HSE News and Prosecutions – August 2015

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Child loses fingertips from a ‘guillotine’ park gate

Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council was fined £13,000 and ordered to pay £1,317 in costs after a toddler was injured at a park. The two-year-old boy had gotten his fingers caught in an external gate when another child closed it, creating a guillotine effect that severed several of his fingertips. In its investigation, the HSE found that the risk assessment had only looked at the locking side of the gate and failed to notice that the stopper mechanism had been removed on the hinge side.

New HSE statistics reveal a decline in fatal injuries

Over the course of 20 years (from 1995 to 2015), the HSE has collected data on fatal injuries in the workplace. The data showed that fatal injuries have gradually declined over the past two decades. The death rate is currently at .46 deaths per 100,000 workers—9 per cent lower than the average of the previous five years.

Worker dies from exposure to steam during routine maintenance

A Staffordshire animal rendering and food waste recycling company was fined £660,000 and ordered to pay £187,632 in costs after a worker died during routine maintenance. The 50-year-old worker was attempting to repair an industrial cooker when steam was unexpectedly fed into the area—causing severe burns that contributed to his death. In its investigation, the HSE found that the company had failed to properly assess the potential risks involved with the repair and had not enforced the proper precautions.

Charity shop refused donations on the grounds of ‘health and safety’

A charity shop refused to accept a donation of a plastic baby bath. The shop cited that due to ‘health and safety’ reasons, whoever purchased the bath could sue if his or her child was injured by a slip or fall. The HSE Myth Busters Panel concluded that there are no health and safety rules that would bar a resale shop from accepting such donations.