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

 


DEADLY BUSINESS NEWS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

USA: Two amputations a week in US meat plants
Amputations, fractured fingers, second-degree burns and head trauma are just some of the serious injuries suffered by US meat plant workers every week, according to official data. Records compiled by the government safety regulator OSHA reveal that, on average, there are at least 17 “severe” incidents a month in US meat plants.
Bureau of Investigative Journalism. The Guardian. UFCW news release, 3 May 2018. Risks 587
Hazards news, 14 July 2018

Global: ITUC welcomes World Bank labour protection progress
New guidance from the World Bank will help borrower countries uphold fundamental worker rights, decent employment and safe worksites, the global union confederation ITUC has said. Loans from the World Bank seek to create development and jobs, but for decades the workers executing these projects have been vulnerable to rights violations, the union body said.
ITUC news release and ITUC/Global Unions comments to the World Bank. World Bank Guidance Notes. Risks 587
Hazards news, 14 July 2018

Britain: Health warning on new Brexit secretary Raab
The new Brexit secretary poses a ‘direct and immediate threat’ to workers’ rights and safety, GMB has warned. Dominic Raab previously called for Britain to use negotiations with the European Union to scrap workers’ rights.
GMB news release. The Independent. The Guardian. BBC News Online. Risks 587
Hazards news, 14 July 2018

Britain: Work-related deaths continue to rise
Work-related deaths are continuing to rise, latest official statistics show. Provisional figures released by the Health and Executive (HSE) reveal fatalities at work increased to 144 in 2017/18, up from 135 the year before, with HSE conceding the long-term decline in work-related fatalities dating back to 1981 has ended, “and the number has remained broadly level in recent years.”
HSE news release and fatality statistics 2017/18 and TUC safety page on facebook. Risks 587
Hazards news, 14 July 2018

Britain: Number of asbestos deaths from mesothelioma up again
HSE also published figures on deaths from one occupational cancer. These show the annual toll from the asbestos cancer mesothelioma continues to climb, counter to HSE’s repeated predictions. In 2016, the latest year for which figures are available, there were 2,595 deaths, up 46 on the preceding year when 2,549 mesothelioma deaths were recorded.
HSE news release and mesothelioma death figures for 2016. Risks 587
Hazards news, 14 July 2018

Britain: Call on government to drop ‘deadly’ deregulation obsession
New figures showing an increase in workplace fatalities and asbestos cancer deaths should convince the government to drop its ‘deadly’ obsession with deregulation, the Hazards Campaign has said. Commenting on provisional fatality and mesothelioma statistics released by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the national safety activists’ group said: “Work deaths were dropping steadily up to 2010 when the Tory/Lib Dem coalition turbo charged deregulation with the ‘Red Tape Challenge’ and attacks on HSE, but have plateaued since.”
Hazards Campaign blog. Risks 587
Hazards news, 14 July 2018

Britain: Director jailed after explosion kills two brothers
Company director Simon Thomerson has been sentenced to eight months in jail after pleading guilty to a criminal health and safety breach that resulted in the death of two brothers in ‘horrific circumstances’. Ardian and Jashar Lamallari had been employed as labourers and were working inside a unit at 4:45pm on 3 October 2015 when an explosive fire occurred
HSE news release and information on the safe use of highly flammable liquids. Hertfordshire Mercury. Construction Enquirer. Risks 587
Hazards news, 14 July 2018

Britain: Textile firm fined after worker dies from conveyor crush injuries
A West Yorkshire textile company has been handed a six figure fine for a criminal safety offence after the death of a worker from crush injuries. Leeds Magistrates Court heard how, on 28 February 2014, WE Rawson Limited employee Paul Whitehead leant into a packaging machine whilst attempting to free a stuck package.
HSE news release. Risks 587
Hazards news, 14 July 2018

Britain: Firm fined after worker overcome when sawing gas bottles
A Midlands company has been fined after an employee was overcome by vapour whilst disposing of redundant gas bottles. Stoke Combined Court heard how on 7 February 2015, four members of the Air Liquide (UK) Ltd emergency response team were disposing of redundant gas bottles at the company’s site in Tunstall.
HSE news release. Stoke Sentinel. Risks 587
Hazards news, 14 July 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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