Friday, 22 December 2017

Examples of good and bad practice within 100m of each other.

How to get it right. 

Drain closers available right next to drain

How to get it wrong. 
Lorry driver (in orange) standing within range of an item being lifted by forklift truck.

In this case, the load appears to be stable, but with something less stable, he'd be in the line of fire.

Monday, 18 December 2017

Europlast fined £66,000 after worker loses four fingers in unguarded machine.

Packaging company Europlast (Blackburn) Ltd was  fined £66,055 (inc.costs) after a worker’s hand became trapped in machinery.
The circumstances were:
  • It was possible to reach dangerous parts of a bubble wrap machine.
  • The HSE had prosecuted Europlast id 2012 for serious hand injuries in a similar machine.
  • The arrangements for cleaning the machine were that is was done when it was running.
  • On 11 August 2015, a worker was cleaning the machine when his left hand became trapped between rollers, causing four of his fingers to be severed. 
  • The company failed to report the incident until nine months later, which significantly delayed investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and left other employees at risk.

The HSE inspector said:
“These were life-changing injuries that could have been prevented. Sadly, in this case lessons from previous incidents had not been learned.  Duty holders should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”

Poor stacking practice

In this picture, long cardboard boxes straddle two standard pallets and it is the strapping round the boxes which keeps the pallets together.

Done once, this is poor, but having them stacked
three-high results in a very unstable stack.  

Only minor pressure causes it to wobble (audibly as well).

Associated British Ports was fined £674,688 after a 600 kg bag of fertiliser hit an employee

Associated British Ports was fined £674,688 (inc.costs) after a bag of fertiliser fell and struck an employee.
The circumstances were:
  • The company had earlier incidents of bag spills and stack collapses at their Ipswich and King’s Lynn docks.
  • However, the company continued to follow a practice of stacking 600kg flexible intermediate bulk container (FIBC) bags directly on top of one another.  
  • The recognised industry standard is to stack them in a more stable pyramid fashion.
  • On 16 May 2016, an employee  was removing pallets from the front of a stack and was struck by a bag as it fell.
  • The incident caused him to sustain multiple fractures, a dislocated ankle and knee and back injuries, and he was unable to work for thirteen weeks.

The HSE inspector said
“This case highlights the importance of ensuring FIBC bags are stacked according to industry guidance. This incident could so easily have been avoided if the company had followed their own risk assessments and reviewed their systems following previous bag collapses.”

Monday, 2 October 2017

This is a good example of a bad design; a case of style over common sense.

The daylight running lights on this Nissan are a V on its side comprising very bright LEDs.

The indicators are much smaller an sit at the bottom of the V.
This means that the indicators are very indistinct.  
I had one of these Nissans facing me and wanting to turn right.  I could only just make out that the driver was actually signalling.

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Pyronix Limited fined £143,133 after worker sustained flash burns

Pyronix Limited was fined £143,133 (inc. costs) after a worker suffered flash burns to her face, neck, chest and both arms.
The circumstances were:
  • The accident occurred with a process to apply Fluorocoat Thin Film Coating, which is a highly flammable substance.
  • This involved dipping baskets of printed circuit boards into a tank containing the coating.
  • The printed circuit boards already had a battery installed.
  • There was no local exhaust ventilation and no prevention of static discharges.
  • In April 2015 a worker was dipping baskets containing a variety of the PCBs into the tank. 
  • As she removed a basket out of the tank, she saw a “burning cloud” go through the tank and was unable to avoid being burnt after the Fluorocoat had been ignited.

The HSE inspector commented:
“This incident could so easily have been avoided by simply carrying out correct control measures and safe working practices. Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”

Implications of the GDPR for health surveillance

As most people know, the Data Protection Act (DPA) will be replaced by the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) which come into force in May 2018.

The GDPR is quite complex but there are implications for records where an employer has carried out health surveillance as part of their health and safety programme.

The requirements for confidentiality presently under the DPA remain but the following apply:

  • Employers have access to the results from this health surveillance.( See 1.)
  • Employers can, and are strongly advised to, keep the records from such surveillance, even if the person to whom they apply wishes them to be destroyed. (See 2.)

We quite often find that health surveillance providers refuse to release results such as audiograms which are essential to understanding how well health protection measures are working.  They typically claim that release is prevented by the DPA, often in ignorance of the DPA.

GPDR Article 6 (1)(c) states that processing is "lawful if it is necessary for compliance with a legal obligation to which the controller is subject". In this context, the employer is the controller and the employer has a legal obligation under Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work, etc., Act. Article 6 (4)(b) reinforces this. Therefore, employers have access to the results from health surveillance they have arranged to meet Section 2 obligations. It would be worth making this a stipulation in any contract with a health surveillance provider.

Article 9 (2)(h) allows processing where it "is necessary for the purposes of preventive or occupational medicine or for the assessment of the working capacity of the employee..."

Articles 15 to 22 state the rights of the data subject (ie the employee). This includes, in Article 17, the right of erasure.
However, Article 17 (3)(c) states that this "shall not apply to the extent that processing is necessary for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims."

So, if it is possible that data are necessary for the defence of, say, a civil claim for noise-induced hearing loss, then the wise employer will retain such data, citing Article 17 (3)(c).