- During a test firing on 3 April 2008 an aiming device, known as a boresight, was left in the barrel of the gun when it should have been removed before firing.
- BAE recognised the hazards of not removing a boresight before firing and had interlocked other guns to avoid this type of incident. However, they had failed to implement the same standards on this weapon.
- When the worker fired, a round smashed into the boresight, causing the round to collapse and jam at the end of the barrel.
- As a result, the gas which had propelled the round was trapped in the barrel and pressure began to build.
- As the employee turned the handle on the breech bolt holding the round, which weighed 7kg, it was expelled with great force into his leg by the trapped gas.
- The employee was seriously injured, he spent six weeks in hospital and his injured leg is now 20mm shorter than his right.
Friday, 26 September 2014
- On 21 October 2013 Terence Jones was unloading the forklift at their West Bromwich factory by driving it down a ramp.
- The ramp had not been securely attached to the trailer using both the chains it came with. Although one of the two chains had been attached, the other was left off as overhanging bushes made it difficult to get to the far side of the ramp.
- The company failed to risk assess the activity and monitor and enforce the safe system of work to ensure staff used all the safety critical features when attaching the ramp.
- The ramp dislodged from the trailer, causing it and the forklift to drop straight down.
- The truck fell around 1.2 metres, landing upright on all four wheels.
Thursday, 18 September 2014
There have been two instances recently which should awaken you to work done by companies supplying specialist services or equipment. One could assume that, because you have engaged companies who claim competence is certain areas, the you are absolved of the risk. Sorry, this isn't so and the employer is the one who is still held accountable.
In the case of Brinton Carpets (see Carpet Company fined £11,000), one would have thought that engaging Allianz, not exactly a back-street company, to carry out pressure tests, then you would be in the clear. But Brinton were fined over £11,000, alsmost as much as Allianz's fine.
In another recent situation, Company A bought a CE-marked machine from a reputable Italian manufacturer. An identical machine had also been purchased by Company B. A minor accident occurred on the Company A's machine which triggered them to look more deeply into the risks, during which they identified another area. The machine at Company B had already had guards fitted by the manufacturer to their machine in both these areas, but the manufacturer had not seen fit to upgrade the design to include these or inform Company A. Were there to be legal case over this, in my experience, action would be taken against Company A, rather than the manufacturer.
So, you must ALWAYS thoroughly risk assess new machinery and never rely on the CE mark. And you must ALWAYS check that your outside contractors of services for pressure equipment, lifting equipment, fire equipment, etc., checking is actually picking up all the applicable equipment.
Thursday, 11 September 2014
Carpet company fined £11,000 and pressure vessel inspection company fined £14,000 after vessel explodes.
- Allianz Engineering Inspection Services were contracted to carry out periodic thorough examinations of the dye vessels at at Brinton Carpets' Telford site.
- A Written Scheme of Examination was in place at Brintons Carpets Ltd, which included 4 stock dye vessels.
- Although Allianz Engineering Services Ltd were carrying out periodic thorough examinations on the other pressure equipment on site, these 4 stock dye vats had been overlooked for a number of years.
- Allianz failed to carry out the required examinations on these vats which meant that the periodic statutory thorough examinations had not been completed for three years.
- Brintons Carpets had not ensured that suitable and sufficient maintenance of the vessel’s safety devices was being carried out.
- During a production run on 4 June 2013, there was a failure of the regulator and pressure relief valve on one of these vats.
- This vat exploded.
- The lid, which weighed approximately 250kg, was torn off its locking mechanism and hinges and hit the roof of the factory six metres above. Such was the force of the collision that it left a dent in one of the factory roof girders.
- No-one was injured but one worker was standing just a few feet from the where the lid came to rest.
Thursday, 4 September 2014
- The HSE paid a routine health and safety inspection on 8 March 2013.
- During the visit, an HSE inspector asked to see the vehicle examination records for the company’s 2.5-tonne counterbalance forklift truck
- A document was later emailed to the inspector but appeared to be – and was later proven to be – a fraud.
- HSE found the forklift truck had never been examined.
- A specialist mechanical inspector from HSE, who examined the forklift in April 2013, found more than 40 faults, including some that could have endangered its operator.
Monday, 1 September 2014
- The foundry was the subject of three Improvement Notices served by HSE following earlier visits in September 2009 and June 2010.
- A number of important safety improvements were required, but few had been satisfactorily implemented, largely, claimed the management team, because of financial constraints.
- The crane at the centre of the incident had not been checked and tested.
- There were inadequate provisions in place covering competency, supervision and training.
- On 30 September 2010, a worker was crushed and killed by a two-tonne metal sand-moulding box that fell from the lifting chains of a crane he was using to manoeuvre it.