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Britain: Questions asked about Corus ‘justice’
The day steel giant Corus received what has been described as a “pinprick” fine for criminal safety offences which led to the deaths of three workers, three sub-contract migrant workers at another Corus plant were jailed and told they would be deported for working illegally in the UK. The cases have thrown into stark relief concerns about the adequacy of existing workplace health and safety penalties, with the father of one of the dead men backing a campaign calling for the jailing of company directors found guilty of deadly safety crimes.
Risks 288, 23 December 2006 Fack websiteHazards Corus webpage

Britain: Factory blast families angry at prosecution delay
Families of workers who died in the 2004 Stockline factory explosion in Glasgow have expressed anger at a delay in the prosecution of the firm that owned the factory. Lawyers acting on behalf of ICL Tech and ICL Plastics have been given more time to prepare their defence.
Risks 287, 16 December 2006

Britain: Tell your MP to support directors’ duties!
Get your MP to sign up to Early Day Motion EDM 359 on directors’ duties. The motion sponsored by Labour MP Ian Stewart is designed to send a message to the government on the strength of feeling on the issue “and calls on the government to introduce appropriate legislation to ensure that company directors who neglect health and safety to the point of causing death or serious injury can be prosecuted.”
EDM 359 on directors’ duties - check to see if your MP has signed. If not, ask why not. Find your MP - you just need to know your postcode, MP's name or constituency name.

Britain: Families vow to continue killing campaign
Relatives bereaved by workplace tragedies have vowed to continue their campaign for companies and their directors to be made more responsible for safety crimes. The call came after the 4 December Commons debate on the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Bill.
Risks 286, 9 December 2006Fack website

Britain: Weak killing law won’t work
The draft corporate killing legislation debated in parliament on 4 December would have made no practical difference to the four major railway disasters since 1997 had it already been in place, a study for rail union RMT has found. The “corporate manslaughter” label is the only achievement the government can claim if the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Bill passes unamended, concludes the report, prepared for RMT by Thompsons Solicitors.
Risks 286, 9 December 2006

Britain: Firm fined after two lose hands
A company has been fined £175,000 for selling a grass collector which it had been warned posed a safety risk and which subsequently chopped off the hands of two workers at separate firms. Agricultural machinery firm Kubota UK was warned in 1999 that its bladed grass collector had injured a man, but continued to supply the product unaltered until it was forced to stop in May 2004.
Risks 286, 9 December 2006

Britain: Greedy boss fined over death of worker
A businessman has been called “greedy and ruthless, with no moral scruples” by a judge after a fatal workplace incident. Shaun Riley, aged 31, from Leigh, died in January 2003 after a dumper truck overturned during drainage work at Heskin Hall Farm, Heskin, Lancashire, where he had been assigned to operate a dumper truck carrying two-and-a-half tonnes of soil.
Risks 286, 9 December 2006

Britain: Blast deaths fireworks firm was fined before
Two firefighters have been killed and 12 people injured in a massive explosion at a Sussex fireworks depot whose owners had a previous conviction for safety offences. The firm was fined for storing explosives without a licence in 1999.
Risks 286, 9 December 2006

New Zealand: Reports warn of under-reporting problem
The New Zealand authorities are urging family doctors to improve their reporting of work-related diseases or injuries, and to encourage their patients to do likewise. Two reports released by the Department of Labour (DoL) detail the diseases linked to workplace exposures that have been registered with the department, and notes doctors are failing to attribute work-related ill-health to the jobs done by their patients.
Risks 285, 2 December 2006

China: Spate of mines tragedies sparks fury
China's top safety official has blasted “unscrupulous” mine owners and local officials after a string of incidents killed at least 88 miners in recent days. State media reported that an angry Li Yizhong, director of the state administration of work safety, launched the attack on the mine owners and officials in a teleconference with safety officials around the country.
Risks 285, 2 December 2006

Britain: Iceland fined after preventable accident
A Plymouth store employee was left trapped and injured when a cage fell on her in a stock room in a “preventable” accident, a court has heard. Food giant Iceland was fined £12,000 plus costs following the incident on 23 October 2005.
Risks 285, 2 December 2006

Britain: Firm fined £100,000 after worker, 21, is killed
A Chorley company has been fined £100,000 after pleading guilty to three criminal charges brought by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after the “entirely preventable” death of an employee. Pin Croft Dyeing and Printing Co Limited was also ordered to pay the £18,895 costs of the case which followed the death of 21-year-old Daryl Wayne Lloyd in a tow tractor incident.
Risks 285, 2 December 2006Hazards young workers webpages

Britain: Family’s grief after preventable site death
A family mourning the loss of a construction worker in a tragedy the workplace safety watchdog said “could easily have been prevented” have told of their grief. The family’s comments came after Christopher Lucas pleaded guilty to safety offences and was fined £15,000 at City of London Magistrates Court.
Risks 285, 2 December 2006

Britain: HSE action “too late” says grieving family
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) improvement notice came “too late”, a grieving family has said. The action to improve electrical safety on Camden council sites came two months after the electrocution of scaffolder Ralph Kennedy on a construction job.
Risks 285, 2 December 2006Hazards deadly business webpages

Poland: Rescuers confirm 23 deaths in mine blast
Mine rescue workers have confirmed 23 workers died in an underground explosion on Tuesday 23 November, making it the worst mine accident in Poland for many years. The accident happened at Halemba mine in Ruda Slaska, about 300km (190 miles) south-west of Warsaw.
Risks 284, 25 November 2006

Britain: Firms fined after railway death
Network Rail has been fined £130,000 and a sub-contractor £33,000 for the death of a worker who was hit by a train near Edinburgh in April 2005. Scotweld Employment Services and Network Rail both admitted at Edinburgh Sheriff Court breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act.
Risks 283, 18 November 2006

Britain: BT cleared over engineer’s death
BT has been cleared of safety charges brought after the 2001 death of telephone engineer Tara Whelan. The company was criticised at the 2003 inquest into the death by a coroner, the police and Ms Whelan’s union, CWU, which expressed surprise at the verdict.
Risks 283, 18 November 2006

Australia: Mine survivor insists bosses must take rap
Brant Webb, trapped with a colleague for 14 days in the Beaconfield gold mine disaster earlier this year that killed his friend Larry Knight, has called for directors to be jailed if their companies are found responsible for workplace deaths. He told a workplace safety forum: “If they made not the top management but the directors accountable for a life - so if you take a life, you go and sit inside a pen or jail for 15 years - things would change.”
Risks 281, 4 November 2006

Britain: Companies fined over sewer death
Two companies have been fined for health and safety breaches after a labourer died in a fall while on his way to work on an underground sewer. Future Environmental Services from Preston, and Bethell Construction, of Kearsley, pleaded guilty to two health and safety breaches and were fined £150,000 each plus costs.
Risks 281, 4 November 2006

Britain: Unions criticise “weasel words” sentencing cop out
Unions have said fines alone will not deter dangerous bosses. Speaking after Network Rail pleaded guilty to health and safety charges, rail unions RMT, TSSA and ASLEF and Scottish union federation STUC all called for jail terms for negligent bosses.
Risks 281, 4 November 2006

Britain: Network Rail admits crash errors
Network Rail is facing an unlimited fine after admitting health and safety breaches relating to the 1999 Ladbroke Grove rail crash with killed 31 and injured over 400. The company, which inherited liability from the now defunct Railtrack, pleaded guilty this week to charges under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
Risks 281, 4 November 2006

Britain: Multinational pays £100k for work death
A multinational firm has received a £100,000 fine and has been ordered to pay £32,607 costs following the death of an employee on a West Midlands construction site. Cementation Foundations (Skanska) Limited pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to a breach of health and safety legislation.
Risks 280, 28 October 2006

Britain: Lidl unsafe as safe falls on worker
Supermarket chain Lidl has been fined £75,000 after a 1.5 tonne safe fell on top of an employee in a London store. Merton Council prosecuted the company after a deputy manager of Lidl was seriously injured in an accident in November 2004, suffering a broken ankle, severe abdominal injuries, a split liver and damage to his pancreas and bowel.
Risks 280, 28 October 2006

Britain: Sellafield firm fined over leak
The operator of the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant has been fined £500,000 following a radioactive leak. The operator of the Cumbrian site, British Nuclear Group Sellafield Ltd, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing.
Risks 279, 21 October 2006

Britain: Corporate killing law must target bosses
Trade unions and health and safety campaigners will be seeking changes to the corporate killing bill to make dangerous bosses accountable for deadly workplace crimes. Representatives of national unions and campaign groups Families Against Corporate Killers (Fack) and the Hazards Campaign lobbied MPs ahead of the 10 October House of Commons vote on the Corporate Liability and Corporate Homicide bill.
Risks 278, 14 October 2006
FACK website

Britain: Improvements promised on work deaths law
A draft law to make companies more accountable for workplace deaths passed its latest procedural hurdle this week, with the government pledging to change the bill to make it easier to prosecute companies following fatal accidents.
Risks 278, 14 October 2006

Kazakhstan: Mittal bosses to blame for mine disaster
An explosion last month that claimed 41 lives in a Mittal-owned Kazakh mine and promoted widespread industrial action was the result of criminal safety violations by mine bosses, an official commission has found.
Risks 277, 7 October 2006

Britain: Scots continue corporate homicide pressure
The Labour conference vote in support of a beefed up corporate killing law adds weight to the Scottish campaign for stronger legislation north of the border, union body STUC has said. STUC deputy general secretary Grahame Smith said the conference decision created an “opportunity of strengthening the Westminster Bill on corporate manslaughter, particularly in holding individual directors to account if their negligent behaviour results in the death of a member of the public or a worker.”
Risks 277, 7 October 2006

Britain: Big win on key corporate safety crime vote
Company directors should made liable for the deaths of employees, the Labour Party’s annual conference has agreed. The resolution, proposed by the union TGWU and seconded by construction union UCATT, was passed despite not having the support of Labour’s national executive committee (NEC) at last week’s conference in Manchester.
Risks 277, 7 October 2006

Ukraine: Gas leak kills 13 coal miners
At least 13 miners have been killed by a deadly gas leak at a coal mine in eastern Ukraine, officials have confirmed. They said more than 60 other miners were injured in the incident at the Zasiadko mine in Donetsk on 20 September.
Risks 276, 30 September 2006

Pakistan: Journalists and their families under threat
Pakistan has reached “a new low” in its attempts to silence the press, including killing members of journalists’ families, the international journalists’ union IFJ has said. The dead includes the teenage brother of a BBC reporter, Dilawar Khan, and the child brother of slain journalist Hayatullah Khan.
Risks 276, 30 September 2006

Britain: Corporate killing lobby at Parliament 10 October
Families Against Corporate Killers (Fack) is co-ordinating a lobby outside the Houses of Parliament on 10 October calling for improvements to the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Bill to make dangerous directors accountable for workplace safety crimes.
Risks 276, 30 September 2006

Britain: Firm fined £3,500 after slurry pit death
A Gretna firm has been fined £3,500 after it admitted breaching health and safety regulations over the death of a worker at a farm near Annan, Scotland. Arthur Graham, 42, died and Brian Reilly, 23, was injured when a wall collapsed.
Risks 276, 30 September 2006

Britain: Company pays £10k after mechanic’s death
Plant hire firm Go Plant has been fined £10,250 for breaking health and safety laws following the death of a worker at a depot it had not registered with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Mechanic Alan Garner died on 1 September last year after a steel frame carrying a lorry engine fell over and hit him on the back of the head.
Risks 276, 30 September 2006

Britain: Firm fined £16,000 after fall death
A director of a painting and decorating company has been fined £16,000 with £12,153.10 costs over the death of employee Lucian Vuta who fell through a roof light. Michael McCarthy of MJM Ltd, admitted breaches of health and safety rules before Milton Keynes magistrates court.
Risks 275, 23 September 2006

Britain: Unions back call for beefed up killing law
Unions have backed a call for company directors to face the prospect of jail terms if they are implicated in workplace deaths. An Amicus resolution passed at last week’s TUC Congress in Brighton expresses concern the Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Bill introduced to parliament in July has no provisions to deal with guilty employers.
Risks 275, 23 September 2006

Britain: Labour to be told to make bosses accountable
Trade unions are to make a last-ditch attempt to persuade ministers to strengthen corporate killing laws so that negligent employers can be jailed. The Transport and General Workers Union (TGWU) has tabled a motion for next week's Labour party conference demanding changes to the corporate manslaughter bill going through parliament.
Risks 275, 23 September 2006

Global: Mines tragedies highlight deadly practices
Major mines disasters in India and Russia have highlighted the high price paid by workers in the industry.
Risks 274, 16 September 2006

Britain: Family’s fury at “misadventure” verdict
An engineer, described by colleagues as “very safety conscious”, fell to his death when he slipped and crashed through a skylight, an inquest has heard. The family of Timothy Kynaston, 50, said they were upset at the verdict of misadventure as they felt it suggested he had done something wrong by following instructions and getting on with his job.
Risks 274, 16 September 2006

Britain: Former bosses fined £200 for deadly failings
Investigations into the death of a paper mill worker uncovered “crucial failings” in risk assessment – but because the firm responsible has gone into administration, its former owners have escaped with a £200. Dean Thomas, 42, was crushed to death at the former RJ Crompton plant in Lydney, Gloucestershire, on 3 May 2003.
Risks 274, 16 September 2006

Britain: Company fined over sea death plunge
A Texas-based oil and gas multinational has been ordered to pay fines and costs totalling £290,000 after a rig worker plunged to his death into the sea off the Lancashire coast. Russell Bell, 25, died after falling 100ft into the Irish Sea in Morecambe Bay from a gas exploration platform.
Risks 274, 16 September 2006

Britain: Corporate accountability conference, Glasgow, 3 October 2006
A Centre for Corporate Accountability conference in Glasgow on 3 October “will discuss the decision by the UK government to apply its corporate manslaughter bill to Scotland - preventing the Scottish Executive from legislating on the issue itself.” The conference will also look at the role and limitations of Fatal Accident Inquiries and review claims that work-related deaths are being under-counted.
Corporate accountability for work-related deaths conference

Britain: Offshore deaths show sector ‘must do more’
The offshore industry must do more to improve the sector’s safety record, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has said. The call this week came after latest official accident figures revealed that two workers were killed and 50 suffered major injuries in 2005/06, up from no fatalities and 48 major injuries in 2004/05.
Risks 273, 9 September 2006

Britain: Worker injured after council inaction
A local authority has been fined after its failure to act on official safety warnings led to a worker being serious injured. Preston City Council was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay almost £8,000 in costs after an incident in which plumber Graham Butterworth fell 12 feet onto a concrete floor from a garage roof.
Risks 273, 9 September 2006

Palestine: Press safety body calls for Israeli targeting probe
An international press safety body has called for an investigation into the apparent targeting by the Israeli military of a clearly marked Reuters news vehicle in Gaza. After the incident in which two journalists were injured, the International News Safety Institute (INSI) called on the Israeli government to hold an immediate inquiry into the targeting incident.
Risks 272, 2 September 2006

Ireland: No room for complacency on work deaths
A short term improvement in Ireland’s workplace fatality rate does not mean there is room for complacency, a top union safety official has warned. SIPTU health and safety officer Sylvester Cronin said after a 50 per cent increase last year, they “are just getting back to a very bad old level.”
Risks 272, 2 September 2006

China: New resources to tackle work deaths
China is to spend nearly US$60bn (£31.6bn) over the next five years in a bid to improve safety in industrial workplaces, according to state media. The five-year plan on workplace security, the first of its kind, will particularly target the coal mining industry, Xinhua news agency said.
Risks 272, 2 September 2006

Global: Lord Browne ordered to testify in BP deaths case
Injured workers and families of those killed in an explosion at BP's Texas City refinery last year scored a court victory this week when a judge ordered the London-based company's top two executives to give depositions in the case. A Texas State Court ordered that Lord John Browne, the London-based head of BP’s global operations, must testify in litigation related to a fatal March 2005 accident at the Texas refinery.
Risks 272, 2 September 2006 Hazards BP webpages

Britain: Severed fingers point to dangerous practices
Two incidents in two months where workers had fingers severed at a London food firm have prompted a union to call a 9 September meeting of the mainly Asian workforce. GMB says the meeting of Katsouris Fresh Foods “will plan a campaign to force Katsouris to improve the safety” at three sites employing 2,500 workers.
Risks 272, 2 September 2006

Britain: CPS must explain death case inaction
Parents seeking justice after the death of their teenage son, killed in his first week at work, have won a major court victory. In a case backed by the union GMB, legal action by Peter and Anthea Dennis after the death of Daniel, 17, means the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) will now have to explain in court why it failed to charge their son's employer with manslaughter.
Risks 272, 2 September 2006

USA: Deadly BP gets a visible reminder
A billboard just a block away from the main entrance to BP’s Texas City plant commemorates two workers, Raymundo C Gonzalez Jr and Leonard Maurice Moore Jr, who were gravely injured when a pipe ruptured at the plant on 2 September 2004, both succumbing to their injuries in the following weeks.
USMWF report and websiteMore on BP’s safety record

Britain: Safety chief says penalties must increase
Employers should face heavier fines for health and safety offences, Bill Callaghan, chair of the Health and Safety Commission (HSC), has told the Cabinet Office. The watchdog said the number of people killed at work in 2004/05 fell by 5 per cent to a record low of 212, with the rate of deaths per 100,000 employees was also the lowest ever at 0.71, however fatality rates increased in manufacturing and the extractive industries.
Risks, 271, 26 August 2006

Britain: TGWU says directors should face jail
General union TGWU has said stronger laws and enforcement are necessary to make dangerous employers take safety seriously. TGWU general secretary Tony Woodley, commenting on latest fatality figures from the Health and Safety Commission (HSC), said: “Unless directors realistically face the prospect of jail when their negligence causes death, the culture in certain industries will never change.”
Risks, 271, 26 August 2006

Britain: Site deaths still at over one every week
Construction union UCATT has called for directors to be held responsible for safety breaches to end the complacency “rife” in the industry. Provisional figures on fatal injuries to workers in construction during 2005/06 put the toll at 59 deaths, down by 10 on 2004/05.
Risks, 271, 26 August 2006

Britain: Union dismay at Scots fatality figures
Unions in Scotland have expressed disappointment at the latest Health and Safety Executive (HSE) fatal accident figures. STUC said the figures “reveal Scotland still has, yet again, witnessed a higher fatal injury rate than other countries and regions in Britain.”
Risks, 271, 26 August 2006

Britain: Waste firm fined £2,500 after worker injury
A Croydon-based waste management company has been ordered to pay nearly £5,500 in fines and costs after employee Daniel Bonnell had his foot crushed by a tractor. Viridor Waste Management was fined £2,500 and ordered to pay £2,914 in court costs after pleading guilty to two health and safety charges.
Risks, 271, 26 August 2006

Britain: Imerys admits charges after near electrocution
China clay giant Imerys has been fined £5,000 for a breach in safety regulations which put workers’ lives at risk. The charges related to an incident last December when an articulated lorry drove through live overhead power cables, pulling them to the ground.
Risks, 271, 26 August 2006

USA: Community service for double homicide
The former president of a US water and sewer company convicted of the double homicide of two workers has been sentenced to seven years on probation and 840 hours of community service.
Risks 270, 19 August 2006

Korea: Union member beaten to death
Workers taking industrial action over poor safety and employment conditions at a construction firm in South Korea have been beaten and jailed. Global construction union federation BWI says the number in jail now exceeds 100, with dozens now on hunger strike.
Risks 270, 19 August 2006

Britain: Grieving dad calls for justice for his son
A grieving dad from Port Talbot is backing a national campaign to have company bosses hauled into court following deaths in the workplace. Mike Hutinm who lost his 20-year-old son Andrew in a Corus blast furnace disaster, has joined forces with other people from across Britain who have lost loved ones in industrial accidents to form Families Against Corporate Killers (Fack).
Families Against Corporate Killers (Fack) website.
Hazards young workers health and safety webpages.

Risks 270, 19 August 2006

Britain: Life is still cheap at work
Recent seven figure fines for serious safety breaches have captured the headlines, but the price paid for killing a worker can often be considerably lower. Fines can be only a few thousand pounds and only a minority of workplace fatalities result in any safety prosecution.
Risks 270, 19 August 2006

Britain: Union push for Scots corporate killing law
TGWU Scotland says it will campaign for a Scottish corporate killing law that includes duties on both companies and their directors. It says Home Office proposals are welcome, but are flawed because they do not address the issue of director culpability.
Risks 270, 19 August 2006

Britain: Boss goes free after manslaughter verdict
The owner of a stone-cutting company has received a suspended sentence after been convicted of the manslaughter of a 22-year-old employee. Michael Shaw, managing director of Change of Style, bypassed vital safety equipment on a stone-cutting machine.
Risks 269, 12 August 2006

Britain: Roofer pays £5,750 for risky roofing
A Widnes roofer who ignored safety and first aid laws and who was operating without the legally required insurance cover has been fined £3,750 and £2,000 costs.
Risks 268, 5 August 2006

Britain: Firm fined after worker suffers broken back
A construction firm has been fined £35,000 and ordered to pay £12,860 costs after mortar tubs fell on a self-employed worker, breaking his back. Colin Beamish fractured his spine in three places while on a building site near Huntingdon in March 2005.
Risks 268, 5 August 2006

Britain: Five figure fine after near fatal fall
A Birmingham firm has been fined £10,000 after an employee was seriously injured in a fall and “could easily have died”. John Fogarty fell over five metres onto a concrete floor while repairing a leaking warehouse roof.
Risks 268, 5 August 2006

Britain: UCATT warning after crane deaths “accident”
Construction union UCATT has warned that without adequate workplace risk assessments workers’ lives will be in jeopardy. The warning came after an inquest jury delivered verdicts of accidental death into the deaths of two men who plummeted to their deaths after an inexperienced workman loosened the bolts to a 100ft crane.
Risks 268, 5 August 2006

New Zealand: Action call as work deaths increase
The New Zealand government is calling on all businesses and workers to make health and safety improvements in the workplace a key priority this year. This follows workplace deaths investigated by the Department of Labour rising to 65 in the year ended June 2006.
Risks 267, 29 July 2006

Global: More profits, more deaths at BP
As the media oozed praise for global oil giant BP this week on the announcement of record quarterly profits, another BP statistic went largely unmentioned. A US contract worker became the firm’s latest casualty, killed at the same BP Texas City plant where 15 died in an explosion last year.
Risks 267, 29 July 2006More on BP’s safety record

Britain: Roller death brings £75,000 fine
A plant hire firm has been fined £75,000 after one of its Plymouth employees was killed while loading a roller on to a lorry. Ashtead Plant Hire Company Ltd, commonly known as A-Plant, was also ordered to pay £18,500 costs by a judge at Plymouth Crown Court.
Risks 267, 29 July 2006

Britain: Michelin fined £100,000 for mangling hand
Tyre firm Michelin has been fined £100,000 and ordered to pay costs of £12,500 after an employee’s hand was mangled in a machine from which the guard had been removed. The firm pleaded guilty to a breach of the work equipment regulations at Stoke on Trent Crown Court.
Risks 267, 29 July 2006

Britain: HSE faces probe call in Shell deaths case
Offshore union Amicus has called for an investigation into the workings of the Health and Safety Executive’s offshore division, alleging the safety watchdog failed to take action which could have prevented two deaths on Shell’s Brent Bravo platform.
Risks 267, 29 July 2006

Britain: Warning on flawed corporate killing bill
Unions and safety campaigners have warned that the corporate manslaughter bill does not go far enough. A spokesperson for campaign group Families Against Corporate Killers (Fack) said: “This bill is not fit for purpose and will not have any major effect in deterring negligent employers from injuring and killing people as it does not carry the threat of imprisonment for gross negligence.”
Risks 267, 29 July 2006

Britain: Scots fury over corporate killing plan
Trade union leaders in Scotland have reacted angrily to plans for UK-wide legislation on corporate killing, claiming the proposed bill does not go far enough. The Home Office says the new corporate manslaughter bill would also be introduced as a corporate homicide law in Scotland, which would mean a much weaker law than that proposed by a Scottish expert group.
Risks 267, 29 July 2006

Britain: Hatfield report criticises firms
A final report into the Hatfield rail crash has found engineering firm Balfour Beatty failed to manage track inspection and maintenance at the site. Railtrack, which then controlled infrastructure, did not effectively manage Balfour Beatty's work, added the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR).
Risks 267, 29 July 2006

Britain: Blast highlights Conoco Phillips safety concerns
News that two workers at a Teesside oil plant have been left fighting for their lives after a flash fire has led to concerns about the safety record of oil multinational Conoco Phillips. The men received first degree electrical burns in the fire at the site at Seal Sands, Middlesbrough.
Risks 267, 29 July 2006

Britain: Prosecution of the police following Menezes' shooting
The Crown Prosecution Service has announced it intends to prosecute the Metropolitan Police Commissioner for offences under the Health and Safety at Work Act following an investigation of the circumstances surrounding the shooting death of Jean Charles de Menezes. The decision to prosecute the police under the Health and Safety at Work Act has been widely criticised, not only by the family of Mr de Menezes, but also by safety campaigners who feel that this is a completely inappropriate use of the Act.
Risks 266, 22 July 2006

Britain: Shell criticised following oil deaths
The oil company Shell has been strongly criticised in the Sheriff court by failing to prevent the deaths of two men on the Brent level platform. The Sheriff said the deaths could have been prevented and the risk had been properly assessed, leading HSE’s Ian Whewell, head of the its offshore division, to comment: “The HSE believes the industry can, and should, do better.”
Risks 266, 22 July 2006

Britain: Corporate manslaughter bill published
The government has finally introduced its proposed corporate manslaughter bill into parliament with a view to it becoming law in the current session. The bill, which was published on Friday 21 July, is little different from what most safety campaigners expected and contains no new directors’ duties.
Risks 266, 22 July 2006

Britain: Four prosecutions and almost a funeral
A firm fined four times in its six year history for criminal safety breaches came close to killing a man in the latest incident. Sonae (UK) Limited was fined £70,000 and ordered to pay £77,046 costs at Liverpool Crown Court following a fire and dust explosion.
Risks 265, 15 July 2006

Britain: Families unite against work killers
Relatives of people killed at work have created a new national campaigning group to push for justice for safety crimes. Fack – families against corporate killers – will campaign to stop workers and others being killed in preventable incidents and will direct bereaved families to sources of support.
Risks 265, 15 July 2006

Canada: Union wants charges against death firm
A union federation in Quebec, Canada, is demanding a killer company face charges. The Quebec Federation of Labour (QFL) says Transpave, a company in St-Eustache that makes concrete blocks for patios, should be brought before the courts.
Risks 264, 8 July 2006

Britain: Anger at reduced fine for Hatfield disaster
Unions have reacted with the dismay to the Court of Appeal decision to reduce the £10 million fine imposed on Balfour Beatty for criminal safety offences related to the Hatfield rail crash.
Risks 264, 8 July 2006

Britain: Hatfield crash fine cut to £7.5m
Engineering firm Balfour Beatty has had the £10 million fine for its part in the 2000 Hatfield train crash cut to £7.5m. The record-breaking fine was reduced by the Court of Appeal after defence lawyers argued that it was excessive.
Risks 264, 8 July 2006

Britain: Union wants inquiry into firefighter deaths
Firefighters’ union FBU has called for an independent investigation into the deaths of two firefighters. The union and the bereaved families hit out after a jury, following a 10-day inquest, decided last month that the pair had died because of a lack of water and communication failures.
Risks 264, 8 July 2006

Britain: Site blitz leads to mass stoppages
A one-day construction site safety inspection blitz by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has resulted in 17 work stoppages on 19 sites visited. On 19 June HSE inspectors visited 19 sites in Grimsby and Cleethorpes and issued the prohibition notices stopping work immediately because people were at risk of falling and sustaining serious, if not fatal, injuries.
Risks 263, 1 July 2006

Britain: Shell accused over oil rig safety
Shell has been plunged into a major safety scandal with a senior consultant to the company revealed maintenance documents had been falsified and safety procedures ignored in the North Sea. The revelations, which have led to calls from oil and gas unions for the Department of Trade and Industry to examine Shell’s licence to operate, come from Bill Campbell, a former senior Shell engineer, who alleges that Shell allowed the pursuit of greater oil and gas production to compromise safety.
Risks 263, 1 July 2006

Britain: STUC says take safety crimes seriously
Taking money from a business is treated far more seriously than when a business takes someone’s life or health, STUC has said. STUC health and safety officer Ian Tasker said: “We have to ask why a crime of fraud attracts a 10 year penalty while employers who kill or maim their workers do not even end up in court”.
Risks 263, 1 July 2006

USA: Boss guilty for double homicide
A US company boss has been found guilty of double homicide after the deaths of two employees. Brent Weidman, the former president of Far West Water and Sewer Company, was found guilty by a jury of two counts of negligent homicide and two counts of endangerment in the deaths in 2001 of 26-year-old James Gamble and 62-year-old Gary Lanser.
Risks 262, 24 June 2006

Britain: HSE agrees to retain offences records
A Health and Safety Executive policy which required the removal of “naming-and-shaming” records from its prosecutions and notices database has been reversed after concerns were raised by unions and safety campaigners. TUC-backed health and safety journal Hazards first called for the end of the deletion of records more than five years old in January this year.
Risks 262, 24 June 2006Total suck up, Hazards magazine, No.93, Jan-March 2006.

Britain: CWU calls for higher deaths penalties
The government must introduce corporate manslaughter laws and stringent directors’ safety duties if it is to make dangerous employers think twice before putting their staff in danger, communications union CWU has said. The union call came after Royal Mail and its facilities management spin-off Romec Ltd were fined a total of £250,000 and ordered to pay costs totalling £47,000 after Romec engineer and CWU member Ian Dicker, 47, fell to his death through a fragile skylight at the West London Mail Centre in July 2003.
Risks 262, 24 June 2006

Japan: Government sued for asbestos neglect
Asbestos victims are suing the Japanese government following what they say has been decades of neglect in dealing with a known health hazard. In the first group lawsuit against the government over asbestos, the eight plaintiffs say the government is responsible for their suffering because it took no action against factories that produced or used asbestos, despite being fully aware nearly 70 years ago of asbestos-related health problems.
Risks 259, 3 June 2006

China: Bankers arrested over mine deaths
Two bankers were arrested for their alleged links to a coal mine accident in northern China that left at least 57 miners missing and feared dead. The official Xinhua news agency reports at least 15 officials have been arrested, including two from the Zuoyun county branch of the Agricultural Bank of China, who are suspected of “responsibility” in the accident.
Risks 259, 3 June 2006 ICEM in brief

Australia: Strike threat over unsafe laws
There could be widespread strike action in Australia in response to severely curtailed legal safety rights, a top union leader has warned. Bill Shorten, national secretary of the Australian Workers Union (AWU), has accused the federal government of paying lip service to health and safety standards in the workplace, while eroding union safety rights as part of a package of industrial relations reforms.
Risks 259, 3 June 2006

Australia: Bosses hide deadly evidence
Companies in Australia are using new anti-union laws to keep unsafe conditions and workplace accidents, including fatalities, under wraps. In the latest incident, an Australia Post-owned warehouse has blocked union access to a site following a fatal forklift accident.
Risks 259, 3 June 2006

Britain: Firm pays £60,000 for pelvic injuries
A construction firm has been fined £60,000 after a worker’s pelvis was shattered in a site incident, with the injury leading to constant paid and chronic health problems. London firm Byrne Brothers was also ordered to pay £12,026 costs, with Judge Richard Hone telling them he wanted to hit the shareholders as well as the company.
Risks 259, 3 June 2006

Britain: Firm fined £7,000 after employee loses fingers
A Shawclough company has been fined £7,000 after a worker lost three fingers in a horrific accident. Eurofabs (UK) Ltd was also ordered to pay £1,588 costs after being prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
Risks 259, 3 June 2006

Britain: Death gets £20,000 fine
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is warning companies to ensure that adequate precautions are being taken to prevent injuries from workplace transport accidents following a fatality involving a skip delivery vehicle.
Risks 259, 3 June 2006

Britain: Driver crushed while repairing bus lights
A London bus driver was crushed to death after a “bendy” bus rolled into him, an inquest has heard. Although Michael Hallinan, 54, was killed while working, his death will not be included in the Health and Safety Executive’s work-related fatalities column, but will be recorded as a road traffic accident.
Risks 258, 27 May 2006

Britain: Disbelief as Balfour Beatty challenges safety fine
Rail union ASLEF has responding angrily to Balfour Beatty’s court challenge to the £10m fine imposed last year for its part in the October 2000 Hatfield train disaster in which four people died and 102 were injured.
Risks 258, 27 May 2006

Britain: Builder fails in bid to get out of jail
A builder will have to serve a jail term after an employee plunged 30ft to his death from a crane, a court has ruled. Appeal court judges upheld the manslaughter conviction handed to Wayne Davies who was jailed for 18 months in January on charges relating to the death in 2004 of Mark Jones.
Risks 257, 20 May 2006

Britain: Balfour Beatty appeals record Hatfield fine
A £10m fine imposed on engineering firm Balfour Beatty over the Hatfield rail crash for one of the “worst examples” of safety negligence was “excessive”, defence lawyers have argued in the Court of Appeal. Old Bailey judge Mr Justice Mackay said at the October trial the company's failure to abide by safety rules was “one of the worst examples of sustained industrial negligence in a high risk industry I have ever seen.”
Risks 257, 20 May 2006

Britain: Firms fined £350k after worker is crushed
Two construction companies have been fined a total of £350,000 after a worker was crushed to death at a development of luxury flats in London. Foreman Jack Tangney, 29, had been guiding a crane operator as he lifted a huge wooden shutter into place, even though he was unqualified for the job, the Old Bailey heard.
Risks 257, 20 May 2006

Britain: Inquest verdict sparks investigation review
Authorities have said they are to reconsider evidence into the death of two workers in a factory fire, following an inquest jury's open verdict. The families of Chris Mead and Martin Butler were disappointed that no prosecutions had been made following the devastating fire at the Anvil Alloys International factory in Whittlesey.
Risks 257, 20 May 2006

Britain: Lidl fined £50k for safety offences
Lidl supermarket has been fined £50,000 after two workers were seriously injured. The firm was charged with two breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act which left two delivery drivers unable to work.
Risks 257, 20 May 2006

Britain: Britain’s deadly waste industry kills again
A 66-year-old man has died after being hit by a bin lorry in North Tyneside, the latest in a disastrous series of deaths blighting the industry. HSE in March warned that there had been a massive upturn in waste industry deaths affecting workers and members of the public, with the total for the year up from two deaths in 2001/02 to double figures last year.
Risks 256, 13 May 2006

Australia: Did profit undermine gold mine safety?
Miners and union leaders in Australia have blamed managers keen to exploit rising gold prices for a Tasmanian mine collapse that left two men trapped a kilometre below ground for 14 days and one miner dead. Several miners said that mine managers had failed to leave enough of the deeper levels unexploited to provide support.
Risks 256, 13 May 2006

Britain: Firm fined £150,000 after worker's death
A Birmingham firm that admitted breaches of health and safety rules following the death of a worker has been fined £150,000. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) brought the case at Birmingham Crown Court after the death of Ian Milligan, who worked for Clifton Steel Limited.
Risks 256, 13 May 2006

Britain: Company fined over horrific drill accident
A construction company is facing a fines and cost bill of £50,000 for breaching health and safety regulations after an employee suffered horrific injuries at a site in Enfield.
Risks 256, 13 May 2006

USA: Union report reveals work deaths increase
The rate of fatal injuries in US workplaces has increased for the first time in a decade, according to a new report from national union federation AFL-CIO. ‘Death on the job’ reveals the reported rates of workplace fatalities rose overall and the reported rates of illnesses and injury declined slightly.
AFL-CIO news releaseDeath on the job: The toll of neglect - A national and state-by-state profile of worker safety and health in the United StatesRisks 255, 6 May 2006

Britain: Corus investigated after another death
The police and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are investigating the latest death at a Corus steel plant in Port Talbot. A father-of-two who was injured in the 2001 explosion at the south Wales plant died in hospital after falling into molten waste. Corus said Kevin Downey, 49, was “instrumental” in helping to tackle the 2001 incident in which three workers died.
Risks 255, 6 May 2006Recent safety offences at Corus – Hazards website

USA: Inspectors save lives – if you let them
Official safety inspectors can do lifesaving work – but only where they are allowed to do their job. Safety inspectors stopped work on a construction site immediately before a building collapsed and lives were saved; a safety inspector was blocked from shutting part of a hazardous coalmine and lives were lost.
Risks 254, 29 April 2006

USA: Report calls for action on corporate killers
A major US health and safety group has launched a national campaign against killer employers. A National Council on Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH) “dirty dozen” report launched the campaign and highlighted 12 companies that it says have been guilty of serious safety violations, including the firms responsible for the Texas City refinery explosion (BP) and the Sago mine disaster (ICG) which between them killed 27 workers.
Risks 254, 29 April 2006

Australia: Lives wasted, bosses escape punishment
Australian companies and their directors convicted of safety breaches as a result of workplace deaths and other serious accidents owe almost Aus$5 million (£2m) in unpaid fines imposed by New South Wales (NSW) courts.
Risks 254, 29 April 2006

Britain: Balfour Beatty hasn’t paid deaths fine
Balfour Beatty, the company fined a record £10 million last year for negligence over the Hatfield rail crash has not paid a single penny into court - almost six years after the disaster and over six months after is was found guilty.
Risks 254, 29 April 2006

Britain: Six figure fine for metal firm death
A Birmingham company has been fined £150,000 and £11,722 costs after employee Akhtar Zaman, died as a result of a poorly planned work process. Joseph Ash (Galvanizing) Limited pleaded guilty to three breaches of health and safety legislation in a case brought by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
HSE news releaseRisks 254, 29 April 2006

Britain: Massive bonuses for rail death bosses
Bosses of the engineering giant Balfour Beatty have been accused by rail union RMT of “dancing on the graves of the dead” after the company revealed they received £600,000 in bonuses. The awards were dished out in the same year that the firm was fined £10 million after it admitted breaching safety standards prior to the Hatfield train disaster in 2000 which claimed four lives.
Risks 253, 22 April 2006

Britain: Dismay at Scots corporate killing inaction
The failure of Scottish justice minister Cathy Jamieson to give an assurance she would act to jail bosses for workplace deaths has caused dismay among some trades unionists and safety campaigners.
Risks 253, 22 April 2006

Bangladesh: Deadly garment factories “must improve”
Urgent action is necessary to protect workers in Bangladesh’s deadly garment trade, campaigners have said. Union groups and labour rights activists including the Clean Clothes Campaign made the call on the 11 April anniversary of the collapse of the Spectrum Sweater factory fire, in which is now thought over 60 workers died and dozens more were injured.
Risks 252, 15 April 2006

Britain: Power plant must pay £100k over worker death
A power station where a worker plunged 70ft to his death has been ordered to pay almost £100,000 in fines and costs. Andrew Bason, 42, died when the staircase on which he was working at Eggborough Power Station came away from a landing and collapsed.
Risks 252, 15 April 2006

Britain: Troubled death firm may escape big fine
The firm that employed a 21-year-old agricultural worker who crashed and died while driving home after working three consecutive 19½-hour shifts may escape a “significant” fine because it is on the verge of going out of business. Potato distribution firm The Produce Connection, of Chittering, Cambs, admitted failing to ensure the health of workers and the public.
Risks 252, 15 April 2006

Britain: Scottish unions push for work deaths law
Trade union leaders in Scotland have increased the pressure on ministers to make new laws on corporate killing a top priority. And Justice minister Cathy Jamieson has said she expected progress to be made before Holyrood's summer break.
Risks 252, 15 April 2006

Britain: Family challenges CPS on teen work death
The family of a South Wales teenager killed at work is attempting with union backing to take the Crown Prosecution Service to court for failing to bring manslaughter charges. Over a year after an inquest unlawful killing verdict, the CPS has still not brought forward charges so the family's trade union, the GMB, has instructed Thompsons Solicitors to apply for a judicial review.
Risks 251, 8 April 2006

Spain: Special prosecutor for safety criminals
A special public prosecutor has been appointed in Spain to pursue workplace health and safety criminals. Juan Manuel Oña Navarro’s national role will involve coordinating and promoting public prosecution of occupational health and safety related crimes.
Risks 250, 1 April 2006

Britain: Tragic lessons must be learned, say unions
The lessons of the Morecambe Bay cocklepickers tragedy must not be forgotten, unions have warned. They are calling for rigorous enforcement of the new gangmaster regulations and warn that extending safety laws must also be effectively enforced to protect all vulnerable workers.
Risks 250, 1 April 2006

Britain: Cockler gangmaster gets 14 years
A gangmaster who left 21 cockle pickers to drown in rising tides at Morecambe Bay has been jailed for 14 years. Chinese-born Lin Liang Ren, 29, from Liverpool, was convicted at Preston Crown Court of manslaughter.
Risks 250, 1 April 2006

Britain: Train drivers push criminal suits case
Fifty members of the train drivers’ union ASLEF leafleted Paddington Station on 28 March to protest at the government’s failure to introduce meaningful corporate manslaughter laws. ASLEF general secretary Keith Norman said: “Just because they commit their crime in a suit doesn’t make them innocent.”
Risks 250, 1 April 2006

Britain: Support group pushes for Stockline inquiry
An STUC-backed support group is now pressing for an public inquiry into the 2004 Stockline explosion in which nine died. The group says that “only through an open public inquiry will the victims, and relatives of the victims, be provided with a full explanation of the causes of the deaths and injuries.”
Risks 249, 25 March 2006

Britain: Company fined £35k after worker is killed by spike
A construction company has been fined £35,000 after one of its workers died when he was impaled on a spike. Supervisor Willie Hume, 60, died in hospital after falling on to the metal spike while working at an old hospital site in Edinburgh in July last year.
Risks 249, 25 March 2006

Global: Deaths trim bonus of UK’s best paid boss
Britain’s best paid boss has seen his annual bonus trimmed back to just £1.75m as a result of workplace fatalities at the firm reaching a six year high. The performance bonus of Lord John Browne, chief executive of London-based BP, has been cut as a result of a six year record 27 deaths at BP facilities worldwide.
Risks 249, 25 March 2006

Britain: Jail terms after Tebay rail track deaths
Unions have welcomed the jailing of a railway boss after the death of four workers, but have voiced concerns that it is only small companies and individual workers that need fear prison terms.
Risks 249, 25 March 2006

Britain: Firms fined after tractor death
Two firms have been fined after a Blackburn man was killed by a tractor while working outside a Toyota car plant. Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector David Jordan said the vehicle’s blind spot could have been remedied by fitting closed circuit TV or convex mirrors.
Risks 248, 18 March 2006

Mexico: Mine kills, government attacks union
Mexico’s government has responded to a union charge that the deaths of 65 miners was “industrial homicide” by replacing the leader of the national miners’ union and freezing the union’s assets. The government action came on the heels of a two day strike by Los Mineros which shut down most of the nation’s mines and was followed by a 7 March demonstration which saw more than 20,000 union workers march through downtown Mexico City.
Risks 247, 11 March 2006

China: New five year plan for safer workplaces
China’s authorities want to see the country’s lamentable workplace accident rate fall by a third by 2010. A draft five year plan submitted to the country's legislature for examination and approval commits the country to make greater efforts to promote workplace safety in the next five years.
Risks 247, 11 March 2006

Bangladesh: Factory deaths ‘nothing short of murder’
There must be an urgent independent enquiry into the tragedies that have engulfed Bangladesh’s textile and clothing industry as well as immediate action to protect the safety of workers in the sector, a global union federation has demanded.
Risks 247, 11 March 2006

Britain: Waste industry wastes yet more workers
Nine fatalities in eight weeks have prompted the Health and Safety Executive to issue a safety alert to the waste and recycling industry. The recent spate of deaths could be clear evidence that HSE’s support for a self-regulatory voluntary approach, increasingly preferred to inspection and enforcement, has been a dangerous flop.
Risks 247, 11 March 2006

Britain: Reforms to corporate manslaughter bill agreed
The government has agreed to make it easier to prosecute companies accused of corporate manslaughter. A statement from home office minister, Fiona Mactaggart put the government's response to the joint report on the draft manslaughter corporate bill, published by the Home Affairs and Work and Pensions Committee on 20 December, before parliament.
Risks 247, 11 March 2006

Britain: Welcome for corporate killing progress
Unions and campaigners have welcomed progress on the government’s corporate manslaughter bill. TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “We are pleased that ministers have listened to concerns over the way that the original Bill focused overly on failures by senior managers and will instead now look for ways of broadening the basis for liability within an organisation.”
Risks 247, 11 March 2006

Britain: Law must give bad employers no hiding place
A new report has warned that dangerous employers will continue to evade punishment unless fundamental changes are made to the government’s corporate manslaughter bill. Report author Dave Whyte, a criminologist at Stirling University, urges the government to discount claims by employers’ groups that beefing up our safety laws would see many companies packing up their bags and departing from our shores.
Risks 247, 11 March 2006

Mexico: Mine rescue abandoned, 65 presumed dead
There is no chance of survival for 65 miners trapped underground in northern Mexico since a Sunday 19 February explosion, the coal mine owners admitted this week. Grupo Mexico said tests of air in the mine showed there was not enough oxygen for anyone to survive.
Risks 246, 4 March 2006

Bangladesh: Factory deaths spur angry protests
Safety strikes and protests in Bangladesh have been prompted by two new tragedies in the country’s deadly garment sector. Last week two incidents claimed at least 73 lives, with at least 150 others injured. The Bangladesh Garment Workers Trade Union Centre (BGWTUC) organised the 2 March strike action.
Risks 246, 4 March 2006

Britain: Pilot scheme allows families to tell court of their suffering
The families of murder and manslaughter victims will be allowed to speak out in court for the first time about the impact of the death on their lives under a pilot scheme which gets under way in April in five crown courts in England and Wales. TUC head of safety Hugh Robertson said: “It is crucial that relatives bereaved by workplace tragedies are included in this new scheme and get a right to address the court.”
Risks 246, 4 March 2006

USA: Digging up new ways to kill miners
Lax safety enforcement and roof collapses and explosions are not the only deadly factors in US mines. Official hearings last week heard Mike Wright, health and safety director of the steelworkers’ union USW, testify about the business-friendly administration's proposal to delay for five years implementation of a regulation that would reduce mine workers’ risk of getting cancer or heart disease from exposure to diesel fumes.
Risks 245, 25 February 2006

China: Economic liberalisation leads to more hazards
Safety standards in China’s workplaces are falling because liberalisation of the economy has seen state safety regulators take a back seat. As the country began to move towards a market economy in the early 1980s, the government's role in ensuring workplace safety was gradually transferred to companies.
Risks 245, 25 February 2006

Britain: Stockline to be prosecuted over factory deaths
The owners of a Glasgow factory in which nine people died when it exploded in 2004 are to be prosecuted, the Crown Office has confirmed. Officials said ICL Plastics, the owners of the Stockline factory, would face High Court action over alleged breaches of health and safety law.
Risks 245, 25 February 2006

Britain: AEA Technology fined for radioactive lorry leak
A firm responsible for a radioactive leak from a lorry for more than 100 miles has been fined £250,000. The vehicle, which travelled from Yorkshire to the Sellafield nuclear plant in Cumbria, leaked radioactive material for 130 miles, a court heard.
Risks 245, 25 February 2006

Britain: Prosecution after Corus explosion deaths
Corus is to face prosecution by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an investigation into a fatal blast furnace explosion in 2001. Three workers were killed and another nine were badly injured at the Port Talbot steelworks.
Risks 244, 18 February 2006

Britain: Gassed workers victims of “unlawful killing”
Two workers gassed to death in a workplace pit in June 2004 were the victims of “unlawful killing”, an inquest has ruled. After a four-day hearing at Hereford Town Hall, the jury said that Stuart Jordan and Richard Clarkson - the two employees of metal refining plant Bodycote HIP who died when lethal gas leaked into their work area – died as a result of “gross negligence” in the way the company enforced safety standards.
Risks 244, 18 February 2006

Britain: Death by deregulation protest, London, 14 February
A Valentine’s day protest organised by the Hazards Campaign will highlight the dangers of any retreat from regulation and enforcement of workplace health and safety laws.
Hazards Campaign Valentine’s Day protest

Britain: Bereaved to have more rights at inquests
Bereaved families are to get more rights at inquests in England and Wales, the government has said. Constitutional affairs minister Harriet Harman told MPs the coroner system could be “much, much better” adding that inquests today are held amid a fragmented, unaccountable and archaic system.
Risks 243, 11 February 2006

Britain: Are directors getting on board?
Are company directors taking any notice of the Health and Safety Executive’s exhortation that firms assign directorial responsibility for safety to a board director? A new report for HSE says the percentage reporting health and safety is directed at board level has risen from 58 per cent in 2001 to 66 per cent in 2003 and 79 per cent in 2005, with the majority saying defining duties in law would be useful.
Risks 243, 11 February 2006

Britain: Less than £100 would have saved a life
The death of worker who was crushed at a packaging firm could have been prevented by spending less than £100, a court has heard. Lincolnshire packaging company DS Smith Packaging Ltd was fined £75,000 after worker Colin Blades, 34, was dragged into a machine and crushed to death.
Risks 243, 11 February 2006

Britain: Waste sector wastes another life
Another fatal accident has hit the notoriously dangerous waste management sector. A 52-year-old man from London, who has not yet been named by the authorities, was hit by a vehicle at the Eversley waste transfer station in Hampshire on Thursday 2 February.
Risks 243, 11 February 2006

USA: Why treat workplace killers differently?
What's the most powerful and underutilised legal tool in combating corporate crime and violence? The law making it a crime to kill another person, says newsletter Focus on the Corporation.
Risks 243, 11 February 2006

USA: Criminal probe takes shape over BP blast
Civil and criminal investigations of BP appear to be heating up in the US, 10 months after the March 23 explosion at its Texas City refinery. FBI agents and criminal investigators from the Environmental Protection Agency have begun exploring whether criminal wrongdoing on the part of the company or its managers could have caused the blast.
Risks 242, 4 February 2006

Britain: Sign here to stop deaths in the workplace!
Dorothy Wright’s son, Mark, was killed on 12 April 2005 “following an explosion and fire at work caused by the employer's total disregard for health and safety.” Dorothy is not willing to allow his death go unremarked and has launched an online petition, ‘Stop deaths in the workplace’.
Risks 242, 4 February 2006

Bangladesh: Does the garment sector have a death wish?
The history of deadly incidents in the Bangladesh ready-made garment sector suggests it has a “death wish”, global union federation ITGLWF has told authorities.
Risks 241, 28 January 2006

Ghana: Move to end night excrement work
A Ghanaian lawyer is trying to ban the employment of “night soil” collectors, who dispose of human waste in pans that they carry on their heads.
Risks 241, 28 January 2006

Singapore: Tougher safety penalties introduced
Dangerous companies and their bosses are to face harsher penalties under a law passed last week by the Singapore parliament. The new Workplace Safety and Health Bill comes into force in March.
Risks 241, 28 January 2006

USA: No safety watchdog, no safety, no chance
The two Florida waste treatment plant workers who were killed this month in a methanol tank explosion were not protected by any official US safety law or safety watchdog. Bills are raised each year in Congress to remedy the lack of public sector oversight, but their passage is consistently blocked by Republicans.
Risks 241, 28 January 2006

Britain: Boss jailed over worker’s death
Wayne Davies, a building firm boss who showed a “total contempt” for safety has been jailed for 18 months for the manslaughter of an employee who plunged 30ft to his death.
Risks 241, 28 January 2006

Britain: Haulage boss jailed after death crash
A haulage firm boss has been jailed for offences which came to light after two lorry drivers were killed in a head-on collision in Wiltshire. Raymond Knapman, from Paignton in Devon, was sentenced to two-and-half years at Winchester Crown Court.
Risks 241, 28 January 2006

Britain: Top boss slammed for bid to blame the victims
A business lobby group has claimed a corporate crime law will be bad for business in Scotland and that deaths anyway are more likely to be caused by careless or workers under the influence than by negligent bosses. David Watt, head of the Institute of Directors (IoD) in Scotland, said the majority of accidents were caused by “human error at a lower level” and were “more likely to be attributable to alcohol than by individuals acting in a corrupt and homicidal manner”.
Risks 241, 28 January 2006

Global: Union action call as 150 journalists die in 2005
The killing of 150 media workers worldwide in 2005 highlights the need for urgent action, UK journalists’ union NUJ has said. NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear was speaking at the launch of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) annual report on killing in the media.
Risks 241, 28 January 2006

Global: Coal mines killing workers worldwide
Tragedies in China’s coal mines are featured in the global press with remorseless frequency. But corner cutting and the search for cheap power are leading to deaths in mines elsewhere.
Risks 240, 21 January 2006

Global: Shipbreaking hazards a major concern
The dispatch of the asbestos-laden aircraft carrier Clemenceau from France to the world's largest ship graveyard on India's west coast for scrapping has focused new attention on the human and environmental dangers of shipbreaking. While breaking ships and selling off the scrap provides work and income for tens of thousands in Bangladesh, China, India and Pakistan, the work is frequently undertaken in poorly regulated yards and in life-threatening conditions.
Risks 240, 21 January 2006

Britain: Company fined £100k for driver’s death
The death of a lorry driver, set alight when a truck overloaded with molten steel slag tipped over, was a “disaster waiting to happen”, a judge has said. Short Brothers Plant Ltd admitted breaking health and safety laws and was fined £100,000 and ordered to pay costs of £42,000.
Risks 240, 21 January 2006

USA: Mine tragedy exposes deadly Bush strategy
The Bush administration’s heavily touted shift to voluntary compliance measures on workplace safety has been implicated in the Sago mine tragedy. Among changes pushed through by the government has been a rebranding of mines safety inspectors as “compliance assistance specialists.”
Risks 239, 14 January 2006

China: Slow progress on deadly mines
China’s coal mines killed almost 6,000 miners last year, with overall deaths down on the previous year, but major mine fatalities increasing dramatically. State Administration of Work Safety figures released last week show that 5,986 miners died in 3,341 accidents in 2005, a decrease of 8.2 per cent compared with 2004.
Risks 239, 14 January 2006

Britain: More work fatalities are not recorded
Just dying at work isn’t enough to guarantee you’ll appear in workplace fatality statistics. You have to make sure the tragedy occurs at the right place and the right time.
Risks 239, 14 January 2006

Britain: Man's cable death 'was avoidable'
The avoidable death of a 31-year-old worker has cost a company £25,000 in fines and costs after it admitted health and safety offences. Father-of-one Miguel Fernandes was electrocuted while trimming a hedge, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said.
Risks 239, 14 January 2006

Britain: STUC says corporate homicide law is top priority
A corporate homicide law tops the Scottish union wish list for 2006. STUC deputy general secretary Grahame Smith said: “What became increasingly clear during 2005 is that we cannot trust employers to voluntarily improve Scotland’s workplaces.”
Risks 239, 14 January 2006

USA: Mine tragedy exposes safety neglect
The deaths of 12 US miners in a West Virginia coalmining tragedy has focussed attention on the country’s failing workplace safety regime. Democrat Congressmen George Miller and Major Owens called for immediate Congressional hearings into mine safety, citing alarming statistics that show mines safety enforcement agency MSHA has been downsized by 170 positions since 2001 and has had his budget slashed by $4.9 million, in inflation-adjusted terms, for the 2006 fiscal year, compared with 2005.
Risks 238, 7 January 2006

Britain: Union action to highlight corporate manslaughter
UK train drivers will use a global day of action on rail safety to increase pressure for a corporate manslaughter law. ASLEF says its “central demand” on corporate killing with be the UK focus for the International Transport Federation's Day of Action on Safety on 27 March 2006.
Risks 238, 7 January 2006

Britain: Corporate manslaughter law 'cheats victims'
Two powerful committees of MPs have demanded significant changes to the government's long-overdue bill on corporate manslaughter, and warned that as currently drafted it could even make things worse for the victims of accidents at work.
Risks 238, 7 January 2006