HEALTH & SAFETY NEWS UPDATE – 11TH FEBRUARY 2016

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IN THIS UPDATE

Introduction

Scrap and metal recycling – firm fined after fatality at waste recycling site

Tree work health and safety – college fined after tree felling injury

Construction work at height – company fined after carrying out dangerous window installation work eight-metres above a West End street

Introduction

It’s now 18 months since representatives from the waste management and recycling industry came together to form the Waste Industry Safety and Health (WISH) forum, their aim being to identify, devise and promote activities to improve industry health and safety standards. At the same time (2014/15), the waste industry was one of the few sectors witnessing a rise in incidents of fatal injuries, with 11 reported from April 2014 to March 2015. This was a 120% increase on the previous year. We open this week’s update with HSE guidance on the topic, following news of a scrap metal recycling company being fined £120,000 plus £40,000 costs after the death of a worker.

Another industry classed as one of the most dangerous in Britain, is tree work. A college in Surrey has recently been fined £70,000 plus costs after a student was struck on the leg by a tree as it was being felled, so we’re also sharing guidance this week on tree work health and safety.

And finally, after news of a window manufacturing and installation company being fined £36,000 after carrying out work in the West End of London with no measures to prevent the workers falling eight metres (and after dropping part of a window onto the public area below), we close this week’s update with HSE guidance on working at height in construction.

We hope you find our news updates useful. If you know of anyone who may benefit from reading them, please encourage them to register at the bottom-left of our news page (http://www.eljay.co.uk/news/) and we’ll email them a link each time an update is published. If in the unlikely event any difficulties are experienced whilst registering we’ll be more than happy to help and can be contacted on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk

Scrap and metal recycling – firm fined after fatality at waste recycling site

A scrap metal recycling company based in Sheffield has been fined £120,000 plus £40,000 costs for safety failings after a worker was killed when he was hit in the head by an exploding gas cylinder.

Sheffield Crown Court heard how the worker, aged 55, was working at the recycling site in June 2009 when a pressurised gas cylinder was put through a shearing machine causing it to explode. A large section of the cylinder hit him in the head causing fatal injuries.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found a number of safety failures by the recycling company. They had no effective health and safety management system in place and failed to adequately assess the risks involved with processing different types of scrap material. The company also failed to put in place a range of measures to reduce the risks, for example by providing a blast wall.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Kirsty Storer commented: “Companies processing different materials should have good, documented systems to ensure materials such as pressurised cylinders are sorted and dealt with correctly. Workers also need to be properly trained and supervised.

“In addition where safeguards are provided they need to be well maintained, and an assessment should be carried out to determine any additional precautions that might be required, such as a pit or blast wall.”

Scrap and metal recycling

Introduction

The greater part of the scrap and metal recycling industry processes ferrous and non ferrous metal scrap into vital secondary raw material for the smelting of new metals.

The scrap and metal recycling industry has consistently had a poor fatal accident rate for several years.

The main risks include (click on the links for more information):

The main Trade Associations dealing with this industry include the British Metals Recycling Association (BMRA) and the Motor Vehicle Dismantlers Association

End of Life Vehicles (ELV)

The introduction of the End of Life Vehicle Regulations has resulted in a significant change to the make up of the scrap industry as every vehicle scrapped now has to be de-polluted and waste materials accounted for.

For more information see Motor vehicle dismantling (http://www.hse.gov.uk/waste/dismantling.htm).

Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE)

This is a rapidly growing and highly specialised part of the metals recycling industry. Large household appliances (e.g. ovens, fridges, washing machines) make up over 40% of WEEE but there are large volumes of other equipment such as IT equipment (mainly computers), televisions (cathode ray tube and flat screen), small household appliances (e.g. kettles and hair dryers), electrical tools, digital watches, electronic toys and medical devices.

Such items contain a wide variety of materials e.g. an average TV contains 6% metal and 50% glass, whereas a cooker is 89% metal and only 6% glass. Other materials found include plastics, ceramics and precious metals.

For more information see Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment recycling (http://www.hse.gov.uk/waste/waste-electrical.htm).

Disposal of aerosols

Each year the UK uses around 600 million aerosols, which is equivalent to about ten cans per person. With approximately 65 per cent of aerosols made from tin-plated steel, and the rest from high-grade aluminium and this represents almost 30,000 tonnes of reclaimable metal that can be recycled each year.

Householders should only put empty used aerosols in can banks or kerbside collections. They should not be segregated or concentrated into batches as the best safest way for consumers to recycle aerosol cans is to mix in with other metal waste – this serves to  ‘dilute’ the proportion of aerosols in the total mix.  Householders should not pierce or squash aerosol cans before disposal.

Many local authorities are successfully including collection of aerosols in their kerbside or mixed waste collection schemes.

For mixed waste processed at a Material Recycling Facility (MRF), as far as is possible, only aerosols derived from the domestic waste stream should be handled by the MRF. At the MRF aerosols can be baled, flattened or shredded but this must only be done where appropriate precautions are in place

The British Aerosol Manufacturers Association (BAMA) provides guidance on the collection and processing of “empty” or “near empty” cans by local authorities when processed through MRFs. Advice on the recycling of empty post-consumer aerosols (http://www.bama.co.uk/pdf/recycling_post_consumer.pdf) recovered through MRFs is available on the BAMA website.

When disposing of full or partly full aerosol canisters in bulk then they need to be treated as hazardous waste and disposed of safely.  It is also recommended that aerosols from the commercial waste stream be directed to specialist recycling facilities

Further guidance on the safe disposal of aerosols can be found in the following sources (click on the links for more information):

Radioactive contamination in scrap in metal recycling

Click on the link for more information: http://www.hse.gov.uk/waste/radioactive-contamination.htm

Scrap Metal Dealer Licence Applications

Under the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 and related Regulations local authorities (councils) are responsible for determining the suitability of applicants and issuing of scrap metal dealers licences.

Information on health and safety enforcement action, both prosecutions and enforcement notices is publically available on HSE’s Register of prosecutions and notices (http://www.hse.gov.uk/enforce/prosecutions.htm) should councils wish to consider health and safety offences as part of the application.

HSE will not routinely respond to requests from councils about applicants.

Other HSE guidance and advice (click on the links for more information)

For more guidance on waste management and recycling visit the HSE web page http://www.hse.gov.uk/waste/ or contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk and we’ll be happy to help.

Tree work health and safety – college fined after tree felling injury

A college in Surrey has been fined £70,000 plus costs after a student was struck on the leg by a tree as it was being felled.

Redhill Magistrates’ Court heard how the campus supervisor at the college instructed an employee and part of the estates team, to take two work experience students to fell a tree.

While the tree was being cut two students arrived to observe the operation. The falling tree hit one of the students who was observing, causing fractures to one of his legs.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive into the incident, which occurred in May 2015, found that there was insufficient training given to fell the tree competently. There was inadequate supervision and the risk assessments were not sufficient and had not been followed.

Tree work health and safety

HSE’s Tree Work website allows those involved in forestry and arboriculture both high risk industries to find sector specific information on health and safety quickly.

It is most relevant to Arborists, tree surgeons and forestry workers and will help you find essential information and guidance on good practice including training and PPE which are essential.

See also the safety and health topic sections on managing risks: http://www.hse.gov.uk/treework/safety-topics/index.htm

Are you a…?

Tree work is carried out from time-to-time in many sectors but is particularly important in Forestry and Arboriculture. Clink on the links for more information:

For more information visit the HSE web page http://www.hse.gov.uk/treework/ on contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk and we’ll be happy to help.

Construction work at height – company fined after carrying out dangerous window installation work eight-metres above a West End street

A company which manufactured and installed windows has been fined £36,000 after carrying out work in the West End of London with no measures to prevent the workers falling eight metres and after dropping part of a window onto the public area below.

Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard the company carried out window installation work at a property on Park Street, London, in January 2015 that put their workers and members of the public at risk of suffering serious injuries or a fatality.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out an investigation into the work after a member of the public provided photos of workers leaning out of window openings eight meters above the ground. They also provided a video showing the workers dropping part of a window which fell to the ground and missed a nearby pedestrian.

The company had failed to provide equipment such as scaffolding which would have prevented the workers and window falling. None of the workers had received any formal training and no one was appointed to supervise the work.

The risks associated with the work had not been sufficiently assessed. The court heard the company had failed to invest in equipment for working at height and had a health and management system which relied entirely on the company’s managing director, despite his lack of relevant training and experience.

The work was halted when HSE served a Prohibition Notice (PN). The court heard the company had previously been given advice by HSE in connection with work at height and that an audit by their bank had previously identified a range of relevant health and safety failings. The court heard that neither written warning was heeded by the firm.

Construction work at height

Scaffold checklist

A guide for when scaffold design is required and what level of training and competence those erecting, dismantling, altering, inspecting and supervising scaffolding operations are expected to have obtained. Click on the link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/safetytopics/scaffoldinginfo.htm

Managing work at height follows a hierarchy of controls – avoid, prevent, arrest – which begins with the question – can the work be done safely from the ground? Fall restraints and safety netting should only be considered as a last resort if other safety equipment cannot be used.

Assessing work at height – Assess the risks, take precautions, and issue clear method statements for everyone who will work at height. Click on the link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/safetytopics/assess.htm

Roof work – Plan safe access, and prevent falls from edges and openings. Click on the link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/safetytopics/roofwork.htm

Fragile surfaces – The hierarchy of controls for working on or near fragile surfaces is avoid, control, communicate, co-operate. Click on the link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/safetytopics/fragile.htm

Ladders – When it’s appropriate to use ladders – and the three key safety issues – position, condition and safe use. Click on the link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/safetytopics/ladders.htm

Tower scaffolds – Select the right tower for the job; erect, use, move and dismantle the tower safely; ensure that it is stable; inspect it regularly; prevent falls. Click on the link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/safetytopics/scaffold.htm

For more information visit the HSE web page http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/safetytopics/workingatheight.htm or contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk and we’ll be happy to help.

Contains public sector information published by the Health and Safety Executive and licensed under the Open Government Licence

 

 

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