In the second of our monthly instalments, we look back at recent news and developments affecting health and safety, training and compliance in the UK. Hot topics include health and safety related general election pledges, custodial sentences for building offences, and a recent bird flu scare.
General election: party manifesto promises on safety policy
The leading political parties each have policies that could have real impact on workplace health, safety and wellbeing.
Labour was perhaps the most explicit in its plans to improve workplace health and safety, promising greater powers to the HSE.
They pledged to “end workplace exploitation” and echoed calls made by MPs on the Women and Equalities Select Committee regarding pregnant women. Labour stated that they would work with the HSE to
make mandatory a workplace risk assessment for pregnant women so necessary adaptions can be made, and review support for women who have miscarriages.
Lancashire Bird Flu Outbreak – FSA Reassure Public Over Food Safety
Two separate outbreaks of bird flu had been reported at two different farms in Lancashire. BothPublic Health England and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) were both quick to make assurances that the risk to public health was low and that there was not food safety risk.
Are you managing workplace fatigue?
The government’s Health and Safety Laboratory website states that fatigue costs the UK between £115 million and £240 million due to workplace accidents alone. So that figure does not even include loss of efficiency and productivity…
Council fined £33k after lawnmower severed apprentice’s finger at Nottingham primary school
The HSE found that the council had been removing manufacturer safety parts from the lawnmowers.
The council had for many years been removing a part of the lawnmower fitted by the manufacturer which prevented operators from gaining access to the blade.
CIEH reacts to Labour Party manifesto
Debbie Wood, Director of Membership and Professional Development at CIEH responded to the manifesto release by saying:
Many of the policies put forward by Labour are favourable to environmental health. Full protections for workers and the environment following Brexit, landlord licensing and a new Clean Air Act are just some of the key items we are calling for in the next parliament.
She did caution though that manifesto promises are one thing – the real work starts after the election results.
Co-op fined £400k after pensioner slips on wet floor and dies in Cornwall store
A regular at the supermarket in Truro in Cornwall slipped on some water on the floor and hit his head on the wet floor. A fridge leak had been the cause of the spillage and the court heard that staff had failed to safeguard customers.
Aldi recalls Madagascan Vanilla Extract due to undeclared almonds
While the packaging referenced Moroccan Almond extract, there was insufficient warning to those at risk from nut allergy.
Landlord and management company given record fine over fire safety failure in London
A fine totalling £250k was given after a fire broke out, destroying an apartment building in London. IOSH reports that the corporate landlord and its management company had failed to carry out a fire risk assessment the premises.
Aberdeen Royal Infirmary food hygiene concerns
Environmental Health inspectors noted several instances of potential cross contamination at the hospital in Aberdeen, Scotland. These included raw fish being stored above trifles destined for children.
NI Court of Appeal give custodial sentence to builder
A builder in Northern Ireland had a suspended sentence boosted to a custodial one on appeal after he had failed to ensure the safety of his workers. During a construction project in January 2015, he had hoisted labourers up in a box using a telescopic handler, and they then had to climb across onto a roof. When sheeting became slippery as it started to rain, one of the labourers slid and fell around 5 metres, suffering fatal head injuries. One of the victim’s co-workers also suffered minor injuries trying to save him. The court found that the defendant had “completely failed to assess the risks associated with this job“, and was found guilty of several counts, including manslaughter.