Recent HSE News And Prosecutions – January 2014

More than £5.5m paid out under HSE’s FFI scheme

UK businesses have paid more than £5.5 million for health and safety failings since October 2012 under the HSE’s Fee for Intervention (FFI) scheme, according to a recent report. Under the Health and Safety (Fees) Regulations 2012, companies that break health and safety law are subject to covering HSE-related costs such as call-outs, inspections and investigations. The manufacturing sector paid the most (38 per cent of total payments), while the agricultural sector paid the least (2 per cent). Infractions ranged from slips, trips and falls to neglecting to provide enough toilets or washing facilities.

Refusal to serve hot water
The refusal of a North East hospital coffee bar to provide hot water to a tea drinker quickly soured the customer’s attitude. The customer wanted to use her own Earl Grey teabags, but said she was happy to pay full price for tea in exchange for a cup of hot water. The coffee bar denied her hot water due to health and safety reasons. As the customer and the HSE Myth Busters panel both pointed out, a coffee bar denying hot water is ridiculous—the level of risk is the same for purchasing hot water or another hot drink. This is yet another excuse of abysmal customer service masquerading as health and safety compliance.

Businessman fined for falsifying safety documents
A Shropshire businessman was fined £2,400 and ordered to pay £989 in costs for falsifying a safety document for a forklift truck. The businessman, who supplies workplace vehicles and lifting equipment, purposely made a false entry on a Report of Thorough Examination for the truck, a document required by law to show that lifting equipment is in good condition.

Charity shop donations refused
Workers at a Leeds charity shop placed a notice in the charity’s window stating that they are unable to accept further donations due to the ambiguous excuse of health and safety. After being contacted by the Myth Busters panel, the charity readily acknowledged that its use of the phrase ‘health and safety’ was misleading. The workers wanted to halt donations in order to sort their already overwhelming amount of inventory. The panel is confident that the charity will clearly explain its reasoning in the future.