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Safety Alert – Cylinders manufactured fr…


There have been several recent catastrophic failures of aluminium cylinders used primarily to contain gases for underwater breathing apparatus and manufactured from aluminium alloys HE30/AA6082 and AA6351. These cylinders should...

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Safety bulletin – Ergonomic Issues of DP…


A semisubmersible DP drilling rig lost control of position for several minutes.  During this time it was obliged to shear the drill pipe and disengage the lower marine riser package...

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Safety bulletin – Offshore Crane Safety …


This Alert is to remind duty holders of the requirement to have measures in place to verify the correct operation and the correct settings of all safety systems and limits...

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Suspended ceiling inspection


1 September marks the deadline by which theatre owners should have had their suspended plaster ceilings inspected by a specialist to ensure that they are safe. New guidance about this...

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Safety notice – Use of barrier glands in…


The current International Standard allows the use of a ‘standard’ Ex certified flameproof gland as opposed to a Ex certified ‘barrier gland’ without the requirement to apply the previous flowchart...

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Written by Steve McClean   |   03 April 2013
Health and Safety myths

A panel set up to expose ‘health and safety’ excuses has clocked up 150 cases in its first year – helping the public fight back against jobsworths who use safety laws as a convenient tool to ban legitimate activities.

Health and Safety Executive Chair Judith Hackitt, who heads a team of experts Busting the health and safety myths, rules on cases when ‘health and safety’ is suspected of being cited for bogus reasons, has called for those making daft decisions to own up to their real motives.

Among the more unusual cases exposed as myths by the panel in 2013 alone were:

  • The bars that refuse to pull pints in glasses with handles
  • The burger that could not be cooked rare
  • The toothpicks removed from the table of a restaurant
  • The shredded paper banned from a school fete’s lucky dip stall
  • The cot bed that could not be made up by a hotel chamber maid

Evidence of the panel’s power emerges with another case study when, after being told the experts had ruled that banning a bubbles machine from a birthday party was health and safety humbug, the venue backed down and let the bubbles blow.

For the truth about Health and Safety, why not look at our range of Health and Safety courses and consultancy services.

Written by Steve McClean   |   25 February 2013
Unsafe practices on construction sites in Doncaster and Rotherham

Unsafe practices on construction sites in Doncaster and Rotherham are to be targeted as part of a national initiative aimed at reducing death, injury and ill health.

To support a month-long drive to improve standards in one of Britain's most dangerous industries, inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will visit sites in both towns where refurbishment or repair works are taking place.

A team of HSE inspectors will make unannounced visits on 27 February to ensure duty holders are properly managing high-risk activity, such as working on roofs and elsewhere at height.

They will also check for general good order, assess welfare facilities and check whether suitable personal protective equipment (PPE), such as headgear, is being used appropriately.

During the past two years, one worker died in Rotherham and 27 were seriously injured while working in the construction Industry. Another 19 workers received major injuries over the two years in Doncaster. Nationally in 2011/12 there were 49 deaths and more than 2,800 major injuries.

The purpose of the initiative is to remind those working in the industry that poor standards are unacceptable and could result in enforcement action against companies.

Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS, Site Management Safety Training Scheme Refresher Course and Health and Safety Awareness are just some of the courses we offer. Have a look at our CITB ConstructionSkills - Site Safety Plus Training Courses.

Written by Steve McClean   |   19 February 2013
Safety failings led to worker's injury

A former firm in Gateshead has been sentenced after an employee had two fingers broken when her hand was drawn into the dangerous moving parts of a large stitching machine.

The worker suffered damage to her blood vessels and broken bones to the middle and ring finger of her left hand after the incident at SHO123 Limited on 29 September 2011. Since the incident she has been unable to return to work since.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated the incident and prosecuted the company at Gateshead Magistrates Court. SHO123 Limited was given a 12-months conditional discharge and ordered to pay £9,545 costs after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

SMC Ltd can offer you a wide variety NEBOSH and IOSH courses as well as consultancy services to ensure your company complies with current Health and Safety legislation.

Written by Steve McClean   |   15 January 2013
Cambridge firm and consultants fined over chemical exposure

stressed businessman

A Cambridge instrument company and a health and safety consultant have been fined for risking the health of employees from hazardous chemicals.

Paint sprayer Adam Coventon, 36, who is no longer able to work, suffered irritation to his eyes, breathing difficulties, headaches and lost the ability to concentrate after working with harmful substances at Prior Scientific Instruments Ltd in Fulbourn.

His job was to prepare and paint small components for scientific instruments, which involved working with chemicals including trichloroethylene, a powerful de-greaser used to clean metal before it is painted, and paints containing isocyanates.

An investigation found that Prior Scientific Instruments did not provide suitable equipment to adequately remove the hazardous fumes from the workplace, especially where items were left to dry. HSE also found that in addition to inadequate controls, the company failed to provide employees with the necessary health surveillance for workers using hazardous substances.

The Court was told that between September 2002 and December 2009 the company employed Keith Whiting, trading as KW Consultants, as a health and safety consultant. However, he did not provide suitable information and advice to enable the company to ensure the health and wellbeing of employees.

Prior Scientific Instruments Ltd, was fined £9,000 for beaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Etc. Act 1974 and Keith Whiting, trading as KW Consultants, was fined £1,500 with costs of £1,000 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 3(2) of the same legislation.

Written by Steve McClean   |   06 January 2013
Fourth firm charged with Corporate Manslaughter

A garden nursery has become the fourth company to be prosecuted under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 following the fatal electrocution of a worker.

Mr Pieton died from an electric shock whilst working for Belmont Nursery when the metal hydraulic trailer he was towing touched an overhead power line. The nursery operator, PS & JE Ward Ltd, faces charges of corporate manslaughter and also of breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, s. 2(1) for a failure to ensure safety of its employees.

The corporate manslaughter prosecution is the fourth in the UK, with two previous convictions in England and Wales, and one in Northern Ireland.

This summer Lion Steel was fined £480,000 for the corporate manslaughter of one of its employees, who fell through a fibreglass rooflight.

These cases once again highlight the need for Employers to ensure that they are up-to-date and compliant with health and safety. SMC Ltd has a range of Training courses (including the IOSH Safety for Senior Executives), and Consultancy services (such as the development of Health and Safety Management systems) that are designed to assist employers meet the highest standards and stay within the law.