Archive for February, 2017

Environmental Update

Offences so serious ‘custody the only option’

A Dewsbury man has been handed a 26-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, for illegally dumping waste on disused land in Horbury, Wakefield.

Guardian Compliance have learned that Samuel Joseph Stringer Hunter, 25, was sentenced by Kirklees Magistrates’ Court following an Environment Agency investigation. Hunter had denied two environmental offences but was found guilty after a trial.

Lorna Matchett, prosecuting for the Environment Agency, told the court that investigating officers discovered the illegal activities in July 2014.

Hunter had been storing waste on land near Bridge Road, near the River Calder behind the Horbury Bridge Industrial Estate, although no environmental permits were in place for the operation.

There were several piles of mixed waste containing treated and untreated wood waste and plastics, and skips belonging to the Hunter Group or Huddersfield Skip Services, both of which were Hunter was involved with at the time.

The defendant claimed that these waste activities were allowed because they were covered by waste permitting exemptions. But the Environment Agency said the waste was being stored in breach of the exemptions: there was too much waste, it was of a type not compliant with the exemptions and it was stored for too long.

Hunter was told to clear the waste from the site, but inspections between October 2014 and January 2015 revealed that much of it remained. There were also signs that waste had been deposited into the ground, which was contaminated with plastic, glass, a trainer and mixed construction and demolition waste.

The court heard that through running the site illegally, Hunter avoided £4,120 in permitting fees and £5,148 by not installing the correct surfacing to prevent pollution to the ground. It is estimated that Hunter received between £6,400 and £18,720 for the waste he brought onto the site.

In sentencing, the chair of the bench said: “These offences were so serious that custody was the only option.”

A spokesperson for the Environment Agency said after the hearing: “Environmental permitting regulations exist to protect the environment and local communities from the risk of harm. Hunter’s activities on this site posed a pollution risk and a fire risk that could have affected the nearby railway line. Hunter also undercut legitimate businesses by avoiding mandatory permitting and infrastructure costs.

“We hope this case demonstrates the importance of environmental compliance. Anyone who breaks the rules will be pursued. Anyone who believes waste is being dumped illegally is urged to report the matter to our incident hotline on 0800 807060 so we can investigate.”

Prior to sentencing, Hunter told the court in mitigation that he had cleaned up the waste in the shortest possible time.

In addition, to the suspended jail term, he was ordered to undertake a rehabilitation activity of 15 days under supervision, and to carry out 300 hours of unpaid work within the next 12 months. Hunter must also pay legal costs of £4,640 and a victim surcharge of £150.

Source: CIWM January 2017

Environment & Sustainability Awareness Training

Guardian Compliance have developed a Sustainability & Environmental Awareness e-Learning training course will benefit anybody with an interest in improving their organisation’s environmental management. It introduces the concept of sustainability and will show delegates why the environment matters to their organisation. The course focuses on the waste hierarchy and the benefit of an environmental management system. The course also covers ecology issues of waste, looks at ecology and emergency preparedness and response procedures. This course is a MUST for those wishing to raise general awareness of environmental issues.

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Latest News

Suspended sentences for business owners

Lifting operation left worker severely injured

Prison sentence for company director

 

Suspended sentences for business owners

Guardian Compliance has learned that two owners of Kidderminster based fencing firm Hoo Farm Fencing have been given suspended sentences after a worker was hit by timber posts and frames which fell from a fork lift truck.

Forty-nine year old Raymond Lainsbury suffered injuries that still require regular physiotherapy sessions following the incident on 12 February 2016.

Worcester Magistrates’ Court heard how Hoo Farm Fencing’s method of working was unsuitable for the task they were carrying out at the time of the incident. Mr Lainsbury was helping to dip timber posts and frames in preservative, when they fell from the metal frame on the fork lift truck, striking him.

A HSE investigation found that the company had not been using the suitable equipment for the task. The operator had not been properly trained to operate a fork lift truck. The company also failed to have the fork lift truck in question thoroughly examined up to required standards.

Maurice James Blackford of Minster Road, Stourport, Kidderminster pled guilty to breaching section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and Susan Hawthorne of Blackthorne House, Hartlebury Road pled guilty to the same breach.

Both were sentenced to 18 weeks imprisonment suspended for two years and fined £10,000 each. Full Prosecution costs of £4,318 were split between the two defendants.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Tariq Khan said “The seriousness of the safety failings could have resulted in much more severe injuries to Mr Lainsbury who was lucky to walk away from this incident.

“This case highlights the importance of maintaining proper safety practices and also all duty holders will be held accountable for failing to do so.”

HSE, February 2017

 

Lifting operation left worker severely injured

An engineering firm has been sentenced for safety breaches after a worker suffered life changing injuries.

Cleckheaton firm H E Realisations Ltd (now in liquidation, formerly Hogg Engineering Ltd) pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and Reg 8(1) of the Lifting Operation and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998.

Gateshead Magistrates’ Court heard that on 24 February 2015, Kevin Tait was using equipment to lift an 18 tonne steel roll at the company’s premises at Carlington Court, Factory Road, Blaydon-onTyne.

Guardian Compliance understand the equipment being used was not suitable for the lifting operation due to the fact that the load being lifted exceeded the equipment’s safe working load.

During the lift, part of one of the shortening clutches sheared causing the load to swing and strike Mr Tait on the head. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuting told the court the lifting operation had not been suitably planned and the equipment in use was poorly maintained.

H E Realisations Ltd of Moorland House, Snelisins Road, Cleckheaton was fined £40,000 and ordered to pay £2230 costs.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Laura Catterall commented: “Lifting operations are hazardous and require a competent person to properly plan and supervise them to ensure that suitable and properly maintained equipment is used in the right configuration to avoid exceeding safe working loads.

“Kevin is incredibly lucky that he was not killed in this incident and he has suffered permanent life changing injuries as a result. This workplace accident has changed the lives of Kevin and his family irrevocably.”

HSE, February 2017

 

Prison sentence for company director

The director of a construction company has been imprisoned for eight months after failing to take appropriate action which resulted in a young worker receiving serious burns.

Cardiff Crown Court heard the young worker was instructed to stand on top of a skip and pour a drum of flammable thinners onto the burning waste to help it to burn. The fireball that resulted when the thinners ignited caused the worker to be blown from the skip and he suffered substantial burns to his arms and legs.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the company director:

  • did not ensure the burning of the waste material was being carried out in a safe or appropriate manner
  • failed to administer any first aid to the young injured worker and did not send him to hospital, the most appropriate response given the severity of the injuries suffered
  • failed to inform HSE of the incident, a legal requirement, and the incident was only reported sometime later by a third party.

David Gordon Stead of Mildred Street, Beddau, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and also pled guilty to breaching Section 4 (1) of The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR) and was sentenced to 32 weeks imprisonment, half on release under licence. He has also been disqualified from being a company director for seven years.

Speaking after the case HSE inspector Adele Davies said “David Stead failed his employees. His actions could have resulted in the death of this worker. The young man suffered unnecessary life threatening injuries due to poor working standards.

“We hope this sentence sends out a message that directors of businesses must take their health and safety responsibilities seriously.”

HSE, February 2017

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Compensation awarded through Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme (DMPS)

Guardian Compliance has learned that more than £84 million in compensation has been awarded to sufferers, or the families of those who have died, as part of the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme (DMPS), according to official statistics (released 31 January 2017).

Diffuse mesothelioma, a cancer linked to asbestos exposure, caused the death of 2,515 people in Great Britain in 2014, according to HSE figures. The disease is usually fatal, and most patients die within 12 months of their diagnosis.

Those most at risk of developing mesothelioma include men who worked in the building industry when asbestos was used extensively. Symptoms vary and it can take up to 20 to 40 years after exposure for symptoms that allow doctors to diagnose the disease to appear.

The DMPS is a scheme of last resort for people with the disease who were negligently exposed to asbestos at work, but who are unable to trace their employer or their employer’s insurer to seek compensation.

The average lump sum payment made through the scheme in the 6 months between April and September 2016 was around £141,000, up from £135,000 in 2015/16. The scheme is funded by a levy on the Employers’ Liability Compulsory Insurance industry, set this year at £40.4 million.

The deadline to apply to the scheme is 3 years from diagnosis. For those applicants diagnosed between 25 July 2012 and 5 April 2014, the deadline is 5 April 2017.

Guardian Compliance have developed an e-Learning Asbestos Awareness (Category A) course to help workers to understand the risks associated with the material so that they can avoid work that may disturb asbestos. Our training provides a comprehensive introduction to the dangers of working with asbestos and helps employers to comply with the law by ensuring that their workers are appropriately trained in order to work safely.

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