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

 


DEADLY BUSINESS NEWS

USA: Site whistleblower injured in hotel collapse is deported
A construction worker who became a witness in a US federal workplace safety investigation after he was injured during a deadly building collapse has been deported by the immigration authorities. The worker, Delmer Joel Ramirez Palma, had to scramble to stay alive while metal and debris rained down and parts of the 18-storey Hard Rock Hotel in New Orleans was pancaked around him and killed three of his colleagues on 12 October.
New York Times. Washington Post. The Guardian. Risks 926.
Hazards news, 7 December 2019

Australia: Industrial manslaughter law passed in Victoria
Industrial manslaughter is now a criminal offence in the Australian state of Victoria under new laws passed by the state’s parliament. The offence will fall under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 and will apply to employers, self-employed people and ‘officers’ of a company or organisation.
Victorian government news release. Fully Loaded. Risks 926.
Hazards news, 7 December 2019

Britain: Firm fined for high hazard biological agents breach
A biosciences company has been fined after safety inspectors discovered it was in possession of potentially lethal biological agents without a licence. Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court heard that in September 2017, concerns were raised in connection with Thermo Electron Ltd, trading as Fisher BioServices, regarding the nature of biological agents that had arrived at its site in Bishop Stortford, in a shipment from overseas.
HSE news release. Risks 926.
Hazards news, 7 December 2019

Britain: Director sentenced after his brother’s fatal fall
A solar panel company director has been sentenced to 200 hours of community service after his brother’s fatal fall at work. Company director Michael John Webb pleaded guilty to a criminal breach of the same regulations and was handed a 12-month community order to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay costs of £15,000
HSE news release and roofwork webpage. Risks 926. 7 December 2019
Hazards news, 7 December 2019

Britain: 'Cruel and inhumane' treatment of journalists must stop
UK journalists’ union NUJ has called for an end to the harassment of UK-based journalists by the Iranian authorities. NUJ members working for UK-based broadcasters Iran International and the BBC Persian Service have been subjected to new threats, the union said.
NUJ news release. Risks 926.
Hazards news, 7 December 2019

China: Coal mine explosion leaves 15 dead
A gas explosion at a coal mine in the northern Chinese province of Shanxi on the afternoon of 18 November killed 15 miners and injured another nine, It was the twelfth coal mine accident this year in Shanxi, China’s traditional coal heartland, to be recorded on China Labour Bulletin’s (CLB) Work Accident Map.
CLB news report and Work Accident Map. New York Times. Risks 925.
Hazards news, 30 November 2019

Britain: Serial criminal who killed finally gets banned
The director of a waste transfer company has been given a suspended jail term, community service and has been banned from running a company after knowingly exposing employees to seriously unsafe working conditions. Preston Crown Court heard that in November 2018 Zarif Mohammed, despite a conviction for transport related health and safety offences following a fatal incident in 2013, and further enforcement action in 2017 for using a poorly maintained and damaged telehandler, allowed the continued use of the same seriously damaged machine on the waste transfer site in Blackburn.
HSE news release. Risks 925.
Hazards news, 30 November 2019

Britain: Site firm fined after ‘wholly avoidable’ dumper truck fatality
A leading construction company has been fined following a ‘wholly avoidable incident’ in which a worker was killed when a dumper truck overturned. Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court heard that on 3 October 2019, David Scott Green, a groundworker working for Rose Builders Ltd, was manoeuvring a front tipping dumper truck when he lost control of the vehicle which toppled forward and came to rest upside down at the base of the spoil heap.
HSE news release. Essex County Standard. Risks 925.
Hazards news, 30 November 2019

Australia: McDonald’s staff ordered to work despite bushfire warning
An Australian McDonald’s restaurant is under investigation by a workplace safety regulator following reports that staff were ordered to keep working despite being told by fire authorities to evacuate because of deadly bushfires. On Friday 8 November, when multiple suburbs in Port Macquarie in New South Wales came under threat, McDonald’s workers at the highway branch were instructed to keep working.
Yahoo News Australia. Nine News. Risks 925.
Hazards news, 30 November 2019

Britain: Record employment based on poor quality jobs
Record high UK employment is based on an explosion in the numbers working in poor quality jobs, researchers from LSE’s Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) have found. While the UK has experienced record high employment rates since January 2015, wage growth over the past 11 years has been lower than in any other developed country except Greece, their study found
CEP news release and full report, The Labour Market - CEP Election Analysis. More on the hazards of low pay and insecure work. Risks 925.
Hazards news, 30 November 2019

Britain: Union warning on cuts as Surrey fire fatalities up
The number of fire fatalities is on the rise in Surrey, the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has learned. Lee Belsten, Surrey FBU brigade secretary, said: “It’s no coincidence that the number of home fire deaths has risen at a time when response times have slowed due to staffing shortages.”
FBU news release. Risks 925.
Hazards news, 30 November 2019

Global: New coalition stresses safety is a ‘human right’
A new global workplace safety coalition has been launched and is “committed to accelerating the improvement of working conditions through closer cooperation.” Initial founding partners of the Global Coalition on Occupational Safety and Health, include the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the International Commission on Occupational Health (ICOH), the European Commission, the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA), and a number of governments; steering group also includes representatives of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and the International Organisation of Employers (IOE). 
Finnish government news release. Video of the Global Coalition on Occupational Safety and Health launch. Risks 924.
Hazards news, 23 November 2019

USA: Tesla factory ‘plagued’ by worker injuries
Workers at a Tesla ‘Gigafactory’ in Nevada have been struggling with workplace safety issues, a local housing shortage, and a lack of bathrooms at work, according to a new report. Analysis of 911 calls and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspection records by USA Today indicated injuries at Gigafactory near Reno are routine - “at least three a month” - but not all injuries are reported as required by law.
CNBC News. Forbes. Business Insider. Risks 924.
Hazards news, 23 November 2019

Britain: Contractor fined after worker horribly burned in cable strike
A groundworks contractor has been fined after an operative struck an underground electricity cable resulting in horrific burns over half of his body. Folkestone Magistrates’ Court heard that, on 15 October 2018, G&R Groundworks (South East) Ltd operatives were using an electric ground breaker to dig fence post holes for a car park perimeter fence at a Cummins Power Generation site in Ramsgate, Kent.
HSE news release. Risks 924.
Hazards news, 23 November 2019

Britain: Bolton blaze exposes ‘complete failure’ of UK fire safety
A devastating fire at a student accommodation block in Bolton exposes the need for a complete overhaul of UK fire safety and reveals the dangerous consequences of cuts to fire and rescue services, firefighters’ union FBU has said. The 15 November blaze quickly gutted the top floor of the cladded building and caused substantial damage through the following two stories of the student flat complex known as The Cube – leaving 220 students homeless.
FBU news release. The Independent. BBC News Online. Morning Star. Construction Enquirer. Risks 924.
Hazards news, 23 November 2019

USA: Chemical firm fined $1.59m after deadly explosion
A US silicone factory has been fined $1.59 million (£1.23m) for safety violations that were uncovered following a blast on 3 May 2019 that killed four workers. The deadly incident in Waukegan, around 50 miles north of Chicago, happened at AB Specialty Silicones where the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) identified 12 ‘wilful’ federal safety violations.
OSHA news release. Risks 923.
Hazards news, 16 November 2019

Brazil: Dam owner Vale failed to report deadly danger signs
The collapse of a dam that killed at least 250 people in Brazil in January could have been prevented if its owner had reported defects to authorities, the mining regulator has concluded. The National Mineral Agency (ANM) said in a statement that mining giant Vale had failed to report warning signs before a sea of waste from the Feijão dam engulfed a canteen, offices and farms in Brumadinho, in Minas Gerais state.
BBC News Online. Wall Street Journal. Voice of America. Risks 923.
Hazards news, 16 November 2019

Britain: Manslaughter charges over 2015 mill blast deaths
A company and its management are facing criminal charges over the deaths of four workers in an explosion at a wood flour mill. Owners Wood Treatment Ltd has now been charged with corporate manslaughter; director George Boden is accused of manslaughter by gross negligence and two managers also face charges.
CPS news release. BBC News Online. The Guardian. Risks 923.
Hazards news, 16 November 2019

Britain: Dairy farm fined after worker blinded by disinfectant
Beechdean Farm Limited has been fined for a criminal safety offence after an employee was permanently blinded by corrosive cleaning chemicals. High Wycombe Magistrates’ Court heard that in August 2017, an employee was cleaning the walls of the dairy at Old House Farm in North Dean, Buckinghamshire, using the corrosive disinfectant DM CiD, which contains potassium hydroxide.
HSE news release. Risks 923.
Hazards news, 16 November 2019

Britain: Union calls for safety assurances after theatre ceiling collapse
Theatre technicians’ union Bectu has said it will work with its sister unions and a theatre owner to ensure safety is prioritised after several audience members were injured when a London theatre’s ceiling collapsed. The incident occurred at the Piccadilly Theatre during a 6 November performance of Death of a Salesman starring US actor Wendell Pierce.
BECTU news release. BBC News Online. Variety. Risks 923.
Hazards news, 16 November 2019

Britain: Under-resourced fire crews left to tackle flood dangers
There must be a new statutory duty for firefighters in England to respond to flooding, the firefighters’ union FBU has said. The union said England lags behind other parts of the UK, where fire services have a legal duty to respond to funds and can obtain funds to cover the costs of this work. 
FBU news release. TUC news release. Environment Agency news release. BBC News Online. The Mirror. The Guardian.
Health and safety in flooded areas, TUC, 2014. When it pours: Flood preparation can save lives, Hazards magazine factsheet. Risks 923.
Hazards news, 16 November 2019

Australia: Deliveroo workers demand safety after deaths 
Food delivery riders in Australia have sent letters to Deliveroo demanding that the company comply with workplace health and safety laws. The union members believe this would help address the dangers they face, including collisions with cars, lethal falls from their bikes and heat stress.  
TWU news releaseDelivery Riders Alliance. Risks 922.
Hazards news, 9 November 2019 
 
Malawi: Tobacco farmers challenge multinational abuses 
Almost 2,000 tobacco tenant farmers from Malawi, including hundreds of children, are taking legal action against British American Tobacco (BAT) accusing the multinational of forced and child labour. The child farmers carry out much the same work as the adult farmers including building ridges for planting, harvesting tobacco leaves, applications of toxic pesticides and bundling tobacco leaves.  
Leigh Day news releaseUS Customs and Border Protection withhold release order on tobacco from MalawiThe Guardian and related story. Risks 922.
Hazards news, 9 November 2019  

Australia: Bosses could face work suicide ‘manslaughter’ charges  
Negligent bosses in the Australian state of Victoria could face up to 20 years in jail and multi-million dollar fines over the suicide deaths of ‘brutalised’ workers under a proposed workplace manslaughter law. The Victorian state government says the proposed laws will cover deaths caused by mental injuries, including trauma from bullying or other forms of abuse sustained on the job, as well as accidents and illnesses caused by unsafe workplaces.  
Victorian government news releaseThe AgeYahoo 7 NewsThe AustralianRisks 922.
Hazards news, 9 November 2019 

Britain: University fined after researchers exposed to sensitisation risk 
The University of Edinburgh has been fined for failings which led to two animal research workers, who were already sensitised to laboratory animal allergens (LAA), being put at risk of adverse health effects as a result of further exposures. The University of Edinburgh pleaded guilty to two criminal safety offences and was fined £10,000.  
HSE news releaseRisks 922.
Hazards news, 9 November 2019 

Britain: RMT condemns ‘broken promises’ over excrement on tracks 
Rail union RMT has condemned train companies for reneging on a pledge to eliminate the dumping of excrement on the railway by the end of this year. The union said the failure “shows that profit is more important to them than the rail workers who will continue to have to work in disgusting unsanitary conditions amongst the raw sewage.”  
RMT news releaseThe ObserverRisks 922.
Hazards news, 9 November 2019 

Britain: Grenfell fire inquiry is yet to target the ‘true culprits’  
The London Fire Brigade (LFB) should not take the blame for the “impossible” circumstances that hindered the Grenfell Tower rescue operation, the firefighters’ union FBU has said. Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “The true culprits of the fire are those who wrapped the building in flammable cladding, who gutted the UK’s fire safety regime, who ignored the warnings from previous fires, and who did not hear the pleas of a community worried for their safety.” 
Grenfell Tower Inquiry Phase One report. FBU news releaseUnite news releaseGMB news releaseMorning StarBBC News OnlineConstruction EnquirerThe IndependentEvening StandardRisks 922.
Hazards news, 9 November 2019 

Britain: New building safety watchdog will be able to levy big fines
The government has said it intends to create a powerful new Building Safety Regulator. The government indicated the new regulator will oversee the design and management of buildings, with a strong focus on policing the new regime for higher risk buildings and it will have the power to take quick and effective action, imposing heavy fines, when designers and contractors fail to comply.  
Government news releaseConstruction EnquirerRisks 922.
Hazards news, 9 November 2019 

Britain: Government contempt leads to more working wounded 
The outgoing Conservative government has overseen an increase in work fatalities, injuries, work-related ill-health and record work stress cases in Great Britain at the same time convictions and fines for criminal workplace safety offences have plummeted, new official statistics have revealed. The new figures for 2018/19 from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) expose government policies that have created a growing army of ‘working wounded’, too insecure and low paid to go sick.  
HSE news releaseHealth and safety at work: Summary statistics for Great Britain 2018, 30 October 2019. Risks 922.
Hazards news, 9 November 2019 

Britain: Record high stress shows bosses need to fix bad jobs  
The root causes of record high levels of stress-related ill-health at work must be tackled by employers, the TUC has said. The union call came as new Health and Safety Executive (HSE) statistics revealed a shocking 602,000 workers in Great Britain are now suffering from work-related stress, depression or anxiety, with workload cited as the most common reason.  
Work-related stress, anxiety or depression statistics in Great Britain 2019, HSE, 2019. TUC blog and resources: TUC guide to responding to harmful work-related stressTackling workplace stress using the HSE Stress Management Standards, TUC and HSE guidance for health and safety representativesTUC workbook on mental health in the workplaceTUC mental health awareness trainingTUC health, safety and wellbeing guideRisks 922.
Hazards news, 9 November 2019 

Britain: GMB shames Boris as figures expose safety cuts and carnage 
The GMB has warned that Boris Johnson’s long-held contempt for workplace health and safety is reflected in the Conservative government’s cost-cutting attitude to workers’ lives. Citing a 2009 article by Boris Johnson in the Telegraph newspaper, GMB’s Jude Brimble said: “Boris Johnson may think health and safety campaigners are the 'Royal Society for the Extremely Stupid' - but these are people’s lives we are talking about.”  
GMB news releaseHSE 2018/2019 statistics tablesHealth and safety fears are making Britain a safe place for extremely stupid people, Boris Johnson, The Telegraph, 6 July 2009 and related 2017 article in the IndependentRisks 922.
Hazards news, 9 November 2019 

Britain: Unite concern as site injuries go up and prosecutions down 
New figures from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) showing a rise in construction injuries and a fall in prosecutions show bad employers are being allowed to ignore safety law to “boost profits”, the union Unite has warned. The HSE’s figures show that the number of non-fatal injuries per 100,000 workers rose from 359 in 2017/18 to 366 in 2018/19; during the corresponding timeframe there was a 22 per cent decrease in the number of construction prosecutions undertaken by the HSE, which fell from 202 in 2017/18 to just 158 in 2018/19.  
Unite news releaseConstruction EnquirerRisks 922.
Hazards news, 9 November 2019 

Global: NUJ push to end impunity for crimes against journalists 
The journalists’ union NUJ has contacted ambassadors and other country representatives in the UK to press for an end to crimes against journalists and the impunity of those responsible. The union said it has picked a series of countries to focus on this year as part of the global campaign – the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malta, Yemen, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Mexico, Palestine/Israel, Peru, Philippines and Ukraine.  
NUJ news release and IFJ campaign and toolkitRisks 922.
Hazards news, 9 November 2019 

USA: ‘Captive’ regulator linked to Boeing crashes
Boeing’s defective 737 Max jet design was able to get by regulators because the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was too reliant on the company to vouch for its safety, according to a multinational taskforce. John Samuelsen, president of the Transport Workers Union, which represents thousands of mechanics with American Airlines, said the international fact-finding report showed the consequences of the FAA becoming a captive of the industry it regulates.
Salon. FAA updates on the Boeing 737 Max. Seattle Times. New York Times. Risks 921.
Hazards news, 2 November 2019

Australia: Government union-busting bills criminalise safety protests
The Australian government’s determination to proceed with the ‘extreme’ union-busting Ensuring Integrity and Worker Benefits bills would leave unions less able to keep workers safe or fight for better pay and conditions, the national union federation ACTU has warned. It said by ignoring evidence to a senate inquiry of the inevitable damaging consequences of the changes, the government demonstrated that these bills are not about good policy but a ‘blind attack on the union movement’ which will hurt millions of working people.
ACTU news release. Financial Review. Risks 921.
Hazards news, 2 November 2019

Britain: DHL fined £2.6m after tyre centre death
Logistics company DHL has been fined £2.6 million for criminal health and safety breaches after an employee at its Coventry tyre distribution centre was killed in an avoidable accident. Robert Baynham, 50, was crushed when a stack of tyre stillages toppled and two of them fell through the roof of the office where he and three colleagues who were also injured were working.
Coventry City Council news release. Coventry Observer. Risks 921.
Hazards news, 2 November 2019

Britain: Brexit negotiators removed 'adequate' from worker rights plan
An internal UK government memo on the consequences of Boris Johnson's Brexit deal renegotiation singles out as a “win” the removal of the word “adequate” from the UK-EU Political Declaration to describe mechanisms for enforcing common social, environmental, and labour standards after Brexit. The note written for the government's cross-Whitehall Economic Partnership Steering Group indicates the word “adequate” has been replaced by the word “appropriate”, making it possible to argue it is “inappropriate for the future UK-EU relationship” that disputes about these commitments on employment, environment, tax, state aid and other standards should be subject to binding arbitration.
Financial Times. BBC News Online. The Guardian. Risks 921.
Hazards news, 2 November 2019

Britain: Academy chain’s plan to axe staff could risk school safety
The safety of pupils and staff could be at risk if Ormiston Academies Trust – which runs primary and secondary schools across England – follows through with plans to cut caretaking and maintenance jobs, schools union UNISON has warned. UNISON head of education Jon Richards said: “Time and time again we’ve seen large organisations impose cost-cutting measures that sound good in the boardroom, but in the real world lead to poorer services, low morale, unemployment and, in this case, safety risks.”
UNISON news release. Risks 921.
Hazards news, 2 November 2019

USA: Report exposes Amazon warehouse ‘pressure and pain’
A study has exposed unhealthy workplace practices at a major Amazon warehouse in New York. The New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) research report, ‘Time off task: Pressure, pain, and productivity at Amazon’, reveals that 80 per cent of workers at the year-old Staten Island facility were pressured to work harder or faster at their facility, 66 per cent expressed experiencing physical pain while performing work duties, and 42 per cent continued to experience pain even when they weren't at work.
NYCOSH news release and report, Time off task: Pressure, pain, and productivity at Amazon, NYCOSH, October 2019. The Guardian.
Amazon in the UK: GMB ‘Amazon workers are not robots’ campaign and petition. More on Amazon UK’s safety record and related That’s rich! poster. Risks 920.
Hazards news, 26 October 2019

Britain: Construction safety test cheats caught in police raids
Corrupt construction safety test centres have been caught selling answers to candidates seeking to obtain a safety qualification necessary to work on British construction sites. The illegal activities involving three centres was exposed during counter-fraud raids by the construction industry training board CITB, police and the Home Office.
CITB news release and health, safety and environment test. Construction Enquirer. Risks 920.
Hazards news, 26 October 2019

Britain: Director jailed after employee’s excavator death
Front Row Builders Ltd boss Robert Harvey has been jailed after an employee was crushed to death by an excavator bucket, which Harvey was operating. The employee, Nicholas Hall, 32, was pinned against the wall of an excavation pit for a vehicle wash bay that was under construction for Peter Lawless Road Planing Limited in Blantyre, Scotland.
HSE news release. BBC News Online. Risks 920.
Hazards news, 26 October 2019

Britain: Government ditches binding workers’ rights commitments
Unions and the Labour Party have warned that Boris Johnson's reworked Brexit deal would threaten workers' rights and protections in the future. While the prime minister has insisted the UK will “maintain the highest possible standards in social protections and the environment”, he has removed the commitment from the legally-binding Brexit deal he says he will push through by 31 October.
TUC news release and blog. Labour Party news release. Unite news release. GMB news release. Usdaw news release. BBC News Online. The Guardian. The Mirror. Risks 920.
Hazards news, 26 October 2019

Global: Lululemon leggings workers routinely abused
Upmarket athletic wear brand Lululemon, whose £88 yoga and running leggings are favoured by celebrities, is sourcing clothing from a factory where Bangladeshi female factory workers claim they are beaten and physically assaulted. The Canadian brand recently launched a partnership with the United Nations to reduce stress levels and promote the mental health of aid workers.
The Guardian. UN Foundation news release. Lululemon global impact assessment, responsible supply chain policies and news release. Risks 919.
Hazards news, 19 October 2019

Global: Oxfam uncovers abuse in UK supermarket supply chains
Poor pay and harsh working conditions are common on farms and plantations that supply tea or fruit to global supermarkets including Lidl, Aldi, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Morrisons, according to new research from Oxfam. The research, including in-depth interviews with workers in India and Brazil and a survey of workers in five other countries, highlights how the supermarkets’ relentless drive to cut costs and maximise profits is fuelling poverty, abuse and gender discrimination in their supply chains.
Oxfam news release. BBC News Online. Risks 919.
Hazards news, 19 October 2019

Global: Union warning on Tokyo Olympics safety violations
Preparations for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 remain blighted by “recurring violations and poor working conditions” the global union BWI has warned. A delegation headed by Ambet Yuson, BWI’s general secretary, warned the remaining months before the games were ‘critical’.
BWI news release and report, The Dark Side of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, May 2019. CTV News. Risks 918.
Hazards news, 12 October 2019

Qatar: Migrant sudden deaths not investigated
Concerns have been raised about the deaths of hundreds of migrant labourers each year preparing facilities for the 2022 Qatar football World Cup, with the majority of the fatalities attributed to heart attacks or “natural causes” by the Qatari authorities. Many are young men who die in their sleep – a phenomenon known locally as “sudden death syndrome”.
The Guardian and related story on Qatar’s heat related migrant worker deaths. Risks 918.
Hazards news, 12 October 2019

USA: Call to ditch dangerous pork line speed-up
A US Department of Agriculture (USDA) rule lifting the maximum line speeds and reducing the number of government safety inspectors by 40 per cent at pork slaughter and processing plants should be set aside, a legal challenge has argued. The lawsuit filed by Public Citizen and the foodworkers’ union UFCW follows a rule-making process which saw thousands of individuals and organisations tell USDA its rule would endanger the lives and safety of both consumers and workers.
Public Citizen news release. Risks 918.
Hazards news, 12 October 2019

Britain: Steel mill fined £1.8m after double fatality
Steel mill owner Celsa has been fined £1.8m after an explosion at its Cardiff steelworks killed two workers and seriously injured another. A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found the explosion would have come without warning to engineers Peter O’Brien, a dad of six, and father-of-two Mark Sim, who died at the rod and bar mill.
HSE news release. Construction Enquirer. Wales Online. Risks 918.
Hazards news, 12 October 2019

Britain: Building materials firm fined £1m after maintenance death
Cemex UK Operations Limited has been fined £1m after a worker suffered fatal injuries when he was struck on the body by a centring machine lifting mast. Livingston Sheriff Court heard that on 13 May 2017, James Brownlie was carrying out maintenance and repair work on a dry sided conveyor when his body interrupted the path of the light beam between the sensor’s emitter and reflector, which caused the machine’s lifting mast to activate and descend, striking the 64-year-old on the body and causing internal injuries from which he died a short time later.
HSE news release. Edinburgh Evening News. Risks 918.
Hazards news, 12 October 2019

Britain: Union evidence exposes rail safety risks
Britain’s railways remain dangerous, with track workers particularly at risk, as a result of fragmentation and other factors, the rail union TSSA has warned. Its ‘evidence paper’ to the government-commissioned Williams Rail Review highlights ‘concerns over trackworker safety’ and provides ‘additional evidence about safety concerns that we have in relation to staff working on or about the railway’.
TSSA news release. Williams Rail Review. BBC News Online. Risks 918.
Hazards news, 12 October 2019

Britain: Remembering tragedies, RMT calls for safe rail for all
Two decades after 31 lives were lost in the Ladbroke Grove rail disaster, rail union RMT has warned that government policy could create ‘the same poisonous cocktail of conditions’ that lead to the 5 October 1999 tragedy. RMT is warning “a return to casualisation, a myriad of contractors and sub-contractors, long hours and fatigue – all driven by a cuts and austerity environment on the railway – is in danger of turning the clock back.”
RMT news release. BBC News Online. Risks 918.
Hazards news, 12 October 2019

Europe: EU action after chemical firms flout the law
EU government delegates on the European Commission’s REACH committee have agreed to increase the minimum compliance check target for chemicals registration dossiers from 5 per cent to 20 per cent, the first concrete legislative step following reports of widespread flouting of EU rules by high volume users of industrial chemicals. The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) came under pressure last year after German regulators found the majority of dossiers submitted by chemicals firms do not comply with the REACH regulation covering the majority of substances used in the EU, due to absent safety data or failures to update regularly.
ENDS Europe (subscription service). Risks 917.
Hazards news, 5 October 2019.

France: Major risk concentrated in the lower grades
Major workplace hazards like shiftwork and multiple exposures to chemicals are concentrated almost entirely in lower grade workers, with managers rarely exposed to the risks. The official SUMER 2017 survey, whose findings were released in September 2019, revealed shiftwork affects almost eight times more private sector unskilled staff (22 per cent) than managerial staff (2.8 per cent).
ETUI News. DARES report No 41 (in French)  Risks 917.
Hazards news, 5 October 2019.

New Zealand: Officers lied about seafarer’s near death
A New Zealand court has fined the captain and chief officer of the merchant ship Emilie Bulker for lying to port state control after one of their crew nearly died in the ship’s hold. The hold where he had been working was poorly ventilated and contained palm kernels, known to deplete oxygen in the air.
Maritime NZ news release. Safety at Sea. Risks 917.
Hazards news, 5 October 2019.

Britain: Worker dies at Tata Port Talbot steelworks
A worker has been killed at Tata's Port Talbot steelworks. Tata Steel Europe said the company's thoughts were with the family of contractor Justin Day, and a full investigation had been launched.
Wales Online. BBC News Online. The Guardian. Risks 917.
Hazards news, 5 October 2019.

Britain: Two workers killed on cut price demolition job
The company that won a tender for a steelworks demolition job where two workers died last week had agreed do the job for significantly less than the official valuation for the work. The deceased men are understood to have been working in a cherry picker when they were engulfed in flames following an explosion on 19 September.
The Gazette. Construction Enquirer. BBC News Online. Risks 916.
Hazards news, 28 September 2019

Britain: Director escapes jail after worker impaled on spike
The former director of a now-dissolved landscaping company has been sentenced for criminal safety breaches after a worker was impaled on a spike. RK United Ltd director Hafeez Ghafoor pleaded guilty and was given a 12-month prison sentence suspended for two years and ordered to complete 200 hours of community service.
HSE news release. Construction Enquirer. Risks 916.
Hazards news, 28 September 2019

Britain: Waste firm director sentenced to unpaid work
The director of a waste management company has been ordered to carry out unpaid work after an employee was critically injured while using equipment the boss knew was unsafe. Poole Magistrates’ Court heard that on 18 April 2017 Justin Tinsley, then aged 33, had only been employed by Mike Toon Ltd for a few weeks when he was trapped between a telehandler and a gate post at the company yard in Poole.
HSE news release. Risks 916.
Hazards news, 28 September 2019

Britain: Two workers killed on cut price demolition job
The company that won a tender for a steelworks demolition job where two workers died last week had agreed do the job for significantly less than the official valuation for the work. The deceased men are understood to have been working in a cherry picker when they were engulfed in flames following an explosion on 19 September.
The Gazette. Construction Enquirer. BBC News Online. Risks 916.
Hazards news, 28 September 2019

Britain: Director escapes jail after worker impaled on spike
The former director of a now-dissolved landscaping company has been sentenced for criminal safety breaches after a worker was impaled on a spike. RK United Ltd director Hafeez Ghafoor pleaded guilty and was given a 12-month prison sentence suspended for two years and ordered to complete 200 hours of community service.
HSE news release. Construction Enquirer. Risks 916.
Hazards news, 28 September 2019

Britain: Waste firm director sentenced to unpaid work
The director of a waste management company has been ordered to carry out unpaid work after an employee was critically injured while using equipment the boss knew was unsafe. Poole Magistrates’ Court heard that on 18 April 2017 Justin Tinsley, then aged 33, had only been employed by Mike Toon Ltd for a few weeks when he was trapped between a telehandler and a gate post at the company yard in Poole.
HSE news release. Risks 916.
Hazards news, 28 September 2019

Britain: TSSA warning on safety cuts after Tube death
A transport union has urged Transport for London (TfL) to ‘rethink’ further cuts to its workplace safety cover, warning the move would inevitably come with grave risks. The union TSSA was speaking out after engineer Christian Tuvi, 44, was killed while working on a travelator at London Waterloo underground Station in the early hours of 18 September.
TSSA news release. BBC News Online. Construction Enquirer. Risks 916.
Hazards news, 28 September 2019

Britain: Government deregulation ‘responsible for Grenfell’
The UK government bears ultimate responsibility for the Grenfell Tower fire which left 72 people dead and hundreds homeless, the firefighters’ union FBU has said. A new ‘meticulously researched’ report from the union argues decisions made by every government since Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative administration led to the ‘gutting’ of the UK’s fire safety regime and, ultimately, to Grenfell.
FBU news release and report, The Grenfell Tower Fire: A crime caused by profit and deregulation, FBU, September 2019. Risks 916.
Hazards news, 28 September 2019

Britain: Union action call to force bad ship operators out
The leader of the UK maritime union Nautilus has called on unions worldwide to work together to force out shipowners who flout rules governing decent working conditions. Speaking at the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) inspectors seminar in Sri Lanka, Nautilus general secretary Mark Dickinson said: “With nearly 140 trained ITF inspectors worldwide, covering 119 ports in 56 countries, there really is nowhere to hide for bad shipowners,” adding: “Together, we will force bad operators out of business,” he said.
Nautilus news release. Risks 916.
Hazards news, 28 September 2019

Britain: RMT DOO dispute on West Midlands Trains
Rail union RMT has confirmed it is now in dispute on West Midlands Trains over plans by the company to ‘bulldoze through’ driver only operation (DOO), a move the union says will ‘rip apart the safety critical role of the guard at the platform/train interface.’ Preparations for a ballot of guards for both strike action and action short of a strike are now underway.
RMT news release. Risks 916.
Hazards news, 28 September 2019

Britain: BP fined after massive ‘extremely flammable’ crude release
Energy giant BP has been fined £400,000 for criminal safety failings after the release of more than three tonnes of ‘extremely flammable’ and ‘unstablised’ crude oil at the Sullom Voe terminal in Shetland. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which investigated the incident and prosecuted the company, said the leak “was not noticed for about 30-40 minutes.”
HSE news release. BP news release. BBC News Online. The Shetland Times. Risks 915.
Hazards news, 21 September 2019

Britain: Roofing contractor fined after fatal ladder fall
An Aberdeen-based roofing contractor has been fined after an employee fell to his death from an unsafe scaffold that had been erected by an unqualified worker on the orders of a company director. Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard that on 21 September 2016, Joseph Kane, an employee of Henderson and Aitken Limited, fell from the top rungs of a ladder when it slipped sideways on the scaffold.
HSE news release. Risks 915.
Hazards news, 21 September 2019

Britain: Engineering firm fined after worker killed in fab shop
A Scottish engineering company has been fined following the death of an employee at IODS Pipe Clad Limited in who was struck on the head in the yard of a fabrication workshop. Hamilton Sheriff Court heard how, on 7 September 2017, James Longair, 62, was struck on the head by a wooden bearer, causing fatal injuries.
HSE news release. Risks 915
Hazards news, 21 September 2019

Global: Report exposes multi-billion social auditing con
A new report has revealed how the multi-billion social auditing industry is using ‘corporate social responsibility’ (CSR) to protect brand reputation and profits while aggravating the risks to garment workers. The report, ‘Fig Leaf for fashion: How social auditing protects brands and fails workers’, published by the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC), examines the practices of major ‘corporate controlled’ social compliance initiatives, including Social Accountability International, WRAP, the FLA, and amfori BSCI, and the auditing firms, including Bureau Veritas, TÜV Rheinland, UL, RINA, and ELEVATE.
CCC news release, full report, Fig Leaf for fashion. How social auditing protects brands and fails workers, and report summary. Risks 915.
Hazards news, 21 September 2019

Pakistan: Unions pledge to continue fight for factory safety
Unions and workers, remembering the victims of a deadly fire seven years ago at the Ali Enterprises factory in Pakistan, have pledged to continue their fight for safety and justice. NTUF union leader Nasir Mansoor said: “Workers continue to suffer hazardous working conditions, adding: “The government has diluted the labour inspection regime when it should to be strengthened to improve safety.”
IndustriALL news release. Risks 915.
Hazards news, 21 September 2019

Britain: Maritime minister snubs safety funding request
Maritime minister Nusrat Ghani has rejected a call backed by all sides of the industry for the government to reinstate funding for the UK's Confidential Hazardous Incident Reporting Programme (CHIRP). The snub forces the vital offshore safety system to continue to operate on charitable grants only.
Nautilus news release. Risks 915.
Hazards news, 21 September 2019

Britain: Asda cashes in, staff threatened with the sack
Asda profits have rocketed more than £92 million with a healthy chunk paid to directors – but at the same time the supermarket giant is threatening staff with no sick pay and the sack if they don’t sign a controversial new contract. Asda’s latest accounts show pre-tax profits have shot up almost 13 per cent to almost £805 million. Asda directors trousered a whopping £12 million, the union GMB said, up 25 per cent from £9.4 million the year before.
Asda news release. GMB news release. Risks 915.
Hazards news, 21 September 2019

Australia: South Australian (SA) construction workers are being put at risk by a toxic safety culture and a regulator that fails to seriously investigate safety breaches and “literally phones it in” rather than inspect unsafe sites, the construction union CFMEU has warned. “It is only a matter of time before there is another avoidable fatality at a construction site in SA,” said CFMEU national construction assistant secretary, Andrew Sutherland.
Mirage News. Risks 914.
Hazards news, 14 September 2019

Global: Supply chain safety and rights abuses exposed
The business model and sourcing practices of the international brands that sell us our clothing, electronics, sports shoes and other products are the root cause of the unhealthy and illegal conditions in global supply chains, a top independent labour inspector has warned. Garrett Brown, who has worked worldwide on labour standards initiatives, reviewed a plethora of recent papers, concluding “it is the deliberate policies and practices of the major apparel, electronics, toys and other consumer goods that cause and enforce abusive working conditions for millions of workers in supply chain factories around the world.”
The Pump Handle. Worker-Driven Social Responsibility Network. Risks 914.
Hazards news, 14 September 2019

USA: Deadly meat industry could soon get deadlier
Trump administration policies threaten to worsen the already dangerous conditions for meatpacking workers in the United States, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has warned. The 100-page HRW report, “‘When we’re dead and buried, our bones will keep hurting’: Workers’ rights under threat in US meat and poultry plants”, describes alarmingly high rates of serious injury and chronic illness among workers at chicken, pig, and cattle slaughtering and processing plants.
HRW news release and video. ‘When we’re dead and buried, our bones will keep hurting’: Workers’ rights under threat in US meat and poultry plants, HRW, September 2019. Risks 914.
Hazards news, 14 September 2019

Britain: Employee seriously injured in fall from lorry
A manufacturer of steel water storage tanks and supporting towers has been fined after a worker suffered multiple fractures following a fall from height. Cwmbran Magistrates Court heard how, on 25 October 2017, a Braithwaite Engineers Limited employee was injured when he fell from a lorry bed whilst unloading the vehicle at their site in Risca, resulting in multiple fractures of his head, ribs, shoulder blade and fingers, causing him to miss over five months of work.
HSE news release. Risks 914.
Hazards news, 14 September 2019

Britain: School uniform supplier challenged over sweatshop concerns
One of the UK’s largest school uniform manufacturers has been challenged by unions to show its clothing isn’t being made using sweatshop labour. Trutex has so far refused to release information about the factories it uses, according to labour rights campaigning organisation Labour Behind the Label.
UNISON news release. Labour Behind the Label. Campaign video.
Sign the online petition calling for Trutex to release its supplier list. Risks 913.
Hazards news, 7 September 2019

Britain: Dangerous Devonport dockyard under enhanced scrutiny
A company that ignored warnings about dangerously low staffing has been prosecuted for criminal safety offences that saw a worker narrowly escape death. Jane Bowie of the Office for Nuclear Regulation, which brought the prosecution, said: “Devonport Royal Dockyard Ltd continues to be under enhanced regulatory attention and we will continue to monitor its progress through regular inspections.”
ONR news release. Plymouth Herald. Risks 913.
Hazards news, 7 September 2019

Britain: Company fined after worker suffers crush injuries
A manufacturing company has been fined for criminal safety breaches after a worker suffered severe crush injuries while fault-finding on a mesh welding machine. Leeds Magistrates’ Court heard how on 26 January 2016 the employee at Siddall and Hilton Products Ltd was injured when the machine restarted, suffering compound fractures of his tibia and fibula that has led to long term problems.
HSE news release. Risks 913.
Hazards news, 7 September 2019

Britain: Vehicle servicing firmed fined over crushed employee
Volvo Group UK Limited has been fined after an employee was crushed by a truck, leading to serious injury. Volvo Group UK Limited pleaded guilty to two criminal safety offences and was fined £13,333.33.
HSE news release. Risks 912.
Hazards news, 31 August 2019

Britain: Relaxing driving time limits could end in deaths warns Unite
A no deal Brexit could result in lorry driving time limits being relaxed, leading to exhausted drivers posing a danger to other road users, Unite has warned. The transport union is calling on the government to rule out explicitly any relaxation or suspension of EU regulations which govern driving time for lorry driver.
Unite news release. Unite Live. Risks 912.
Hazards news, 31 August 2019

Britain: New Unite call for culpable homicide legislation in Scotland
Unite has repeated its call on the Scottish parliament to pass a proposed culpable homicide law. The construction union’s statement came after the death of a worker on a Sir Robert McAlpine site in Glasgow. The 43-year-old worker died in a 22 August incident at the £40 million revamp of the St Enoch Centre in Glasgow city centre.
Unite news release. GlasgowLive. Evening Times. Falkirk Herald. STV News. BBC News Online. Construction Enquirer. Risks 912.
Hazards news, 31 August 2019

Ireland: Spate of dock deaths sparks calls for urgent action
Irish dock workers’ union SIPTU has made an urgent call for better protection for all workers in the country’s ports, through better regulations and enforcement, after a 50-year-old truck driver was killed on a Dublin dock on 14 August. The death of Nicholas 'Nick' Collier at North Docks at Dublin Port marks the seventh death of a worker in an Irish port in the past two years.
SIPTU news release. ITF news release. Irish Times. Irish Independent. Risks 911.
Hazards news, 24 August 2019

Japan: Third fatality on Tokyo 2020 construction jobs
The death on 8 August of a 50-year-old construction worker from suspected heatstroke has again highlighted the deadly risks facing workers preparing facilities for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, the global building union federation BWI has said. Toiling in soaring temperatures, the worker was laying cable to a building which will serve as a media centre for the event when he was found unconscious, dying later in hospital.
BWI news release and report, The dark side of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, May 2019.
NRDC video on the impact of extreme heat on workers and others. Risks 911.
Hazards news, 24 August 2019

Global: New to the job workers face higher risks
It is not your age, but how long you have been in the job that determines your risks, a major review has confirmed. The paper concludes there should be renewed efforts to raise awareness of the issue, introduce protective policies and to ensure “worker empowerment.”
At Work, issue 97, Institute for Work & Health, Summer 2019.
FC Breslin and others. Are new workers at elevated risk for work injury? A systematic review, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, volume 76, issue 9, pages 694-701, 2019. doi:10.1136/oemed-2018-105639
HSE new to the job webpages. Risks 911.
Hazards news, 24 August 2019

Britain: Tory centre would work you to death
A think tank headed by former work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith has been condemned for suggesting that the state pension age (SPA) should be raised to 75. Latest official figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show in the UK in 2015 to 2017, “healthy life expectancy (HLE) at birth was 63.1 years for males and for females was 63.6 years,” but this masks a wide disparity between the richest and poorest areas, with ONS noting: “HLE at birth across local authority areas of the UK varies by 21.5 years for females and 15.8 years for males in 2015 to 2017.”
Morning Star. The Independent.
Ageing confidently – Supporting an ageing workforce, CSJ, August 2019. ONS figures on healthy life expectancy. Risks 911. Hazards news, 24 August 2019

Britain: Two years on, Grenfell inquiry has still to deliver justice
Firefighters’ union FBU has said there has been a denial of justice for those affected by the Grenfell Tower fire, as two years after the start of the inquiry into the tragedy no findings have so far been published and its second phase has been delayed until 2020. FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said: “From the start, we have warned that the shape of this inquiry puts the firefighters who risked their lives on the stand, and allows politicians and business interests, who did nothing to stop Grenfell becoming a death trap, to avoid scrutiny.”
FBU news release. Risks 911.
Hazards news, 24 August 2019

Global: Monsanto's 'intelligence fusion center' targeted activists
Monsanto operated a “fusion center” to monitor and discredit its critics, internal company documents have revealed. The agrochemical giant, now owned by the German pharmaceutical corporation Bayer, also monitored a not-for-profit food research organisation through its “intelligence fusion center”, a term that the FBI and other law enforcement agencies use for operations focused on surveillance and terrorism.
USRTK news release, The Monsanto Papers and Monsanto Roundup trial tracker. TUC glyphosate guide. The Guardian. Risks 910.
Hazards news, 17 August 2019

Britain: Director gets curfew over vibration disease cases
The director of a company providing specialist services in rock drilling, cliff stabilisation and rock anchors has been handed a curfew and a suspended jail sentence after three workers were diagnosed with hand arm vibration syndrome (HAVS). Plymouth Magistrates’ Court heard how the employees of Celtic Rock Services Limited had developed and reported symptoms of HAVS but no action was taken.
HSE news release. Construction Enquirer. Risks 909.
Hazards news, 10 August 2019

Britain: Roofing director blown off school site in storm
Construction firm Bowmer and Kirkland and two contractors have been fined after the director of one of the firms received serious injuries when a gust of wind blew him off a roof. Principal contractor Bowmer and Kirkland, Advance Roofing Ltd and JKW Roofing were working on the roof of the new three storey teaching block of Abbotsfield School for Boys in Hillingdon, London.
HSE news release. Construction Enquirer. Risks 909.
Hazards news, 10 August 2019

Britain: Trauma for agency shift worker injured by unguarded machinery
A company that manufactures absorbent products has been fined after an agency worker suffered a life-changing injury to her hand when it was caught in a rotating fan blade as she worked the night shift. Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 18 October 2017, the 34-year-old agency worker had been working her second shift at the NPS Worldwide UK Limited site in Oldham.
HSE news release. Risks 909.
Hazards news, 10 August 2019

Britain: Unite demands action after three injured in scaffold collapse
There must be an urgent inquiry into a scaffolding collapse that left three people in hospital, the construction union Unite has said. The union said an official probe was “essential” to ensure lessons are learned from the 1 August incident in Reading town centre.
Unite news release. London Evening Standard. Construction Enquirer. Risks 909.
Hazards news, 10 August 2019

Britain: Seafarers get right to refuse Strait of Hormuz work
UK seafarers have now got the right to refuse work in the Strait of Hormuz, under a deal agreed by unions and the shipping industry. The Warlike Operations Area Committee (WOAC) agreed to temporarily designate the Strait of Hormuz as a ‘High-Risk Area’ from 2 August, following government advice that vessels should avoid the area unless accompanied by UK naval support.
Nautilus news release and related release. Cabinet Office news release. Bloomberg News. Risks 909.
Hazards news, 10 August 2019

Australia: Union warns of outsourcing dangers after port incident
A maritime union has said outsourced maintenance work on the docks was behind a potentially ‘catastrophic’ incident where wire ropes slipped on a crane used to load and unload shipping containers at DP World’s Port Botany terminal. The MUA said it was pure luck that no one was injured in the “major safety incident.”
MUA news release. Risks 908.
Hazards news, 3 August 2019

Britain: Firm fined £1m after two burnt in explosion
A car and commercial vehicle component manufacturer has been fined £1 million after two employees suffered burns when chemicals used to clean a distillation tank ignited. Cheltenham Magistrates’ Court heard how on 11 July 2017 two employees of Delphi Diesel Systems Limited were burnt when the vapour of a flammable chemical, which was being used to clean the distillation tank of a component washer, ignited and caused an explosion.
HSE news release. GloucestershireLive. Risks 908.
Hazards news, 3 August 2019

Britain: KJ Pickering fined over 6,350-volt shock death
“Shortcuts were taken” by a building firm fined £102,400 after a 6,350-volt shock killed one of its workers. Mark White, 47, was electrocuted when a metal rake he was holding came into contact with overhead power lines in Ashton, Northamptonshire, in 2016 while working for KJ Pickering.
BBC News Online. Risks 908.
Hazards news, 3 August 2019

Britain: Concrete giant fined £400,000 after worker loses four fingers
Concrete multinational Hanson has been fined £400,000 after a welder lost four fingers during an unsafe lifting operation on a London site. A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that Hanson Quarry Products Europe Limited did not properly plan and supervise this lifting operation to ensure it was carried out in a safe manner.”
HSE news release. Construction Enquirer. Risks 908.
Hazards news, 3 August 2019

Britain: Chemical company fined after worker killed by forklift
Minteq UK Ltd, a Birmingham manufacturer of calcium carbonate products, has been fined £200,000 after a worker suffered fatal injuries when struck by a forklift truck. Birmingham Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 24 July 2017, Christine Workman struck by a forklift truck whilst walking in the designated pedestrian area of the site’s roadway, suffering severe crush injuries which led to her death on 8 August 2017.
HSE news release. Risks 907.
Hazards news, 27 July 2019

Britain: Director fined following worker’s fatal fall from tree
A property investment company and its director have been fined after a worker fell from a tree, suffering fatal injuries. Nottingham Crown Court heard how on 27 September 2017 untrained workers were tasked with taking down a large, dead sycamore tree on a Nottingham road using a chain saw, when Dennis Parker was knocked out of the tree, dying two weeks later.
HSE news release. Nottingham Post. Risks 907.
Hazards news, 27 July 2019

Britain: Director escapes jail for window cleaner fall injuries
A Cardiff-based health board has been fined and the director of a maintenance company given a suspended jail sentence after a worker fell from height, suffering life-changing injuries. Cardiff Crown Court heard how, on 22 September 2016, Christopher Rees, employed by WD Rees Maintenance Ltd, was window cleaning at the Women’s Services Unit of the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff when he fell from the end of the beam supporting him as there was no end stop fitted, suffering significant and life-changing injuries including a broken back.
HSE news release. BBC News Online. Risks 907.
Hazards news, 27 July 2019

Australia: Reprisals fear for raising safety in mines
Contract and casual mineworkers in the Australian state of Queensland are fearful of “retribution” if they complain about questionable safety practices, their union has warned. Safety experts and the mineworkers’ union CFMEU have raised concerns about the “reporting culture” at mine sites, where most workers are now employed on a casual basis by labour-hire companies, rather than working directly for the multinational mine operators
The Guardian Australia. Risks 906.
Hazards news, 20 July 2019

Britain: Port Talbot rail deaths prompt £70m safety taskforce
The deaths of two track workers this month has prompted the introduction of a £70m taskforce to improve the safety of railway workers. Network Rail said the taskforce would be a partnership of industry organisations including rail regulator the Office of Rail and Road (ORR), trade unions and contractors.
Network Rail news release. RMT news release. TSSA news release. BBC News Online. Morning Star. Risks 906.
Hazards news, 20 July 2019

Global: Serious safety concerns at UK university’s Dubai campus
A safety evacuation at the University of Birmingham’s Dubai campus has heightened union concerns about conditions at the controversial site. A spokesperson for Birmingham UCU said: “Last week’s campus evacuation and the failure to notify designated health and safety representatives once again raises serious concerns over the university’s dealings in Dubai.”
Birmingham UCU news release. Risks 906.
Hazards news, 20 July 2019

Britain: RMT calls for an absolute ban on rail contracting out
The union RMT is demanding an “absolute ban” on contracting out‎ and an independent system of safety scrutiny in the rail industry after a “shocking” report into the death of a fatigued casual worker on the tracks. The 37-year-old, whose name has not been released, was hit from behind by a train at Stoats Nest Junction near Purley sometime after midnight on 6 November 2018.
RAIB report. RMT news release. BBC News Online. Romford Recorder. Morning Star. Risks 906.
Hazards news, 20 July 2019

Australia: Union wins inquiries into spate of mine deaths
The government in the Australian state of Queensland has announced two reviews of mining health and safety after a union called for a full inquiry into recent workplace deaths in the sector. The mining union CFMEU called for an inquiry into deaths over the past two decades, as the industry reels from its sixth fatality in 12 months.
CFMEU news release. ABC News. Sydney Morning Herald. Risks 905.
Hazards news, 13 July 2019

Global: Samsung facing charges over ethics failures
Samsung Electronics could find itself in court in France for not abiding by its own ethics pledges, such as a ban on under-age labour and dangerous working conditions at its factories. The prospect of legal action against the tech giant comes as a result of a complaint filed against the company’s French subsidiary by activist groups Sherpa and ActionAid France.
Sherpa news release. Phys.org. France 24. Arab News. The Independent. Hankyoreh and related story. Risks 905.
Hazards news, 13 July 2019

Britain: Director fined after agency worker is scalped
The director of St Helens wood product manufacturer has been fined after a worker was dragged into a rotating drive shaft, suffering horrendous physical and psychological injuries. Liverpool Magistrates Court heard how, on the 30 June 2016, the agency worker had been working on a production line at Cheshire Mouldings and Woodturning Limited, making parts for staircases. Her hair caught on a rotating drive shaft, resulting in the loss of her full scalp, ears and one of her thumbs.
HSE news release. Risks 905.
Hazards news, 13 July 2019

Britain: Worker gets brain damage, director gets community service
A company director has received a community service order after a worker suffered life changing injuries in a fall from a scaffold tower during the refurbishment of a Reading pub. Reading Magistrates’ Court heard how on 2 December 2016, Cedar Ridge Construction Limited employee Samuel Goemans, 36, suffered a serious head injury after falling from a tower scaffold onto the street below.
HSE news release and scaffolding webpages. Risks 905.
Hazards news, 13 July 2019

Britain: Firm fined after teen apprentice overcome by solvent fumes
An alloy wheel refurbishment company has been fined after a 16-year-old apprentice was overcome by vapours from a chemical used in the stripping and cleaning of alloy wheels. South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 12 December 2017, the employee of Wheelnut Ltd, entered an area known as the “acid room” to retrieve alloy wheels from one of three barrels of a chemical cocktail containing dichloromethane (DCM), methanol and hydrofluoric acid used in the stripping process.
HSE news release and guide on DCM risks during furniture stripping. Risks 905.
Hazards news, 13 July 2019

Britain: Site firm fined after worker poisoned by carbon monoxide
Construction 360 Ltd has been sentenced for criminal safety breaches after a worker exposed to carbon monoxide collapsed and lost consciousness while working at the site of King Asia Foods Ltd in Sheffield. Sheffield Magistrates Court heard how, on 11 January 2018, the worker was using a petrol driven floor saw within an enclosed space when he was overcome.
HSE news release. Risks 905.
Hazards news, 13 July 2019

Britain: Slavery network 'had 400 victims'
Members of a gang behind the biggest modern-day slavery network ever exposed in the UK have been jailed. Police believe more than 400 victims were put to work in the West Midlands by the organised crime gang, with one person injured while working forced back to the factory without hospital treatment, suffering long-term health problems as a result.
Hope for Justice news release. BBC News Online. Express and Star. Risks 905.
Hazards news, 13 July 2019

Britain: Rail safety body warned of track risks before deaths
A rail safety body had warned this year of the deadly risks facing track workers, just weeks before two were killed on a south Wales line. Gareth Delbridge, 64, from Kenfig Hill and Michael "Spike" Lewis, 58, from North Cornelly, were hit by the Swansea to Paddington train near Margam mid-morning on 3 July, just three months after the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) there were “too many near misses in which railway workers have had to jump for their lives”.
RMT news release. TSSA news release. BBC News Online, related story and story on the independent investigation. Risks 905.
Hazards news, 13 July 2019

Workplace deaths up again
Workplace fatalities have increased again, latest Health and Safety Executive (HSE) figures have shown. Provisional figures for work-related fatal injuries for 2018/19 released on 3 July show 147 workers were killed, six higher than 2017/18 and 12 deaths up on the 135 figure for 2016/17.
HSE news release and 2018/19 fatalities statistics. Risks 905.
Hazards news, 13 July 2019

Britain: HSE calls on council enforcers to step up on safety
Britain’s workplace health and safety regulator is urging local authorities (LAs) across the country to make a ‘statement of commitment’ to work with others to improve health and safety standards in the sectors they regulate. HSE, which is the lead government regulator on workplace safety, says it is promoting the new commitment because “many local authorities in Great Britain face a challenging environment that impact on the way they deliver a wide range of regulatory services and statutory duties.”
HSE news release. Statement of commitment between: Local Authority and HSE Regulatory Services, HSE, 2019. Risks 904.
Hazards news, 6 July 2019

Global: Arrests after deaths in Cambodian building collapse
Seven people including five Chinese nationals have been charged with criminal offences over the collapse of a building in Cambodia that left 28 construction workers dead. The Chinese owner of the site, Chen Kun, and construction supervisor Deng Xing Gui, were charged at Preah Sihanouk provincial court with involuntary manslaughter, causing unintentional injuries and damage.
The Guardian. DW News. Washington Post. Risks 903.
Hazards news, 29 June 2019

Britain: Grain firm fined after worker killed by lorry
A grain store company has been fined following the death of a worker at its site in Linton, Cambridgeshire. Peterborough Crown Court heard how on 27 July 2016 Edward Orlopp, a 45-year-old employee of Camgrain Stores Ltd, suffered fatal injuries after being struck by a lorry at the site.
HSE news release. Haverhill Echo. BBC News Online. Risks 903
Hazards news, 29 June 2019

Britain: Figures confirm dangerous fire service fragmentation
New official assessments have confirmed the ‘dangerous’ fragmentation of the fire service, firefighters’ union FBU has said. Commenting on the latest reports from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS), FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said: “These reports confirm what we have been saying for years. HMICFRS is absolutely right, a decade and a half of localism and austerity has led to fragmented services and a postcode lottery of response times and crewing levels, leaving the public dangerously unsafe in some areas.”
FBU news release. HMICFRS news release. Risks 903.
Hazards news, 29 June 2019

Global: UN experts urge ILO to back 'fundamental' safety
United Nations human rights experts have urged the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to immediately recognise and adopt safe and healthy working conditions as one of its fundamental principles and rights at work. The UN special rapporteurs on human rights said: “It is long overdue that the ILO recognises the right to safe and healthy working conditions as one of its fundamental principles and rights at work,” adding: “The ILO’s recognition is essential to help end the exploitation of workers who are forced to choose between a pay cheque and their health.”
OHCHR news release. IUF news release. ILO fundamental principles and rights at work. Risks 902.
Hazards news, 22 June 2019

Britain: Suspended sentence after son’s fatal factory fall
Scaffolding firm owner Stephen John Brennan, 57, has received a suspended sentence and community service after his son suffered fatal injuries in a fall through a fragile roof. Wolverhampton Crown Court heard how on 19 September 2015, at the Norton Aluminium foundry site in Norton Canes, Staffordshire, scaffolder Stephen Brennan, 26, was fatally injured after falling approximately 11.5 metres through the roof.
HSE news release. Express and Star. Construction Enquirer. Risks 902.
Hazards news, 22 June 2019

Britain: National Grid fined after worker killed
A power utility company has been fined for criminal safety offences after a worker was killed. Aylesbury Crown Court heard how, on 18 November 2016, Paul Marsden, a substation crafts person for National Grid Electricity Transmission plc was tasked with moving a delivery crate containing a compressor using a remote-controlled lorry loader crane when the crane struck Mr Marsden causing fatal injuries.
HSE news release and work at height webpages. Risks 902.
Hazards news, 22 June 2019

Global: ‘Grave concerns’ for seafarers in the Gulf of Oman
UK seafarers’ union Nautilus has voiced concern about the safety of Merchant Navy crew who transit the Gulf of Oman, after two further tanker attacks. “Any risk to seafarers’ safety is of grave concern,” Nautilus general secretary Mark Dickinson said.
Nautilus news release. ITF news release. Risks 902.
Hazards news, 22 June 2019

Britain: Firefighters launch Grenfell ‘never again’ campaign
The firefighters’ union FBU has called for urgent action on a range of fire and building safety issues to prevent ‘another Grenfell’. Commenting on the 14 June second anniversary of the tragedy, the union said action to prevent a similar fire has been wholly insufficient, “with little to nothing being done to tackle the structural issues that led to the tragedy.”
FBU news release and petition. TUC blog. The Mirror. Risks 902.
Hazards news, 22 June 2019

Britain: Name and shame corporate killers, says GMB
There should be a new naming and shaming regime and stronger penalties where people are killed or seriously injured at work, the union GMB has said. GMB’s annual conference heard that the official Health and Safety Executive (HSE) fatalities figure, which last year was 144 deaths, is “the tip of the iceberg” because it ignores whole categories of work-related deaths, including occupational disease deaths, workplace suicides, deaths in work-time road traffic accidents and deaths at sea, in the air and on railways.
GMB news release. GMB London news release. Risks 902.
Hazards news, 22 June 2019

Japan: Call for safety probe at Tokyo Olympics sites
A former Olympian and head of a human rights group is asking the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Tokyo Olympics organisers to investigate worker safety at venues being built for next year’s games. Mary Harvey, the CEO of the Geneva-based Centre for Sport and Human Rights, raised her concerns in the wake of the publication last month of ‘The dark side of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics’ by the global construction union federation BWI,which describes “dangerous” patterns of overwork, some workers without employment contracts, and a “culture of fear” that discourages workers from reporting poor employment conditions.
Japan Today. The Olympians.
BWI news release and report, The dark side of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, May 2019. Centre for Sports and Human Rights. Risks 901.
Hazards news, 15 June 2019

Britain: Valero fined £5 million after explosion kills four
Valero Energy UK Ltd and B&A Contracts Ltd have been fined on charges stemming from a 2011 explosion that killed four workers and seriously injured another at an oil refinery in Pembrokeshire. Dennis Riley, 52, Robert Broome, 48, Andrew Jenkins, 33, and Julie Jones, 54, died after a storage tank exploded at the site.
HSE news release. WalesOnline. BBC News Online. Risks 901. Hazards news, 15 June 2019

Britain: Firm fined after worker killed by gantry crane
Superconducting electromagnet company Tesla Engineering Ltd has been sentenced after a worker was fatally hit and crushed by an overhead gantry crane. Brighton Magistrates’ Court heard how on 23 March 2018 Dr Craig McEwan, 34, a unit manager of Tesla Engineering Ltd, died while making of a superconducting magnet coil at the firm’s Storrington premises.
HSE news release. Midhurst and Petworth Observer. Risks 901.
Hazards news, 15 June 2019

Britain: ‘Toxic’ organisation pays off leaders, then slashes staff
Members of Unite employed by Amnesty International have pledged to consider ‘all options’ after the human rights charity announced that 93 workers face losing their jobs. Unite regional co-ordinating officer Alan Scott said: “The organisation’s senior management has a made a dangerous habit of irresponsible overspending and over-scoping, leaving staff to suffer the costs, first with their wellbeing and now with their jobs.”
Unite news release.
Resources: Work and suicide: A TUC guide to prevention for trade union activists, updated February 2019. Work and suicide prevention checklist. More on work-related suicide. Risks 901. 15 June 2019

Bangladesh: Safety crisis in shipbreaking yards continues
At least eight workers have been killed and 35 injured this year in incidents in Bangladeshi shipbreaking yards, IndustriALL has said. The global unions said the number of fatalities since 2017 is ‘around 47’, adding: “The series of recent accidents point to a massive safety crisis in the Bangladeshi shipbreaking industry.”
IndustriALL news release. Risks 900.
Hazards news, 8 June 2019

Britain: Site firm and director fined for unsafe removal of asbestos
A construction company and its director have been fined after failing to ensure the safe removal of asbestos during demolition work. Sherwood Homes Limited was convicted of a criminal safety offence and fined £170,000 and ordered to pay costs of £10,406; company director Peter Kiely pleaded guilty to a criminal safety offence and was fined £6,500 plus costs of £7,000.
HSE news release. Construction Enquirer. Northwich Guardian. Risks 900.
Hazards news, 8 June 2019

Britain: Suspended sentences after electrician suffers life changing injuries
Two company directors have received suspended jail terms after an electrician fell two storeys through an unprotected stairwell. Green Generation Renewable Services Ltd pleaded guilty to a criminal safety offence and was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,548.28; company director Karl Grice pleaded guilty to a criminal breach and was sentenced to 16 weeks in prison, suspended for 18 months, and fined £1,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,000, and fellow director Steven Paul Dixon also pleaded guilty and was given the same sentence.
HSE news release. Risks 900.
Hazards news, 8 June 2019

Britain: Engineering firm fined after worker crushed by metal frame
A Warrington fabrication company has been fined after a worker suffered severe crush injuries when a metal frame he was moving toppled from a forklift truck. Liverpool Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 11 October 2017, the employee of JL Engineering (Rixton) Ltd, together with another worker, was moving a trestle frame using the forklift.
HSE news release. Risks 900.
Hazards news, 8 June 2019

Britain: Amnesty dissolves ‘toxic’ leadership team slammed by union
Amnesty International has ‘dissolved’ its senior leadership team after an internal review said it had a “toxic” workplace and a union said it was not feasible for the top tier of managers to remain. The human rights organisation's secretary-general, Kumi Naidoo, ordered the independent review after two employees killed themselves last year.
BBC News Online. The Times.
Work and suicide: A TUC guide to prevention for trade union activists, updated February 2019. Work and suicide prevention checklist. More on work-related suicide. Risks 900.
Hazards news, 8 June 2019

Britain: Non-league club fined £1k after volunteer killed in roof fall
A football club has been fined after a volunteer died when he fell through a fragile roof. Clive Churchhouse, 71, sustained fatal injuries after he fell through roof sheeting onto the terrace steps below at St Albans City FC's Clarence Park ground.
HSE news release. St Albans Review. Risks 899. 1
Hazards news, 1 June 2019

Britain: £15k fine after worker killed on dock concrete pumping job
Main contractor RW Hill (Felixstowe) Limited has been fined £15,000 on criminal safety charges following the death of a concrete worker at the Port of Felixstowe. Garry Louis, a 58-year-old employee of a concrete laying sub-contractor, was killed and another worker suffered cuts and bruising when a concrete delivery hose whipped violently out of control and struck them.
HSE news release. BBC News Online. Risks 899.
Hazards news, 1 June 2019

Global: Unions warn FIFA on Qatar ‘rogue’ neighbours move
UK construction union Unite has given its strong backing to an open letter opposing any FIFA move to expand the 2022 World Cup beyond Qatar to neighbouring ‘rogue’ states. The letter was sent by BWI, the global federation of construction unions, to Gianni Infantino, the president of football’s global governing body.
BWI news report. Unite news release. Risks 898.
Hazards news, 25 May 2019

Britain: Skip hire boss jailed after employee suffocates
The owner of a skip hire firm has been jailed for a year after one of his employees suffocated when his clothes became caught in defective machine that had been bought on E-bay. Father-of-one James Criddle, 29, was operating a screening machine at Baldwin Skip Hire in Besthorpe, Norfolk, in May 2017 when he became entangled.
Norfolk Constabulary news release. BBC News Online. ITV News. Eastern Daily Press. Risks 898.
Hazards news, 25 May 2019

Britain: Waste firm fined after employee was killed by reversing JCB
Sanders Plant and Waste Management Limited has been fined after an employee was fatally injured when he was struck by a reversing JCB loading shovel. George Richardson, a site operative, was fatally injured and died at the scene.
HSE news release. Risks 898.
Hazards news, 25 May 2019

Britain: Farmer fined after casual worker suffers fatal fall
A farmer has been fined following a worker’s fatal fall through a milking shed skylight. Mold Magistrates’ Court heard how on 19 July 2018 self-employed contractor David Alan Rees, 56, was fatally injured whilst he was clearing out the valley gutter from a ladder at Knolton Farm, Overton.
HSE news release. Daily Post. Risks 898.
Hazards news, 25 May 2019

Britain: Director convicted after ignoring safety watchdog
Glamping Cocoon Ltd and its director Nicholas Oaten have been convicted on criminal safety charges after ignoring legal notices from the safety regulator to remedy workplace health hazards. Company director Nicholas Oaten was convicted on two criminal safety charges and fined £2,640 and ordered to pay £5,506 costs.
HSE news release. Risks 898.
Hazards news, 25 May 2019

Britain: Government complacency risks another Grenfell
Nearly two years since the Grenfell tragedy in which 72 people lost their lives, the government has done nothing to adequately prepare fire and rescue services for a similar incident, the firefighters’ union FBU has said. The union says there is a “postcode lottery of preparedness across the country, with some fire services planning to send as few as two fire engines to a high rise fire.”
FBU news release. Morning Star. Risks 898.
Hazards news, 25 May 2019

Global: Vested interests again protect deadly substances
Exports of deadly substances including chrysotile asbestos and a slew of pesticides will not require a health warning after a handful of governments defended them at a United Nations conference. The substances were being considered for inclusion on the UN Rotterdam Convention’s ‘prior informed consent’ (PIC) list, which would require exporters to inform importers of the potential risks.
CIEL news release. IBAS news report. PANAP news release. Report of the outcome of the Conference of the Parties. Risks 897.
Hazards news, 18 May 2019

Britain: Dad-of-two crushed to death by plastic bales
A Liverpool recycling company has been fined after an employee was crushed to death by falling plastic bales. Paul Andrews was sweeping up and picking litter at his workplace at Centriforce Products Ltd when the bales fell on him from an unstable stack, leaving him fatally injured.
HSE news release. Liverpool Echo. Risks 897.
Hazards news, 18 May 2019

France: Telecom bosses on trial over staff suicides
A long-awaited trial in Paris has heard telecom giant Orange and seven former or current managers accused of moral harassment and related charges related to a spate of suicides at the company between 2007 and 2010. The defendants include the former president of France Telecom, Didier Lombard, former human resources director Olivier Barberot and former deputy executive director Louis-Pierre Wenes, who are accused of having “degraded work conditions of personnel that risked hurting their rights and dignity, altering the physical or mental health (of personnel), or compromising their professional future.”
CFE-CGC Orange, CFTC, CGT and SUD union statement and trial protest note (in French). Fortune Magazine. The Independent. BBC News Online.
Resources: Work and suicide: A TUC guide to prevention for trade union activists, updated February 2019. Work and suicide prevention checklist. More on work-related suicide. Risks 897.
Hazards news, 18 May 2019

Britain: Unite to campaign for Heathrow safety inquiry
A campaign to persuade Heathrow to commission an independent inquiry to improve airport safety has been launched by Unite. The union’s concerns were amplified by the death at the airport of Unite member John Coles in February 2018.
Unite news release. Risks 897.
Hazards news, 18 May 2019

Britain: Arriva tops London’s bus crash deaths and injuries table
Transport company Arriva has topped a table of deaths and injuries linked to London bus operators, the union GMB has said. Figures obtained by the union show that since January 2014, an average of about 3 people per day have been injured — of which over 4 people per week have been killed or seriously injured — as the result of a collision involving a Transport for London (TfL)-contracted bus.
GMB news release. Risks 897.
Hazards news, 18 May 2019

Britain: Safety watchdog too cash strapped to deliver justice
The government’s safety regulator is so starved of resources it can’t cope with the workload required to make sure workplace safety crimes don’t pay. Health and Safety Executive (HSE) union Prospect said stiffer penalties for health and safety and corporate manslaughter offences have led to extra pressures on the watchdog, which is now pursuing far fewer safety prosecutions.
Prospect blog. Risks 897.
Hazards news, 18 May 2019

Britain: Two dead, two seriously injured after farm wall collapse
Two workers have been killed and two seriously injured after a wall collapsed at a Scottish farm. Peter Walker, 53, from Blackburn and 48-year-old James Henderson, who was known as Paul, from Grangemouth were working on the wall at Myrehead Farm when it collapsed.
Police Scotland news release. Daily Record. BBC News Online. Risks 896.
Hazards news, 11 May 2019

Britain: Authority fined after wall collapses on man in front of family
The land and property arm of the Greater London Authority (GLA) has been fined for serious criminal failings in safety management after a wall and advertising hoarding collapsed onto a man in front of his wife and two children. GLA Land and Property Ltd pleaded guilty to a criminal safety offence and was fined £250,000 and ordered to pay £14,653 in costs.
HSE news release and safety management webpages. Risks 896.
Hazards news, 11 May 2019

Britain: Recycling worker injured after firm ignored warnings
A recycling company has been fined after it ignored safety warnings before a worker suffered a back injury when moving gantry steps. Preston Crown Court heard how on 10 September 2016 the employee of Suez Recycling and Recovery Limited was injured as he helped to manually move steps weighting in excess of 950kg at a site in Haslingden, after repair works had taken place.
HSE news release and waste and recycling webpages. Risks 896.
Hazards news, 11 May 2019

Britain: Union to renew pressure for offshore helicopter inquiry
Offshore union Unite is to continue its campaign for an independent probe into helicopter safety in the oil and gas industry. Unite north-east regional officer Tommy Campbell said: “In the UK and Norwegian oil and gas industry 212 workers have lost their lives due to helicopter accidents and it’s important that we all support the campaign for a UK full public enquiry as this part of remembering those who died as well as fighting for those still working in the industry.”
Energy Voice. Risks 896.
Hazards news, 11 May 2019

Global: New safety campaign in paper and packaging
Workers in the pulp, paper, graphical and packaging sectors, represented worldwide by the global unions IndustriALL and UNI, have kicked off a year-long campaign around the three fundamental worker rights needed to make work safe. These ‘3Rs’ are: The Right to Know – workers must know the hazards and risks in their workplace; The Right to Act, or the right to refuse unsafe work without punishment; and The Right to Participate in the safety programmes and structures that manage safety in the workplace.
IndustriALL news release. Unite live. Risks 895.
Hazards news, 4 May 2019

Myanmar: Over 50 jade miners believed dead in landslide
At least 54 jade miners in Myanmar are feared to have died after they were engulfed by a landslide “mud lake” as they slept. In one of the worst disasters to hit Myanmar’s notoriously treacherous jade mining industry, a mud filter collapsed at a mine in Hpakant in Myanmar’s Kachin State late on the night of 22 April, causing a landslide that hit the miners’ sleeping quarters.
New York Times. The Guardian. Radio Free Asia. The Straits Times.
Global Witness film: Jade and the Generals. Risks 895.
Hazards news, 4 May 2019

Australia: Unions welcome Labor pledge on work fatalities
Australia’s opposition Labor Party (ALP) has said if successful in May’s general election it will include a country-wide industrial manslaughter offence in workplace health and safety legislation. The move has been welcomed by unions, which said it marks a ‘systemic shift’ in how the country will view the responsibility of employers for the safety of workers, and how courts will address the loss of life in Australian workplaces.
ACTU news release. Sydney Morning Herald. Risks 895.
Hazards news, 4 May 2019

Britain: Two hurt in massive Port Talbot steelworks explosion
Two people have been hurt in an early hours explosion at Tata's biggest steelworks plant in the UK. Residents living near the Port Talbot plant in south Wales spoke of hearing a "massive" blast shortly after 03:30 BST on 26 April.
Community news release. BBC News Online and related story. Risks 895.
Hazards news, 4 May 2019

Britain: Site firms fined after employee receives electrical burns
Two companies have been fined after a worker received serious electrical burns during demolition work. Chelmsford Magistrates Court heard how on the 12 April 2017, two demolition workers employed by sub-contractor RB Haigh & Sons were removing electrical distribution equipment from a switchgear room; Alan Banks, who had been told by the principal contractor that the electrical equipment had been isolated, suffered serious burn injuries and was immediately hospitalised.
HSE news release and electricity hazards guide. Risks 895.
Hazards news, 4 May 2019

Britain: Two injured falling through uncovered floor hatch
Aberdeen electrical company RB Wilson (Electrical) Limited, contracted to rewire and install new heating systems in Aberdeenshire Council properties, has been fined for failing to put in place adequate barriers and physical warning signs around open floor hatches. The prosecution came after the resident of a property and her brother-in-law fell into one of the uncovered floor hatches and both sustained injuries.
HSE news release. Risks 895
Hazards news, 4 May 2019

Britain: ‘Commercial interests’ ruse in Sea King asbestos scandal
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is hiding behind ‘commercial interests’ in refusing to provide information about the asbestos scandal involving the maintenance of its Sea King helicopter fleet, Unite has said. In what Unite described as ‘a shocking security failure’, the MoD has been forced to admit that it does not have a central record of the workers who had undertaken the maintenance work.
Unite news release. Risks 895
Hazards news, 4 May 2019

Britain: Work cancer risk warning after government safety cuts
New evidence confirming a cancer risk to tyre and rubber workers may go ignored because of government safety deregulation and cuts, the union Unite has warned. The union was commented after research published in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine revealed that workers in the tyre and rubber industry remain at significant risk of developing cancers caused by exposure to N-nitrosamines and rubber dust.
Unite news release. ITUC/Hazards cancerhazards blog.
Mira Hidajat and others. Lifetime exposure to rubber dusts, fumes and N-nitrosamines and cancer mortality in a cohort of British rubber workers with 49 years follow-up, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, volume 76, number 4, pages 250-258, April 2019. doi: 10.1136/oemed-2018-105181 
International: ITUC/Hazards 28 April dedicated events and resources website.
All out! Global union confederation ITUC wants to show killer chemicals the door, ITUC briefing. Also in French and Spanish. 28 April ITUC ‘Chemical reaction’ poster in English, French and SpanishCancers and their work causes: An ITUC/Hazards at-a-glance guide to cancer hazards. Also in French and Spanish. Risks 894.
Hazards news, 27 April 2019

Britain: Unions call for independent inquiry into helicopter safety
Offshore unions have again called for a full independent public inquiry into energy industry helicopter safety. Unite and RMT both backed a motion at the STUC conference that noted “such an inquiry is essential, due to the ongoing decline in offshore workers’ confidence in the safety of offshore helicopter operations.”
RMT news release. Risks 894.
Hazards news, 27 April 2019

Britain: HSE ends Brunei project after union ethics and safety pressure
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has suspended planned staff secondments to Brunei after the UK union Prospect raised concerns about the ethical and safety implications following the kingdom’s decision to punish gay sex by stoning to death. The UK workplace safety regulator was seeking a team of three people to go to Brunei to help the country’s equivalent agency with regulatory work, but has now said all links with the country would be “paused” pending a review.
Prospect news release. ITUC news release. ITF news release. The Guardian. Pink News. Risks 893.
Hazards news, 13 April 2019

Britain: High Court catches up with exploitative chicken catcher
The High Court has ruled in favour of a group of Lithuanian men who were put to work in terrible conditions by a British company, catching chickens at farms all over the country. The court ruled that the workers who brought the case were subject to a gruelling and exploitative work regime by their employer, DJ Houghton Catching Services, and by its sole director, Darrell Houghton, and the company secretary, Jackie Judge.
Leigh Day news release. BBC News Online. Kent Messenger. Risks 893.
Hazards news, 13 April 2019

Turkey: Refusal to respect labour standards is costing lives
A new report has revealed wide-scale abuse of labour standards in the construction of the Istanbul New Airport, resulting in the death of at least 52 people. An investigation by the global union confederation ITUC found the Turkish government has ignored multiple warning signs, allowing the lead consortium in the construction project to systematically undermine labour standards.
ITUC news release. Risks 893.
Hazards news, 13 April 2019

Britain: TUC sounds warning over new fatalities statistics
The TUC has said that new quarterly fatality figures released by the HSE reinforce earlier concerns that injuries are increasing as enforcement and inspection activity falls. Data for the first 9 months of 2018/19 shows an increase in fatalities in the HSE enforced sector compared with the same period in 2017/18 and is the highest since 2011/12.
HSE statistics. Risks 892.
Hazards news, 6 April 2019

Britain: Grenfell was “ticking time bomb”
The Shadow fire minister, Karen Lee, has claimed that Grenfell Tower was a 'ticking time bomb' after government fire inspector cuts. A total of 72 people died as a result of the 2017 fire.
The Independent. Risks 892.
Hazards news, 6 April 2019

Britain: Hotel fined after ignoring asbestos concerns
The owners of a North Devon hotel have been fined £80,000 and ordered to pay costs of £14,999.60 after materials containing asbestos were disturbed during a major refurbishment. Newton Abbot Magistrates’ Court heard that between October 2016 and May 2017 construction work was undertaken to refit and refurbish the Park Hotel on Taw Vale, Barnstaple. The Health and Safety Executive found that, at an early stage of the work, an employee raised concerns about the potential presence of asbestos containing materials (ACM) within the rooms under refurbishment but no testing of materials being disturbed took place.
HSE news release. Risks 892.
Hazards news, 6 April 2019

Britain: Suspended sentence after dodgy practices
A whole list of criminal health and safety failings have landed a Salford builder with a suspended prison sentence. Kenneth Morris was sentenced to 30 weeks' imprisonment, suspended for two years, and handed 180 hours of unpaid work and fined £2,615.
Manchester Evening News. Risks 892.
Hazards news, 6 April 2019

Britain: Sheffield firm fined after worker seriously burned.
A Sheffield Sign-fitting contractor, AR Signs Limited, was fined £35,000 and ordered to pay £2,475 in costs for safety breaches after a worker suffered multiple serious burn injuries. In September 2017, a 22-year-old employee of AR Signs Limited was using a breaker tool to dig a hole for the posts of a new sign at the Hellaby Hall Hotel in Bramley, when he struck a mains electricity cable, causing a large flash
HSE news release. Risks 892.
Hazards news, 6 April 2019

Australia: Jail plan for importers of asbestos products
The Australian government has introduced increased penalties against importers who knowingly or recklessly import goods containing asbestos, banned in the country since 2003. The new regulations mean that importers could now face up to five years jail.
Government statement.  Risks 892.
Hazards news, 6 April 2019

China: Firefighters die in forest blaze
At least 30 firefighters have died while tackling a huge forest fire in south-western China. According to the government, fire crews had been fighting the blaze in the mountains of Sichuan province on Sunday when a change in wind direction caused "a huge fireball", trapping them.
BBC News Online. Risks 892.
Hazards news, 6 April 2019

China: Death toll rises to 78 in chemical plant explosion
The death toll from an explosion in a chemical plant in east China's Jiangsu Province has risen to 78. The explosion on an industrial estate happened mid-afternoon on 21 March following a fire that broke out in the plant owned by Jiangsu Tianjiayi Chemical Co Ltd.
Xinhuanet. China.org.cn news and update. Risks 891.
Hazards news, 30 March 2019

Italy: Stop the exploitation of migrant farm workers
A group of Italian doctors is calling for urgent action to stop the exploitation of thousands of migrants working in agriculture across Italy. Writing in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), Dr Claudia Marotta and colleagues said more than 1,500 migrant agricultural workers have died did in the country as a result of their work over the past six years, while others have been killed by the so-called “Caporali” who are modern slave masters.
Claudia Marotta and others. Opinion: Stop the exploitation of migrant agricultural workers in Italy, British Medical Journal, 28 March 2019. Risks 891.
Hazards news, 30 March 2019

Global: Backing for UN convention on safety of journalists
Representatives from governments in every continent have joined journalists’ unions, editors groups, public broadcasters and media organisations in a united call for the United Nations to adopt a Convention on the safety and protection of journalists. The joint call came during the 40th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.
IFJ news release. Press Gazette. Risks 891.
Hazards news, 30 March 2019

Britain: Rail safety warning over runaway machine on tracks
A rail safety watchdog has issued new safety recommendations after a mobile elevating work platform ran out of control on tracks for 340 metres. The incident happened in June 2018 when the road-rail machine was being placed on the tracks near Bradford Interchange station.
RAIB news release. Construction Enquirer. Risks 890.
Hazards news, 23 March 2019

Britain: Defunct firm convicted after bricklayer dies in wall collapse
A company that is in administration has been convicted of two criminal safety offences after an employee was killed when a wall collapsed on a construction site. Bournemouth Crown Court heard how, on 2 June 2015, Thomas Telfer was working as a bricklayer employed by Capstone Building Ltd, when he was struck by falling masonry after a retaining wall failed as it was being back-filled with concrete.
HSE news release. BBC News Online. Dorset Echo. Risks 890.
Hazards news, 23 March 2019

Britain: Firm fined after worker injured by machinery
A manufacturing company has been fined after a worker’s hand was caught in poorly guarded machinery. Liverpool Magistrates’ Court heard how, on the 5 July 2017, an employee of Contour Showers Ltd, Winsford, was trying to clear a blockage from a metal cutting saw, when the blade cut through the knuckle of his left index finger damaging the tendon and ligament, preventing him from returning to work for eight months.
HSE news release. Risks 890.
Hazards news, 23 March 2019

Britain: Waste firm fined after worker’s arm was trashed
A Preston waste recycling company has been fined for a criminal safety offence after an employee was injured whilst operating a machine from which the guards has been removed. Blackburn Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 13 April 2017, the hand of a KT Recycling Ltd employee became trapped between a conveyor belt and drive roller of a magnetic separator as he attempted to remove waste material.
HSE news release. Risks 890.
Hazards news, 23 March 2019

Britain: Firm fined after fall damages roofer’s hearing
Norwich maintenance company RFT Repairs Limited has been fined after an employee fell two metres while working on a roof, suffering a head injury which resulted in hearing damage. RFT Repairs Limited pleaded guilty to a criminal breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £150,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,391.76.
HSE news release and roof work webpages. Norwich Evening News. Risks 890.
Hazards news, 23 March 2019

Britain: Firefighters slam ‘incomprehensible’ cuts in Surrey
The firefighters’ union FBU has branded proposed further cuts to Surrey fire and rescue service as “incomprehensible”, just months after a government inspection voiced “serious concerns” about the county’s fire and rescue service. Lee Belsten, FBU Surrey brigade secretary, said: “The council’s claim that these cuts are ‘risk based’ is ludicrous”.
FBU news release. Risks 890.
Hazards news, 23 March 2019

Bangladesh: Government intervention needed for garment safety
Global unions have criticised the Bangladesh government for its continued instance that an effective independent garment factory safety watchdog gets out of Bangladesh by a fixed date, regardless of whether there is a competent safety authority to replace it. UNI and IndustriALL say the Bangladesh government must end the uncertainty and come to the table with a real commitment to a credible and responsible transfer of Accord functions “based on a genuine readiness of the government to take over.”
UNI news release. IndustriALL news release. Risks 889.
Hazards news, 16 March 2019

Britain: Worker killed by overhead power line strike
A company that knew about a risk from overhead power lines but didn’t act to protect workers has been fined after a 38-year-old worker was electrocuted in a ‘wholly avoidable’ tragedy. Luton Crown Court heard how Darren Waterman, a driver employed by Just Grab Services to unload material at Fillets Farm, Hunsdon, Hertfordshire, was using the grab arm on his vehicle when it came into contact with an 11kV overhead power line (OHPL) and he was electrocuted.
HSE news release. Construction Enquirer. Risks 889.
Hazards news, 16 March 2019

Britain: Firm fined after workers sensitised to chemicals
Teesside chemical manufacturing company Fine Organics Ltd has been fined after failing to manage the risks posed by hazardous substances, resulting in workers being exposed to chemicals that caused long term damage to their skin. Some lost their jobs as a result.
HSE news release. Risks 888.
Hazards news, 9 March 2019

Britain: Agency worker seriously injured on first day of work
A distribution company has been fined after an agency worker sustained serious, life-changing injuries whilst working as a delivery driver in Cheltenham. Cheltenham Magistrate’s Court heard how, on 18 May 2017, a 27-year-old agency worker working out of H&M Distribution Limited’s Gloucester depot fell backwards from his lorry’s raised tail lift onto the road and several kegs of beer fell and struck him.
HSE news release. Risks 888.
Hazards news, 9 March 2019

Britain: Firms fined after paper mill death
The owner and the operator of a paper mill where a worker was run over by a lorry have each been fined £350,000. Austin Thomas was hit by a vehicle at UPM Shotton in Flintshire on 6 February 2017.
HSE news release. Daily Post. BBC News Online. Risks 887.
Hazards news, 2 March 2019

Australia: Public wants an industrial manslaughter law
A significant majority of the Australian population support the introduction of industrial manslaughter laws and an expanded role for unions in ensuring workplace safety, according to a new poll for the national union federation ACTU. Almost six out of ten (58.8 per cent) Australians want new laws which would see employers who are responsible for workplace deaths held accountable and ultimately sent to jail.
ACTU news release and related release. Sydney Morning Herald. Risks 887.
Hazards news, 2 March 2019

Zimbabwe: Flood tragedy spurs safety call in artisanal mining
The deaths last month of 28 artisanal miners when the Cricket and Silver Moon gold mines flooded after heavy rains has spurred union calls for new safety standards. Glen Mpufane, director for mining at the global union federation IndustriALL, said such tragedies are avoidable if key stakeholders prioritise health and safety in artisanal and small-scale miners (ASM) operations.
IndustriALL news release. Risks 887.
Hazards news, 2 March 2019

Britain: Long working hours linked to depression risk
Working very long hours – 55 plus a week - is linked to a heightened risk of depression in women, a study has found. The observational study published online in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health also found working weekends is associated with an increased risk in both sexes.
Gillian Weston and others. Long work hours, weekend working and depressive symptoms in men and women: findings from a UK population-based study, Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, published Online First, 25 February 2019. Risks 887.
Hazards news, 2 March 2019

USA: Car wash study shows workers untrained and at risk
A new study has exposed the exploitation of migrant workers in New York City’s car wash industry. The authors note: “Car washes are urban assembly lines that employ toxic chemicals handled by untrained and unprotected immigrant workers who perform highly repetitive movements to produce clean vehicles.”
The Pump Handle blog. Brittany Dickens and others. Occupational health of New York City car wash workers, Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, volume 61, number 2, e77-e79, February 2019. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000001520. Risks 886.
Hazards news, 23 February 2019

Britain: Director given suspended sentence after worker’s crush death
Alan Hurst , the managing director of vehicle repair firm AD Hurst and Son Commercial Limited, has been given a suspended jail term after an employee was crushed by a bus. Cambridge Crown Court heard how, on 4 July 2017, David Nelson was working in a vehicle inspection pit beneath a single decker bus when it fell from jacks onto the 46-year-old, killing him instantly.
HSE news release. Wisbech Standard. Cambridge Times. Risks 886.
Hazards news, 23 February 2019

Britain: Construction firms fined after worker suffers fatal fall
Specialist contractor Oliver Connell and Son Ltd and Rydon Construction Ltd have been fined after a worker fell to his death when a temporary platform collapsed. Southwark Crown Court heard how, on 24 July 2015, Vasile Nichitut was working on the fifth floor of building, when he walked onto a temporary platform covering a vertical shaft, which collapsed beneath him.
HSE news release. Construction Enquirer. Risks 886.
Hazards news, 23 February 2019

Britain: Grenfell fire disaster exposes wider fire safety failings
The firefighters’ union FBU has said a TV documentary on the failings that contributed to the Grenfell tower block tragedy should throw the focus onto a wider malaise that has seen fire safety nationwide undermined. Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “The building owners, the local authority, the politicians, their advisers, the very people who have allowed public safety to be undermined over decades, need to be held accountable.”
FBU news release. Grenfell: Did the Fire Brigade Fail?, Channel 4 Dispatches, 18 February 2019. Risks 886.
Hazards news, 23 February 2019

Britain: Construction industry should guarantee worker benefits
A campaign to ensure that all workers in the construction industry are provided with death benefits has been launched by the union Unite, following a workplace fatality in Scotland. Unite is demanding all workers in the construction industry are covered by the B&CE scheme or an equivalent scheme regardless of their employment status.
Unite news release. Construction Enquirer. Dunfermline Press. Risks 886.
Hazards news, 23 February 2019

Britain: GMB cards Amazon on its 'brutal' working conditions
The union GMB delivered a giant Valentine’s card to the Amazon’s Rugeley warehouse on 14 February to highlight the ‘brutal’ working conditions facing the retail giant’s workers. GMB senior organiser Amanda Gearing said the workforce “didn’t get much love” from Amazon, adding: “The conditions are brutal; workers suffer convulsions, electric shocks, major traumas, get knocked unconscious and are taken away in ambulances.”
GMB news release. Risks 886.
Hazards news, 23 February 2019

Britain: RMT calls for inquiry into offshore copter safety
Offshore union RMT has repeated its call for an independent public inquiry into the safety of offshore helicopter transport in the North Sea. The union says 33 offshore workers and crew died and 65 were rescued as a result of helicopter accidents across the North Sea in the decade from February 2009.
RMT news release. Westminster Hall debate on helicopter safety, Risks 885
Hazards news, 16 February 2019

USA: Plane mechanics feel pressured to overlook problems
Airline mechanics in the US have revealed they feel pressured by management to look the other way when they see potential safety problems on airplanes. An eight-month-long CBS News investigation found several FAA whistleblower complaints have identified inappropriate pressure and retaliation since 2015 – and there have been at least 32 other anonymous industry-wide reports between 2015 to 2018.
CBS News. Work Week Radio. Risks 885.
Hazards news, 16 February 2019

Brazil: Unions mobilise for victims of dam disaster
Unions are stepping in to support the victims and bereaved families of last month’s Brazilian mine disaster, thought to have claimed over 300 lives. Global union federations BWI and IndustriALL are also calling wide-ranging safety improvements.
BWI news release. IndustriALL news release. The Guardian. BBC News Online. Risks 885.
Hazards news, 16 February 2019

Britain: Firms fined after worker killed during lifting operation
Two companies have been fined following the death of a worker after just a week on the job. Preston Crown Court heard how, on 12 March 2012, metal fabricator Andrew Bowes died while working at the Larkin Eng Services Ltd premises in Barrow in Furness. The firm had contracted Cumbria Design Scaffold Ltd to collect two large metal walkways and deliver them to a customer using a flatbed lorry fitted with a mounted crane.
HSE news release. Construction Enquirer. Risks 885.
Hazards news, 16 February 2019

Britain: Director gets community service after worker killed
The director of a London roofing company has been given community service in a criminal health and safety prosecution following the death of an employee. HSE said Ray Strank Roofing Limited’s failings were due to the neglect of Ray Strank, the sole director, who was sentenced to 200 hours unpaid work and ordered to pay costs of £5,500.
HSE news release. Risks 885.
Hazards news, 16 February 2019

Korea: Campaign highlights ‘the outsourcing of death’
A few days before his death, Kim Yong-kyun joined a “selfie campaign,” posting on social media a photo of himself holding a sign reading: “Mr President, please meet with temporary workers to repeal unfair labour laws, to punish illegal outsourcers, and to replace temporary jobs with regular ones.” The 24-year-old temporary worker was killed on 11 December 2018 at a thermal power plant in Taean, South Korea, after being sucked into a coal conveyor belt that decapitated him.
KCTU/Korean Public Service and Transport Workers' Union news release. Labor Notes. Risks 884.
Hazards news, 9 February 2019

Australia: Deadly mining wants to escape manslaughter rap
Australia’s mining industry, which is enmeshed in scandals about work-related suicides and the reemergence of deadly black lung disease, has expressed alarm at the prospect of a new workplace manslaughter law under discussion in the state of Victoria. The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) has told the Victorian government that new workplace safety laws should not leave top managers facing the threat of jail.
Victorian government news release. MCA news release. Mining Technology. Mining Weekly. Risks 884.
Hazards news, 9 February 2019

Britain: Firm fined after dumper truck death on site
A construction company has been fined £600,000 after admitting its role in the horrific death of a father-of-four on an Edinburgh building site. Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard Vince Ramsay, an agency labourer on the student flats project, suffered massive injuries when he was crushed by a dumper truck in December 2016.
HSE news release. Edinburgh Evening News. Risks 884.
Hazards news, 9 February 2019

Britain: Sports Direct worker ‘gave birth in toilet’ at work
A Sports Direct worker gave birth in a warehouse toilet ‘because she was afraid of missing her shift’, a witness has claimed. The story first came to light in 2016 in union reports to MPs that claimed Sports Direct employees worked in ‘gulag’ conditions in the company's warehouses, and which the company then disputed.
Daily Mail. The Mirror Online. Risks 884.
Hazards news, 9 February 2019

Brazil: Mining giant Vale faces dam deaths anger
Senior Brazilian politicians have called for mining giant Vale SA to be held to account for a 25 January dam collapse in which over 300 people are now believed to have died. Brazil's vice-president Hamilton Mourão said those to blame for the collapse of the mine tailings dam which devastated the town of Brumadinho should be punished, and a top prosecutor said executives could be held personally responsible.
Vale news release. ILO news release. BBC News Online. ABC News. Financial Times. Risks 883.
Hazards news, 2 February 2019

Britain: Construction company fined after fatal fall
A London-based construction company has been fined £300,0000 for criminal safety breaches after a worker was killed in a fall. Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 4 November 2015, Formation Construction Limited employee Adrian Nicolae Persu was using a concrete breaker at a site in Acton, London when he fell 7.5 metres, sustaining fatal head injuries.
HSE news release. Construction Enquirer. Risks 883.
Hazards news, 2 February 2019

Britain: Serial offender Veolia convicted over worker death
A refuse collection company has been convicted of a criminal safety offence and fined £1m after a worker was run over and killed. Canterbury Crown Court heard how, on 18 October 2013, Veolia ES (UK) Limited employee John Head suffered fatal injuries when he was run over by a reversing refuse collection vehicle (RCV) as he was walking across the Ross Depot Waste Transfer Station yard in Folkestone.
HSE news release. Kent Live. Risks 883.
Hazards news, 2 February 2019

Britain: Joiner crushed to death by caravan
A joiner received fatal crush injuries while changing a tyre on a four-tonne caravan, a court has heard. Christopher Richards died from injuries sustained when the caravan collapsed on top of him at Blackhills Caravan Sales in Swansea in 2014. The firm pleaded guilty to criminal safety breaches and was fined £120,000 and £14,000 in costs at Swansea Crown Court.
Wales Online. BBC News Online. Risks 883.
Hazards news, 2 February 2019

Britain: Ex-ministers ‘culpable’ for Grenfell deaths
A ‘string’ of government ministers sat on safety reports that could have prevented the Grenfell disaster, a Labour MP has charged. Steve Reed told the Commons that had the ministers been employees of a private company they would “potentially be in the dock for corporate manslaughter”.
24 Housing. Risks 883.
Hazards news, 2 February 2019

Global: UK high street garment maker abused workers
A Bangladeshi factory that produces Stanley/Stella clothes for Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Mothercare was forced to compensate an “outspoken” female worker after she was beaten up on the orders of management and threatened with being murdered. A report from the Fair Wear Foundation (FWF), whose membership is comprised of garment companies, follows revelations by the Guardian that workers at another factory used by Stanley/Stella, making Spice Girls T-shirts designed to raise money for Comic Relief’s “gender justice” campaign, were paid just 35p an hour.
The Guardian. Risks 882.
Hazards news, 26 January 2018

Britain: Road safety worry as lorry inspections plummet
Huge cuts in independent roadside inspections of lorries could be leaving all road users at greater danger, the transport union Unite has warned. The union alert came after a series of freedom of information requests it submitted revealed the number of road side inspections or checks involving heavy goods vehicles (HGV) by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has fallen by 37 per cent in eight years, from 234,296 in 2010/11 to 147,533 in 2017/18, despite an increase in lorry journeys.
Unite news release. Risks 882.
Hazards news, 26 January 2018

Britain: FBU says report exposes Grenfell ‘complacency’
A new report has exposed the “complacent attitude towards resident safety shown by the council, the Westminster government, and the businesses involved in Grenfell,” FBU general secretary Matt Wrack has said. The firefighters’ union leader was commenting on an Inside Housing report that found no fire safety report was commissioned for the final Grenfell cladding refurbishment plans.
FBU news release. Inside Housing. Risks 882.
Hazards news, 26 January 2018

Europe: Glyphosate reprieve based on ‘plagiarised’ report
European regulators based a decision to relicense the controversial weedkiller glyphosate on an assessment large sections of which were lifted directly from industry documents, according to a report for the European parliament. A crossparty group of MEPs commissioned an investigation into claims that Germany’s Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) copy-and-pasted tracts from studies by the pesticide manufacturer Monsanto.
Stefan Weber and Helmut Burtscher-Schaden. Detailed Expert Report on Plagiarism and superordinated Copy Paste in the Renewal Assessment Report (RAR) on Glyphosate, 2019.
Socialists and Democrats of the European Parliament news release and related video report. BfR statement.
Charles M Benbrook. How did the US EPA and IARC reach diametrically opposed conclusions on the genotoxicity of glyphosate-based herbicides?, Environmental Sciences Europe, volume 31, number 2, 2019. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12302-018-0184-7 The Guardian. Risks 881.
Hazards news, 19 January 2019

Canada: Job-related deaths ‘dramatically’ under-reported
Close to 1,000 Canadians die each year because of their jobs, according to official numbers from Canada's workers' compensation agencies. But a new study says that figure ‘dramatically underestimates’ the true extent of work-related deaths across the country.
Steven Bittle, Ashley Chen and Jasmine Hébert. Work-related deaths in Canada, Labour/Le Travail, volume 82, pages 159-187, Fall 2018. CBC News. Risks 881.
Hazards news, 19 January 2019

China: Over 20 dead after coal mine roof collapses
At least 21 miners have been killed after a roof collapsed at a coal mine in northern China. Sixty-six other workers were rescued after the incident on 12 January at the Lijiagou mine near the city of Shenmu in Shaanxi province.
The Independent. Risks 881.
Hazards news, 19 January 2019

Britain: New manifesto for a ‘safety system fit for workers’
The national Hazards Campaign says three factors could make the country’s workplaces safer and healthier at a stroke - strong laws, strict enforcement and a workplace safety push by strong, active trade unions. Launching a new ‘manifesto’ for health and safety, the campaign’s Janet Newsham said: “The right framework of strong laws, strict enforcement and support for active worker and union participation will have massive payback for workers, employers and whole economy.”
Hazards Campaign news release. Manifesto webpage and full document, Manifesto for a health and safety system fit for workers: Decent jobs and decent lives, January 2019. EHN Online. Risks 881.
Hazards news, 19 January 2019

Britain: Network Rail fined after employee left with brain injury
Network Rail has been fined £200,000 following a prosecution by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) after an employee was left with a critical brain injury following a road traffic accident. The ORR prosecuted Network Rail at Maidstone Crown Court for contravening the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations. The firm was fined £200,000 plus costs of £86,389.21.
ORR news release. Thompsons Solicitors news release. Risks 880
Hazards news, 12 January 2019

Britain: Diesel industry and regulators condemn thousands to die
A warning over 30 years ago that workplace diesel fume exposures were deadly went ignored, a ‘criminal’ move that condemned thousands of workers each year to an early grave, a report in Hazards magazine has revealed. The Hazards report says “the UK’s prevention strategy – or absence of one – is based on a fatal mixture of a lack of the right intelligence and lack of give-a-damn. All topped up with a dose of industry foul play.”
Fuming feature, Diesel out prevention factsheet and Die diesel die pin-up-at-work poster. Hazards 144, October-December 2018.
Diesel exhaust in the workplace: A TUC guide for trade union activists, October 2018. Risks 880.
Hazards news, 12 January 2019

Britain: Health trust fined over nurse stabbings
A health trust has been fined £300,000 after two nurses were repeatedly stabbed by a patient at a mental health centre in Kent. Sentencing the trust, Mr Justice Edis QC criticised procedures that were meant to ensure all knives were locked up and out of reach of patients as “ad hoc and inadequate.”
HSE news release. Gravesend Reporter. BBC News Online. Health Service Journal. Risks 880.
Hazards news, 12 January 2019

Britain: Care company fines workers £50 for calling in sick
One of Britain’s biggest providers of agency care workers has been fining staff who phone in sick £50, raising concerns that frontline employees are being forced to turn up for shifts when they are not fit for work and risk spreading illnesses to vulnerable patients. An investigation by the Guardian found Newcross Healthcare Solutions has failed to pay its employees if they cancel shifts because of illness without 24 hours’ notice, and has also docked money from their pay.
The Guardian and follow-up story. Risks 880.
Hazards news, 12 January 2019

Britain: New farming attitudes needed, says safety watchdog
Farmers are being told they must pay closer attention to how they manage workplace risks or face serious penalties. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said its forthcoming inspection blitz will review health and safety standards on farms across the country.
HSE news release. Risks 880.
Hazards news, 12 January 2019

Britain: Company director jailed for illegal chemicals sales
Company director Nicholas Corbett has been sentenced to 10 months in prison for the online sale of products containing prohibited substances. The company was selling paint stripper containing dichloromethane (DCM), which is restricted under the REACH regulations as well as was selling a prohibited plant protection product containing sodium chlorate.
HSE news release. Risks 880.
Hazards news, 12 January 2019

Australia: Call for killer bosses to be jailed  
“Kill a worker: go to jail.” That was the cry led by Christy Cain, the Western Australian branch secretary of the Maritime Union of Australia, as the opposition Labor Party passed a resolution calling for industrial manslaughter laws on the final day of its national conference.
MUA news release and video of Christy Cain’s conference speech. The Guardian. Risks 880. 12 January 2019
Global: Deaths on docks spur urgent union safety plan
A global union has launched a major campaign to address the ‘appalling’ fatality record in the dock industry. The Dockers’ Section Occupational Safety and Health Working Group of the international transport unions’ federation ITF launched its new work programme in December 2018.
ITF news release and related release. Risks 880.
Hazards news, 12 January 2019

Global: IFJ records 94 media worker killings in 2018
The International Federation of Journalists’ annual list of media workers killed doing their job shows that 84 journalists, camera operators, fixers and technicians died in targeted killings, bomb attacks and cross-fire incidents. Ten other media staff members who worked as drivers, protection officers and a sales assistant also lost their lives.
IFJ news release and Killed List 2018. NUJ news release. Courthouse News.
IFJ Safety Fund. Risks 880.
Hazards news, 12 January 2019

USA: Miners’ lung epidemic could have been stopped
A multiyear investigation by US national radio station NPR and the PBS documentary TV programme Frontline has confirmed a widespread outbreak of the advanced stage of black lung disease, known as complicated black lung or progressive massive fibrosis. Their analysis of federal regulatory data — decades of information recorded by dust-collection monitors placed where coal miners work — has revealed “a tragic failure to recognise and respond to clear signs of danger,” where regulators were urged to take specific and direct action to stop it, but they didn't.
All things considered, NPR. Confined Space. The Guardian. Risks 880.
Hazards news, 12 January 2019

Britain: Action call after sharp rise in ‘hidden’ lorry driver deaths
Transport union Unite has called for urgent changes to how the deaths of workers and members of the public killed and injured in road accidents involving lorries are recorded, after research found a 50 per cent increase in lorry driver deaths. Following a freedom of information request the union, which represents thousands of heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers, discovered that the number of lorry drivers killed in road accidents increased by 50 per cent in 12 months, from 14 in 2016 to 21 in 2017.
Unite news release. Risks 880.
Hazards news, 12 January 2019

Britain: Call for action over the London bus ‘killing machine’
The union GMB has called for ‘decisive action’ to address chilling new evidence of the devastating toll of serious injuries involving London buses. The union says eight people were killed and 719 very seriously injured in incidents involving the capital’s fleet of buses in the 12 months from July 2017 to June 2018.
GMB news release. Risks 880.
Hazards news, 12 January 2019

Britain: Incidents up, firefighter numbers down
Firefighters are expected to do more with less, putting public safety at risk, the firefighters’ union FBU has said. Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “The need for firefighters in all their roles is increasing, and yet year on year we are seeing appalling cuts to the service. Fire and rescue services in England are expected to do more with less, putting public safety at risk.”
FBU news release. Morning Star. Risks 880.
Hazards news, 12 January 2019

Turkey: Court frees 31 airport safety campaigners
An Istanbul court has ordered the release of 31 construction workers that had been jailed since September after protesting about poor conditions and fatalities on Istanbul’s giant site third airport site. Fifty-two people have died while building Istanbul’s giant new airport, according to official figures on workplace deaths at the site disclosed this month by Turkey’s official Presidential Communications Centre (CİMER). Hurriyet Daily News. Amnesty International news release. Ahval News. Risks 879.
Hazards news, 19 December 2018

USA: Union sues over company’s safety let off
The US mining union UMWA is suing the federal mine safety regulator MSHA after it reduced its oversight of a West Virginia coal mine with a poor safety record. MSHA has the power to declare mines with a history of significant safety violations as having a “Pattern of Violations.”
UMWA news release. NPR report. Risks 879.
Hazards news, 19 December 2018

USA: Amazon robot puts 24 workers in hospital
Twenty-four employees at an Amazon warehouse in the US were taken to hospital on 5 December after a robot accidentally punctured a can of bear repellent. The 255g pepper spray can containing concentrated capsaicin, a compound in chilli peppers, was punctured by an automated machine after it fell off a shelf.
RWDSU news release. The Guardian. ABC News video report. Wall Street Journal. Risks 879.
Hazards news, 19 December 2018

Britain: Plastics firm fined after employee killed by machine
Plastics firm Nylacast Engineering Plastic Solutions has been fined £293,000 plus costs of £10,205.61 for criminal safety failing after a worker died in an incident at its factory. Tarsem Singh, 52, died of a heart attack a day after being hit by machinery in April 2016.
HSE news release. BBC News Online. Risks 879.
Hazards news, 19 December 2018

Britain: Director fined following concrete pumping fatality
Concrete pumping company Anytime McDaids and its sole director Laurence McDaid have been fined after an employee was struck and killed by concrete. Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard how on 13 February 2017 Kevin Hoare was attempting to clear a blockage in a vehicle mounted concrete pump when the pump ejected concrete, which struck and killed the 26-year-old, who had only started work for the firm in December 2016.
HSE news release. Construction Enquirer. Risks 879.
Hazards news, 19 December 2018

Britain: Balfour fined £333,000 after rail worker crushed
Balfour Beatty Rail Limited and London Underground Limited have been fined £333,000 and £100,000 respectively after a worker was crushed at Whitechapel station in east London. Snaresbrook Crown Court heard that in the early hours of 4 June 2016, Adrian Rascarache, 36, was struck by a Road Rail Vehicle (RRV), and his lower body was crushed between the RRV and the platform edge of the station, resulting in serious injuries to his pelvis.
ORR news release. Construction Enquirer. Risks 879.
Hazards news, 19 December 2018

Britain: Rail tragedy’s lessons ‘forgotten’ warn safety experts
Thirty years on from one of Britain’s worst train crashes, a rail safety expert has warned that the lessons learned have been forgotten and lives are being put at risk. The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) Railway Group has said several incidents and near-misses in recent years have sparked new concerns for rail safety.
IOSH news release. ASLEF news release. RMT news release. Risks 879.
Hazards news, 19 December 2018

Britain: Deaths firm Stagecoach had ignored 24 bad driver complaints
Stagecoach firm Midland Red (South) Ltd has been fined £2.3 million after ignoring 24 letters of complaint about a bus driver who went on to kill two people in a crash. Kailash Chander, now 80, lost control of the Midland Red bus after working 72-hour weeks.
CPS news release. The Mirror. Coventry Observer. Daily Mail. Labourlist. Risks 878.
Hazards news, 8 December 2018

Britain: Three port firms fined after security guard killed
Associated British Ports, DFDS Seaways plc and ICTS (UK) Ltd have been fined after a security guard was fatally injured when he was struck by an articulated vehicle. Hull Crown Court heard how, on 9 September 2015, Lyndon Perks, a 50-year-old security guard, was hit and dragged underneath an HGV as it turned towards a warehouse.
HSE news release. Risks 878.
Hazards news, 8 December 2018

Britain: Contracting firm fined after wagon driver killed
A contracting firm has been fined after a driver died when his wagon overturned. Sheffield Crown Court heard how on 17 September 2013 tipper wagon driver Alan Clements was fatally injured when his wagon overturned while he was tipping spoil onto a stockpile.
HSE news release. Risks 878.
Hazards news, 8 December 2018

Britain: Dad crushed to death was working with son
A metal recovery company has been sentenced for criminal safety offences after a worker suffered fatal crush injuries when cutting up metal for scrap. Sheffield Crown Court heard how, on 4 March 2013, employee Michael Dwyer was working with his son, also called Michael, dismantling a 3-core reactor vessel when an unsupported metal section weighing approximately 1.3 ton fell and fatally crushed the 48-year-old between the fallen cylinder and a shipping container.
HSE news release. Sheffield Star. Risks 878.
Hazards news, 8 December 2018

Britain: Warning over ‘dangerous’ downgrading of pole testers
Telecoms union CWU is calling on Openreach to reconsider urgently an apparent ‘dumbing down’ of safety-critical pole tester roles in the company’s fibre networks. The union says that despite the fact that ‘pole testing is generally regarded as crucial for the safety of not just the engineers who climb them – but also for nearby residents and the public at large’, at a meeting Openreach ‘dropped the bombshell’ that the role was to be downgraded to a lower pay band.
CWU news release. Risks 878
Hazards news, 8 December 2018

Korea: Samsung must now work with unions on safety
Global electronics giant Samsung has said it is sorry for the work diseases it caused but it must now engage with unions to make its plants safer, the global union IndustriALL has said. The union call came after the company sealed a comprehensive occupational disease compensation deal with a public apology.
SHARPS news report. IndustriALL news release. Korea Times. Good Electronics news report. NPR news report. BBC News Online. Risks 877.
Hazards news, 1 December 2018

Britain: Site workers facing needless dangers, study shows
Construction union Unite has called on employers to start taking workers’ safety seriously, after a survey highlighted the extent of the carnage on Britain’s building sites. The study by Direct Line for Business reported there were 196 fatalities and 26,196 non-fatal injuries in the construction industry in the five years from 2012 to 2017, while at the same time, the number of prosecutions being taken by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in construction has substantially declined.
Unite news release. Risks 877.
Hazards news, 1 December 2018

Global: Unions call for better protection for dock workers
Unions representing dock workers have called for better protections and safety protocols for all dock and port workers following the death on 14 November of Dennis Gomez Regana. The seafarer, from the Philippines, was killed on Southbank Quay in Dublin, Ireland, doing a job the unions maintain can only be done safely by skilled dock workers.
SIPTU news release. ITF news release and lashing campaign. Risks 876.
Hazards news, 24 November 2018

Britain: Dyeing firm fined for separate serious injuries
A dyeing company has been sentenced for criminal breaches of safety law after two separate incidents saw employees suffer serious injuries. Holmfirth firm Premier Hank Dyers Ltd pleaded guilty to criminal safety offences and was fined a £12,000 and ordered to pay £12,014.70 in costs.
HSE news release. Risks 876
Hazards news, 24 November 2018

Britain: Facilities contractor fined for lab biohazard blunders
A facilities management contractor’s failings could have put staff at an animal lab at serious risk from ‘high hazard biological agents’, a court has heard. Interserve (Facilities Management) Ltd was fined £93,600 with £32,056 costs for multiple criminal safety failings at an Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency laboratory in Weybridge.
HSE news release. Construction Enquirer. Risks 876
Hazards news, 24 November 2018

Britain: Nuke weapons site fined £1m after worker injured
The Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) has been fined £1 million after admitting criminal health and safety breaches that saw a worker injured in an ‘electrical incident’. AWE was also ordered to pay costs of £26,096.88 during a sentencing hearing at Reading Magistrates Court.
ONR news release. AWE news release. In Your Area News. Risks 876
Hazards news, 24 November 2018

Britain: Families say ‘foreseeable’ deaths were no accident
The families of five men who died while working at Hawkeswood Metal Recycling in Birmingham have rejected an inquest ruling that the tragedy was ‘accidental’. Reacting outside the court to the verdicts of accidental death – reached at the direction of the coroner - the men’s families said they would continue to look for “justice” following the “very violent deaths.”
Birmingham Mail. Morning Star. Risks 876.
Hazards news, 24 November 2018

Global: Port unions press for ‘safety through solidarity’
Union members from Hutchison ports in Indonesia, Pakistan and Australia have joined forces to form a regional safety committee. The move comes in the wake of at least six deaths and many other serious incidents in Hutchison terminals in the three countries over the past two years.
ITF news release. MUA news release. Risks 875.
Hazards news, 17 November 2018

USA: Tesla medical clinic designed to ignore injured workers
When a worker gets smashed by a car part on Tesla’s factory floor, medical staff are forbidden from calling emergency services without permission. The electric carmaker’s contract doctors rarely grant it, instead often insisting that seriously injured workers – including one who severed the top of a finger – be sent to the emergency room in a Lyft taxi.
Reveal. Confined Space blog. Risks 875
Hazards news, 17 November 2018

Britain: Sister of killed electrician backs culpable homicide bill
The sister of an electrician killed at work has backed a proposed law in Scotland that would give families new ways to pursue corporate killers. Louise Taggart, whose brother Michael Adamson was electrocuted aged 26 in 2005, said Labour MSP Claire Baker’s culpable homicide bill would “plug the justice deficit.”
Claire Baker MSP news release. Unite Scotland facebook page. Scottish Hazards. Morning Star. Risks 875
Hazards news, 17 November 2018

Britain: Director convicted after narrow escapes in roof collapse
A director of a construction company has been convicted of a criminal safety offence after three workers narrow escaped injury during the partial collapse of a building during roofing work. Company director Jason Lycett was found guilty of a criminal safety breach and fined £30,000 with £7,026.58 in costs.
HSE news release. Risks 875
Hazards news, 17 November 2018

Britain: Dairy company fined after yoghurt machine injury
A dairy company has been fined after a worker's toe was crushed by unguarded part of a machine. Marybelle Pur Natur Limited was found to have failed to ensure that access to dangerous parts of the machine was prevented and was fined £32,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,767.09.
HSE news release. Risks 875
Hazards news, 17 November 2018

Britain: Serious safety incidents toll at Amazon tops 600
The true number of recent serious health and safety incidents reported at Amazon warehouses has been revealed to have topped 600, a GMB investigation has revealed.  The union has discovered that since 2015/16, a total of 602 reports have been made from Amazon warehouses to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
GMB news release. Risks 875
Hazards news, 17 November 2018

Global: Agency pays ‘substantial’ damages in asbestos spying settlement
K2 intelligence has agreed to pay ‘substantial’ damages to five prominent anti-asbestos campaigners after evidence emerged it had orchestrated a secret surveillance operation intended to undermine efforts to ban the deadly fibre. The campaigners took legal action after discovering details of ‘Project Spring’, where K2 retained Robert Moore to infiltrate and spy on the campaigners’ anti-asbestos network, including covertly recording phone conversations and meetings.
Leigh Day news release. The Guardian. Risks 875
Hazards news, 17 November 2018

Britain: RMT calls for immediate halt to plans to axe guards
Rail union RMT has demanded plans to axe guards from trains should be abandoned immediately after a government minister admitted that these guards are in the front line in the fight against crime and drug gangs. A letter from organised crime minister Ben Wallace spells out his concerns that driver-only trains will mean the loss of the guards in a position to spot children recruited to carry heroin and cocaine.
RMT news release. Daily Mail. Risks 875
Hazards news, 17 November 2018

Global: Attacks on journalists are bad for democracy
More than a thousand journalists were killed between 2006 and 2017, according to a UNESCO report published ahead of the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists on 2 November. The UN agency said last year the percentage of journalists murdered in countries free of armed conflict (55 per cent) exceeded that of journalists felled in conflict zones for the first time.
UNESCO news release. NUJ news release. IFJ proposal for an International Convention on the Safety and Independence of Journalists and other Media professionals. Risks 874.
Hazards news, 10 November 2018

Britain: Deadly risks increase as firefighter numbers plummet
The loss of 500 firefighters in England in the last year has left the fire service struggling to protect the public, their union said. In a safety warning issued ahead of bonfire night, the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) said the loss of professionals and services means it is now taking 30 seconds longer for crews to reach callouts compared to 2010.
FBU news release. Morning Star. Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act. Risks 874.
Hazards news, 10 November 2018

Britain: Rail union issues ‘phoney guards’ safety warning
Rail union RMT has told the rail safety regulator the use of inexperienced, under-trained managers as ‘phoney guards’ is creating a ‘serious’ safety risk on the railways. The union was blowing the whistle on ‘serious breaches’ including three instances of ‘ready to start’ signals being used by ‘contingency guards (PUGs)’ when lights were at red.
RMT news release and related news release. Risks 874.
Hazards news, 10 November 2018

Turkey: Union safety campaigners behind bars as airport opens
Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan opened Istanbul’s third airport on 29 October amid a labour safety dispute that has led to the jailing and criminal investigation of 31 workers, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has said. Union representatives told HRW that an unrevealed number of workers who joined the protest were promptly dismissed from their jobs an d that the airport construction site is being heavily policed to prevent any further demonstrations.
HRW news release and video. The Independent. Risks 873.
Hazards news, 3 November 2018

Britain: Director jailed after waste worker’s crush death
Waste and recycling company director Jonathan Gaskell, 47, has been jailed after the death of a 39-year-old worker eight years ago. Liverpool Crown Court heard how Polish national Zbigniew Galka was crushed to death in a baler with a deliberately disabled safety system while working at Gaskells Waste Services in Bootle on 23 December 2010.
HSE news release. Gaskells statement. BBC News Online. Liverpool Echo. Risks 873.
Hazards news, 3 November 2018

Britain: Shed firm fined after worker killed by forklift
A Leeds garden shed manufacturing company has received a six figure fine for criminal safety offences after a worker was killed. Leeds Magistrates' Court heard how, on 23 July 2012 sawmill worker Andrew Hanshaw, a 45-year-old Woodlands Homecare Ltd employee, was moving wood offcuts when he was struck by a side loader forklift truck (FLT) that had been unloading a delivery wagon.
HSE news release. Yorkshire Evening Post. Risks 873.
Hazards news, 3 November 2018

Britain: Farm fined over worker’s tractor death
Carlisle farm partnership JS Wood and Son has been fined £100,000 after a worker died when he was hit by a tractor. Labourer Stephen Toppin, 57, suffered fatal head injuries at Wragmire Bank, near Cumwhinton, Carlisle, in January last year.
HSE news release. BBC News Online. Risks 873.
Hazards news, 3 November 2018

Britain: Blockbuster profits for Asos, gut-busting conditions for staff
Soaring trading that saw Asos post a £500m rise in sales last year should be reflected in much better conditions for its under pressure warehouse staff, the union GMB has said. GMB said while the blockbuster sales figures are great for the Asos owners, workers at its giant Barnsley warehouse still face ‘draconian’ working practices and unsatisfactory pay, terms and conditions.
GMB news release and Respect Asos Workers campaign. BBC News Online. Sky News. Risks 872.
Hazards news, 27 October 2018

Britain: Scrap metal deaths firm families 'await answers'
Relatives of five African men killed in a Birmingham scrap metal plant in July 2016 have expressed dismay at a lack of answers to questions about how their loved ones died. All five, from The Gambia and Senegal, died when a 15ft concrete wall fell on them at Hawkeswood Metal in the city’s Nechells district.
BBC News Online. Risks 872
Hazards news, 27 October 2018

Australia: Unions welcome work manslaughter recommendations
Australia’s national union body ACTU has welcomed a Senate inquiry’s call for a uniform national system of industrial manslaughter laws. The report released by the committee on 17 October also recommends that unions and families be given the right to bring cases under the new laws on behalf of workers.
ACTU news release. Senate inquiry into industrial deaths in Australia: Recommendations. Risks 872.
Hazards news, 27 October 2018

Canada: Relief at asbestos ban, dismay at exemptions
A nationwide ban on asbestos introduced in Canada has been welcomed by unions and campaigners, however loopholes that allow some asbestos exports and the exploitation of asbestos tailings have caused alarm. Critics point out the occupational exposure standard for asbestos to be used on an Alliance Magnesium (AMI) asbestos wastes project, to be run with financial backing from the government, is that favoured by the asbestos industry.
Government of Canada news release. CLC news release. Globe and Mail. CBC News. National Post. Risks 872.
Hazards news, 27 October 2018

Britain: Slashed firefighter jobs stoke safety fears
The government has continued to cut firefighter jobs in England, the firefighters’ union FBU has said, despite the service dealing with more incidents, more fires, and more fire deaths. Official Home Office figures show since 2009, the number of firefighters in England has decreased by 23 per cent; as of 31 March 2018, there were 32,340 full-time equivalent firefighters, with 421 firefighter jobs having been lost over the past year.
FBU news release. Home Office fire and rescue workforce statistics for England, April 2017-2018. Risks 872
Hazards news, 27 October 2018

India: At least 12 dead in steel plant blast
A gas pipeline explosion at the Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) Bhilai steel plant in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh on 9 October has killed at least 12 workers, with several others suffering life-threating burns. Global union federation IndustriALL said the tragedy “is yet another fatal accident in the Bhilai steel plant, exposing the safety crisis at Indian public sector steel plants.”
IndustriALL news release. Risks 871.
Hazards news, 20 October 2018

China: Destitute migrants ravaged by work dust disease
Migrant workers dying of horrific dust-related lung diseases are struggling to pay for medical treatment or to raise enough money to cover their funeral costs. More than 600 workers from Hunan province in central China are seeking money for medical care and to support their families – a reflection of the forgotten human cost of turning Shenzhen, in Guangdong province, from a sleepy fishing village into a city with a gross domestic product of US$338 billion in 2017.
South China Morning Post. Love Save Pneumoconiosis. Risks 871
Hazards news, 20 October 2018

Britain: Contentious RIDDOR changes should be reversed - official
A legally-required Health and Safety Executive (HSE) review has concluded the official workplace safety watchdog should reverse much-criticised changes to the workplace injury and disease reporting regulation. The move, to capture less common occupational health conditions and reduce the number of non-workers included in work accident figures, is recommended in a government-required post implementation review (PIR) of the effectiveness of the RIDDOR reporting regulations.
Post Implementation Review of the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013, HSE, 2018. Environmental Health News.
Hugh Robertson. The Health and Safety at Work Act turned 40, Occupational Medicine, volume 65, issue 3, pages 176-179, March 2015. Risks 871
Hazards news, 20 October 2018

Britain: Brexit mustn't be ‘Trojan horse’ to scrap safety rights
Brexit must not be a ‘Trojan horse’ to scrap necessary health and safety laws, campaigners have said. The call from the Hazards Campaign came as a study from the manufacturers’ body EEF urged the government to avoid any “disruption” to business that would arise from replacing or abolishing current labour laws when the UK leaves European Union.
EEF news release. Morning Star. Risks 871
Hazards news, 20 October 2018

Britain: Time for proper legal protection from dangerous dogs
A change in the law to protect workers and the public from dangerous dogs and their irresponsible owners should be introduced as a priority, the postal workers’ union CWU has said. The union was commenting after a House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee report on ‘Controlling dangerous dogs’ called on the government to ‘commission a comprehensive review of existing dog control legislation and policy’, with a view to focus on prevention, early intervention, and consistently robust sanctions for offenders’.
CWU news release and branch briefing. House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Parliamentary Select Committee – Report on ‘Controlling Dangerous Dogs’ and Recommendations to the UK Government, 17 October 2018 – news release and full report. Risks 871
Hazards news, 20 October 2018

Britain: Hundreds of serious injuries blight Amazon warehouses
Amazon warehouse workers suffer hundreds of serious injuries each year, including fractures, contusions, head injuries and collisions with heavy equipment, a GMB investigation has found. The union’s freedom of information requests found more than 440 serious health and safety incidents at Amazon warehouses have been reported to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) since 2015/16.
GMB news release. More on Amazon’s safety record. Risks 871
Hazards news, 20 October 2018

Bangladesh: Five years on, injured workers face poverty
Those bereaved or injured in garment factory tragedies in Bangladesh are still facing “dire poverty”, despite the focus on the issue resulting from the 2013 Rana Plaza factory collapse which killed over 1,100 workers. The Clean Clothes Campaign is calling for the creation “of a national employment injury insurance scheme and a bridging solution would be the realisation of one of the major lessons learned after the Rana Plaza collapse and end the insecurity and dire poverty of the workers that were killed and injured at the workplace in the five years since the collapse.”
Clean Clothes Campaign news release. Risks 870.
Hazards news, 13 October 2018

Europe: New report finds exploitation of non-EU drivers
A new report on the working conditions endured by non-EU professional drivers paints a picture of ‘an unappetising race to the bottom’ that must be resisted, UK union Unite has said. Unite was commenting on research by Dutch trade unions that found non-EU drivers from countries including Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine were driving for extreme hours on western European roads on wages starting as low as €0.79 an hour.
Unite news release. The Black Sea. Risks 870
Hazards news, 13 October 2018

USA: Outrage as government sets faster poultry line speeds
Already overworked poultry workers will suffer more work-related repetitive strain injuries and illnesses as a result of a shock government decision to allow much faster line speeds, the National Employment Law Project (NELP) has warned. Debbie Berkowitz, programme director for worker safety and health with the National Employment Law Project, said: “Overwhelming evidence supports the conclusion that allowing poultry processing plants to operate with faster line speeds than allowable by law is inconsistent with the USDA’s waiver regulation, undermines the rulemaking process, violates the Administrative Procedure Act, and most of all, endangers both workers and consumers.”
NELP news release. Citizenvox. Food Safety News. Food Integrity Campaign blog. Risks 870
Hazards news, 13 October 2018

Britain: IKEA worker lost two fingers in Bristol store
Swedish furniture multinational IKEA has been prosecuted after a worker lost part of two fingers while checking a faulty roof fan at its Bristol store. The maintenance engineer carrying out the work had not had any health and safety training from the retailer.  
Bristol City Council news release. Bristol Post. BBC News Online. Risks 870
Hazards news, 13 October 2018

Britain: Construction firms targeted in health inspections blitz
Construction firms across Great Britain will be targeted throughout October to check their health standards. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said it would be the first time its inspections had included a specific focus on respiratory risks and occupational lung disease, looking at the measures businesses have in place to protect their workers’ lungs from exposures including asbestos, silica and wood dust. HSE news release and free #DustBuster selfie cards. Risks 870
Hazards news, 13 October 2018

Turkey: Workers describe appalling conditions at airport site
A union representing workers at a Turkish airport construction site where hundreds were arrested last month for taking strike action over safety concerns has said the employer wants to treat them like ‘slaves’. Dev Yapi-Is union president Ozgur Karabulut, who was one of those arrested, said the workers were engaged in “a fight to be human,” adding: “They are attacking us to make us slaves.”
Morning Star. Risks 869
Hazards news, 8 October 2018

Vietnam: Workers get sick peeling shrimp for export
Tiger shrimps produced for export to European supermarkets are being processed in ‘outrageous’ conditions in Vietnam, a Danish labour standards group has found. Danwatch uncovered practices including 17 hour shifts and exposure to chlorine gas that has left workers with chronic, physical disorders.
Danwatch news release.
Hazards news, 8 October 2018

Britain: Dangerous site director gets community service
A construction company and its managing director have been sentenced for criminal health and safety failings on a London site. CJ Langs Limited pleaded guilty to a criminal breach of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 and was fined £80,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6,000; company MD Kewie Doherty pleaded guilty to a criminal health and safety offence was ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid community work and to pay costs of £1,673, and was also disqualified from being a company director for a period of three years.
HSE news release. Risks 869.
Hazards news, 8 October 2018

Britain: Waste firm fined after two workers burned in explosion
A Bedfordshire waste company has been sentenced after two of its employees suffered burns when a flammable gas cloud released by shredded aerosol containers exploded, with one worker suffering ‘life changing’ injuries. B&W Waste Management Services Ltd pleaded guilty to a criminal breach of the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 and was fined £100,000 and ordered to pay costs of £11,603.14.
HSE news release. Risks 869.
Hazards news, 8 October 2018

India: Cuts linked to death of Mondelez worker
Mondelez worker Milkhi Ram was killed in late September while operating a moulding machine in the company's Baddi, India plant. Global foodworkers’ union IUF said the death of the 35-year-old father of two followed ‘massive’ workforce reductions accompanied by a ‘voluntary separation scheme’ initiated by Mondelez India management, which workers were pressured into accepting at the food multinational that owns household names including Cadbury, Oreo and Toblerone.
IUF news release. Risks 869.
Hazards news, 8 October 2018

Britain: Union says tyre giant’s £500,000 fine shows safety pays
A six figure fine handed to Pirelli after two workers were injured in separate incidents on the same machine demonstrates that health and safety regulations should never be diluted, Unite has said. The union was commenting after the tyre multinational was fined £512,000 at Carlisle magistrates’ court following separate incidents in 2013 and 2015 where workers were injured by inadequately guarded machinery.
Unite news release. HSE news release. News and Star. Risks 869.
Hazards news, 8 October 2018

Britain: Partial cladding ban does not go far enough, says FBU
The government’s announcement of a partial ban on the future use of some flammable cladding does not go far enough, the firefighters’ union FBU has said. Commenting after housing secretary James Brokenshire told the Conservative Party conference that new high-rise residential buildings, hospitals, registered care homes and student accommodation will be covered by the ban, FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said: “This is not the outright ban on combustible cladding that firefighters have been calling for.”
FBU news release. IOSH news release. ABI news release. Construction Enquirer. Risks 869.
Hazards news, 8 October 2018

Britain: Rail union strike over Underground safety concerns
Members of the train drivers’ union ASLEF working on the London Underground’s Central line took 24-hour strike action on 5 October after a breakdown of industrial relations with London Underground. Finn Brennan, ASLEF’s organiser on the Underground, said: “The strike on the Central line is the result of management’s failure to deal with the issues our reps have raised regarding service control problems affecting our members; abuse of the attendance at work procedure; breach of agreements regarding managers driving trains; abuse of the case conference procedure; harsh and unfair use of the disciplinary procedure; and imposition of new and unsafe ‘flash and dash’ working practices.”
ASLEF news release. Risks 869.
Hazards news, 8 October 2018

Britain: Why a ‘no-deal’ Brexit threatens workplace standards
The government's own papers show that crashing out of the EU without a deal would put the UK’s workplace health and safety regulations at risk, the TUC has warned. Hugh Robertson, the union body’s head of safety, said “we must ask for respect for EU health and safety standards to be at the heart of any future partnership agreement between the UK and EU to ensure that UK regulation remains, as an absolute minimum, at the level afforded to EU workers both now and in the future.”
TUC Blog. A right mess. Brexit waffle worrying for workers; safety watchdog loses its head, Hazards magazine, Number 143, 2018. Risks 869.
Hazards news, 8 October 2018

Turkey: Dozens of site workers jailed after airport protest
A Turkish court has jailed 24 workers, including four union leaders, pending formal charges for their alleged roles in a safety protest at Istanbul’s new $13 billion (£9.9bn) airport. The workers complain of deadly pressure to complete the airport, a flagship project for president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in time for the 29 October anniversary of the founding of the Turkish Republic.
VOA News. Al-Monitor. The Independent.  Risks 868.
Hazards news, 29 September 2018

Britain: Garden centre fined over chemical spill injuries
A popular Essex garden centre that failed to undertake adequate checks to protect staff from hazardous chemicals has been fined over £100,000. In a prosecution brought by Colchester Borough Council, Perrywood Garden Centre and Nurseries Ltd admitted to three criminal safety offences after a member of staff developed breathing difficulties after clearing up a spill of garden chemicals in April 2017.
Colchester Borough Council news release. East Anglian Daily TimesRisks 868.
Hazards news, 29 September 2018

Britain: Yorkshire Water fined after fitter’s fire death
Yorkshire Water has been fined £733,000 after a worker suffered fatal burns at a water treatment plant. Mick Jennings’ clothes caught fire while removing valve bolts at the Tadcaster sewage works in July 2015. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the valve was half open and sparks reacted with high oxygen levels; a near miss report had been recorded at the same location in September 2014 but no action had been taken to reduce the risks.
HSE news release. BBC News Online. York PressRisks 868.
Hazards news, 29 September 2018

Britain: Firm fingered after woodworker suffers saw injuries
Timberline DIY Limited has been fined after an employee seriously injured three of his fingers while cleaning a band saw. South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 30 June 2016, the worker was cleaning the saw at the premises in Jarrow, when he made contact with a moving blade.
HSE news release and woodworking machinery guideRisks 868.
Hazards news, 29 September 2018

Britain: Two site firms foot over £1m in fines for lost toes
Two construction companies have been convicted of criminal health and safety offences after a worker’s foot was trapped in a rotating screw. Liverpool Crown Court heard how, on 5 March 2015, Costain Limited and Galliford Try Building Limited were upgrading water treatment works in Cheshire when a worker’s foot became trapped in a large rotating screw, which led to the amputation of three toes.
HSE news release. Construction EnquirerRisks 868.
Hazards news, 29 September 2018

Britain: Top Tories back Brexit push to axe safety protections
A plan published by a right-wing thinktank and backed by prominent Tories is calling for key safety and environmental laws to be ditched as part of a ‘hard’ Brexit. The Institute of Economic Affairs report, ‘Plan A+: Creating a prosperous post-Brexit UK’, was unveiled by former Brexit secretary David Davis and leading Tory Leave campaigner Jacob Rees-Mogg, and has been backed by ex-foreign secretary Boris Johnson.
IEA news release and report, Plan A+: Creating a prosperous post-Brexit UK, Institute of Economic Affairs, September 2018. GMB news release. DeSmog. The Express.
A right mess: Brexit waffle worrying for workers; safety watchdog loses its head, Hazards magazine, September 2018. Risks 868.
Hazards news, 29 September 2018

Britain: Company fined after broken spine
A structural steelwork contractor has been fined £150,000 after a worker was injured while demolishing a farm building. Northern Structures Ltd of Amble, Northumberland, pleaded guilty to breaking the Health and Safety at Work Act when they appeared at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court.
HSE press release. Risks 867
Hazards news, 22 September 2018

Britain: Changes needed to avoid another Grenfell
The author of a report into fire safety and building regulations following the 2017 Grenfell Tower fire has warned that another “catastrophic event” cannot be ruled out unless there are changes to the regulatory system. Speaking at the IOSH conference, Dame Judith Hackitt said she was “truly shocked” about standards in the built environment when she started her review.
IOSH press release. Risks 867.
Hazards news, 22 September 2018

Britain: £1.5 million fine after worker killed
A Dudley logistics firm has been fined £1.5 million following the death of an HGV driver who was trapped between his vehicle and a trailer. Leighton Jardine, who worked for Tuffnells Parcels Express Limited, was fatally injured in 2016, whilst attempting to
HSE press release. Risks 867.
Hazards news, 22 September 2018

Britain: Union warns about cladding
Unite the union has issued a timely reminder of the importance of employers doing across the board checks on all workplaces which have cladding following the Grenfell fire tragedy. After the fire, the government ordered safety checks of cladding on residential buildings, NHS properties and schools, however even this is not always being done.
Unite press release TUC fire safety advice. Risks 867.Hazards news, 22 September 2018

Britain: Company fined after broken spine
A structural steelwork contractor has been fined £150,000 after a worker was injured while demolishing a farm building. Northern Structures Ltd of Amble, Northumberland, pleaded guilty to breaking the Health and Safety at Work Act when they appeared at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court.
HSE press release. Risks 867.
Hazards news, 22 September 2018

Britain: Changes needed to avoid another Grenfell
The author of a report into fire safety and building regulations following the 2017 Grenfell Tower fire has warned that another “catastrophic event” cannot be ruled out unless there are changes to the regulatory system. Speaking at the IOSH conference, Dame Judith Hackitt said she was “truly shocked” about standards in the built environment when she started her review.
IOSH press release. Risks 867
Hazards news, 22 September 2018

Britain: £1.5 million fine after worker killed
A Dudley logistics firm has been fined £1.5 million following the death of an HGV driver who was trapped between his vehicle and a trailer. Leighton Jardine, who worked for Tuffnells Parcels Express Limited, was fatally injured in 2016, whilst attempting to
HSE press release. Risks 867
Hazards news, 22 September 2018

Britain: Union warns about cladding
Unite the union has issued a timely reminder of the importance of employers doing across the board checks on all workplaces which have cladding following the Grenfell fire tragedy. After the fire, the government ordered safety checks of cladding on residential buildings, NHS properties and schools, however even this is not always being done.
Unite press release TUC fire safety advice. Risks 867
Hazards news, 22 September 2018

New Zealand: Driver escapes injury as boss turns off vehicle remotely
A worker driving a company van narrowly escaped injury after her boss remotely turned off her vehicle while she was going through a roundabout, causing the van to stop abruptly in traffic. The Blenheim vineyard employee said: “I'm halfway through the intersection and all of a sudden my van is immobilised with workers inside and a semi-trailer is coming at me through the roundabout.”
Radio New Zealand. Risks 866.
Hazards news, 15 September 2018

Britain: House builder’s concern after site injuries increase
Barratt Developments has launched a safety review after injury rates on its sites increased by over 20 per cent. A statement from chief executive David Thomas in the company’s final results for the year to 30 June, said: “Increased activity levels across the industry in terms of site openings and production volumes combined with shortages of skilled workers has contributed to an increased risk of accidents on sites.”
Barratt final results for the year ended 30 June 2018, 5 September 2018. Construction Enquirer. Risks 866
Hazards news, 15 September 2018

Britain: Supermarket mutilated worker's hand in meat slicer
A Birmingham supermarket firm has been fined £36,000 plus £3,268 costs after a member of staff had four fingers mangled in an unguarded meat slicer. MAS Bazar Birmingham Limited pleaded guilty to criminal health and safety offences at Birmingham Magistrates Court.
Birmingham Mail. Risks 866
Hazards news, 15 September 2018

Britain: Apprentice slips into gastropub’s deep-fat fryer
A Michelin-starred gastropub has been prosecuted after an apprentice fell into a deep-fat fryer and severely scalded his foot. The 18-year-old had been told to clean an extractor fan at The Cross in Kenilworth when his foot slipped and fell into the fryer, which was running at roughly 180°C.
Warwick District Council news release. Kenilworth Weekly News. The Caterer. Risks 866
Hazards news, 15 September 2018

Britain: Fine for motor repair firm with no liability insurance
A company that carries out maintenance and repair of motor vehicles has been fined for not having the legally required employers’ liability insurance. AE Motors Birmingham Ltd pleaded guilty to breaking the Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969 and was fined £726 and ordered to pay costs of £557.
HSE news release and Employers’ Liability Compulsory Insurance guide. Risks 866.
Hazards news, 15 September 2018

Britain: Unions want justice for Grenfell and harassment victims
There must be justice for the victims of the Grenfell fire and those harmed by workplace sexual harassment, unions have said. Delegates to the TUC Congress, held from 9-12 September in Manchester, called for politicians to be held to account over the decisions that led to 72 people dying in the Grenfell Tower blaze last year and endorsed a motion calling for changes in the law to empower victims.
TUC Congress 2018 webpages and Congress motions. TUC blog. Morning Star coverage of the TUC Congress on Grenfell and sexual harassment. Risks 866.
Hazards news, 15 September 2018

Global: Latest dock death part of a ‘global epidemic’
The death of a young New Zealand dock worker has left the global union for the sector ‘in shock’. Paddy Crumlin, the chair of ITF’s dockers’ section and the national secretary of the Maritime Union of Australia, said: “Another dock worker, has been killed at work,” adding: “This is fast becoming a global epidemic.”
ITF news release. Risks 865.
Hazards news, 8 September 2018

[Korea: Worker asphyxiated at flagship Samsung chip plant
A gas leak has left one worker dead and two critically ill at Samsung Electronics’ flagship chip plant in Korea - an event reminiscent of a fatal gas leak that hit another Samsung plant five years ago. On 4 September, three workers passed out in a basement unit of Samsung’s Giheung plant in Gyonggi province, suffocated by carbon dioxide as they carried anti-fire cylinders containing the gas.
Stop Samsung blog. Yonhap News. Korea Joongang Daily. Risks 865
Hazards news, 8 September 2018

Australia: Union push for work manslaughter legislation
Australian construction union CFMEU is continuing its push to make industrial manslaughter a specific criminal offence under workplace health and safety legislation. The union wants the offence to encompass all circumstances where any person is killed in a work-related incident; this would ensure justice for members of the public killed by work activities and workers in industries such as construction where multiple contractors and sub-contractors work on a site.
The West Australian. Risks 865
Hazards news, 8 September 2018

Britain: Serial criminal Tata fined after worker's pit fall
A major steel company has been fined £450,000 after a worker was badly injured when he fell back into an uncovered pit. The prosecution came in the same year steel firm Tata was fined over £1 million over the death of a worker, and two years after it was fined nearly £2 million for criminal safety offences at another plant.
BBC News Online. Risks 865
Hazards news, 8 September 2018

Britain: HSE blasts oil firm of relying on trainee cover offshore
An oil company has been criticised for using trainees and apprentices to cover shifts on a North Sea platform. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said the firm Apache was “significantly failing” to meet its safety obligations on the Beryl Bravo platform.
BBC News Online. HSE improvement notice. Risks 865
Hazards news, 8 September 2018

Britain: RMT demands urgent talks with SWR over safety breaches
Rail union RMT has demanded urgent talks with South Western Rail (SWR) after the safety regulator confirmed there had been a series of serious and potentially lethal safety breaches during earlier strike days. The letter from the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) identified safety problems arising from what the RMT described as the company “winging it by deploying scab ‘contingency guards’ in a desperate effort to break the workforce.”
RMT news release. Risks 865
Hazards news, 8 September 2018

Britain: Union concern after new evidence of prison safety crisis
Further revelations of the extent of the safety crisis in prisons should spur the government to act, the prison officers’ union POA has said. In a 3 September statement, POA said in the preceding seven days 33 members of staff were the victim of unprovoked and sometimes serious assaults; seven involved “potting”, where prisoners throw urine and excrement over staff.
POA news release. Risks 865
Hazards news, 8 September 2018

Japan: UN says Fukushima clean-up workers risk exploitation
Workers used to decontaminate the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan are at grave risk of exploitation, independent UN experts have warned. Tens of thousands, reportedly including migrants and homeless people, may be being deceived about the risks of exposure to radiation, according to the experts, who in August urged the Japanese government to act to protect them.
UN OHCHR news release. BBC News Online. Risks 864.
Hazards news, 1 September 2018

Global: ILO accused of bad taste in partnering with McDonald’s
The UN’s International Labour Organisation (ILO) has been criticised by unions after welcoming ‘exploiter’ fast food giant McDonald’s as a partner in its Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth. In a 22 August news release that has since been removed from the ILO newsroom webpages, the ILO noted: “McDonald’s ties up with the Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth,” adding: “Leading quick-service restaurant brand joins 43 partners who have pledged to reduce barriers to decent employment for youth while boosting access to decent work around the globe.”
IUF news release. Hazards Campaign news release.
ILO Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth and Decent Jobs for Youth partners. BFAWU McBurned campaign. Risks 864Hazards news, 1 September 2018

Britain: Deadly exploding firm later exposed workers to asbestos
A wood processing company whose factory exploded killing four workers in 2015 has been fined after subsequent unsafe asbestos work was carried out at the premises in Macclesfield. Manchester and Salford Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 20 October 2016, in the aftermath of the large explosion at the Bosley site, Wood Treatment Ltd employees removed, cut, shaped and replaced asbestos cladding.
HSE news release. Risks 864.
Hazards news, 1 September 2018

Pakistan: Another deadly coal mine tragedy
A total of 19 workers have been killed after an explosion at the Sanjidi coalmine near Quetta in Baluchistan province, Pakistan. The dead in the 12 August incident were 13 coal miners and six rescue workers.
IndustriALL news release. Risks 863
Hazards news, 25 August 2018

Qatar: Nepalese worker killed at World Cup stadium site
A Nepalese worker has died working on the construction of a stadium for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. The country’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy said in a statement that the 23-year-old worker died on 14 August at the Al Wakrah Stadium project site.
BWI statement. ESPN News. Risks 863
Hazards news, 25 August 2018

Britain: Forge company fined after worker killed
Hot metal forging company Abbey Forged Products Ltd has been sentenced for a criminal safety offence following the death of a worker. Sheffield Crown Court heard how, on 17 July 2015, Billy Fairweather, 35, was in a team of four tasked with hammering down pieces of hard alloy when the piece he was working on misaligned and was ejected, throwing him backwards leading to fatal injuries.
HSE news release. BBC News Online. Risks 863
Hazards news, 25 August 2018

Britain: Private operator G4S loses control of Birmingham Prison
Prison unions have said the decision by the government to take over running of Birmingham Prison from private company G4S ilustrates how a combination of privatisation and underfunding has put the safety of inmates and prison staff at risk. The decision to remove the prison from G4S’ control came after the chief inspector of prisons Peter Clarke described it as the worst prison he had ever been to.
BBC News Online. POA news release. Community news release. Risks 863
Hazards news, 25 August 2018

Italy: Migrant farm workers strike after 16 road deaths
African migrant labourers went on strike in Italy in protest at poor working conditions, after 16 workers died in two separate road crashes. Shouting “we are not slaves”, farm workers downed tools and marched on the city of Foggia in southern Italy.
BBC News Online. Al Jazeera. Risks 862.
Hazards news, 18 August 2018

Britain: Under pressure rail workers avoid speeding train by a second
A group of subcontract railway workers who narrowly avoided being hit by a high-speed train in Nottinghamshire were under pressure to work in an unsafe way, an official report into the incident has concluded. Simon French, chief inspector of rail accidents, said: “We have seen this sort of unsafe behaviour before, where the wish to get the work done quickly overrides common sense and self-preservation.” He said as a consequence RAIB was “recommending that Network Rail looks again at how it monitors and manages the safety leadership exercised by its staff, and how they interact with contractors.”
RAIB news release. Nottingham Post. Risks 862.
Hazards news, 18 August 2018

Britain: Tesco fined after cage falls off lorry and on employee
Supermarket giant Tesco has been fined £160,000 after a cage of goods fell out of a lorry and onto a staff member. The worker from the Chadwell St Mary Tesco branch was seriously injured in the incident, sustaining a fractured pelvis.
Thurrock Council news release. Braintree and Witham Times. Risks 862.
Hazards news, 18 August 2018

Britain: Union to assist those affected by deadly Chemring explosion
Unite is providing support to those affected by the explosion and fire at the Chemring Countermeasures plant near Salisbury in which a 29-year-old worker was killed and a second worker was seriously injured. Chemring shares tumbled more than 20 per cent as the firm admitted that its full-year underlying operating profit could be up to £20 million lower than expected as a result of the explosion, with a “corresponding impact on the group’s operating cash flow and net debt.”
Wiltshire Police news release. Chemring news release. Morning Star. Daily Echo. BBC News Online. Daily Mail. Risks 862.
Hazards news, 18 August 2018

Britain: Shell UK fined after technician severely injured by cylinder
Shell UK Limited has been fined for a criminal health and safety offeces after a technician was struck by a cylinder and left severely injured on the Brent Delta offshore installation. An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the company failed to take suitable and sufficient steps to ensure risks associated with handling of pressurised cylinders were eliminated.
HSE news release. Press and Journal. Risks 861.
Hazards news, 11 August 2018

Britain: Construction firm and director fined after ignoring warnings
A company and its director that ignored an official order to stop dangerous work have both been fined. Southwark Crown Court heard how, on 31 March 2016, Awad (UK) Ltd, under the control of its director Andrzej Wilk, was issued with a prohibition notice on a site where it was found there was a serious risk of falls from the unprotected edges.
HSE news release. Risks 861.
Hazards news, 11 August 2018

Britain: Two staff at children’s clothing firm broke their backs
A children's clothing company has been fined £29,800 plus costs of £10,032 after two staff fell and broke their backs at the firm’s Manchester warehouse within months of each other. Ardwick-based Roco Clothing Limited pleaded guilty to criminal health and safety failures following an investigation by Manchester council.
Manchester Evening News. Risks 861.
Hazards news, 11 August 2018

Britain: Government cuts blamed for increased fire deaths
Firefighters are warning that homes are at far higher risk from fire because of budget cuts. Speaking to the Morning Star, Fire Brigades Union (FBU) general secretary Matt Wrack said: “We simply do not have enough firefighters left to keep people safe.”
Morning Star. Risks 861.
Hazards news, 11 August 2018

Britain: RMT exposes ‘catalogue’ of SWR safety abuses during rail strike
Rail union RMT has accused South Western Railway of ‘potentially lethal’ safety failures during recent strike days. In a letter to the safety regulator ORR, the union sets out “a catalogue of fundamental and dangerous safety abuses throughout the recent strike days as a result of the company paying volunteers to act up as guards regardless of the risks to the travelling public.”
RMT news release. Risks 861.
Hazards news, 11 August 2018

Britain: Bin worker deaths up, respect down
Britain’s refuse workers should be treated with respect but are instead facing a sharp increase in fatal injuries while doing their essential job, the union GMB has said. Pointing to official figures showing a large rise in refuse worker deaths, the union said refuse workers report 1,000 instances of dangerous driving every day that place their lives in jeopardy, when they’re “just trying to do their jobs”.
GMB news release. CIWM Journal. More on the hazards of low paid work. Risks 861.
Hazards news, 11 August 2018

Britain: Asbestos giant fails in latest bid to keep deadly secrets
The Court of Appeal has ruled that a prominent asbestos victims’ advocate should be given copies of key documents that could reveal what an asbestos industry giant really knew about the risks posed by its deadly product. The latest ruling in favour of Graham Dring, on behalf of the Asbestos Victims Support Group Forum UK, requires Cape Intermediate Holdings Limited, a global manufacturer of asbestos products, to hand over documents used in a trial in which Cape was a defendant.
Leigh Day news release. Asbestos Victims Support Groups Forum. Risks 860.
Hazards news, 4 August 2018

Britain: Manslaughter jail terms could rise – but critics unimpressed
Employers, carers and organisations convicted of gross negligence manslaughter could face longer prison terms after changes to sentencing guidelines – although workplace safety experts have questioned whether deadly employers really have any real cause for additional concern. Steve Tombs, professor of criminology at The Open University, said “the Sentencing Council’s mention of workplace death is at best a red herring, at worst an ideological con trick, a smoke and mirrors claim that companies which kill are at risk of a corporate manslaughter conviction.”
Sentencing Council news release and new guidelines. The Guardian. Brave New Europe. Risks 860.
Hazards news, 4 August 2018

Britain: Golf club guilty after worker found dead near 14th hole
Hinckley Golf Club has been convicted on criminal safety charges relating to the death of a course manager. Douglas Johnstone, who was known as Dougie, suffered a fatal brain injury when the branch of an already collapsed poplar tree, blown over in a storm, struck him on the head while he was using a chainsaw without a safety helmet.
Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council news release. Leicester Mercury. Risks 860.
Hazards news, 4 August 2018

Britain: Transport fined after worker killed by reversing lorry
A haulage company has been fined £150,000 after worker was crushed to death by a reversing lorry following a series of health and safety blunders. Kevin Scott died while acting as an untrained banksman at Tooles Transport yard in Rushock Trading Estate, Droitwich.
HSE news release. Halesowen News. Risks 860.
Hazards news, 4 August 2018

Britain: Firm fined over spray booth explosion deaths
A company has been fined after an explosion and fire in a paint-spraying booth killed two of its workers. Barry Joy, 56 and Daniel Timbers, 28, were killed at Harford Attachments, Norwich in July 2015. Nick Timbers, father of Daniel, said after sentencing “there has been no justice” for his son or Mr Joy, adding: “We are disgusted. The fine is miniscule. How can you put a price of £145,000 on two lives?”
HSE news release. Norwich Evening News. BBC News Online. Risks 860.
Hazards news, 4 August 2018

Global: Union warning on superbugs in the workplace
Global food and farming union IUF has issued new guidance on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) at work and says the problem must be “recognised as a workplace hazard”. The union body says the development of 'superbugs' resistant to antibiotic treatment has emerged as a major global threat to public health, killing hundreds of thousands of people annually, “Yet worker health and safety has been almost completely ignored in the global fight against AMR.”
IUF news release and guide, Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) - A Workplace Hazard. Risks 860.
Hazards news, 4 August 2018

Britain: Heavy toll of injury suffered by abattoir workers
The human cost of Britain’s meat consumption is revealed by shocking figures which show that at least two abattoir workers suffer serious injuries each week and amputations are inflicted at a rate of more than one per month. Data obtained by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (BIJ) and the ‘i’ newspaper show that employees in slaughterhouses and meat processing plants are subjected to some of the most dangerous working conditions in the United Kingdom, with 100 workers suffering major injuries in a single year.
Bureau of Investigative Journalism report. i News. Risks 860.
Hazards news, 4 August 2018

Britain: Contractor, client and director sentenced over site dangers
A contractor, client and director have been sentenced for criminal safety offences after conditions on a building site were found to be dangerous. The contractor, Daniel Bodnariu was sentenced to eight months imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, 250 hours of community service, and ordered to pay costs of £1,000; WEL Estates Limited was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,000; and WEL Estates director Yoel Lew was sentenced to 200 hours of community service.
HSE news release. Risks 859.
Hazards news, 28 July 2018

Britain: Developer jailed after building collapse chaos
A Manchester-based property developer has been jailed for eight months after the roof and part of the rear wall collapsed at one of his buildings during demolition works. Manchester Crown Court heard how Riaz Ahmad appointed a group of workers who had no experience in construction to carry out demolition work at a property in Oldham.
HSE news release. Construction Enquirer. Oldham Evening Chronicle. Risks 859
Hazards news, 28 July 2018

Turkey: Court gives mine ‘massacre’ bosses long sentences
A local penal court in Turkey has handed down lengthy prison sentences to the former management of the deadly Soma mine, where 301 mineworkers were killed in May 2014. Families of the victims, civil society and trade unions are angry that the suspects were charged with negligence, rather than murder, which had originally been requested by prosecutors when the trial began in April 2015.
IndustriALL news release and earlier release on the mine ‘death trap’ report. Risks 858
Hazards news, 21 July 2018

USA: Musk to Tesla workers - give up the union or else!
Tesla boss Elon Musk promised to address workers’ safety concerns, so long as they refrained from trying to organise a union, the National Labor Relations Board has charged. Musk’s tactic came to light as a trial got underway over a complaint filed against Tesla by the NLRB, the government agency tasked with enforcing US labour laws.
Confined Space blog. Jalopnik.com. CNBC News. Bloomberg Businessweek. Risks 858
Hazards news, 21 July 2018

Britain: Trio of defunct firm’s directors pay for asbestos failures
Three directors of a now-liquidated waste management company have been sentenced after a series of “appalling” criminal safety and environmental failures, exposing the public and the environment to asbestos. George Thomas Talbot was disqualified as a director for a period of seven years and was fined £46,500 after pleaded guilty to a series of criminal safety and environmental offences; his son Anthony Thomas Talbot was disqualified as a director for a period of four years and fined £4,800 and another son, Stephen, was fined £6,000.
HSE news release. Risks 858
Hazards news, 21 July 2018

Britain: Manchester firm fined after workers fall from height
A Manchester-based principal contractor has been sentenced for criminal safety offences after two workers fell when working at height. PJ Livesey Living Space (North) Ltd pleaded guilty to a criminal safety offence and was fined £56,000 and ordered to pay £7,262.16 costs.
HSE news release. Construction Enquirer. Risks 858
Hazards news, 21 July 2018

Britain: Roofing firm fined after worker plunges six metres
A Scunthorpe-based roofing contractor has been fined for criminal safety breaches after a worker suffered serious injuries in a fall through a fragile roof. Broadley Roofing Limited pleaded guilty to two criminal breaches of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £53,000 and ordered to pay £2,465.15 in costs.
HSE news release and roofwork webpages. Construction Enquirer. Risks 858
Hazards news, 21 July 2018

Global: Russian asbestos exports display Trump seal of approval
The US president’s long-time love affair with asbestos has garnered a literal stamp of approval from a Russian mining company. Uralasbest, one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of asbestos, has taken to adorning pallets of its product with a seal of Trump’s face, along with the words “Approved by Donald Trump, 45th president of the United States.”
Uralasbest facebook page. EWG/ADAO news release. Leigh Day news release. The Guardian. Washington Post. Video: Donald Trump extolling the virtues of asbestos, MSNBC. Risks 858
Hazards news, 21 July 2018

Britain: New FBU ‘red plaque’ honours fallen Scottish firefighter
Firefighters’ union FBU has erected a red plaque in memory of firefighter Ewan Williamson, who died while tackling a fire in Edinburgh in 2009. FBU’s red plaque scheme aims to honour firefighters killed in the line of duty and is funded from proceeds of the union’s Firefighters 100 Lottery.
FBU news release. Risks 858
Hazards news, 21 July 2018

Britain: TUC concern over council safety enforcement crisis
The government must recognise that enforcing strong safety regulations is a positive, protective thing to do, and not a cost to be cut, the TUC has said. The union body was commenting after a report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Occupational Safety and Health found the number of health and safety inspectors employed by local authorities has almost halved since 2010, with inspections and enforcement action plummeting as a result.
TUC blog. Jo Stevens MP news release and APPG on Occupational Safety and Health report. Risks 858
Hazards news, 21 July 2018

Britain: Government slammed over moves to deny injured workers
Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw has expressed dismay at the government’s determination to restrict access to justice for injured workers by pushing more cases through the small claims court. The union was commenting after justice minister Rory Stewart, responding to a Labour charge that the changes would rob injured workers of essential legal support, told MPs: “The entire purpose of the small claims court is to make sure that minor injuries are dealt with without lawyers.”
Usdaw news release. Justice questions, Hansard, 10 July 2018. Risks 858
Hazards news, 21 July 2018

Britain: Job agencies advertise ‘lethal’ 15-hour day site jobs
Unite is calling on the Scottish government to launch an immediate investigation in the wake of revelations that employment agencies have been advertising for workers to operate for a potentially ‘lethal’ 15 hours a day or 80 hours a week on the highly troubled Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR). Unite regional co-ordinating officer Steve Dillon said: “The latest revelations about the Aberdeen bypass project are disgusting, such long hours are lethal.”
Unite news release. Construction News. Risks 858
Hazards news, 21 July 2018

Britain: Eurostar strike warning over ‘dangerous’ conditions
Eurostar staff based at London’s St Pancras station have announced they will go on strike over the “shocking and dangerous” working conditions they face due to repeated service failures and breakdowns. The union said the international terminal at St Pancras has been reduced to “chaos”, with staff bearing the brunt of public anger over delays to services.
RMT news release. London Evening Standard. Risks 858
Hazards news, 21 July 2018

USA: Two amputations a week in US meat plants
Amputations, fractured fingers, second-degree burns and head trauma are just some of the serious injuries suffered by US meat plant workers every week, according to official data. Records compiled by the government safety regulator OSHA reveal that, on average, there are at least 17 “severe” incidents a month in US meat plants.
Bureau of Investigative Journalism. The Guardian. UFCW news release, 3 May 2018. Risks 857
Hazards news, 14 July 2018

Global: ITUC welcomes World Bank labour protection progress
New guidance from the World Bank will help borrower countries uphold fundamental worker rights, decent employment and safe worksites, the global union confederation ITUC has said. Loans from the World Bank seek to create development and jobs, but for decades the workers executing these projects have been vulnerable to rights violations, the union body said.
ITUC news release and ITUC/Global Unions comments to the World Bank. World Bank Guidance Notes. Risks 857
Hazards news, 14 July 2018

Britain: Health warning on new Brexit secretary Raab
The new Brexit secretary poses a ‘direct and immediate threat’ to workers’ rights and safety, GMB has warned. Dominic Raab previously called for Britain to use negotiations with the European Union to scrap workers’ rights.
GMB news release. The Independent. The Guardian. BBC News Online. Risks 857
Hazards news, 14 July 2018

Britain: Work-related deaths continue to rise
Work-related deaths are continuing to rise, latest official statistics show. Provisional figures released by the Health and Executive (HSE) reveal fatalities at work increased to 144 in 2017/18, up from 135 the year before, with HSE conceding the long-term decline in work-related fatalities dating back to 1981 has ended, “and the number has remained broadly level in recent years.”
HSE news release and fatality statistics 2017/18 and TUC safety page on facebook. Risks 857
Hazards news, 14 July 2018

Britain: Number of asbestos deaths from mesothelioma up again
HSE also published figures on deaths from one occupational cancer. These show the annual toll from the asbestos cancer mesothelioma continues to climb, counter to HSE’s repeated predictions. In 2016, the latest year for which figures are available, there were 2,595 deaths, up 46 on the preceding year when 2,549 mesothelioma deaths were recorded.
HSE news release and mesothelioma death figures for 2016. Risks 857
Hazards news, 14 July 2018

Britain: Call on government to drop ‘deadly’ deregulation obsession
New figures showing an increase in workplace fatalities and asbestos cancer deaths should convince the government to drop its ‘deadly’ obsession with deregulation, the Hazards Campaign has said. Commenting on provisional fatality and mesothelioma statistics released by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the national safety activists’ group said: “Work deaths were dropping steadily up to 2010 when the Tory/Lib Dem coalition turbo charged deregulation with the ‘Red Tape Challenge’ and attacks on HSE, but have plateaued since.”
Hazards Campaign blog. Risks 857
Hazards news, 14 July 2018

Britain: Director jailed after explosion kills two brothers
Company director Simon Thomerson has been sentenced to eight months in jail after pleading guilty to a criminal health and safety breach that resulted in the death of two brothers in ‘horrific circumstances’. Ardian and Jashar Lamallari had been employed as labourers and were working inside a unit at 4:45pm on 3 October 2015 when an explosive fire occurred
HSE news release and information on the safe use of highly flammable liquids. Hertfordshire Mercury. Construction Enquirer. Risks 857
Hazards news, 14 July 2018

Britain: Textile firm fined after worker dies from conveyor crush injuries
A West Yorkshire textile company has been handed a six figure fine for a criminal safety offence after the death of a worker from crush injuries. Leeds Magistrates Court heard how, on 28 February 2014, WE Rawson Limited employee Paul Whitehead leant into a packaging machine whilst attempting to free a stuck package.
HSE news release. Risks 857
Hazards news, 14 July 2018

Britain: Firm fined after worker overcome when sawing gas bottles
A Midlands company has been fined after an employee was overcome by vapour whilst disposing of redundant gas bottles. Stoke Combined Court heard how on 7 February 2015, four members of the Air Liquide (UK) Ltd emergency response team were disposing of redundant gas bottles at the company’s site in Tunstall.
HSE news release. Stoke Sentinel. Risks 857
Hazards news, 14 July 2018

Britain: Construction boss banned for failing to pay safety fines
The boss of a construction company has been banned after failing to pay fines imposed for multiple criminal health and safety breaches. Michael Allen, 64, a director of Ashbourne-based Allen and Hunt Construction Engineers Limited, put the firm into liquidation in December 2016 however the Insolvency Service found he incorporated a new company after the accident which took on contracts that could have covered the fine.
The Insolvency Service news release. Construction Enquirer. Risks 856.
Hazards news, 7 July 2018

Canada: Union calls for nationwide action on safety criminals
The United Steelworkers (USW) in Canada has applauding the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary’s (RNC) announcement that it will undertake criminal investigations into all serious injuries and deaths that occur at workplaces throughout the province. The move by the RNC builds upon similar steps taken in the Canadian provinces of Nova Scotia and Alberta, as well as positive work by the Toronto Police Service, and should be a uniform standard across the country, said USW Western Canada director Stephen Hunt.
USW news release and Stop the killing, enforce the law campaign. CBC News. Risks 855.
Hazards news, 30 June 2018

Global: Big Tobacco criticised over child labour
The world’s biggest tobacco companies are coming under mounting pressure over child labour and working conditions in tobacco fields globally, from Zimbabwe to North Carolina. While all the major companies have child labour policies in place and have formed organisations such as the UN-recognised Eliminating Child Labour in Tobacco Growing Foundation, their actions have brought little change and are largely cosmetic, claims Marty Otañez, associate professor at the University of Colorado Denver.
The Guardian. Risks 855
Hazards news, 30 June 2018

India: Tetley’s tea workers denied a drink
For generations, workers living and working on tea plantations in India have struggled with lack of access to safe, potable water and adequate sanitation facilities. For the past two years, women workers on plantations in the states of Assam and West Bengal which supply tea to UK-based Tetley have been organising to demand these basic human rights.
IUF news release and workers’ video. Send a message to Tetley insisting they address human rights violations by negotiating with the workers’ self-organised water and sanitation committees. Risks 855
Hazards news, 30 June 2018

Britain: Multinational fined after another employee killed
A multinational company that manufactures ready meals for retailers including Tesco, M&S, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose has been fined £176,000 after an employee suffered fatal injuries when he was struck by empty food trays in its Falkirk factory. It was the second prosecution in a year for Bavvakor Foods, which had a group turnover in the year to December 2017 of over £1.8 billion and a profit before tax of £84.8 million.
HSE news release. Bakkavor financial performance 2017. Risks 855.
Hazards news, 30 June 2018

Britain: Convicted painting firm gets off lightly after death
A Devon painting and decorating firm that failed to maintain its mobile elevated work platforms (MEWP) or properly train its staff in their safe use has received no penalty related directly to the death of an employee after a malfunctioning platform overturned. TJ Smith Contracting Ltd employee Kenny Leach, 49, died in hospital from a cardiac arrest the day after the Bronto aerial platform he was working in toppled over on 13 December 2014.
HSE news release. Construction Enquirer. Risks 855.
Hazards news, 30 June 2018

France: Ex-telecom execs face trial over wave of staff suicides
The former chief executive of France Telecom and six other managers are to stand trial over a spate of suicides among their staff in the late 2000s. Prosecutors have claimed they presided over a culture of harassment at the firm that led at least 19 employees to kill themselves; the executives are accused of “moral harassment”.
CBC News. Global News. BBC News Online.
Background: Sarah Waters. Suicide voices: testimonies of trauma in the French workplace, Medical Humanities, volume 43, issue 1, pages 24-29, 2017. Sarah Waters, Suicide as protest in the French workplace, Modern & Contemporary France, volume 23, number 4, pages 491-510, 2015. Suicidal work, Hazards magazine, number 137, 2017. Risks 854
Hazards news, 23 June 2018

Russia: Death count of 21 ahead of World Cup kick off
As the 2018 World Cup gets underway, global building union BWI has sent its condolences to the families of the 21 construction workers who died during construction of Russia’s World Cup stadiums. “As fans of the game, we will be cheering in the stands of the newly built stadiums, but we need to also hold a moment of silence in memory of the construction workers who lost their lives in the construction of the stadiums,” said Ambet Yuson, general secretary of BWI.  
BWI news release. Risks 854
Hazards news, 23 June 2018

USA: Tesla tells dismissed workers to keep quiet or else
Language in a confidential severance agreement car manufacturer Tesla is using as part of the biggest job cut in its history is likely to deter dismissed employees from going public with worker safety concerns, according to employment law experts. A proposed severance agreement Tesla presented to one of the more than 3,000 workers dismissed last week required acknowledgment that the employee “had the opportunity to raise any safety concerns, safety complaints, or whistleblower activities against the company, and that if any safety concerns, safety complaints, or whistleblower activities were raised during your employment, they were addressed to your satisfaction.”
Bloomberg News. Critical 16 April 2018 Center for Public Integrity report on Tesla’s safety record. Risks 854
Hazards news, 23 June 2018

Britain: Fireworks factory owner gets 10 years jail over deaths
A businessman convicted over the deaths of two men at a factory ‘rammed’ with fireworks has been jailed for 10 years. Richard Pearson was found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence, after employee Simon Hillier and customer Stewart Staples died at SP Fireworks in Stafford in 2014, where the number of fireworks stored at the unit was “up to 10 times the permitted limit”, Stafford Crown Court had heard.
CPS news release. Birmingham Mail. BBC News Online. Risks 854
Hazards news, 23 June 2018

Britain: TV studios fined after death fall
A TV studio has been fined after a 38-year-old maintenance worker fell five metres through a roof to his death. Maidstone Studios admitted criminal breaches of safety regulations following the death of Justin Newitt.
HSE news release. Kent Online. Construction Enquirer. Risks 854. 23 June 2018

Britain: Government ministers must be held to account over Grenfell
The government must be held to account for its role in Grenfell Tower fire which killed 72 people and left hundreds homeless a year ago, the firefighters’ union FBU has said. In a statement on the 14 June anniversary of the tragedy, FBU general secretary Matt Wrack noted: “Government ministers, past and present, must be held to account for overseeing a deregulation agenda that failed to keep people safe in their homes - a basic expectation of public authorities in a civilised society.”
Fire safety: A TUC guide for union activists, September 2017. Risks 854
Hazards news, 23 June 2018

Britain: Safety experts criticise inaction following Grenfell tragedy
Safety and health professionals are calling on the government to explain its failure to address many of their urgent safety demands following the Grenfell Tower fire last June. Among the demands made in the joint letter to the prime minister was a call for “all politicians to re-emphasise the need for effective health and safety regulation and competent fire risk management.”
IOSH news release. Risks 854
Hazards news, 23 June 2018

USA: Anti-union laws kill, union presence protects, finds study
Anti-union policies lead to a sharp rise in fatalities, while a union presence in the workplace has a protective effect, a new study has found. The author, Michael Zoorob from Harvard University’s department of government, notes: “The paper demonstrates that the protective effect of unions on workplace safety at the micro level translates into large scale reductions in occupational fatalities.”
Michael Zoorob. Does ‘right to work’ imperil the right to health? The effect of labour unions on workplace fatalities, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, published Online First: 13 June 2018. doi: 10.1136/oemed-2017-104747
New pin-up-at-work poster: Unions make work safer: Fighting for your life at work, Hazards, June 2018. Risks 854
Hazards news, 23 June 2018

Britain: Council and HSE accused of ‘inaction’ over on-site living
Westminster council and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have been accused of inaction that could place workers lives in danger. Unite said it notified both organisations of workers living illegally on a construction site in St Johns’ Wood, London, but said both organisations have so far failed to intervene.
Unite news release. Risks 854.
Hazards news, 23 June 2018

China: Amazon blasted over Kindle factory conditions
A labour rights group urging Amazon to improve conditions for the workers at a Foxconn factory in China who make Echo speakers and Kindle e-readers. The call by New York-based China Labor Watch adds to recent allegations that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos became the world’s wealthiest man on the backs of low-paid labour and a series of deaths in its US distribution centres.
China Labor Watch news release and report. Bloomberg News. BBC News Online. The Guardian. Risks 853.
Hazards news, 16 June 2018

Britain: Director ignored dangerous work stoppage notices
D&S Building Solutions Ltd and its director Daniel Schipor have been fined after failing to comply with legally-binding stop work notices. Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard how the company, under the control of its director Daniel Schipor, was issued with two prohibition notices on one if its sites, after the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found serious dangers.
HSE news release. Risks 853
Hazards news, 16 June 2018

Britain: Northern planning to ‘shred’ safety culture, warns union
Northern Rail is planning to shred the rail safety culture in the same way it has shredded train timetables, the union RMT has said. RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “German-owned Northern Rail want to run half a million trains a year without a safety critical guard on board in a move that would wreck both safety and access ‎to services and they should listen to their frontline staff and pull back from that plan immediately.”
RMT news release. Risks 853
Hazards news, 16 June 2018

Zambia: Glencore must account for missing mine deaths
IndustriALL has said there is clear evidence of under-reporting of fatalities by multinational Glencore at its Zambia mining operations. The global union for the sector has received reports of three deaths at Glencore’s Zambian operations in 2017; Glencore has reported only one fatality and Glencore’s Zambian subsidiary claims it was fatality-free.
IndustriALL news release. Risks 852.
Hazards news, 9 June 2018

Britain: Bust company prosecuted after worker killed
A defunct waste paper company has been convicted of a criminal health and safety offence that resulted in the death of one of their employees. Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard how RRS London Waste Papers Ltd worker Krysztof Pawlak was found dead inside the compaction chamber of a baling machine.
HSE news release. Risks 852
Hazards news, 9 June 2018

Britain: Luxury yacht builder fined after engineer injured
A luxury yacht builder has been fined following an engineer being knocked unconscious when he was struck on the back of the head by a solid metal bracket weighing 147kg. Poole Magistrates’ Court heard how the Sunseeker International Limited employee was working under the hull of an 86-foot yacht adjusting the height of a prop when the bracket came free.
HSE news release. Bournemouth Echo. Risks 852
Hazards news, 9 June 2018

Britain: Fire service in Tyneside ‘stretched to breaking point’
A move this month that means fire appliances in Tyne and Wear will be crewed by just four firefighters has been branded as ‘dangerous’ by their union. The FBU said the cutbacks comes on the heels of a major fire in Sunderland last month, where resources were ‘stretched to breaking point.
FBU news release. Risks 852
Hazards news, 9 June 2018

Britain: Security guards ‘die 20 years younger', says GMB
The UK’s security professionals have a lower life expectancy than people born in Afghanistan or Iraq, GMB has said. The union’s research found security guards die 20 years younger than the national average.
GMB news release. ONS life expectancy figures for security guards 2014-2016. WHO global mortality figures. Risks 852
Hazards news, 9 June 2018

USA: Trump to dump safety rules five years after catastrophe
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is set to roll back chemical plant safety reforms that the Obama administration proposed after 15 volunteer firefighters died in a fertiliser plant explosion that destroyed large swathes of the city of West, Texas, five years ago. The Industry groups applauded the retreat from the Obama-era reforms, with Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge calling the scaled-back rules “another victory for common sense over environmental radicalism” - a comment the EPA included in a press release.
EPA news release. Austin-American Statesman. Houston Chronicle. Confined Space blog. Risks 851.
Hazards news, 2 June 2018

Pakistan: Call for dangerous owners to lose their mines
Mineowners in Pakistan should be stripped of their mine leases if they ignore safety standards, the chair of a human rights commission has said. The call came after the All Pakistan Labour Foundation told a Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights meeting on 23 May that nearly 50 miners have died in Pakistan’s mines in two months.
Daily Dawn. Labour Watch Pakistan. Risks 851
Hazards news, 2 June 2018

Britain: Superyachts of the super rich can be deadly for crews
Life on board a luxury yacht can be pretty wonderful for the super rich and their friends. But for the crews staffing them, superyachts can be among the deadliest workplace around, seafarers’ union Nautilus has warned. According to the Guardian report, accidents, injuries and deaths are also commonplace, with union leaders believing working on superyachts to be more dangerous than life on oil rigs; over the past few years at least three young British crew members have died while serving their billionaire bosses.
Nautilus news release. The Guardian. Risks 851.
Hazards news, 2 June 2018

Britain: Contractor and architect fined over site shambles
A main contractor and a building’s architect have been fined for “a total disregard for health and safety and site management” on a care home extension in Devon. Coast & Country Construction Limited did not attend court but was convicted of safety breaches in its absence and was fined £150,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6,039; Paul Humphries Architects Ltd pleaded guilty to criminal breaches of safety regulations and was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6,039.
HSE news release. Construction Enquirer. Risks 851.
Hazards news, 2 June 2018

Britain: Firm fined after worker burned by industrial oven
A company that produces metal sheet components has been fined after a worker suffered serious burns to his, face, ears and head. Hereford Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 12 September 2016, an employee of Mettech (Hereford) Limited sustained burns when attempting to light a gas burner in a powder coating oven.
HSE news release. Risks 851.
Hazards news, 2 June 2018

Britain: Company gets £500k fine over overhead power line strike
A construction company has been fined after a tipper vehicle driven by one of its employees came into contact with overhead power lines during the construction of a waste transfer station. Mick George Ltd pleaded guilty to a criminal breach of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM) and was fined £566,670 and ordered to pay costs of £9,000.
HSE news release. Risks 851.
Hazards news, 2 June 2018

Britain: Firefighter job cuts ‘will lead to avoidable deaths’
Firefighters’ union FBU has warned that swingeing fire service budget cuts and the threat of job losses in North Wales would lead to a loss of lives. Expressing anger at the planned £2m budget cut, the union vowed to fight the plans ‘tooth and nail’. 
FBU news release. Risks 851.
Hazards news, 2 June 2018

Pakistan: Ali Enterprises fire families receive pensions for life
The survivors and families bereaved by the Ali Enterprises fire in 2012 are to receive life-long pensions out of a fund financed by the factory’s main buyer, German retailer KiK. The beneficiaries all lost family members or were injured themselves at the deadly fire in the Ali Enterprises factory in Karachi, Pakistan, on 11 September 2012, which killed over 250 garment workers.
CCC news release and compensation timeline. ILO news release. Risks 850.
Hazards news, 26 May 2018

USA: Government wants to get teens in hazardous jobs
The US Labor Department (DoL) plans to unwind decades-old youth labour protections by allowing teenagers to work longer hours in some of the nation’s most hazardous workplace conditions. The DoL will propose relaxing current rules - known as Hazardous Occupations Orders (HOs) - that prohibit 16- and 17-year-old apprentices and student learners from receiving extended, supervised training in certain dangerous jobs, according to two well-placed two sources, said Bloomberg Law.
Bloomberg Law. Child Labor Coalition. Risks 850.
Hazards news, 26 May 2018

Britain: Fears over ‘potentially lethal’ fire service management move
The appointment of staff with no experience of firefighting to key operational positions at East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service (ESFRS) is ‘a potentially lethal experiment’, firefighters’ union FBU has warned. The union said it believes the safety of firefighters and the public is being jeopardised by the practice.
FBU news release. Risks 850.
Hazards news, 26 May 2018

Britain: Small fine after contractor is electrocuted
The partners in FS Watts & Sons, a business running a Suffolk farm, have been fined after a haulage contractor was killed by an overhead power line strike. Basildon Magistrates’ Court heard how on 30 August 2016, haulage driver Christopher Wilson, 36, was killed when his tipping trailer was raised and made contact with overhead power lines that ran across part of the yard hard standing at the Airfield Grain store in Parham.
HSE news release. Farmers Weekly. Risks 850.
Hazards news, 26 May 2018

Britain: Demolition firm fined after concrete panel injury
A demolition company has been fined after a worker suffered multiple injuries when he was struck by a concrete spandrel panel. Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard how Vale Park Demolition Services Limited was contracted to demolish a link bridge structure at Littleborough Primary School, Rochdale.
HSE news release and demolition webpages. Risks 850.
Hazards news, 26 May 2018

Britain: Sawmill fined after employee loses his leg
A sawmill has been fined after a worker’s leg was cut off by a saw. Sunderland Magistrates’ Court heard that, in July 2016, the employee of A&J Scott Limited attempted to clear a blockage on the conveyor feed and edger machine but was caught by the moving parts, pushed forward and his trailing leg was amputated below the knee by the saw blade.
HSE news release. Northumberland Gazette. Risks 850
Hazards news, 26 May 2018

Britain: Hazards Conference, 27-29 July, Keele University, Stoke-on-Trent
The 2018 National Hazards Conference will take place at Keele University, Stoke-on-Trent, from 27-29 July. The theme is ‘Safety reps@40 – Still vital to the future of safe and healthy work!’ The conference will feature contributions from international and national trade union leaders, academics and campaigners who will address the current health and safety issues facing workers.
Book now! National Hazards Conference, 27-29 July, Keele University, Stoke-on-Trent. For further information, email the Hazards Campaign. Risks 850.
Hazards news, 26 May 2018

Britain: Post-Grenfell fire disaster report ‘falls short’
The final report by Dame Judith Hackitt into the adequacy of the current building regulations and fire safety makes a number of good recommendations, “it falls short of providing the kind of safety regime that is needed.” Commenting on the report’s publication, TUC head of safety Hugh Robertson said: “The recommendations will be of little help unless the government ensures that there is a strong enforcement regime of inspections and, where necessary, prosecutions, and that means giving the three joint regulators sufficient resources to ensure that all new and existing high-rise buildings are safe.”
TUC blog and TUC advice for union representatives on fire safety. Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety: final report, 17 May 2018. Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government report webpage. Hazards Campaign news release. Risks 850.
Hazards news, 26 May 2018

Britain: Firefighters’ union scathing on Grenfell shortcomings
The failure of a major review to recommend a ban on flammable insulation linked to the Grenfell fire tragedy and news that this cladding had never passed fire safety tests have been condemned as ‘perverse’ and ‘beyond shocking’ by the firefighters’ union FBU. The union’s general secretary, Matt Wrack, said “we must look at how a lax regulatory system created an environment where the Grenfell Tower disaster was allowed to happen.”
FBU news release. BBC News Online and Panorama: Grenfell – who is to blame, broadcast 21 May 2018 and related FBU commentary. Risks 850.
Hazards news, 26 May 2018

Turkey: Over 50 workers died a day last month
A total of 177 fatalities were recorded across Turkey in April, according to a monthly study released by a non-governmental workplace safety organisation. According to data compiled by the Workers’ Health and Work Safety Assembly (İSİGM), the workplace death toll in the first four months of 2018 now stands at 575.
Stockholm Centre for Freedom news release. UNISON blog. Risks 849.
Hazards news, 19 May 2018

Britain: Concrete firm fined after death of worker
A Somerset pre-cast concrete products manufacturing company has been fined after a 43-year-old man was fatally injured. Bath Magistrates’ Court heard how Jeffery Baulf, a maintenance fitter employed by CPM Group Limited, was carrying out maintenance work when a conveyor started moving and Mr Baulf suffered fatal injuries when he became trapped.
HSE news release. Construction Enquirer. Risks 849.
Hazards news, 19 May 2018

Britain: Tesco fined £1.6m after customer is hit by van
Supermarket giant Tesco has been fined £1.6 million after a customer at a London store was left seriously injured. Tesco Stores Limited pleaded guilty to two criminal safety offences relating to an August 2014 incident when the driver of one of its vehicles ran into a member of the public whilst reversing into the loading bay of the Greenford Tesco Metro store, in Ealing, west London.
Ealing Council news report. Ealing Today. Risks 849.
Hazards news, 19 May 2018

Britain: Thousands of road workers’ lives put at risk
Reckless drivers are routinely putting the lives of roadworkers at risk, research by Highways England has found. Its figures reveal a catalogue of serious incidents and near misses ranging from motorists driving into coned off areas where road workers are working to physical and verbal abuse.
Highways England news release. Risks 849.
Hazards news, 19 May 2018

USA: Spaced-out Amazon boss should get back to Earth
A letter from the US National Coalition on Occupational Safety and Health (NCOSH) published in the New York Times has criticised multibillionaire Amazon owner Jeff Bezos’ statement that “the only way that I can see to deploy this much financial resource is by converting my Amazon winnings into space travel.” NYCOSH said it named Amazon as a ‘Dirty Dozen’ employer in the US this year, because of its abusive employment practices and record of seven warehouse deaths in five years, adding: “Mr Bezos needs to pay much more attention to what is happening here on Earth.”
New York Times letter and opinion. Risks 849.
Hazards news, 19 May 2018

Britain: Government must enforce new tyre regulations
The government must fully implement and enforce new European Union regulations which will improve safety by placing import duties on inferior quality tyres imported from China, transport and manufacturing union Unite has said. The union said there are significant safety concerns associated with poor quality tyres as they have a much shorter road life and are more likely to ‘blowout’.
Unite news release. Risks 849.
Hazards news, 19 May 2018

Pakistan: Union concern at deadly spike in mine deaths
In separate incidents on 5 May, a ‘staggering’ 23 mine workers were killed and 11 injured in horrific mine accidents in Pakistan’s Balochistan province, the global union IndustriALL has said. Condemning the deaths and protesting against what they described as the negligence and apathy of the mine owners and the government, Pakistani trade unions, including IndustriALL affiliate PCMLF, organised protest actions in Quetta the following day.
IndustriALL news release. Risks 848.
Hazards news, 12 May 2018

Global: How your workplace is killing you
The modern workplace can inflict potentially fatal levels of stress on employees, a succession of studies have shown. Stanford University Jeffrey Pfeffer, author of ‘Dying for a Paycheck’, argues that these practices don’t help companies – and warns governments are ignoring an emerging public health crisis.
BBC Capital. Dying for a Paycheck:  How modern management harms employee health and company performance—and What We Can Do About It, HarperBusiness, March 2018.
Joel Goh, Jeffrey Pfeffer, Stefanos Zenios. The relationship between workplace stressors and mortality and health costs in the United States, Management Science, volume 62, issue 2, pages 608-628, 13 March 2016. Risks 848.
Hazards news, 12 May 2018

Britain: Contractor fined £200,000 after dumper death
Civil engineering contractor Tonic Construction Ltd has been fined £200,000 following the death of Shaun Carter, who was hit by a toppling dumper. Cheltenham Magistrates’ Court heard how the 29-year-old employee was driving a forward tipping dumper on 31 May 2016 onto the top of a spoil heap, but the dumper became stuck on the edge of the spoil heap, and when Carter jumped off the vehicle, it flipped over striking him.
HSE news release. Construction Enquirer. Risks 848.
Hazards news, 12 May 2018

Britain: Trainee scaffolder seriously hurt in fall through roof
A company has been fined nearly £35,000 after a trainee scaffolder was seriously injured when he fell through a fragile asbestos roof in a ‘foreseeable and avoidable’ accident. The victim had worked for Acorn Scaffolding (Yorkshire) Ltd for less than three weeks when he plunged about 13 feet through a roof onto a concrete floor at Lockington Grange Farm, East Riding, on 31 May 2013.
HSE news release. Hull Daily Mail. Risks 848.
Hazards news, 12 May 2018

Britain: Food firm fined after worker loses his leg
A Crewe company has been fined after an incident where a contractor lost his leg when he was hit by a forklift truck. Morning Foods Ltd pleaded guilty to a criminal breach of safety law and was fined £30,000 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £35,000.
HSE news release. Crewe Chronicle. Risks 848.
Hazards news, 12 May 2018

Jersey: Boss fined after gardener is slashed to the bone
The owner of a Jersey gardening business has been fined £10,000 after an employee suffered serious facial injuries. Jose Romao Gouveia De Castro was also ordered to pay £2,500 costs after the Royal Court found him guilty of working “substantially short” of required procedures.
Bailwick Express. Risks 848.
Hazards news, 12 May 2018

Global: Oil and gas safety fears 'from quarter of senior managers'
Over a quarter of senior managers in the oil and gas sector believe safety management is not effective, according to a study. The report - from the Norwegian risk management firm DNV GL - It found that more than a third – 38 per cent - felt safety management was effective, however 26 per cent of the respondents disagreed.
DNV GL news release and State of safety report. BBC News Online. Risks 847.
Hazards news, 5 May 2018

Britain: DHL fined £2m after worker’s depot death
Courier company DHL has been fined £2 million over the death of a worker at one of its depots. Kryzystof Sontowski was crushed between a lorry and the wall of a docking bay as workers manoeuvred it so that the rear of the vehicle was in in the correct position.
MK Citizen. BBC News Online. Risks 847
Hazards news, 5 May 2018

Britain: Transport firm fined after worker killed by lorry
A Scottish haulage company has been fined £180,000 after a worker was crushed by a lorry. Graham Forsyth was working for Colin Lawson Transport on 31 May 2016 when he was sent to help repark lorries in the company’s yard in Aberdeen when a lorry shunted backwards and hit the 57-year-old, who later died in hospital.
HSE news release. Press and Journal. Evening Express. Risks 847
Hazards news, 5 May 2018

Afghanistan: Ten journalists killed in a single day
Unknown gunmen killed Ahmad Shah, a journalist with BBC Afghan service, on 30 April, making it the deadliest for media in the country as nine other journalists were killed earlier in the day in a suicide attack in Kabul. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joined the Afghanistan Independent Journalists Association (AIJA) in strongly condemning the targeted killing of Shah and demanded swift action from the authorities to arrest and punish the killers.
IFJ news release. BBC News Online. Risks 847
Hazards news, 5 May 2018

Britain: Lorry drivers are facing unaddressed deadly risks
Lorry drivers are being placed in danger from long hours and a chronic lack of adequate welfare facilities, according to new research by Unite. The union has warned that “the true scale of deaths is not being properly investigated due to legal loopholes.”
Unite news release. Risks 847
Hazards news, 5 May 2018

Britain: ‘Urgent’ government action needed on agricultural deaths
The government must take urgent action to improve safety in agriculture, Britain’s most dangerous industry, farmworkers’ union Unite has said. The union said last year there were 27 deaths in agriculture, 20 per cent of the total workplace fatality figure, despite the industry employing just one per cent of the UK’s workforce.
Unite news release. Risks 847
Hazards news, 5 May 2018

USA: Tesla factory facing renewed safety scrutiny
California’s job safety watchdog is investigating another injury at Tesla’s factory in Fremont that left a worker hospitalised with a broken jaw. News of the investigation came on the heels of a new report from the Center for Investigative Reporting that catalogued a series of injuries suffered by Tesla factory workers and alleged the company had chosen not to report certain incidents as required under California labour law.
New York Times. Reveal News. Confined Space blog. Center for Investigative Reporting. Risks 846.
Hazards news, 28 April 2018

Britain: Site firms folded ahead of £2m convictions for crushing death
Two firms convicted of criminal offences linked to the crushing death of a worker at a power plant went bust before a court handed each a £1 million fine. Sheffield Crown Court heard how 36-year-old David Beresford was employed by RK Civil Engineers Ltd working at the EON Renewable Energy Plant in the city when he was crushed by a falling pipe.
HSE news release. Construction Enquirer. Risks 846.
Hazards news, 28 April 2018

Britain: Waste firm fined following runaway lorry death
A waste management company has been fined for a criminal safety offence after a 56-year-old man was fatally injured by a runaway lorry at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth. Plymouth Crown Court heard how on 8 June 2015, at approximately 7am, Viridor Waste Management Ltd employee Lee Jane but was drawn under the runaway trailer, sustaining fatal injuries.
HSE news release and workplace transport webpages. Risks 846.
Hazards news, 28 April 2018

Britain: BAM Nuttall fined £900,000 over painter’s fall
BAM Nuttall and subcontractor McNealy Brown have been fined £900,000 and £65,000 respectively after a painter fell through a rail station ceiling into a passenger waiting room. Both firms admitted failing to put proper procedures and safeguards in place to prevent painter Paul Welstead falling at East Croydon railway station on 7 January 2015.
ORR news release. Construction Enquirer. Risks 846.
Hazards news, 28 April 2018

Britain: Glue firm fined after workers injured in fire
Manchester adhesive manufacturer Itac Ltd has appeared in court after two employees were injured in a major fire that stopped production at the site for five months. Manchester and Salford Magistrates’ Court heard enforcement action had been taken by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prior to the incident at Bankfield Mills in Radcliffe because of concerns about poor handling, storage and management of risks from flammable liquids at Itac Ltd.
HSE news release. Bury Times. Risks 846.
Hazards news, 28 April 2018

Australia: World’s largest stevedore targeted over dock safety failings
The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) is urging Hutchison Ports – the world’s largest stevedore - to address a pattern of serious health and safety incidents across its global operations, as a dockworker was left in a critical condition following workplace collision at the company’s Port Botany terminal in Australia. The ITF’s executive board met in London and passed a resolution “strongly urging Hutchison Ports to address a pattern of serious health and safety incidents across their global operations.”
ITF news release. Risks 846.
Hazards news, 28 April 2018

Bangladesh: Improvements still needed, 5 years after Rana Plaza
To mark the fifth anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster that killed 1,134 workers, global trade unions and labour rights organisations are calling on all brands sourcing from Bangladesh to take responsibility for workers making their products by signing the renewed Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety. The 2018 Transition Accord takes over the work of the current Accord when it expires in May and will ensure that work continues to improve factory safety.
IndustriALL news release. Clean Clothes Campaign news release. Risks 846.
Hazards news, 28 April 2018

Canada: Firm behind rail catastrophe is let off
Criminal charges have been dropped against Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway (MMA), according to Quebec’s Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions (DPCP). The firm had been accused of causing the deaths of 47 people when 73 train cars of highly combustible crude oil derailed in the small Quebec town of Lac-Mégantic in 2013, turning the downtown into a raging inferno.
Confined Space blog. Montreal Gazette. National Post. Risks 845.
Hazards news, 21 April 2018

Global: XPO workers demand end to toxic culture
Workers at the logistics giant XPO and union activists from Belgium, France, Spain, the UK and USA have revealed further evidence of worker abuse at the global company. Their concerns are wide-ranging - XPO has been charged by unions with sexual harassment, dangerous working conditions, a death at an XPO site, gender pay discrimination, exploitative employment arrangements and anti-union activity.
ITF news release and XPO global leadership group. Teamsters XPO campaign. News Channel 3. Risks 845
Hazards news, 21 April 2018

Global: New index shows up mining industry failings
A comprehensive new index, ranking large-scale mining companies in six different performance areas, has found that companies are scoring lowest on working conditions. The Responsible Mining Index (RMI) 2018, launched in Geneva on 11 April, assesses 30 global mining companies on several economic, environmental, social and governance issues, including working conditions.
IndustriALL news release. Responsible Mining Index 2018. Risks 845
Hazards news, 21 April 2018

Britain: RMT says rail safety watchdog is just an industry ‘mouthpiece’
Rail union RMT has accused the railway safety watchdog, the Rail Safety Standards Board (RSSB), of political bias following the publication of its business plan for the year ahead. RMT general secretary Mick Cash said the RSSB and the Office for Road and Rail “are now merely a mouthpiece of the government cheerleaders the Rail Delivery Group – all jamming their noses in the corporate trough and supporting a safety programme that suits the speculators and not the passengers or railway workers.”
RMT news release. RSSB news release and Business Plan 2018-19. Morning Star. Risks 845
Hazards news, 21 April 2018

Britain: Deeside site protest to halt ‘shameful race to the bottom’
A protest at the £800 million energy to waste construction site at Parc Adfer in Deeside, north Wales on 17 April was intended to stop a ‘race to the bottom’ in pay, conditions and safety at the site, unions have said. Construction unions are demanding that the French contractor CNIM adheres to national construction sector agreements covering pay, terms and conditions.
Unite news release. The Leader. Deeside.com. Risks 845
Hazards news, 21 April 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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