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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   |   31 December 2012
Asbestos exposure in school leads to fines for Council and Building firm


Staffordshire County Council and a refurbishment firm have been fined for exposing a nursery class, school staff and two joiners to asbestos fibres.

Rugeley firm G Evans (Services) Ltd was refurbishing Glenthorne Community Primary School in Cheslyn Hay for the council when the incident happened in February 2009.

The Court heard two joiners were cutting through a large built-in cupboard in the nursery class when they noticed unidentified material nailed to the back of it.They showed this to their site manager, who allowed them to carry on dismantling the cupboard and to detach the material. However, the material was asbestos insulating board, which by law should only be moved by a licensed asbestos removal contractor. The court heard the joiners used an ordinary vacuum cleaner to clear up dust and debris, which would also have spread asbestos fibres in the air.

On the Friday the work was undertaken, seventeen children aged between three and four, were in the classroom for half-day sessions together with a teacher and teaching assistant. A school cleaner, who was working in the classroom later in the day, was also exposed to the potentially dangerous substance.

The following Monday, an analyst, who was monitoring asbestos levels in the air during licensed asbestos removal work, spotted pieces of asbestos insulating board in an open skip. The school was closed immediately for investigation and subsequent decontamination.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation into the incident found Staffordshire County Council had failed to carry out a pre-refurbishment asbestos survey in the nursery before work started. These surveys were essential to ensure that anyone who was likely to work or disturb asbestos was provided with information on the location and condition of the asbestos.

G Evans (Services) Ltd had not taken sufficient steps to identify the asbestos insulating board attached to the cupboard before work started and its procedures for identifying asbestos containing materials were inadequate which permitted their site manager to assume the material was safe to work with and to continue disturbing it. The court heard the work should have been stopped until the material had been investigated further.

If you are concerned about Asbestos, need an Asbestos Survey or want some advice on the removal of asbestos, please get in touch with us. 

Written by Steve McClean   |   24 December 2012
Ridiculous 'elf and safety excuses exposed by watchdog


Ten of the most ridiculous health and safety excuses of 2012 were exposed by a the HSE today.

Bans on yo-yos in playgrounds, knives in kitchens and kettles in offices have all been wrongly blamed on workplace safety laws this year.

The misuses of health and safety were spotted by the Health and Safety Executive's Myth Busters Challenge Panel, which was set up in earlier this year to challenge a stream of silly decisions wrongly blamed on health and safety.

The panel has now responded to its hundredth case - helping the public to challenge unreasonable bans or restrictions and force people to honestly explain the real reason behind their decisions.

We are pleased that the HSE and Government continue to expose ridiculous health aand safety. If you need some Health and Safety support from a company that is also tired of myths surrounding health and safety please feel free to contact us...

Written by Steve McClean   |   01 December 2012
Chorley bottling firm in court over forklift injuries

chorley bottling

A bottling firm in Chorley has been prosecuted  after one of its employees was injured while being lifted on the prongs on a forklift truck.

The 39-year-old worker was filmed on CCTV standing on the forks of the vehicle as it lifted him and a battery-operated pallet truck across the warehouse floor at H&A Prestige Packing Company Ltd

As the vehicle moved, the pallet truck overbalanced and fell from the forklift. The worker tried to hold on but also lost his balance and was caught between the forks on the pallet truck.

He avoided being burned by the battery acid that leaked onto the floor, but suffered bruising to his right hip and thigh.

The Court was told the company had been hired to bottle an energy drink for export that is used during fasting. The pallets of bottles were heavier than usual, each weighing one-and-a-quarter tonnes, so a pallet truck was used to move them inside the containers.

The company was fined £14,000 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £6,657 for the offences, which relate to failing to ensure the safety of workers and failing to carry out a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks.

Written by Steve McClean   |   01 November 2012
Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Begins Fees for Intervention (FFI)

From October the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) begun its 'Fees for Intervention' (FFI) scheme whereby it can charge employers and the self-employed (where they put others at risk) for breaching health and safety law. 

Regulations put a duty on HSE to recover its costs for carrying out its regulatory functions from those found to be in material breach of health and safety law. However, Dutyholders who are compliant with the law, or where a breach is not material, will not be charged FFI for any work that HSE does with them.

So what is a 'Material Breach'? A material breach is when, in the opinion of the HSE inspector, there is or has been a contravention of health and safety law that requires them to issue notice in writing of that opinion to the dutyholder.

Written notification from an HSE inspector may be by a notification of contravention, an improvement or prohibition notice, or a prosecution and must include the following information:

  • the law that the inspector’s opinion relates to;
  • the reasons for their opinion; and
  • notification that a fee is payable to HSE.

The fee payable where a material breach of the law is found is £124 per hour. The total amount to be recovered will be based on the amount of time it takes HSE to identify and conclude its regulatory action, in relation to the material breach (including associated office work), multiplied by the relevant hourly rate.

For more information on the HSE FFI scheme visits the HSE website here, however we have put the HSE free guidance for employers on the subject in our downloads section

This scheme 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.

Written by Steve McClean   |   26 October 2012
Consultation on First-Aid

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is consulting on plans to remove the requirement for first aid training providers to be approved by the HSE.

The proposal to amend the Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations (1981) was made in the independent Löfstedt report into health and safety, and accepted by the Government.

HSE is now seeking views in a six week consultation and its Board will make a recommendation to ministers about how to proceed after considering the responses.

Views are also being sought on whether the Approved Code of Practice (ACoP) is useful and provides practical advice on how to comply with the law. HSE is also proposing revised guidance for employers to help them ensure they adopt proportionate first aid arrangements suitable to their workplace.