Commodious | Regulation Changes, Health and Safety News 28/06/21

A weekly roundup of the most important news concerning health and safety developments, enforcements and regulatory changes.

HSE promotes lung health to celebrate Breathe Easy Week

This week is Breathe Easy Week 2021, an initiative intended to raise awareness of lung diseases, promote the British Lung Foundation, and to get people to try a lung function test.

To help back the initiative, HSE has been reminding people of the health and safety risks to our lungs in the workplace and the devastating impact of lung disease. It is estimated that 12,000 people die each year from work-related lung diseases.

Earlier this year, during Men’s Health Week, HSE targeted occupational lung disease and urged employers and workers to check risk assessments and control measures that are in place to protect against work-related lung diseases. Information on how to prevent work-related lung diseases can be found here.

COVID spot checks to continue

As we are all aware, the lifting of COVID restrictions in the UK has been delayed thanks to the increased number of cases thought to be brought about by the delta variant. In light of the delay, COVID-secure measures will continue to be required in workplaces up and down the country. 

HSE will be continuing it’s campaign of COVID spot checks to make sure that businesses are maintaining safe environments for workers and customers. Businesses must make sure that they are following the relevant Government guidance on working safely during COVID.

Find out more about COVID spot checks here and ensure your COVID risk assessments are kept up to date with our guide. If you or your employees are returning to the workplace, you can make sure everyone is prepared with our COVID-19 Workplace Preparedness Training.

Ladder safety to receive new guidance

Working at height remains to be one of the most dangerous scenarios in the workplace. Falls from a height killed 29 people in the UK last year and caused many more injuries. 

Ladders can be deceptively dangerous and their use is often trivialised without proper risk assessment or consideration beforehand. To help improve the safe use of ladders at work, the Ladder Association and HSE have teamed up to create a new set of safety guidance documents.

There will be two new documents in the set, that will be introduced on 15 July 2021 at 10.30 during a live webinar. You can sign up for the webinar here. In the meantime, get compliant with our Working at Height Online Course.

Recent enforcements

British Airways fined £1.8 million after worker crushed by baggage trolley

The airline was hit with a massive fine in light of ‘significant failings’ in the management of its health and safety practices.

The employee was pulling a train of dollies: transporting baggage around the airport, when they were struck by a tug. The impact threw the employee beneath another passing vehicle and suffered serious crush injuries. 

After the HSE investigation, B.A. pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £1.8 million.

Construction company fined for mitre saw injury

A construction company has been fined £21,000 after a worker’s hand was permanently damaged in an accident with a mitre saw.

The mitre saw was being used by a worker to cut skirting boards to length and the guard had been propped up. This left the full front of the sawblade exposed when it later fell on the worker’s hand, severing part of it. The severed part was reattached, however, full use of the hand has not been regained.

The HSE investigation found that there had been systematic failure to ensure the saw was properly guarded and that there was insufficient supervision on site. The company pleaded guilty to breaking the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £21,000.

Distribution firm receives fine after worker crushed by conveyor belt

A distribution firm has been fined £300,000 after one of its employees was crushed by a collapsing conveyor belt.

Three men were attempting to load a two-tier conveyor belt onto the back of a lorry when the equipment became unstable and collapsed mid-lift. Two men were pinned beneath the equipment, with one man suffering serious head and neck injuries and being hospitalised for 8 days.

Worcester Regulatory Services performed an investigation and found that no written health and safety assessment had been carried out. The method to move the equipment was also described by the report to be ‘crude and inherently unsafe.’ 

The distribution company, Oakland International, admitted to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £300,000.