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

 


DEADLY BUSINESS NEWS

Global: Seafood workers face ‘barbaric’ conditions
International union bodies have joined forces to increase pressure on seafood companies to stop the “barbaric” treatment of their workers. At a meeting coinciding with the Brussels Seafood Expo Global, which brings together more than 2,000 fish and aquaculture companies, the unions said ‘concrete measures’ must be introduced to protect workers producing seafood imported into the European Union.
ITF news release. Risks 748.
Hazards news, 30 April 2016.

Global: One worker killed every 15 seconds
The global union federation ITUC has warned negligent employers of the consequences of putting workers’ lives at risk. Commenting on the eve of International Workers’ Memorial Day on 28 April, ITUC general secretary Sharan Burrow said: “Over 2 million workers die needlessly every year because their workplaces are dusty, dirty and dangerous.”
ITUC news release. Risks 748.
Hazards news, 30 April 2016.

Britain: Two firms fined over two occupational diseases
Two Derbyshire-based construction firms have been fined for criminal safety offences as a result of separate investigations into reported cases of occupational diseases. Derby Crown Court heard how employees at Sandvik Mining and Construction Limited and Sandvik Construction Mobile Crushers and Screeners Limited were regularly exposed to hand arm vibration that led to separate reported cases of carpal tunnel syndrome and hand-arm vibration syndrome.
HSE news release. Risks 748.
Hazards news, 30 April 2016.

Britain: Explosives to be used in Didcot demolition
Explosives are to be used to demolish the remaining section of the collapsed Didcot Power Station. Four workers were killed and five injured in the collapse on 23 February, with one body recovered from the site. RWE Npower said it knew controlled explosions at the site would be distressing for the missing workers' families.
Construction Enquirer. BBC News Online. Risks 748.
Hazards news, 30 April 2016.

Britain: Explosion at car seat maker injures worker
A vehicle seat manufacturing company based in Ebbw Vale has been fined after a worker was injured from an explosion. Cwmbran Magistrates’ Court heard how an operator at Sears Manufacturing Company (Europe) Limited suffered burns to his head and hands when a highly flammable release agent used in the manufacturing process ignited, causing an explosion.
HSE news release and fire and explosion webpages. Wales Online. Risks 748.
Hazards news, 30 April 2016.

Britain: Teenage apprentice loses finger on rotary press
The owner of a Leamington Spa business that manufactures specialist adhesive tape for industrial applications has been fined after a teenage apprentice lost his finger on a rotary die press. James Fussell, trading as Tecman Speciality Materials, pleaded guilty to a criminal breach of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and was fined £6,000 with £1,754 costs.
HSE news release and work equipment webpages. Risks 748.
Hazards news, 30 April 2016.

Britain: Site worker seriously injured in fall through void
A construction company based in Derbyshire has been fined after a worker was seriously injured when he fell 4.5 metres through a void. Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard the injured worker, who was employed by a sub-contractor working for Bowmer and Kirkland Limited, dislodged an unsecured wooden board that had been placed over the void and exposed the opening of the two-by-one metre hole.
HSE news release and work at height webpages. Risks 748.
Hazards news, 30 April 2016.

Asia: Justice call three years after factory collapse
On 24 April, workers in Bangladesh and Pakistan remembered the dead and demanded improved factory safety, and punishment to those responsible for a garment factory tragedy in Bangladesh three years ago. Affiliates of the global union federation IndustriALL formed a human chain and organised a press conference in front of the National Press Club in Dhaka to mark the anniversary.
IndustriALL news release. ITUC news release. TUC news release. Bangladesh Accord. Risks 748.
Hazards news, 30 April 2016.

Britain: Warnings as fire deaths rise sharply
Fire chiefs have joined the firefighters’ union FBU to raise concerns about the deadly impact of fire service cuts. Reacting to new official figures showing a 21 per cent rise in fire deaths over the past year, FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said: “We are now witnessing the tragic results of such wrong-headed cuts to the fire and rescue service.”
FBU news release. The Guardian. Risks 748.
Hazards news, 30 April 2016.

Europe: Nautilus action call on shipping’s ‘rotten underbelly’
Seafarers’ union Nautilus has called for a further crackdown on substandard shipping in European waters following a UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) report on the loss of a cement carrier and its eight crew off Scotland in January 2015. MAIB concluded that the capsize of the Cyprus-flagged Cemfjord in ‘extraordinarily violent sea conditions’ was the ‘predictable’ result of poor passage planning and commercial pressures.
Nautilus news release. MAIB news release. BBC News Online. Risks 748.
Hazards news, 30 April 2016.

Britain: Brexit could put millions at risk at work
Leaving the EU could put millions of people in the UK at increased risk of work-related injury and ill-health, a TUC report has concluded. ‘EU membership and health and safety’, published on 28 April to coincide with International Workers’ Memorial Day, finds that EU legislation has helped stop illnesses and injuries at work, and saved lives.
TUC news release and report, EU Membership and Health and Safety.
International Workers’ Memorial Day worldwide activities. Risks 748.
Hazards news, 30 April 2016.

Britain: Union warning on conditions on Shell oil platforms
Offshore workers employed by a contractor on Shell’s North Sea platforms are demanding the withdrawal of proposals to cut their terms and conditions. Unite is to meet with the Wood Group’s management team to press home offshore workers’ opposition to further cuts which it says could jeopardise safety.
Unite news release. Socialist Worker. Risks 748.
Hazards news, 30 April 2016.

Australia: Deaths expose folly of trucking safety move
A weekend that saw 18 deaths involving trucks on Australia’s roads has exposed the folly of government plans to abolish a tribunal created to lift the pressure on truckers to drive unsafely, the transport union TWU has said. TWU national secretary Tony Sheldon said: “We know that a deadly cycle is at play in transport with major retailers and manufacturers squeezing transport operators and drivers with low cost contracts to the point that our roads are not safe.”
TWU news release and safe rates campaign. Sydney Morning Herald. Risks 747.
Hazards news, 23 April 2016

Global: Tribunal attack is an ‘attack on road safety’
The Australian government’s plan to abolish the country’s Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT) if re-elected is “an attack on safety”, the global transport unions’ federation ITF has said. ITF general secretary Steve Cotton stated: “To stretch belief even further this decision comes at a time when the Safe Rates model – of safe and fair pay and conditions across the transport supply chain – that was born in Australia is being studied and imitated around the world.”
ITF news release and webpage on the safe rates model. The Conversation. The Guardian. Risks 747
Hazards news, 23 April 2016

Global: Deadly LafargeHolcim must talk about safety
International trade unions have launch an online petition calling on building products giant LafargeHolcim to respect workers’ rights and improve its poor health and safety record. The unions say around 70 workers die each year toiling for LafargeHolcim, 90 per cent of whom are employed indirectly.
IndustriALL news release. BWI news release.
Send the message to LafargeHolcim’s CEO to demand now that LafargeHolcim respect workers’ rights! Risks 747
Hazards news, 23 April 2016

Global: H&M told to deliver ‘safety conscious’ fashion
Labour rights groups in Europe, Bangladesh and North America are calling on high street fashion multinational H&M to deliver a ‘safety conscious’ clothing line. The Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC), International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF), and United Students Against Sweatshops are urging consumers to participate in a global day of action on 3 May, with activities running through the preceding week and spanning International Workers’ Memorial Day on 28 April.
H&M broken promises website. Clean Clothes Campaign website
Hazards news, 23 April 2016

Britain: Firm fined after forklift truck operator killed
North Yorkshire steel fabrication company Severfield (UK) Limited has been fined after a forklift truck operator was killed when the truck he was operating overturned. Teesside Crown Court heard 27-year-old Kelvin McGibbon was not wearing a seatbelt and suffered crush injuries that proved fatal.
HSE news release and forklift webpages. Construction Enquirer. ITV News. York Press. Risks 747
Hazards news, 23 April 2016

Britain: Three companies fined after two incidents
Two injuries in three months at the Haverhill site of the Jan Cavelle Furniture Company have led to the firm and two safety consultancies being fined for criminal health and safety failings. An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incidents which occurred on 28 February 2014 and 2 June 2014 found that both were the result of unsafe working practices.
HSE news release and lifting operations webpages. Risks 747
Hazards news, 23 April 2016

Britain: HSE finds dangerous pit behind front door
A London construction company has been fined after inspectors found a deep unprotected pit had been excavated immediately behind the only entrance to a site.  Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard how RS Construction UK (London) Limited was working at a site when a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector found there was an excavation directly behind the front door, which was the only way in or out of the site.
HSE news release. Construction Enquirer. Risks 747
Hazards news, 23 April 2016

Britain: Dangerous school closures a ‘national scandal’
The closure of 17 Edinburgh schools because of serious safety concerns makes a review of public private partnerships (PPP) and private finance initiative (PFI) projects unavoidable, the union Unite has said. The action at the 10-year-old schools was prompted after workers attending to structural issues at one Edinburgh primary found “further serious defects.”
Unite news release. EIS news release. Morning Star. Risks 747
Hazards news, 23 April 2016

USA: Judgment day for reckless executives
On 6 April, a US Federal District Court judge, Irene C Berger, sentenced Donald L Blankenship, a former chief executive of the Massey Energy Company once known as the “King of Coal,” to one year in jail, with imprisonment to begin regardless of a pending appeal, and payment of a $250,000 fine. Rena Steinzor, a professor in the school of law at the University of Maryland, said the judge’s decision “sets a remarkable precedent: The first CEO ever to be convicted of conspiring to violate industrial safety standards will soon take his place in prison.”
New York Times op-ed by Rena Steinzor and related news report. The Pump Handle. Risks 746
Hazards news, 16 April 2016

Australia: Outrage at plan to axe road safety watchdog
The Australian Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) has condemned an announcement by the country’s premier, Malcolm Turnbull, that he intends to abolish the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal brought in to ensure truckers receive “safe rates” for their work in the notoriously deadly industry. “Malcolm Turnbull is defunding and abolishing independent judicial investigations into holding banks, oil companies, retailers, manufacturers and ports and wharves to account for unsafe, economic pressure on their transport supply chains,” said TWU national secretary Tony Sheldon.
TWU news release. The Guardian. Risks 746
Hazards news, 16 April 2016

Britain: Contractor jailed over trench death
A self-employed contractor has been jailed after employee Hywel Glyndwr Richards, 54, was killed when the trench he was working in collapsed. William Ryan was found guilty at Swansea Crown Court of a criminal safety breach and given a six month custodial sentence.
HSE news release and excavation webpages. Risks 746
Hazards news, 16 April 2016

Global: BP gets tax windfall after deadly blast settlement
In the six years since BP's Deepwater Horizon disaster killed 11 workers and poured millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, there has been a clamour for justice. But the 4 April historic $20 billion (£14bn) settlement against the oil giant has not turned out to be the harsh punishment many hoped for - the settlement's terms are so generous to the UK-based multinational that it amounts to a tax break worth billions.
US PIRG statement. Common Dreams. Forbes. International Business Times. The Guardian. Wall Street Journal. Risks 746
Hazards news, 16 April 2016

Britain: Private eye tracks down dangerous demolition firm
A dangerous demolition contractor the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) had to track down using a private detective has been given a suspended jail term. Scot Ian Richardson trading as Aztec Demolition was found guilty of a series of criminal health and safety offences, given a four month suspended jail term and 200 hours community service and ordered to pay costs of £1,200.
HSE news release. Construction Enquirer. Risks 746
Hazards news, 16 April 2016

Britain: Worker suffers chemical burns at electropolishing firm
An electropolishing company based in Hampshire has been fined after a worker suffered chemical burns. Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court heard how Keith Brown, a 51-year-old worker at Poligrat (UK) Limited, was told by his manager to dispose of waste cleaning chemicals at their Aldershot site.
HSE news release and COSHH toolbox. Risks 746
Hazards news, 16 April 2016

Britain: Concern over recovery of missing Didcot workers
Unite has expressed ‘increasing concern’ over the time it is taking to locate and recover the bodies of three missing men following the collapse of Didcot power station on 23 February. The union said members across the industry were questioning whether the recovery team has had enough resources to complete the recovery in a safe and timely manner.
Unite news release. Risks 746
Hazards news, 16 April 2016

Britain: Six years in jail for building boss after fatal fall
Construction boss Allan Thomson has been jailed for six years after being convicted of gross negligence manslaughter. Two of his employees fell through a roof they were repairing in separate incidents on the same day, with the man who died, 42-year-old Scott Harrower, having also survived a near miss the previous day.
GMP news release. Construction Enquirer. Littleborough Local. Rochdale Online. Risks 746
Hazards news, 16 April 2016

New Zealand: Meat giant Talleys ‘more dangerous than ever’
Unions have obtained the full accident records of the New Zealand meat processor Talleys/AFFCO group of companies, and say the records show a further increase over the previous year's ‘horrific’ number of workers maimed and injured at the workplace.  Workers’ compensation claims for injury at work were paid to 1,773 workers throughout the Talleys Group of Companies in 2015, an increase of 220 workers from 2014.
IUF news releaseRisks 745.
Hazards news, 9 April 2016

Bangladesh: Worker dies, guards fire on protesters
Seven people, including a 16-year-old boy, were injured after guards at a shipbreaking company in Bangladesh opened fire on people protesting against the death of a worker. Mohammad Sumon was killed instantly when a truck transporting scrap steel from the Kabir Steel yard in Chittagong, ran him over on the morning on 28 March 2016.
IndustriALL news releaseRisks 745.
Hazards news, 9 April 2016

Global: Tell FIFA to stop World Cup exploitation
Amnesty International has exposed exploitation of migrant workers building the Khalifa International Stadium, a ground slated to host a football World Cup semi-final in 2022. ‘The ugly side of the beautiful game’, a report from the human rights organisation, says that despite promising to improve protections, Qatar has failed to adequately reform its exploitative migrant labour system.
Amnesty news release, report and online action call on FIFA and its sponsors to take a tougher line in making Qatar act now. TUC Stronger Unions blog. GMB news releaseRisks 745.
Hazards news, 9 April 2016

Britain: 'Never again' say FBU, as firefighter inquest opens
The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has said the needless deaths of firefighters in the line of duty has to stop. The union was speaking out on 4 April, as the inquest into the death of Manchester firefighter Stephen Hunt opened. Stephen, who was based at Philips Park fire station in Manchester, was killed fighting a fire in Manchester city centre on 13 July 2013.
FBU news releaseRisks 745.
Hazards news, 9 April 2016

Britain: HSE to be half the watchdog it used to be
The UK’s health and safety watchdog is not the regulator, enforcer or guide it used to be – and things could be about to get a lot worse, the TUC has warned. TUC head of safety Hugh Robertson said: “In 2009/10, before the coalition government came to power, the HSE received £231 million from the government,” but added: “In 2019/20 it will receive £123 million.”
TUC Stronger Unions blog. HSE business plan 2016/17 and Helping Great Britain work well strategy. Risks 745.
Hazards news, 9 April 2016

Britain: Safety laws could be at risk from Brexit
Years of uncertainty for workers and employers could be the result of a UK vote to leave the European Union, a top labour law expert has warned. The independent legal opinion, commissioned by the TUC from Michael Ford QC of Old Square Chambers, notes that rights that would be most at risk of being diluted or scrapped after Brexit are health and safety protections.
TUC news release and independent legal opinionRisks 745.
Hazards news, 9 April 2016

Britain: New scandal hits site safety tests
A new scandal has hit a safety competence scheme in the construction sector. The Construction Plant Competence Scheme (CPCS) is relied on by contractors to prove that operators are qualified to drive machines including excavators and dumper trucks, but trade magazine Construction Enquirer has discovered candidates can now simply buy the answers to the key CPCS theory test online for less than £10. Construction Enquirer. Risks 744.
Hazards news, 2 April 2016

Britain: Syngenta fined £200,000 for toxic pesticide release
Chemical giant Syngenta has been fined £200,000 after tonnes of a potentially deadly weedkiller was released from a defective vessel at its Huddersfield plant. Kevin Slack, prosecuting, said when a worker moved a handle he was immediately sprayed with paraquat dichloride (PDC) on his face and upper body - he told the court ingesting one or two teaspoons of paraquat dichloride could be fatal.
HSE news release. The Examiner. Risks 744.
Hazards news, 2 April 2016

Britain: Firm fined 10 years after deadly crane collapse
Falcon Crane Hire has been fined £750,000 following a south London crane collapse that killed the driver and a member of the public nearly 10 years ago. Charges against 71-year-old Douglas Genge, managing director of Falcon Crane Hire Limited, were dropped in February.
HSE news release. Construction Enquirer. London Evening Standard. Risks 744.
Hazards news, 2 April 2016

Global: International Workers Memorial Day, 28 April
Health and safety should be a priority every day, in every workplace. But on 28 April unions and safety campaigners ensure the wider public, regulators and policy makers hear clearly that ‘Strong laws, strong enforcement and strong unions’ are the key to keeping workplaces safe and healthy year round, every year.
TUC news release. TUC 2016 Workers’ Memorial Day activities listing. Add your 28 April event to the TUC . For tweeters, use the #iwmd16  
ITUC/Hazards global events listing and resources. For Workers’ Memorial Day resources including ribbons and car stickers, contact the Greater Manchester Hazards Centre by email or phone 0161 636 7557. Risks 744.
Hazards news, 2 April 2016

Canada: Union says 2016 is ‘the year of safety’Canada’s public sector union CUPE has designated 2016 the ‘Year of Health and Safety’. Launching the initiative, CUPE national president Mark Hancock said: “CUPE is renewing our commitment to achieving safer workplaces – for our members and for all workers, in Canada and around the globe.”
CUPE news release and Year of Health and Safety webpages. Risks 744.
Hazards news, 2 April 2016

Global: On silica, US does what HSE says can’t be done
The US government has gone where the UK had refused to go, introducing new rules to sharply reduce workplace exposures to silica. The 24 March 2016 move by the US Labor Department means the US will halve the occupational exposure standard from the level it currently shares with the UK, 0.1mg/m3, to 0.05mg/m3 - HSE has argued the lower level now being introduced in the US is neither achievable nor practically measurable, issues raised in extensive US government hearings on the draft standard and dismissed comprehensively over two years ago.
Department of Labor news release and US final silica rule website. Finalised rule on the Federal Register. National COSH statement. APHA statement. NELP statement. Public Citizen news release. New York Times. National Public Radio. Risks 744.
Hazards news, 2 April 2016

Britain: EU has been good for you at work
European Union regulations work and have made a “substantial” contribution to the health and safety of the UK workforce, a TUC briefing has concluded. Arguing the UK should be part of a revitalised “European process”, ‘Health and safety: What Brexit would mean’ notes it is ‘certainly likely’ the protection this has delivered could be undermined if the UK was to leave the EU.
TUC report and pdf version, Health and safety: What Brexit would mean. TUC briefing on issues around the EU referendum. Risks 744.
Hazards news, 2 April 2016

Britain: Government imposes profits before safety rule
The government is instructing its safety regulator to put company profits before safety, the construction union UCATT has charged.  UCATT says the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) “is being told by the Tory government to prioritise company profits over the health and safety of construction workers” and points to an “immoral and venal” revised Enforcement Policy Statement (EPS) presenting to the March 2016 meeting of HSE’s board.
UCATT news release. HSE paper on the EPS changes and the revised EPS. Risks 744.
Hazards news, 2 April 2016

Britain: UCATT to meet minister over ‘failure’ HSE
Construction union UCATT has secured a meeting with the government safety minister after raising concerns about a “malaise” at the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE), whose performance is “just not good enough.” The commitment from the minister came after the Labour MP for Jarrow, Stephen Hepburn, secured a 23 March parliamentary debate on “the alarmingly low number of prosecutions” following a construction fatality.
UCATT news release. Hansard, 23 March 2016. Risks 744.
Hazards news, 2 April 2016

Britain: RMT calls for Night Tube safety assurances
London Underground union RMT called for reassurances on the Night Tube safety case, as a summer start date for the ‎project was announced. The union said it ‎has yet to see a full safety case, despite plans for services to come into operation from July or August.
RMT news release. London Evening Standard. TFL Night Tube webpages. Risks 744.
Hazards news, 2 April 2016

Britain: Ashley called to account for Sports Direct abuses
A showdown is brewing between billionaire Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley, and MPs investigating mistreatment of workers in his sportswear empire. The House of Commons business (BIS) select committee has been trying to arrange a date for Ashley to give evidence on allegations of widespread abuses at the firm but, reports Unite regional officer Luke Primarolo, Ashley hasn’t been co-operative, so the committee has taken the unusual step of formally summonsing him to appear on 7 June.
TUC Stronger Unions blog. Unite Sports Direct campaign. Risks 744.
Hazards news, 2 April 2016

Britain: Nudge theory isn’t evidence-based or the best option
The ‘nudge’ theory embraced by the government in a bid to change the population’s behaviour by stealth isn’t evidence-based and isn’t a satisfactory alternative to proper rights and properly enforced legislation, the TUC has warned. The union body was responding to a leader in New Scientist magazine that noted: “Nudge is an example of what is possible when you apply science to policymaking,” but cautioned “the well-intentioned politicians who want to use them should always remember: never let nudge turn to shove.”
New Scientist leader, 12 March 2016 and Hugh Robertson’s response, New Scientist, 2 April 2016. Behavioural Insights Team. Risks 744.
Hazards news, 2 April 2016

India: Unilever settles with poisoned workers
A 15-year struggle to secure compensation for hundreds of mercury poisoned former employees of Hindustan Unilever in India has ended in victory. The settlement between the company, part of the UK-headquartered multinational Unilever, and 591 former mercury workers from its thermometer factory in Kodaikanal was described by activists as an ‘unprecedented victory’ in a campaign that has attracted international support.
Hindustan Unilever news release. Kodaikanal campaign news release. Risks 743.
Hazards news, 19 March 2016

Korea: Winter Olympics workers at risk
At least two chronically overworked workers have died at construction sites for the Winter Olympic Games to be held in 2018 in Pyeongchang, South Korea. “This is not a good start to ensuring that Sochi, Russia is not repeated in Pyeongchang,” said Ambet Yuson, general secretary of global construction union federation BWI.
BWI news release Risks 743
Hazards news, 19 March 2016

Japan: Fukushima’s desperate 'decontamination troops'
The ashes of half a dozen unidentified labourers ended up at a Buddhist temple in a town just north of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant. They were simply labelled ‘decontamination troops’, employed in Japan's massive clean-up campaign to make Fukushima liveable again five years after the area was contaminated with radiation. Japan Times. ABC News. Greenpeace news release. WHO ‘five years on’ questions and answers. Risks 743
Hazards news, 19 March 2016

Britain: Under threat Tube staff saved woman’s life
Staff cuts on the London Underground system are putting lives at risk, a rail union has warned after investigators confirmed that a woman dragged along a platform was only saved by the intervention of under-threat ‘safety critical’ Tube workers. Rail union RMT said the loss of “nearly 1,000 safety-critical station staff” has damaged the ability of staff to prevent fatalities — and hit out at Tube bosses for floating the idea of driverless trains.
RAIB news release. Morning Star. Risks 743
Hazards news, 19 March 2016

Global: Industry funded studies deliver dangerously biased results
Occupational and environmental health studies with industry funding are more than four times as likely to report negative results, an analysis of hundreds of scientific papers has found. Researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health also identified a ‘dose-response’ effect, meaning the greater the industry backing the greater the likelihood the study would find nothing to worry about.
Lee Friedman and Michael Friedman. Financial Conflicts of Interest and Study Results in Environmental and Occupational Health Research, Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, volume 58, issue 3, pages 238–247, March 2016 [abstract]. Risks 743
Hazards news, 19 March 2016

Britain: Britain’s big role in promoting asbestos
UK-based scientists are playing a prominent role in promoting the continued use of asbestos around the world, according to a new investigative report. ‘Friendly fibre?’ notes that Britain has is home to some of the industry’s more turned-to experts, who have shown a ‘remarkable willingness’ to defend chrysotile, the most common and last remaining form of asbestos in commercial use.
Friendly fibre? How the asbestos industry turns to British scientists, Hazards, number 133, March 2016. Risks 743
Hazards news, 19 March 2016
Construction union UCATT has condemned the ‘shocking and inordinate’ amount of time it takes to secure a criminal conviction following the workplace death of a British construction worker. It says latest official figures show that it takes 1,267 days - almost three-and-a-half years - for a firm responsible for the death of a construction worker to be convicted.
UCATT news release. Risks 743
Hazards news, 19 March 2016

Britain: Helicopter tragedy must spur more improvements
Unions have said lessons from the 2013 North Sea helicopter crash that claimed four lives must lead to further safety improvements. The unions were commenting on the publication of the final Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) report into the incident where a CHC Super Puma plunged into the sea on its approach to Sumburgh in August 2013.
BALPA news release. AAIB report. BBC News Online. Risks 743
Hazards news, 19 March 2016

Britain: Pilots call for an end to mental health stigma
UK pilots’ union BALPA has said pilots must not be discouraged from revealing any mental health problems as this could lead to more incidents like the March 2015 Germanwings crash that killed all 150 people onboard. The union was commenting on the publication of the final report by the French crash investigation agency, the Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses (BEA), which found that neither Germanwings or its parent company Lufthansa could have done anything to stop Andreas Lubitz, the co-pilot who crashed the passenger plane into the Alps.
BALPA news release. IFALPA statement. The Guardian. BBC News Online. Risks 743
Hazards news, 19 March 2016

USA: Uranium workers dying of neglect
The towns of Grants and Church Rock in New Mexico were ground zero for US uranium mining from the mid-1950s until the early 1980s. But years, sometimes decades, after labouring in the mines and mills, workers developed the hallmark diseases associated with uranium exposure.
In These Times. Risks 742.
Hazards news, 12 March 2016

New Zealand: Meat firm fined, then dismisses workers
The District Court in New Zealand has ruled that Talleys/AFFCO – a meat giant the global union federation IUF describes as a “serial rights abuser” - failed to meet its statutory obligations to provide a safe workplace. The court ruling came after an experienced night cleaner was impaled through the head by a meat hook and dragged along the line at the company's Rangiuru plant.
IUF news report. New Zealand Herald. Risks 742.
Hazards news, 12 March 2016

Britain: Nuclear sub workers exposed to radiation
Twenty workers at the Faslane nuclear submarine base were exposed to radiation in breach of safety rules, according to an investigation by the Ministry of Defence (MoD). A series of radiation blunders on Trident submarines docked at the Clyde naval port has been revealed in heavily redacted MoD documents obtained by the Nuclear Information Service, a campaign group opposed to nuclear weapons.
The Ferret. BBC News Online. Risks 742.
Hazards news, 12 March 2016

Britain: HSE criticised for occupational hygiene stance
The Health and Safety Executive’s developing approach to occupational hygiene – the measurement of exposures to chemicals, dust and other exposures at work – has come in for scathing criticism. Hans Kromhout, based at Utrecht University’s Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences, said he was ‘amazed’ to hear an HSE presentation on ‘hygiene without numbers’, noting:  “‘Hygiene Without Numbers’ comes with a price and we all know who will have to pick up the bill.”
Hans Kromhout. Commentary: Hygiene without numbers, Annals of Occupational Hygiene, published online ahead of print, 2016. doi:10.1093/annhyg/mev096 Risks 742.
Hazards news, 12 March 2016

Britain: Firm fined £120,000 after coal depot tragedy
A Motherwell firm has been fined for criminal safety offences after long-serving depot supervisor Margaret Corcoran, 66, was knocked down and killed by a truck at its Mossend coal depot. Investigators found Fergusson Distribution had no system in place to separate pedestrians and vehicles while staff “routinely” went into the yard where the tragedy occurred.
Motherwell Times. Risks 742.
Hazards news, 12 March 2016

Britain: Ten year wait for justice after son’s death
A mother whose son was killed in a crane collapse in Battersea, south London, has spoken of her agonising wait for justice after a trial date was set for 10 years after the tragedy occurred. Michael Alexa, 23, and Jonathan Cloke, 37, both died when a crane collapsed at a Barratt Homes development on 26 September 2006.
Wandsworth Guardian. Risks 742.
Hazards news, 12 March 2016

Britain: Aldi fined for smoke shelter blunder
Retail chain Aldi has been fined £100,000 for criminal health and safety offences after an unsecured smoking shelter was blown into a group of employees on a break. One employee was injured in the incident in October 2014 at the Aldi Stores Distribution Centre in Darlington.
Environmental Health News (EHN). Risks 742.
Hazards news, 12 March 2016

Britain: Big drop in HSE site inspections
There has been a dramatic decline in the number of inspections the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) undertakes on construction sites, the union UCATT has revealed.
The union said its Freedom of Information request had discovered the total number of HSE construction site inspections had fallen from 10,577 in 2012/13 to 9,656 in 2014/15, a reduction of 8.7 per cent.
UCATT news release. The Herald. Construction Enquirer. HSE strategy webpages. Risks 742.
Hazards news, 12 March 2016

Britain: Health and safety leaves your branch stronger
International Workers’ Memorial Day is the ‘perfect chance’ to reinvigorate union health and safety work – and possibly your union branch with it, the public sector union UNISON has said. Encouraging its safety reps to get active around the 28 April event, the union cites the example of its Pembrokeshire County branch, which used UNISON safety campaign materials to up the profile of the issue and in the process recruited 16 more health and safety reps, a new branch health and safety officer and saw safety reps planning more inspections and local health and safety training.
UNISON news report. TUC 2016 Workers’ Memorial Day activities listing. Add your 28 April event to the TUC . For tweeters, use the #iwmd16  
ITUC/Hazards global events listing. For Workers’ Memorial Day resources including ribbons and car stickers, contact the Greater Manchester Hazards Centre by email or phone 0161 636 7557 Risks 742.
Hazards news, 12 March 2016

Russia: Mine tragedy kills 36 workers
Explosions in a Russian coal mine have killed 36 workers, including rescue personnel. On 25 February, two explosions at the Severnaya coalmine in Vorkuta, believed to have been caused by methane gas, rocked the mine leaving four dead and 26 missing, and a further explosion on 28 February killed six rescue workers.
IndustriALL news report. Tass news agency. ABC News. Risks 741.
Hazards news, 5 March 2016

Europe: Better regulation – no, it really isn’t
A union campaign exploding the dangerous flaws in the ‘better regulation’ strategy in operation in Europe has been launched. The campaign slogan adopted by UNI Europa, the European services workers’ union, is ‘Better regulation – It really isn’t.’
UNI Europe news release and Better regulation – It really isn’t campaign. Risks 741
Hazards news, 5 March 2016

Britain: HSE strategy document out
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published its safety strategy for the next five years. The document, which repeats the same ‘six strategy themes’ announced in December 2015 ahead of the series of seven HSE ‘conversations’ around the country, does not include details of any concrete policy initiatives, targets or outcome measures. Helping Britain Work Well 2016, HSE strategy document, February 2016. Risks 741
Hazards news, 5 March 2016

Britain: Waste firm fined £200,000 after worker tragedy
Derbyshire waste firm Rainbow Waste Management Limited has been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after a worker was crushed by the bucket of a motorised loading shovel. On 7 June 2013, Ashley Morris, known as Will, sustained fatal injuries to his head and spine when the bucket of the loading shovel he was operating crushed him.
HSE news release and transport checklist. Derby Telegraph. Risks 741
Hazards news, 5 March 2016

Britain: MoD gets ticking off over squaddie training deaths
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is to receive a formal reprimand over the deaths of three soldiers on a training exercise in the Brecon Beacons in July 2013. A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found a failure to plan, assess and manage risks associated with climatic illness during the training, this resulting in the deaths of the three men and heat illness suffered by 10 other on the training march.
HSE news release. Risks 741
Hazards news, 5 March 2016

Britain: Four believed dead in power station tragedy
A worker has been killed in a building collapse at Didcot power station and three others are “highly unlikely” to be found alive, Thames Valley Police has said. The Birmingham-based Coleman Group was awarded the contract to dismantle the Didcot A coal and gas-fired station, which collapsed while its workers were preparing the structure for demolition.
Thames Valley Police update. UCATT news release. HSE statement. Morning Star. The Guardian. Construction Enquirer. Coleman Group news release. Risks 741
Hazards news, 5 March 2016

Britain: Supreme Court ‘landmark’ case on prison work
The Supreme Court has backed a prison employee’s right to claim damages from the Ministry of Justice after she was seriously injured when an inmate dropped a 25kg bag of rice on her. The landmark case, brought by the prison officers’ union POA, will change the legal definition of ‘employee’ and the law around vicarious liability.
Thompsons Solicitors news release. Risks 741
Hazards news, 5 March 2016

Britain: Brexit could put safety rights at risk
The TUC has warned that workplace employment and safety rights underpinned by EU rules would be at risk if the UK votes to leave in the June referendum. ‘UK employment rights and the EU’ says decisions on which rights to keep – and which to amend or drop altogether – would be left to the government as it reviewed all UK laws linked to the EU.
TUC news release and full report, UK Employment Rights and the EU: an assessment of the impact of membership of the European Union on employment rights in the UK. TUC Stronger Unions blog. The Herald. Risks 741
Hazards news, 5 March 2016

Egypt: Call for justice for murdered researcher
Unions, the Italian government and human rights advocates have called for justice for Giulio Regeni, a 28-year-old Cambridge university postgraduate student tortured and brutally murdered in Cairo. Global union confederation ITUC said Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi must ensure there is a full investigation.
ITUC news release. Education International news release. NUJ news release. Sign up to the Labourstart campaign for justice for Giulio Regeni. Egyptian Streets. Risks 740.
Hazards news, 27 February 2016

USA: Ford spent $40m to influence asbestos science
Ford Motor Company spent $40 million on scientific studies designed to cast doubt on the link between asbestos brake linings and cancers including mesothelioma, an investigation has found. The probe by the Washington DC-based Center for Public Accountability said:“All told, testimony shows, Ford has spent nearly $40 million funding journal articles and expert testimony concluding there is no evidence brake mechanics are at increased risk of developing mesothelioma.”
CPI investigative report. Risks 740.
Hazards news, 27 February 2016

Britain: Teenage farm worker drowned in grain
A Scottish farm has been sentenced after a teenager worker was killed while trying to clear a blockage in a grain bin. Jedburgh Sheriff Court heard how Zach Dean Fox, 19, was working for Seamore Farming at their premises at Deanfoot farm in Hawick.
HSE news release and grain silos guidance. Risks 740
Hazards news, 27 February 2016

Britain: Company ignored HSE improvement notices
A London based company that fabricates structural steel products ignoring official safety notices demanding improved practices. Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard how William Fry Fabrications Limited failed to thoroughly examine two cranes used by the company, despite receiving both improvement and prohibition notices on this issue for its cranes in 2011.
HSE news release. Risks 740
Hazards news, 27 February 2016

Britain: Bed firm boss jailed over 'slave workforce'
A factory owner who ran his bed-making business on a “slave workforce” of men paid as little £10 a day has been jailed for two years and three months. Mohammed Rafiq, 60, employed large numbers of Hungarians at his firm Kozee Sleep and its subsidiary Layzee Sleep, which supplied retailers like John Lewis, Next and Dunelm Mill – but their ethical audits failed to spot what was going on.
West Yorkshire Police news release. BBC News Online. Risks 739.
Hazards news, 20 February 2016

Britain: Director convicted of explosives crime
Bryan Peacock, the director of a Shrewsbury company, has been convicted of a criminal safety offence after a 45 gallon steel drum that previously contained flammable liquid caught fire and exploded while being cut in half. Shrewsbury Magistrates’ Court heard how an employee of SPEL Products had reported the incident, and indicated this particular method of work had been in operation for a significant period of time, and that previous incidents had occurred.
HSE news release. Risks 739.
Hazards news, 20 February 2016

Britain: Star Wars to feel the force of law
A Star Wars production company is to be prosecuted over an injury to Harrison Ford during the filming of The Force Awakens, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has announced. Ford, reprising his role as Han Solo in the latest episode of the space blockbuster, was hurt by a hydraulic metal door of the Millennium Falcon during an on-set accident in June 2014 at Pinewood Studios near London.
HSE news release. BBC News Online. The Guardian. Risks 739.
Hazards news, 20 February 2016

Ireland: Death threats against journalists condemned
The Irish prime minister Enda Kenny and the media union NUJ have condemned the threats made against a number of journalists in the Republic of Ireland. The threats follow two killings in a gangland feud in Dublin.
BBC News Online. Risks 739.
Hazards news, 20 February 2016

Global: Fyffes accused of plantation abuses
Irish banana giant Fyffes has been accused of having “no respect” for workers’ rights, amid allegations that staff on Central American fruit plantations are being serially mistreated. The UK union GMB has called for Fyffes to be thrown out of the Ethical Trade Initiative (ETI), which promotes labour rights, over reports of abuses including chemical poisonings by Fyffes subsidiaries in Costa Rica and Honduras.
GMB news release. ETI response. Banana Link news report. The Guardian. Risks 739.
Hazards news, 20 February 2016

USA: How to bury occupational brain cancers
A chemical giant responded to unexpectedly high numbers of brain tumours at one of its US plants by launching a flawed study to obscure the extent of the problem, the Center for Public Integrity (CPI) has found. The CPI investigation, the latest in its ‘Science for sale’ series, examined the cancer cluster affected workers at the sprawling Union Carbide plant in Texas City but found the company’s researchers counted only one of the 23 brain tumour deaths at the plant in an influential study.
CPI investigative report. Work Cancer Hazards blog. Risks 739.
Hazards news, 20 February 2016

Britain: Higher fines should spur safety improvements
New sentencing guidelines recommending much higher fines on firms that break health and safety laws should increase the pressure on unsafe employers ‘to clean up their act’, the TUC has said. TUC head of safety Hugh Robertson said to make the system work better, there should also be more resources for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), to cover the costs of bringing more cases to court.
TUC Stronger Unions blog. Risks 739.
Hazards news, 20 February 2016

Britain: Supreme Court win on protective equipment
Employers face having to provide protective footwear for staff following a landmark court ruling involving a care worker who slipped on ice at work. GMB member Tracey Kennedy fell and injured her wrist as she made her way to the home of a housebound woman in the Crookston area of Glasgow in the harsh winter of December 2010.
GMB Scotland news release. Video recording of the Supreme Court ruling. Digby Brown Solicitors news release. The Herald. STV News. Risks 739.
Hazards news, 20 February 2016

Britain: Lasers are ‘offensive weapons’ says pilots’ union
Lasers should be classed as ‘offensive weapons’ and banned in the UK, the pilots’ union BALPA has said. The union was speaking out after a New York-bound plane was forced to turn back to London Heathrow Airport after a laser beam hit the cockpit after take off, causing a ‘medical issue’ for one of the pilots
BALPA news release. The Telegraph. The Guardian. BBC News Online. Risks 739.
Hazards news, 20 February 2016

Train drivers also at risk from lasers
Rail union RMT has warned that the risks from illegally wielded lasers are a threat to rail as well as aircraft safety. The union said any review in the wake of the Virgin Atlantic incident must include the impact of the ready availability of high-powered lasers on the wider transport industry.
RMT news release. Risks 739.
Hazards news, 20 February 2016

Pakistan: Union roadmap to improve brick kiln conditions
A detailed roadmap for local agencies to address bonded labour and unsafe working conditions in Pakistan’s brick kilns has been created with the assistance of the US union organisation the Solidarity Center. The proposed programme includes incentives for employers to ensure their facilities meet decent work standards.
Solidarity Center news report. Risks 738.
Hazards news, 13 February 2016

USA: ‘Rented’ scientists defend toxic chemicals
‘Rented white coats’ – scientists in the pay of vested interests – are defending toxic chemicals with horrific consequences for the workers these substances make ill. A ‘Science for sale’ investigation by the Washington DC based Center for Public Integrity (CPI) found industry-backed research has exploded “as government-funded science dwindles. Its effects are felt not only in courtrooms but also in regulatory agencies that issue rules to try to prevent disease.”
CPI investigative report. Risks 738.
Hazards news, 13 February 2016

USA: E-recyclers take lead home to the kids
In 2009, when Anthony Harrell accepted a $10-an-hour job at an electronics scrap recycling facility in Cincinnati, he was happy to have found work that he liked and that would let him provide for his wife and two children. But Harrell didn’t know that when he went home his kids would inadvertently come in contact with the lead contaminating his hair, skin and clothes, suffering lead related mental problems as a result. Huffington Post. Risks 738.
Hazards news, 13 February 2016

Britain: Fuel giant fined £3m over offshore leaks
One of the world’s largest oil and gas exploration and production companies has been fined £3 million after gas leaks on a platform off the Lincolnshire coast put workers’ lives in danger. ConocoPhillips (UK) Limited admitted serious criminal safety failings in Lincoln Crown Court after two uncontrolled and one controlled but unexpected gas release, which occurred on the Lincolnshire Offshore Gas Gathering System (LOGGS) between 30 November and 1 December 2012.
HSE news release and guidance on risk assessment for offshore installations. Grimsby Telegraph. Risks 738.
Hazards news, 13 February 2016

Britain: Exploding cylinder killed recycling worker
A scrap metal recycling company based in Sheffield has been fined for criminal safety failings after a worker was killed when he was hit in the head by an exploding gas cylinder. Sheffield Crown Court heard how Tony Johnson, aged 55, was working at the Walter Heselwood Ltd recycling site on 16 June 2009 when a pressurised gas cylinder was put through a shearing machine, causing it to explode.
HSE news release and waste and recycling webpages. Risks 738.
Hazards news, 13 February 2016

Britain: Window firm ignored safety warnings
A company that manufactures and installs windows has been fined after carrying out work in the West End of London with no measures to prevent workers falling eight metres. The lack of safety measures by Ideal Glazing (Euro) Ltd allowed part of a window to drop onto the pavement below.
HSE news release. Construction Enquirer. Risks 738.
Hazards news, 13 February 2016

Britain: Six figure fine after track worker is injured
Engineering company Babcock Rail Limited has been fined £400,000 for a criminal safety breach which led to a rail worker suffering serious injuries while renewing rail track in Flintshire, north-east Wales. Lee Woolly was helping to replace a line at Hope Railway Station when the incident happened in March 2013.
ORR news release. BBC News Online. Construction Enquirer. Risks 738.
Hazards news, 13 February 2016

Britain: Chemical giant fined for dangerous gas release
Multinational chemical producer, Solvay Solutions UK Limited, has been fined after a dangerous gas was released to the atmosphere causing disruption to the M5 and thousands of homes nearby. Warley Magistrates’ Court heard how the uncontrolled release put both employees and members of the public at risk.
HSE news release and COSHH webpages. Risks 738.
Hazards news, 13 February 2016

Britain: Salad firm fined over lost finger tips
A company that grows and packages salad has been fined after an employee lost the tips of two fingers in a dangerously modified bagging machine. Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court heard how the operator had reached under the guard to pull film through the machine at Vitacress Salads Limited.
HSE news release and packaging machinery webpage. Risks 738.
Hazards news, 13 February 2016

Britain: Tube maintenance workers in safety action
Maintenance workers on London Underground (LU) are planning a series of 12-hour and 24-hour strikes in a dispute over safety. Rail union RMT said seven separate strikes are planned up to June over what it calls “lethal changes to track access.”
RMT news release. Evening Standard. BBC News Online. Risks 738.
Hazards news, 13 February 2016

New Zealand: Deadly abuses continue at meat plant
Global foodworkers’ union federation IUF is seeking support in its campaign for a respect for safety and labour rights at meat processing company Talley’s/AFFCO. IUF says “Talley’s/AFFCO is a serial rights abuser,” adding: This employer with a horrific record of workplace accidents has fired union health and safety representatives for meeting with their members and locked out 200 workers at the company's Wairoa meat plant to force them to abandon collective bargaining and accept individual contracts.”
IUF alert. Sign the letter to Talley’s: Lockout, dismissals, intimidation - serial rights abuses by New Zealand meat company Talleys/AFFCO. Risks 737
Hazards news, 6 February 2016

Qatar: World Cup dream is a nightmare for workers
A union investigation has confirmed the migrant workers toiling to get Qatar ready for the 2022 World Cup are still facing overcrowded, squalid accommodation and deadly working conditions. Unite general secretary Len McCluskey was part of delegation that made a secret, after-dark trip to a labour camp in Al Khor, north of the capital Doha, to see the conditions and speak to the workers.
TUC Stronger Unions blog. TUC Playfair Qatar campaign. The Mirror.
ITUC multi-media investigation: Qatar Exposed and full report: Qatar: Profit and loss. Counting the cost of modern day slavery in Qatar: What price freedom? Risks 737
Hazards news, 6 February 2016

Britain: Port firm fined after crushing death
Clydeport Operations Limited has been fined for criminal safety failings after 22-year-old maintenance engineer Craig Logan suffered fatal crush injuries on a faulty crane at its Hunterston Coal Terminal site in Ayrshire. The company was aware of the problem with the crane, whose cab had repeatedly become stuck along the boom, but over an eight month period had failed to fix it.
HSE news release. Risks 737
Hazards news, 6 February 2016

Britain: Runaway HGV crushes worker to death
A Runcorn haulage firm has been convicted of a criminal safety offence after an employee was crushed to death by a runaway lorry. Tony Schulze, 49, had been trying to connect a cab to a lorry trailer when the incident happened at Freight First Ltd’s premises on the Astmoor Industrial Estate on 22 January 2011.
HSE news release and workplace transport webpages. Risks 737
Hazards news, 6 February 2016

Britain: Worker mown down whilst assisting reversing lorry
A Shropshire company has been fined for criminal safety failings after the death of an employee. Mold Crown Court heard how Philip Ledward, 62, an employee of Arkenfield Stable Hire Limited (ASHL), was assisting one of the company’s lorry drivers when he was struck by a passing car and received fatal injuries.
HSE news release and workplace transport guide. Shropshire Star. Daily Post. Risks 737
Hazards news, 6 February 2016

Britain: Company guilty after worker crushed by bricks
A Cheshire construction company has been prosecuted following a fatal accident in 2011 at a site in Wilmslow. Liverpool Crown Court heard that Edgemere Projects Ltd of Tarporley, Cheshire, was the main contractor at a construction site when on 7 January 2011, 23-year-old Andrew Dytiche sustained crush injuries when a pack of bricks fell on him.
HSE news release. Construction Enquirer. Risks 737
Hazards news, 6 February 2016

Britain: Large firms face higher penalties for safety crimes
New official sentencing guidelines should lead to a dramatic increase in penalties on larger firms for serious workplace safety crimes. An analysis by Howard Fidderman, editor of Health and Safety Bulletin, showed 16 of the 21 fines imposed on large companies were lower than the new starting point, while 14 of the 17 fines imposed on small and micro companies were higher.
Health and Safety Bulletin, number 445, January/February 2016. Risks 737
Hazards news, 6 February 2016

Britain: UCATT concern at five year justice delay
Construction union UCATT has said it is ‘highly concerned’ at a five-year delay in bringing criminal charges relating to the deaths of four workers on a development project. Adam Taylor (28), Peter Johnson (42) and brothers Thomas (26) and Daniel Hazelton (30), died on 21 January 2011, in what the union said was the worst fatal accident in the industry for many years.
UCATT news release. HSE news release. Morning Star. Risks 737
Hazards news, 6 February 2016

Britain: Action call after sharp rise in retail violence
Retail union Usdaw has called for action to prevent violence, threats and abuse against shopworkers after the British Retail Consortium (BRC) reported a sharp rise in incidents during 2015. Trade body BRC found offences involving abuse or violence against shopworkers were up by 28 per cent.
Usdaw news release. Risks 737
Hazards news, 6 February 2016

Britain: Education staff under attack at work
Forty-three per cent of education staff have had to deal with physical violence from a pupil in the last year, according to a survey by the teaching union ATL. The union says of those who have experienced physical violence from a pupil: 77 per cent reported they had been pushed or shoved; 52 per cent had been kicked; 50 per cent had an object such as furniture thrown at them; and 37 per cent had been punched.
ATL news release. Risks 737
Hazards news, 6 February 2016

Britain: UCATT concern at five year justice delay
Construction union UCATT has said it is ‘highly concerned’ at a five-year delay in bringing criminal charges relating to the deaths of four workers on a development project. Adam Taylor (28), Peter Johnson (42) and brothers Thomas (26) and Daniel Hazelton (30), died on 21 January 2011, in what the union said was the worst fatal accident in the industry for many years.
UCATT news release. HSE news release. Morning Star. Risks 737
Hazards news, 6 February 2016

Britain: Action call after sharp rise in retail violence
Retail union Usdaw has called for action to prevent violence, threats and abuse against shopworkers after the British Retail Consortium (BRC) reported a sharp rise in incidents during 2015. Trade body BRC found offences involving abuse or violence against shopworkers were up by 28 per cent.
Usdaw news release. Risks 737
Hazards news, 6 February 2016

Britain: Education staff under attack at work
Forty-three per cent of education staff have had to deal with physical violence from a pupil in the last year, according to a survey by the teaching union ATL. The union says of those who have experienced physical violence from a pupil: 77 per cent reported they had been pushed or shoved; 52 per cent had been kicked; 50 per cent had an object such as furniture thrown at them; and 37 per cent had been punched.
ATL news release. Risks 737
Hazards news, 6 February 2016

Britain: Union approach leads to shipbreaking breakthrough
The UK government has agreed to sign up to an international convention on shipbreaking safety after an approach from the union Unite. Confirmation of the government’s willingness to ratify the Hong Kong Convention on shipbreaking came in a letter from transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin.
TUC Stronger Unions blog. IndustriALL news release and shipbreaking campaign. The Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, 2009. Risks 736
Hazards news, 20 January 2016.

Britain: UK joins the fight to end modern slavery
The UK government has joined the vanguard of the fight against modern slavery, the TUC has said. Commenting after the UK became the third country after Niger and Norway to ratify a landmark International Labour Organisation (ILO) agreement to outlaw forced labour and modern slavery, TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “We welcome the Home Office’s move to ratify the ILO Forced Labour Protocol.”
TUC news release. TUC Touchstone blog. ILO news release, Forced labour protocol and recommendation and 50 for Freedom website. Risks 736.
Hazards news, 20 January 2016.

Britain: ‘Slave workforce’ conviction at bed maker
A West Yorkshire businessman has been convicted of employing large numbers of Hungarian men as a “slave workforce” at the now defunct Kozee Sleep bed factory in Ravensthorpe, Dewsbury. Mohammed Rafiq, 60, was found guilty of conspiracy to commission a breach of UK immigration law and will be sentenced on 12 February. BBC News Online. Risks 736. 20 January 2016.

Britain: Balfour Beatty fined £1m after road worker death
Civil engineering giant Balfour Beatty has been fined £1 million after the death of a father-of-four repairing a barrier on the A2. Larry Newman, 37, was killed when he was struck by the arm of a crane being used in the work in October 2012.
HSE news release. Kent Online. Risks 736.
Hazards news, 20 January 2016

Britain: Fine of £1m after worker gets trapped in gas cloud
One of the UK’s largest gas distributors has been fined £1 million after a worker became trapped in a ruptured gas main in Scunthorpe. On 24 June 2014, National Grid Gas (plc) was supervising repairs to the gas main when sub-contract worker Ryan Spencer was trapped between two gas pipes after one of them burst, breaking his femur.
HSE news release. Scunthorpe Telegraph. Construction Enquirer. Risks 736.
Hazards news, 20 January 2016

Britain: Port operator fined £1.8m after ignoring workers
An Essex maritime terminal worker was serious injured when his arm became wrapped around a powered capstan, while mooring an ocean-going vessel. Basildon Crown Court imposed a fine of £1.8 million on port operator C.RO Ports London Limited, after the company plead guilty to criminal safety offences that contributed to the incident.
HSE news release. Risks 736.
Hazards news, 20 January 2016

Britain: Pet food firm fined over worker death
A pet food company has been fined £80,000 over the death of a Lithuanian worker almost six years ago. Renatas Timofejevas, 36, was operating a loading vehicle at Alba Proteins at The Racks, near Dumfries, when he was found crushed under the boom arm.
BBC News Online. Risks 736.
Hazards news, 20 January 2016

Britain: Wilko fined following forklift death
Retail chain Wilko has been handed a £200,000 fine after an employee was killed in a crash between two forklift trucks at one of the firm’s distribution centres. George Hancock, 52, died in December 2011 after sustaining injuries in the incident.
Bassetlaw District Council news release. Hucknall Dispatch. Environmental Health News. Risks 736.
Hazards news, 20 January 2016

Britain: Polish migrant worker electrocuted on farm
Pengelly Farms Ltd has been ordered to pay £125,000 for a criminal safety breach that led to the death of a young worker. Konrad Miskiewicz, 24, from Poland was electrocuted by an overhead power cable when working on a potato harvester near Falmouth, Cornwall in July 2011.
HSE news release. BBC News Online. Falmouth Packet. West Briton. Risks 736.
Hazards news, 20 January 2016

Britain: Firefighter fears over PCSOs fire sideline
Firefighters fear lives could be put in danger over a controversial scheme to train police community support officers (PCSO) to do their jobs. Firefighters’ union FBU said cost-cutting is behind the move and could lead to conflicts of duties if the PCSOs were dealing with a policing incident at the same time as a fire.
The Mirror. Risks 736.
Hazards news, 20 January 2016

Britain: Union calls for charges after safety cards scandal
A union has called for those responsible for a construction safety skills card scam to face the courts, after it was announced thousands of the cards had been revoked as a result of widespread fraud at five test centres. The Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) and the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) confirmed this week they have revoked 4,615 cards followed the discovery of fraudulent activity at centres where candidates were taking tests accredited by both CITB and the British Safety Council (BSC).
GMB news release. UCATT news release. CSCS news release. Construction Enquirer. Risks 736.
Hazards news, 20 January 2016

Britain: UCATT exposes hidden migrant site deaths toll
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is being urged to review urgently its work methods and record keeping, following new evidence on migrant worker deaths. An investigation by construction union UCATT has discovered that of the seven construction workers deaths in London in 2014/15, five of the victims were migrant workers.
UCATT news release. Construction Enquirer. Morning Star. Risks 736.
Hazards news, 20 January 2016

Britain: Director fined after skylight fall
The company director of a sash restoration company has been fined for his criminal safety failings after a worker fell three metres through an unprotected skylight. Salisbury Magistrates’ Court heard how on 14 July 2014, an employee of the Sash Restoration Company (Dorset) Limited fell through an unprotected skylight while replacing sash windows on a large manor house, breaking his wrist, although the firm failed to report the injury.
HSE news release and work at height toolbox Risks 735
Hazards news, 23 January 2016

Canada: Manager gets jail time after work deaths
Unions in Canada have said health and safety laws across the country now have real clout, following the jailing of Metron Construction manager for this role in the death of four employees. Vadim Kazenelson, 40, was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in jail for an incident in which four workers died and another was critically injured after falling 13 storeys from a scaffold outside a Toronto apartment building on Christmas Eve 2009.
OFL news release. CLC news release. Toronto Star. Risks 735
Hazards news, 23 January 2016

DRC: Kids mine the cobalt used in smartphones
Children as young as seven are working in perilous conditions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to mine cobalt that ends up in smartphones, cars and computers sold by household brands including Apple, Samsung and Sony, according to an investigation by Amnesty International. The human rights group claims to have traced cobalt used in lithium batteries sold to 16 multinational brands to mines where young children and adults are being paid a dollar a day, working in life-threatening conditions and subjected to violence, extortion and intimidation.
Amnesty International news release, video and report, This is what we die for: Human rights abuses in the Democratic Republic of the Congo power the global trade in cobalt. The Guardian. BBC News Online. Risks 735
Hazards news, 23 January 2016

Thailand: Worker rights activist faces prosecution again
Workers’ and migrants’ rights activist Andy Hall has faced the courts in Thailand again, after exposing the abuse of migrant workers in a Thai pineapple canning factory. Andy, a British passport holder, faces a seven-year prison sentence and a hefty fine for his part in writing a research report critical of the Natural Fruit Company Ltd’s employment practices.  
TUC Stronger Unions blog. Glenis Willmott MEP news release. The Telegraph. Risks 735
Hazards news, 23 January 2016

Global: Supply chain audits fail to report abuses
The ethical audits used by global companies to establish their adherence to decent labour, safety and environmental standards could in fact be a convenient and damaging alternative to effective regulation and enforcement, according to a new report. Researchers’ from the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (SPERI), a part of Sheffield University, interviewed business executives, non-profits, supplier firms and auditors, and concluded “ultimately the audit regime is ‘working’ for corporations, but failing workers and the planet.”
SPERI news release. Ethical audits and the supply chains of global corporations, SPERI Global Political Economy Brief No.1, Sheffield University, January 2016. TUC Touchstone blog. The Guardian. Risks 735
Hazards news, 23 January 2016

Global: Supply chain abuses cause injuries and deaths
Research by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) has revealed the global supply chains of 50 companies employ only six per cent of workers in a direct employment relationship. Sharan Burrow, ITUC general secretary, said the system results in “indefensible workplace injuries and deaths”, adding: “Only by exposing the practices of these companies to consumers and citizens around the world will companies begin to take responsibility for their supply chains and follow the rule of law.”
ITUC news release and report, ITUC Frontlines Report 2016: Scandal Inside the global supply chains of 50 top companies. Risks 735
Hazards news, 23 January 2016

Italy: Olivetti asbestos trial gets underway
Seventeen ex-managers at the electronics firm, Olivetti, are on trial over allegations that asbestos exposure at a factory in the Piedmont town of Ivrea caused 14 deaths. The accused, who include Franco De Benedetti, the current chief of scooter manufacturer Piaggio, worked for the company between the late 1970s and 2000.
The Local. Risks 734
Hazards news, 16 January 2016

Britain: Man escapes jail after apprentice dies in fire
A gas supplier whose workshop fire escape was padlocked shut, resulting in the death of an apprentice in a fire, has been given a suspended jail term. Poorly trained teen Jarrad Swan died after becoming trapped in Steve Adams' workshop when an oxygen bottle he was trying to fill exploded.
Kent Police news release. Thanet Gazette. ITV News. Risks 734
Hazards news, 16 January 2016

Britain: Firms fined for agency worker’s devastating injuries
Two companies have been fined after a construction worker suffered life changing injuries when he received an electric shock from an overhead power line. Ashley Coe, an agency worker working on site for Pascon Limited, was part of a group of workers laying cables in a trench for a British Solar Renewables Limited (BSR) windfarm when the incident happened on the 13 March 2013. 
HSE news release. BBC News Online. Western Morning News. Risks 734
Hazards news, 16 January 2016

Britain: Family loses home after cement mixer death
A cash-strapped mum and sister had to move out of their home after a family member was killed when his arm got caught on a conveyor belt and he was pulled into a cement mixer. Billy Ridge, 26, was clearing sand around the base of a conveyor belt at a cement bagging plant when his arm got drawn into a roller.
Daily Mirror. Barking and Dagenham Post. Risks 734
Hazards news, 16 January 2016

Britain: UK asbestos giant spied on activists
Executives at the world’s biggest asbestos factory spied on journalists and safety and environmental campaigners who exposed the killer dust’s dangers. Secret industry documents reveal that the executives at Rochdale-based asbestos giant Turner and Newall (T&N) monitored people they considered to be “subversive” and kept a dossier on their activities, then used a media and political campaign to try to discredit them.
The Independent. IBAS blog. Hazards magazine. Risks 734
Hazards news, 16 January 2016

Britain: RMT slams ‘pathetic’ death penalty on contractor
Rail union RMT has criticised as “pathetic” and “wholly inadequate” a fine handed out to a major rail construction company for a series of failures that led to the avoidable death of one of its workers. Carillion Construction Ltd was fined £200,000 and ordered to pay costs of £36,570.39 following a prosecution for the criminal breach of health and safety laws that led to the death of a Scott Dobson.
RMT news release. ORR news release. Construction Enquirer. Risks 734
Hazards news, 16 January 2016

Britain: Cameron’s flaky thinking on Euro deregulation
The British demand for a Europe-wide “target to cut the total burden on business” might not just be wrong, it might be unachievable, the TUC has said. TUC head of safety Hugh Robertson said even with the stated support of vice-president of the Commission, Frans Timmermans, the attempt by Britain has far from universal approval.
TUC Stronger Unions blog. Risks 734
Hazards news, 16 January 2016

Australia: Historic ruling on safe rates for drivers
Global transport unions’ federation ITF has welcomed an historic ruling in Australia requiring firms to pay minimum safe rates to truck drivers. Australia’s Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal ruled on 18 December 2015 that drivers should be paid for waiting at depots, loading and unloading and for the time it takes to clean, inspect and service their trucks and trailers.
ITF news release and Safe Rates campaign. Risks 733.
Hazards news, 9 January 2016

Europe: Commission breached law on endocrine disrupters
The European Court of Justice has ruled that the European Commission has not been quick enough in identifying and banning potentially harmful ‘endocrine disrupting’ chemicals, linked to cancer, reproductive and other adverse health effects. The December 2015 ruling came in a case brought by Sweden on behalf of the Nordic states.
EU Court news release. ClientEarth news release. Swedish government news release. ChemSec news report. BBC News Online. Risks 733.
Hazards news, 9 January 2016

Qatar: Companies profiting as workers die
A report from the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) estimates that a $15 billion (£10.2bn) profit will be made by companies working in Qatar on infrastructure for the controversial 2022 FIFA World Cup, using up to 1.8 million migrant workers as modern day slaves. The report is critical of Qatar for failing to deliver changes to labour rights or compliance, and warns implicated construction companies, hotels, retail chains and UK and US universities of the cost of doing business in a slave state.
ITUC news release, multi-media investigation: Qatar Exposed and full report: Qatar: Profit and loss. Counting the cost of modern day slavery in Qatar: What price freedom? Risks 733.
Hazards news, 9 January 2016

USA: Tighter silica exposure standard ‘in sight’
The Obama administration in the US is moving forward with long-delayed rules intended to protect workers from potentially deadly exposures to silica dust. The Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) confirmed on 21 December 2015 that it had sent the rules to the White House for final approval, a step that comes after years of delays.
In These Times. Politico. Silica, part 2: A line in the sand, Hazards, number 127, 2014. Silica, part 1: Dust to dust: Deadly silica standard is killing UK workers, Hazards, number 126, 2014. Risks 733.
Hazards news, 9 January 2016

Britain: Suspended sentences for deadly directors
Wooburn Landscapes Limited was fined £50,000 with £9,680 costs after landscape gardener Russell Meech, 27, was killed when he fell under the wheels of a telehandler. The company’s directors Andrew Schofield and Mark Schofield were each given a four and a half months prison sentence, suspended for eighteen months and 250 hours of unpaid community service.
HSE news release. Risks 733.
Hazards news, 9 January 2016

Britain: Community service after road roller death
Globalreward Limited was fined £10,000 with £30,750 costs after employee Andrew Poole, 56, was killed as a result of crushing injuries to his head when the ride-on road roller he had been operating drove over him after the driver’s seat sheared off. The company’s director Paul Thomas Andrews was sentenced to two months in prison suspended for two years and ordered to do 200 hours community service.
HSE news release. Risks 733.
Hazards news, 9 January 2016

Britain: Six figure fines for two death firms
Cemex UK Operations Limited was fined £700,000 plus £90,783.78 costs and Cape Industrial Services Limited £600,000 plus £90,783.78 costs after John Altoft, 29, was killed when he fell to his death after being struck by falling debris inside an industrial tower.
HSE news release. Risks 733.
Hazards news, 9 January 2016

Britain: Hanson fined £750,000 after crushing death
Manufacturing company Hanson Packed Products Ltd was fined £750,000 plus costs of £29,511 after 26-year-old worker William Ridge was fatally crushed when his arm was caught in a powered roller.
HSE news release. Risks 733.
Hazards news, 9 January 2016

Britain: Power firms fined after wind turbine death
Siemens Public Limited Company was fined £107,000 and RWE Innogy UK Limited (RWE) £45,000 after 27-year-old Colin Sinclair was killed when he came into contact with the unguarded rotating shaft of a gearbox within a turbine at Causeymire windfarm. HSE news release. Risks 733.
Hazards news, 9 January 2016

Britain: Firm fined £700,000 for crane driver’s manslaughter
Baldwins Crane Hire has been fined £700,000 after the death of its operator Lindsay Easton at the Scout Moor wind farm in East Lancashire four years ago. Following a trial in November 2015, the company was found guilty of corporate manslaughter, failing to ensure the safety of its employees and failing to ensure the safety of other persons.
Lancashire Police news release. Construction Enquirer. Morning Star. BBC News Online. Slough Observer. Risks 733.
Hazards news, 9 January 2016

Global: BP boss says deadly blast was a ‘near death’ experience
The explosion on a BP rig off the US coast in 2010 led to a ‘near death experience’ for the company, its chief executive has said. Bob Dudley was commenting on the Deepwater Horizon blast that killed 11 workers, caused one of the worst environmental disasters in the US and saw BP pay fines and compensation and sell off more than £30bn ($45bn) in assets.
 BBC News Online. BBC Radio 4 Today programme. Risks 733.
Hazards news, 9 January 2016

Britain: HSE to revisit GB health and safety strategy
‘Leading industry figures and other key influencers’ are being urged by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to join a ‘conversation’ on the future strategy for Great Britain’s health and safety system. Pre-empting these responses, the safety regulator has published six themes that the five-year strategy will cover: Promoting broader ownership of workplace health and safety; highlighting and tackling the burden of work-related ill-health; supporting small firms; enabling productivity through proportionate risk management; anticipating and tackling the challenges of new technology and ways of working; and sharing the benefits or Great Britain’s approach.
HSE news release and strategy webpage and twitter discussion, hashtag: #HelpGBWorkWell. HSE’s new facebook page. Risks 733.
Hazards news, 9 January 2016

Britain: Unhealthy workplace trend confirmed by reports
Two new reports have confirmed an upward trend in work-related ill-health under the Conservatives. Since the Conservatives defeated Labour in 2010/11, self-reported work-related illness has increased by 7 per cent, up from 1.16m cases to 1.24m in 2014/15. 
Doctor? No: HSE defends its impotence in the losing battle against work’s diseases, Hazards, number 133, December 2015. IHE news release and preliminary Marmot indicators.
Hard to swallow: TUC warns that firms and government have an unhealthy preoccupation with your lifestyle, Hazards, number 133, December 2015.  Workplace well-being programmes: A guide for safety reps, TUC, December 2015. Risks 733.
Hazards news, 9 January 2016

Britain: Safety criminal guilty, but workers were fired
A serial offender sentenced in December 2015 for its criminal safety failings had previously fired workers after blaming them for the incidents, their union GMB has said. Anglian Water Services Limited (AWSL) was fined £400,000 with costs of £41,711 after pleading guilty to criminal safety breaches.
GMB news release. HSE news release. Risks 733.
Hazards news, 9 January 2016

Britain: FBU calls for coordination not cuts in flood response
Better national coordination of fire and rescue and investment, instead of cuts, is required if emergency services are going to be respond properly to flooding, the firefighters’ union FBU has said. The union said the threat posed by the large scale floods witnessed in recent weeks is beyond the capacity of local services to cope.
FBU news release. Risks 733.
Hazards news, 9 January 2016

Azerbaijan: Caspian Sea oil rig fire claims many lives
Two oil workers have been confirmed dead and 30 more are missing presumed dead after a fire broke out on an oil rig in the Caspian Sea. Tragedy struck the oil platform off the coast of Azerbaijan on 4 December.
IndustriALL news release. Wall Street Journal. ABC News. Risks 732
Hazards news, 12 December 2015

Canada: Firms alone can’t define work violence
A top Canadian court has ruled that employers cannot arbitrarily decide what constitutes workplace violence or rely on internal investigations when incidents occur. In a groundbreaking decision, the Federal Court of Appeal has supported a legal challenge brought on behalf of a member of the public service union PSAC, who had complained about the harassment and humiliation he suffered at the hands of his supervisor.
PSAC news release. Canadian Labour Reporter. Risks 732
Hazards news, 12 December 2015

USA: Tobacco farms are no place for teens
The US government and tobacco companies are failing to protect teenage children from hazardous work in tobacco farming, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has said. A new 72-page report from the group, ‘Teens of the tobacco fields: Child labor in United States tobacco farming,’ documents the harm caused to 16- and 17-year-olds who work long hours as hired labourers on US tobacco farms, exposed to nicotine, toxic pesticides, and extreme heat.
HRW news release, video and full report, Teens of the tobacco fields: Child labor in United States tobacco farming. Risks 732
Hazards news, 12 December 2015

USA: Mine boss guilty over 29 coalminer deaths
More than five years after 29 miners were killed in an explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine in Raleigh County, West Virginia, former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship has been convicted of safety crimes. The tragedy, which was the largest loss of life in a mine in the United States since 1970, could result in a maximum sentence of one year in jail for Blankenship.
UMWA statement. AFL-CIO Now blog. Charleston Gazette ‘Coal Tattoo’ blog. The Pump Handle. The New Yorker. New York Times. Charleston Gazette. Risks 732
Hazards news, 12 December 2015

Britain: Construction safety faces new ‘red tape’ blitz
The freshly revamped Construction, Design and Management (CDM) regulations could be watered-down under a new government blitz on ‘red tape’. On 2 December, the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) launched a Cutting Red Tape review for the house building industry, noting it was “keen to look at the changes made to the Construction, Design and Management Regulations, as well as any examples of EU rules that are being implemented too strictly.”
BIS news release and review, Cutting Red Tape review of housebuilding (closes on 13 January 2016). Cabinet Office Cutting Red Tape website. Construction Enquirer. Risks 732
Hazards news, 12 December 2015

Britain: Death firms fined in HSE inspector’s ‘most horrific case’
North West companies Sonae Industria (UK) Ltd and Valmet Ltd have been fined following the death of two workers in what a senior Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector described as perhaps the ‘most horrific case’ he had encountered. James Bibby, 25, and Thomas Elmer, 27, were both killed when carrying out maintenance work on a conveyor belt which started up without warning at the Sonae woodchip factory in Kirkby.
HSE news release. BBC News Online. Liverpool Echo. Risks 732
Hazards news, 12 December 2015

Britain: National Grid fined £2m over boy’s death
One of the UK’s biggest gas distributers has been fined £2 million after admitting criminal safety failings in relation to the death of a young boy. On 24 April 2014, 11-year-old Robbie Williamson and two friends were crossing the Leeds and Liverpool Canal using a pipeline running on the outside of Dugdale Bridge in Burnley, when Robbie fell into the canal, dying as a result of a head injury and drowning.
HSE news release. Risks 732
Hazards news, 12 December 2015

Britain: Worker killed in fall from unsafe loft ladder
A sub-contractor has been given a suspected jail term after a worker was killed when he fell from a dodgy loft ladder during an inspection of a domestic boiler. Piotr Kowalczyk was sentenced to six months imprisonment, suspended for two years, and ordered to pay costs of £12,404 after pleading guilty to criminal safety offences.
HSE news release and ladder safety guide. Southern Daily Echo. Hampshire Chronicle . Risks 732
Hazards news, 12 December 2015

Britain: Suspended sentence for director after site fall
The director of a construction company has been given a fine and suspended jail sentence for criminal safety failings after a worker fell from a ladder, resulting in brain damage and other injuries. Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court heard an employee of MP Jacobs fell from a ladder whilst replacing guttering on a two-storey block of residential flats in Havant on 29 October 2014.
HSE news release and working at heights webpages. Risks 732
Hazards news, 12 December 2015

Britain: INEOS warned about ‘multiple fatalities’ risk
The INEOS oil and petrochemical complex at Grangemouth in Scotland is facing a legal crackdown by the UK workplace safety regulator in a bid to prevent leaks, fireballs and explosions from killing workers. The concerns about the company’s safety and environmental performance have led to union calls for a greater worker voice on health and safety matters.
The Ferret. The Times. Risks 732
Hazards news, 12 December 2015

Britain: RMT calls for a rail safety summit
Transport union RMT has repeated its call for a rail safety summit, saying current operational practices are ‘a recipe for disaster.’ The union was speaking out after it emerged that Oxford Circus was closed 113 times in the past year because of overcrowding.
RMT news release. BBC News Online. Risks 732
Hazards news, 12 December 2015

Europe: A quarter believe their work is risky
Almost one in four workers (23 per cent) believes their work presents a risk to their health, according to Europe-wide research. Dublin-based Eurofound, presenting findings of its 6th European Working Conditions Survey, said they give a “diverse picture of Europe at work over time across countries, occupations, gender and age groups.”
Eurofound news report and infographic. Eurofound: First findings: Sixth European Working Conditions Survey, 24 November 2015. ETUI news report. Risks 731
Hazards news, 5 December 2015

Britain: Crane firm convicted of corporate manslaughter
A crane firm has been convicted of corporate manslaughter over the death of an operator at a wind farm in East Lancashire. Baldwins Crane Hire Ltd now faces the prospect of an unlimited fine after being held responsible for the death of Lindsay Easton at Scout Moor wind farm in Edenfield.
Lancashire Police news release. Lancashire Telegraph. Risks 731
Hazards news, 5 December 2015

Britain: Roofer killed in fall through gaps in scaffold
A scaffolder has been given 200 hours of community service after a roofer fell to his death through a gap in an unsafe scaffold. Walter Booth, trading as WB Roofing, fell from a roof while carrying out repairs to Micklegate Methodist Church in Pontefract on 10 January 2015.
HSE news release. Pontefract and Castleford Express. Construction Enquirer. Risks 731
Hazards news, 5 December 2015

Global: Blood and tears mark Qatar World Cup build up
The failure of the Qatari authorities to address the deadly exploitation of migrant workers in Qatar has been condemned by the construction union UCATT. The union was commenting after Amnesty International found Qatar had done “almost nothing effective to end chronic labour exploitation” in the five years since it was controversially awarded the 2022 football World Cup tournament.
UCATT news release. Amnesty International news release. BBC News Online. TUC Playfair Qatar campaign. Risks 731
Hazards news, 5 December 2015

Britain: Violence – you must report it to sort it
The TUC is urging union reps to ensure violence at work is reported. It says telling management formally how violence directed at employees – including physical attacks and verbal abuse – “is critical in tackling the issue at source.”
TUC briefing and draft reporting form.
Have you had success tackling violence at work? Tell the TUC. Risks 731
Hazards news, 5 December 2015

Myanmar: Landslide kills 90 dead at jade mine
A landslide at a jade mine has killed at least 90 people in northern Myanmar, according to preliminary reports. The victims were buried when a vast heap of waste material, discarded by the mining companies, collapsed in Kachin state, Burmese media reported.
BBC News Online. Jade: A Global Witness investigation into Myanmar’s ‘Big State Secret, Global Witness, October 2015. Radio Free Asia 9 June video on landslide risks in jade mines. Risks 730.
Hazards news, 28 November 2015

Bangladesh: Three years after 120 deaths, zero justice
Three years after the deadly Tazreen fire in Bangladesh, many high street brands that sourced garments from the factory have yet to contribute to a compensation fund, the global union federation IndustriALL has said. Firms yet to pay up include US brands Walmart, Disney, Sears, Dickies and Delta Apparel; Edinburgh Woollen Mill (UK); Karl Rieker (Germany); Piazza Italia (Italy); and Teddy Smith (France).
IndustriALL news release. Tazreen Claims Administration Trust. Risks 730
Hazards news, 28 November 2015

Britain: Builder admits manslaughter after farm death fall
A builder has been sentenced to 18 months in prison, suspended for two years, after a worker was killed in a fall. MT Construction owner Michael Turner, 49, appeared at Inner London Crown Court after pleading guilty to gross negligent manslaughter after Robert Bird, one of his employees and friend of 15 years, fell 30 feet through a roof and died.
Cambridgeshire Constabulary news release. Construction Enquirer. Cambridge News. Risks 730
Hazards news, 28 November 2015

Britain: Teesside firm fined after worker’s fatal port fall
A north east port has been fined £400,000 following the death of an agency worker who fell eight metres onto the steel deck of ship’s hold. Robert Harrison, 59, from Middlesbrough, was one of six men who were loading 12m long steel pipes into the hold of a vessel at PD Teesport Ltd at Hartlepool Dock when the incident happened on 9 September 2012.
HSE news release and work at height webpages. More on safety on the docks. Risks 730
Hazards news, 28 November 2015

Britain: Worker killed by swinging metal crucible
A company that specialises in metal and alloy products has been fined after a worker was killed when he was struck by a load on a moving crane. Sheffield Magistrates’ Court heard how ATI Speciality Materials Limited employee Nigel Hall, 47, was killed when a crane stopped but the load swung forward hitting him on the head.
HSE news release and machinery safety webpages. Risks 730
Hazards news, 28 November 2015

Britain: Worker was crushed to death by lorry
A commercial vehicle company has been fined after one of its workers was killed when a lorry travelling at less than 5km/h crushed him. Warwick Crown Court heard criminal safety failings by Imperial Commercials Limited led to the death of employee Craig Stewart Dunn in January 2014.
HSE news release and safe manoeuvring webpages. Risks 730
Hazards news, 28 November 2015

Britain: Two killed in Celsa steelworks explosion
Steelworkers from across the UK took part in a minute's silence at a union rally on 21 November to remember the two Celsa workers who died in an explosion at a Cardiff plant. Hundreds of steelworkers from Wales travelled to Sheffield for a rally for the Save our Steel campaign event organised by steel trade unions.
BBC News Online. Wales Online. Construction Enquirer. HSE news release. Risks 730
Hazards news, 28 November 2015

Europe: TUC slams EC for ‘insulting’ safety gaffe
The European Commission has been urged by the TUC, a global union and an industry body to withdraw an ‘insulting’ ‘better regulation’ information sheet that includes a serious safety gaffe. The newly published factsheet promotes an EC work plan that contains no positive action on workplace safety and drops commitments to act on workplace musculoskeletal disorders and cancers.
TUC Stronger Unions blog. UNI/Coiffure EU letter to the Commission. European Commission Better regulation and transparency information sheet. Risks 730
Hazards news, 28 November 2015

Korea: Death a month at world’s biggest shipbuilder 
Trade unionists from Korea travelled to a UN Forum on Business and Human Rights in Geneva to protest at the growing number of fatalities at the world’s biggest shipbuilder, Hyundai Heavy Industries Group (HHI). They say 16 workers died in 15 separate incidents in the period from March 2014 to October 2015 - almost one a month.  
IndustriALL news releaseRisks 729
Hazards news 21 November 2015

Libya: Union action call after attempted murder  
The global transport union federation ITF has demanded immediate action to protect trade unionists in Libya after the attempted murder of a prominent activist. Nermin Al-Sharif, leader of the ITF-affiliated Dockers’ and Seafarers’ Union of Libya, was driving a car near Benghazi that was followed by two other cars and shot at, crashing as a result.  
ITF news release. Action: Sign the petition calling on Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni to protect trade unionists and human rights activistsRisks 729
Hazards news 21 November 2015

Spain: Less secure work equals more work injuries 
Deregulatory labour market reforms in Spain in 2012 led to more job insecurity and higher staff turnover and a subsequent sharp rise in workplace injuries, unions have said. Pedro J Linares, safety secretary with the CC.OO trade union confederation, said the reforms had “made dismissals cheaper, weakened trade union bargaining power and slackened investment in occupational health and safety.” 
Equal TimesTUC health and safety facebook pageMore on the hazards of insecure work. Risks 729
Hazards news 21 November 2015

Britain: Worker killed by falling half tonne power press 
A Wrexham firm has been fined after a worker was killed when a machine weighing around half a tonne fell on him. Chester Crown Court heard Christopher Williams, a maintenance supervisor at Morgan Technical Ceramics Limited, was using a pallet truck to move a power press that was stored in a shipping container in the yard behind the factory when the press toppled over. 
HSE news release and safe maintenance webpagesDaily PostBBC News OnlineRisks 729
Hazards news 21 November 2015

Britain: Scaffold fall caused ‘life-changing injuries’ 
A scaffolding firm has been fined after a worker was seriously injured in a nine metre fall. Bristol Magistrates’ Court heard how an employee of Bristol-based Tubular Access Scaffolds Limited, whose name has not been released, was dismantling a scaffold structure when he fell, causing life-changing head injuries.  
HSE news release and working at height webpagesConstruction EnquirerRisks 729
Hazards news 21 November 2015

Britain: Nearly half refurb sites are criminally dangerous 
Almost half of the refurbishment sites targeted during a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspection blitz fell criminally short of the required safety standards. In total 2,274 individual inspections were carried out, resulting in 692 enforcement notices and 983 notifications of contravention.  
HSE news releaseConstruction EnquirerRisks 729
Hazards news 21 November 2015

Global: Unions and their allies make dangerous firms listen 
When firms embroiled in deadly workplace disasters improve their safety performance it is primarily because of the heat they feel from unions and campaigners, a researcher has said. Juliane Reinecke, associate professor of organisational behaviour at the University of Warwick, said her research, which examined several major incidents including the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh, said “the real change came about thanks to the increasingly organised alliance of unions and campaign groups.” 
The ConversationRisks 729
Hazards news 21 November 2015

Britain: Skipper fined £20,000 after death on fishing boat 
The owner of a Scottish fishing vessel where a man died after inhaling dangerous fumes has been fined for his criminal safety failings. James Thores, who was charged following the death in 2011 of 37-year-old Artis Sterkis, his ship’s engineer, was told to pay a £20,000 penalty.  
Press and JournalSTV NewsBBC News OnlineRisks 728
Hazards news, 14 November 2015

Britain: Director dodges jail after excavator tragedy 
A director of waste management firm South Coast Skips Ltd has received a suspended jail sentence after one worker died and an agency worker was left seriously injured when they fell from the bucket of an excavator. Lindsay Campbell, a 66-year-old father of ten from Waterlooville in Hampshire, was killed when the bucket of the excavator he was working in tipped, causing him to fall nine metres to the ground.  
HSE news release and working at height webpagesRisks 728.
Hazards news, 14 November 2015

Cambodia: Garment worker dies, many other collapse 
A Cambodian garment worker died and 21 others were hospitalised after they collapsed at a Chinese-owned factory, the latest spate of similar incidents to hit the country’s textile industry. A 21-year-old woman reported dizziness and difficulty breathing on the morning of 5 November at the Or Sambath Trading factory in eastern Prey Veng province before she collapsed and later died at hospital, local governor Duch Kunthea told the media.  
Straits TimesDaily MailRisks 728
Hazards news, 14 November 2015

Global: Proof more enforcement equals fewer injuries 
There is strong evidence that regulatory health and safety inspections that result in enforcement action are effective in reducing work-related injuries, a major study has concluded. Dr Emile Tompa, said his team found strong evidence for the effectiveness of inspections with citations and penalties in reducing injuries, but there was moderate evidence that inspections without penalties have no effect in reducing injuries.  
At Work, issue 81, Institute for Work & Health, 2015.  OSHA quick takesRisks 728
Hazards news, 14 November 2015

Pakistan: Workers reported cracks before factory tragedy 
Workers warned management about cracks in a four-storey plastic bag factory in Lahore before it collapsed on 4 November, local unions have said. Press reports say at least 45 of the 150 workers known to have been in the building have been killed, with some of those rescued in a critical condition.  
IndustriALL news releaseSolidarity Center news reportAl JazeeraThe Express TribuneRisks 728
Hazards news, 14 November 2015

Britain: Working while sick heightens site dangers 
Construction union UCATT has warned that the absence of sick pay can endanger not only the lives of the sick staff who miss out but also the safety of their co-workers, as workers carry on working while ill to protect their income.  
UCATT news releaseRisks 728
Hazards news, 14 November 2015

Britain: Unfair dismissal case reinforces tribunal fees message 
The father of three sisters who brought employment claims against an award-winning chef has said tribunal fees could put people off challenging workplace abuse. Dick Palmer, whose daughters, Bethany, Lucy and Esme had claims including sexual harassment and unfair dismissal upheld, said: “The costs just keep on going up and up and, when you sit down and think of it all, it would be enough to put most people off but my daughters were convinced something had to be done and we had to bring this case forward.”  
BBC News OnlineRisks 728
Hazards news, 14 November 2015

Britain: Shameful delay in getting death justice 
An eight year delay in securing the conviction of a firm responsible for the death of an electrician cannot be justified, the construction union UCATT has said. The union was commenting after 777 Demolition and Haulage Co Limited was convicted of criminal safety breaches related to the August 2007 death of John Walker on a south London demolition site. 
UCATT news releaseRisks 728
Hazards news, 14 November 2015

Britain: Union welcomes recall of suspect skills cards 
Site union GMB has welcomed a decision to cancel thousands of site safety qualifications after widespread fraud in the process was discovered. The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) announced it was to recall 6,000 Health, Safety and Environment Test (HS&E) cards - construction workers across the UK can use a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card to prove their skills, and a pass in CITB’s health and safety tests is a required step in obtaining a skills card.  
GMB news releaseCSCS news releaseCITB blog and earlier statementConstruction EnquirerRisks 728
Hazards news, 14 November 2015

Britain: Attacks on firefighters condemned 
Firefighters have condemned attacks on fire crews around Bonfire Night, Halloween and other events. The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) also warned that a downward trend in attacks of this kind in recent years could be reversed if the neutrality of firefighters is undermined by a government plan for a police takeover of the fire service.  
FBU news releaseRisks 728
Hazards news, 14 November 2015

Britain: One in five shopworkers don’t report attacks  
Shopworkers are suffering in silence as more than one in five (22 per cent) fail to tell their bosses about attacks by customers, a union survey has revealed. Many feel reporting incidents would be a waste of time and consider dealing with violent and abusive members of the public ‘part of the job’, the survey by shopworkers’ union Usdaw revealed. 
Usdaw news release and Freedom from Fear campaignThe MirrorMorning StarRisks 728
Hazards news, 14 November 2015

Britain: Fight against the trade union bill will go on 
The TUC is to take its campaign against the government’s Trade Union Bill to the House of Lords. Commenting after the Bill completed its third reading in the House of Commons, TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady described the 10 November Commons vote as “disappointing”, but said: “We will continue to oppose it as it goes through the House of Lords. As was shown in Parliament today, there is widespread concern about the threat this Bill poses to good industrial relations.”  TUC news release and Stronger Unions blogRisks 728
Hazards news, 14 November 2015

Global: Call to end impunity for attacks on journalists
Global media union the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is urging governments worldwide to extend judicial cooperation in investigating and prosecuting the killing of journalists. The IFJ also called on financial institutions and aid donors to make respect for press freedom and media protection among key criteria for development aid to countries with high levels of violence in journalism.
IFJ news release and End impunity webpages. Risks 727.
Hazards news, 7 November 2015

USA: Poultry industry abuses ‘widespread’
Poultry workers in the United States suffer extremely high rates of injury, earn poverty wages, and work in a climate of fear, Oxfam America has said. The group says its report, based on two years of research, is central to a new nationwide campaign to expose the human cost of the modern poultry industry.
Oxfam America news release. Lives on the Line: The Human Cost of Cheap Chicken, Oxfam America, October 2015: full report, executive summary, multimedia website and social media kit. The Pump Handle. Think Progress. Ecowatch. Risks 727
Hazards news, 7 November 2015

Britain: Killer companies to face bigger fines 
Major companies convicted of corporate manslaughter could from next year face fines of up to £20m under new sentencing guidelines. The guidelines, published by the Sentencing Council and due to come into force on 1 February 2016, suggest that judges in England and Wales should impose fines reflecting the size of the convicted organisation.
Sentencing Council news release and definitive guideline. The Guardian. Morning Star. Risks 727
Hazards news, 7 November 2015

Britain: Firms sentenced after construction death
Two linked companies have been fined after a worker was killed when concrete joists dislodged by remotely controlled demolition machines fell on him. Electrician John Walker, who worked for 777 Environmental Limited, met his death while working on a demolition site at Elephant and Castle, London.
HSE news release. Risks 727
Hazards news, 7 November 2015

Britain: Casual worker fatally injured falling through roof
A self-employed worker has been fined after a casual worker he employed to repair a shed roof fell, dying of his injuries several days later. Ayr Sheriff Court heard how on 26 August 2012, William Sproat, 63, had been employed by David William McVey to repair a storm damaged shed roof at Brunton Farm in New Crummnock.
HSE news release and working at height guide. Risks 727
Hazards news, 7 November 2015

Britain: Director fined over chemical tank death
A company run by a former Dundee Football Club director has been fined £50,000 after one of its workers was overcome by toxic fumes and died in a chemical tank. Diamond Wheels (Dundee) Ltd, owned and operated by Paul Marr, admitted a catalogue of criminal health and safety failings over the death of Steven Conway at its premises in the city.
HSE news release. STV News. The Courier. Risks 727
Hazards news, 7 November 2015

Britain: Pirelli fined after teen apprentice is maimed
International tyre manufacturer Pirelli Tyres Limited has been fined after a 17-year-old apprentice suffered serious injuries to his hands while using a metalwork lathe. Stafford Magistrates’ Court heard the apprentice was using emery cloth whilst wearing gloves to perfect the finish, but the cloth snagged pulling him into the lathe.
HSE news release and related guidance. Risks 727
Hazards news, 7 November 2015

Britain: Nightmares follow Hotel Chocolat finger loss
Chocolate manufacturer Hotel Chocolat has been prosecuted after a worker suffered serious hand and arm injuries when cleaning a machine tank. Piotr Podgorski, 35, was emptying a tank when a blue cloth he was holding became entangled in the rotating stirrer, and continued to wrap around his finger, twisting his arm and then tearing the finger off, stripping the tendon from his arm
HSE news release. Risks 727
Hazards news, 7 November 2015

Britain: Shell delay on dealing with offshore explosion risk
A deadline for Shell to address a risk of an offshore fire or explosion has been extended by the safety regulator. A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) improvement notice was issued in August 2015 after an undersea gas leak. The leak happened when a towline snagged on a pipe nearly 300ft below the Curlew floating production vessel in the North Sea, causing a valve to rupture and gas from the Fulmar Gas Line to leak out into the sea 130 miles south east of Aberdeen.
STV News. HSE enforcement database. Risks 727
Hazards news, 7 November 2015

Britain: Subway worker was locked in chiller overnight
A franchise of the sandwich chain Subway has been fined after a worker was trapped overnight in a chiller and tried to escape by writing 'help' in ketchup. Karlee Daubeney, 20, was working the late shift alone on 27 December when a cold store door which had been reported as faulty closed behind her and locked her inside.
Gloucester City Council news release. Western Daily Press. Bath Chronicle. BBC News Online. Risks 727
Hazards news, 7 November 2015

Britain: Waste firm fined £100,000 for crushing arm
A waste and recycling company has been prosecuted after a worker suffered serious fractures when his arm was dragged into the rollers of a moving conveyor belt. The 32-year-old F&R Cawley Limited employee, whose name has not been released, was working at the firm’s Luton site on 28 February 2014 when he was asked to clear a blockage on a material recycling facility machine (MRF).
HSE news release. Luton Today. Risks 727
Hazards news, 7 November 2015

Britain: Union calls for continued vigilance on site safety
A welcome drop in the number of workers killed on site should not lead to complacency, the construction union UCATT has said. The union said the industry was still far more dangerous than most other sectors, despite new Health and Safety Executive (HSE) figures revealing a 17 per cent drop in deaths in the UK construction industry in 2014/15, with the provisional annual fatalities total in the sector down to 35 from 42 in 2013/14.
UCATT news release. HSE statistical report and industry specific data, including construction breakdown. Risks 727
Hazards news, 7 November 2015

Britain: Nautilus backs call for UK maritime investigations
Maritime union Nautilus has called for UK authorities to take responsibility for investigations into suspected serious crimes at sea involving UK nationals. The union was speaking out in the wake of renewed calls for a police investigation into the disappearance of ship worker Rebecca Coriam.
Nautilus news release. Handy Shipping Guide. Liverpool Echo. BBC News Online. Daily Mail. Risks 727
Hazards news, 7 November 2015

USA: Chemical industry ‘blowing smoke’ on self-regulation
Chemical industry claims that its ‘Responsible Care’ self-regulation programme is protecting the public are untrue, new research has indicated.  ‘Blowing Smoke’, a report and interactive map released by the Center for Effective Government (CEG), warns that a “significant number of chemical manufacturing facilities are endangering workers and the environment, despite what the chemical industry tells policymakers, regulators, and the American public.”
Center for Effective Government news release and full report, Blowing Smoke: Chemical companies say “Trust us,” but environmental and workplace safety violations belie their rhetoric. Risks 726
Hazards news, 31 October 2015.

Britain: Agency worker dragged into machine and killed
A company that manufactures and supplies high-strength bar and cable systems has been fined £200,000 after a worker was pulled into an inadequately guarded machine and killed. Alan Gerrard, 47, suffered fatal crush injuries while working at McCalls Special Products Limited when his clothing got caught in the machine, used to apply adhesive tape to bars to stop corrosion. HSE news release and work equipment webpages. Risks 726
Hazards news, 31 October 2015.

Britain: Serco fined £200,000 for teen deckhand death
Serco Ltd has been fined £200,000 over the death of a teenage deckhand who fell from a River Thames ferry. Ben Woollacott, 19, died in 2011 after being dragged from the Woolwich Ferry while mooring ropes were being untied.
London Evening Standard. Gravesend Reporter. BBC News Online. Risks 726
Hazards news, 31 October 2015.

Britain: Balfour fined after worker is electrocuted
Two companies have been sentenced for criminal safety failings after a worker was electrocuted during work on a data centre in Middlesex. Balfour Beatty Engineering Services Ltd (BBES) was contracted to carry out multi-million pound infrastructure upgrade works at the data centre in Hounslow, while Norland Managed Services Ltd (NMS) was already contracted to provide mechanical and electrical maintenance and had effective control of the site.
HSE news release. Construction Enquirer. Risks 726
Hazards news, 31 October 2015.

Britain: Director fined for ignoring safety watchdog
The managing director of a Hertfordshire company specialising in recycling of wood waste has been prosecuted for criminal safety failings. Stevenage Magistrates’ Court heard how Janbor Limited was served with three Health and Safety Executive (HSE) improvement notices in October 2014 relating to work activity at its plant, but failed to comply with them.
HSE news release. Risks 726
Hazards news, 31 October 2015.

Bangladesh: Deadly shipbreaking yards claim more lives
The notoriously deadly shipbreaking yards operating in Bangladesh have claimed three more lives. The latest tragedy occurred on 20 October at the Chittagong yard of SR Corporation, one of the main shipbreaking companies in Bangladesh.
IndustriALL news release. The Hong Kong Convention. Risks 726
Hazards news, 31 October 2015.

Britain: Construction skills scammers caught on camera
The skills scheme for certifying construction workers has been called into question after a string of test centres were caught rigging health and safety exams. Construction workers across the UK are required to hold a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card to prove skills and grasp of health and safety - but a joint BBC London/Newsnight investigation revealed widespread, organised cheating, allowing untrained builders on to dangerous sites.
BBC News Online and BBC London video clip. CITB statement. BSC statement. Construction Enquirer. Risks 726
Hazards news, 31 October 2015.

Britain: Deadly silica exposures are not being controlled
Companies are continuing to expose workers to excessive levels of silica dust, which can cause deadly cancers and lung diseases, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has admitted. HSE this week urged the stone industry to do more to protect workers’ health after an inspection initiative in the south of England found a failure to control the potentially lethal dust was commonplace, with many not knowing the exposure standard had been tightened nearly a decade ago.
HSE news release and stonemasonry webpages. Risks 726
Hazards news, 31 October 2015.

Britain: Fracking firm disputes known fracking risks
A major fracking firm has gone on the offensive, attacking claims by a campaign group that there are potentially serious occupational and environmental risks associated with the controversial process. Cuadrilla hit out after a leaflet from the campaign group Friends of the Earth (FoE) highlighted warnings, many made by official US government agencies, about the dangers posed by the toxic chemicals and crystalline silica used in large volumes in fracking operations.
Friends of the Earth blog report, supportive letter from academics and fracking webpages. The Times. BBC News Online. Risks 726
Hazards news, 31 October 2015.

Britain: Trade Union Bill could worsen ‘worrying’ deaths figures
Concerns that government policies are behind an upturn in workplace injuries and diseases could be heightened if the Trade Union Bill becomes law, the TUC has warned. TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Unions play a crucial role in keeping people safe at work but these new reforms will make it much harder for unions to work with employers to identify potential hazards.”
TUC news release. HSE news release, statistical report and industry specific data.
Find out what you can do to help stop the Trade Union Bill. Protect the right to strike lobby, London, 2 November. Risks 726
Hazards news, 31 October 2015.

Britain: Strike busting with agency workers a threat to safety
Government plans to allow firms to use agency labour to replace striking workers will lead to “very serious safety concerns”, the TUC has said. TUC head of safety Hugh Robertson explained “take a group of people from an agency, put them into a workplace at a few days’ notice, and you have an accident waiting to happen,” adding in some instances, the effect could be “catastrophic”.
TUC Stronger Unions blog. Risks 726
Hazards news, 31 October 2015.

Britain: European regulation really is good for you
The June 2015 report of an evaluation of Europe’s workplace safety directives which the European Commission had hoped to keep under wraps until at least next year has been published online, seemingly by mistake. TUC head of safety Hugh Robertson said the full report only became available for public scrutiny after the Irish employers’ organisation IBEC put the document on its website in what the TUC has called “an apparent mistake”.
TUC Stronger Unions blog and health and safety manifesto. IBEC posting of the EU review document. Risks 725
Hazards news, 24 October 2015.

Britain: IoD urged to sack its chair for fatal mine blast role
The UK Institute of Directors (IoD) is being urged to dismiss its high profile chair because of her “indefensible” role at the company responsible for America’s worst coalmine disaster in 40 years. The CtW Investment Group, a pension fund formed by unions affiliated to the US Change to Win union federation, wants Lady Barbara Judge to go because of her role at Massey Energy where she sat on committees overseeing safety and corporate governance.
CtW Investment Group letter to IoD. The Guardian. The Pump Handle blog. West Virginia Gazette and Blankenship trial webpages. Risks 725
Hazards news, 24 October 2015.

Britain: Two jailed after farm ladder electrocution
Two men have been sentenced to four years in prison following the death of Jason Morgan who was electrocuted when his ladder touched an overhead power cable. After the tragedy at Great Brynn Barton Farm in 2011, Roger Matthews, Norman Treseder, Philip Tucker and Matthews Plant Hire Ltd went on trial at Truro Crown Court.
Devon and Cornwall Police news release. Construction Enquirer. North Devon Journal. Risks 725.
Hazards news, 24 October 2015.

Britain: Firm fined £200,000 after death in an industrial blender
A pellet manufacturing company has been fined after an employee was killed when he was pulled into an industrial blender. Father-of-one George Major, 51, was clearing material from the blender at Rettenmaier UK Manufacturing Limited, a pellet manufacturer based in Mansfield, when it unexpectedly started up.
HSE news release. Nottingham Post. Risks 725
Hazards news, 24 October 2015.

Britain: Recycling giant Sita fined £200,000 for criminal breach
A national recycling firm has been fined after an employee was struck and seriously injured by a 7.5 tonne telehandler. Preston Crown Court heard Sita UK Limited failed to provide adequate segregation between pedestrians and moving vehicles at a waste transfer station in Darwen, Lancashire.
HSE news release. Risks 725
Hazards news, 24 October 2015.

Global: ILO green light for road transport action plan
A key meeting of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has agreed a far-reaching resolution intended to tackle the low pay rates in road transport that can lead to dangerous driving. The resolution of a tripartite transport health and safety meeting at ILO calls on the ILO, a UN agency, to research good practice in the area and makes explicit mention of the highly successful union ‘safe rates’ campaign in Australia.
ITF news release. TWU news release and Safe Rates campaign.
ILO Resolution Concerning Best Practices in Road Transport Safety. Risks 725
Hazards news, 24 October 2015.

Global: G7 presses ahead with new ‘vision zero’ fund
The world’s major industrialised nations are pressing ahead with plans for a new fund to improve workplace safety. In June 2015, the G7 group of nations, which includes the UK, formulated a plan for the ‘Vision Zero Fund’ in cooperation with the International Labour Organisation (ILO), spurred by the Rana Plaza garment factory collapse in 2013 in which more than 1,200 workers died.
G7 news release. TUC Stronger Unions blog. ITUC news release. ILO news release. EC news release. Risks 725
Hazards news, 24 October 2015.

Global: H&M ‘spinning the facts’ on garment worker safety
H&M has been accused of ‘spinning the facts’ in its response to a report critical of its approach to safety at its supplier factories in Bangladesh. The Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) said the retail giant’s comments on its report, 'Evaluation of H&M Compliance with Safety Action Plans for Strategic Suppliers in Bangladesh 2015', are “replete with false and misleading statements, demonstrating that the company remains unwilling to address the issue in a serious and forthright manner.”
CCC news release and report, Evaluation of H&M Compliance with Safety Action Plans for Strategic Suppliers in Bangladesh 2015. Risks 725
Hazards news, 24 October 2015.

Britain: Unions voice concerns 15 years after Hatfield tragedy
Fifteen years on from the Hatfield disaster, rail unions have raised serious concerns about safety on the network. Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF, the train drivers’ union, said: “In a safety critical industry there is no room for a company, or chief executive, who wants his managers to take short cuts at the expense of fare-paying passengers, and those of us who work in the industry, and put safety, delivery, and public service first.”
ASLEF news release. RMT news release. TSSA news release. Union Solidarity International. Risks 725
Hazards news, 24 October 2015.

Britain: Pilots want clear no fly zones over conflicts
Pilots are calling for accurate information about where it is safe to fly to be shared by nation states and operators worldwide. The demand from the UK pilots’ union BALPA is in response to the full report into the shooting down of the passenger jet Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine in July 2014.
BALPA news release. BBC backgrounder. Risks 725
Hazards news, 24 October 2015.

Britain: Steel frame company fined for safety crime
A company that erects steel frames has been fined for its criminal safety failings while cladding a steel framed building. Swindon Magistrates’ Court heard how a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) site inspection on 15 May 2015 found that Industrial Steel Frames Limited was not taking suitable measures to prevent falls from height, putting its workers at risk of serious injury.
HSE news release and working at height webpages. Construction Enquirer. Risks 724
Hazards news, 17 October 2015.

Australia: Three workers killed every week this year
Latest official figures show there have been 126 workplace fatalities in Australia already this year. Michael Borowick, national secretary of the union federation ACTU, said: “Worker safety is just another in a string of issues where the government is prioritising its big business backers, rather that supporting the rights of everyday Australians.”
ACTU news release. Risks 724
Hazards news, 17 October 2015.

USA: Cargo ship goes down with 33 crew
Search and rescue teams officially gave up hope on 7 October, after a failed five-day effort to locate 33 cargo ship workers lost at sea in the waters near the Bahamas. The sailors and other shipboard workers are presumed dead in the wreck of the US-flagged commercial vessel El Faro, which disappeared on 1 October in the high winds and heavy seas of Hurricane Joaquin.
AFL-CIO statement. SIU news release. In These Times. Risks 724
Hazards news, 17 October 2015.

USA: Bad jobs cut your life short
New research from the US is indicating your life expectancy is closely linked to the job you do. Research published in the journal Health Affairs examined the effect of workplace exposures on racial and educational disparities in life expectancy and found that between 10 and 38 per cent of the difference in life expectancy across demographic groups could be explained by different job conditions.
Joel Goh, Jeffrey Pfeffer and Stefanos Zenios. Exposure to harmful workplace practices could account for inequality in life spans across different demographic groups, Health Affairs, volume 34, number 10, pages 1761-1768, October 2015. Pump Handle blog. Risks 724
Hazards news, 17 October 2015.

Britain: ‘No excuse’ for unguarded piling machine
A specialist piling contractor has been fined after it was found to be operating a powerful rig without a safety guard around the rotating auger. Sevenoaks Magistrates’ Court heard how Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector Melvyn Stancliffe visited the site in Maidstone, Kent, in December 2014 and witnessed the piling rig in operation without a safety guard.
HSE news release and machinery safety webpages. Construction Enquirer. Risks 724
Hazards news, 17 October 2015.

Britain: Scaffolding firm guilty of corporate manslaughter
A Merseyside scaffolding firm that admitted a charge of corporate manslaughter has been fined £300,000. Adrian Smith, 44, had returned to work at Kings Scaffolding in Netherley on light duties after having had a heart attack just two days before he died on a cut-price roofing job in September 2012.
Merseyside Police news release. Liverpool Echo. BBC News Online. Risks 724
Hazards news, 17 October 2015.

Britain: Sports Direct in the dock over treatment of workers
Sports Direct’s treatment of workers and poor corporate governance have been exposed this week at the start of criminal proceedings against the company’s chief executive, David Forsey. A protest was organised by the union Unite outside Chesterfield magistrates’ court to mark the start of proceedings.
Unite news release. Sign up to the online petition to Sports Direct chief executive David Forsey: Sports Direct: Stop your shameful work practices. Unite Sports Direct campaign. Risks 724
Hazards news, 17 October 2015.

Britain: Real resources are needed to tackle labour abuses
A proposed new labour standards tsar must be given the resources to effectively coordinate regulators and combat exploitative employers, the TUC has said. The union body was speaking out after the government opened a consultation on proposals to tackle the exploitation of workers, including a new position of Director of Labour Market Enforcement.
TUC news release. Labour market exploitation: improving enforcement, government consultation, ends 9 November 2015. Financial Times. Risks 724.
Hazards news, 17 October 2015.

Britain: Under wraps official report says EU laws are working
The Conservative government’s repeat refrain that European health and safety laws are a costly burden has been comprehensively discredited. But TUC head of safety Hugh Robertson said the final report, running to over 400 pages plus some lengthy appendices, is being “kept under wraps”, with the EC having no intention of publishing until at least next year.
TUC Stronger Unions blog. EC ACSH opinion, September 2015 and opinions webpage. Risks 724.
Hazards news, 17 October 2015.

New Zealand: Union holds firm to account for work death
A New Zealand logging company is facing a hefty legal bill after a union body took a private prosecution when enforcement agencies refused to bring charges after a workplace death. M and A Cross Limited was fined NZ$25,000 (£12,000) at Rotorua District Court and ordered to pay reparation of NZ$105,000 (£45,000) to the family of 45-year-old forestry worker Charles Finlay.
Radio NZ. New Zealand Herald. Risks 723.
Hazards news, 10 October 2015

Global: HP and Dell suspend use of interns in China factories
An investigation by Danish human rights group Danwatch has found that thousands of Chinese students are being compelled by their schools to work on the assembly lines of some of the world’s biggest electronics manufacturers, making servers destined for European universities. The Danwatch probe into conditions on the assembly lines of Wistron Corporation in Zhongshan, China, which manufactures servers for HP, Dell and Lenovo, found students working against their will for often between 10 to 12 hours a day for up to five months.
Good Electronics news release. Servants of Servers, Danwatch/Good Electronics, 2015. Responses from electronics companies. The Guardian. Risks 723
Hazards news, 10 October 2015

Britain: Man arrested after latest deadly workplace blast
A man has been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter after a deadly workplace blast. The blast on the afternoon of Saturday 3 October at an industrial site in Hoddeston, Hertfordshire, left two workers dead and another injured, and was the third workplace explosion in less than three months to lead to multiple deaths.
The Mirror. Hertfordshire Mercury. Daily Mail. The Guardian. ITV News. Risks 723
Hazards news, 10 October 2015

Britain: Soup giant done again for maiming a worker
Baxters Food Group Limited, one of the UK’s most well-known food manufacturers, has appeared before Elgin Sheriff Court for the second time in five months after another worker was injured while working at its Fochabers plant. The court heard that on 30 January 2014, short term contract worker Jodie Cormack climbed onto the conveyor belt to clear potatoes into the auger in-feed, but slipped from the belt into the collecting hopper.
HSE news release. Risks 723
Hazards news, 10 October 2015

Britain: Global firms sentenced after worker killed
Two global companies have received six figure fines after a worker was killed and another seriously injured during construction of an offshore wind farm. During the loading of wind turbine components at Pakeston Quay, Harwich, a part of the blade transport arrangement weighing over 2 tonnes fell off, crushing and fatally injuring one worker and seriously injuring another; both workers were employed by Siemens Windpower A/S (SWP) but were working for Fluor Ltd, the principal contractor.
HSE news release. Construction Enquirer. Risks 723
Hazards news, 10 October 2015

Britain: Ambulance count exposes Sports Direct work practices
Ambulances were called out to the warehouse headquarters of one of Europe's largest sports retailers 80 times in two years, an investigation found. Unite, which has launched a campaign for decent work at Sports Direct, says poor conditions are not limited to the company’s warehouses.
Sign up to the online petition to Sports Direct chief executive David Forsey: Sports Direct: Stop your shameful work practices. Unite Sports Direct campaign.
Investigating Sports Direct, BBC Inside Out, 5 October 2015. BBC News Online. Risks 723
Hazards news, 10 October 2015

Britain: Maintenance and inspections cuts hurt rail travel
Rail union RMT has said speed restrictions placed on some train services have exposed the impact of cuts to maintenance and inspections on the railways and the dangers of running services on untested tracks. The union was speaking out after Arriva Trains Wales was forced to impose blanket speed restrictions on sections of the network that had not been tested within agreed safety schedules
RMT news release. Risks 723
Hazards news, 10 October 2015

Britain: Zoo director in court after tiger kills keeper
A zoo director has been bailed after a court hearing related to the death of a keeper fatally mauled by a Sumatran tiger. Sarah McClay, 24, was pounced on in the keeper's corridor of the tiger house at South Lakes Wild Animal Park in Dalton-in-Furness, Cumbria, on 24 May 2013. 
The Herald. Risks 722
Hazards news, 3 October 2015

Britain: Company execs escape jail after site death
Two company executives have received suspended jail sentences after a bricklayer was crushed to death under a falling wall. Trevor Hyatt, 50, and project manager Alfred Barker, 59, both received six month prison sentences suspended for two years following the death of Gareth Jones, 28, who died in St Albans while working for Linley Developments.
Herts Constabulary news release. Welwyn Hatfield Times. BBC News Online. Risks 722
Hazards news, 3 October 2015

Britain: Steel firm fined following worker’s death
Steel supply company CMC UK Ltd has been fined following the death of an employee who was crushed by a two tonne steel beam at a warehouse in Cardiff. Mark Walker, a 37-year-old father of one from Newport, suffered fatal injuries as he was trying to move a steel beam onto a conveyor on 24 June 2012.
HSE news release. Risks 722
Hazards news, 3 October 2015

Britain: Hydrogen blast blew a hole in factory roof
A chemical firm has been fined after a hydrogen explosion blew a vessel lid through a factory roof, injuring a worker. Catalloy Ltd was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following the incident at its plant in Widnes on 25 November 2011.
HSE news release and hazardous installations webpages. Risks 722
Hazards news, 3 October 2015

Britain: Four figure fines after devastating fall injuries
Roofing firm Practical Cladding Solutions Limited and senior manager Anthony Hibbard have been fined for criminal safety failings after an employee suffered life changing injuries when he fell through a fragile roof. The firm was fined £9,000, after pleading guilty to three criminal breaches of the Work at Height Regulations and Hibbard fined £3,000, after pleading guilty to the same criminal offences.
HSE news release. Risks 722
Hazards news, 3 October 2015

Britain: Teen agency worker lost a finger in machine
A Hampshire metal manufacturing company has been fined for criminal safety offences after a teenage agency worker suffered an injury to his hand which led to the amputation of a finger. Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court heard how on 6 October 2014, an 18-year-old agency worker at Independent Ductwork Limited of Basingstoke was operating a three-roll machine when his gloved fingers were drawn into the rollers.
HSE news release and machinery safety webpages. Risks 722
Hazards news, 3 October 2015

Britain: Aviation regulator falls down on safety
The UK’s aviation regulator no longer has safety as its paramount concern and should be split up, the union Prospect has said. In a letter to transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin the union, which represents more than 5,000 aviation specialists, calls for the Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) regulatory functions to be hived off to a separate regulator after the union’s ‘extensive’ research raised serious problems caused by its dual role monitoring the economic and safety performance of the industry.
Prospect news release and report, Towards a sustainable aviation industry for the UKMorning Star. Risks 722
Hazards news, 3 October 2015

Bangladesh: Shipbreaking deaths lead to action call
The deaths of four workers in a single incident in a Bangladesh shipbreaking yard underline the importance of the global campaign for ratification of the Hong Kong Convention, aimed at making perilous shipbreaking jobs safer, the global union IndustriALL has said. The union body was speaking out in the wake of the 5 September fatalities in the Shital yard in Chittagong.
IndustriALL news release. The Hong Kong Convention. Risks 721
Hazards news, 26 September 2015

Global: Unions dismiss KiK’s comments on fire payouts
Global unions and labour rights campaigners have criticised German retail multinational KiK for stalling on a commitment to properly compensate victims of a deadly garment factory fire in Pakistan. Global unions IndustriALL and UNI and the Clean Clothes Campaign have expressed dismay at the company’s “attempts to obfuscate issues related to compensation for the victims of the Ali Enterprises factory fire in Pakistan.”
Joint statement from IndustriALL, UNI and the Clean Clothes Campaign and earlier IndustriALL news releaseRisks 721
Hazards news, 26 September 2015

USA: Common solvent is killing people
Methylene chloride, a powerful solvent whose use is heavily restricted in Europe, remains widely used and poorly regulated in the US – and is continuing to kill as a result. “People have died, it poses this cancer threat… and everybody knows it’s a bad chemical, and yet nobody does anything,” said Katy Wolf, who recommends safer alternatives to toxic chemicals as director of the non-profit Institute for Research and Technical Assistance (IRTA) in California.
CPI feature. IRTA reports on solvent alternatives. Risks 721
Hazards news, 26 September 2015

Britain: Scaffold horrors captured by passer-by
A scaffolder has been given a suspended jail sentence after repeatedly ignoring official warnings about seriously unsafe work above a busy London street. Greg Pearson, trading as ‘Pearsons Scaffolding’, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after a member of the public raised concerns about scaffolding work being carried out on Tavistock Street in central London.
HSE news release, work at heights webpages and Safer Sites facebook page. Construction Enquirer. Risks 721
Hazards news, 26 September 2015

Britain: Abattoir worker’s hand maimed by pig saw
An abattoir worker suffered severe hand injuries in an incident with an industrial saw that led to a major Scottish food processing firm being prosecuted. Recent recruit Steven Murray was working at the AP Jess plant on the outskirts of Brechin when his left hand came into contact with an unprotected band saw on the production line used for killing all of the Tulip bacon company’s Scottish pigs.
HSE news release and machinery safety webpages. The Courier. Risks 721
Hazards news, 26 September 2015

Britain: Maintenance firm firmed after joiner’s electric shock
Berneslai Homes Ltd has been fined following an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into safety standards on a council maintenance contract. Barnsley Magistrates Court heard that HSE was following up an incident involving a Berneslai Homes Ltd joiner who received an electric shock while replacing a wooden garden fence around a domestic property in Barnsley on 26 November 2013.
HSE news release. Risks 721
Hazards news, 26 September 2015

Britain: Fit for work ruling ‘caused suicide’
A man with severe depression hanged himself as a direct cause of being deemed “fit for work” by a medically unqualified government assessor, a coroner has ruled. The Disability News Service (DNS) unearthed the coroner’s report on the suicide of Michael O’Sullivan, 60, saying that it appeared to be the first case in which a coroner explicitly linked Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) sanctions to a death.
Disability News Service report. The Independent. Morning Star. Risks 721
Hazards news, 26 September 2015

Britain: Car worker killed, firm fined the price of a car
The family of a man killed while working for Jaguar Land Rover have said the £30,000 fine on the firm is a “disgrace”. Liverpool Crown Court heard Graham Begley, 49, from Halewood, was found trapped between two 24 tonne dies on 26 September 2011 at the firm’s factory in Halewood.
HSE news release. Liverpool Echo. Risks 720
Hazards news, 19 September 2015

Britain: Polythene giant trapped worker in machine
A Widnes polythene manufacturer has been fined for serious criminal safety breaches after a night shift employee was badly injured when he became trapped in a machine. British Polythene Ltd was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following the incident at BPI Widnes Films on 21 January 2014.
HSE news release and safe maintenance webpages. Risks 720.
Hazards news, 19 September 2015

Britain: HSE finally acts after firm’s offending decade
A Cheltenham firm that left workers at risk of potentially deadly diseases and injuries over a period of a decade despite repeat warnings from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has finally found itself facing justice. Welsted Joinery Ltd was fined for failing to use a local exhaust ventilation (LEV) system to extracting asthma- and cancer-linked wood dust and for failing to have lifting equipment on its rider-operated trucks thoroughly examined.
HSE news release. Risks 720
Hazards news, 19 September 2015

India: Truck crash kills 18 workers
At least 18 workers have been killed after the truck they were travelling in overturned in India's southern state of Andhra Pradesh. The truck carrying cement and other construction materials was taking the workers to a construction site southeast of the capital, Hyderabad.
BBC News Online. Risks 720
Hazards news, 19 September 2015

Pakistan: Workers killed making clothes for big name brands
Four workers died and sixteen were injured when the roof of a garment factory collapsed on 5 September in Lahore, Pakistan. The factory was operating in a poorly constructed building and producing garments for Primark, Topman, Burton, New Look and River Island.
IndustriALL news release and related news release. Risks 720
Hazards news, 19 September 2015

India: Tea report exposes failures by Rainforest Alliance
Child labour, exposure to highly toxic chemicals and diseases related to extreme poverty and dismal, insanitary housing have been discovered at tea plantations in India despite the tea producers boasting certification by the corporate responsibility auditor the Rainforest Alliance. A BBC investigation found the firms supplying some of Britain's biggest tea brands, including PG Tips, Tetleys and Twinings, were Rainforest certified despite major violations of national law and Rainforest's own standard.
BBC News Online. IUF news release and related release. Rainforest Alliance statement. Risks 720
Hazards news, 19 September 2015

Global: Lawyers bid to hide scientist’s asbestos links
In a document filed on 4 September, lawyers for Union Pacific Railroad Company made a court bid to suppress evidence that an expert witness in an asbestos compensation case was a regular recipient of money from a global asbestos lobbying group. Robert Nolan is a key scientific witness for the company in a US court case concerning the death of a worker from asbestos-related lung disease.
RightOnCanada.ca. Risks 719
Hazards news, 12 September 2015

South Africa: Miners march for pay and safety
South African miners marched to the Chamber of Mines in Johannesburg on 5 September in protest at poor working conditions. Thousands of National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) members marched through the city to deliver a list of demands to the goldmine owners’ federation.
NUM video and news release. Morning Star. Risks 719.
Hazards news, 12 September 2015

Britain: Labourer aged 16 died in site fall
A north London company has been fined £325,000 following the death of a 16-year-old labourer. Enfield firm Rooftop Rooms Ltd was fined £325,000, ordered to pay the Crown costs of £12,187.78 and health and safety costs of £7,334.84 after teenager Alfie Perrin fell from a scaffold on 14 November 2012.
Metropolitan Police news release. Construction Enquirer. Ilford Recorder. Wanstead Guardian. Enfield Today. Risks 719.
Hazards news, 12 September 2015

Britain: Fall into recycling machine proved fatal
A waste recycling firm has been sentenced after admitting criminal safety failings related to a worker’s death. Bradford Crown Court heard that on 17 August 2012, Simon Brook, an employee of Gwynn Davies-McTiffin Ltd, was found lying seriously injured at the bottom of a horizontal baling machine and died two days later.
HSE news release. Dewsbury Reporter. Morning Star. Risks 719Hazards news, 12 September 2015

Britain: Trade Union Bill a ‘major attack on civil liberties’
Leading human rights groups have warned that the government’s Trade Union Bill is “a major attack on civil liberties in the UK”. In a joint statement Liberty, Amnesty International and the British Institute of Human Rights said the bill “would hamper people’s basic rights to protest and shift even more power from the employee to the employer.”
TUC news release and responses to the government consultation on the Trade Union Bill. BBC News Online.
Can you send an email to your MP? Make sure all supportive MPs attend the forthcoming vote on the Trade Union Bill, and that government MPs realise their constituents are concerned. Risks 719Hazards news, 12 September 2015

Britain: Worker pollaxed by boards falling from crane
A worker on a Balfour Beatty site in Dorset was knocked out and seriously injured after being struck by falling boards being lifted by a crane. The half a tonne load of sound bloc boards was being lifted from the fourth floor at the rear of a block of flats under construction in Poole to the second lift loading bay at the front of the building.
HSE news release. Construction Enquirer. Risks 718.
Hazards news, 5 September 2015

Britain: Contractor didn’t provide safety cover
A contractor has been fined after admitting unsafe work at height practices and insurance breaches. James Young, trading as Watertight Home Improvements, pleaded guilty at Chester Magistrates’ Court after an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
HSE news release. Risks 718.
Hazards news, 5 September 2015

Britain: Dundee firm admits failings in chemical tank death
A Dundee company has admitted criminal health and safety failings after a worker died while cleaning out a chemical tank with a highly dangerous chemical cocktail. Steven Conway died while working at Diamond Wheels (Dundee) Ltd, while using a product containing methylene chloride, methanol and hydrofluoric acid.
STV News. BBC News Online. Risks 718.
Hazards news, 5 September 2015

Britain: TUC slams ‘vindictive’ and dangerous Bill 
The government’s ‘vindictive’ Trade Union Bill could put your life at risk, TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady has warned. In a special feature in Hazards magazine she says David Cameron’s plan would rob union safety reps of the time and rights they need to perform their role
We’re here to stay! Unions challenge wrong-headed government attack that could cost lives, Frances O’Grady, Hazards online report, 4 September 2015. Risks 718.
Hazards news, 5 September 2015

Britain: Have you taken strike action to protect your rights?
The TUC says government’s Trade Union Bill “threatens the right to strike – and that’ll make it harder to raise safety concerns, oppose job cuts or service closures, or win better conditions.” The union body adds: “That’s where you come in. If you have been involved in a recent dispute that has resulted in strike action, please tell us your story.”
Tell TUC what you did and why. Risks 718.
Hazards news, 5 September 2015

China: Twenty-three implicated over deadly port blast
China says 11 Tianjin government and port officials are suspected of negligence in connection to the massive explosions that killed an estimated 145 people. Police have also detained 12 executives from Ruihai International Logistics and another company.
South China Morning Post. Business Insider. BBC News Online. Risks 717
Hazards news, 29 August 2015

India: Illegal mica mines power your electronics
The districts of Koderma and Giridih, in the impoverished Indian state of Jharkhand, are home to the world's largest deposits of sheet mica, a glittery silicate that has become an essential component in thousands of electronic and other products. India produces 60 per cent of the world's mica, most of it from Jharkhand.
Wired. Hazards magazine. Risks 717
Hazards news, 29 August 2015

Thailand: Intimidation of rights activist continues
A Thai court's has decided to indict migrants' rights activist Andy Hall, in what campaigners have described as “a major blow” to human rights in the country. The Bangkok South Criminal Court ruled on 24 August that researcher Andy Hall should face criminal defamation and computer crimes charges filed against him by a pineapple processing company, Natural Fruit Company Ltd.
Finnwatch news release. Stronger Unions blog. Letter to the Thai prime minister. Risks 717
Hazards news, 29 August 2015

Britain: Schoolboy dies from work placement injuries
A schoolboy on work placement has died in Aberdeenshire. Michael McLean, 17, was found unconscious at Denholm Oilfield Services in Inverurie on 14 August. He had suffered a broken neck, two punctured lungs and damage to his back and leg; a week later, on 20 August, his life-support machine was switched off at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.
BBC News Online. Risks 717
Hazards news, 29 August 2015

Britain: Further HSE action at explosion deaths mill
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has taken additional enforcement action against Wood Treatment Ltd in Bosley, Cheshire, the scene of an explosion and fire that killed four workers on 17 July (Risks 715).
HSE news release. Risks 717
Hazards news, 29 August 2015

Britain: Transport firm convicted over driver’s slow death
A road transport company has been convicted of criminal safety failings after a driver suffered life-changing injuries which eventually killed him. Keith Brookes fell from an unsecured ladder during an operation to unload items from a lorry at the Hertfordshire Golf and Country Club in Broxbourne on 23 November 2012.
HSE news release and falls from vehicles webpages. OneMK. Risks 717
Hazards news, 29 August 2015

Britain: Sandwich firm put profits before safety
A food manufacturer with a multi-million pound turnover and one of its directors have been fined after an agency worker was crushed by a forklift truck at its Warwickshire factory. Leamington Crown Court heard that Jamie Barsby was lucky to be alive after the incident at The Sandwich Factory Holdings Ltd in Atherstone on 29 July 2012.
HSE news release and falls webpages. Nuneaton News. Tamworth Herald. Risks 717
Hazards news, 29 August 2015

Britain: Renewed call for offshore helicopter inquiry
The UK government must urgently revisit the recommendation of the previous parliament’s Transport Select Committee for a public inquiry into offshore helicopter safety, Unite has said. The union call came ahead of the 23 August second anniversary of the Sumburgh offshore helicopter tragedy, when four offshore workers died when their helicopter ditched in the waters off the Scottish coast, taking the total number of helicopter transfer fatalities since 2002 to 38.
Unite news release. The National. Risks 717
Hazards news, 29 August 2015

USA: Food firm to pay $6 million after horror death
A California food firm is to pay a $6 million fine after 62-year-old Bumble Bee Foods employee Jose Melena was cooked to death in an industrial pressure cooker. “You don’t have warm blood running in your veins if you’re not affected by the way this guy died. It’s horrific,” said Hoon Chun, assistant head deputy district attorney for the office’s Consumer Protection Division, who helped prosecute the case.
Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office news release. Los Angeles Times. Risks 716
Hazards news, 22 August 2015

Britain: Timber worker loses fingers in poorly guarded machine
A timber gate manufacturer in Daventry has been fined after an employee lost two fingers on his left hand while working on machinery. The 27-year-old employee of Main Line Timber Limited was pulled into the rotating blade of an inadequately guarded circular saw on 25 July 2014.
HSE news release. Risks 716
Hazards news, 22 August 2015

China: Disasters take a huge toll on workers
Two massive explosions and the subsequent inferno around a warehouse in the industrial city of Tianjin on 12 August killed over 100 workers and injured several hundred more, including local residents. At least 21 firefighters are believed to be among the dead, with many more reported missing; it is believed the final death toll could exceed 200.
AAWL news report. FBU statement. Greenpeace blog. South China Morning Post. BBC News Online. Hong Kong Free Press. Risks 716
Hazards news, 22 August 2015

Britain: Manslaughter convictions after farm worker’s death
A construction site manager and the site owner have been convicted of manslaughter following the death of a farm worker in 2011. Jason Morgan, from Bristol, died when his ladder touched an overhead 11,000 volt cable at Great Brynn Barton Farm near Roche.
Devon and Cornwall Police statement. Falmouth Packet. Risks 716
Hazards news, 22 August 2015

Britain: Paper mill worker killed by unguarded machine
A worker died as a result of being pulled into unguarded machinery at a Devon paper mill, a court has heard. John Stoddart, 42, who was attempting to smooth out felt on a conveyor at the Higher Kings Mill in Cullompton, suffered fatal injuries in the incident on 24 September 2011.
HSE news release and machine guarding guide. Western Morning News. Risks 716
Hazards news, 22 August 2015

Britain: Engineering firm bypassed safety guards
A north east engineering firm has been fined for deliberately compromising machine safety guards for production reasons. South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard H Mullins (Earby) Limited, which produces precision engineered components, used Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) machines as part of the production process, including machining centres, milling machines and drilling machines.
HSE news release. Risks 716
Hazards news, 22 August 2015

Britain: HSE criticised over deadly bin lorry crash inaction
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has been criticised for its decision to treat the Glasgow bin lorry crash as a road traffic accident. A QC representing three of those killed in the incident questioned whether the decision was “hasty and ill advised” and a campaign group said HSE had ignored a legal precedent set in a similar case in 2000. FACK news release. BBC News OnlineRisks 716
Hazards news, 22 August 2015

Global: Case exposes real dangers of trade deals
A Canadian goldmining company is using a trade agreement between the UK and Romania to demand £2.5 billion in compensation from the Romanian government after its mining application was blocked. Gabriel Resources was refused permission on health and safety and environmental grounds to mine for gold and silver in the Transylvania region of Romania.
TUC health and safety facebook page. GMB news release. Huffington Post. Risks 716
Hazards news, 22 August 2015

Britain: Amazon makes its staff physically and mentally ill
Staff working for Amazon in the UK have developed physical and mental illnesses because of the “regimes” they work under, the union GMB has warned. Employees at the online retailer’s distribution centres across the UK were under pressure to be an “above-average Amazon robot”, said GMB’s lead officer for Amazon, Elly Baker.
GMB Amazon campaign. The Guardian. Wired. The Independent. Risks 716
Hazards news, 22 August 2015

Global: Unions are the solution to Amazon problems
A union presence backed up by decent employment rights is the solution to oppressive working conditions at Amazon, observers have said. The comments came after a New York Times exposé found the firm pushes staff to their limits in the name of productivity and efficiency.
New York Times. The Guardian, article by Larry Elliott and Comment is Free blog. BBC News Online. CBS News. The Independent. Risks 716
Hazards news, 22 August 2015

New Zealand: Employer admits guilt in union-led prosecution
When the regulatory authorities in New Zealand failed to take action after a forestry worker was killed, unions took matters into their own hands. And now a union-initiated safety prosecution has resulted in the employer pleading guilty, with CTU president Helen Kelly commenting: “The CTU, with the support of Charles’s family, needed to take this ground breaking private prosecution.”
NZCTU news release. Risks 714.
Hazards news, 8 August 2015

Britain: Total fined £1.4m after worker was killed in fire
Total UK Limited has been fined £1.4 million after a major fire led to the death of a worker at an oil refinery in North Lincolnshire. Robert Greenacre, 24, was working near a crude oil distillation unit just before the fire broke out at the Lindsey Oil Refinery (TLOR) in Immingham on 29 June 2010.
HSE news release and COMAH webpages. ITV News. Risks 714
Hazards news, 8 August 2015

Britain: Skipper sentenced after diver’s death
The skipper of a shellfish fishing boat has been sentenced for serious criminal safety failings after the death of a diver in the River Forth estuary. Graeme Mackie, 31, was working as a scuba diver to collect shellfish from Ronald John MacNeil’s boat the Rob Roy when the incident happed on 11 June 2011.
HSE news release and diving webpages. Risks 714
Hazards news, 8 August 2015

Britain: Worker died in fall from rotten scaffold
A Glasgow scaffolding firm has been fined after a roof worker fell nearly six metres to his death. James Baillie, 53, suffered serious head injuries after he fell through a scaffold tower deck erected by Extra Access Limited when carrying out roof work at a two storey domestic property on 22 September 2011, dying from his injuries the next day.
HSE news release and work at height webpages. Construction Enquirer. Risks 714
Hazards news, 8 August 2015

Britain: Pizza Express worker fell out of restaurant window
Pizza Express has been fined £200,000 after a fall from Soho restaurant window left a worker paralysed. Kamil Pisarek suffered serious spinal injuries in the fall in December 2011, when he was 28 and is now tetraplegic.
London Evening Standard. Risks 714
Hazards news, 8 August 2015

Britain: Factory blast relatives search for company’s owner
Relatives of four victims of a deadly blast at a Cheshire factory want its owner to respond to criticisms of its safety standards. Jason Shingler, 38, Dorothy Bailey and Derek Moore, both 62, and 51-year-old William Barks were killed in the 17 July explosion and fire that destroyed the Wood Treatment Ltd wood flour mill in Bosley.
The Independent. Macclesfield Express. Risks 713
Hazards news, 1 August 2015

Britain: Construction firms sentenced after worker’s death
Construction giant Sir Robert McAlpine and a glazing contractor have been sentenced after a worker fell to his death from a store front in Exeter. Philip Evans was working for specialist construction company London Fenestration Trades Ltd.
HSE news release. Construction Enquirer. Risks 713
Hazards news, 1 August 2015

Britain; Director sentenced after worker dies on second day of job
A construction boss blamed for the horrific death of a young dad-to-be buried alive in a trench has been given two years to pay a £75,000 fine - or go to prison. Callum Osborne, 24, died when a trench he was digging in Whitstable collapsed in on him.
HSE news release. Kent Online. Risks 713
Hazards news, 1 August 2015

Britain: Catapulted worker dies of his injuries
A Darwen firm has been fined after an employee died 17 days after falling from the roof of a partly completed loft conversion project in January 2012. Newhey Loft Conversions Limited was prosecuted after the ladder carrying Graham Readfern, 56, collapsed and he was catapulted over the inadequate scaffold handrail into a neighbouring garden.
HSE news release and construction webpages. Risks 713
Hazards news, 1 August 2015

Asia: Two gas explosions lead to multiple deaths
Deadly conditions in Asian factories have been highlighted again after over 40 workers died in similar incidents in Egypt and Indonesia. At least 25 people died in a 28 July fire at a furniture factory north of the Egyptian capital Cairo and 17 people died as a result of injuries sustained in a 10 July explosion at a cosmetics factory on the outskirts of Jakarta, Indonesia.
Daily News. BBC News Online. Jakarta Globe. Risks 713
Hazards news, 1 August 2015

Italy: Fireworks factory blast kills nine
An explosion at a fireworks factory in southern Italy has killed nine workers. Seven people were killed instantly and several others were injured in the explosion on 24 July. Two later died from injuries sustained in the blast in the factory in the port city of Bari. Japan Times. The Telegraph. Risks 713
Hazards news, 1 August 2015

Vietnam: Work accidents claim 600 lives each year
Around 600 people are killed in work-related incidents every year in Vietnam, but authorities say they cannot do much to prevent these tragedies due to their limited resources. Ha Tat Thang, chief of the Department of Labour Safety, was quoted as telling a government conference that with just about 100 inspectors, his agency could check workplace safety standards at only 0.22 per cent of all businesses.
Thanh Nien News. Risks 713
Hazards news, 1 August 2015

New Zealand: Anger as proposed safety law is diluted
The families of workers killed in the New Zealand’s Pike River disaster conducted a protest vigil outside the country’s parliament on 29 July, ahead of the second reading of the government's Health and Safety Reform Bill. Sonya Rockhouse, whose 21-year-old son died in the disaster, said: “One of the few good things that was supposed to come out of Pike was better health and safety laws,” but added: “Slowly over time this has been dropped and that’s been dropped, and what we’re left with is barely worth the paper it’s written on.”
NZCTU news release. EPMU news release. MUNZ news release. Radio New Zealand. New Zealand Herald. Risks 713
Hazards news, 1 August 2015

Britain: Cash-strapped councils abandon safety inspections
Funding cuts have driven local authorities to almost entirely abandon their statutory role as a workplace health and safety regulator, an analysis by the Financial Times has “In 2009-10, council inspectors in England made 56,175 visits to local factories and other workplaces to ensure health and safety rules were being followed and employee health safeguarded,” it said, adding: “By 2013-14, the number had been slashed by 91 per cent, to just 4,901 inspections, while 53 councils opted to abandon proactive inspections altogether.”
Financial Times. Risks 713
Hazards news, 1 August 2015

Britain: Rail staffing cuts blamed for 'shocking' attacks surge
The number of passengers attacked on Britain’s trains is at the highest level for a decade. The dramatic increase in assaults comes after repeated union warnings about the dangers of swingeing cuts in the numbers of platform and on-train rail staff.
RSSB Annual Safety Performance Report. RMT news release. Thompsons Solicitors news release. The Independent. Risks 713
Hazards news, 1 August 2015

Britain: Derailment raises questions about rail cuts
The derailment of a train last week raises “serious questions” about the impact of budget cuts on rail safety, a union has warned. Network Rail and Southeastern trains confirmed the rail operator had been warned that stray cows were near the tracks 90 minutes before a train collided with a herd in Kent and partly derailed.
ASLEF news release. RMT news release. BBC News Online. The Guardian. Risks 713
Hazards news, 1 August 2015

Britain: Attack on safety reps could be even more damaging
The damage to safety from the government’s Trade Union Bill could be even worse than originally anticipate, the TUC has said. Inquiries by TUC head of safety Hugh Robertson has established that the Bill, which calls for recording and reporting of time off as well as hours limits, could affect more than just public sector workers.
TUC health and safety facebook page. Risks 713
Hazards news, 1 August 2015

Britain: Fracking funded study admits safety concerns
A report by the UK Task Force on Shale Gas has called for greater safety and transparency measures to be implemented before widespread fracking occurs across the country. The task force, which is led by former Environment Agency head Lord Smith and which is funded by the shale gas industry, has called for 'full disclosure' of all chemicals to be used by the industry, as well as independent monitoring of the fracking process.
Assessing the impact of shale gas on the local environment and health, UK Task Force on Shale Gas, July 2015. Oil Change International. Spinwatch. Risks 712
Hazards news, 25 July 2015

Director fined over bricklayer death
A Yorkshire roofing firm and its director have been prosecuted after a worker fell to his death though a fragile rooflight. Watershed (Roofing) Ltd, a framework contractor for North Yorkshire County Council, and one of its directors, Steven John Derham from Bradford, had engaged Barry Tyson to carry out brickwork on the roof, as part of a scheme to add insulation and re-felt it.
HSE news release and fragile roofs guide. Construction Enquirer. Risks 712
Hazards news, 25 July 2015

Businessman given curfew after worker loses forearm
A Kent businessman has been sentenced to a home curfew and a suspended jail term after a worker lost his right forearm when it got caught and mangled in an unguarded tyre-shredding machine. Mark Anton Arabaje, sole director of now-dissolved company Cartwright Projects Ltd, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after it found he had removed a protective guard from the dangerous machine only a couple of weeks earlier.
HSE news release. Risks 712
Hazards news, 25 July 2015

Britain: Firm maimed worker then stopped his wages
A logistics firm has been convicted of a criminal safety offence after a worker suffered life-changing injuries in a fall from a roof – and then had his wages stopped when he started a compensation claim. Andrew Bannister, who had worked for PK & IF Cobley Limited for 15 years, was worried about being sent up onto a fragile roof to repair cracks in it, but he was still instructed to do the work.
HSE news release and work at height guidance. Leicester Mercury. Risks 712
Hazards news, 25 July 2015

Britain: Brick maker fined after new machine mangles leg
A brick manufacturer has been fined after one of its employees was seriously injured by a newly installed unguarded machine. The incident, on 27 February 2014, occurred at Northcot Brick Limited’s site in Blockley, Gloucester.
HSE news release and machinery maintenance guide. Construction Enquirer. Risks 712
Hazards news, 25 July 2015

Australia: Anger as mines ban union safety stickers
Coal miners in Queensland, Australia, wore safety stickers on their work gear on a 16 July Day of Action - despite the stickers being banned by many employers. Stephen Smyth, district president of the mining union CFMEU, said the union was ramping up its safety campaign following the deaths of three mineworkers this year in the state.
CFMEU news release and Stand Up. Speak Out. Come Home. campaign. Daily Mercury. Risks 712
Hazards news, 25 July 2015

Italy: Pirelli managers convicted over asbestos deaths
A Milan court has convicted 11 former Pirelli managers of culpable homicide over the deaths of some 20 workers from asbestos related cancers. The court gave the managers, which included two ex-CEOs, jail terms of up to seven years and eight months; all eleven were Pirelli board members between 1979 and 1989 when, prosecutors said, workers were exposed to asbestos.
Ansa.it. BBC News Online. ABC News. Risks 712
Hazards news, 25 July 2015

Myanmar: Mining unions set new safety goal
Mining unions in Myanmar have resolved to set up health and safety committees at every mining operation in the country. Thirty trade unionists took part in the country’s first ever workshop on occupational health and safety (OHS) in mining, a collaborative initiative between the global mining union federation IndustriALL, the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the Confederation of Trade Unions of Myanmar (CTUM) and IndustriALL affiliate, the Mining Workers Federation of Myanmar (MWFM).
IndustriALL news release. Risks 712
Hazards news, 25 July 2015

Britain: Prison cuts linked to big rise in attacks on staff
There has been a dramatic rise in attacks on prison staff, with the prison officers’ union POA saying this is the result of ‘savage’ government cuts to the service. The union was speaking out after the annual report of chief prisons inspector, Nick Hardwick, revealed assaults on staff had risen sharply, with 3,637 assaults on prison staff in 2014, an increase of 28 per cent on 2010.
HMI Prisons news release and NOMS safer custody statistics. Thompsons Solicitors news release. Risks 712
Hazards news, 25 July 2015

Britain: Protecting apprentices in the workplace
The jailing of an employer this month for the criminal negligence that led to the death of 16-year-old engineering apprentice Cameron Minshull highlights the need for greater protection of young people at work, the TUC has said. Matthew Creagh, of TUC’s Unionlearn research and strategy team, indicated the employer, the training provider who placed Cameron with the firm and the government had all failed the teenager.
TUC Stronger Unions blog. FACK news release. The Mirror. Risks 712
Hazards news, 25 July 2015

Britain: Death mill had received two explosion warnings
The owners of a wood mill where four people are feared dead from a blast had been warned twice of a risk of an explosion at the site. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) served improvement notices on Wood Treatment Limited in March and July 2013 after finding it had not reduced the risk of fire or explosion from liquid petroleum gas stored at the plant in Bosley, Cheshire.
Cheshire Constabulary news release. HSE statement. HSE recent notices against Wood Treatment Limited and notices from 2008. BBC News Online. The Mirror. The Guardian. Manchester Evening News. Risks 712
Hazards news, 25 July 2015

Britain: Government takes a swipe at safety reps
The government’s Trade Union Bill will damage more than productivity and civil liberties, it could put our lives at risk at work, the TUC has warned. The union body said the Bill includes measures that could dramatically curtail the time available to union safety reps to perform their functions and get trained.
TUC Stronger Unions blog and related entry. The union effect, TUC. Trade Union Bill.
Risks 712
Hazards news, 25 July 2015

Britain: Bill exposes government’s strike hypocrisy
If the government was really concerned about the harm to the economy caused by lost working days, it would be addressing the scourge of work-related ill-health not the by comparison tiny impact of strikes, the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) has said. STUC general secretary Grahame Smith said: “The days lost due to strikes were less than 3 per cent of the 28.2 million days lost due to work related accidents and ill-health.”
STUC news release. SNP news release.  Fair Work Convention. ILO news release. Morning Star. Risks 712
Hazards news, 25 July 2015

Global: Australian firms linked to mine deaths across Africa
Australian mining companies have been linked to hundreds of deaths and injuries in Africa, with the casualties frequently going unreported at home. An investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, a project of the Center for Public Integrity, in collaboration with 13 African reporters, counted more than 380 employees, subcontractors and community members in 13 countries who died in accidents or incidents linked to the companies since the beginning of 2004, including some who were shot to death.
ICIJ report and multimedia report. CPI news release. Risks 711
Hazards news, 18 July 2015

[deadly bus]Global: Crisis over attacks on aid workers
Attacks on aid workers declined last year but were still the second highest on record, latest figures show. There were 190 major attacks against aid operations in 2014, down from 264 in 2013, the report from the Humanitarian Outcomes (HO) research group concluded.
IRIN news report, related story and IRIN/Humanitarian Outcomes Aid Worker Attacks map. Risks 711
Hazards news, 18 July 2015

Britain: Untrained teen breaks back as dumper tips
A specialist tree contractor has been fined after a skip loading dumper overturned, severely injuring a teenage worker. The 19-year-old Oak View Tree Specialists Limited employee had received only a few minutes training on the use of the dumper truck, had no driving licence and was not wearing a safety belt when the vehicle overturned.
HSE news release. Construction Enquirer. Risks 711
Hazards news, 18 July 2015

[deadly bus]Britain: Chutney firm fined as worker jams hand
A Merseyside food company has been sentenced after a worker sustained injuries to his hand while working on a sugar dispensing machine at a factory in Berkshire. The employee, who does not wish to be named, suffered a broken and lacerated finger during the incident at English Provender Company Ltd’s site in Thatcham, Berkshire.
HSE news release. Risks 711
Hazards news, 18 July 2015

[deadly bus]Britain: Window cleaning firm fined for high crimes
A window cleaning firm and its sole director have been fined for criminal health and safety breaches after a worker was spotted cleaning windows while standing precariously on the third floor gutter of a nursing home. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Brian Stubbs and Company Limited and director Brian Stubbs at Stafford Magistrates’ Court after a window cleaner was observed standing on guttering on the outside of a balcony parapet wall of St Joseph’s Nursing Home in Stafford on 21 August 2014.
HSE news release and work at height webpages. Risks 711
Hazards news, 18 July 2015

[deadly bus/chemicals]Britain: Car body repair boss ignored HSE
The owner of a Derbyshire car body repair company has been fined for failing to comply with two legally-binding Health and Safety Executive (HSE) improvement notices on chemical risks. Christopher Hutton, trading as Auto Bodyworks and Wheel Clinic of Hasland, was prosecuted at Chesterfield Magistrates’ Court.
HSE news release. Risks 711
Hazards news, 18 July 2015

Britain: Man jailed over death of teen apprentice
A businessman has been jailed for eight months following the death of a teenager who became trapped in a factory lathe while on a government-funded apprenticeship. Cameron Minshull, 16, was dragged into the steel cutting machine after the oversized overalls he’d been issued became caught, causing “catastrophic and lethal” injuries to his head and face, Manchester Crown Court heard.
CPS news release. FACK news release. Manchester Evening News. BBC News Online. ITV News. The Mirror. Express and Star. Risks 711
Hazards news, 18 July 2015

[deadly bus] Britain: Police investigate deadly factory blast
Two men killed in an explosion at a warehouse have been named by police. Daniel Timbers, 29, and Barry Joy, 56, were killed in the blast at an industrial unit in Norwich, just after 9am on 13 July; both were employees at digger bucket manufacturer Harford Attachments, where the incident happened.
Norfolk Constabulary news release. Eastern Daily Press. Norwich Evening News. The Mirror. ITV News. Risks 711
Hazards news, 18 July 2015

Britain: Cameron has workers’ rights in his sights
The prime minister’s plans to renegotiate the nation’s relationship with the EU includes a major attack on workers’ rights, the TUC has warned. The union body’s concerns now appear to have been borne out in press reports suggesting the working time and temporary agency workers directives are both in David Cameron’s sights.
TUC Touchstone blog. TUC news release. The Telegraph. The Guardian, The Independent. Daily Mail. Risks 711
Hazards news, 18 July 2015

[BS/deadlybus]Global: Behavioural safety dangers exposed
DuPont, a US multinational promoting its own workplace ‘behavioural safety’ programme worldwide, has received a series of citations for the serious, wilful and repeat violations that exposed its ‘failed safety programme’. The enforcement action in the US prompted UK union body TUC to issue a renewed warning about behavioural safety approaches.
TUC health and safety facebook page and behavioural safety guide. OSHA news release. DuPont Stop Programme UK. Risks 711
Hazards news, 18 July 2015

Britain: The national disgrace of ‘disposable workers’
Insecure employment is creating an army of ‘disposable workers’ too scared to take sick leave and who are fired when they can no longer perform, according to the TUC. The union body was commenting after Health and Safety Executive (HSE) research found that “temporary and permanent employees have comparable rates for both injuries and ill health”, but also discovered “temporary employees have around half the average working days lost per employee of permanent employees.”
TUC health and safety facebook page. Self-reported work-related illness and workplace injury for permanent and temporary employees, HSE, 2015. More on health and safety and insecure work. Risks 711
Hazards news, 18 July 2015

Germany: Robot kills worker at VW plant
A robot has killed a contract worker at a Volkswagen car factory in Germany. The tragedy happened amid concerns that new generations of technology could present new challenges at work, with developments reported this week including the increasing use of brain scanning ‘Smart Caps’ to monitor fatigue at work, and the introduction of “magic exoskeleton” suits, which are being touted for industrial, construction and military uses.
The Guardian. EHS Today. Financial Review. Ars Technica. Risks 710
Hazards news, 11 July 2015

USA: Manslaughter verdicts in trench collapse
The owner and project manager of a construction company have been convicted of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the cave-in death of a worker at a Californian home-build site in 2012, the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office has said. Authorities contended US Sino Investment Inc owner Richard Liu, 53, and project manager Dan Luo, 36, were criminally negligent when they went forward with the construction of a home in defiance of a stop-work order issued because of an unfortified 12-foot-tall dirt wall piled from material excavated from a hillside.
San Jose Mercury News. Risks 710
Hazards news, 11 July 2015

Britain: Boss on Tory peer’s apple farm jailed over deaths
The manager of a fruit firm owned by a Tory peer has been jailed for the manslaughter of two workers who died after being sent into a nitrogen-filled tank while holding their breath. Andrew Stocker, who was boss of the fruit farm at Lord Selborne's Hampshire estate, was jailed for two-and-half years; the peer’s company, Blackmoor Estate Ltd, which pleaded guilty in January to three serious criminal safety offences, was fined £75,000 and ordered to pay costs of £30,000.
Hampshire Constabulary statement and earlier news release. Daily Mail. BBC News Online. Risks 710
Hazards news, 11 July 2015

Britain: Shell fined for leak on platform where workers died
Oil giant Shell has been fined after a diesel leak on the same North Sea platform where two workers died 12 years ago. Sean McCue, 22, and Keith Moncrieff, 45, lost their lives when they were overcome by gas while working on the energy firm’s Brent Bravo rig in 2003.
The Scotsman. BBC News Online. Risks 710
Hazards news, 11 July 2015

Britain: Offshore safety-critical maintenance backlog 'growing'
Industry body Oil and Gas UK has reported a growing backlog of safety-critical maintenance on offshore installations. Its annual health and safety report said the trend had been growing since companies began reporting in January 2009.
Oil and Gas UK news release and report. BBC New Online. Risks 710
Hazards news, 11 July 2015

Britain: Worker died in chocolate factory demolition
Euro Dismantling Solutions Limited has been fined for criminal safety failings after a man lost his life when his digger plunged from the fourth floor during demolition work. Bristol Crown Court heard how the work was taking place at the former Cadburys Somerdale factory, near Bristol on 9 November 2011 when 31-year-old James Stacey drove a mini digger out of a fourth floor opening.
HSE news release. Construction Enquirer. Risks 710
Hazards news, 11 July 2015

Britain: Chemical company fined for acid fumes exposure
A West Yorkshire chemical processing company has been fined after people at a neighbouring firm were exposed to nitric acid fumes. On 29 April 2014, employees from Joda Freight were exposed to the chemical fumes during transfer of the substance from a road tanker into a storage vessel at Airedale Chemical Company Ltd.
HSE news release. Telegraph and Argus. Risks 710
Hazards news, 11 July 2015

Britain: Window firm fined after teen loses four digits
A poorly supervised teenage carpenter had his thumb and three fingers severed while working with an industrial saw, a court has been told. Hammersmith Magistrates heard that, on 11 October 2013, Maple Windows Co Ltd employee George Warren Heath, who was 19 at the time, was cutting a small piece of uPVC using a powered saw.
HSE News Online. Construction Enquirer. Risks 710
Hazards news, 11 July 2015

Australia: Retailers drive deadly trucking pressures
Truck drivers forced to drive too fast for too long face deadly risks and jail terms while the companies imposing dangerous contracts are “making money out of this terrible tragedy,” a union leader has said.  Transport Workers Union national secretary Tony Sheldon told an Australian Senate inquiry that major retailers who use transport companies, including Coles and Woolworths, had created a “culture of risk-taking and law breaking in trucking.”
TWU news release and Safe Rates campaign. Sydney Morning Herald. Big Rigs. Risks 710
Hazards news, 11 July 2015

Britain: Big change needed to tackle work fatalities
Dangerous signs that the long-term reduction in workplace fatalities has stalled or could be reversing provide more evidence that a new approach to prevention is needed, the TUC has said. The union body was speaking out of the release of provisional Health and Safety Executive (HSE) fatality figures for 2014/15.
TUC health and safety facebook page. HSE news release, statistics webpages and provisional 2014/15 fatality statistics. Risks 710
Hazards news, 11 July 2015

Britain: HSE reporting report sidesteps the truth
An official analysis of work-related injury and ill-health reporting statistics is “of little use” because it asks the wrong questions, the TUC has said. TUC head of safety Hugh Robertson said the report by the Health and Safety Executive’s research wing, HSL, should have revealed important information on the impact of a dramatic reduction in reporting requirements forced through by the government as part of its drive to deregulate health and safety.
TUC health and safety facebook page. HSE publication alert and full report, Evaluation of trends in RIDDOR reportable injury data reported to HSE by dutyholders pre- and post-change to over-7-day reporting, RR1054, HSE. Risks 710
Hazards news, 11 July 2015

Britain: Firm fined over five years after worker’s death
A Glasgow construction firm has been sentenced for serious safety failings over five years after a worker was crushed to death when a 1.6 tonnes frame fell onto him. Daniel Hurley, 31, who was fined £200,000 after pleading guilty to a criminal safety offence. HSE news release. Construction Enquirer. BBC News Online. Risks 70
Hazards news, 4 July 2015

Britain: Worker died as cooker filled with steam
A Staffordshire animal rendering and food waste recycling company has been fined £660,000 after a worker suffered deadly burns when the industrial cooker he was repairing filled with steam. Self-employed contractor Mark Bullock, 50, was carrying out repairs inside the cooker at John Pointon & Sons Ltd when the incident happened on 5 November 2011.
HSE news release and confined spaces webpages. Stoke Sentinel. Risks 709
Hazards news, 4 July 2015

Britain: Performing arts in dreadful safety performance
Injuries to workers in a RADA dance studio and a Stafford theatre demonstrate how workplace risks can occur in what the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) would dismiss as low risk workplaces and jobs.
HSE news releases on the dance academy and theatre injuries. The Telegraph. Risks 709
Hazards news, 4 July 2015

Europe: Stress and strains top work risks list
Stress and strains are the most widespread risks encountered in Europe’s workplaces, according to an EU-wide survey. The research found the key factors motivating firms to abide by their occupational health and safety management duties where complying with laws, meeting expectations of workers and their representatives and avoiding fines.
EU-OSHA news release and summary of the ESENER 2 findings. ETUI news release. Risks 709
Hazards news, 4 July 2015

USA: Chicken processor strained wrists and bladders
A chicken processing firm in the US enforced limb-crippling line speeds and didn’t like its workers leaving the line, even to go to the toilet. The Allen Harim Foods plant in Harbeson, Delaware, was cited by the Labor Department’s safety regulator OSHA for nine violations, with the proposed penalties totalling $38,000.
OSHA news release. The Pump Handle. Center for Progressive Reform blog. Risks 709
Hazards news, 4 July 2015

USA: DuPont kills four, not happy with fine
Global chemicals giant DuPont is contesting a five figure safety fine handed down after a chemical leak last year that killed four workers at its La Porte plant in Texas, USA. “DuPont should drop their legal challenge and put their money where it needs to be - with these workers' families and ensuring safety in this plant,” Frank Cyphers, president of the International Chemical Workers Union Council, said in a statement.
Houston Chronicle. Risks 709
Hazards news, 4 July 2015

USA: ‘Slow-motion’ tragedy for American workers
The power of industry to stall or stop lifesaving workplace rules in the US has been exposed in a Center for Public Integrity (CPI) investigation. CPI’s 18-month investigation “found that the epidemic of occupational disease in America isn’t merely the product of neglect or misconduct by employers,” explaining: “It’s the predictable result of a bifurcated system of hazard regulation - one for the general public and another, far weaker, for workers.”
Slow-motion tragedy for American workers, Center for Public Integrity report, 29 June 2015. Cancerhazards.org. Risks 709
Hazards news, 4 July 2015

Britain: RMT on heightened alert across transport services
The rail union RMT has said it is ‘on heightened alert’ across transport services ahead of the tenth anniversary of the 7/7 terrorist attacks on the London rail and bus system. General secretary Mick Cash said: “Once again the union will be raising with the employers the essential and safety-critical role that our members have to fulfil in terms of being the eyes and ears on our trains, the underground, buses and ferry services,” adding: “They are also the pivotal factor in safe and efficient evacuation in the event of an alert being raised.”
RMT news release and follow up release. BBC News Online . Risks 709
Hazards news, 4 July 2015

Britain: Union victory on rail sewage dumping
An RMT campaign to stop train companies dumping sewage on rail tracks has scored a major victory.  A meeting between RMT reps and Scottish parliament transport minister Derek MacKay, ScotRail management and Transport Scotland officials ended in an agreement to bring forward the date for the elimination of the dumping of sewage by ScotRail trains, as well as vaccinations to reduce the risk to staff from untreated human excrement.
RMT news release. STV News. Morning Star. BBC News Online. Risks 709
Hazards news, 4 July 2015

Britain: HSE’s academic experts lack workplace intelligence
The TUC has reiterated its concerns over a new Health and Safety Executive (HSE) workplace health expert committee (WHEC), set up “to provide independent expert knowledge and advice on workplace health”. The union body said an experts-only committee lacks the workplace level intelligence to inform their decisions, adding unions and employers on the other hand often identify issues years before the academics can show conclusively there is a health problem.
TUC health and safety facebook page. HSE news release and HSE’s WHEC community webpages. Refer an issue to WHEC. Risks 709
Hazards news, 4 July 2015

Australia: FIFO report a first step to halting suicides
Unions in Australia have said they will push hard to ensure sweeping reforms to reduce the rate of suicide and self-harm among ‘Fly-In, Fly-Out’ (FIFO) workers are implemented across isolated mining worksites in Western Australia. Improved rosters, better accommodation and reliable communications with home are among changes proposed in ‘The impact of FIFO Work Practices on Mental Health’, the final report of a bipartisan WA Parliamentary Committee.
AMWU news release. Manufacturing Matters. WA Today. The Conversation. The Australian. ABC News. Risks 708
Hazards news, 27 June 2015

Canada: Union wants pay-before-you-pump forecourt law
Urgent action is needed to stop the ‘cash-and-dash’ fuel robberies from petrol stations that put forecourt workers at deadly risk, a Canadian union has said. The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is calling on Canada’s federal minister of labour, Dr Kellie Leitch, to use her position to encourage provinces nationwide to enact “pay-before-you-pump” legislation.
NUPGE news release. Risks 708
Hazards news, 27 June 2015

Global: ITUC push for independent FIFA commission
The global union umbrella group ITUC is calling on national football associations to push for genuine reform of FIFA through the establishment of an independent commission. The union body says footballing authorities must not blithely accept that FIFA can suddenly reform itself under a leadership which has failed to end corruption after years of multi-million dollar scandals.
ITUC news release. Playfair Qatar. Risks 708
Hazards news, 27 June 2015

Korea: Union to sue FedEx over anthrax deliveries
A union in South Korea has accused global logistics firm FedEx of putting workers at risk of deadly anthrax infection. The Korean Public Service and Transport Workers' Union is considering legal action against FedEx Korea for the company's alleged failure to take safety measures in its delivery of live anthrax samples to a military lab in Korea from the United States.
Korea Times. Washington Post. BBC News Online. Risks 708
Hazards news, 27 June 2015

Britain: Steel firm fined after teenager is injured
Site Hire Services Ltd has been fined for its criminal safety failings after a teenage apprentice had his leg broken when a large steel sheet fell on it. The firm was fined £6,000 with £2,232.98 costs.
HSE news release. Risks 708
Hazards news, 27 June 2015

Britain: Four injured as roof trusses collapse
A Worcestershire firm has been sentenced for criminal safety failings after four workers were injured, one of them seriously, when a roof truss in a new extension collapsed triggering a domino effect collapse of other trusses. DP Designs Ltd was fined £24,000 plus costs of £1,106.15 after pleading guilty to two criminal safety offences.
HSE news release and work at height webpages. Construction Enquirer. Risks 708
Hazards news, 27 June 2015

Britain: Manslaughter on Tory peer's estate
Fruit packing company manager Andrew Stocker has been convicted of the manslaughter of two employees who died after being instructed to retrieve apples from an oxygen-deprived storage unit without breathing apparatus. Scott Cain, 23, and Ashley Clarke, 24, were both found unconscious on top of crates of apples in a storage facility at the Blackmoor Estate owned by Conservative peer Lord Selborne, whose company pleaded guilty to three related criminal safety offences.
Daily Mirror. Daily Mail. BBC News Online. The Guardian. Risks 708
Hazards news, 27 June 2015

Britain: Technip UK Limited fined over death on vessel
A company has been fined following the death of rigger David Stephenson on the diving support vessel Wellservicer. Technip UK was fined £160,000 at Aberdeen Sheriff Court after pleading guilty to a breach of the Merchant Shipping and Fishing Vessel (Health and Safety at Work) Regulations 1997.
MCA news release. BBC News Online. Risks 708
Hazards news, 27 June 2015

Britain: Worker crushed to death under forklift truck
A Lincolnshire transport and storage firm has been handed a six figure fine after a father-of-two died when a metal frame being loaded onto a lorry trailer fell on top of him. Jonathan Newham, 52, of Skegness, died in hospital from head and chest crush injuries following the incident at George H Kime and Co Ltd on 10 July 2012.
HSE news release and lifting trucks advice. Risks 708
Hazards news, 27 June 2015

Britain: Deadly bosses evade justice, say campaigners
Firms guilty of deadly safety breaches too often escape with “just a slap on the wrist”, a union conference has heard. Hazards Campaign chair Hilda Palmer told the annual conference of the bakers’ union BFAWU in Southport that even firms guilty of deliberate acts of negligence that lead to deaths or serious injuries often receive small fines, adding that the Conservatives had made clear workplace safety was not a priority.
Morning Star. Safety reps and safety committees regulations ‘Brown book’. Hazards Campaign. Risks 707
Hazards news, 20 June 2015

Global: Qatar risks losing the World Cup
The scandal engulfing FIFA should not just lead to reform of the famously corrupt football governing body, but should also deliver better warning conditions for those building the facilities for football’s greatest showcase, the global union ITUC has said. It said the announcement that FIFA president Sepp Blatter will step down gives hope to Qatar's migrant workforce that FIFA may finally come onto their side, but exposes Qatar to the possible loss of the 2022 World Cup if it fails to reform its labour laws in the coming months.
ITUC news release. Risks 706
Hazards news, 13 June 2015

India: Most e-waste workers suffer breathing problems
Over threequarters (76 per cent) of electronic waste workers in India suffer from respiratory ailments including breathing difficulties, irritation, coughing and choking due to improper safeguards at dismantling workshops, an industry study has found. Research by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) found many of the affected workers are children and become incapable of working by the time they reach 40 years of age.
Assocham news release. The Hindu. Risks 706
Hazards news, 13 June 2015

Britain: Work experience turns out to be painful
A Maidstone company specialising in supplying agricultural machinery and motor vehicles has been fined after a teenager on paid work experience nearly lost the tips of his fingers in unguarded machinery. The injured young person, who was employed by Haynes Brothers Ltd, had been told to work alongside an experienced engineer to carry out a pre-delivery inspection of a new combine header unit at a company site in Great Chart, Ashford, Kent, when the incident happened on 16 July 2013.
HSE news release. Kent Online. Maidstone and Medway News. Risks 706
Hazards news, 13 June 2015

Britain: Wood job leaves teen with severe hand injuries
A timber mouldings manufacturer in Rochdale has been fined after a young apprentice lost two fingers off his right hand while working on machinery. The 16-year-old was an apprentice with Dresser Mouldings (Rochdale) Limited and was working alongside an experienced colleague on a moulding machine when the incident happened on 23 July 2014.
HSE news release and machinery maintenance webpages. Risks 706
Hazards news, 13 June 2015

Britain: Recycler guilty over young worker’s smashed arm
A Rotherham recycling firm has been sentenced after a 25-year-old worker had his arm broken in three places when it was drawn into unguarded machinery. Ryan Jackson also suffered a cracked shoulder blade and had a radial nerve shredded to the bone in the incident at the metal recycling company CF Booth Ltd on 4 December 2013.
HSE news release. Risks 706
Hazards news, 13 June 2015

Britain: Private school firm fined after tree felling injuries
A company operating several private schools has been fined and a cleaning contractor given a suspended jail term after a man sustained permanent spinal injuries while felling a tree on school grounds in High Wycombe. Alpha Schools Limited, which had a revenue of £38.7m in the six months to the end of February 2015, was fined £35,000 and ordered to pay £25,000 costs after pleading guilty to a criminal safety offence and Paolo Mule, 33, trading as P&X Complete Cleaning Services, was given an 18 month prison sentence suspended for two years and was ordered to pay £2,000 costs after pleading guilty to a criminal safety breach.
HSE news release. Bucks Free Press. Risks 706
Hazards news, 13 June 2015

Britain: Major fire risk at the UK’s first PFI hospital
Britain’s first NHS hospital financed and built by private capital is a “major” fire safety risk, the firefighters’ union FBU has said. An independent report commissioned by the NHS trust that manages the hospital found that fire proofing materials installed by the private company did not meet the required protection standard to allow for save evacuation and prevent a fire from spreading across the building.
FBU news release. The Independent. Risks 706
Hazards news, 13 June 2015

Global: TUC welcome for overdue Rana Plaza payouts
The TUC has welcomed the announcement that the Rana Plaza Donors’ Trust Fund has finally met its compensation target of $30 million. This means that full compensation can be paid to the victims of the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory in April 2013, which killed almost 1,200 workers and left hundreds more with serious injuries.
TUC news release. ILO statement. ITUC news release. Clean Clothes Campaign news release. Joint news release from global unions IndustriALL and UNI. Risks 706
Hazards news, 13 June 2015

New Zealand: Concern at government backtracking on safety
Measures to improve New Zealand’s woeful workplace safety record after a 2010 mine disaster that killed 29 are already being diluted, with small businesses set to be exempted from some provisions, unions have warned. Unions are now concerned that the conservative National Party government is going to ditch from the Health and Safety Reform Bill a recommendation that there should be an empowered role for safety reps and safety committees in all workplaces.
NZCTU news release. EPMU news release. New Zealand Herald. 3News. Risks 705
Hazards news, 6 June 2015

Britain: ‘Risk of death’ basement led to court
London construction company Darma Limited has been fined over £13,000 after an unannounced inspection from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found dangerous conditions on a basement excavation site.
HSE news release. Risks 705
Hazards news, 6 June 2015

Britain: Paper shredder caused severe hand injuries
A UK multinational that specialises in destroying sensitive documents has been fined after an unsupervised new worker had his hand shredded in an inadequately guarded paper shredder. Shred-it Limited, which describes itself as an “information destruction partner” for business, appeared at High Wycombe Magistrates’ Court and was fined £18,000 with costs of £1,375 after admitting a criminal safety offence.
HSE news release and work equipment webpages. Risks 705
Hazards news, 6 June 2015

Britain: Paper company convicted after safety bypassed
A Swanley firm that makes paper products has been convicted of a safety crime after allowing workers to bypass interlocked guards on machinery, a practice that resulted in an employee trapping his hand. The Swan Mill Paper Company Ltd was aware that engineers would use interlock keys to override the guarding on machines for the purpose of diagnosing faults.
HSE news release and machinery safety webpages. Risks 705
Hazards news, 6 June 2015

Britain: The trade agreement that threatens our safety
There is still time to tell your member of the European Parliament (MEP) that a major trade deal should not be allowed to undermine workers’ rights and safety, the TUC has said. The union body warned last year that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) being negotiated between the European Commission and US government aims to reduce “barriers” to trade, a goal that puts hard-won rights to safe and decent work in jeopardy.
TUC Stronger Unions blog and update.
Tell your MEP to reject ISDS and reject the erosion of safety and employment rights. Risks 705
Hazards news, 6 June 2015

Bangladesh: Justice is needed for Bangladesh workers
Murder charges filed over two years after the devastating Rana Plaza factory collapse won’t remedy the deadly flaws in Bangladesh’s labour rights and safety system, the TUC has said. The TUC was speaking out after Bangladeshi police formally filed murder charges against 41 people for the Rana Plaza factory collapse over two years ago that killed 1,138 workers, most of them women.
TUC news release. BBC News Online. Common Dreams.
Also see the International Trade Union Confederation’s March 2015 summary of the failures of the Bangladesh labour law to address violations of workers’ rights. Risks 705
Hazards news, 6 June 2015

India: Yellow taxis call daytime heatwave curfew
Taxi drivers in Calcutta should not work during the hottest part of the day during a deadly heatwave, their union has said. The West Bengal Taxi Workers' Union is urging yellow taxi drivers to stay off the roads from 11am to 4pm until the weather becomes less oppressive.
Telegraph India. Risks 704
Hazards news, 30 May 2015

Britain: Businessman jailed after roof fall death
A businessman in charge of converting an old mill has been jailed, and his father, the owner of the building, given a suspended jail sentence following an incident in which a worker died in a fall. Ivars Bahmanis, a 55-year-old Lithuanian national living and working in Blackburn, was involved in building work at the former canal works building when he fell nearly eight metres.
HSE news release and work at height webpages. Risks 704
Hazards news, 30 May 2015

Britain: Fertiliser firm fined after worker crushed to death
A fertiliser company has been fined after one of its employees died when he became trapped in an agriculture spreader whilst carrying out maintenance. Kevin Alderton, 34, was working as a spreader operator for Bunn Fertiliser Limited in Seething, Norfolk, when the incident happened in February 2013.
HSE news release and agricultural machinery webpages. Risks 704
Hazards news, 30 May 2015

Britain: Medical firm in the dock over worker injuries
A medical equipment manufacturer has been fined after two workers were injured by dangerous parts of machinery in separate incidents at its premises in West Sussex. Welland Medical Ltd was prosecuted at Worthing Magistrates’ Court after an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) established that both incidents occurred because of guarding failures on machines.
HSE news release. Risks 704
Hazards news, 30 May 2015

Britain: Development firm guilty of repeated safety crimes
A development company has been sentenced for repeated criminal breaches of the Work at Height Regulations. Landrose Developments Limited was fined £16,000 with costs of £2,221, with HSE saying “this was a proactive prosecution for repeated work at height breaches on more than one site, without any adequate means to prevent persons, materials or objects falling and causing injury.”
HSE news release. Risks 704
Hazards news, 30 May 2015

Australia: Truck drivers protest at retail chain HQ
Truck drivers and family members left devastated by truck crashes stormed the headquarters of major Australian retailer Coles in Melbourne to demand that the firm sign up to a safety charter to stop “carnage” on the roads. The group delivered shopping trollies of evidence to Coles chief executive John Durkan, which they said showed how the company’s contracting practices put pressure on truck drivers to drive faster, for longer, with over-loaded vehicles and in a stressed and tired state.
TWU news release. Risks 704
Hazards news, 30 May 2015

Cambodia: Government to further weaken protections
Cambodia’s plans to further reduce its weak labour protections have come under attack from the international union movement. A series of new measures, being developed behind the scenes by the government, would further restrict rights for the country’s impoverished workforce.
ITUC news release. Letter from ITUC, IndustriALL and UNI to Cambodian prime minister HE Hun Sen. The Record. Risks 704
Hazards news, 30 May 2015

Britain: CBI’s Europe plans could be deadly, says GMB
Demands from the business lobby for European Union reform could see a return to a system that caused deadly disasters, the union GMB has warned. The union was responding to comments made by CBI president Sir Mike Rake at the business lobby group’s annual dinner last week.
GMB news release. CBI news release and related release and response to the Chancellor’s speech. Risks 704
Hazards news, 30 May 2015

Global: World Cup campaign increases pressure on FIFA
A major campaign initiative last week by unions and others campaigners has already succeeding in increasing pressure on FIFA head Sepp Blatter over exploitative working conditions in Qatar. After two days of bad publicity and customers emailing their CEOs, VISA issued a public statement on its website, saying: “We have expressed our grave concern to FIFA and urge them to take all necessary actions to work with the appropriate authorities and organisations to remedy this situation and ensure the health and safety of all involved.”
TUC Touchstone blog and Playfair Qatar campaign. VISA public statement. Send an email to the key sponsors. Risks 704
Hazards news, 30 May 2015

Philippines: Row over blame for deadly factory inferno
A prominent safety institute in the Philippines has challenged official safety assurances about conditions at a slipper and shoe factory where at least 72 workers died in a fire. The blaze swept thro ugh the Kentex Manufacturing Corporation factory in Valenzuela City on 13 May.
IOHSAD statement. Working in These Times. UFCW Canada news report. CNN Philippines. New York Times. Partido Manggagawa (PM) statement. Risks 703
Hazards news, 23 May 2015

Britain: Animal feed worker was buried in wheat
An animal feed company has been fined £80,000 after an employee died when he was buried under tonnes of wheat being unloaded from a lorry. Andrew Scott Harrold, 33, was working at Transpan (Scotland) Limited’s Tore Mill site in Inverness, when the incident happened in February 2011.
HSE news release and transport tipping guidance. Risks 703.
Hazards news, 23 May 2015

Britain: Trainee teen engineer electrocuted
An engineering company has pleaded guilty to criminal safety offences that led to the death of a teenage trainee design engineer. Nineteen-year-old Jake Herring was electrocuted while working for Grundfos Pumps Limited.
HSE news release and electrical safety webpages. Risks 703.
Hazards news, 23 May 2015

Britain: Lorry leaked corrosive liquid for miles
A lorry continued to leak corrosive potassium hydroxide for a further 12 miles after the concerned driver, who wanted the emergency services called out, was instead instructed to return to the depot. The jerricans toppled over whilst being transported from Whitman Laboratories Ltd, in Petersfield, Hampshire, to Belgium, by a driver working for Allport Cargo Services Ltd, on 30 March 2014.
HSE news release. Risks 703
Hazards news, 23 May 2015

Britain: Hospital worker gets serious steam burns
Kettering General Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (KGH) has been fined for its criminal safety failings after an employee received serious steam burns. On 5 November 2012, a maintenance worker at KGH was stripping down a steam boiler for periodic examination, when he received the serious steam burn injuries to the lower half of his body.
HSE news release and boiler safety guide. Risks 703
Hazards news, 23 May 2015

Global: World Cup sponsors must act on Qatar abuses
Top global companies must pressure FIFA to act on the deadly and exploitative working conditions at the 2022 World Cup building sites in Qatar, unions have said. International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) leader Sharan Burrow said the work conditions were “simply slavery”.
TUC Stronger Unions blog and related story. Play Fair Qatar. Email the CEOs of these sponsor companies. BBC News Online. The Guardian. Risks 703
Hazards news, 23 May 2015

Global: Dumping e-waste is a costly and deadly crime
Up to 90 per cent of the world’s electronic waste, worth nearly US $19 billion, is illegally traded or dumped each year, according to a report from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The UN body says discarded electronics are recycled in conditions that are hazardous to health, and typically lead to subsequent dumping of the majority of the waste, addding that promoting safe recycling is vital to a better waste management.
UNEP news release and full report, Waste crimes, waste risks: Gaps and challenges in the waste sector. Risks 702
Hazards news, 16 May 2015

Britain: Steel firm fined over death at foundry
A steel foundry has been sentenced after a South Yorkshire worker was killed when he was struck in the face by a shard from an abrasive disc that exploded from a hand-held grinding machine. Stuart Stead, 49, was using the grinder while working on a casting at HI Quality Steel Castings Ltd in Sheffield, on 7 March 2012.
HSE news release. Risks 702
Hazards news, 16 May 2015

Britain: Six figure fine for food firm after worker electrocuted
A fresh produce manufacturer with a multimillion pound turnover and that supplies food giants including McDonalds and Pret a Manger has been fined for its role in the electrocution of a worker. Chichester Crown Court was told that Bradley Watts, a 21-year-old sub-contractor, was lagging pipes in the loft space of Natures Ways Foods premises in Chichester, on 2 June 2011.
HSE news release. Risks 702
Hazards news, 16 May 2015

Britain: Opiate maker caused job ending dermatitis
Edinburgh pharmaceutical firm Macfarlan Smith Limited failed to protect an employee from hazardous substances, which led to him developing allergic dermatitis and losing his job. The manufacturer of opiates and other controlled drugs, and which is part of the giant Johnson Matthey group, appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court and was fined £27,000 after pleading guilty to a criminal safety offence.
HSE news release and dermatitis webpages. Risks 702
Hazards news, 16 May 2015

Britain: Famous food firm fined for finger failings
A world-famous food producer has been fined £6,000 after admitting to criminal health and safety failings which left an employee without full use of his hand. Kayode Ogundele had been employed by Baxters Food Group at its Fochabers plant between October 2012 and February 2014 when he was injured in an “entirely avoidable” incident, Elgin Sheriff Court heard.
HSE news release and food manufacturing webpages. Press and Journal. Risks 702
Hazards news, 16 May 2015

Britain: Don’t despair, organise!
The election of a Conservative government that signalled before the vote it intends further attacks on health and safety should spur unions to ‘support and develop’ union safety reps, the TUC has said. TUC head of safety Hugh Robertson said the TUC has an action plan, and “will be running campaigns on the issues that matter on the workplace.”
TUC Stronger Unions blog. DWP homepage. Tweeter? Check out the new #OHSforTories series by @hazardseditor. Risks 702
Hazards news, 16 May 2015

Global: IFJ denounces the deadly war on journalism
Journalism is under attack through repressive press laws, arbitrary detention as well as killings, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has said. Speaking out ahead of World Press Freedom Day on Sunday 3 May, the global union urged the international community to take this intimidation seriously and to put pressure on governments to investigate it promptly.
IFJ news release. NUJ news release. Risks 701.
Hazards news, 9 May 2015

Global: Report highlights deadly journalism risks
Journalism has never been more dangerous, and journalists say they have never felt so unsafe doing their jobs, according to ‘Under threat’, a new report from the International News Safety Institute (INSI). INSI found that even those who don’t work in hostile environments face greater dangers than they did in the past, with the majority of deaths over the last decade occurring during peace time.
Under threat: The changing state of media safety, INSI, April 2015. Risks 701
Hazards news, 9 May 2015

Britain: Pirelli guilty after factory worker’s oven death
Tyre manufacturer Pirelli has been fined £150,000 after an employee died when he became trapped in an industrial autoclave for more than two hours. George Falder was found dead at the Carlisle factory on 30 September 2012 in a machine used to heat parts of tyres to temperatures of up to 145 degrees Celsius.
HSE news release and manufacturing webpages. BBC News Online. News and Star. Risks 701
Hazards news, 9 May 2015

Britain: Council fined after worker thrown from tractor
Bristol City Council has been fined for its criminal safety failings after a park keeper suffered serious injuries when she was thrown from a tractor as it overturned. The 51-year-old worker, who doesn’t wish to be named, broke her pelvis and badly damaged an Achilles tendon in the incident and remained off work for a year but has since returned and is undertaking an office job.
HSE news release and workplace transport webpages. Risks 701
Hazards news, 9 May 2015

Britain: Stickers on a hat don’t make sites safe
Multinational waste firm SITA Sembcorp UK is putting the largely migrant workforce constructing a Teesside facility at risk, the union GMB has said. Minutes of an April 2015 site safety meeting obtained by the union stipulate: “English speaking stickers to be applied to relevant hats”, adding: “Confirmation of 1 in 10… English speakers assigned to each working party.”
GMB news release. Risks 701
Hazards news, 9 May 2015

Britain: Young worker’s electrocution leads to fine
Company director Mark Hammond has been fined £12,500 after a 21-year-old worker was electrocuted whilst carrying out work in a basement on a Westminster construction site. The victim, who was not named in a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) news release, is identified in HSE’s 2011 fatalities listings as Jon Valbuena.
HSE news release and 2011 fatalities listing. Jon Valbuena facebook memorial. Risks 700
Hazards news, 2 May 2015

Britain: Multinational fined after driver dies engulfed by soya
An animal feed multinational has been fined following the death of a lorry driver who was buried under a mound of soya meal. Malcolm Harrison, 64, was working at the Cargill terminal at Seaforth Dock in Liverpool on 6 September 2012 when a stockpile of soya meal collapsed on him.
HSE news release. Liverpool Echo. Risks 700
Hazards news, 2 May 2015

Britain: Whistleblower get site client in court
A construction client from Birmingham landed in court after a member of the public complained about safety standards on his site. Mark Hewitt was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay £1,255.30 in costs at Sandwell Magistrates Court after being convicted of a criminal failure to properly plan or manage construction work.
HSE news release and work at height webpages. Construction Enquirer. Risks 700
Hazards news, 2 May 2015

Britain: Worker hit by piling hammer on Costain’s site
A worker suffered fractures to his back, hip and leg after he was knocked over by a four-tonne piling hammer when it broke free while being lifted into position, a court has heard. Eric Wilson, 62, was controlling the piling hammer, suspended from an excavator, during work to renew a sewage outfall across the beach in Hartlepool when the incident happened on a Costain’s run site on 16 September 2012.
HSE news release and lifting machinery webpages. Risks 700
Hazards news, 2 May 2015

Britain: Worker suffers ‘life-threatening’ injuries in roof fall
Lockheed Martin UK Ampthill Limited has been fined £10,000 and ordered to pay more than £7,300 in costs after admitting a criminal breach of Work at Height Regulations. Appearing at Luton Magistrates’ Court, the manufacturing company pleaded guilty in relation to its role in an incident in January 2012, when a contractor fell through the roof at its site in Ampthill, Bedfordshire.
HSE news release. Risks 700
Hazards news, 2 May 2015

Global: Want to know what happened on 28 April?
International Workers’ Memorial Day this year broke all records, with more activities in more places. At one point on 28 April, tweets with the hashtag #iwmd15 were ‘trending’ on Twitter UK, getting as high as an eye-catching third on the listing.
ITUC/Hazards 28 April website. Risks 700
Hazards news, 2 May 2015

Bangladesh: ‘Industrial homicide’ compensation shortfall
Two years after the deaths of more than 1,100 workers in the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh, the compensation fund for their families and for the thousands injured is still US$6 million short of the $30 million target. Sharan Burrow, general secretary of the global union umbrella group ITUC, said: “The Rana Plaza tragedy shows how destructive the global supply chain model of today is for working people.”
ITUC news release. Risks 700
Hazards news, 2 May 2015

Global: Paraquat ‘too big a risk to life and health’
Campaigners are pressing for the highly toxic pesticide paraquat to be added to a list of restricted products. Global agriculture unions’ federation IUF has produced with Pesticides Action Network (PAN) and the Swiss-based NGO, Berne Declaration, a report on the use of paraquat in India.
IUF news release and report, Conditions of Paraquat Use in India. Risks 700
Hazards news, 2 May 2015

Global: Worldwide appeal to control toxic substances
“Chemicals we would have imagined by now would be globally banned keep popping up,” ITUC general secretary Sharan Burrow has told reporters from the US Center for Public Integrity. “We see emerging fears around some of the new technological issues such as nanotechnology... it’s extraordinary, really… There’s a lot of fear amongst workers.”
CPI report. ITUC ‘stop deadly exposures’ guides. Risks 700
Hazards news, 2 May 2015

Philippines: Citra Mina workers remember the dead
Workers in the Philippines have stepped up pressure on a seafood giant known for its deadly record and abusive employment practices. The Citra Mina Workers Union and their national union centre SENTRO commemorated Workers’ Memorial Day on 28 April this year with the families of fishing vessel workers declared lost at sea.
IUF news release and release on the Seafood Expo demonstration. Risks 700
Hazards news, 2 May 2015

FBU says lessons not learned on deadly fire risks
Firefighters’ union FBU has warned that more firefighters could be seriously injured or killed at work if lessons are not learned from past fatalities. The union said a report by Stirling University, published earlier this year, found that in the last decade the number of firefighter deaths at fires in the UK had doubled from the previous decade. Between 1993/94–2003/04 there were six firefighter deaths at fires but that figure jumped to 14 between 2004/05–2013/14.
FBU news release. Risks 700
Hazards news, 2 May 2015

Britain: Inquiry call into sheep dip poisoning scandal
Agricultural union Unite and over a dozen members of parliament are calling for answers after a government cover-up of widespread poisoning of farmworkers by sheep dip was revealed. A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) report concluded least 500 farmers across the UK were left with debilitating health problems after using organophosphate-based (OP) chemicals to protect their sheep against parasites, under a compulsory dipping programme that ran until 1992.
Guardian report and earlier story. Leigh Day and Co Solicitors. Risks 700
Hazards news, 2 May 2015

Global: If you expose us, we’ll expose you
Imagine a killer that strikes more than once every minute and that most of these deaths could be stopped with minimal effort, but preventive measures are being blocked. Well, warns International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) general secretary Sharan Burrow, that killer is occupational cancer and she asserts: “We make this pledge - if they expose us, we will expose them.”
ITUC article and ‘Toxic work – stop deadly exposures today’ guide. Annotated occupational cancer bibliography. ITUC/Hazards International Workers’ Memorial Day 28 April webpages. Risks 699
Hazards news, 25 April 2015

Global: ITF resolves to tackle toxics in transport
The global transport unions’ federation ITF is asking its affiliates to raise awareness about the issue of toxic gas and fumigation in containers with their members.  It says “this is an increasingly important topic for us given the tragedy in the port of Antwerp,” where three dockworkers died on 11 April.
ITF news release and statement on the Antwerp tragedy. ITF campaigns on container safety for dockers. Risks 699
Hazards news, 25 April 2015

Bangladesh: Two years After Rana Plaza, problems remain
Garment workers in Bangladesh face poor working conditions and anti-union tactics by employers including assaults on union organisers, a new report from Human Rights Watch (HRW) has revealed. “If Bangladesh wants to avoid another Rana Plaza disaster, it needs to effectively enforce its labour law and ensure that garment workers enjoy the right to voice their concerns about safety and working conditions without fear of retaliation or dismissal,” said Phil Robertson, HRW’s Asia deputy director.
Whoever Raises Their Head, Suffers the Most’: Workers’ Rights in Bangladesh’s Garment Factories, Human Rights Watch report, April 2015 and news release. IndustriALL news release. The Guardian. Risks 699
Hazards news, 25 April 2015

Britain: Worker crushed to death by steel tubes
A steel company has been sentenced after its criminal safety failings led to a 42-year-old worker being killed when he was knocked off his lorry and then crushed by a three-tonnes load of steel tubes. Father-of-three Robert Ismay, from Thirsk, was delivering two bundles of 7.5-metre-long tubes to Daver Steels Ltd in Sheffield when the incident happened on 6 December 2012.
HSE news release. Construction Enquirer. Risks 699
Hazards news, 25 April 2015

Britain: Worker dies at animal crematorium
Sally Williams, the owner of a pet and equine crematorium, has been fined after a self-employed worker died falling through a roof while carrying out repairs. Paul Hoskin, a self-employed agricultural engineer, was asked to repair holes in a cement fibre roof at the crematorium in Newton Abbot on 6 September 2013, when he fell 6.6 metres to the floor.
HSE news release and work at height webpages. Risks 699
Hazards news, 25 April 2015

Britain: Recycling firm sentenced over worker’s severed hands
A recycling firm in Southampton has been sentenced for serious criminal safety breaches after a worker had both hands severed while cutting metal strips on an industrial baler. Spanish-born Ivan Menendez, then 38, had been employed as an operative for seven months by Metal Processing Ltd at its site in Northam when the incident happened on 8 January 2014.
HSE news release. Risks 699
Hazards news, 25 April 2015

Britain: ‘Incompetent’ brothers jailed after building collapse
Two Sheffield brothers have been jailed for their ‘greed’ and criminal safety failures after a building collapse left three injured, up to 20 people temporarily homeless, and nearby properties evacuated. Naveed and Rizwan Hussain were prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) at Sheffield Crown Court following the collapse of a three-storey terrace in Brook Hill on 23 March 2013.
HSE news release and construction webpages. Risks 699
Hazards news, 25 April 2015

Britain: Essex firefighters face deadly choices
Fire crews across Essex have been understaffed consistently with nearly a sixth of all shifts last year having fewer than the minimum recommended number of firefighters, new figures have revealed. Firefighters’ union FBU said members were being left the ‘horrendous’ choice of delaying lifesaving operations or risking their own lives.
FBU news release. Risks 699
Hazards news, 25 April 2015

Britain: Seafarers demand action after enclosed space deaths
Seafarers’ union Nautilus is calling on the UK to lead a “new and concerted drive to end the appalling litany” of seafarer fatalities in enclosed spaces. The union has written to shipping minister John Hayes following a 13 March incident, in which two seafarers died in the cargo hold of the Isle of Man-flagged Carisbrooke Shipping general cargo vessel Sally Ann C.
Nautilus UK news release. Risks 699
Hazards news, 25 April 2015

Britain: Ten shopworkers attacked every hour round the clock
An average of 241 shopworkers are assaulted every day, a survey by the shopworkers’ union Usdaw has found. The survey of over 5,000 retail staff, which forms part of the union’s Freedom from Fear campaign also found that a third of shopworkers (33 per cent) were threatened by customers and over half were verbally abused.
Usdaw news release. Daily Mail. Morning Star. Risks 699Hazards news, 25 April 2015

Britain: Sellafield construction workers back strike action
Unite construction members employed by Sellafield Contractor Group Limited have backed industrial action overwhelmingly in a dispute over union representation and safety. Unite said it had been trying for 10 months to have a union official appointed to a health and safety role at Sellafield, adding that talks have now broken down.
Unite news release. Construction Enquirer. Irish Times. Risks 699
Hazards news, 25 April 2015

USA: Even work’s dead go uncounted
In early 2014, North Carolina Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry had some good news to share. Workplace deaths dropped significantly, with only 23 people having died in accidents on the job in the past year. That count, though, captured only a sliver of the tragedies that met workers on the job, a newspaper investigation has found.
The News and Observer. Risks 698.
Hazards news, 18 April 2015

Britain: Tory plans on work rights and safety condemned
Construction union UCATT has condemned the Conservative Party’s proposals to slash workers’ rights and to further erode workplace safety. The union says the Tory manifesto plans would make it “virtually impossible to hold a lawful strike”, and adds the manifesto “strongly indicates” that the Conservatives are planning a fresh attack on workplace safety, as part of its promise to “cut a further £10 billion of red tape over the next parliament though our Red Tape Challenge and our One-In-Two Out role.”
Conservative Party Manifesto 2015. UCATT news release. Risks 698
Hazards news, 18 April 2015

Britain: Asbestos exposures killed art teacher
The family of a former art teacher who died from cancer after years of pinning pupils' work to classroom walls lined with asbestos is taking legal action against the local council. Jennifer Barnett worked Archway School in Stroud, Gloucestershire, between 1980 and 1997, when she left teaching.
Daily Mail. Risks 698
Hazards news, 18 April 2015

Britain: Runaway hire truck firm ends up in court
A Leicestershire tool and plant hire company has been fined after a worker was injured by a defective dumper truck it provided to a farmer. Derby Magistrates’ Court heard that JB Tool Hire had hired out a dumper truck and excavator to a farmer based near Hartshorne, Derbyshire.
HSE news release and work equipment approved code of practice and guidance. Construction Enquirer. Risks 698
Hazards news, 18 April 2015

Britain: Arm broken after safety mechanism is ‘tricked’
A Staffordshire company has been fined after an employee broke his arm in a machine that was ‘tricked’ into operating while in an unsafe condition. Roger Small, 49, was attempting to repair the computer-controlled machine at Key Precision Ltd on 17 January 2014 when it started working and his arm was caught by the machine’s internal arms. HSE news release. Risks 698
Hazards news, 18 April 2015

Britain: Chicken firm wrecked worker’s hand
A Southampton worker suffered serious injuries when his arm was dragged into an unguarded part of a conveyor belt at a chicken hatchery business in Romsey, a court has heard. Supervisor Andrew House was unable to work for several months after the incident at the Faccenda Foods hatchery on 17 March 2014.
HSE news release. Risks 698
Hazards news, 18 April 2015

Britain: Distressing result of mailing machine injuries
A Hertfordshire packaging company has been fined for criminal safety failings after a worker broke his arm in a poorly guarded mailing machine at a factory in Melbourn. Harry Bracewell, 20, required surgery to have metal plates and screws inserted into his arm as a result of the incident at Ampac Security Products Ltd on 12 February 2014.
HSE news release. Risks 698
Hazards news, 18 April 2015

Britain: Tool firm in court for lost finger
A Nottingham firm that makes garden and household tools has been prosecuted after a worker had to have his finger amputated as a result of injuries sustained when it was crushed in an unguarded machine. Nottingham Magistrates’ Court heard that 29-year-old shift manager Jamie Knighton was working at Fiskars UK Ltd’s Bulwell factory when the incident happened on 15 December 2011.
HSE news release and work equipment guide. Nottingham Post. Risks 698
Hazards news, 18 April 2015

Global: Intermittent jobs are bad for your health
People moving in and out of temporary or insecure work are at a heightened risk of physical and mental health problems. New research has found an ‘accumulation’ of health effects linked to multiple spells of unemployment, adding to evidence showing a pronounced health impact of insecure work.
The Age. More on the hazards of insecure work. Risks 698
Hazards news, 18 April 2015

Britain: Union warning ignored before rail signal collapse
An incident this month where a rusted through signal collapsed on the Norwich to Lowestoft line has once again revealed how warnings from RMT union reps over serious maintenance problems are being ignored by senior managers, the union has said. The semaphore signal which came down at Cantley in Norfolk on 5 April had rusted right through at its base – an issue on this section of line that had been raised with management by RMT.
RMT news release. Risks 698
Hazards news, 18 April 2015

Global: Unions target World Cup corporate sponsors
Unions are urging the global corporations sponsoring the 2022 World Cup to make a stand against forced labour. The construction union UCATT said it is part of a global campaign applying pressure to end a system where migrant workers in Qatar are “forced to work in slave like conditions” to build the facilities for football’s most prestigious event.
UCATT news release and Qatar Campaign.
Sign the petition to corporations sponsoring the World Cup. Risks 698
Hazards news, 18 April 2015

Global: Don’t privatise safety responsibility
An occupational health and safety management standard currently in preparation could undermine existing safety provisions, a global union has warned. PSI, the international union federation for public sector unions, said the standard being developed by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) “grievously undermines the participation of workers at all levels of occupational health and safety management.”
PSI news report. Risks 697
Hazards news, 11 April 2015

Britain: Campaigners want action to protect employees
Workplace safety campaigners are challenging Britain’s politicians to take action to protect people at work. The Hazards Campaign has come up with a 13-point plan for the new government to follow, setting out 10 steps for the politicians and three for workers and union safety reps.
Hazards Campaign 13-point plan. Morning Star, Risks 697
Hazards news, 11 April 2015

Britain: Kayak firm fined for corporate manslaughter
A kayak maker convicted of corporate manslaughter after a dad was cooked to death in an industrial oven has been given a six figure fine. Supervisor Alan Catterall, 54, died when he was locked in the oven at Pyranha Mouldings' factory in Runcorn, Cheshire, in December 2010.
CPS news release. Runcorn and Widnes News, Risks 697
Hazards news, 11 April 2015

Britain: Government gets a ‘fail’ grade on safety 
A government claim that its breakneck programme of health and safety deregulation has not reduced the protection afforded to workers is ‘clearly nonsense’, the TUC has said. The union body was commenting on the 25 March publication of a government ‘report book’ on its reform of health and safety legislation over the past five years. TUC Stronger Unions blog and TUC review of the government’s safety performance.
DWP news release and A final report on implementation of health and safety reforms, DWP, 25 March 2015. HSE statement. Hugh Robertson. The Health and Safety at Work Act turned 40, Occupational Medicine, volume 65, issue 3, pages 176-179, March 2015, Risks 697
Hazards news, 11 April 2015

Britain: Relaxing mine safe rules 'could cost lives'
Changes to Britain’s mine safety rules will “save mine owners money but cost someone a life,” unions have warned. Measures that came into force this month include exempting mines from the previously compulsory Mine Rescue Service in the event of workers being trapped underground.
The Independent. Wales Online, Risks 697
Hazards news, 11 April 2015

Britain: Job cuts accelerate North Sea ‘race to the bottom’
The announcement of further offshore job cuts marks a dangerous and quickening ‘race to the bottom’ in the industry, the union Unite has said. Its warning came after the 26 March announcement by oil giants Shell and Taqa that they would be axing a further 350 North Sea jobs.
Unite news release. Ten Pathways to death and disaster, Michael Quinlan, The Federation Press, ISBN 9781862879775. Hazards magazineRisks 697
Hazards news, 11 April 2015

Britain: Amazon ‘cover up’ on long term health risks
‘Impossible’ targets are imposing unbearable stresses and strains on Amazon workers who are then being invited to leave, the union GMB has claimed. Amazon has denied it is pushing through redundancies, instead saying it wants “an engaged, positive workforce” so is providing “employees who are ready for a new career with an opportunity to smooth their transition.”
GMB news releaseRisks 697
Hazards news, 11 April 2015

USA: McDonald's workers told to put mustard on burns
McDonald’s workers are filing official health and safety complaints in 19 cities in the US after suffering burns that some were told to treat with mustard, mayonnaise or other condiments. The official health and safety regulator OSHA has launched an investigation in response to 28 worker complaints stating workers often suffered burns, some of them severe, under pressure to filter oil for recycling while it was still hot, and from exposure to grills.
Fight for $15 petition and 'Burned at McDonald's, Treated with Mustard' video. IUF news report. The Independent. Risks 696
Hazards news, 28 March 2015

Britain: Survey probes construction card fraud
Fraud in the construction skills card system is to be investigated by industry bodies. The action comes in the wake of this year’s National Crime Agency prosecution of an organised gang dealing in false identity documentation, including construction and security industry certification cards.
CITB news release. UCATT news release. Risks 696
Hazards news, 28 March 2015

Britain: Union concern at security guard licence fraud
The union GMB has said it is seriously concerned by revelations that thousands of licensed security guards could be working in the UK fraudulently after buying qualifications for cash. A BBC investigation has found some colleges were happy to sit or forge exams for untrained students for a fee.
GMB news release. BBC News Online. Risks 696
Hazards news, 28 March 2015

Britain: Skipper jailed after death of diver
A shellfish boat skipper whose criminal safety failings led to the death of a diver off the Scottish coast has been jailed for nine months. Guthrie Meville's boat The Solstice was fishing for razor clams in Largo Bay in the Forth Estuary, when diver James Irvine died on 24 March 2011.
COPFS news release. HSE commercial shellfish diving guide. BBC News Online. Risks 696
Hazards news, 28 March 2015

Britain: Toy firm and builder in court over fall death
A builder has been given a suspended jail term and a toy distributor a six figure fine after a worker plunged to his death through a warehouse roof. Craig Gray, 39, had been helping to clear debris from the roof when he fell nine metres through a fragile plastic panel at Halsall Toys Europe Ltd on 19 July 2012.
HSE news release and work at height webpages. Risks 696
Hazards news, 28 March 2015

Britain: Suspended jail term over asbestos exposure
A Leeds trader has been given a suspended jail sentence after exposing a household and workers to potentially dangerous levels of asbestos fibres at a home in Bramhope. Clive Raper, 49, trading as Bramley Asbestos Removals, took on a job to remove asbestos insulating board from the garage of a couple’s home despite the fact that he did not hold the legal licence required to carry out the specialist work.
HSE news release. Risks 696
Hazards news, 28 March 2015

Britain: Metals firm a ‘serial safety offender’
A metals business repeatedly risked workers’ lives by making them use dangerous machines – notching up a shocking 31 enforcement notices for criminal safety breaches in just three months. Sheffield Crown Court was told that Meadowbank Vac Alloys was a serial safety offender.
HSE news release. Risks 696
Hazards news, 28 March 2015

Britain: Two reversing forklifts, two injured workers
Two workers were seriously injured by reversing forklift trucks in separate incidents at the MyFresh Prepared Produce vegetable processing factory in Chicksands, Bedfordshire. The first serious incident at MyFresh Prepared Produce occurred on 15 January 2014 as The firm was fined £38,000 and ordered to pay £8,320 in costs after pleading guilty to criminal safety offences.
HSE news release. Risks 696
Hazards news, 28 March 2015

Bangladesh: Two years on, disaster fund has $9m shortfall
With one month to go before the 24 April second anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster, the organisations spearheading the campaign for justice have launched a countdown campaign to remind consumers, governments and major brands that this is still eluding the thousands of workers killed or injured. Global unions IndustriALL and UNI together with the Clean Clothes Campaign are ramping up demands on global brands linked to the disaster to fill an US$8.5 million gap in the funding needed to deliver full and fair compensation to each of the over 5,000 individuals with eligible claims.
IndustriALL news release. UNI news release. Clean Clothes Campaign news release. Risks 696
Hazards news, 28 March 2015

Britain: Union issues prison safety ultimatum
The government has been given four weeks to review the failing prison safety system before the prison officers’ union POA takes ‘appropriate steps’ to ensure the safety of prison staff and inmates. The 18 March statement from the union came after the Commons justice select committee found “it is not possible to avoid the conclusion” that changes in policy, including efficiency savings and staffing shortages, “have made a significant contribution to the deterioration in safety”.
POA news release. The Guardian. BBC News Online. Risks 696
Hazards news, 28 March 2015

Britain: Call for tougher sentences for dog offences
Stronger penalties are needed to tackle dangerous dog offences, the Communication Workers Union (CWU) has said. The union was speaking at the start of a Sentencing Council consultation on sentencing guidelines for dangerous dogs offences in England and Wales.
CWU news release. Sentencing Council news release. BBC News Online. Risks 696
Hazards news, 28 March 2015

Britain: Questions remain after firefighter death fine
The firefighters’ union FBU has welcomed the conclusion of a six year fight for justice after the death of member Ewan Williamson, but has warned that the underlying problems that led to the tragedy remain unaddressed. The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) was fined £54,000 after earlier admitting criminal health and safety breaches that contributed to the 35-year-old firefighter’s death.
FBU news release. HSE statement. COPFS news release. BBC News Online. Risks 696
Hazards news, 28 March 2015

Britain: RMT steps up scrutiny of rail crowding dangers
Transport union RMT has said it will step up its monitoring of crowding and safety on both rail and Tube services after a three-year-old fell between a train and the platform at Baker Street. The union said the latest incident “raises serious questions about the safety of passengers while top transport bosses repeatedly ignore union warnings.”
RMT news release. London Evening Standard. Risks 696
Hazards news, 28 March 2015

Bangladesh: Outrage after another deadly building collapse
At least eight construction workers have died after a cement factory under construction partially collapsed in Bangladesh. Police say about 70 people were in the building in the port town of Mongla, 200km (125 miles) south-west of the capital Dhaka, when the roof gave way on 12 March.
BWI news release. IndustriALL news release. BBC News Online. Risks 695
Hazards news, 21 March 2015

Cambodia: Labour laws don’t protect garment workers
The Cambodian government is failing to protect the workers producing garments for international brands from serious labour rights abuses, Human Rights Watch has found. Its researchers discovered the predominantly female workforce often experience forced overtime, pregnancy-based discrimination, and anti-union practices that neither the government nor major brands have adequately addressed.
HRW news release and report, Work Faster or Get Out’: Labor Rights Abuses in Cambodia’s Garment Industry. IndustriALL news report. Risks 695
Hazards news, 21 March 2015

Global: Electronics industry challenged on toxic chemicals
Campaigners from over 200 groups worldwide have challenged the electronics industry to tackle the harm caused by its use of toxic chemicals. The call came on 16 March as the an industry association, the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC), met in Brussels to discuss chemical management strategies.
Good Electronics news release. EICC website. Risks 695Hazards news, 21 March 2015

USA: ‘Vast’ gains in oil safety strike proposals
A safety strike by refinery workers in the US could be close to settlement after a tentative agreement was struck between oil giant Shell and the union USW. The deal, which has still to be ratified by the membership, requires an immediate review of staffing and workload assessments, with USW safety personnel involved at every facility.
USW news release. AFL-CIO Now blog. Risks 695
Hazards news, 21 March 2015

Britain: Austerity measures create ‘unsustainable stress’
Cuts to local authority budgets are having a profound effect on the services people receive and are leaving the staff delivering them facing “unsustainable stress”, a report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has found. The report also noted “frontline staff within local authorities are working very hard to cushion service-users from the worst impacts of the cuts, principally by taking on expanded workloads,” adding: “The level of stress this entails does not appear sustainable in the longer term and in many areas staff report feeling overwhelmed by the scale and nature of the problems they are dealing with.”
JRF publication alert. The cost of the cuts: the impact on local government and poorer communities, JRF, March 2015, summary and full report. STUC news release. Risks 695
Hazards news, 21 March 2015

Britain: Six figure fine after waste worker’s death
A waste management company has been fined £200,000 for its criminal safety failings after a worker was killed when he was struck by a vehicle at a Watford waste transfer station. Patrick Murphy, a 58-year-old father-of-two who had worked as a groundsman at the site since 2004, was struck and run over by a JCB loading shovel as he was clearing litter the FCC Waste Services (UK) Ltd waste transfer station on 17 August 2012.
HSE news release and workplace transport webpages. Risks 695
Hazards news, 21 March 2015

Britain: Worker crushed between two lorries
A Cheshire-based transport company has been fined £500,000 after a Hull employee suffered horrific injuries when she was crushed between two lorries. Warwick Crown Court heard that Jennifer Rose was lucky to be alive after the incident at Tip Trailer Services’ depot in Nuneaton on 9 April 2013.
HSE news release. Risks 695
Hazards news, 21 March 2015

Britain: Forfar firm fined after teen agency worker injured
A metal galvanising company has been sentenced after a teenage agency worker suffered serious leg injuries when a half-tonne A-frame slipped and fell onto him from a forklift truck. Robert Ramsey, 19, had been working at Forfar Galvanisers Ltd’s premises in Forfar for four months when the incident happened on 20 November 2013.
HSE news release and workplace transport webpages. Risks 695
Hazards news, 21 March 2015

Britain: Young employee loses his toes
A Kent engineering firm has been fined after a 20-year-old worker had three toes chopped off on one foot and every toe broken on the other when a metal sheet landed on his feet. Anton Hunter, an engineer with G&P Machine Shop Ltd in Queensborough, was helping a colleague unload a delivery of fabricated steel sheets at a nearby site when a 700kg sheet became dislodged from a magnet and fell directly on his feet.
HSE news release. Risks 695
Hazards news, 21 March 2015

Britain: Worker crushed by falling conveyor
Three companies have been fined after a worker was crushed and seriously injured by a falling section of conveyor at a major energy plant construction site in Sleaford. The incident happened during construction of the Sleaford Renewable Energy plant on 14 February 2013 when the 4.5 tonne conveyor section overturned during installation.
HSE news release. Construction Enquirer. Risks 695
Hazards news, 21 March 2015

Britain: Loft company in court after scaffold collapse
A loft conversion company has been fined for its criminal safety failings after an employee was injured in a dramatic scaffold collapse outside a private property in North London. The structure buckled, tipped towards the home and bent in on itself – effectively creating a chute that sent the worker and an array of materials, including plaster boards, wood and lead rolls, crashing six metres to the ground below.
HSE news release. Construction Enquirer. Risks 695
Hazards news, 21 March 2015

Britain: INEOS safety reps plummet, safety breaches soar
A dramatic drop in the number of union safety reps at the giant INEOS oil processing site in Grangemouth has coincided with a marked upturn in enforcement action for criminal safety breaches. The union Unite says the number of union health and safety representatives at Grangemouth had dropped from 64 to single figures.
Sunday Herald. Rob Edwards’ website and leaked Gordon Milne email [word]. Risks 695
Hazards news, 21 March 2015

Global: McStandards are no substitute for real rules
TUC head of safety Hugh Robertson has warned that key decisions on health and safety rules being gifted to manufacturers and suppliers. “It is called standardisation, the process of setting standards,” he notes, citing examples like machinery safety and protective clothing where these “British, European and international standards are increasingly used instead of regulation.”
Stronger Unions blog. Standard Deviation, Hazards online report, March 2015. Risks 695
Hazards news, 21 March 2015

New Zealand: Some port workers do 20-hour shifts
The Maritime Union of New Zealand has accused port companies of being more interested in avoiding liability than in fixing the root causes of injuries and deaths. The union was commenting after port incidents on 3 and 4 March left three workers injured, including one man with serious back injuries.
MUNZ news release. Radio NZ. Risks 694
Hazards news, 14 March 2015

Ukraine: Deadly mine is site of another tragedy
More than 30 people are thought to be dead after a 4 March methane gas explosion at a notoriously dangerous coal mine in eastern Ukraine. Officials have so far refused to confirm a final fatality figure at the Zasyadko mine in rebel-held Donetsk, however it is thought it could significantly exceed the initial estimate.
ITUC news release. IndustriALL news release. Kyiv Post. The Telegraph. The Guardian. Risks 694
Hazards news, 14 March 2015

USA: Work injuries force workers into poverty
Injuries at work force workers into poverty and keep them there, a new report from the US health and safety regulator OSHA has warned. Launching a new report, ‘Adding inequality to injury’, OSHA head David Michaels said: “These injuries and illnesses contribute to the pressing issue of income inequality: they force working families out of the middle class and into poverty, and keep the families of lower-wage workers from ever getting out.”
Adding inequality to injury: The costs of failing to protect workers on the job, OSHA, March 2015. OSHA blog. The Nation. The Pump Handle. Risks 694
Hazards news, 14 March 2015

Britain: Unprotected worker died in fall from roof
Northamptonshire roofing firm JBS Roofing Ltd has been sentenced for serious criminal safety failings, which emerged when a worker died after falling through a rooflight. Mark Cooper, 46, died three days after the incident at a commercial unit in Corby on 11 June 2011.
HSE news release and roofwork webpages. Northampton Chronicle. Construction Enquirer. BBC News Online. Risks 694
Hazards news, 14 March 2015

Britain: Dangerous director gets fine and broken leg
A director of a building firm has been fined for criminal safety offences after he was partially buried when the high sides of an excavation he was working on collapsed on him, a court has heard. Paul Connolly, director of Bushey-based PNT Contractors Ltd, had to be rescued by workers digging him out by hand after the excavation collapse at a site in Essex in July 2014.
HSE news release. Construction Enquirer. Risks 694
Hazards news, 14 March 2015

Britain: Hormone-disrupting chemicals ‘cost billions’
Common industrial chemicals that disrupt human hormones and damage health could be costing Europe more than £110 billion a year, according to new research. The international team behind the research presented their findings on 5 March at the annual meeting of the Endocrinology Society in Brussels.
Endocrine Society website and news release. BBC News Online.
Leonardo Trasande, R Thomas Zoeller, Ulla Hass and others. Estimating burden and disease costs of exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals in the European Union, Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, published online 5 March 2015. Risks 694
Hazards news, 14 March 2015

Britain: IOSH slams 'unwise' self-employed muddle
An amended government plan to deregulate areas of health and safety remains “unnecessary, unhelpful and unwise”, safety professionals’ body IOSH has warned. IOSH was commenting after the House of Lords last week passed a reworked government amendment to the Deregulation Bill, dealing with self-employment.
IOSH news release. Risks 694
Hazards news, 14 March 2015

Global: Fifa feels the heat on migrant workers’ plight
Football’s global governing body, Fifa, has been criticised for ignoring the plight of migrant workers enduring slave like conditions in Qatar. A Fifa taskforce reported on 24 February and recommended that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar should be moved to November and December, to avoid crippling summer temperatures, a move UCATT says fails to take into account that 2 million migrant workers, building the World Cup and the Qatar’s infrastructure, are working six days a week year round in temperatures which can reach 55 degrees celsius.
UCATT news release. BWI news release. The Guardian. Risks 693
Hazards news, 7 March 2015

Britain: Deadly basement jobs get two day blitz
A two-day inspection blitz of basement projects in some of the country’s wealthiest postcodes is to be carried out by the Health and Safety Executive. This action follows a succession of fatal incidents and serious injuries in the capital.
HSE news release. Risks 693
Hazards news, 7 March 2015

Britain: Farm worker killed by toxic gases
Dorset farm owner Clifford Owen Yeatman and his two businesses have been fined for serious criminal safety failings after 29-year-old worker Matthew Pitt died following exposure to toxic gases. Dorchester Crown Court heard that Matthew Pitt and David Bartlett were exposed during maintenance of an anaerobic digestion (AD) plant developed by Biogas Nord UK at the farm.
HSE news release and anaerobic digestion webpages. Risks 693Hazards news, 7 March 2015

Britain: Cornwall health trust fined for dermatitis failings
The Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust has been fined after failing to report, prevent or monitor at least 23 cases of dermatitis among staff between 2007 and 2012. The Trust pleaded guilty to a criminal breach of health and safety legislation when it appeared before Torquay Magistrates.
HSE news release and dermatitis webpages. Risks 693
Hazards news, 7 March 2015

Britain: Liverpool NHS Trust exposed staff to asbestos risk
A hospital trust in Liverpool has been fined £10,000 after it emerged its workers may have been exposed to potentially-deadly asbestos fibres. The Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust failed to act on a survey carried out in 2006 which identified that an area of the basement may contain asbestos, and recommended that its condition should be properly assessed.
HSE news release and asbestos webpages. Risks 693
Hazards news, 7 March 2015

Britain: Recycling safety managers were a waste of time
A waste and recycling site in Carmarthen was in such a dangerous condition that visiting health and safety inspectors had to issue eight notices to immediately halt potentially deadly work activities. The site run by Mekatek Ltd was subject to a routine inspection by Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspectors on 20 May 2013 who discovered access to unguarded dangerous machinery, exposure to risk of electrocution and areas contaminated by asbestos containing materials. 
HSE news release. Risks 693
Hazards news, 7 March 2015

Britain: Young worker crushed by a two-tonne frame
Cumbrian engineering firm Tweddle Fabrications Ltd has been fined £12,000 after a worker suffered severe injuries when he was struck by a metal frame, weighing nearly two tonnes. The 21-year-old from Carlisle, who has asked not to be named, sustained multiple cuts and fractures to his left foot and leg, and has still been unable to return to work almost a year on from the incident.
HSE news release and workplace transport webpages. Risks 693
Hazards news, 7 March 2015

Blacklisted – the story of a secret war
A new book, ‘Blacklisted: the secret war between big business and trade union activists’, delivers a searing indictment of the collusion between the state and the construction industry that saw thousands blacklisted. Authors Dave Smith – a founder-member of the Blacklist Support Group – and investigative journalist Phil Chamberlain reveal how objecting to deadly working conditions could get you thrown out of work for good.
Blacklisted: the secret war between big business and trade union activists, New Internationalist, March 2015. ISBN 978-1-78026-257-4. eBook ISBN: 978-1-78026-258-1. £9.99. Book video trailer. Risks 693
Hazards news, 7 March 2015

Australia: Safety cost-benefit sums ‘inherently’ wrong
Workers bear most of the burden of workplace safety failures, research for the Australian government’s safety watchdog has found, with this proportion rising rapidly. The study by Macquarie University researcher Sharron O’Neill found employers are picking up hardly any of the cost at all.
The business case for safe, healthy and productive work – implications for resource allocation: Procurement, contracting and infrastructure decisions, Safe Work Australia. Safety at work blog. Risks 693
Hazards news, 7 March 2015

Australia: Call for manslaughter law for work deaths
Employers whose kill their workers should face the prospect of manslaughter charges, Australian construction union CFMEU has said. The union call came as Allscaff Systems Pty Ltd and company director Ralph Michael Smith faced the courts after the 2008 deaths of two workers on a Gold Coast construction site with “woefully inadequate” safety systems.
CFMEU news release. Gold Coast Bulletin. Risks 693
Hazards news, 7 March 2015

China: Apple not as rosy as claimed on the ground
The world’s most profitable company is proving less successful in sorting out worker exploitation in its supply chain, research has found. In late January 2015 Apple reported the largest quarterly profit ever in corporate history, but for many hundreds of thousands of young Chinese workers toiling on assembly lines producing Apple’s slick products, 2014 was not such a good year.
Truth Out. Good Electronics. Apple Supplier Responsibility Progress Report 2015 and Supplier responsibility webpage. Risks 693
Hazards news, 7 March 2015

Britain: Network Rail boss attacks rail’s safety record
The head of Network Rail has said the industry’s unsafe working practices are causing “appalling tragedies” and hundreds of workplace casualties each year. Former oil industry executive Mark Carne, who became chief executive of Network Rail a year ago, suggested accident rates were 10 times those in the oil sector.
Network Rail news release and Mark Carne’s speech. RMT news release. The Guardian. Risks 693Hazards news, 7 March 2015

Global: Fifa feels the heat on migrant workers’ plight
Football’s global governing body, Fifa, has been criticised for ignoring the plight of migrant workers enduring slave like conditions in Qatar. A Fifa taskforce reported on 24 February and recommended that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar should be moved to November and December, to avoid crippling summer temperatures, a move UCATT says fails to take into account that 2 million migrant workers, building the World Cup and the Qatar’s infrastructure, are working six days a week year round in temperatures which can reach 55 degrees celsius.
UCATT news release. BWI news release. The Guardian. Risks 693
Hazards news, 7 March 2015

Britain: Deadly basement jobs get two day blitz
A two-day inspection blitz of basement projects in some of the country’s wealthiest postcodes is to be carried out by the Health and Safety Executive. This action follows a succession of fatal incidents and serious injuries in the capital.
HSE news release. Risks 693
Hazards news, 7 March 2015

Britain: Farm worker killed by toxic gases
Dorset farm owner Clifford Owen Yeatman and his two businesses have been fined for serious criminal safety failings after 29-year-old worker Matthew Pitt died following exposure to toxic gases. Dorchester Crown Court heard that Matthew Pitt and David Bartlett were exposed during maintenance of an anaerobic digestion (AD) plant developed by Biogas Nord UK at the farm.
HSE news release and anaerobic digestion webpages. Risks 693
Hazards news, 7 March 2015

Britain: Cornwall health trust fined for dermatitis failings
The Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust has been fined after failing to report, prevent or monitor at least 23 cases of dermatitis among staff between 2007 and 2012. The Trust pleaded guilty to a criminal breach of health and safety legislation when it appeared before Torquay Magistrates.
HSE news release and dermatitis webpages. Risks 693
Hazards news, 7 March 2015

Britain: Liverpool NHS Trust exposed staff to asbestos risk
A hospital trust in Liverpool has been fined £10,000 after it emerged its workers may have been exposed to potentially-deadly asbestos fibres. The Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust failed to act on a survey carried out in 2006 which identified that an area of the basement may contain asbestos, and recommended that its condition should be properly assessed.
HSE news release and asbestos webpages. Risks 693
Hazards news, 7 March 2015

Britain: Recycling safety managers were a waste of time
A waste and recycling site in Carmarthen was in such a dangerous condition that visiting health and safety inspectors had to issue eight notices to immediately halt potentially deadly work activities. The site run by Mekatek Ltd was subject to a routine inspection by Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspectors on 20 May 2013 who discovered access to unguarded dangerous machinery, exposure to risk of electrocution and areas contaminated by asbestos containing materials. 
HSE news release. Risks 693
Hazards news, 7 March 2015

Britain: Young worker crushed by a two-tonne frame
Cumbrian engineering firm Tweddle Fabrications Ltd has been fined £12,000 after a worker suffered severe injuries when he was struck by a metal frame, weighing nearly two tonnes. The 21-year-old from Carlisle, who has asked not to be named, sustained multiple cuts and fractures to his left foot and leg, and has still been unable to return to work almost a year on from the incident.
HSE news release and workplace transport webpages. Risks 693
Hazards news, 7 March 2015

Britain: Lessons must be learned from Crossrail death
The construction industry must learn lessons from the death of René Tkacik on the Crossrail project, site union UCATT has said. On 3 March an inquest jury gave a narrative verdict, while recording the death of the Slovakian national was accidental, but the jury found that “unclear” processes including the method statement and the definition of the exclusion zone contributed to his death.
UCATT news release. Leigh Day news release. Irwin Mitchell news release. BBC News Online. ITV News. Risks 693
Hazards news, 7 March 2015

Britain: Walkers pulls ‘insensitive’ crisp advert
Walkers pulled the plug on a new TV advert hours after construction union UCATT branded it “insensitive” and “offensive”. The controversial commercial featured ex-England footballer and now TV presenter Gary Lineker having wet concrete poured onto him from a great height for refusing to share his crisps; it aired during peak hours on Monday 23 February - the same day an inquest began into the death of René Tkacik, who died on the Crossrail project after being buried under nearly a tonne of wet concrete.
UCATT news release. Morning Star. Construction Enquirer. Walkers Crisps facebook page. Risks 693
Hazards news, 7 March 2015

Britain: Alarm sounds over outsourcing of aviation medicals
Passenger safety could be put at risk by a Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) decision to proceed with outsourcing of its medical services, unions have warned. Unions PCS and Prospect, which represent staff at the aviation regulator, were speaking out after CAA announced it will look to outsource the Aeromedical Centre (AeMC) that provides medical services to pilots and air traffic controllers, as well as expert advice to airlines.
Prospect news release. CAA news release and consultation response. Risks 693
Hazards news, 7 March 2015

Britain: Government caves on self-employed exemption
In the face of a ‘tremendous’ union campaign, the government has at the 11th hour done an about face on its proposal to exempt almost all self-employed workers from health and safety law. In a 4 March House of Lords debate, government whip Lord Wallace of Saltaire presented a revised amendment to the Deregulation Bill.
TUC Stronger Unions blog. Hansard report of the House of Lord Debate, 4 March 2015. Risks 693.
Hazards news, 7 March 2015

UAE: Fire kills migrant labourers in Abu Dhabi
At least 10 migrant labourers have been killed in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) by a fire that tore through the warehouse they were sleeping in. The workers were staying in the al-Mussafah district of Abu Dhabi, an industrial area filled with warehouses, factories and workshops on the outskirts of the capital.
The Independent. Washington Post. Sydney Morning Herald. Risks 692
Hazards news, 28 February 2015

USA: Nuke workers hurt by toxic exposures
Evidence “strongly suggests” a causal link between chemical vapour releases and ill-health in workers at a nuclear facility in the US. Since March 2014, nearly 60 workers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington state have sought medical attention for on-the-job exposure to chemical vapours released by highly toxic waste stored at the site.
Working In These Times. Risks 692
Hazards news, 28 February 2015

USA: Refinery blast highlights oil strike concerns
An 18 February explosion at Exxon Mobil's refinery in Torrance, California, is raising new concerns about high risks, weak standards and lax regulatory oversight in the US oil refining sector. The incident is the latest in a spate of fires to strike US oil plants in the past few years.
USW news release. AFL-CIO Now blog. International Business Times. NBC4 News. Risks 692
Hazards news, 28 February 2015

Global: Benetton agrees to pay Rana Plaza compensation
High Street fashion chain Benetton will compensate victims of the 2013 Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh. A statement from the company said the amount will be announced “in the next few weeks and in any case no later than April 24, 2015” – the second anniversary of the fire - and forms “part of a broader programme of further social engagement by the Group for 2015, the details of which will be announced in the coming days.”
Benetton news release. UNI news release. IndustriALL news release. Bangladesh Accord. Risks 692
Hazards news, 28 February 2015

Britain: Worker’s death exposes criminal safety failures
An investigation into the death of a worker installing guttering at a home in Llandudno discovered he was using a ladder in an “extremely poor state” that should have been taken out of service. Gethin Kirwan, 35, who lived in Hoole, Chester, was working at a property in the town on 4 April 2013 when he fell from the ladder, sustaining a fatal head injury.
HSE news release and falls webpages. Risks 692
Hazards news, 28 February 2015

Britain: New arrival killed in 5 metre asbestos roof fall
Aberdeenshire business Bruce of the Broch 1886 Ltd has been fined for serious criminal failings after a man died when he fell more than five metres through a fragile roof. Latvian national Nikolajs Naumovs, 57, had arrived in Scotland only two weeks before his fatal fall.
HSE news release. Risks 692
Hazards news, 28 February 2015

Britain: Tata sentenced over molten metal burns
Global steel giant Tata has been fined £200,000 after three employees suffered serious burns when tonnes of molten metal spilled onto the factory floor. Swansea Crown Court heard that trainee crane driver Kelvin Watts and two colleagues escaped from the top of a crane and over the boom when a huge ladle dislodged spilling the molten metal, which then caught fire, at Tata Strip Products in Port Talbot on 2 April 2013.
HSE news release and molten metals webpages. BBC News Online. Risks 692
Hazards news, 28 February 2015

Britain: IOSH says criminal safety penalties must deter
Safety professionals’ body IOSH has said penalties for criminal safety offences should help improve health and safety standards, remedy defects, deter future offending and reflect societal disapproval. IOSH – the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health - suggested that the use of ‘victim impact statements’ could also be considered, if those affected wished to provide them.
IOSH news release. Risks 692
Hazards news, 28 February 2015

Britain: Attacks on Tube workers soar
Labour has called for more protection for London Underground workers after figures showed a 44 per cent increase in assaults on staff since 2009. The figures sparked renewed concern from Labour and unions about plans to cut hundreds of jobs through the closure of ticket offices on the Tube.
Val Shawcross news release. The Standard. RMT ‘Every job matters’ campaign. Risks 692
Hazards news, 28 February 2015

Britain: Crossrail death inquest opens
An inquest into the death of a worker on the Crossrail project has opened. René Tkacik, 44, died on 7 March 2014 while working as a concrete sprayer at Fisher Street in Holborn, London.
ITV News. BBC News Online. Sky News. The Standard. Daily Mail. Risks 692
Hazards news, 28 February 2015

Britain: Crane tragedy shows the low value put on life
It took nine year gap from a crane collapse that killed two to the start of the related criminal court case. But in the intervening period the government said rules governing crane safety introduced in the wake of the tragedy were unnecessary ‘red tape’ and revoked them, said the union GMB.
GMB news release. Risks 692
Hazards news, 28 February 2015

Britain: Fire service admits criminal breaches after death
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service has admitted criminal health and safety breaches in connection with the death of an Edinburgh firefighter. Ewan Williamson died in July 2009 after becoming trapped while tackling a blaze at the Balmoral Bar in the city.
BBC News Online. FBU news release. Risks 692
Hazards news, 28 February 2015

TUC welcomes new proposed tougher sentences
The TUC has welcomed proposed new guidelines on sentencing for health and safety and corporate manslaughter offences. The Sentencing Council has published draft guidance for judges in England and Wales that could lead to considerable increases in punishments.
Consultation - justice gov . Risks 691
Hazards news, 21 February 2015

Britain: Warning on dodgy PPE
A supplier of workplace equipment has claimed that the problem of counterfeit and inferior personal protective equipment (PPE) finding its way into UK workplaces is growing. The firm, Slingsb, has welcomed proposed legislation from Europe that would make retailers and distributors responsible for ensuring products they sell meet the required safety standards.
Construction index. TUC Guide on PPE. Risks 691
Hazards news, 21 February 2015

Death ruled “accidental” despite series of safety failings
An inquest has decided that a worker was “accidentally killed” despite an employer having been handed four prohibition notices and one improvement notice for the circumstances that led to his death. Tomas Suchy, a food factory worker at Interfish in Plymouth was killed by “catastrophic” head injuries when a 'wall' of frozen fish pallets fell on top of him as he tried to rebuild a stack that had already toppled over once in a stock room with temperatures of -25c.
Plymouth Herald. Risks 691
Hazards news, 21 February 2015

Britain: Worker killed by snapped timber
A company has been fined £130,000 after a workman was killed by a piece of flying timber which struck him on the head while laying sewerage pipes in Swindon. Fredric March was working at the Cappagh Contractors Construction site in Swindon when a piece of timber being used as a cushion on the ends of the pipes being pushed in place by an excavator snapped.
HSE news release. Risks 691
Hazards news, 21 February 2015

Britain: Union links inspection fall with sites deaths rise
The construction union, UCATT, has revealed a big drop in construction inspections in part of Britain that have also seen an increase in construction deaths.
UCATT news release. Risks 691
Hazards news, 21 February 2015

New Zealand: Safer farms campaign gets it wrong
Workers in New Zealand are worried a flagship official safety programme on farm safety will not work because it overlooks the employment practices that are making the industry more dangerous. Helen Kelly, head of the national union federation CTU said she was “surprised” the government minister announcing the new programme run by the safety regulator Worksafe “does not see a strong role for health and safety inspectors in keeping farm workers safe.”
NZCTU news release. Safer Farms. Risks 690
Hazards news, 14 February 2015

UAE: Migrants silenced on safety fears
Migrant workers building a multibillion-pound cultural hub in the United Arab Emirates, which includes a New York University campus and new Guggenheim and Louvre museums, are facing destitution, summary arrest and deportation if they complain about their squalid and unsafe conditions, an investigation by Human Rights Watch (HRW) has found.
HRW news release and video report. Migrant Workers’ Rights on Saadiyat Island in the United Arab Emirates, 2015 Progress Report, HRW, 10 February 2015. The Guardian. Risks 690
Hazards news, 14 February 2015

USA: Oil safety strike grows
A strike by United Steelworkers (USW) members protesting at unsafe and unfair labour practices at US refineries has spread to BP facilities in Indiana and Ohio. The strike began on 1 February after major oil companies failed to address serious concerns regarding the health and safety of workers and their communities, according to the USW.
USW news release, audio report and petition. Labor Notes. AFL-CIO Now blog. Daily Kos. Risks 690
Hazards news, 14 February 2015

Britain: Worker loses forearm in printing machine
An Edinburgh manufacturing company has been fined for serious safety failings that led to a worker having to have his arm amputated after it became trapped in a machine. Akshay Phale, then 27, was working at the rear of a machine at Farnbeck Ltd at its Leith premises when the incident happened on 5 June 2012.
HSE news release and machinery safety webpages. Scotsman. Risks 690
Hazards news, 14 February 2015

Britain: Suspended sentence for corporate manslaughter
A Cumbrian building firm and its owner have been sentenced after pleading guilty to corporate manslaughter. On 3 February, Peter Mawson Ltd was fined £200,000 for the corporate manslaughter offence, and £20,000 for the safety breach and company owner Peter Mawson was sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for two years, was ordered to undertake 200 hours unpaid work and handed a publicity order to advertise what happened on the company website for a set period of time, and to take out a half page spread in the local newspaper.
HSE news release. Construction Enquirer. News and Star. Risks 690
Hazards news, 14 February 2015

Britain: Suspended sentences after scrap worker’s death
Two subcontractors have been handed eight-month prison sentences, suspended for 18 months, after a worker was killed when part of a 33-tonne metal barge he was dismantling collapsed on top of him. William Ward, 56, from Sheffield, sustained catastrophic crush injuries in the incident at European Metal Recycling Ltd’s Kingsbury depot in Warwickshire on 12 October 2011.
HSE news release and scrap recycling webpages. Sheffield Star. Yorkshire Post. Risks 690
Hazards news, 14 February 2015

Britain: Three firms sentenced after worker’s death
A renewable technology company and two subcontractors have been fined for safety failings after a worker was killed when he fell seven metres from a roof while installing solar panels. Kevin Brookes, 35, from Tamworth, suffered fatal injuries in the incident on a Southam industrial estate on 31 May 2012.
HSE news release and falls webpages. Risks 690
Hazards news, 14 February 2015

Britain: Stevedores fined for worker’s severe injuries
Briton Ferry Stevedoring has been fined for a criminal safety offence after an employee suffered severe leg injuries falling from a trailer. Nigel Preece, 58, was unloading steel coils from a flatbed trailer when he fell 1.3 metres, sustaining two broken legs.
HSE news release. Risks 690
Hazards news, 14 February 2015

Britain: Carpet firm in court after worker breaks leg
A Rossendale factory that makes carpet underlay has been fined after a worker was badly injured when he was struck by a 300kg bale of foam. The 59-year-old from Todmorden, who has asked not to be named, broke his left leg in two places and suffered damage to his knee as a result of the incident at Interfloor Ltd in Haslingden on 4 December 2013.
HSE news release and manufacturing webpages. Rossendale Free Press. Risks 690
Hazards news, 14 February 2015

Britain: Workers given baby wipes to wash off asbestos
A Suffolk building company has been fined after removing asbestos insulation board without a licence and failing to protect its workers from falls of up to four metres at a farm building in Waltham, Essex. Workers were potentially exposed to dangerous asbestos fibres and only provided with baby wipes or access to a hose for decontamination.
HSE news release. Construction Enquirer. Ipswich Star. Risks 690
Hazards news, 14 February 2015

Britain: Study explodes EU over-legislation myth
Government claims that the European Union has fuelled an increase in legislation have been proven to be a myth, the TUC has said. The union body was commenting after an an academic study concluded that far from producing too much legislation, the EU is only producing a small minority of the new laws coming into effect in Britain.
Stronger Unions blog. LSE Europp blog. Democratic Audit UK. Risks 690
Hazards news, 14 February 2015

Britain: Government floundering on self-employed move
Government dithering on plans to exempt most self-employed workers from health and safety law does not mean the much derided proposals will be dropped, the TUC has warning. The union body has been joined by business groups and safety organisations in renewed calls on ministers to drop the exemption, progress on which stalled in a 3 February House of Lords debate.
Stronger Unions blog. Thompsons Solicitors news release. IOSH news release. Risks 690
Hazards news, 14 February 2015

Britain: Company fined after offshore death
An offshore services company has been fined for serious criminal safety failings following an incident in which a worker died after plunging 23 metres from a platform into the sea. Lee Bertram, then 37, was working for Bilfinger Salamis UK Limited on a platform in the North Sea when the incident happened on 16 June 2011.
HSE news release and work at height webpages. Morning Star. Risks 689
Hazards news, 7 February 2015

Britain: Suspended sentence for deadly farm director
A Staffordshire dairy farm director has been handed a four-month prison sentence, suspended for a year, after criminal safety failings led to a 75-year-old worker being crushed by a bull. James Leech died in hospital nine days after he was rammed several times against a gate by a Holstein friesian bull weighing around a tonne.
HSE news release and agriculture webpages. Risks 689
Hazards news, 7 February 2015

Britain: Solar panel firm fined over roof fall death
A Preston-based company that installs solar panels has been fined £45,000 following the death of a worker who fell through a barn roof. Gregorz Sobko had been working on the roof of a cowshed when one of the clear plastic panels, designed to let in light, gave way.
HSE news release and falls webpages. Risks 689
Hazards news, 7 February 2015

Britain: Director fined for poor site standards
A Gloucestershire housebuilder and the company’s managing director have been fined after poor welfare facilities and unsafe excavation work were discovered at a construction site near Cinderford. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) identified a string of concerns at the new-build development in Buckshaft in December 2013.
HSE news release. Risks 689
Hazards news, 7 February 2015

Bangladesh: Plastics factory ‘kills at least 13’
A fire swept through a plastic packaging factory on the night of Saturday 31 January in the Bangladesh capital, Dhaka, killing at least 13 people, a fire department official said. Mohammed Farhaduzzaman said survivors told him about 70 workers were inside the building when the fire broke out at the five-storey factory in Dhaka's Mirpur district. Times Union. The Guardian. BBC News Online.
The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh. Risks 689
Hazards news, 7 February 2015

Britain: Assaults on prison staff hit a record high
Rising prisoner number and falling budgets are putting prison staff at risk, the union Community has said. The union was commenting after latest Ministry of Justice (MoJ) figures revealed assaults on prison staff are at the highest level since 2006. Assaults on staff had increased to 3,470 incidents in the 12 months to end of September 2014 from 3,178 in the 12 months to end of September 2013.
Community news release. MoJ Safety in Custody update. Risks 689
Hazards news, 7 February 2015

Britain: Stay of execution on deadly self-employed clause
Government plans to exempt most self-employed workers from safety law have stalled. A 3 February debate in the House of Lords to discuss the move, included in Clause 1 of the Deregulation Bill, was curtailed after the government said it needed more time to consider responses to a consultation on the measure.
Lords debate on the Deregulation Bill, Hansard, 3 February 2015. TUC news release. IOSH news release. Risks 689
Hazards news, 7 February 2015

Britain: Action call on preventable firefighter deaths
The deaths of some UK firefighters “could and should have been prevented,” a research report has concluded. Research commissioned by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) looked into 14 deaths of firefighters in the last 10 years and warned “good practice” had sometimes been ignored.
FBU news release. BBC News Online. Morning Star.
Firefighter fatalities at fires in the UK, 2004-2013: Voices from the fireground, report by Andrew Watterson, Occupational and Environmental Health Research Group, University of Stirling, Scotland, January 2015. Risks 689
Hazards news, 7 February 2015

Britain: Offshore job losses risk ‘another Piper Alpha’
Jobs cuts across the UK offshore oil industry will compromise safety and lead to the loss of key skills, Unite has warned. The union said “the seeds of another disaster on the scale of Piper Alpha” could result from cutbacks linked to the oil price fall. Unite news release. BBC News Online. Risks 689
Hazards news, 7 February 2015

Britain: Treating rubbish should not mean rubbish treatment
Local authority waste management workers across Scotland are under pressure, facing increasing targets and declining budgets, a UNISON survey has found. Dave Watson, UNISON Scotland’s head of bargaining and campaigning, said local authorities in Scotland “can't expect staff to meet more stringent targets when they are being cut back.”
UNISON Scotland news release and full report, Dumped on: working in Scotland’s waste management services. UNISON news release. Risks 689
Hazards news, 7 February 2015

Britain: Tube ticket office closures a costly mistake
London mayor Boris Johnson has been accused of mounting his “biggest and most expensive vanity project” as his plan to close over 250 Tube ticket offices in London started to take effect. As the first offices were shut in the capital, rail union TSSA said the Tory mayor was rushing through the plan - and the opening of the Night Tube scheme in September - to boost his long term campaign to become the leader of the Conservative Party.
TSSA news release. The Standard. Risks 689
Hazards news, 7 February 2015

Italy: Garment sweatshops set the standard
New research into Italian shoe and garment factories shows that competition with Eastern Europe and Asia is driving down wages and working conditions in Italy. The survey conducted by Campagna Abiti Puliti, the Italian section of the Clean Clothes Campaign, found that big brands including Louis Vuitton, Armani, Prada and Dior are buying back old factories that were previously uneconomic.
Can you earn a living wage in fashion in Italy?, Clean Clothes Campaign report. Risks 688
Hazards magazine, 31 January 2015

USA: American Airlines sued by mechanics
American Airlines pressured workers to skimp on federal safety procedures and threatened discipline if they reported too many maintenance flaws, union reps have charged. The Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) said the actions by maintenance managers violated labour laws.
TWU Local 591 letter to the membership. American Journal of Transportation. Skift.com. Risks 688
Hazards magazine, 31 January 2015

Britain: Physio killed by lorry while cycling to treat a patient
A community physiotherapist was the first cyclist killed on London’s roads this year. Stephanie Turner, 29, died in the 8am collision with a lorry on 20 January, as she cycled to a patient appointment.
The Standard. Stop Killing Cyclists news release. Risks 688
Hazards magazine, 31 January 2015

Britain: Oil firm messed up on 159 safety-critical jobs
A major North Sea oil firm failed to get approval for the deferral of 159 safety-critical work orders. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found 182 outstanding jobs when it carried out an inspection on Talisman Sinopec’s North Sea Clyde platform, 159 of which had not been approved for deferral.
Energy Voice. Evening Express. Risks 688
Hazards magazine, 31 January 2015

Britain: Metalworks boss sentenced for manslaughter
Mohammad Babamiri, the managing director of RK Metalworks, has been received a suspended jail term for manslaughter after one of his workers was crushed by heavy machinery. The victim, Shenol Shevka-Ahmed, was a Bulgarian national with a wife and two young sons at home in Bulgaria.
Metropolitan Police news release. Enfield Today. Risks 688
Hazards magazine, 31 January 2015

Britain: Ninth time unlucky for serial offender
A construction company with a lengthy record of endangering the lives of its workers has been fined after the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found once again it was putting workers at serious risk of falling from height. Inspectors who paid a routine visit to an AM Construction Ltd site in West Bromwich on 15 May 2014 found men working on the first floor without scaffolding, edge protection, airbags or other fall prevention or mitigation measures.
HSE news release and work at height webpages. Construction Enquirer. Risks 688
Hazards magazine, 31 January 2015

Britain: Vet in court over x-ray of employee’s foot
A director of a veterinary practice in Maidstone has been given a conditional discharge for allowing an employee to x-ray her own foot after a horse stamped on it. Maidstone Magistrates heard that the employee, a 25-year-old vet and equine intern at Pet Emergency Treatment Services Ltd, was afraid the foot was broken and she might be unable to do that evening’s on-call duty.
HSE news release. Risks 688
Hazards magazine, 31 January 2015

Britain: Worker loses arm clearing sawdust
A Powys firm has been fined for serious criminal safety failings after a woodworker had his right arm severed while clearing sawdust from underneath a circular saw. Brian Morris, 59, was working at Stagecraft Display Ltd’s factory just outside Llandrindod Wells when the incident happened on 23 February 2012.
HSE news release and woodworking machinery webpages. Risks 688
Hazards magazine, 31 January 2015

Britain: Worker paralysed in fall from farm shed
An East Lothian firm has been fined for serious criminal safety failings after a worker was left paralysed when he fell almost four metres through a fragile rooflight. Neil Knox, then 69, is confined to a wheelchair after suffering irreparable damage to his spinal cord in the incident on 14 March 2013 as he replaced plastic rooflights on a farm shed in Lauder, in the Scottish Borders.
HSE news release. BBC News Online. Risks 688
Hazards magazine, 31 January 2015

Britain: Royal Mail fined after chemical burns failure
A caustic chemical leak that led to a CWU member requiring skin grafts has resulted in a £40,000 fine for Royal Mail. Dacorum Borough Council prosecuted the company for criminal health and safety breaches at the Home Counties North mail depot in Hemel Hempstead last year.
Dacorum Borough Council news release. Risks 688
Hazards magazine, 31 January 2015

Canada: Work death jail terms still ‘too rare’
The short weekends-only jail terms handed to two corporate directors in Ontario, Canada following a workplace death are a step in the right direction “but do not address the crying need to enforce the Criminal Code when workers are killed on the job,” the United Steelworkers union (USW) has said. USW Canada national director Ken Neumann, whose union is running a high profile ‘Stop the Killing’ campaign, said: “We are determined to work with governments, Crown prosecutors, health and safety regulators and police across the country to ensure the law is enforced to the full extent whenever a worker is killed or injured.”
USW news release and Stop the Killing campaign. NUPGE news release. Rabble. Risks 687
Hazards news, 24 January 2015

Global: Chinese firms choke Ugandan workers
Residents of Kasenge ‘A’ village, a rapidly expanding industrial zone outside of the Ugandan capital Kampala, are learning the price of industrialisation – dangerous jobs and once clean air now choked with fumes.  The hamlet of about 1,000 homes is home to over 20 Chinese owned factories.
The Independent. Risks 687
Hazards news, 24 January 2015

USA: Republican regulatory moves threaten safety
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) would have been prevented from issuing timely guidelines on protecting health care workers and first responders from the Ebola virus under a Republican proposed law. The Regulatory Accountability Act of 2015 (HR 185), which was passed by the House of Representatives– but which President Obama had at an earlier airing of the same legislation threatened to veto - would add dozens of new procedural and analytical roadblocks to any new enforceable rule such as workplace safety or consumer protection regulations and even to non-binding federal guidelines to protect workers and the public, such as the CDC’s Ebola guidelines.
Climate Progress. AFL-CIO Now blog. House of Representatives Committee on Rules statement. Risks 687
Hazards news, 24 January 2015

Britain: Builder jailed for manslaughter of young labourer
West Yorkshire builder Nigel Parker, 56, has been jailed after an inexperienced labourer was killed when a chimney collapsed on top of him while he was left to carry out work unsupervised. Danny Hough, 23, was crushed to death when two tonnes of masonry landed on top of him as he carried out work at a house in Batley.
Huddersfield Examiner. Yorkshire Post. Risks 687
Hazards news, 24 January 2015

Britain: Farming auction firm fined over worker's death
A major Scottish farming auction firm has been fined £30,000 following the death of a worker in who was crushed by his quad bike. Lawrie and Symington (L&S) employee Allan Frame was found dead on Bonnington Farm in Lanark on 17 September 2012. COPFS news release. The Herald. Risks 687
Hazards news, 24 January 2015

Britain: Digger bucket broke worker’s back
A building company has been fined for its criminal safety failings after employee Peter McGrellis broke his back when he was struck by the bucket on a digger.  RMC Building and Civil Engineering Ltd was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following an investigation into the incident at the Longleat Estate in Warminster.
HSE news release and construction webpages. Construction Enquirer. Risks 687
Hazards news, 24 January 2015

Britain: Business boosting government boasts we are more lawless
The government’s frantic rush to ‘boost business’ by removing safety regulations has come at a cost, the TUC has warned. The union body was commenting after the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) announced that “84 per cent of health and safety rules will have been scrapped or improved in this parliament, freeing employers from unnecessary red tape.”
DWP news release. Risks 687
Hazards news, 24 January 2015

Britain: Forgers jailed for faking site and security certificates
Two men who made and sold thousands of counterfeit identity documents, construction skills certificates (CSCS) and licences to work in the security industry have been jailed, following an investigation by the National Crime Agency. Medi Krasniqi, 47, and Arsen Meci, 26, were arrested by NCA officers on 9 October 2014.
NCA news release. Construction Enquirer. CSCS safety test. Security industry licensing system. Risks 687
Hazards news, 24 January 2015

Britain: Nautilus sinks plans to scrap ferry safety rules
Seafarers’ union Nautilus has welcomed the UK government’s decision to abandon controversial proposals to scrap rules requiring roll-on, roll-off (ro-ro) passenger ships to be fitted with lockers containing emergency equipment. Following an eight-week consultation and talks between the union and shipping minister John Hayes, the government said ‘persuasive’ arguments had been made in favour of retaining the regulations, which were introduced following the Herald of Free Enterprise disaster in 1987.
Nautilus news release. Risks 687
Hazards news, 24 January 2015

Britain: Pilots issue safety warning on offshore safety
North Sea aviation safety must not be put under threat by the industry downturn in the industry, helicopter pilots have warned. Their concerns were raised after BP said it would shed 300 jobs.
BALPA news release. BBC News Online. Risks 687
Hazards news, 24 January 2015

Britain: Seafarers’ union warning over car carrier safety
A stranded cargo ship which listed dramatically as it left a UK port has highlighted problems in the design and operation or car carriers, seafarers’ union Nautilus has warned. The 51,000 tonne transporter Hoegh Osaka was deliberately beached on 3 January at Bramble Bank, after it began listing as it left the Port of Southampton in Hampshire.
Nautilus news release. BBC News Online. Risks 686
Hazards news, 17 January 2015

Britain: Government does nothing on rail sewage dumping
Rail union RMT has stepped up demands for urgent government action to end the “shocking practice” of train companies dumping human sewage on the railway tracks. The union was speaking out as a BBC ‘Inside Out’ programme broadcast on 12 January revealed one in ten trains are still dumping human waste on the tracks and that exposure to this excrement has serious health implications for rail workers.
RMT news release. BBC News Online. Risks 686
Hazards news, 17 January 2015

Britain: Journalists show solidarity in Paris
Top officers from the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) this week attended events in Paris commemorating the deaths of eight journalists and four others in the attack on the Paris office of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet and assistant general secretary Seamus Dooley were among over 1m people to join the Paris event, adding an NUJ flag and a special ‘Je Suis Charlie’ NUJ placard to the flowers, pens and other tributes.
TUC Stronger Unions blog. BBC News Online. Risks 686
Hazards news, 17 January 2015

Britain: Work oven death firm convicted of manslaughter
A kayak manufacturer has been found guilty of corporate manslaughter after a worker became trapped and died in an industrial oven in Cheshire. Alan Catterall, 54, tried to escape using a crowbar but suffered severe burns at the Pyranha Mouldings factory in Runcorn in 2010.
Daily Post. Western Morning News. ITV News. BBC News Online. Risks 686
Hazards news, 17 January 2015

Britain: Changes afoot on site safety management rules
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has given the construction industry six months grace to switch over to the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM), due to come into force from April. Under the CDM shake-up, changes to the original 2007 regulations mean there will no longer be an official role of CDM coordinator; instead, clients will need to appoint a Principal Designer and Principal Contractor to fulfil their duties.
HSE news release and draft industry guidance to the CDM Regulations 2015. Construction Enquirer. Risks 686
Hazards news, 17 January 2015

Britain: Farmer fined over driver’s electrocution
A Wiltshire farm owner has been fined after an HGV driver was electrocuted while making a delivery to his farm. Salisbury Magistrates’ Court heard that self-employed HGV driver Nigel Fox was delivering cattle feed to Tony Slade’s Chestnut Tree Farm in Sutton Mandeville on 2 November 2012. Mr Fox, who was 59 at the time, was raising the tipper body of his articulated lorry when it hit the 11kV overhead power line which crossed the farmyard close to the feed silo he was trying to fill.
HSE news release and guidance on working near overhead power cables. BBC News Online. Risks 686
Hazards news, 17 January 2015

Britain: Highways Agency gets a ticking off over death
The Highways Agency has been issued with a Crown Censure – an official ticking off delivered by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) - for its criminal safety failings after an experienced traffic officer was struck and killed by an out of control car on the M25. Grandfather John Walmsley, 59, was deployed with a colleague to an incident on the motorway, between junctions 4 and 5 clockwise, on 25 September 2012.
HSE news release. Risks 686
Hazards news, 17 January 2015

Britain: Ink firm’s failings led to worker’s death
A West Yorkshire company has been fined after a worker died when he was crushed beneath a one tonne silo of varnish that slid from a forklift truck and toppled onto him. Wayne Potts, 39, died from his injuries hours after the incident on 25 March 2011 at Gardiner Colours Ltd in Normanton.
HSE news release. Wakefield Express. Risks 686
Hazards news, 17 January 2015

Ireland: Union action call after sharp rise in work deaths
In the wake of figures showing a 17 per cent rise in work related deaths, the union SIPTU has called on the Irish government to stop cuts to the safety regulator and to oppose European Commission deregulation plans for safety. SIPTU health and safety adviser, Sylvester Cronin, said the Irish government must oppose the European Commission’s “attempts to deregulate occupational safety and health legislation or we will see more alarming increases in work related accidents, illnesses and deaths”.
SIPTU news release. Risks 686
Hazards news, 17 January 2015

USA: Wal-Mart locks staff in at night
Sick and injured workers at Wal-Mart stores in the US have found themselves trapped in locked stores, unable to get medical attention, a New York Times report has revealed. For more than 15 years, Wal-Mart Stores Inc, the world's largest retailer, has locked in overnight employees at some of its Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores.
New York Times. Risks 686
Hazards news, 17 January 2015

Europe: Dismay as Stoiber gets new deregulation role
Unions have reacted with dismay to the appointment of a deregulation-obsessed German right wing politician as a European Commission special adviser on ‘better regulation.’ The appointment came two months after the European Commission’s Stoiber-chaired High Level Group on Administrative Burdens published a deregulatory template described by TUC’s Hugh Robertson as “pretty dangerous.”
ETUC news release and better regulation webpages.
The crusade against ‘red tape’: How the European Commission and big business push for deregulation, Corporate Europe Observatory/Friends of the Earth Europe, October 2014. Risks 685
Hazards news, 10 January 2015

China: Bosses and officials jailed over fire deaths
Seven company bosses and eleven local officials have been given jail terms of up to nine years for their part in China’s worst factory fire in recent history. The fire at Baoyuanfeng Poultry Co killed 121 workers and injured another 76 in June 2013 when an electrical short circuit ignited combustible material inside the factory.
China Labour Bulletin. Risks 685
Hazards news, 10 January 2015

Britain: Call for regulation of mountain guides after fall death
The Scottish government should consider regulating mountain guides, a Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) has recommended. Sheriff Derek Pyle made the recommendation following the inquiry into the death of Graham Paterson almost two years ago on the Isle of Skye.
Grough report. Sheriff Pyle’s determination. Risks 685
Hazards news, 10 January 2015

Britain: Young worker dies on first day at work
A 20-year-old man died on his first day at work for a new company when the four-tonne dumper he was driving toppled over a bank and crushed him. Daniel Whiston, from Dulverton, was allowed to drive the dumper, which had a number of serious defects, before it overturned down the embankment at Sweetings Farm, near Tiverton, on 27 October 2009.
HSE news release and construction webpages. BBC News Online. Construction Enquirer. Risks 685
Hazards news, 10 January 2015

Britain: Glass recycling firm kills temp on day 1
Glass recycling firm Recresco Ltd was fined £180,000 plus £38,693 costs after Ian Aliski, 29, was killed on his first day at work when the unsuitable forklift truck he was driving overturned. He had been hired on a temporary four-day contract.
HSE news release. Risks 685
Hazards news, 10 January 2015

Britain: Global recycling firm fined for work death
Global metal recycling company European Metal Recycling Ltd was £150,000 plus £80,000 costs after subcontract worker William (Billy) Ward, 56, was killed when part of a 33-tonne metal barge he was dismantling collapsed on top of him.
HSE news release. Risks 685
Hazards news, 10 January 2015

Britain: Home firm fined after lone worker dies
Barnet Homes Ltd was fined £37,000 plus £75,000 costs after heating engineer Alan Young, 68, was found dead in a communal boiler house on one of their housing estates. It is believed the lone worker, whose body was only discovered the next day, fell from an unsafe mobile scaffold.
HSE news release. Risks 685
Hazards news, 10 January 2015

Britain: Pheasant shoot business fined after worker dies
Malcolm John Reeve, a senior partner and co-owner of the Urra estate, was fined £20,000 plus £1,681 costs after occasional worker James Gaffney, 79, died in an overturned all-terrain vehicle on remote moorland, used by the business for pheasant shoots.
HSE news release. Risks 685
Hazards news, 10 January 2015

Britain: Three firms done after mining museum death
Yorkshire’s National Coal Mining Museum Trust and two companies were told to pay £590,000 in fines and costs after Michael Buckingham, 58, was crushed and killed at the museum in 2011. He died after he became trapped between a tunnel construction machine 138 metres below ground and a dumper loader that he was operating. His employer, Amalgamated Construction Ltd, was fined £110,000 plus £245,000 costs. Machinery supplier Metal Innovations Ltd was fined £80,000 with £110,000 in costs. The museum trust was fined £10,000 with £35,000 in costs.
HSE news release. Risks 685
Hazards news, 10 January 2015

Britain: Shamed fire chiefs agree to deaths payout
East Sussex fire bosses who forced the families of two fallen firefighters into a gruelling court battle have finally agreed to pay compensation. The announcement marks the final chapter in a painful struggle for the relatives of Geoff Wicker, 49, and Brian Wembridge, 63, who were killed by an explosion during a fireworks factory blaze at Marlie Farm in 2006.
ESFRS statement. Morning Star. Risks 685
Hazards news, 10 January 2015

Britain: Scissor-welding director wanted to ‘kill’ worker
A worker has received a £2,500 payout after a scissor-wielding company director threatened to kill him. BECTU member Peter Fermor was injured in the assault.
Thompsons Solicitors news release. Risks 685
Hazards news, 10 January 2015

Britain: HSE missing the point on safety myths
There are a lot of health and safety myths out there – like workplace safety regulations are a burden or there is a costly compensation culture gripping the country – but the safety regulator’s myth-busting mission is seriously off target, warns the TUC. The union body was speaking out after the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) published a report it commissioned from the University of Exeter that examined cases referred to HSE’s ‘mythbusters’ panel.
TUC Stronger Unions blog and TUC health and safety myths report. HSE news release. University of Exeter report. Risks 685
Hazards news, 10 January 2015

Britain: Watchdog and firms doing ‘sod all’ of use on stress
Workplace stress causes heart and other chronic diseases, higher rates of sickness absence and suicides. So why, asks TUC’s Hugh Robertson, are the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and employers doing ‘sod all’ of any use to tackle the bad management practices at the root of the problem?
Distressing failure: Who says work has to be like this?, Hazards magazine special report, December 2014. TUC Safety Reps Guide to the HSE Stress Management Standards. Risks 685
Hazards news, 10 January 2015

Britain: Unions condemn the killings at French magazine
Journalists’ unions have condemned the killing of 12 people in an attack on the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris. Eight journalists and cartoonists - including the magazine's editor - died along with two police officers, a maintenance worker and a visitor when masked men armed with assault rifles stormed the office on 7 January 2015.
TUC Stronger Unions blog. NUJ news release. IFJ news release and 2014 deaths report. EFJ news release. BBC News Online. Risks 685
Hazards news, 10 January 2015

Britain: UCATT safety survey exposes industry failings
An online survey of members of construction union UCATT has highlighted the massive safety failings that workers in the industry continue to face. Over a fifth (21 per cent) of the 750 respondents to the survey did not believe that their employer took their health and safety seriously.
UCATT news release. Risks 685
Hazards news, 10 January 2015

Britain: New tanker driver passport sees off cowboys
Cowboy fuel tanker operators face being driven off the road after a new Petroleum Driver Passport (PDP) covering over 6,000 tanker drivers across England, Scotland and Wales came into force on 1 January.  The passport, introduced by the Downstream Oil Industry Distribution Forum – a partnership of employers, industry bodies and the transport union Unite - is aimed at driving up health and safety standards.
Unite news release and guide. Risks 685
Hazards news, 10 January 2015

 

 

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