I would like to thank Rob for his excellent expertise and assistance with Health and Safety issues. He was extremely efficient with answering any queries and delivering the required documents very quickly! Would certainly recommend this company and will be using these services again in the future.

HVC Ltd

Clearwater Safety Solutions provide professional but realistic health and safety advice to SME’s across Sussex, Surrey, and Hampshire through south London and into Essex and Kent.

What makes us different from the rest? The clue is in the Company name – we put Clear Water between us and other safety advisors. And by doing so we give you Peace of Mind.

True or False

We are a small company – Health and safety doesn’t apply to us…
False. Health and Safety applies to all businesses from sole traders to multi-nationals in all work sectors. But it is all relative; if you and your neighbour run a home based bookkeeping service, you will need far less than a 10 man construction firm.

Of course it’s safe, we’ve been working this way for years…
False. Doesn’t matter how long you have been doing it, every day people are injured doing jobs they have done all their lives. People become blasé once they know what they are doing and take shortcuts…

Times are hard, money is tight. Health and safety is just an expense we can’t afford at the moment…False. Just one ‘small’ accident to one of your staff or to someone else can easily cost you £000’s. Add to that the potential damage to your reputation, an increase in your insurance costs, loss of production, replacement labour etc …

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HSE warning after company fined for back injuries
By Lauren Applebey
Posted November 25, 2016 In Common Workplace Hazards, In Court, Lifting And Handling, Prosecutions
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A car component manufacturer has been sentenced after six workers experienced back injuries from repeatedly lifting heavy car engine parts by hand.

MAHLE Powertrain Limited (MAHLE) manufactures engine parts for Audi and Jaguar Landrover cars which are no longer in large scale production.

Birmingham Crown Court heard that between 1 November 2013 and 7 January 2015, the HSE received six reports of workers who had injured their backs and been off work for more than seven days. One worker was in hospital for seven days and off work for more than nine weeks. More workers suffered back problems but were not off work for the seven days required for the incidents to be reportable.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that workers who were based on two of the company’s production lines were expected to manually lift engine components weighing between 14 and 21kgs, hundreds of times during a shift. Mechanical lifting aids were either not provided, not suitable, or no training had been received by workers in how to operate them. There were no suitable or sufficient manual handling assessments in place for the tasks involved.

MAHLE Powertrain Limited of Costin House, St James Mill Road, Northampton, admitted breaching Regulation 4(1)(b) of the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992. It was fined £183,340 and ordered to pay £21,277.10 costs.

HSE Inspector Elizabeth Hornsby said: “Companies need to recognise that manual handling as a high risk activity. It is equally important to get health issues right, as well as safety. An Office of National Statistics report on Sickness Absence in the Labour Market stated that 30.6 million days were lost in 2013 due to musculoskeletal problems. This itself should highlight the need for employers to get health issues right.”
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Suspended jail sentences for health and safety ‘ticking time bomb’
By Roz Sanderson
Posted November 18, 2016 In Common Workplace Hazards, In Court, Noise And Vibration, Prosecutions
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hse-prosecution-photoA judge in Swansea has told a company’s director and three managers that their company was “a ticking time bomb in relation to the health and safety employees”.

The defendants were handed down suspended jail sentences for ongoing health and safety failings at their furniture factory in Port Talbot.

Swansea Crown Court heard that the factory at Margam Hall Upholstery Limited was visited by the Health and Safety Executive in early 2015 in a planned programme of visits to woodworking premises.

Dangerous machines and hazardous substances, like wood dust and glue make woodworking a high risk industry.

A number of health and safety concerns were highlighted during the HSE’s visit including:

poor control of wood dust;
no maintenance of work equipment including fume and dust extraction;
noisy conditions
inadequate toilet and washing facilities

Ten improvement notices were served to the company in February 2015, but despite ongoing intervention by the HSE, there was little progress and condition remained poor – seven of the improvement notices were not complied with.

Helen Turner, inspector for the HSE, said: “We always try to work with dutyholders to help them understand their responsibilities and improve conditions, but there is no excuse for people running a business not to know what health and safety standards apply to their work.

“When directors or managers who have the power to make the improvements blatantly disregard their workers’ health and safety we have no option but to prosecute.”

Judge Geraint Walters said: “The operation the four you were engaged in was nothing short of a ticking time bomb in relation to the health and safety of employees.”

The defendants were previously in charge of a factory at the same premises called Celtic-Leather and Fabric Upholstery Ltd.

The company was prosecuted by the HSE in 2015 for similar health and safety breaches.

Director Brian Baggs, Port Talbot, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work Act. He was given a 10 month jail sentence suspended for two years and ordered to pay costs of £2,500. He was disqualified from acting as a company director for five years.

David Lewis, his brother Matthew Lewis and Michael Ball, all shareholders and managers, pleaded guilty to the same breach of the HSWA. They were each given a 10 month jail sentence suspended for two years and ordered to pay costs of £2,500. Although not current directors, they were also disqualified from acting as a company director for five years.
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£9,000 fine issued

08 November 2016

Fire Risk Assessment

A pub and its owner in Banbury has been fined £9,200 after putting members of the public at risk due to lax fire safety provisions.

Director Mr Alan O’Donovan provided accommodation at the pub, despite knowing that the conditions were unsafe, reports the Banbury Guardian.

Fire safety inspectors from Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service issued a Prohibition Notice restricting use of the premises after an inspection found the dangerous practices and inadequate fire safety measures.

The three offences were;

Failure to take general fire precautions as were reasonably required to ensure the first floor bedrooms were safe for public use.
Failure to ensure it was possible for persons using these rooms to evacuate the premises as quickly and safely as possible.
Failure to equip the premises with an appropriate fire alarm and detection system, all of which meant those sleeping on the first floor were placed at risk of death or serious injury if there were a fire.

Councillor Rodney Rose, the Deputy Leader of Oxfordshire County Council, who also has Cabinet responsibility for Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “The vast majority of businesses in the county take fire safety seriously and Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service will continue to support them to comply with legal requirements and to help keep business owners and customers safe.

“However, it is just not acceptable to put people’s lives at risk. Hopefully this prosecution will act as a deterrent to others who think they can ignore what are essential safety measures.”

Stuart Garner, fire protection and business safety manager for Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service, said: “The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, which is enforced by the Fire Authority, places a requirement upon the responsible person, usually the building occupier, operator or owner, to firstly undertake a fire risk assessment and secondly, which in this particular case was most relevant, act upon the outcomes of their significant findings.

“To help us create a safer Oxfordshire, it is important that businesses not only understand why such an assessment must be initially undertaken, but also the importance of acting upon the findings as part of a constant review process and management of their premises.

“In this particular case, Mr O’Donovan was aware of the fire risk assessment findings, together with the recommendations, but as the Court agreed, he failed to act upon the outcomes in a timely manner, thus placing the public at unnecessary and unjustified risk of fire.

“By correctly managing their premises and not committing fire safety offences, business operators can avoid placing the public at risk of possible death or serious injury in the event of fire.

“Thus, when the Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service do undertake a routine fire safety audit of the premises, it is unlikely that such offences will be discovered and any need for legal proceedings being instigated against the responsible person is eliminated.”

Original source
Banbury Guardian
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A landlord from South Woodford has been handed a whopping fine of £42,000 for failing to comply with a prohibition order related to a number of fire safety failings.

Mr Javid Akhtar Mughal was prosecuted by Redbridge Council following an investigation and prohibition order were issued, arising from a complaint made by one of the 11 tenants.

Inspectors found the property had been poorly converted and had had no planning permission or building control approval.

Other findings included:

no fire precautions or fire escapes
defective electrical system
no fire risk assessment had been carried out
high levels of dampness, condensation and mould.

The landlord failed to comply with the order and continued to let the properties, putting the health and safety of the four families living there at risk.

Councillor Farah Hussain, Cabinet Member for Housing said, “We are working hard to make sure irresponsible landlords that blatantly disregard the law are brought to justice.

“It’s important that when faced with landlords who do not follow regulations and licensing conditions, we take all necessary action to make sure residents are protected and properties they live in are safe.

“Anyone failing to meet their responsibilities and putting residents in danger will be prosecuted.”

Original source

Redbridge.gov.uk
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£130k fine for metal company after agency worker loses foot
By Lauren Applebey
Posted October 14, 2016 In In Court
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A Bedfordshire metal company has been fined for safety breaches after a worker suffered severe leg injuries and lost most of his foot.

Luton Magistrates’ Court heard how 24-year-old Luke Simpson, who was an agency worker for the company, was injured when a trolley carrying metal stock fell on his legs causing severe injuries.

The right equipment and a correct maintenance system would have prevented this from happening. – HSE

A bundle of 18 stainless steel bars weighing about 900kg was on a four wheeled trolley. The trolley was manually moved by Mr Simpson and another staff member but it tipped over and the bundle of bars fell off the top of the trolley trapping his leg and foot. He was rushed to hospital by the emergency services.

Mr Simpson’s right leg was broken and his right foot was badly crushed. Despite a number of operations to save his foot, most of it was amputated and he now has a prosthetic foot. It was many months before he was able to return to work. Mr Simpson is currently only able to work on a part-time basis.

HSE found that the metal trolleys had been used on site for some 20 years without incident. Smiths purchased the trolleys to be used as ‘workstations’, but employees had chosen to also use them to move metal stock around the site. There was no risk assessment or written system of work for these trolleys at the time of the accident. The trolley also had faulty wheels and there was no record of any maintenance. After the accident, the trolley was given a safe working load of 500kg; half the weight placed on the trolley at the time of the accident.

Smiths Metal Centres Limited of Stratton Business Park, Bedfordshire pleaded guilty to Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £130,000 with costs of £2,456.40 and a victim surcharge of £120.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Emma Page said: “Luke’s life has been drastically altered by what happened and this incident could have been very easily avoided with some very simple measures. The right equipment and a correct maintenance system would have prevented this from happening.”
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A landlord from Manchester has been slapped with a massive fine of £100,000 for breaching management rules, including fire safety failings.

Beckhall Properties was ordered to pay the hefty bill after the breaches were found at five Whalley Range flats.

Council inspectors discovered a catalogue of breaches of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) legislation at the Clarendon Road properties.

Among the offences found were, dodgy fire alarms and fire doors; unmaintained fire extinguishers; disconnected smoke and heat detectors; a dangerous staircase; damp; leaking ceilings; overgrown land; and carelessly discarded waste were all found.

The regulations ensure minimum safety standards are maintained, including fire safety and gas safety, when more than five people live at a property.

Following the first investigation, the council continued to look into Beckhall Properties as part of a crackdown on unscrupulous landlords.

Bosses were twice given the chance to talk with council chiefs, but failed to attend an interview.

Karl Nolan is the only registered director of the firm, based at Lower Hillgate in Stockport town centre, according to Companies house.

Deputy council leader Bernard Priest said: “Let the size of the fine send a message - in no uncertain terms - that it is simply unacceptable for landlords to fail in their legal obligations.

“Landlords have a duty to ensure their properties are suitably maintained and are not hazardous to their tenant’s safety. This rogue landlord has failed their tenants, at a number of properties, and will now pay a heavy price.”
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East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service has issued advice to residents and businesses in the local area after a spate of false alarm callouts.

Fire crews attended 16 false alarm calls between 7am on 2 October and 7am on 3 October, the majority of which were linked to system faults with alarms of accidental activation.

The fire service issued the following advice:

Remember, fire alarm systems are there to alert occupants to the fact that there may be a fire and depending on your fire risk assessment and emergency plans, it is normally appropriate to investigate first and only to call the Fire Service if / when there are any signs to indicate that there is actually a fire.
If you have an automatic alarm system, make sure it is installed properly, that you know how it works and it is serviced regularly by a competent person. The British Standards Institute's BS 5839 has recommendations for the planning, design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of these systems. If these are followed, a false alarm issue is unlikely to occur.
Best practice requires that false alarms are logged and investigated so that any patterns and trends are identified and dealt with.
Be aware that steam and dust can trigger alarms and take precautions when possible.
Ensure staff and/or residents know what to do when the alarm goes off.
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The owner of a restaurant in Whitby, Yorkshire, has admitted to six fire safety breaches and been handed a fine of £50,000.

Mr Azad Hussain, former company director of Kam Thai (Whitby) Ltd, admitted the offences at York Crown Court this week.

The prosecution came after North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service carried out a fire safety inspection at the restaurant in August, where they found a number of serious fire safety deficiencies regarding the accommodation provided for employees.

The breaches included:

a failure to carry out a written fire risk assessment
a failure to have a working fire alarm and detection system in place
storage of combustible items within in the means of escape
inadequate fire separation
lack of fire training of employees
and a failure to comply with an Enforcement Notice.

Mr Hussain was fined £40,000 and ordered to pay £6,800 in costs. The Company Kam Thai (Whitby) Ltd was also fined £6,000.

His Honour Judge Jamieson QC said: “Had a fire broken out on either the ground or first floor it is highly likely that there would have been a high risk to life potentially endangering the lives of others.

“These were extremely serious multiple offences, which continued over a significant period of time, aggravated by a failure to heed warnings given by fire officers.”
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So many people wrongly think that 'elf and safety is about working on building sites or factories...care homes are safe - right?????

A care home, which pleaded guilty to health and safety breaches after a resident died in a fall, has been fined £1.5 million.

George Chicken, 76, who had severe dementia wandered through a first floor fire escape door at Rose Court Lodge in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire and fell from the fire escape staircase.

Mr Chicken fell down the concrete stairs and fractured his skull, suffering a bleed on the brain. He was taken to King’s Mill Hospital, but died 48 hours later.

Embrace All Ltd, formally European Care (GB), which ran the care home, had pleaded guilty in July to failing to ensure residents were not exposed to risks of health and safety, while manager Amanda Dean of Derbyshire pleaded guilty to failing to take reasonable care of persons affected by her work.

Nottingham Crown Court heard how Mr Chicken, who had undergone hip and knee replacements, was often confused, anxious and unsteady, and was known to wander around the home and had previously pushed open fire exit doors to get out.

The case was initially put before a jury last month, but the jury was discharged after the defendants changed their pleas to guilty following legal discussions.

Prosecutor Bernard Thorogood QC, representing Mansfield District Council said that had Mr Chicken, who was not wearing his glasses, reached out for a handrail he would not have found one to the concrete stairs.

He told the court that staff heard the alarm call to the fire escape and went to investigate.

“They couldn’t see anything, it was so dark… They could hear groaning,” said Mr Thorogood.

After Mr Chicken’s fall in November 2012, the home made improvements, including daily documented checks of stairway lighting, extra members of staff in corridors, keypad controls fitted at fire doors, and reviewable procedures by the company to check it all worked together and all linked up.

Amanda Dean had a certificate in health and safety and was additionally trained in relation to dementia and care planning, the court heard.

Paul Wakerley, acting on behalf of Ms Dean, said she had spent her life putting the needs of others before her own and had an “unblemished record” and described her as being “truly sorry”.

Ms Dean was sentenced to nine months in prison suspended for two years, and ordered to pay csots of £20,000.

Embrace All Ltd, formally European Care (GB), was fined £1.5 million and ordered to pay costs of £200,000.

After the hearing, a statement from the family read: “For our family, nothing will make us feel we’ve had justice. We still have to live every day with the pain of his horrific death.

“We express our gratitude to Mansfield District Council and their legal team. Without them, this case would not have seen the inside of a courtroom or brought to the attention of the public.

“We would like to see the re-evaluation of all care homes who advertise themselves as delivering dementia care. They need to meet the criteria of not only having the understanding of the complexities of dementia but their health and safety measures re-assessed to ensure the safeguarding of their vulnerable residents.

“If my dad’s death proves anything, they can no longer assume that accidents such as his may never happen. In my opinion all scenarios, no matter how small the risk, should be addressed and dealt with immediately. A death should not be the reason to rectify a problem.”

Patricia Lee, Chief Executive of Embrace, said: “I want to apologise wholeheartedly to Mr Chicken’s family, on behalf of all at Embrace, for the health and safety failings that contributed to this tragic accident.

“We have worked exceptionally hard to do all we can to address the issues raised in this case, and have implemented a comprehensive risk assessment programme throughout the organisation. The judge acknowledged that Embrace is a company of good character and he also noted that lessons have been learnt since the tragic events of 2012. Four years on we continue to build upon on the progress made.

“Our number one priority is always the health, safety and wellbeing of the residents we support. Everything we do is based on providing residents with the highest quality of care and the most fulfilled lives possible.”

Mansfield District Council’s Chief Executive Bev Smith said: “The council brought the case because the company’s failings and Ms Dean’s poor management had exposed vulnerable residents at the home to very poor standards of care and serious risks to their safety.

“It is imperative that we stand up for the most vulnerable in our community and ensure that the best quality of care is provided at crucial times in their lives. We will not tolerate any care that falls below an acceptable standard or puts our residents at risk.”
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