HSE News & Prosecutions April 2015

Nightclub bans selfie sticks

A British nightclub banned selfie sticks, the mobile phone accessory, claiming that they posed health and safety risks to its customers. The HSE Myth Busters Panel concluded that it was reasonable to ban the use of the accessory due to the potential ‘nuisance’ that it may pose in a crowded venue. However, the panel believed that it was unnecessary to cite health and safety risks as the reasoning, as there are no specific rules which apply to the accessory’s use.

London company responsible for Tower Bridge lift fall

A London lift company was fined £50,000 and ordered to pay £50,000 in costs after four tourists suffered fractures when a Tower Bridge lift fell three metres. The tourists were riding the lift when a counter-weight mechanism failed, causing the lift to drop. In the investigation, the HSE found that while the company displayed diligence in replacing damaged or worn-out lift components, it failed to identify the cause of the degradation. A more in-depth investigation by the lift company may have prevented the accident.

North West building firm exposed a pregnant woman to carbon monoxide

A North West building firm was fined £4,000 and order to pay £1,276 in costs after an eight-and-half-month pregnant woman and her husband displayed symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. The couple’s flue for their gas fire had become obstructed by rubble during a loft conversion in a neighbouring semi-detached property. In the investigation, the HSE found that the building firm had failed to adequately assess the potential risks of their project. Had they done so, they would have avoided exposing the woman, her unborn child and her husband to risk.

Council refuses to supply gardeners with sun screen

A council refused to supply its gardeners with sun screen during hot weather, claiming it could have been a health and safety issue if someone was allergic. The HSE Myth Busters Panel concluded that, although the council is not obligated to supply outdoor workers with sun screen, masking its refusal to provide sun screen by citing vague health and safety reasons is irresponsible. Employers are encouraged to educate outdoor workers on the dangers of sun exposure.