The Risk Management Tool Box Blog

Court highlights risk to Supervisors who break the law

Graham Marshall - Sunday, June 16, 2013

A supervisor has been prosecuted and fined £1,000 and ordered to pay £9,765.88 costs after a worker  fell ten metres from a roof and was left paralysed from the neck down.

Phillip Giles fell through a fragile roof after supervisor Paul Burke allowed workers, who were removing cement sheets, to go onto the roof.

The court was told Mr Burke’s employer had agreed a system of work where its employees used scissor lifts, removing the roof sheets from the underside.

Mr Burke supervised the work on site and permitted a change to the system of work, whereby he and other employees went onto the roof itself to carry out some of the work.

The Court found Mr Burke had sanctioned an unsafe system of work.

The company was unaware of the changed way of working and Mr Burke had failed to consult with them.

Paul Joseph Burke, 56, of Lightcliffe Road, Brighouse, West Yorkshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1)(b) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 between 4 August and 5 September 2011 by failing to properly supervise work at height and make sure it was carried out safely.

Those who supervise work at height have a responsibility to ensure that it is carried out in a manner which is safe and which guards against the risk of injury from a fall.

Corporate Manslaughter Trial Ends in Jail Time

Graham Marshall - Wednesday, May 22, 2013

In the United Kingdom, in order to be found guilty of Gross Negligence Manslaughter, the defendant has to owe a duty of care to the deceased; be in breach of this duty; the breach has to have caused the death of the deceased; and the defendant’s negligence was gross (i.e. showed such a disregard for the life and safety of others as to amount to a crime and deserve punishment).

In May 2013, Allan Turnbull of Tow Law, County Durham, has been prosecuted and found guilty of Gross Negligence Manslaughter following a trial into the death of Ken Joyce of Lanchester, County Durham.

Mr Joyce was working for Allan Turnbull, trading as A&H Site Line Boring and Machining, where he was working at height dismantling the structural steelwork of the roof of the Burning Hall at the Swan Hunter Shipyard in Wallsend, Newcastle.

The trial at Newcastle Crown Court heard how Mr Joyce was working from one cherry picker while two colleagues were working from another cherry picker and a crane.  They were dismantling the structure and were using a crane to lower the steel beams to the ground.

While removing a beam brace connecting two plate girders, one of the plate girders struck the basket of the cherry picker in which Mr Joyce was standing, knocking the equipment over.

Mr Joyce fell to the ground below and was pronounced dead soon after.

The police and UK HSE investigation found that Allan Turnbull had failed to adequately plan the work after identifying a lack of suitable and sufficient lifting plans to ensure a safe system of work was in place for the dismantling of the structural steelwork.

Allan Turnbull had earlier pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 2(1) and 3(1) by virtue of Section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974).

He was sentenced to three years in prison.

Ken Joyce lost his life as a result of collective failures which included not preparing in advance a detailed plan of how the work should be carried out and no lifting plans to ensure the safe removal of the beams.

Other people with responsibility for safety can learn from this and ensure they take the necessary action to deal with the high risk involved with work of this nature.

In a statement, Mr Joyce’s family said:

"As his family, we are striving to honour Kenneth’s memory and are still coming to terms with the void his absence has left in our lives over the past four years.

"Above all else we have hoped for justice for him and for the intensity of the sadness and grief created by his untimely passing, to ease and lessen with the aid of this justice, along with the healing passage of time."

Preventing the Risk of Falling

Graham Marshall - Friday, March 22, 2013

According to the US National Safety Council, nearly 15,000 deaths in the USA result from falls each year.

So slips, trips and falls are a significant risk at work and at home.

Here are some tips to reduce the risk:

+   Wear shoes that provide good traction for the conditions;

+   Keep floors and stairs clear of debris and spilled liquids;

+   Only carry loads that you can see over;

+   Don't walk into a dark room - use a torch or turn on the lights;

+   Repair or replace broken or uneven flooring, pavement, tiling, carpet or floorboards;

+   Keep at least one hand on the handrail when using steps or stairs;

+   Don't jump from heights (e.g., from trucks or from loading docks);

+   Don't use "home-made" or makeshift ladders or steps to reach up high;

+   When climbing ladders, face to the front and use both hands when climbing;

+   Don't over-reach from a ladder;

+   Make sure only one person uses any ladder at a time;

+   Never approach to the top step of the ladder; and

+   Make sure ladders are "footed" on flat, stable ground and if possible, "tied-off" at the top.

Hierarchy of Control for Work at Height

Graham Marshall - Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Working at height is one of the biggest causes of fatalities and major injuries.

Falls from ladders and through fragile roofs are all too common.  

Work at height means work in any place, including at or below ground level, where a person could fall a distance liable to cause injury.

But employers and individuals can take simple, practical measures to reduce the risk of falling while working at height.

Employers must make sure that all work at height is properly planned, supervised and carried out by people who are competent.

This means workers need the skill, knowledge, and experience to work up high.

This must include the use of the right type of equipment for work at height.

To prevent or minimize risk when planning for work at height, consider what needs to be done and take a sensible, risk-based approach to identify suitable precautions.

At the Risk Tool Box, we promotes the use of the hierarchy of control to minimize the risk of a falling.

The hierarchy should be followed systematically and only when one level is not reasonably practicable should the next level be considered.

If at all possible, start out by avoiding work at height so as to eliminate the hazard.

If possible, work from the ground or partly from the ground.

 

If work at height cannot be avoided, use appropriately engineered equipment to minimize the risk of a fall occurring; the distance a person could fall; or the consequences of a fall if one occurs.

 Engineered controls include scaffolds, edge-protection, nets, soft landing systems, reach-poles, systems to lower objects (e.g. lights) to the ground, and measures that protect the individual.

Always make sure the surface/access equipment in use is stable and strong enough to support the worker’s weight and that of any equipment.

Also think about procedures and other "administrative" controls.

Can workers get safely to and from where they want to work at height?

Have you thought about emergency evacuation and rescue procedures?

Is the equipment used for work at height well maintained and inspected regularly?

And remember...

Don’t overload ladders;

Don't overreach on ladders or stepladders;

Don't use ladders or stepladders if the nature of the work is deemed to be ‘heavy’ or if the task will take longer than thirty minutes or so to complete;

Don't use ladders if workers cannot maintain three points of contact at the working position; and

Don't let anyone who is not competent (someone who doesn’t have the skills, knowledge and experience to do the job) carry out work at height.

And lastly, consider the requirement for personal protective equipment.

HSE Targets Construction Sites in UK Campaign

Graham Marshall - Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Construction sites across the UK are to be targeted by the UK HSE as part of a national initiative aimed at reducing death, injury and ill health.
 
Builders in the UK can expect to see HSE inspectors on site until 15 March.

They will make unannounced visits to ensure duty holders are managing high-risk activity, such as working at height.
 
They will also check for general good order, assess welfare facilities and check whether suitable Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), such as head protection, is being used appropriately.
 
During 2011/12, there were 49 deaths and more than 2,800 major injuries on construction sites in the UK.
 
The purpose of the initiative is to remind those working in the industry that poor standards are unacceptable and will result in enforcement action.
 
During inspections, HSE inspectors will consider whether:

1. Jobs that involve working at height have been identified and properly planned to ensure that appropriate precautions are in place;

2. Equipment is correctly installed / assembled, inspected and maintained and used properly;

3. Sites are well organized, to avoid trips and falls;

4. Walkways and stairs are free from obstructions;

5. Work areas are clear of unnecessary materials and waste; and

6. Suitable Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), including head protection, is provided and worn at all times.

Erecting Scaffolds in Public Places

Graham Marshall - Thursday, February 14, 2013

Scaffolding will frequently be erected in public places; for example alongside buildings on busy public high streets.

In such circumstances; where members of the public will be walking, driving or working in close proximity to erected scaffolds, it is vital that professional and safe standards are applied.

The need for such standards was highlighted recently when a self-employed scaffolder was fined after a member of the public suffered head injuries after walking into an unguarded scaffolding pole on a busy public pavement.

Rothesay Sheriff Court heard that Thomas Hannen was contracted by Argyll and Bute Council in January 2011 to erect scaffolding around the disused Royal Hotel on Rothesay seafront, on the Isle of Bute.

Members of the public were not excluded, or in any way actively discouraged, from using the pavement beneath the work area.

Furthermore, no padding or warning tape was wrapped around teh scaffolding to soften any inadvertent contact, make it easily visible or to alert members of the public to its presence.

As a result, a 61-year-old local woman walking underneath the scaffolding, hit her head on the horizontal pole and fractured her left ankle when she fell to the ground.

An investigation  by the UK HSE found that Thomas Hannen failed to:

Have the footpath where he was working temporarily closed;

Failed to complete a risk assessment and did not guard against risk to pedestrians;

Erect a scaffold on a pavement without any diversion in place to exclude members of the public from the work area;

Failed to display any warning signs alerting the public that it was dangerous to be in the work area;

Failed to attach padding or tape around the scaffolding under erection.

These are all serious breaches of Section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 which states:

"It shall be the duty of every self-employed person to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that he and other persons (not being his employees) who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety".

Dangerous Use of Scaffolding

Graham Marshall - Monday, February 11, 2013

Regulation 6(3) of the UK Work at Height Regulations (2005) states: "Where work is carried out at height, every employer shall take suitable and sufficient measures to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, any person falling a distance liable to cause personal injury".

So why on earth did Stretford Scaffolding Ltd allow its workers onto an unsafe scaffold outside this row of terraced shops in Oldham (UK)?

 

As you can see, neither of the two men on the scaffold are wearing harnesses, despite working up to six metres above the ground.

There are also no guard rails on parts of the scaffold to prevent the workers falling.

Thankfully, this shoddy situation was spotted by a passing inspector from the UK HSE who issued an immediate Prohibition Notice and got the workers out of the danger zone.

Stretford Scaffolding Ltd, was then prosecuted and received a 12-month conditional discharge and was ordered to pay costs of £1,849 after admitting a breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

Fall from height at Legoland

Graham Marshall - Thursday, February 07, 2013

Over 40 people have died as a result of a workplace fall in the UK and almost 3,500 suffered a major injury in the last year.

So we have no sympathy for the operators of Legoland who allowed a worker to fall from a walkway on a roller-coaster ride, breaking his shoulder and several ribs.

Reading Magistrates Court in the UK were told how the 42 year-old worker fell more than three meters as he was working to remove two damaged roller coaster trains from a track.

The court heard the employee was one of a team taking part in a lifting operation to remove the damaged parts from the Dragon Coaster ride.

He fell when he stepped on to a section of walkway that had been removed and replaced, but not secured in position.

The HSE investigation found that despite the serious injury the man suffered, the work continued in the same way the following day in order to complete the task.

A risk assessment by the company stated that harnesses and lanyards should have been used by the work crew, but this was not enforced by management and supervision on site.

Merlin Attractions Operations Ltd admitted two breaches of the Work at Height Regulations (2005) and was fined £23,200 and ordered to pay full costs of £12,115.

At the Risk Tool Box, we believe that falls from height are avoidable and this court case highlights the importance of using safe systems of work when working up high.

We also feel that individual workers need to use their brains and say "no" when asked to perform dangerous work at height without adequate protection.

JSA Training Program Results

Graham Marshall - Wednesday, February 06, 2013

We've recently completed a JSA training program with 100 workers in an oil field belonging to a new customer.

Our new customer required that we collect feedback from their employees and contractors to allow them to evaluate the success of our JSA training program, prior to a wider roll-out of the program in the field.

Enclosed here is a JSA feedback report which shows how the workers thought about the JSA training program and the comments that they made on their feedback forms.

The name and location of the customer has been removed, but otherwise all results and comments are as they were collected.

We'll let you decide if this group of 100-field workers thought our JSA training program is any good!

 

Danger with demolition work

Graham Marshall - Saturday, February 02, 2013

A company trading as Total Demolition UK Ltd, has been fined £5,000 with £2,968 costs after pleading guilty to a breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

As shown in the image below, the lives of workers were put at risk as they demolished an old office block in Liverpool.

The workers can be seen clambering over rubble on the partially demolished building with no safety measures in place to stop them falling if they tripped and lost their balance.

After receiving a complaint about the work being carried out by the firm, an inspector from the UK Health and Safety Executive (UK HSE) issued an immediate Prohibition Notice ordering Total Demolition UK Ltd to stop work at the site.

Speaking after the court case in Liverpool, HSE Inspector Jacqueline Western said: "When I arrived at the site, it was immediately obvious that workers were in danger of being seriously injured if they fell from the building.
Two of the employees were throwing waste materials from the edge of the second floor so could easily have fallen if they had tripped over the rubble".

 


Recent Posts


Tags

Farm safety Situational Awareness Best bars in the oil patch Safety PowerPoint Presentation Emergency Response Electrical hazards Chevron Health Rail Safety IFAP Safety Video Supervision Nanotechnology Oil Spill Response Rosedale Abbey Unconventional Hydrocarbons Aviation Safety Call Centers Safety Moment Customer Testimonial OHS Law Safety Information Posters Shell Psycho-social Hazards Hazardous Substances Walking Kellogg Joint Venture Toolbox talk ALARP Mining Ladder Safety Hazard Awareness NOPSA Newfield Safety Conference Behaviour-based Safety (BBS) Energy Model of Hazards MSDS Manufacturing Work in Confined Spaces TK Shipping Office Safety CSB Pollution prevention APPEA Bio-hazards Process Hazard Management Hess Road Transport Risk Management Radiation Sources Safety "one per-center's" SPE HSE Innovation Award Manual handling Incident Investigation Excavations BP one per center ENI Australia Catostrophic Disaster Total Safety Management Program OSHA Water Corporation Unconventional Gas Coal Seam Gas Unconventional Oil Save our Seafarers Campaign WorkSafe WA Global Harmonized System UK HSE Contract Risk Management Shale Gas PPE Salute to Our Hero's Slips, trips and falls WA Resources Safety Kinetic Energy Safety Alert NOPSEMA Raspberry Ketones Scam Hospital Safety Crane lifts US OSHA Drilling Nautronix Driving Safety LOTO Management of Change Occupational Overuse Syndrome Safety Culture Survey Safety Awards Safe Operating Procedure (SOP) Isolation Control Working at height WMC Resources Hazard Spotting HSE Leadership Risk Tool Box Hot work Risk Assessment Marine Safety Safe at Home Railway Safety Working with explosives NORM Woodside Fatigue Management Hydraulic Fracturing ("fracking") Procedures Workplace bullying Thank God it's Friday BHP Billiton Procedure Training Course Australian OSH Codes of Practice Sakhalin Energy Natural Hazard Social Responsibility Fire Prevention Construction Safety Hierarchy of Safety Control Santos Job Safety Analysis

Archive

Blog / Terms of Use / Site Map / Disclaimer / Risk Management Tool Box 2009. All rights reserved. Web design by Luminosity. E-Commerce by JStores.