. Risks 816
Hazards news, 9 September 2017

Britain: Sports Direct accused of 'emoji con' on disaffected staff
Sports Direct is asking warehouse staff to press a happy or sad face emoji on a touchpad to tell them how they're feeling when they clock in – allowing management to question them if they are disgruntled, the union Unite has said. Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said: “It’s nothing short of an emoji con and a bogus exercise to gloss over past failures and some of the problems which still persist in the warehouse.”
Unite news release. The Independent. Risks 816
Hazards news, 9 September 2017

Britain: Director jailed after safety warnings ignored
A south Wales company owner who a judge said ‘couldn’t care less’ about his employees’ safety has been jailed. Crofty Point Metals Ltd company director Robert Michael Collis pleaded guilty to three criminal safety offences and was sentenced to eight months imprisonment and a further four month term in relation to environmental offences brought by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) with a previous three months suspended sentence also added, to be served concurrently.
HSE news release. Risks 815
Hazards news, 2 September 2017

Britain: Site firm ignored succession of safety warnings
A Bristol-based construction company that ignored a succession of official safety warnings has been fined after more criminal safety offences were spotted by a member of the public. North Somerset Magistrates’ Court heard how Ikon Construction Ltd failed to ensure that the construction phase of nine timber frame town houses was planned, managed and monitored correctly.
HSE news release and whistleblower webpage. Risks 815
Hazards news, 2 September 2017

Britain: Site firm fined after worker left in a coma
A construction company has been fined after a worker was left in a coma after falling from scaffolding. Bristol Magistrates’ Court heard how the untrained employee of RJ Scaffolding (Bristol) Limited was in an induced coma for two weeks after falling more than six metres from the scaffolding and suffered several serious injuries including losing the sight in his right eye and five fractures to the skull.
HSE news release and scaffolding guide. Construction Enquirer. Bristol Post. Risks 815
Hazards news, 2 September 2017

Britain: Textile firm fined after machine mangles hand
A Devonshire textile company has been fined after a 21-year-old employee suffered ‘life-changing’ hand injuries. Exeter Magistrates’ Court heard Anthony Seward was preparing an unguarded machine for the next shift at Heathcoat Fabrics Limited on 23 August 2014, when his hand was drawn into rotating rollers.
HSE news release. Risks 815
Hazards news, 2 September 2017

Britain: Nuke regulator warnings to Devonport dockyard
The nuclear safety regulator has ordered Devonport dockyard to improvement its management of lifting operations and crane maintenance. The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) improvement notices were issued after an ongoing investigation into several crane-related incidents between May and July 2017.
ONR news release. Plymouth Herald. Risks 815
Hazards news, 2 September 2017

Bangladesh: Assaulted garment workers fight for justice
More than 50 garment workers at Haesong Corporation Ltd in Bangladesh have been injured after being attacked by hired thugs as they took part in a peaceful protest against the sweater manufacturer on 16 August. The sit-in and strike, which took place outside the Korean-owned company’s headquarters in Hizalhati, Gazipur, was organised by the National Garment Workers Federation (NGWF), an affiliate of the global union IndustriALL.
IndustriALL news release. Risks 815
Hazards news, 2 September 2017

India: Unsafe, exploitative work rife in granite quarries
Modern slavery and unsafe and unhealthy working conditions are rampant in granite quarries in South India, a study has found. The new research, commissioned by the India Committee of the Netherlands and Stop Child Labour, also found that in some quarries, especially in waste stone processing, child labour is used.
ICN news release, full report The Dark Sites of Granite: Modern slavery, child labour and unsafe work in Indian granite quarries - What should companies do? and summary. Risks 815
Hazards news, 2 September 2017

USA: Deaths upturn spurs call for mine safety action
The August 2017 death of another West Virginia coal miner has spurred renewed calls for action to address an increase in US mining fatalities. Owen Mark Jones, 51, was the 12th coal miner to die on the job so far in 2017, compared to eight last year.
UMWA news release. West Virginia Gazette. Confined Space blog. Risks 815
Hazards news, 2 September 2017

USA: Trump watchdog buries work fatalities
A large body of accessible information on workplace deaths in the US is being dismantled by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), in response to approaches from the business lobby. The US Chamber of Commerce, which had long complained about the practice, asked OSHA to roll back some of the information in the fatality reporting and other initiatives when the Trump administration took over.
Wall St Journal. Confined Space listing of recent US workplace deaths and commentary on the work deaths cover-up. OSHA webpage. Risks 815
Hazards news, 2 September 2017

Britain: Union concerns at sharp drop in fire safety officers
A dramatic drop in the number of fire safety officers in England since 2011 is leaving the public at risk and the remaining workers under ‘intolerable’ pressure, unions have warned. Unions Unite and UNISON were commenting after an investigation by the Guardian found the number of the specialist officers carrying out inspections of high-risk buildings to ensure they comply with safety legislation fell from 924 to 680 between 2011 and 2017, a loss of 244 officers.
The Guardian. Risks 815
Hazards news, 2 September 2017

Britain: Brexiteers wrong to call for deregulation, says TUC
The removal of legal protections sought by prominent Brexiteers will just make the economy more lawless not more productive, the TUC has warned. The union body was speaking out on the publication of a report by Economists For Brexit.
TUC Touchstone blog. The Economy After Brexit, Economists For Brexit, August 2017.
Protecting health and safety after Brexit, TUC, May 2017. Risks 815
Hazards news, 2 September 2017

USA: Power firm ignored the dangers and five died
After a 1997 incident were a worker was serious injured, Tampa Electric wrote special guidelines so another accident like it would never happen again. Then two decades later, almost to the day, five workers were killed, burned to death performing a near-identical job at the utility’s Big Bend Power Station.
Tampa Bay Times. Confined Space blog. Risks 814
Hazards news, 26 August 2017

USA: They were hurt at work - then they were deported
A loophole in Florida law has led to hundreds of injured workers being deported. While nearly all 50 states have given undocumented workers the right to receive workers’ compensation, in Florida this comes with a catch - a 2003 law made it a crime to file a workers’ comp claim using false identification, and insurers or their private detectives are turning workers in to avoid making payouts.
ProPublica. NPR News. Risks 814
Hazards news, 26 August 2017

Britain: Two firms fined after preventable fall death
Two Hampshire-based companies have been fined after the death of a 42-year-old worker in a preventable fall. Bournemouth Crown Court heard that on 20 July 2012 Antony ‘Tony’ Ockwell, a sub-contractor working for Quality 1st Building Services Ltd, was undertaking remedial work to a roof at a domestic property in Ringwood, Hampshire when he fell seven metres from the roof to the ground.
HSE news release. Southern Daily Echo. Risks 814
Hazards news, 26 August 2017

Britain: ‘Cavalier’ asbestos boss evades jail
The director of a company that removed asbestos with hammers and used wet wipes to clean it up had “a cavalier attitude to safety”, a court has heard. Jeremy Uphill, the director of Sarum Asbestos Ltd, pleaded guilty to six charges of criminal negligence relating to work between 2012 and 2015 and was sentenced at Salisbury Crown Court to a six-month prison sentence suspended for two years.
HSE news release. Salisbury Journal. Risks 814
Hazards news, 26 August 2017

Britain: Worker loses leg in gas bottle explosion

A worker was required to play ‘Russian roulette’ every time he filled a gas bottle at his place of work, a court has heard. J and R Gases employee Luke Hawthorn’s luck ran out when one of the bottles used in the pub trade exploded and flying metal ripped through his leg, which later had to be amputated. tency in the filling process. He was trained at a very shallow level.”
HSE news release. This is Lancashire. Risks 814
Hazards news, 26 August 2017

Britain: Firm fined after deadly spray booth vapour fire
The employer of a man who died after suffering extensive burns while cleaning a spray booth at the vehicle repair company’s base in Derbyshire has been fined. Nottingham Crown Court heard how on 26 May 2012, Daniel Brown, an employee of LW Smart Repairs Limited, suffered serious burns after a pressure washer ignited highly flammable vapour in the spray booth and died later in hospital.
HSE news release. Risks 814
Hazards news, 26 August 2017

Britain: Paper coating firm fined after worker suffers burns
A paper coating company has been fined after a worker suffered burns following a fire on a coating machine. Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court heard how an Olympic Varnish Company Limited employee suffered burn injuries in the blaze caused by the unsafe use of a highly flammable liquid to clean rollers on the coating machine.
HSE news release. Risks 814
Hazards news, 26 August 2017

Britain: Field worker injured after being reeled into netting
Vegetable grower M Baker Produce Limited has been fined after a worker became entangled in netting in a field near Boston, Lincolnshire. Lincoln Magistrates’ Court heard how on 27 June 2015 at a field near Frampton, netting was being removed from a crop on a field using a tractor mounted hydraulic net winding machine.
HSE news release. Risks 814
Hazards news, 26 August 2017

Britain: Bins strike victory protects ‘vital’ safety role
Unite has said its victory in the long running Birmingham bins dispute has protected a vital safety role. The union said that the city council had accepted the refuse workers’ case and restored the grade 3 jobs, which are responsible for safety at the rear of the refuse vehicles, leading to the suspension of the industrial action.
Unite news release. BBC News Online. ITV News. Risks 814
Hazards news, 26 August 2017

Canada: Prison staff on high alert after opiate exposures
A highly potent opiate which has become a major public health concern in North America, is now placing Canadian prison staff in danger. A union says in recent weeks, at least nine federal correctional officers have been exposed to the prescription pain killer fentanyl, which is 100 times more powerful than morphine.
Globe and Mail. Calgary Herald. CTV News. 1310 News. The Sun. Risks 813
Hazards news, 19 August 2017

India: Official probe into sanitation worker deaths
The Indian government is to constitute a vigilance committee to investigate a spate deaths of sanitation workers after inhaling toxic gases while cleaning sewage lines manually. Nine contract workers have lost their lives in less than two months in Delhi.
DNA India. Briefing on manual scavenging from the International Dalit Solidarity Network. Risks 813
Hazards news, 19 August 2017

USA: Workplaces are ‘physically and emotionally taxing’
The American workplace is physically and emotionally taxing, with workers frequently facing unstable work schedules and unpleasant and potentially hazardous working conditions, according to a new study. The findings, from research conducted by investigators at the RAND Corporation, Harvard Medical School and UCLA, are based on the American Working Conditions Survey - one of the most in-depth surveys ever done to examine conditions in US workplaces.
RAND news release and full report, Working conditions in the United States: A report on the 2015 American Working Conditions Survey. Fortune magazine. Risks 813
Hazards news, 19 August 2017

USA: Protecting what really makes America great
A flurry of recent activity by the Trump administration aimed at rolling back workplace safety protections is compromising worker safety, top experts Kathleen Rest and David Michaels have warned. They say if you work, or know someone who does, you need to pay attention — people’s lives are literally at stake.
InsideSources. Risks 813
Hazards news, 19 August 2017

Britain: Alarm firm fined after worker suffers flash burns
A South Yorkshire firm has been hit with a six figure fine after a worker was scorched by a ‘burning cloud’. The female employee sustained flash burns to her face, neck, chest and arms in the incident at Rotherham-based manufacturer Pyronix.
HSE news release. Sheffield Star. Risks 813
Hazards news, 19 August 2017

Britain: Tata Steel pays £1m for exposing staff to toxic gas
Tata Steel has been fined after it exposed five people to toxic substances at its Scunthorpe Steel Works. The firm admitted releasing a large quantity of benzole, exposing five workers to risk of death from flammable vapours on 17 June 2011 – a major and volatile component of benzole is the potent carcinogen benzene.
HSE news release and COMAH webpage. BBC News Online. Risks 813
Hazards news, 19 August 2017

Britain: Urgent action needed on safe Tube station staffing
Tube union RMT has said a ‘reckless’ disregard for safe staffing on the Tube is putting lives at risk. The union warning came in the wake of a series of serious incidents on the London Underground, including one where a member of the public was left unconscious and bleeding profusely on an unstaffed Tube platform.
RMT news release. London Evening Standard. Risks 813
Hazards news, 19 August 2017

Britain: Driving examiners to vote in strike ballot
PCS members at the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), including driving examiners and vehicle testing staff, are to be balloted for industrial action in a protracted dispute over health and safety, travel time arrangements and other changes to terms and conditions. PCS says the proposals effectively mean workers could be required to work the equivalent of an extra day per week for free and will be undertaken at the worker’s own risk.
CS news release. DVSA news release. Risks 813
Hazards news, 19 August 2017

Britain: Fashion boss concerned by unsafe UK factories
The “vast majority” of UK clothing factories have worse ethical standards than China, Bangladesh and Burma, the chief executive of high street fashion chain New Look has said. Anders Kristiansen accused British factories of underpaying staff and failing to meet health and safety standards and accused New Look’s rivals of deliberately ignoring the issue.
The Times. Retail Gazette. Risks 813
Hazards news, 19 August 2017

Britain: Prosecutions for health and safety crimes plummet
Far fewer firms are facing the courts for their workplace health and safety crimes, latest figures show. The TUC says while the fines total had risen sharply since new sentence guidelines were introduced, the number of prosecutions taken by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has plummeted.
TUC Stronger Unions blog. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) annual report and accounts 2016/17, July 2017. Risks 813
Hazards news, 19 August 2017

USA: Tesla's safety ‘worse than sawmills’
A group of Tesla workers has asked the electric car maker’s board to provide a plan to address employee safety concerns. The Tesla Workers’ Organising Committee, which hopes to become part of the autoworkers’ union UAW, said Tesla had a safety record worse than that of “sawmills and slaughterhouses.”
UAW news release, letter to Tesla independent board members and Tesla campaign. Business Insider. COS Magazine. Risks 813
Hazards news, 12 August 2017

China: Stihl leaves workers jobless and hurt
Workers in China who toiled in hazardous conditions for a German multinational without protection have been left suffering work-related ill-health and without a job after the firm relocated a factory. The Zama Precision Industry factory in Shenzen province in southern China, a subsidiary of Stihl, had faced strike action by workers campaigning for improved safety.
China Labour Bulletin. AAWL news release. Stihl Code of Conduct. Risks 813
Hazards news, 12 August 2017

Britain: Crewe crane collapse claims third life
A third man has died after a crane collapsed at a building site. David Webb, 43, was injured when the crane tilted and fell at a site in Crewe on 21 June.
BBC News Online. Risks 813
Hazards news, 12 August 2017

Britain: Boat owner jailed over Whitby crew deaths
Timothy Bowman-Davies, the owner of a scallop fishing boat on which two crewmen died from carbon monoxide poisoning, has been jailed for 15 months. Mark Arries, 26, and Edward Ide, 21, who died on the boat which was moored in Whitby harbour in January 2014, were using a gas cooker to warm the boat overnight as they slept.
Whitby Gazette. BBC News Online. Yorkshire Post. Risks 813
Hazards news, 12 August 2017

Britain: Private jet handler fined after head crush horror
A company that handles private jets has been fined £250,000 after a worker’s head was crushed in a doorway and she was left in a persistent vegetative state. Suzi Dorbon, an aircraft mover at Signature Flight Support, became trapped in a mechanically operated doorway at Luton Airport in 2015.
HSE news release. BBC News Online. Risks 813
Hazards news, 12 August 2017

Britain: Toy worker loses hand in stuffing machine
A soft toy filling company whose negligence led to a worker losing his hand has been fined. Sheffield Magistrates’ Court heard the worker lost his left hand after being drawn into an unguarded carding machine at Stuffing Plant Ltd (TSP) on 8 March 2016.
HSE news release and work equipment webpages. Risks 813.
Hazards news, 12 August 2017

Britain: Fine after six metre fall
A food manufacturing company has been fined after a worker fell six metres from the back of a fork lift truck. Fishgate Limited was found guilty of breaching Section 2(1) of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 and has been fined £100,000 and ordered to pay £19,032.63 in costs. The employee was raised up by a forklift driver in an unsecured tote box to paint when he fell to the ground from a height of around six metres resulting in a dislocated arm, cracked pelvis, broken foot and shattered leg.
BBC website. Risks 811
Hazards news, 5 August 2017

Britain: Dispute over contractors past record
A row has broken out over a claim that construction giant Amey were employed by Sheffield council despite not disclosing a conviction for corporate manslaughter. It came during legal action which is being taken over continued protests about thousands of trees being chopped down as part of the council’s Streets Ahead contract with Amey.
Sheffield Star  Amey rebuttal  HSE prosecutions databases Blacklisting report. Risks 811
Hazards news, 5 August 2017

Britain: Contractors wind up companies after ‘avoidable’ death
The contractors who built a biogas plant in Cornwall have been ordered to pay almost £300,000 in fines and cost over the "avoidable" death of a worker who was expecting his second child, yet because two of the three companies found guilty have gone into receivership only a small proportion of the fines and costs will be paid. Father-of-two Ionel Soci died after he was crushed by a heavy piece of steel being used to direct the flow of concrete while working for a sub-contractor on the project at Penare Farm, Higher Fraddon, in June 2014.
Cornwall live. Risks 811
Hazards news, 5 August 2017

Britain: Million pound fine after school asbestos crime
Three companies have been fined a total of more than £1m after workers were exposed to asbestos is a school that was still occupied by schoolchildren. A former trading division of contractor Balfour Beatty, its client and its demolition contractor have together been fined £1.27m after exposing workers to asbestos during a project to create new premises for an expanding primary school.
HSE release  TUC eradication guide  Unison press release. Risks 811
Hazards news, 5 August 2017

Britain: Union demands lessons learned after death
Unite, the UK’s largest construction union, is calling on major contractors to urgently learn the lessons from the death of Rene Tkacik on the Crossrail project. This followed fines of more than £1m which were imposed on a consortium of three contractors working on the Crossrail site following three separate incidents on the project, including the death of a worker.
Unite press release  HSE release  Construction enquirer. Risks 811
Hazards news, 5 August 2017

Britain: Unions give cautious welcome to Grenfell ‘corporate manslaughter’ probe
An announcement by the police that they were investigating possible corporate manslaughter changes in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, which led to the death of an estimated 80 people has been generally welcomed by unions. The Metropolitan Police have indicated that they are looking at corporate manslaughter charges in relation to the actions of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, who owned the block and the Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (TMO), who managed it.
BBC news report  Unite release. Risks 811
Hazards news, 5 August 2017

Britain: Fire union publishes its first submission on Grenfell
The Fire Brigades Union have published their submission to the Inquiry into the Grenfell fire which has just finished consulting on its terms of reference. The union states that the public inquiry into the disaster must look at the failures in the fire safety regime that led to the worst blaze in the UK since World War Two.
FBU submission  FBU press release. Risks 811
Hazards news, 5 August 2017

India: ‘Political murder’ as 39 sewer workers die in 100 days
A human rights activist has exposed horrific death rates in workers cleaning India’s sewers. Bezwada Wilson Wilson, one of the founders and the national convenor of Safai Karmachari Andolan, a campaign to end ‘manual scavenging’ in sewers, pointed out that in the past 100 days, 39 people had died across India while cleaning sewers.
Times of India. Sabrangindia. Safai Karmachari Andolan. Risks 810
Hazards news, 29 July 2017

South Africa: Union fury at mineworkers’ deaths
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has said it is “furious” following reports that the Tau Lekoa gold mine in Orkney ignored instructions from rock engineers who inspected the mine a few days before a lethal seismic incident. Erick Gcilitshana, health and safety secretary with the union, said mining companies must be held fully accountable for such accidents.
COSATU news release. IOL. The Times. Risks 810
Hazards news, 29 July 2017

Britain: Farming remains ‘riskiest sector’ says HSE
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has urged everyone involved in agriculture to talk about how they can prevent ill-health, injury and death on farms. The safety regulator says agriculture, forestry and fishing “remains the riskiest industry sector in the UK with 27 workers being killed on farms last year and three members of the public, making a total of 30 people according to HSE’s recently released fatality figures for the sector.”
HSE news release and agriculture webpages. See the help Great Britain work well conversation at #HelpGBWorkWell Risks 810
Hazards news, 29 July 2017

Britain: Safety notice prompts call for Tube job cuts inquiry
Tube union RMT is calling for an independent inquiry into London Underground’s (LU) ‘disastrous’ Fit for the Future job cuts programme after the company was hit with enforcement action for a criminal safety breach. The legally binding improvement notice issued by government regulator ORR came after the company had ignored repeated warnings from RMT safety reps.
RMT news release. Morning Star. Risks 810
Hazards news, 29 July 2017

Britain: Prisons putting guards in deadly danger
Britain’s jails are breaching criminal health and safety law, prison officers’ union POA has said, as the government secured a permanent injunction against strike action by guards. With chronic overcrowding, a drop in staff numbers and rising violence and drug use, Steve Gillan said it was “only a matter of time” before a prison guard was killed at work. POA news release. The Independent. Morning Star. The Guardian. Risks 810
Hazards news, 29 July 2017

Britain: Merseyrail strike action as workers fight for safety
Merseyrail train drivers and guards have taken further strike action in their fight to keep the service safe for passengers. RMT general secretary Mick Cash said the strike on 23 July was to defend the safety critical role of train guards.
RMT news release. Morning Star. BBC News Online. ITV News. Risks 810
Hazards news, 29 July 2017

Australia: 'Dodgy' safety certificates rife on building sites
Fraudsters are making fake safety certificates for building products, an Australian Senate inquiry has been told.  The inquiry into non-conforming building products has gathered pace since the Grenfell Tower fire in London last month, in which 80 people are thought to have died.
Sydney Morning Herald. Risks 809.
Hazards news, 22 July 2017

Bangladesh: Accord redux is good news for garment sector
Global union federation ITUC has welcomed the signing of the new Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety, as a further step towards protection of workers and a means to improve Bangladesh’s garment industry. Sharan Burrow, ITUC general secretary, warned: “Local factory owners are putting pressure on the government of Bangladesh to turn back the clock to the days of Rana Plaza, and we urge the government to give its full support to the tens of thousands of workers who produce that wealth, by backing the new Accord.”
ITUC news release. The Pump Handle blog. Clean Clothes Campaign news release. Dawn. Risks 809
Hazards news, 22 July 2017

Global: Ivanka Trump criticised on factory conditions
On Inauguration Day in January, President Trump said: “We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies and destroying our jobs,”, adding: “We will follow two simple rules — buy American and hire American.” But critics say the decision by his daughter Ivanka – now occupying high office in the Trump administration - to outsource her fashion range to low wage countries in factories with substandard working conditions, sits uneasily with the president’s declaration.
Washington Post. China Labor Watch news release. Risks 809
Hazards news, 22 July 2017

Britain: HSE safety clampdown on Orkney scallop boats
Safety standards on some scallop dive boats in Orkney are unacceptably low, according to the Health and Safety Executive. The watchdog is planning an inspection blitz over the coming month, with both announced and unannounced visits, with inspectors looking at crewing levels, risk assessment and emergency plans, and the maintenance of equipment.
BBC News Online. Risks 809
Hazards news, 22 July 2017

Britain: Response to tower block fires is ‘a postcode lottery’
The ability of fire crews to respond promptly and professionally to life-threatening tower block fires is a postcode lottery, according to new research from the firefighters’ union FBU. Differing levels of resources around the country mean that the ‘pre-determined attendance’ (PDA) to a fire – the numbers of fire engines that should automatically be sent to a fire or other incident - varies greatly according to its location, the union found.
FBU news release, PDA statistics, ALP statistics and letter to the PM. The Guardian. Risks 809
Hazards news, 22 July 2017

Britain: Grenfell Tower disaster was 'social murder'
John McDonnell has said the people responsible for “social murder” at Grenfell Tower should be held to account. The shadow chancellor said the disaster in west London was a consequence of political decisions taken over recent decades.
The Guardian. Morning Star. Sky News. Evening Standard. BBC News Online. House of Lords debate on regulation, 13 June 2017.
Centre for Crime and Justice Studies briefing explaining the concept of ‘social murder’, April 2016. Risks 809
Hazards news, 22 July 2017

Britain: Grenfell ministers should ‘be interviewed under caution’
The national Hazards Campaign has called for ministers whose actions or inaction prior to the Grenfell Tower fire have been called into question to “be interviewed under caution” as part of the Metropolitan Police investigation.
Hazards Campaign. Risks 809
Hazards news, 22 July 2017

Britain: TUC concern at ‘Downing Street power grab’
The government’s draft plan to repeal European Union laws is a ‘power grab’ that could put workers’ rights in jeopardy, the TUC has warned. Commenting on the publication of the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, which brings EU laws — including workers’ rights and the major safety regulations — into UK law, TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “This is a Downing Street power grab… there is nothing in this Bill to stop politicians shredding or watering down our rights in the future.”
TUC news release and Touchstone blog. DEXEU news release, European Union (Withdrawal) Bill and guidance on the Bill. Morning Star. Risks 809
Hazards news, 22 July 2017

Britain: Tory pledge to ‘destroy regulations’ undermines trust
Unions have echoed TUC concerns about workers’ rights being vulnerable as the government dismantles European laws and have said this concern is amplified by the Conservative’s determination to ‘destroy regulations’, including safety laws.
Unite news release. UNISON news release. Risks 809
Hazards news, 22 July 2017

Peru: Factory fire exposes labour exploitation
A deadly fire in a Peruvian warehouse has raised questions about exploitive working conditions and the use of child labour in the country’s vast informal economy. Four workers, one just 15-years-old, who were locked into storage containers that doubled as work spaces, are missing and presumed dead.
Solidarity Center news report. Risks 808
Hazards news, 15 July 2017

Britain: Boss jailed after ball collector drowns in lake
A company director has been jailed after a golf ball collector drowned in a freezing course lake. Dale Pike, 25, “stood by and watched” as Gareth Pugh dived into the lake with a weighted belt to fish out balls.
CPS news release. ITV News. BBC News Online. Morning Star. Risks 808
Hazards news, 15 July 2017

Britain: Property firm boss jailed after two workers die in balcony fall
Martin Gutaj, the director of Martinisation (London) Limited, has been jailed for 14 months and his company fined after the deaths of two employees when they plunged from the balcony of a multi-million pound central London flat. Polish workers Tomasz Procko, 22, and Karol Symanski, 29, died in an “entirely foreseeable and preventable” incident on 21 November 2014, while hoisting a sofa up from the pavement through a first floor balcony of the luxury Belgravia apartment.
Metropolitan Police news release. Evening Standard. Construction Enquirer. Risks 808
Hazards news, 15 July 2017

Global: Sodexo signs up to sexual harassment prevention
Global food union federation IUF has signed an international agreement with catering and services multinational Sodexo on measures to prevent sexual harassment at the workplace. The IUF-Sodexo Joint Commitment, which IUF says is based on a ‘shared recognition’ that sexual harassment is a human rights violation and that women working in the services are exposed to high levels of risk, sets out a policy and procedures for ensuring zero tolerance.
IUF news release and IUF/Sodexo sexual harassment agreement. Risks 808
Hazards news, 15 July 2017

Britain: Women are invisible to the safety watchdog
An official failure to acknowledge the serious risks faced by women at work means there is little pressure for preventive action, a new report has warned. ‘Women’s work?’ says while many jobs dominated by women can be more physically and emotionally arduous than traditionally male jobs, a serious emphasis on addressing these risks is missing because of the relatively low occupational fatality rate in women, whereas women are more at risk of stress and strain injuries.
Women’s work? Ignore occupational risks to women and you hurt us all, Hazards, number 138, 2017. Gender in occupational health and safety, TUC guide including safety reps’ action checklist, 2017. Risks 808
Hazards news, 15 July 2017

Britain: Fury as Tube workers are denied drinking water
Parched workers on the sweltering London Underground system are being denied access to drinking water, unlike their ‘cheapskate’ managers based in air-conditioned offices, Tube unions have said. A change by Transport for London (TfL) of the contractor providing water coolers secured a ready supply of chilled water for the top brass in the company’s upmarket London offices, but stopping supplying front line staff down the Tube.
ASLEF news release. RMT news release. Risks 808
Hazards news, 15 July 2017

International: Union protests over ‘slavery’ on detained ship
Seafarers onboard a ship detained in the UK port of Runcorn have been forced to live in cockroach-infested conditions without fresh food, a union investigation has found. Checks by Tommy Molloy, an inspector with the UK seafarers’ union Nautilus and the global transport union ITF, also found unpaid wages as low as 85 US cents an hour.
Nautilus news release. Risks 808
Hazards news, 15 July 2017

Britain: Savage dog attack shows need for real action
Postal workers’ union CWU has repeated its call for legal action against irresponsible owners of dangerous dogs after a postwoman was savaged by two Dobermans.  Sharron Singer received 19 separate injuries, some requiring reconstructive surgery and skin grafts, when she was pounced on by the large, powerful dogs at an address in Wrangle, near Boston on 3 July.
CWU news release. Risks 808
Hazards news, 15 July 2017

Britain: Never forget the lessons of Piper Alpha, says Unite
The lessons of the Piper Alpha tragedy, which killed 167 workers in the North Sea on 6 July 1988, must not be forgotten, offshore union Unite has said. Marking the 29th anniversary of the tragedy, the union warned that the slump in the oil price that led to the cost-cutting on maintenance and safety found to be the cause of the blast mirrors the situation offshore today.
Unite news release. Risks 808
Hazards news, 15 July 2017

Britain: Two jailed for site death of dad of five
Construction boss Andrew Winterton and demolition contractor Dean Wortley have been jailed after a father-of-five was killed in a trench collapse on a Northamptonshire building site. Single parent Shane Wilkinson, 33, was trying to earn enough money to buy his kids shoes for school.
CPS news release. BBC News Online. Construction Enquirer. ITV News. Risks 807.
Hazards news, 8 July 2017

Britain: Company owner jailed after death of building worker
A building firm owner whose neglect of workplace safety resulted in the death of one of his workers has been jailed. Polish national Slawomir Swiatek, 49, was sentenced to a year and 10 months' imprisonment after pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of 41-year-old Grzegorz Wrezel, who died when a wall collapsed as he worked in an unsafe trench.
Metropolitan Police news release. Get Surrey. Risks 807.
Hazards news, 8 July 2017

Britain: Steel firm fined £1m after explosion horror
A steel firm has been fined £1m after an oxygen pipe connected with contaminated second-hand parts exploded in front of a worker, causing horrific burns. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which investigated the incident at Sheffield Forgemasters Engineering Limited (SFEL), said the 57-year-old worker suffered ‘life-changing injuries’ in the explosion on 9 August 2013.
HSE news release. Sheffield Star. Risks 807.
Hazards news, 8 July 2017

Britain: Warburtons fined £1.9m after agency worker injury
Bread maker Warburtons has been fined after an agency worker was injured when his arm got trapped against a running conveyor belt. Nottingham Crown Court heard how on 4 August 2015 Wayne Thorpe was cleaning parts of the bread line when his arm became trapped, leaving him with friction burns that required skin grafts.
HSE news release. Nottingham Post. Risks 807.
Hazards news, 8 July 2017

Britain: Power firm fined £800k after pole fall death
A power company has been fined £800,000 for criminal failings that contributed to the death of a young father when the electricity pole he was working on fell. Ryan Thomas, 28, a linesman for Western Power Distribution (WPD), died in woods in Cawsand, near Torpoint, on 16 January 2013.
HSE news release. Cornwall Live. Plymouth Herald. Risks 807.
Hazards news, 8 July 2017

Global: Unions urge world leaders to follow the Accord
Ahead of the G20 summit in Hamburg on 7-8 July, global unions have called on the leaders of the major industrial nations represented to look to the recently re-signed Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety as a model for promoting sustainable business practices. IndustriALL general secretary, Valter Sanches, said: “The legally binding Accord is, at present, the only credible option for health and safety in Bangladesh garment factories and has saved lives since its creation.”
IndustriALL news release. Clean Clothes Campaign news release. AFL-CIO blog. Dhaka Tribune. Full text of the new Accord. Risks 807.
Hazards news, 8 July 2017

Bangladesh: Deadly factory blast shows need to expand Accord
The death of at least 13 garment workers in a boiler explosion at the Multifabs Limited factory in Bangladesh on 3 July demonstrates that the current safety accord must be extended to include boiler safety, unions and labour rights campaigners have said. UNI deputy general secretary Christy Hoffman said: “The Bangladesh Accord has made significant progress in making work safer in this sector, but this explosion shows the need to expand the agreement’s scope to include boiler safety.”
UNI news release. IndustriALL news release. Clean Clothes Campaign. Dhaka Tribune Risks 807.
Hazards news, 8 July 2017

Indonesia: Precarious jobs and poisons in palm oil industry
Women workers in Indonesia’s palm oil industry face insecure work, toxic pesticides and lower pay then male workers. A major problem for the workers is their constant exposure to chemicals, including the highly toxic pesticide paraquat, without the necessary safety measures – and workers suffering ill-health from their exposures are often required to see the doctor who works for the plantation, rather than going to the local hospital, according to the trade union alliance SERBUNDO.
Equal Times. Amnesty International palm oil and human rights webpages. Risks 807.
Hazards news, 8 July 2017

Britain: New work deaths figures are ‘the tip of the iceberg’
New official Health and Safety Executive fatality figures showing 137 people died at work in 2016/17 ‘are just the tip of the iceberg’, the union GMB has said, calling for better enforcement and regulation. GMB health and safety director, Dan Shears, said: “No-one ever died from too much regulation, but the human cost of ‘cutting red tape’ remains intolerable.”
GMB news release. HSE news release, statistics webpage and headline fatality figures for 2016/17. Morning Star. Risks 807.
Hazards news, 8 July 2017

Britain: New statistics reveal work’s deadly toll
Latest figures on deaths at work confirm the workplace remains a major killer. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) annual statistics on deaths in Great Britain resulting from the asbestos cancer mesothelioma and from fatalities at work show an overall increase on the previous year, with fatalities down from 147 to 137, but mesothelioma deaths up from 2,519 to 2,542.
HSE news release, statistics webpage and headline provisional fatality figures for 2016/17 and mesothelioma statistics. Risks 807.
Hazards news, 8 July 2017

Britain: Unite calls for ‘radical’ improvements after Grenfell fire
A radical new approach to safety and building laws is necessary following the Grenfell Tower fire, the union Unite has said. The union has three key demands; an overhaul of building regulations, the end of attacks on existing regulations, and the implementation of an official licensing regime across the construction industry.
Unite news release. Risks 807.
Hazards news, 8 July 2017

Britain: Building control staff are overworked and stressed
Building control staff in Scotland are overworked, stressed and stuck in the office, a UNISON Scotland survey has found. Dave Watson, UNISON’s head of policy and public affairs, said: “Salami-slicing of services avoids headlines but the long years of austerity are having a severe impact on our services and the staff trying to deliver them with limited resources.”
UNISON Scotland news release. Risks 807.
Hazards news, 8 July 2017

Britain: Unite victory in Woolwich Ferry dispute
The long-running Woolwich Ferry ‘bullying culture’ dispute has been settled, following what Unite has described as ‘a remarkable display of worker solidarity’. The deal hammered out between Unite and Briggs Marine Contractors Ltd has seen one manager dismissed and another senior manager leave the site, and what Unite said was a ‘fair’ settlement for a female employee who suffered sexual harassment.
Unite news release. Risks 807.
Hazards news, 8 July 2017


Britain: Pilots press for action after latest drone near miss
A drone flying close to passenger aircraft at Gatwick Airport and causing runways to be closed twice has prompted the UK pilots’ union BALPA to renew its call for better regulation and education. The union is calling for better education of users, compulsory registration during which the rules are made clear and more high profile prosecutions for offenders.
BALPA news release. Risks 807.
Hazards news, 8 July 2017

Britain: Strike action over school’s ‘unreasonable management’
Teachers at a troubled school have walked out over ‘unreasonable management’ and the safety of staff. Anne Brimacombe, national executive member of NASUWT for Birmingham, said: “There is a culture of blaming the staff, not supporting them,” she said.
BBC News Online. Express and Star. The Guardian. Risks 807.
Hazards news, 8 July 2017

Global: Violence and repression of workers on the rise
The number of countries experiencing physical violence and threats against workers has risen by 10 per cent in just one year, according to the annual ITUC Global Rights Index. It ranks the ten worst countries for workers’ rights in 2017 as Bangladesh, Colombia, Egypt, Guatemala, Kazakhstan, the Philippines, Qatar, South Korea, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates.
ITUC news release, report, map and workers’ rights violations and 10 worst countries infographics. Risks 806
Hazards news, 1 July 2017

Britain: Crane rains scaffold fittings on worker
Two construction companies have been fined after a 44-year old woman worker was struck by falling scaffolding. Weymouth Magistrates’ Court heard how employees of Carter Training Ltd were using a mobile crane on a Zero C Holdings site in Poundbury, Dorchester when the attachment holding 500 scaffold fittings weighing 2kg each was turned on its side, emptying its contents onto workers and the concrete floor 10.5 metres below.
HSE news release. PBC Today. Construction Enquirer. Risks 806
Hazards news, 1 July 2017

Britain: Unite seeks answers after Crewe crane fatalities
Unite is seeking urgent answers after a crane collapse in Crewe killed two workers and injured several other people. David Newall, 36, from Bradford and Rhys Barker, 18, from Castleford were working for Falcon Tower Crane Services at the Seddon site.
Unite news release. Construction Enquirer. Risks 806.
Hazards news, 1 July 2017

Britain: Government u-turn on ‘shameful’ school fire safety plan
Controversial government proposals to relax fire safety standards for new school buildings as a cost-cutting measure are to be dropped by ministers in a major policy u-turn following the Grenfell Tower fire, the Observer has reported. The move came shortly after firefighters’ union FBU and teaching unions NUT and ATL condemned the ‘shameful’ government plans and called on education minister Justine Greening to drop the proposal.
The Guardian. Risks 806.
Hazards news, 1 July 2017

Britain: Call to end Tory safety deregulation gains wide support
More than 800 organisations and individuals have now signed an open letter to UK prime minister Theresa May challenging the ‘arbitrary’ deregulation of health and safety. Sent to 10 Downing Street on 21 June, the letter calls for a shift in politicians’ attitudes towards health and safety regulation and fire risk management in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower tragedy.
Sign the letter to the prime minister calling for an end to deregulation. IOSH news release. New York Times. The Guardian. ‘Like’ the We love red tape facebook page. Risks 806.
Hazards news, 1 July 2017

Britain: Pilots furious at laser pen inaction
Despite ‘dangerously high’ figures on laser attacks on aircraft, the new government has dropped plans to introduce tougher laws, a move the UK pilots’ union BALPA says is “infuriating and dangerous”. Before the general election, the union had welcomed a specific laser offence included in the Vehicle Technology and Aviation Bill, but says this is no longer included in the government’s plans.
BALPA news release. The Independent. Risks 806.
Hazards news, 1 July 2017

Britain: Hi-rise workplaces must be tested too
The TUC has welcomed a government announcement that cladding on hospitals and schools will be tested for safety following the Grenfell Tower tragedy, but has expressed concern that those workplaces are tower blocks are being ignored. The union body says no guidance has been given to other employers who may have staff working in high-rise buildings. TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Millions of people across the UK work in high-rise buildings, many of which could have cladding and insulation similar to that used in Grenfell Tower. Those workers need urgent reassurances about their safety, and if there is any risk to them, there must be immediate action.” She added: “The government should give advice to employers on how to ensure that their buildings are safe. That includes information about what types of cladding and insulation material may be dangerous, how to get samples tested and what remedial action they should take if their cladding fails safety tests.” She concluded: “The government needs to ensure that all high-rise buildings are made safe.”
TUC news release. The Independent. The Telegraph. Risks 806.
Hazards news, 1 July 2017

Global: New York Times slams Tories’ ‘mindless deregulation’
The New York Times has said the Grenfell Tower disaster was the consequence of ‘mindless deregulation’ causing ‘senseless harm’. The editorial urges US president Donald Trump to rethink his decision to adopt a deregulation programme modelled on that introduced by the Conservatives, and notes: “After the Grenfell Tower fire, the dangers of reflexive rejections of regulation, like Mr Trump’s executive order, are clearer.
New York Times. Risks 806.
Hazards news, 1 July 2017

Britain: FBU spells out Grenfell inquiry demands
The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has written to all MPs demanding that the public inquiry into the Grenfell Tower disaster is a judge-led full judicial inquiry. The FBU also says it must be a ‘core participant’ at the hearings, along with families of victims and survivors, and wants clarification from the prime minister on the inquiry’s scope and terms of reference.
FBU news release. BBC News Online. Risks 806.
Hazards news, 1 July 2017

Britain: Unite action call after construction inspections drop
Construction union Unite is seeking urgent meetings with ministers and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after a freedom of information (FOI) request revealed a sharp drop in construction site safety inspections. The FOI response from the HSE revealed that the number of unannounced inspections in the construction industry fell by 14 per cent in just 12 months, following a drop the preceding year.
Unite news release. Construction Enquirer. Risks 806.
Hazards news, 1 July 2017

Britain: Brexit minister ‘supports removing asbestos laws’
New Brexit minister Steve Baker has lobbied the government to weaken asbestos laws, Unite has revealed. The union says it is concerned by the minister’s ‘alarming’ position and is demanding that the government now provide ‘cast-iron guarantees’ that asbestos regulations won’t be watered down.
Unite news release. The Mirror. Risks 806.
Hazards news, 1 July 2017

Britain: Contractor fined after trapped worker dies
Contractor Pyeroy Ltd has been fined after its poor work at height rescue planning delayed the recovery of a trapped worker, who died of a pre-existing heart condition. Plymouth Magistrates Court heard that on 21 October 2013 Keith Stevens, 57, was helping to dismantle temporary roofing at Devonport Naval Base using a mobile elevated work platform (MEWP) when his colleagues found him trapped between a roof beam and the controls of the MEWP.
HSE news release. Risks 805.
Hazards news, 24 June 2017

Britain: Theresa May urged to scrap safety deregulation
The UK government has been urged to end its ideologically driven deregulation of health and safety in the wake of the Grenfell Tower blaze. In an open letter to prime minister Theresa May, over 70 organisations and figures from the UK’s safety and health profession have jointly called for ‘a political sea change in attitude’ towards health and safety regulation and fire risk management following the tragedy.
IOSH news release. RoSPA news release. ‘We love red tape’ facebook page. Risks 805
Hazards news, 24 June 2017

Britain: Tory war on ‘red tape’ has cost lives
The loss of 79 lives in the Grenfell Tower inferno has focused attention on the Conservative government’s ongoing assault on protective legislation. Journalist Polly Toynbee, writing in the Guardian, notes that while the government’s war on red tape is a seen as a central policy platform by top Tories, it undermines the rules for a safe and decent society.
Polly Toynbee’s article in The Guardian, and George Monbiot’s commentary on ‘ripping up red tape’. Government ‘Cutting Red Tape’ webpages.
Protecting health and safety after Brexit, TUC, May 2017. Daily Telegraph ‘Cut EU Red Tape’ campaign. Hazards magazine ‘We didn’t vote to die at work’ campaign. Risks 805
Hazards news, 24 June 2017

Britain: Safety agency ‘colluded’ in drive to axe train guards
Rail union RMT has released an email it says provides ‘proof of collusion and complicity’ by the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) and the Department for Transport (DfT) in pushing through driver only operation (DOO) of trains. The move has been opposed by RMT because it removes the ‘safety critical’ role of train guards.
RMT news release. Risks 805
Hazards news, 24 June 2017

Britain: ‘Shameful’ Tory plan to downgrade fire safety in schools
Firefighters’ union FBU and teaching unions NUT and ATL are seeing urgent reassurances from education secretary Justine Greening about fire safety in schools. Both the NUT and FBU have been pressing the government since last year to reverse its proposed downgrading of fire safety requirements for school buildings which, they argue, “show a total disregard for the health and safety of children and staff.”
NUT news release and joint letter to education secretary Justine Greening. Morning Star. Risks 805
Hazards news, 24 June 2017

Britain: Why the TUC has always said deregulation must end
Many of those killed or made homeless by the devastating Grenfell Tower fire on 14 June were union members, and unions are now actively supporting the affected families. The TUC has said while this is the first priority, “it is clear that we cannot see Grenfell Tower as a ‘one-off’ disaster but as something that is much more symptomatic of the society we live in and the value that it places on human life, especially the lives of the poor, the dispossessed and the vulnerable.”
TUC Stronger Unions blog. BBC News Online. The Guardian. The Mirror. Risks 805
Hazards news, 24 June 2017

Britain: Unions demand answers after tower block tragedy
Firefighters’ union FBU has called for the victims of the Grenfell Tower disaster to be central to the public inquiry announced by Theresa May last week. The union says the  inquiry must also be broad enough to address the immediate causes of and response to the London tower block disaster, which left an estimated 79 dead and several hundred homeless, ‘as well as the wider context to these dreadful events’.
FBU news release and letter to prime minister Theresa May. Unite news release. BBC News Online. Risks 805
Hazards news, 24 June 2017

Korea: ‘Disposable’ worker blinded by Samsung speaks out
A South Korean man who lost his vision in his twenties making Samsung smartphones has testified before a United Nations (UN) committee. Kim Yeong-shin said he lost his sight as a result of exposure to the solvent methanol while working for a Samsung Electronics subcontractor.
Good Electronics news release. The Hankyoreh.
The Blind - A report on methanol poisoning cases in supply chains for Samsung and LG Electronics in Korea, 2017. Risks 804
Hazards news, 17 June 2017

Britain: Chemical company fined after uncontrolled fire
Vertellus Specialties UK Limited has been fined after an uncontrolled fire at the company’s Seal Sands premises in Middlesbrough. The fire involved large quantities of dangerous substances including Vitride, which led to this fire being declared a major incident when sealed drums that burst open while being heated in ‘hot box’ ovens, causing an explosion and large fireball.
HSE news release. The Gazette. Risks 804
Hazards news, 17 June 2017

Britain: Roofing firm convicted after public complaints
A roofing company has been convicted of criminal safety offences after members of the public called regulators about dangerous work practices.  Brighton Magistrates’ Court heard G&S Roofing Limited had twice ignored written advice to address the issue of working at height in an unsafe manner.
HSE news release. Construction Enquirer. Risks 804
Hazards news, 17 June 2017

Britain: Cargo firm fined £500k after ignoring HSE radiation warning
Cargo handling company Dnata Limited has been fined over £500,000 after criminal safety failings in its handling of radioactive materials were discovered by a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspection. HSE principal inspector John Crookes said: “Dnata failed to comply with enforcement action, and put employees at risk of exposure to ionising radiation, by failing to install the appropriate level of shielding in the radioactive substances store.”
HSE news release. Risks 804
Hazards news, 17 June 2017

Britain: Waste recycling company fined after worker scalded
A multinational waste company has been handed a six figure fine after one of its workers received severe burns. The SUEZ Recycling and Recovery Tees Valley Ltd site at Haverton Hill, Stockton-On-Tees processes waste and burns it to create energy.
HSE news release. The Gazette. Risks 804
Hazards news, 17 June 2017

Britain: Tower block tragedy exposes government’s fire inaction
The government was warned earlier this year of the deadly danger posed by fire safety failings in tower blocks, as it emerged it had earlier shelved indefinitely a promised fire safety review. The government’s inaction was brought under new scrutiny after at estimated 79 people died when a fire ripped through a West London residential block in the early hours of 14 June.
FBU news release. The Independent. Evening Standard. BBC News Online. Grenfell Action Group 20 November 2016 blog and 14 June 2017 update. Risks 804
Hazards news, 17 June 2017

Britain: RMT calls for reversal of plan to abolish transport police
Transport union RMT has written to the home secretary Amber Rudd urging her to abandon a proposal in the widely-derided Tory manifesto to abolish the British Transport Police (BTP). The union, whose letter was delivered two days before Rudd narrowly defended her Hastings and Rye seat in the general election last week, said the government must protect security on the transport network by halting cuts to the frontline staff who are trained to help prevent a terrorist attack.
RMT news release. Risks 804
Hazards news, 17 June 2017

Britain: Farm fined £50,000 for ‘foreseeable’ trench death
A Scottish farming company AT Wilson & Co has been fined £50,000 after farm worker Gary Coutts was crushed to death when a trench collapsed in on him. Sheriff Alison Sterling said “this was foreseeable and avoidable.”
Press and Journal. Risks 803
Hazards news, 10 June 2017

Britain: Engineering firm fined after saw cuts off hand
A Birmingham engineering company has been fined after a worker suffered life changing injuries as a result of a horrific incident. Birmingham Magistrates’ Court heard that on 21 March 2016 the worker at Pipework Engineering Services Limited (PESL) was operating a foot pedal saw when he came into contact with the rotating blade, severing his hand and wrist, which required surgery to reattach.
HSE news release. Risks 803
Hazards news, 10 June 2017

Australia: Workers' lives are at risk after court blow
Unions and a safety enforcer have condemned an Australian federal court ruling that limits the ability of union health and safety representatives to take action to remedy health and safety breaches. WorkSafe, the official safety regulator for the state of Victoria, said the decision in favour of the Australian Building and Construction Commissioner (ABCC) “has a serious impact on this critical element of the Victorian OHS system.”
We Are Union news report. WorkSafe news release. The Age.
Australian Building and Construction Commissioner v Powell [2017] FCAFC 89. Risks 803
Hazards news, 10 June 2017

Cambodia: Low-wage site workers risk lives
In Cambodia’s booming construction industry, where up to 250,000 workers toil on building projects during peak season, labourers wear sandals or flip-flops and cloth gloves, if they have gloves at all. The country’s lack of a labour inspection system allows employers to avoid fines or other punitive measures when workers are injured.
Solidarity Center news release. Risks 803
Hazards news, 10 June 2017

Korea: Global union leader supports cancer campaigners
Sharan Burrow, the leader of the global union confederation ITUC has joined a union teach-in in South Korea to mark the 600th day of protest against labour and safety abuses by the electronics multinational Samsung. Since 7 October 2015, the campaign group SHARPS and its supporters have been staging a sit-in at Samsung D’light, the company’s global exhibition space in south Seoul, calling for the world’s largest technology company to compensate its occupational disease victims and provide a “sincere and full” apology.
SHARPS news report. ITUC Samsung’s Secret video and supplier company videos and report. Risks 803
Hazards news, 10 June 2017

USA: Trump administration says unions don’t need a say
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has told unions they should leave it to DOJ attorneys to defend a crucial Obama-era workplace safety regulation under attack from the business lobby. The rule that DOJ says it will defend on the unions’ behalf was adopted by the federal safety regulator OSHA in May 2016 and concerns the reporting of injuries by employers.
The Pump Handle blog. Department of Justice brief, 30 May 2017. Risks 803
Hazards news, 10 June 2017

Britain: Another zoo keeper dies in a tiger attack
A zoo keeper who died after a tiger entered an enclosure at a wildlife park in Cambridgeshire has been named as 34-year-old Rosa King. The death happened at Hamerton Zoo Park, near Huntingdon, on the morning of 29 May and came almost four years to the day after another zoo worker died in a tiger attack at a different UK zoo.
Hamerton Park Zoo statement. BBC News Online. The Telegraph. Risks 802
Hazards news, 3 June 2017

Britain: Director escapes jail after four excavation deaths
A company director responsible for the criminal health and safety failings that led to four Suffolk men being crushed to death has been spared prison. David Groucott was sentenced to seven and a half months imprisonment, suspended for two years, after pleading guilty to a criminal safety offence.
HSE news release. Eastern Daily Press. Construction Enquirer. Risks 802.
Hazards news, 3 June 2017

Australia: Fatality figures don’t tell the whole story
Employees working in agriculture, forestry and fishing industries are making a living in the most dangerous workplaces in Australia, but other ‘safer’ sectors have far more serious injuries, official statistics have revealed. While health care and social assistance had the fewest recorded deaths out of the 10 most dangerous industries, it did record the highest number of serious workplace injuries, with more than 17,000 recorded during 2015.
Canberra Times. Risks 802
Hazards news, 3 June 2017

Britain: Union to fight cuts to ‘safety-critical’ rail renewals work
Rail union RMT has pledged to fight planned cuts to renewals work for Network Rail by contractor Carillion that the union says present a direct threat to both jobs and safety. RMT was speaking out after it was presented with a consultation document from Carillion that ‘indicates possible job cuts and redundancies.’
RMT news release. Risks 802
Hazards news, 3 June 2017

South Africa: ‘Reckless direliction’ caused mine deaths
High death rates in South African mines are a consequence of a ‘reckless dereliction’ of duty by the government and mining sector, national union federation COSATU has said. The union body was commenting in the aftermath of a deadly 11 May explosion 3km underground in a decommissioned Harmony Gold mine in Welkom, Free State, in which more than 40 zama zamas - illegal artisanal miners – were killed.
COSATU news release. The Times. Risks 801
Hazards news, 27 May 2017

USA: Immigration officials entrap injured worker
US immigration officers have identified a new way to entrap undocumented workers – arrest them when they seek compensation after being injured at work. When Honduran national Jose Flores attended a meeting this month with his employer regarding compensation for a serious injury he had suffered when he fell off a ladder, officers from the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) service were waiting and arrested the injured worker, who could now be deported.
Confined Space blog. Talking Union. Risks 801
Hazards news, 27 May 2017

South Africa: ‘Reckless direliction’ caused mine deaths
High death rates in South African mines are a consequence of a ‘reckless dereliction’ of duty by the government and mining sector, national union federation COSATU has said. The union body was commenting in the aftermath of a deadly 11 May explosion 3km underground in a decommissioned Harmony Gold mine in Welkom, Free State, in which more than 40 zama zamas - illegal artisanal miners – were killed.
COSATU news release. The Times. Risks 801
Hazards news, 27 May 2017

USA: Immigration officials entrap injured worker
US immigration officers have identified a new way to entrap undocumented workers – arrest them when they seek compensation after being injured at work. When Honduran national Jose Flores attended a meeting this month with his employer regarding compensation for a serious injury he had suffered when he fell off a ladder, officers from the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) service were waiting and arrested the injured worker, who could now be deported.
Confined Space blog. Talking Union. Risks 801
Hazards news, 27 May 2017

Britain: Director convicted of manslaughter after site deaths
A company director has been convicted after he failed to undertake an adequate risk assessment and provide training to construction workers  Tomasz Procko, 22, and Kyrol Szymanski, 29, both Polish nationals, who fell to their deaths. Martin Gutaj, 44, and his company Martinisation London Limited, were tried at the Old Bailey.
CPS news release. Construction Enquirer. Evening Standard. Risks 801
Hazards news, 27 May 2017

Britain: Three directors jailed following fatal roof fall
Three company directors have been jailed following the death of Nikolai Valkov, 63, man fell during a cut price roof job in Essex. Firat Ozdil was jailed for one year, Ozgur Ozdil for 10 months and Kadir Kose for eight months.
CPS news release. Risks 801
Hazards news, 27 May 2017

Britain: Director fined after worker breaks back in fall
Eco NRG Solutions Ltd and its director Jon Luke Antoniou have been fined after a worker suffered serious injuries in fall through a roof at a farm in Cornwall. Taunton Magistrates Court heard how Lewis Harding, 28, had been fitting solar panels at Venn Farm on 19 May 2015 when he fell more than three metres through a fragile skylight and broke his back in three places.
HSE news release. Risks 801
Hazards news, 27 May 2017

Britain: Farm fined after worker crushed to death
A Welsh farm has been fined after a contractor was fatally crushed by a reversing farm machine. Swansea Crown Court heard that Jonathan Evans, 43, was contracted to spread fertilizer on the Penhill Farm Limited in Ferryside when he was struck by the poorly maintained reversing telehandler in the farm yard.
HSE news release and webpages on farm vehicles and vehicle safety. Press and Journal. Wales Online. Risks 801
Hazards news, 27 May 2017

Britain: Truck company fined after worker’s death
ATE Truck and Trailer Sales Ltd, a company that buys, refurbishes and sells heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) and trailers has been sentenced after the death of a worker. Wolverhampton Crown Court heard that on 21 February 2013 William Price suffered fatal head injuries when he was struck by the roof of a trailer he was dismantling at the Marston Industrial Estate site.
HSE news release. Express and Star. Risks 801
Hazards news, 27 May 2017

Japan: Firms named and shamed on unsafe work
Japan has taken the unprecedented step of naming more than 300 firms that the authorities say are violating workplace safety and other labour laws. A labour ministry list posted online includes 334 companies that have received warnings for safety offences, excessive overtime and other violations between last October and March this year.
Japan Times. Japan Today. Sky News. Risks 800.
Hazards news, 20 May 2017

USA: Workers take cover at 'most toxic place in America'
Hundreds of workers were forced to ‘take cover’ after a tunnel in a nuclear finishing plant collapsed in Washington state, USA. Following the 9 May incident at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation some workers were reportedly told to evacuate while others were told to shelter-in-place as officials investigated the severity of the situation.
Statement by Governor Jay Inslee. The Independent. Counterpunch. Risks 800
Hazards news, 20 May 2017

Britain: Companies fined £20k after worker killed by vehicle
Construction company Cavanna Homes and its groundwork contractor Steve Hoskin Construction Limited (SHCL) have each been fined £20,000 after a worker was killed by a reversing vehicle. Exeter Crown Court heard how SHCL employee John Small, 47,  was working for the groundwork contractor at a construction site in Dawlish, Devon when he was crushed by a reversing telescopic material handler.
HSE news release. Risks 800
Hazards news, 20 May 2017

Britain: Steel firm fined £200k after worker’s hand crushed
Cardiff-based steel manufacturing company Rom Ltd has been fined £200,000 after a worker suffered crush injuries to his hand. Magistrates hearing the case at North Staffordshire Justice Centre heard how on 23 October 2015 a 51-year-old worker was removing leftover steel from a Koch Straightener, used for straightening steel wire, when he trapped his hand between the rotating rollers inside the machine.
HSE news release. Risks 800
Hazards news, 20 May 2017

Britain: Salad firm fined £120k after chainsaw injury
A salad growing company has been fined after a worker was seriously injured by a chainsaw while felling trees. Basildon Magistrates’ Court heard the Growing Green Limited employee suffered deep cuts to his arm while working with another colleague at the Brentwood Nursery on 6 April 2016.
HSE news release. Risks 800
Hazards news, 20 May 2017

Britain: Firm and boss fined for persistent safety failings
A company and its general manager have been fined after failing to abide by a succession of legal safety notices. Cambridge Magistrates’ Court heard how Cambridge Timbertec Ltd failed to maintain satisfactory standards of work after several inspections by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
HSE news release. Risks 800
Hazards news, 20 May 2017

Britain: Seven in 10 employees work when sick
Seven in ten (69 per cent) UK private sector employees – equivalent to 18 million workers nationally – have gone to work unwell when they should have taken the day off, an insurance industry study had found. Aviva’s Working Lives report found that by contrast, less than a quarter (23 per cent) say they have taken a day off work sick when they were not actually unwell.
Aviva news release and Aviva Working Lives Report 2017. The Independent. BBC News Online. Morning Star. Sky News. Risks 800
Hazards news, 20 May 2017

Global: Scramble to meet profit targets hurts workers
Companies scrambling to meet or beat profit projections have work-related injury and illness rates that are 12 per cent higher than other employers, a study has found. US researchers found that the higher rates can be explained by “benchmark-beating” employers cranking up workloads and work pressure, while cutting back spending on necessary safety maintenance and training.
The Pump Handle blog. Judson Caskey and Naim Bugra Ozel. Earnings expectations and employee safety, Journal of Accounting and Economics, volume 63, issue 1, pages 121–141, 2017. Risks 800
Hazards news, 20 May 2017

Global: Workers need legal protection, not voluntary standards
An international standard for health and safety may sound like a good idea, but the TUC warns the one under development now could be very bad news for workers. The International Standards Organisation (ISO) is developing the standard, ISO45001, which the TUC warns is being developed without formal input from either employers’ organisations or unions, is a commercial venture and is riddled with flaws and dangerous omissions.
TUC Stronger Unions blog. Risks 800
Hazards news, 20 May 2017

Britain: Union slams ‘paltry’ fine after worker buried alive
Construction union Unite has hit out at the ‘paltry’ £14,000 fine handed out to Wallace Roofing and Building Ltd after a worker was buried alive. Julian Kilbane still suffers health issues and has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder over five years on from the horrific incident on 29 September 2011.
HSE news release. The Courier. Daily Record. Construction Enquirer. Risks 800
Hazards news, 20 May 2017

Britain: Prosecution delay allows boss to escape jail
A company boss has avoided a jail sentence because of a six year delay in a serious workplace injury case coming to court. Alexander Mackay, who was a partner in the company, was told by a sheriff that a "wholly inadequate delay" in bringing the case to court meant that he would not impose a prison sentence.
Evening Telegraph. The Courier. BBC News Online. STV News. Risks 799
Hazards news, 13 May 2017

Britain: Phoenix firm evades £750k fine for asbestos crimes
A North London construction firm that put 200 workers at risk of asbestos exposure is unlikely to stump up any of the £750,000 fine imposed after the £10m a year business went into liquidation. Barroerock Construction Limited was prosecuted after repeated asbestos failings.
HSE news release. Construction Enquirer. Kent Online. Risks 799
Hazards news, 13 May 2017

Britain: Site boss jailed over falling window death
Construction boss Kelvin Adsett has been jailed for a year for manslaughter over the ‘wholly needless’ death of a lawyer crushed by half-tonne windows in Mayfair, central London. Amanda Telfer, 43, was killed when the stack of large unglazed frames collapsed on her as she walked past a building site in Hanover Square on 30 August 2012.
CPS news release. Evening Standard. BBC News Online. Risks 799
Hazards news, 13 May 2017

Britain: Solar panel firm fined £250k after fall through roof
Bristol-based solar panel installation company Solarjen Limited, known as Paul O’Brien Solar Installations (SW) Limited at the time, has been fined after a 49-year-old worker fell more than 3.5 metres through a void in a roof. The worker suffered serious injuries, including bleeding on the brain, a fractured spleen and fractured ribs.
HSE news release. Risks 799
Hazards news, 13 May 2017

Britain: DHL and JCB fined after double hit on worker
Two companies have been fined after a worker was seriously injured by a trolley carrying hydraulic rams. Stafford Crown Court heard how Martin Addison of DHL Services Limited (DHL) was auditing in-coming deliveries of equipment in an outside yard at JCB’s headquarters when he was struck from behind by falling machinery.
HSE news release and workplace transport webpages. Stoke Sentinel. Risks 799Hazards news, 13 May 2017

USA: Lost leg exposes giant chicken supplier’s bad practices
After reports of a young worker becoming the latest victims of a major chicken processor, David Michaels, the head of the federal workplace safety regulator OHSA during the Obama administration, has called Case Farms “an outrageously dangerous place to work.” According to a report in The New Yorker: “Case Farms has built its business by recruiting some of the world’s most vulnerable immigrants, who endure harsh and at times illegal conditions that few Americans would put up with.”
ProPublica/The New Yorker. Working Immigrants. Risks 798
Hazards news, 6 May 2017

Britain: Sub-contractor fined after worker fatally crushed
Specialist fabricator and installer CMF Ltd has been fined £185,000 after worker Richard Laco died on the £650m Francis Crick Institute job in London, where construction giant Laing O’Rourke was the main contractor. The 31-year-old’s death prompted protests by construction unions at Laing-run sites, where there had been a number of fatalities.
HSE news release. Construction Enquirer. Risks 798
Hazards news, 6 May 2017

Britain: Academy fined after teacher seriously injured in fall
A London academy school has been fined after a teacher suffered serious injuries in a fall. Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard that on 9 May 2016 the teacher Queen Elizabeth’s Girls’ School in Barnet, was installing spotlights and cabling in the school drama studio when he fell from a stepladder.
HSE news release. Risks 798
Hazards news, 6 May 2017

Global: Inequality and insecurity at work can kill
Divisive employment practices and increasing insecurity at work are fuelling a worldwide epidemic of work-related ’diseases of distress’, the global union body ITUC has warned. Sharan Burrow, ITUC general secretary, said insecure, ‘unfair’ work was leading to a sharp increase in stress and related harm to health, including work-related suicides.
ITUC news release and briefing. Equal Times. See the global round-up of events on 28 April. Risks 798
Hazards news, 6 May 2017

Britain: Labour gets to work, but where are the Tories?
Labour’s 20-point plan to end the ‘rigged economy’ in work has been welcomed by the TUC, which has challenged the Conservatives to say what they would do to improve the lot of workers. The Labour plan includes equal rights for all workers, regardless of their employment status, abolition of employment tribunal fees, a public inquiry into blacklisting, guaranteed of trade union rights and the reinstatement of protection at work from ‘third party harassment’.
TUC news release. Labour news release. Risks 798
Hazards news, 6 May 2017

Britain: Environmental health supports union on inspections
The organisation representing the local authority environmental health inspectors responsible for safety inspections in many workplace has backed a union call for more resources for enforcement. The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) was commenting on statistics released by Unite that revealed a dramatic fall the number of frontline Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspectors.
CIEH news release. Risks 798
Hazards news, 6 May 2017

Britain: Tens of thousands of work deaths unreported a year
Up to 50,000 work-related deaths may go unreported each year, according to GMB estimates. The union falling fatalities figures, recorded under the RIDDOR regulations, reflect a change in work patterns towards a more service sector workforce, and are only “the tip of the iceberg”.
GMB news release. Risks 798
Hazards news, 6 May 2017

Britain: Union warning after Ineos gas leak
A major gas leak at the giant Grangemouth petrochemical plant reaffirms the need for site owner Ineos to work constructively on its industrial and community relations, Unite has said. Speaking after the 2 May leak at the Kinneil Gas manufacturing plant, the union said union-busting Ineos has previously attracted the attention of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which has criticised the company’s health and safety record.
Unite news release. BBC News Online. Risks 798
Hazards news, 6 May 2017

Britain: GMB to target work death food firm
The union GMB is looking to extend union protection to a north-west food firm fined after a worker was crushed to death. On 4 February 2015, 29-year-old father of one Jacek Adamowicz was working at Hitchen Foods in Wigan, owned by the multinational Bakkavor Group, which pleaded guilty to criminal safety offences and was fined £2 million with £32,595.10 costs.
HSE news release. Risks 798
Hazards news, 6 May 2017

Bangladesh: Rana Plaza anniversary shows need for Accord
The 24 April fourth anniversary of the Rana Plaza garment factory collapse, killing 1,138 workers, shows why a groundbreaking, union-brokered Accord must be continued, IndustriALL has said. The global union says that although progress has been made, efforts to make Bangladesh’s garment industry a safe place for workers are still needed and the Bangladesh Accord must continue beyond its planned 2018 expiry date.
IndustriALL news release. Confined Space blog. The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh. Risks 797.
Hazards news, 29 April 2017

Global: Apparel brands urged to join transparency pledge
Global union confederation ITUC has called on more garment companies to sign a new supply chain ‘Transparency Pledge’ launched by a coalition of trade unions, human and labour rights organisations. Of 72 companies contacted by the coalition, only 17 are expected to have fully implemented the pledge by the end of 2017, meaning that they will have published information that will enable consumers, workers and advocacy groups and others to find out where the company’s products are made.
ITUC news release. Clean Clothes Campaign news release. Human Rights Watch news release and Transparency Pledge. Risks 797
Hazards news, 29 April 2017

Britain: South West Water fined £1.8m after worker drowns
South West Water has been fined £1.8 million following the death of 54-year-old Robert Geach. Truro Crown Court heard Mr Geach was working on the sand filtration unit of the Falmouth Waste Water Treatment Works on 30 December 2013 when a colleague discovered him face down in water.
HSE news release. Falmouth Packet. Risks 797
Hazards news, 29 April 2017

Britain: Site company fined after death of worker
Hague Construction Limited has been fined following the death of employee Daniel Clifford Yeowell. Lewes Crown Court heard the 26-year-old was employed by Hague as a ground worker and on 4 October 2013 he and his colleagues were constructing and installing drainage boxes at a site at Langley Green Primary School, Crawley.
HSE news release. Risks 797
Hazards news, 29 April 2017

Britain: Food firm fined after meat separator crushes hand
Becketts Foods Limited has been fined after a worker’s hand was crushed in a meat separating machine at the company’s Moat House base in Coventry. Coventry Magistrates’ Court heard that on 11 May 2016 the 22-year-old worker was loading meat into the meat separator, when he fell and his hand entered the machine.
HSE news release. Risks 797
Hazards news, 29 April 2017

Britain: Food firm fined for fingers in noodle machine
Noodle maker SCLA Limited has been fined after a worker suffered life changing hand injuries while operating machinery. Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard how on 17 December 2015 the worker was clearing a blockage on one of the noodle production lines when the index and middle fingers on his right hand were severed by the machine.
HSE news release. Risks 797
Hazards news, 29 April 2017

Britain: Action call on ‘shameful’ delay in justice for work deaths
Friends and families who have lost loved ones to workplace fatalities are having to wait over three years to secure justice, according to official figures obtained by Unite. The union said the figures, which it obtained in a Freedom of Information (FoI) request, reveal the average time between a workplace death and conviction for a related criminal safety offence is 1,234 days.
Unite news release. Risks 797
Hazards news, 29 April 2017

Britain: Unite exposes shocking cut in safety inspectors
Unite is warning that workers’ lives are being placed at risk due to a sharp fall in the number of frontline health and safety inspectors. Figures obtained by the union in a freedom of information request reveal that since 2010 there has been a 25 per cent reduction in the number of Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspectors.
Unite news release. Risks 797
Hazards news, 29 April 2017

Britain: Firm fined £400k after teenager loses four fingers
A company has received a six figure fine after a teenage employee lost four fingers in a machine. Factory worker al Ghazi Sulaiman was using an emery cloth on a rotating lathe to reduce the size of metal rods when he was seriously injured at Sankey Laminations in Bilston. The 18-year-old had not been properly trained for the job, Wolverhampton Crown Court heard.
Express and Star. Risks 796.
Hazards news, 22 April 2017

Britain; Electrician gets community service after young worker’s fall
A Birmingham electrician has been ordered to carry out unpaid work in the community after his trainee fell three and a half metres through a plasterboard ceiling. Birmingham Magistrates’ Court heard that the apprentice electrician, Soheil Afrapour, spent 23 days in hospital after suffering head injuries.
HSE news release. Risks 796
Hazards news, 22 April 2017

Bangladesh: Union action prevents major factory tragedy
Four years after the Rana Plaza factory complex collapsed, killing over 1,100 most women workers, a similar tragedy has been averted thanks to the union brokered Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Accord. “Four years on, the case of the Ananta textile factory in Dhaka suggests that it’s working, on this occasion saving 3,000 workers from suffering the same fate as Rana Plaza’s workforce,” notes Owen Tudor, head of the TUC’s international department.
TUC Stronger Unions blog. IndustriALL news release. Risks 796
Hazards news, 22 April 2017

Global: ITUC calls for asbestos trade crackdown
Global union confederation ITUC has called for international action to stop the trade in deadly chrysotile asbestos. The union body says a key step would be for potent cause of cancer and other diseases to be included on the UN’s Rotterdam Convention list of particularly hazardous substances that must be accompanied by a health warning when exported.
ITUC news release. Rotterdam Convention Conference of the Parties, 24 April-2 May 2017. IndustriALL news release. Inside Story. RightOnCanada.ca
Sign the LabourStart ‘Stand with Rajendra’ petition  that will be presented to the Rotterdam Convention conference on 2 May 2017. Risks 796
Hazards news, 22 April 2017

Global: Drivers asked to come forward with stories of IKEA abuses The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) is calling for truck drivers to continue coming forward with accounts of exploitation while moving goods for IKEA. Head of ITF inland transport, Noel Coard, said: “Every worker deserves respect and IKEA needs to take responsibility,” he said, adding: What are they waiting for?”
ITF news release and social media campaign #therealIKEA. ITF film: IKEA’s new product – the exploited truck driver. Risks 796
Hazards news, 22 April 2017

Korea: Samsung’s new phone, old exploitation
Samsung’s new Galaxy 8 smart phone is produced by an exploited and harassed workforce, according to an investigation into the company’s aggressive anti-union employment practices. Global union confederation ITUC found a company-wide policy “uses a combination of bribes, threats, bullying, dismissal and even kidnapping to keep its employees, and people working for its suppliers, under total control.”
ITUC news release and Samsung Exposed campaign. More on Samsung’s safety record. Risks 795
Hazards news, 8 April 2017

Global: We are all sickened by inequality at work
Whether it is a gaping gulf in pay, job insecurity or job discrimination based on your class, gender or race, a divided workplace is bad for your health, a top union official has warned. In a commentary ahead of International Workers’ Memorial Day on 28 April, Sharan Burrow, general secretary of the global union body ITUC, said who lives and who dies at work is not an accident of chance.
Face it. We are all sickened by inequality at work, editorial by ITUC general secretary Sharan Burrow, Hazards online, April 2017.
Unsafe and unfair – discrimination on the job hurts us all, ITUC briefing for International Workers’ Memorial Day, 28 April 2017.
TUC Workers’ Memorial Day 2017 events listing. Risks 795.
Hazards news, 8 April 2017

Britain: Work link to raised heart attack risk in firefighters
Exposure to heat and physical exertion greatly increase the risk of firefighters’ suffering a heart attack, researchers have said. The study may explain why heart disease is the leading cause of death among on-duty firefighters, the researchers from the University of Edinburgh said.
Amanda L Hunter and others. Fire simulation and cardiovascular health in firefighters, Circulation, volume 135, pages 1284-1295, April 2017.
University of Edinburgh news release. FBU circular. BHF news release. BBC News Online. East Lothian Courier. Risks 795.
Hazards news, 8 April 2017

Britain: Worker injured ‘every week’ on £745m bypass
More than 100 workers have been injured on the £745m Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR) project since construction started on the site in early 2015. Figures obtained by The Press and Journal show a total of 115 injuries have been recorded on the massive civil engineering job.
The Press and Journal. Construction Enquirer. Risks 795.
Hazards news, 8 April 2017

Britain: Big fine after big explosion at Stanlow refinery
An oil company has been fined £1.65m following an explosion at its Stanlow refinery in Ellesmere Port. Liverpool Crown Court heard that while there were no injuries, the blast in the early hours of 14 November 2013 at the Essar Oil UK Ltd facility caused internal structures to collapse, leading to damage totalling more than £20m.
HSE news release and COMAH webpages. BBC News Online. Risks 795.
Hazards news, 8 April 2017

Britain: Electricity supplier convicted after fall death
Electricity North West Ltd has been convicted of a criminal safety offence after an employee died in a six metre fall during routine maintenance of power lines. On 22 November 2013, experience lineman John Flowers, 63, climbed a ladder resting against a wood pole in order to trim ivy away from power lines, when he somehow cut through his work positioning strap and fell to his death.
HSE news release. Construction Enquirer. Risks 795.
Hazards news, 8 April 2017

Britain: Network Rail cutbacks will hurt safety, unions warn
Swingeing cuts announced by Network Rail will have a ‘terrifying’ impact on services and safety, rail unions have warned. RMT said that Britain’s railways risk sinking into further chaos as Network Rail – at the behest of official regulator the Office of Road and Rail – threatened to axe 1,000 safety-critical track renewal jobs.
RMT news release. TSSA news release. Risks 795.
Hazards news, 8 April 2017

Britain: Unite calls for action on windfarm safety
There must be urgent action to improve workers’ welfare and safety on windfarms after two workers died in a fortnight, construction union Unite has said. Unite regional co-ordinating officer, Steve Dillon, said: “The Health and Safety Executive needs to bring together all concerned to learn the lessons and improve safety and welfare in this sector.”
Unite news release. STV News. Daily Record. Risks 795.
Hazards news, 8 April 2017

Britain: Unite calls for action on windfarm safety
There must be urgent action to improve workers’ welfare and safety on windfarms after two workers died in a fortnight, construction union Unite has said. Unite regional co-ordinating officer, Steve Dillon, said: “The Health and Safety Executive needs to bring together all concerned to learn the lessons and improve safety and welfare in this sector.”
Unite news release. STV News. Daily Record. Risks 795.
Hazards news, 8 April 2017

Global: Chemicals agency capitulates to agrochemical lobby
Global food and farming union IUF has slammed a ruling by the European Chemicals Safety Agency (ECHA) that the toxic herbicide glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup, is not carcinogenic. IUF said: “Public authorities have once more demonstrated the extent of their capture by the industry they are charged with regulating, while new evidence for banning glyphosate continues to accumulate.”
IUF news release. ECHA news release. Laura N Vandenberg and others. Is it time to reassess current safety standards for glyphosate-based herbicides?, Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, published Online First: 20 March 2017. JECH news release.
Sign the European Citizens' Initiative petition seeking a ban on glyphosate. IARC question and answer on glyphosate. Risks 794
Hazards news, 1 April 2017

Global: Industry seeking to ‘sabotage’ asbestos controls
Unions should take action to stop the asbestos industry once again ‘sabotaging’ efforts to better control its toxic exports, the global union for the construction sector has said. BWI was speaking out ahead of a crucial conference to update the UN’s Rotterdam Convention list of especially hazardous substances subject to ‘prior informed consent’ (PIC) health warnings when they are exported.
BWI news release. Risks 794
Hazards news, 1 April 2017

Qatar: ILO maintains pressure on abuse of migrants
A decision by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to maintain pressure on Qatar over its ’kafala’ system of modern slavery has been welcomed by the global union body ITUC. The union body was commenting after the ILO’s Governing Body decided to keep open the possibility of a Commission of Inquiry into Qatar.
ITUC news release. ILO Governing Body decision. Inside World Football. Doha News.
TUC Playfair Qatar campaign. Risks 794
Hazards news, 1 April 2017

Britain: Whirlpool guilty over contractor worker’s fall death
Whirlpool UK Appliances Limited has been fined after a self-employed contractor fell from a mobile elevated work platform (MEWP) and later died from his injuries. The firm was fined £700,000 and ordered to pay costs of £11,466.
HSE news release. Construction Enquirer. Marion Star. Risks 794
Hazards news, 1 April 2017

Britain: Site giant fined £800k after crushing tragedy
Construction firm Laing O'Rourke has been fined £800,000 after a worker was crushed to death by a dumper truck driven by his brother. HSE inspector Jack Wilby said: “Laing O’Rourke did nothing to address the trend of these workers carrying out tasks they weren’t trained or authorised for.”
HSE news release. Your Local Guardian. Construction Enquirer. Evening Standard. Risks 794
Hazards news, 1 April 2017

Britain: Responsible site firm wasn’t responsible
A London construction company has been fined after complaints from the public alerted the safety regulator to a slew of criminal practices. Malik Contractors and Engineers Ltd pleaded guilty to a criminal breach of the construction management regulations and was fined £52,000, and ordered to pay £4,415 in costs.
HSE news release. Risks 794
Hazards news, 1 April 2017

Britain: Trailer firm fined after worker injured between vehicles
A Bedfordshire trailer firm has been sentenced after an employee suffered crushed ribs when he was trapped between a lorry’s cab and a trailer. BS Trailer Services Ltd pleaded guilty to two criminal safety offences and was fined £25,000 plus costs of £1,599.50.
HSE news release. Risks 794
Hazards news, 1 April 2017

Britain: Collapsing cardboard left crushed worker in coma
Arrow Recycling Ltd has been fined £160,000 after a worker was left fighting for his life after being crushed by about 400kg of cardboard. Wolverhampton Magistrates’ Court heard how Parvez Ahmed, 49, had been working on the recycling site in Smethwick, West Midlands on 22 April 2016 when he was crushed under bale stacks of falling cardboard.
HSE news release. Risks 794
Hazards news, 1 April 2017

Australia: Small fines for safety crimes, big fines for protesting
A major Australian construction firm has reacted angrily after a top union leader said it was wrong that a construction union was fined 16 times more for protesting about safety breaches than the firm that committed them. Grocon said it did not deny tragic deaths had occurred on its sites, but insisting it had not caused them.
ACTU statement from Sally McManus. Sydney Morning Herald. Risks 793
Hazards news, 25 March 2017

India: Leather workers risk their lives making your shoes
About 2.5 million Indian workers toil for long hours with toxic chemicals for poverty wages in the country's leather industry, making shoes and clothes for Western brands, a study has found. A report from the India Committee of the Netherlands (ICN), a human rights organisation, called for greater transparency in supply chains.
ICN news release and full report, Do leather workers matter? Violating labour rights and environmental norms in India’s leather production, March 2017. Thomson Reuters Foundation. International Dalit Solidarity Network. Risks 793
Hazards news, 25 March 2017

India: The horror of the ‘modern slaves’ in brick kilns
Approximately 25 million people work in over 100,000 brick kilns across India, according to Anti-Slavery International. But these are not normal jobs. An estimated 50,000 of these are thought to be working in slavery-like conditions, saud Sudhir Katiyar, project director of the Prayas Centre for Labour Research and Action.
Equal Times. Risks 793
Hazards news, 25 March 2017

USA: Trump doesn’t want to upset workplace killers
The US safety regulator OSHA has stopped issuing press releases highlighting enforcement action for serious safety offences. The last enforcement press release issued by the federal watchdog was on 18 January 2017, two days before the inauguration of Donald Trump.
Confined Space blog. American Prospect. Risks 793
Hazards news, 25 March 2017

Britain: Farm fined following fall death of 40-year veteran
A farming partnership has been fined following the death of a farm manager in Staffordshire. Stafford Crown Court heard on 20 May 2014, 67-year-old John Mills fell more than 14 feet from a fragile roof while dismantling farm buildings in Hyde Lea on land owned by the Toft Partnership.
HSE news release. Express and Star. Risks 793
Hazards news, 25 March 2017

Britain: Construction giant Kier fined after worker fell from height
Kier Construction Limited has been fined £400,000 after a worker fell from height, suffering serious injuries. Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard how Jair Morales was installing plywood boards covering holes on the third floor of a building when he fell a distance of 3.95m to the floor below.
HSE news release. Morning Star. Risks 793
Hazards news, 25 March 2017

Britain: ‘Shocking’ injuries as two fall from plane’s tail
An aircraft engineering company has been fined after two workers were knocked off a platform while they were carrying out checks at the tail of an aeroplane. Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court heard that an employee of Inflite Engineering Services and an agency worker suffered broken bones after the fall at Stansted Airport on 10 June 2015.
HSE news release. East Anglian Daily Times. Risks 793
Hazards news, 25 March 2017

Britain: Sharp increase in safety fines welcomed by HSE union
The union Prospect has welcomed a sharp rise in health and safety penalties in the last year. It says the total cost of health and safety fines has tripled in the year since the introduction of new sentencing guidelines for courts in England and Wales on 1 February 2016.
Prospect news release. Risks 793
Hazards news, 25 March 2017

Britain: Suicide is a workplace issue
The UK is turning a blind eye to a major workplace killer, work-related suicide, the TUC has warned. The union body points to a series of reports this week highlighting how work factors can put large sections of the workforce at a greatly increased suicide risk, but there the problem is off the radar of the safety regulator.
TUC Stronger Unions blog. TUC guidebook on mental health in the workplace (registration required).
Sarah Waters. Suicidal work: Work-related suicides go uncounted and unaccounted for in the UK, Hazards magazine, number 137, 2017. Hazards quick guide to work-related factors linked to suicide.
Suicide by Occupation 2011-2015, Office for National Statistics, March 2017.
Dying from inequality, Samaritans, March 2017. Reducing the risk of suicide: A toolkit for employers, Samaritans/Business in the Community, March 2017. Crisis management in the event of a suicide: A postvention toolkit for employers, Samaritans/Business in the Community, March 2017. Risks 793. 25 March 2017

France: International unions back corporate responsibility law
A campaign by unions in France is intent on defending a new law requiring French multinational companies to establish explicit plans to avoid and remediate violations of worker rights and environmental standards throughout their supply chains. Two days after the adoption of the law on 21 February the French Republican Party, backed by the employers’ organisation MEDEF, referred the issue to France’s Constitutional Council claiming that the law is unconstitutional.
ITUC news release. ETUC news release. Risks 792
Hazards news, 18 March 2017

Global: Call to reject Qatar’s modern slavery lies
Qatar should be called out when it tries to hoodwink governments next week about its serious ongoing abuses of workers’ rights, the global union ITUC has said. A submission by the government of Qatar to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), in the lead up to a discussion next week by ILO’s governing body on a complaint lodged by the ITUC on Qatar’s “kafala” system of modern slavery, is full of false and misleading claims, the union body says. 
ITUC news release. Risks 792
Hazards news, 18 March 2017

Britain: Farming firm fined after owner’s son drowns in grain
A family owned Norfolk farming company has been fined after the owner’s son died at its grain storage facility. Norwich Crown Court heard that on 9 July 2014, 21-year-old Arthur Mason took turns with 16-year-old Jamie Legg to clean inside grain bins at Hall Farm, Fincham, near Kings Lynn, run by Maurice Mason Ltd. guidance is freely available from HSE and other organisations.”
HSE news release. Norfolk Eastern Daily Press. BBC News Online. Risks 792
Hazards news, 18 March 2017

Europe: Ikea drivers living in trucks for months
Lorry drivers moving goods in Western Europe for Ikea and other retailers are living out of their cabs for months at a time. ITF head of inland transport, Noel Coard,said: “companies are under constant threat from the top of the supply chain: break the law or lose the contract.”
ITF news release and social media campaign #therealIKEA. BBC News Online. Risks 792
Hazards news, 18 March 2017

Ukraine: Explosion highlights deadly mine perils
The poor safety record of Ukraine mines has been condemned by the global mining union IndustriALL. The union was commenting after a 2 March explosion at state-owned mine in Stepnova killed eight miners.
IndustriALL news release. Risks 791
Hazards news, 11 March 2017

USA: Senate votes to kill worker safety rule
President Trump and congressional Republicans are poised to roll back a series of Obama-era worker safety regulations disliked by business groups. Republican lawmakers are employing the rarely used Congressional Review Act (CRA) to target safety rules – and once a rule is killed, it is killed forever.
NELP news release. Washington Post. The Hill. Risks 791
Hazards news, 11 March 2017

Canada: Delays put armoured car workers and public at risk
A further delay in implementing a Canadian Ministry of Labour ruling is putting the safety of armoured car workers and the general public at risk, the union Unifor has said.  “The directives in the original order recognised that the use of two-person, all off crews elevates the danger of armoured car personnel being attacked in public, which also increases the risk to innocent by-standers,” said Mike Armstrong, Unifor’s lead for the armoured car industry.
Unifor news release. Risks 791
Hazards news, 11 March 2017

Britain: Director and company fined for lift plunge death
Two London-based companies have been fined for criminal safety failings after one man died and another was left seriously injured after falling six storeys down a lift shaft. Romanian labourer Silviu Stefanita Radulescu, 31, who was poorly trained and not wearing a harness, was killed.
HSE news release. Risks 791
Hazards news, 11 March 2017

Britain: Ministry of Defence censured over agency driver’s death
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has been issued with a Crown Censure by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an agency driver working for the MoD was fatally injured by a reversing vehicle. Graham Wood, 55, was crushed between a reversing lorry and a stationary vehicle on the evening of 19 November 2013. 
HSE news release. Risks 791
Hazards news, 11 March 2017

Global: Samsung exposed ahead of industry showcase
The dangerous and abusive employment practices used by hitech giant Samsung have been challenged publicly by the global union confederation ITUC. In a high profile social media campaign ahead of the industry’s showcase Mobile World Congress, held in Barcelona from 27 February to 2 March, the union body said: “It’s a modern tech company with medieval labour practices, whose calling cards are union busting, poverty wages, and insecure and unsafe work conditions.”
ITUC ‘Samsung Exposed’ website and call on Samsung to end the abuse of its workforce. Risks 790
Hazards news, 4 March 2017

Britain: Council fined after sander removes schoolboy’s finger
Islington Borough Council has received a six figure fine after a schoolboy’s finger was cut off by a sander. Southwark Crown Court heard that on 25 March 2014, the 12-year-old was in a design and technology class when his left hand was trapped between the shape he was sanding and the sanding belt, leading to his middle finger had to be amputated down to knuckle.
HSE news release. Islington Gazette. Risks 790
Hazards news, 4 March 2017

Britain: Stately home guilty over butler’s death
The operator of one of Britain’s most iconic stately homes has been fined after a domestic servant was crushed to death by a lift. Arthur Mellar, 48, a butler at Burghley House in Stamford, was killed on 12 July 2014 when a luggage lift descended and trapped his head as he was trying to free an item of luggage that had become stuck.
HSE news release. BBC News Online. ITV News. The Sun. Risks 790
Hazards news, 4 March 2017

Britain: DFS fined £1m for ‘systematic’ criminal safety failings
Furniture retailer DFS Trading Limited has been fined £1 million after its ‘fundamental and systematic’ criminal safety failings led to a worker suffering serious neck and head injuries. Derby Magistrates’ Court heard that on 2 July 2015 the worker was unloading wooden furniture frames, when he was struck by an unsecured furniture arm, knocked him unconscious and suffered serious neck and head injuries.
HSE news release. CWU news release. Derby Telegraph. Risks 790
Hazards news, 4 March 2017

New Zealand: Anger as court endorses ‘cheque book justice’
The acceptance by a New Zealand court that a safety regulator could let the man who owned a deadly mine to escape criminal charges in exchange for a cash settlement has denied bereaved families justice, the country’s top union body NZCTU has said. The 16 February Court of Appeal ruling came in the case taken by Pike River Mine widow Anna Osborne, wife of Milton Osborne, and Sonya Rockhouse, mother of Ben Rockhouse, against the government safety watchdog Worksafe.
NZCTU news release. Press and Journal. Risks 789
Hazards news, 23 February 2017

USA: Study exposes racial inequalities in work injuries
Fewer economic opportunities may be exposing black and Hispanic workers in the US to an increased risk of workplace injury, according to a new study. Researchers from the University of Southern California and Boston University found that even after adjusting for variables such as education, sex and age, black and foreign-born Hispanic workers often worked in jobs with the highest injury risks and as a result experienced higher rates of work-related disabilities.
Seth A Seabury, Sophie Terp and Leslie I Boden. Racial and ethnic differences in the frequency Of workplace injuries And prevalence of work-related disability, Health Affairs, volume 36, number 2, pages 266-273, February 2017. The Pump Handle. Risks 789
Hazards news, 23 February 2017

USA: Union relief as ‘anti-labor secretary’ withdraws
The decision by fast food magnate and notorious labour rights abuser Andrew Puzder to withdraw his nomination for the post of Labor Secretary has been welcomed by unions and labour rights campaigners. President Trump’s first pick for the role, who had been labelled the ‘anti-labor secretary’ by workplace rights campaigners, saw the writing on the wall as it became apparent he was unlikely to secure the Senate votes necessary to be confirmed in the post.
AFL-CIO news release. Anti-labor secretary webpage. NELP news release. The Hill. New York Times. The Pump Handle. Think Progress. Democracy Now. Risks 789
Hazards news, 23 February 2017

Britain: Bus company convicted after worker’s fatal fall
Bus company Go Ahead London has been convicted of a criminal safety offence after a worker was killed when he fell from a ladder. Southwark Crown Court heard on 26 May 2011, 56-year-old Michael Porter was using a ladder to access the top of a fuel tank when he fell backwards two and a half metres, suffering fatal head injuries.
HSE news release. Risks 789
Hazards news, 23 February 2017

Britain: Suspended jail term after casual roof worker’s death
A self-employed businessman has been sentenced to nine months imprisonment, suspended for two years, and 200 hours of unpaid work after a casual worker fell from the flat roof of a building and died from his injuries. Manchester Crown Court heard how on 22 December 2013, father of two Jason Fogarty was working alongside company boss Roy Hardaker on a flat roof replacement project. to nine months imprisonment, suspended for two years, and 200 hours of unpaid work.
HSE news release and roofwork webpages. Risks 789
Hazards news, 23 February 2017

Britain: Steel worker suffered life threatening injuries
A Canvey Island engineering firm has been sentenced for criminal health and safety breaches after a worker suffered life-changing injuries. Southend-on-Sea Magistrates’ Court heard that on 10 June 2015 Felix Trefas, 27, a welder for F Brazil Reinforcements Ltd, was making large steel reinforcing cages which were moved by overhead travelling cranes.
HSE news release. Risks 789
Hazards news, 23 February 2017

Britain: Agency worker trapped hand in plastic machine
A West Yorkshire polythene film manufacturer has been sentenced for criminal safety breaches after a worker trapped his hand in machinery. Huddersfield Magistrates’ Court heard how the injured agency worker broke the little finger on his right hand while operating machinery in March 2014 at Total Polyfilm Ltd’s Brighouse plant.
HSE news release. Risks 789
Hazards news, 23 February 2017

Britain: Southern ‘rips up safety rule book’ says RMT
Rail union RMT has accused rail operator Southern GTR of attempting to train 40 ‘scab’ replacement workers in two days of classroom talks. The union says the company intends to use these managers to work as on-board supervisors (OBS) on its strike days over safety.
RMT news release. Morning Star. Risks 789
Hazards news, 23 February 2017

Australia: Union warning on asbestos imports
A four-pillar plan to fight asbestos importation to Australia has been issued by unions. The move by UNIONS NSW came after revelations that an engineering company with a history of importing asbestos is refusing to remove the illegal building material. needs a zero tolerance approach to this deadly material.”
Unions NSW news release. Risks 788
Hazards news, 18 February 2017

Britain: HSE cost recovery dispute process to be ‘independent’
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has announced that it is to consult on proposals to make the dispute process for its cost recovery scheme fully independent. The Fee for Intervention (FFI) disputes process was due to face a legal challenge, with a judicial review at the Royal Courts of Justice set for 10 and 11 May 2017.
HSE news release and Fee for Intervention scheme guide. Construction Enquirer. Risks 788
Hazards news, 18 February 2017

Britain: Contractor jailed after casual labourer’s fatal fall
Manchester building contractor Saleem Hussain has been jailed following the death of a casual labourer who fell nearly seven metres through a fragile roof. Karel Lascos, 45, had been carrying out repair work at Witney Mill, Manchester when the incident occurred on 23 November 2013.
HSE news release. Risks 788
Hazards news, 18 February 2017

Britain: Boss jailed over asbestos crimes on demolition job
A demolition company director has been jailed after putting workers and nearby residents at risk of “serious harm” by exposing them to asbestos. David Briggs, who runs Bury-based Briggs Demolition, was sentenced to 24 weeks in prison by district judge Nicholas Sanders at a hearing at Manchester Magistrates’ Court.
HSE news release and asbestos webpages. Oldham Chronicle. Risks 787
Hazards news, 11 February 2017

Britain: Director jailed after fireball blasts worker from a skip
The director of a construction company has been jailed for eight months after a young worker receiving life-threatening injuries when a fireball blasted him off of a skip. An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found company director David Gordon Stead did not ensure the burning of the waste material was being carried out in a safe or appropriate manner and failed to administer any first aid to the injured worker and did not send him to hospital.
HSE news release. Construction Enquirer. Risks 787
Hazards news, 11 February 2017

Britain: Bosses get suspended jail terms after posts hit worker
Maurice James Blackford and Susan Hawthorne, the owners of Kidderminster-based fencing contractor Hoo Farm Fencingm have been given suspended jail terms after a worker was hit by timber posts and frames that fell from a forklift truck. Raymond Lainsbury, 49, suffered injuries that still require regular physiotherapy sessions following the incident on 12 February 2016.
HSE news release. Kidderminster Shuttle. Risks 787
Hazards news, 11 February 2017

Britain: KFC fined £950k after workers scalded by hot gravy
Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) has been hit with a bill of almost £1 million after two young workers were burned with hot gravy. In a January 2017 prosecution, KFC admitted criminal safety breaches at two restaurants where employees were hurt and scarred and was ordered to pay £950,000 in fines and £18,700 in costs.
Stockton Council news release. Teesside Gazette. BBC News Online. The Mirror. Risks 787
Hazards news, 11 February 2017

Britain: Tube evacuation shows why staff cuts must be reversed
London Underground union RMT has repeated its call for a reversal in staffing cuts on the Tube system in the wake of a major fire-related incident at London Bridge station. The fire underneath an escalator on 31 January prompted a full evacuation.
RMT news release. The Mirror. Risks 787
Hazards news, 11 February 2017

Britain: Resources questionmark hangs over HSE health strategy
The Health and Safety Executive’s fledgling health and work strategy has been welcomed by the TUC, but the union body says questions remain over the impact of swingeing funding cuts on the watchdog’s ability to deliver. Commenting on progress on HSE’s December 2016 strategy, which prioritises action on stress, musculoskeletal disorders and occupational lung diseases, TUC head of safety Hugh Robertson said: “All the evidence is that the cuts in funding to the HSE and changes to the inspection regime that we have seen over the last seven years have disproportionately impacted on the health agenda.”
TUC Stronger Unions blog. HSE health and work strategy webpages and document. Risks 787
Hazards news, 11 February 2017

Britain: Government ‘turns a blind eye’ to tribunal fees injustice
Unions have accused the government of ignoring the devastating deterioration in workplace justice caused by punitive employment tribunal fees. Commenting after the government published its long-awaited review into the impact of employment tribunal fees, TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Charging people up to £1,200 to take claim has been a gift to Britain’s worse bosses.”
TUC news release. Unite news release. UNISON news release. The Mirror.
Review of the introduction of fees in the Employment Tribunals, Ministry of Justice, 31 January 2017. Risks 787
Hazards news, 11 February 2017

USA: Chemical industry emboldened by Trump’s UN pick
The woman chosen by president Donald Trump and now confirmed as the US ambassador to the United Nations has launched a scathing attack on the international body which could embolden an industry lobby angry at the UN’s role in assessing chemical cancer risks. During her confirmation hearing, South Carolina governor Nikki Haley said: “When we look at the United Nations, we see a chequered history… any honest assessment finds an institution that is often at odds with the American national interest and American taxpayers.”
American Chemistry Council news release. Work Cancer Hazards blog. The Hill. CNN News.
Neil Pearce, Aaron Blair, Paolo Vineis and others. IARC Monographs: 40 Years of Evaluating Carcinogenic Hazards to Humans, Environmental Health Perspectives, volume 123, issue 6, June 2015. Risk 786.
Hazards news, 4 February 2017

USA: Trump era dangers for Latino workers
The Trump administration’s crackdown on undocumented workers living in the US could increase the already sky-high fatality rates among Latino workers, safety advocates have warned. Jessica Martinez, the co-executive director at the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, said: “When you combine the anti-immigrant rhetoric of the Trump administration with the likelihood of decreased enforcement, it’s a very scary situation.”
Payday Report. Risk 786
Hazards news, 4 February 2017

Britain: Worker exposed to high level of carbon monoxide
A construction firm has been fined for criminal safety breaches after workers were exposed to carbon monoxide and other hazardous substances. Hull Magistrates Court heard how in October 2015 the Westlands Construction Ltd workers were using a petrol powered saw to cut out an existing concrete floor at a fish factory in Hull.
HSE news release and webpage on carbon monoxide hazards. Risk 786
Hazards news, 4 February 2017

Britain: University fined after experiment nearly kills students
A university has been fined after two students fell seriously ill following a botched laboratory experiment. Students at the University of Northumbria at Newcastle drank a solution with 100 times the amount of caffeine that should have been taken as part of the experiment.
HSE news release. BBC News Online. Cosmopolitan. Risk 786
Hazards news, 4 February 2017

Britain: Three construction firms fined after roof fall
Three companies from Essex have been fined after a worker was lucky to survive a fall through a fragile roof he was replacing. Chelmsford Crown Court heard how Rafal Myslim was standing on the fragile roof at Dengie Crops Ltd in Asheldem, when the asbestos sheeting gave way and he fell 7.5 metres onto a concrete floor, hitting a number of pipes on the way down.
HSE news release. Daily Gazette. Risk 786
Hazards news, 4 February 2017

Britain: JD Sports staff hospitalised 140 times in four years
At least 140 people have been taken to hospital after incidents at JD Sports’ controversial warehouse in Rochdale in the last four years. A freedom of information request obtained by the Guardian shows that ambulances have been dispatched to the site 166 times in the last four years, with 140 of these incidents leading to someone being transported to hospital.
The Guardian. Channel 4 News JD Sports investigation. Risk 786
Hazards news, 4 February 2017

Britain: Ferry dispute escalates after worker collapses
A health and safety dispute at London’s Woolwich Ferry has escalated after an engineer collapsed from inhaling engine fumes. Unite is currently embroiled in an industrial dispute on behalf of its 36 members working for Briggs Marine Contractors Ltd, the company that runs the ferry service on behalf of Transport for London (TfL).
Unite news release. Morning Star. Risk 786
Hazards news, 4 February 2017

Britain: Rail guards again prove their worth, union says
Serious incidents on Britain’s railways demonstrate the role that train guards play is essential for the protection of the travelling public, RMT has told industry’s regulator. A letter from the rail union to the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) warns that the incidents on the Bridlington to Sheffield and Littleborough to Smithy Bridge routes both required crucial interventions by the guard, whose role rail operator GTR Southern is bent on undermining.
RMT news release. Risk 786
Hazards news, 4 February 2017

USA: Report highlights the lifesaving role of enforcement
A commitment to effective regulation and enforcement of workplace safety was behind the Obama administration’s ‘exemplary’ record on workplace safety, a new report has concluded. The policy brief from the National Employment Law Project (NELP) notes that ‘adopting and enforcing sensible rules saves lives’.
Worker safety and health in the Obama years: An exemplary record, NELP policy brief, January 2017. Risks 785
Hazards news, 28 January 2017

Bangladesh: Garment brands exploiting kids
Major brands are implicated in the exploitation of child labour in garment factories in Bangladesh, a report has concluded. Researchers from the Stop Child Labour coalition found low wages and long working hours at firms supplying multinationals including C&A, The Gap, H&M, Esprit and Marks and Spencer play a key role in the decision of parents to take their children out of school and allow them in to work.
Stop Child Labour news release and Branded Childhood report. Risks 785
Hazards news, 28 January 2017

Britain: Bakery giant fined £2 million over broken back
National bread maker Warburtons has been fined £2 million after a worker was hospitalised following a fall that subsequently cost him his job. Andrew Sears was off work for more than a year after being hospitalised with a compression fracture to his spine, a court heard.
HSE news release. Express and Star. Risks 785
Hazards news, 28 January 2017

Britain: Probe call after Qatar World Cup stadium death
There must be an immediate and transparent investigation by the Qatar government into the death of a British worker during the construction of the Khalifa International football stadium in Doha, the UK construction union Unite has said. The man, aged 40, fell when a platform used to manage sound and lighting collapsed at the stadium on 20 January, the construction contractor Midmac-Six Construct joint venture said.
Unite news release. BBC News Online. Risks 785
Hazards news, 28 January 2017

Britain: Jaguar punished after Unite member loses leg
An incident where a Unite member lost his leg at a Jaguar Land Rover plant has been described as ‘shocking’ by the union. The luxury car manufacturer was convicted of a criminal safety offence and fined £900,000 after Mark Widnall was crushed at the vehicle plant in Solihull in 2015.
Unite news release. HSE news release. Risks 785
Hazards news, 28 January 2017

Britain; Cuts blamed for rising fire deaths
Resource cuts are responsible for a sharp rise in the number of people who have died as a result of fires in the home, the firefighters’ union FBU has said. The union was speaking out after the Home Office released its latest Fire Incident Response Times statistical bulletin.
FBU news release. Fire Incident Response Times statistical bulletin, Home Office, 19 January 2017. Risks 785
Hazards news, 28 January 2017

Britain: Firefighters sent home for safety stand
A chief fire officer has been accused of behaving recklessly after he sent home two firefighters from their shift on 16 January when they refused to operate a Tactical Response Vehicle (TRV). The furefighters were heeding a warning from their union FBU that these vehicles are unsafe.
FBU news release. Risks 785
Hazards news, 28 January 2017

Pakistan: Five more burn to death at Gadani yard
At least five workers died in a fire onboard an LPG container ship at the Gadani shipbreaking yard in Pakistan on 9 January. Yet despite scores of fatalities at Gadani in the last few months, the global union IndustriALL says no measures have been taken to improve safety.
IndustriALL news release. Labour Watch Pakistan. Risks 784.
Hazards news, 21 January 2017

Asia: Big jump in e-waste imports, study finds
The volume of discarded electronics in East and South-East Asia jumped by two-thirds between 2010 and 2015, and e-waste generation and is growing fast and exposing workers to hazards, new research has found. Study co-author Shunichi Honda co-author said. “Associations have been reported between exposure from improper treatment of e-waste and altered thyroid function, reduced lung function, negative birth outcomes, reduced childhood growth, negative mental health outcomes, impaired cognitive development, cytotoxicity and genotoxicity.”
United Nations University news release and Regional E-waste Monitor: East and Southeast Asia. Risks 784
Hazards news, 21 January 2017

Britain: Crisp firm fined for chopped fingers
A crisp and snacks manufacturer has been fined after an agency worker lost part of three fingers. Northampton Crown Court heard how the worker, working at Tayto Group Limited, was clearing a blockage of material from a machine on the production line when the worker’s hand came into contact with shears and three fingers on his right hand were severed, below the first knuckle.
HSE news release and work equipment webpages. Risks 784
Hazards news, 21 January 2017

Britain: Waste worker loses both legs
A Welsh landfill company have been fined after a worker had to have both legs amputated after being run over at work. Mold Crown Court heard how tractor driver Emrys Hughes was walking across the yard at the Bryn Posteg Landfill site in Llanidloes, when he was hit by a large shovel loader.
HSE news release and waste transport webpages. Daily Post. Risks 784
Hazards news, 21 January 2017

Britain: Rochdale’s risky roofer gets fined
A roofing contractor has been fined after putting the lives of two employees at risk when working at height without protection against falls. The employees of Rochdale-based MW Roofing (NW) Ltd were removing a chimney on a two storey house when they were seen accessing the roof via a roof ladder, without any fall prevention measures.
HSE news release and working at height webpages. Risks 784
Hazards news, 21 January 2017

Britain: Unions seek work rights clarity from Theresa May
Workers need more clarity from the prime minister on her pledge to protect workers’ rights after the UK leaves the European Union, the TUC has said. The union call came after Theresa May said the UK “cannot possibly” remain within the European single market.
Theresa May’s speech, 17 January 2017. TUC news release. BBC News Online. ITV News. Risks 784
Hazards news, 21 January 2017

Britain: Plant hire boss jailed after deadly platform collapse
A plant hire boss has been jailed for two years after a worker was killed when a mobile platform collapsed. Safety net rigger Gary Currie and his colleague Alexander Nisbet were in the basket of the platform removing netting from the facade of an office block in Glasgow when the third main boom section buckled causing the platform’s basket to fall 28 metres, killing Currie and seriously injuring Nisbet.
COPFS news release. STV News. Construction Enquirer. Risks 783
Hazards news, 14 January 2017

Britain: Wilko fined £2.2m over part-timer crushed by paint
National chain store Wilko has been fined £2.2m after a worker was crushed and left paralysed. Corisande Collins, who was 20 at the time of the incident, was pinned beneath a metal cage full of paint while she was working at a store in Leicester in 2013.
Leicester City Council news release. Leicester Mercury. BBC News Online. Banbury Guardian. Risks 783
Hazards news, 14 January 2017

Britain: Network Rail fined £800,000 after train hits worker
Network Rail has been fined £800,000 in a prosecution brought by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR), for a serious criminal safety breach which left a worker with life-threatening injuries. Track worker Alan Evans sustained multiple serious injuries when he was struck on the right shoulder by a train in June 2014, while performing rail maintenance work near Redhill in Surrey.
ORR news release. Brighton Argus. Risks 783
Hazards news, 14 January 2017

Europe: Work chemicals safety inspection blitz to start
An inspection programme by health and safety regulators across the European Union is to determine how legally required safety information on hazardous chemicals is communicated in company supply chains and followed in workplaces. The key element of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) project will be to investigate the quality of the safety data sheets that contain guidelines on the safe use of hazardous substances.
ECHA news release. Risks 783
Hazards news, 14 January 2017

Britain: Solid action in defence of Tube safety
‘Solid’ strike action in January was in defence of safety standards on London Underground, rail unions have said. They warn cuts have left Tube safety procedures ‘decimated’, with the system now ‘an under-staffed death trap.’
TSSA news release. RMT news release. Risks 783
Hazards news, 14 January 2017

Britain: Unions criticise regulator’s Southern Rail ‘whitewash’
A transport safety regulator is being used by Southern Rail to downplay the safety implications of driver-only operated (DOO) trains, unions have warned. An Office of Rail and Road (ORR) report issued ahead of strike action on the Southern Rail network, “is a complete whitewash that proves conclusively that the Office of Road and Rail is no longer fit for purpose and is nothing more than an arm of government, wholly committed to propping up the train companies and the Department for Transport,”  RMT’s Mick Cash said.
ASLEF news release and related release. RMT news release. Morning Star. Evening Standard. Surrey News. Report on GTR-Southern’s Driver Only Operation, ORR, 5 January 2017. Risks 783
Hazards news, 14 January 2017

Britain: Labour market watchdog needs to bear teeth
Naming and shaming rogue companies is not enough and bad bosses must be prosecuted, the GMB has said. The union was commenting after Sir David Metcalf was named by the government as the first director of labour market enforcement, and will oversee the work of three regulators - the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA), the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate (EAS), and the HMRC National Minimum Wage (HMRC-NMW) enforcement team.
Department for Business news release. GMB news releaseIoD news release. Morning Star. Risks 783
Hazards news, 14 January 2017

USA: Trump's labour pick is bad news for workers
Donald Trump’s pick for the new US secretary of labor is a notorious opponent of protective employment and safety rights. Burger magnate Andrew Puzder, whose mandate will cover the federal safety regulator OSHA, is on record saying workers are “overprotected” and is an advocate of replacing human workers with machines, because machines are “always polite, they always upsell, they never take a vacation, they never show up late, there’s never a slip-and-fall, or an age, sex, or race discrimination case.”
Mother Jones. AFL-CIO Now blog. Raw Story. Risks 782
Hazards news, 7 January 2017

Britain: Oil giant’s appeal against £3m fine dismissed
Energy giant ConocoPhillips (UK) Ltd has failed in its bid to reduce the level of fine handed down after multiple gas releases at an offshore facility in the North Sea. Dismissing the appeal, held in the Royal Courts of Justice in London, Lord Justice Treacy that court the company had fallen short of appropriate standards and the case was one of high culpability.
HSE news release. Risks 782
Hazards news, 7 January 2017

Britain: British Airways fined for shaky practices
British Airways plc has been fined £6,500 for failing to protect its workers from exposure to vibration. Paisley Sheriff Court heard how employees working within the composite workshop at the firm’s Glasgow base were exposed them to the risk of hand arm vibration syndrome (HAVS), a condition that can cause potentially permanent symptoms such as tingling, pins and needles, numbness and pain in the hands.
HSE news release. Risks 782
Hazards news, 7 January 2017

Britain: Human cannonball death boss gets community service
The organiser of a daredevil stunt show in which a novice ‘human cannonball’ died has been given a 12-month community order. Scott May and the company, Stunts UK Ltd, admitted failing to ensure the safety of workers at the 2011 event in which 24-year-old Matthew Cranch died.
Sky News. BBC News Online. Risks 782
Hazards news, 7 January 2017

Britain: Gangmasters settle modern slavery claim
Kent-based gangmaster DJ Houghton Chicken Catching Services has agreed to a landmark settlement worth more than £1m in compensation and legal costs for a group of migrants who were trafficked to work on farms producing eggs for high street brands. The deal reached with six Lithuanian chicken catchers is the first settlement of a claim against a British company in relation to modern slavery, and came after the group became frustrated at the lack of a criminal prosecution.
Leigh Day news release. The Guardian. Risks 782
Hazards news, 7 January 2017

Britain: Teacher payouts reflect falling budgets and standards
Teaching staff are facing stress-inducing pressures as budgets and staffing levels fall, Scottish union EIS has said. The union, which in the last year secured over £600,000 in compensation settlements for members harmed by their jobs, said the way to reduce this compensation bill was to make work safer and healthier.
EIS news release. BBC News Online. Risks 782
Hazards news, 7 January 2017

Britain: Injured will lose as insurers pocket millions
Government plans to clamp down on perceived fraud in whiplash claims include measures to remove access to free or affordable legal advice for 95 per cent of all personal injury claimants, civil service union PCS has warned. The union says behind the claims that car insurance premiums will be reduced due to restricting bogus whiplash claims, is a “sinister attempt to impose a baseless 500 per cent increase to the small claims limit for all personal injury claims, whether they occur on the road, in the workplace, or anywhere else.”
PCS news release. Risks 782
Hazards news, 7 January 2017

Britain: Offshore workers fearful for their safety
Almost 60 per cent of offshore workers fear for their health and safety and say that standards have dropped in the past six months, according to a new report from Unite.  The union’s survey found 58.5 per cent of offshore employees said there had been a drop in standards in the last six months, with fear of victimisation for reporting an incident reported by 38.5 per cent.
The National. STV News. BBC News Online. Risks 782
Hazards news, 7 January 2017

Britain: Prime minister must stand firm on workers’ rights
The TUC has called on prime minister Theresa May to make clear to Britain’s bosses that any watering down of workers’ rights following Brexit is off the table. The call follows the emergence of a letter sent to MPs by well-connected Brexiteer Simon Boyd, the head of REIDsteel, which details a list of workers’ rights on areas such as working hours, holiday pay and health and safety that he wants abolished once we leave the EU.
TUC news release. Simon Boyd’s letter to MPsThe Express. Risks 782
Hazards news, 7 January 2017

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