HSE News and Prosecutions: March 2016

Health & Safety

Join the ‘Working Well’ conversation

The HSE has created a LinkedIn group, a YouTube channel and a hashtag (#HelpGBWorkWell) to encourage Britons to form safe and efficient work environments. Both the group and channel are regularly updated with health and safety guidance and news, while the hashtag is intended to create a nationwide dialogue about safety.

Power company fined £1 million after bystander electrocuted

UK Power Networks (Operations) Ltd (UKPN) was fined £1 million and ordered to pay the full prosecution costs of £153,459 after an individual running on a footpath in Newport, Essex was electrocuted by a low hanging cable. The insulated mounting that housed the cable failed and allowed the live line to fall dangerously close to the footpath. Although UKPN was aware of the cable and had sent someone to repair it, it was too late. In its investigation, the HSE found that UKPN failed to fully assess the potential risk of the downed cable and should have de-energised it after being alerted about the hazard.

Chemical company fined for dangerous gas release

Solvay Solutions UK Limited, a multi-national chemical producer, was fined £333,000 and ordered to pay £110,000 in costs after a dangerous gas was released into the atmosphere, causing disruptions to the M5 and thousands of homes nearby. In Oldbury, a welded steel bar failed, leaving an opening through which the gas was allowed to escape. Upon completing its investigation, the HSE emphasised that it is important for any company working with hazardous chemicals to regularly inspect its processes to ensure these situations do not occur.

Company fined after carrying out dangerous window installation

Ideal Glazing (Euro) Ltd, a window manufacturer and installation company, was fined £36,000 and ordered to pay £1,386 in costs after failing to provide suitable safety equipment for its workers. During an installation job in London’s West End, several of the company’s workers were seen leaning out of window openings that were 8 metres above the street, with no protection for any pedestrians walking below them. The HSE found that the company had not provided its workers with necessary equipment—such as scaffolding—and workers had not received adequate training on how to complete the job safely.