Recent HSE News and Prosecutions – December 2013

Postman Refuses Future Third Floor Deliveries

After delivering a parcel to a third-floor flat, a postman warned the flat’s resident that next time she would have to meet at the building’s main entrance due to health and safety reasons. The tenant preferred to remain in her flat and collect the parcel there so she could look after her sleeping baby. The HSE panel conceded that delivery personnel sometimes must refrain from entering buildings due to legitimate health and safety reasons, but stated that this was not one of them.

Restaurant Refused to Plate Up Leftovers

In a move that spurns light eaters everywhere, a South West restaurant refused to plate up a customer’s leftovers, claiming that health and safety law prohibits it. Of course there is no such law, although the HSE panel agreed that plating up leftovers may sometimes be inadvisable due to food safety concerns. The panel urges restaurant owners to communicate the real reasons for their refusal to plate up leftovers, rather than citing a non-existent law.

Timber Firm Fined After Worker Severs Hand

A Lancaster timber firm was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £5,000 more after a 72-year-old employee severed his hand while working for the firm in Middleton. The employee was feeding pieces of wood into a guillotine, known as a logger, pushing wood under the blade with his right hand and operating a lever with his left. He accidentally pulled down the lever before his right hand was free from the blade. It sliced right through his hand, just below the knuckles, with only a flap of palm skin holding the hand together. Surgeons were able to sew the employee’s hand back together, although he now experiences only limited movement in that hand.

Over 1,100 Construction Sites Fail Safety Checks

A month-long safety drive yielded sobering results for the HSE—1,100 homes, almost half of the 2,607 construction sites visited, did not meet basic safety standards. The HSE issued 539 prohibition notices ordering dangerous actions to halt immediately. The most common problems identified by the HSE team were failing to protect workers during work at height, exposure to harmful dust and inadequate welfare facilities.