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International Safety
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A UK company has been fined £130,000 and gone into liquidation after one of its workers was run over by a van.

The worker was hit and killed as the van was reversing outside a cinema in Ashton-on-Ribble in July 2010, says the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

He had been working on a fit out of a new coffee shop inside the cinema for EMC Contracts on the day of the incident. An EMC employee was driving the van when it hit the worker.

A HSE investigation found the company had no system in place to separate construction traffic and pedestrians.

“The company had written a method statement for the work, which identified the risk of pedestrians being injured by vehicles as a main hazard. However, they failed to state what measures should be taken to reduce or eliminate the risk,” the HSE said.

Last week EMC Contracts Ltd, of Faraday Court in Fulwood, was prosecuted and found guilty of breaching UK health and safety laws.

It was fined £130,000 and ordered to pay £52,790 in costs.

The company has gone into voluntary liquidation.

For more details visit the HSE.

Published on 13 March 2014 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

The focus of safety responsibilities in the New Zealand Forest Operations Approved Code of Practice is under review.

“The current Code of Practice is more focused on the ‘worker on the hill’. We want to ensure management, owners and other parties in the contracting chain are absolutely clear about their responsibilities,” said the chair of WorkSafe New Zealand Professor Gregor Coster.

Forestry owners, managers and contractors must do more to protect the men and women on the bush line, Coster said.

In addition to WorkSafe’s inquiry, Coster and the WorkSafe NZ Chief Executive, General Managers and Chief Inspectors are meeting with owners and managers in the forestry sector.

“These face-to-face meetings build on the 164 inspections undertaken since August 2013 which have resulted in more than 200 enforcement actions, including 14 operations being shut down,” stated WorkSafe NZ.

For more details, visit WorkSafe.

Published on 13 February 2014 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

A British company has been prosecuted after an employee was dragged into a machine and injured.

The employee was standing on rollers, cleaning the inside of the machine, when it started unexpectedly. “His left leg was pulled in by the rollers … and he suffered broken bones in his left foot and ankle,” said the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The company, AMR Textiles Limited, was investigated and prosecuted by the HSE.

At the time of the incident the employee’s “colleague inserted an override key to test another part of the equipment but the rollers the worker was standing on also started rotating, pulling in his left leg up to the knee,” the HSE said.

The investigation found the company had given keys to its supervisors to override the interlock guard on the machine, the guard had not been maintained and the guard wasn’t working at the time of the incident.

Since the incident the company had taken the override keys from the supervisors and replaced the machine, said the HSE.

The company pleaded guilty in the Trafford Magistrates’ Court to breaching the UK Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

The company was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay £10,103 in prosecution costs.

For more details visit the UK HSE.

Published on 16 January 2014 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

19 Dec 2013

NZ CEO escapes charges: unions shocked

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The dropping of safety charges against former Pike River CEO Peter Whittall has alarmed unions.

Whittall was the CEO of Pike River Coal Limited when an explosion at the company’s mine in the South Island of New Zealand killed 29 miners in November 2010.

He was charged with 12 safety breaches at the mine, following the explosion. This was in addition to the prosecution of the company.

The New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) told the Christchurch District Court late last week that “it intended to offer no evidence on the 12 charges and asked that Mr Whittall be discharged”.

MBIE Health and Safety group acting Deputy Chief Executive Geoffrey Podger said the likelihood of obtaining a conviction was low and it was not in the public interest to continue with the case.

Podger said an offer made by Whittall’s legal team was also taken into consideration. “Subject to charges being withdrawn, he [Whittall] would meet the Pike River families.

“Each of the Company’s directors would be asked by Mr Whittall to attend.

“The proposal also included a voluntary payment on behalf of directors and officers of the company at the time of the explosion of $3.41 million to meet the reparation ordered by Judge Farish at the Pike River Coal Limited sentencing.”

However, Podger reinforced it was the low likelihood of a conviction and not being in the public interest that led to the charges being dropped.

Pike River Coal Limited (In Receivership) has already been successfully prosecuted and fined.

The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions (CTU) says the decision to withdraw the charges is wrong.

“It is insufficient for the Department to say the charges could not be successfully proven,” said New Zealand CTU President Helen Kelly.

“The Royal Commission of Inquiry extensively documents the areas where Mr Whittal, in his CEO role, did not take all practicable steps to keep the men safe, and if it is correct that the charges could not have been proven there must have been errors in the range of charges laid.

“The timing of the decision and the lack of time for other parties to investigate the legitimacy of this proposition before charges were withdrawn suggests the Department did not want scrutiny of this decision.”

For more details, visit the Ministry and the Unions.

Published on 19 December 2013 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

10 Oct 2013

Aussie inspectors head to NZ

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New South Wales work health and safety inspectors are being seconded to Canterbury, New Zealand, to help with the rebuilding of the region in the wake of the 2011 earthquake.

The quake, measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale, hit Christchurch and the surrounding area in February 2011, killing 185 people and causing extensive structural damage.

The WorkCover NSW inspectors will be in the region for 12 months, NSW Minister for Finance and Services Andrew Constance said in a media statement.

The rebuilding is estimated to cost more than $40 billion and will require 20,000 workers, Constance added.

“The New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has sought the assistance of WorkCover NSW in providing skilled construction inspectors to help focus industry attention on addressing hazards associated with … [the] rebuild,” he said.

The inspectors will operate in pairs alongside other members of the rebuilding team and rotate on a month-on-month basis for a year, the MBIE Group Deputy Chief Executive Lesley Haines said in a media statement.

“The WorkCover inspectors … will have to undergo specialised training about the New Zealand and Canterbury environment and health and safety legislation, as well as sit and pass an exam before coming to New Zealand,” Haines said.

WorkCover and MBIE have signed a memorandum of understanding, covering risk assessment, cost recovery, training and up-skilling, Constance said.

“New Zealand’s MBIE will fund the full cost recovery for two inspectors on rotation and resources during the 12-month program,” he said.

The inspectors are expected to be deployed in October and start work in November.

For more details, visit Work Cover NSW and the NZ Government.

Published on 10 October 2013 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.


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