HSE International

National clampdown targets construction industry’s poor health record

‘Health as well as safety’ will be the message as poor standards and unsafe work on Britain’s building sites are targeted as part of a nationwide drive  aimed at reducing ill health, death and injury in the industry.

During the month long initiative, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will carry out unannounced visits to sites where refurbishment projects or repair works are underway.

From today (22 September), HSE Inspectors will ensure high-risk activities particularly those affecting the health of workers, are being properly managed. These include working with harmful dusts such as silica and asbestos, and other hazardous substances. If unacceptable standards are found Inspectors will take immediate enforcement action.

HSE is urging industry to ‘think health’ as over 30,000 construction workers are made ill by their work every year.

Philip White, HSE Chief Inspector of Construction, said:

“Industry has made much progress in reducing the number of people killed and injured in its activities, but for every fatal accident, approximately 100 construction workers die from a work-related cancer[1]

During the recent health initiative, enforcement action was taken on one in six sites.  Time and again we find smaller contractors working on refurbishment and repair work failing to protect their workers through a lack of awareness and poor control of risks.

This isn’t acceptable – it costs lives, and we will take strong and robust action where we find poor practice and risky behaviour.

Through campaigns like this we aim to ensure contractors take all risks to their workers seriously, and not just focus on immediate safety implications. They need to put in place practical measures to keep workers both safe and well”

Further information about the Initiative, results of previous campaigns and safe-working in construction can be found online at:


[1]It is estimated that for every fatal accident in 2012-13, approximately 100 construction workers died from a work-related cancer

Original Source: http://press.hse.gov.uk/2014/national-clampdown-targets-construction-industrys-poor-health-record/?

National Forklift Safety Week 2014

The 22nd of September marks the start of this year’s National Forklift Safety Week (22 – 28 September 2014). Organised by the Forklift Truck Association, this annual event has been running since 2008 and aims to raise awareness of the dangers associated with forklifts.

The centrepiece of the week will, as usual, be the National Forklift Truck Safety Conference which will take place on Wednesday the 24th September at Warwick University. Delegates for the conference can book online by following the link on the‘National Forklift Safety Conference 2014‘ page of the FLTA website. This year the conference theme is ‘There’s a killer in your warehouse..’ and will discuss the dangers associated with working in a forklift truck environment and suggesting common sense measures which can be put in place to minimise them in order to make forklift operation as safe as possible. These will be illustrated by a series of case-history sessions which will be led by Companies who have successfully put in place changes to their work practices and are prepared to share what they have learned as a result. The aim of the conferance is to allow managers and supervisors an insight into what can be done in their workplace that can be put in place quickly so safety can be improved.

As well as the Conference, during National Forklift Safety Week the FLTA will be lauching a series of hazard perception tests which will allow those taking them to test their knowledge of forklift safety and discover ways of making thier working safer.

There will also be the launch of the FLTA Safety Programme. As those of us here at Forklift Today can agree with, research has shown that continual learning is invaluable to improving safety so during the week the FLTA will launch the FLTA Safety Programme, which is designed to show Companies of all shapes and sizes and in all sectors, how they can improve fork lift truck safety at their own site.

National Forklift Safety Week should be more than just a date in your Company’s diary – every week should be safety week.

If you’re looking for a training provider in your area check out our directory of training providers.

Find out our thoughts about Forklift safety.

Original Source: http://forklifttoday.co.uk/national-forklift-safety-week/

Timber firm fined after worker loses finger

A Lincolnshire timber firm, Select Timber Products Ltd, was fined £9,900 on September 11 after an agency worker lost the top of his finger in an unguarded machine.

The 23-year-old, from Holbeach, was helping to clear a blockage on a woodworking machine at the firm’s Donington premises when the incident happened on 15 July 2013. An HSE investigation found two of the machine’s guards had been removed.

Grantham Magistrates’ Court heard how, in order to clear the blockage, the machine operator had lifted the main guard, while a fixed guard on one of the machine’s six cutting heads had also been taken off to make cleaning easier. However, the machine was still under power, and when the agency worker reached in his left hand came into contact with one of the moving cutting heads.

The middle finger on his left hand had to be amputated, and he also suffered severe lacerations to two other fingers, leaving him with only partial movement in these and his middle finger. After pleading guilty to three separate breaches of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, the timber company was handed a £9,900 fine and ordered to pay £1,193 in costs.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Neil Ward said: “About 30 to 40 similar incidents are reported to HSE every year. Nearly all result in amputation injuries and most, including this one, could have been prevented if the cutters had come to rest before operators approached them.

“Neither the machine operator nor the injured man had been trained to a suitable standard by Select Timber Products.”

Original Source: http://www.shponline.co.uk/timber-firm-fined-worker-loses-finger/

Shell UK Ltd set to cut 250 North Sea jobs

Energy giant Shell is to shed 250 posts from its North Sea operation over the next year. Employees and contractors will be affected by the cuts, which target onshore positions.

A Shell spokeswoman said: “Shell UK Ltd is reorganising its upstream onshore operations to better serve the needs of its offshore facilities and to build a stronger long-term business in the North Sea.

“Following staff consultation, Shell expects to reduce employee and contractor headcount by a total of around 250 positions over the next year.

“Revisions to the onshore organisation will be implemented by the end of 2014.

“Shell is determined to ensure that it continues to deliver safe, competitive operations in its North Sea portfolio and maximises value from its operated assets.”

Shell produces around 12% of UK oil and gas and has interests in more than 50 North Sea fields.

The company operates some 60 offshore and sub-sea installations and three onshore gas plants at St Fergus, Mossmorran and Bacton.

It is understood the jobs will go at Shell’s office in oil and gas hub, Aberdeen.

In August, Parent company Royal Dutch Shell pledged to return more than 30 billion US dollars (£18 billion) to investors over two years, as quarterly profits rose by a third.

Earnings for the second quarter of 2014 excluding one-off items increased 33% to 6.13 billion US dollars (£3.63 billion) but chief executive Ben van Beurden said he was determined to get a “tighter grip” on business performance and management.

Last month fellow oil giant Chevron announced it was to cut 225 jobs in Aberdeen as it reorganises its North Sea operations.

The US firm said employees, contractors and expatriate workers will be affected.

The Scottish Government said it recognised that it was a difficult time for workers affected by the announcement and it hoped the redundancy figure could be reduced through restructuring and relocation.

A spokesman said: “The Scottish Government will work closely with Shell and with those who face redundancy to help them into alternative employment through our Pace initiative.”

He added: “We welcome Shell’s continuing commitment to the North Sea, particularly their ongoing investment over the next few years of two billion dollars a year in Clair and Schiehallion, and there is no indication that this will impact directly on North Sea production or field development.

“As Oil and Gas UK has said, overall there was £14.4 billion investment in 2013 and the industry intends to invest a further £13 billion this year. This provides a clear signal that attractive opportunities still remain in the North Sea.

“However, as the report from Scotland’s Independent Expert Commission on Oil and Gas made clear, a fundamental shift in the way oil and gas policy is formulated is long overdue. Only with the full powers of independence can we bring stability, predictability and a long term positive future to the North Sea.”


Original Source: http://bit.ly/XnhZ6m

Shell vows to invest billions in North Sea

Ben van Beurden highlighted the oil and gas giant’s enthusiasm for areas like West of Shetland after the company posted a one third increase in underlying profits for the second quarter helped by strong oil prices.

The Anglo-Dutch company made $6.1 billion (£3.6bn) net of one-offs in the three months to June. It made $4.6bn in the same period of 2013 under Mr van Beurden’s predecessor Peter Voser.

Asked if Shell had developed contingency plans for Scotland becoming indendent following the referendum in September, Mr van Beurden said: “As I’ve said before in December I think we would prefer it for the UK to remain a single country.

“There is of course uncertainty that would flow from a Scottish independence outcome, but then having said that we would of course deal with Scottish independence in the way that we would have to. I don’t think there is in that sense anything that we are deeply concerned about.”

Mr van Beurden, who took charge in January, indicated that Shell is likely to remain a big player off the UK after he has completed rationalising the company’s global porfolio to boost returns.

Shell put three relatively small, mature assets off Scotland, including the Sean field, up for sale earlier this year. However, Mr van Beurden indicated sales of such assets formed part of routine house-keeping in the North Sea.

He noted: “You have to bear in mind that there’s also significant growth still. We still invest for the next few years two billion dollars a year particularly in Clair and Schiehallion (West of Shetland), so it’s not as if we are completely stepping away from the North Sea. We are just engaged in the normal active portfolio management where we prune ourselves of end of life, late life assets and where ownership is better had elsewhere … and where basically we have a bigger bang for our buck elsewhere.”

Chief financial officer Simon Henry noted fiscal and regulatory changes could boost activity in the North Sea in coming years.

He said Shell welcomed the direction of the recommendations made in the recent review of the North Sea industry and related regulatory issues by oil services tycoon Sir Ian Wood.

Noting the UK Government has launched a review of North Sea taxation, Mr Henry said: “The combination of the two, the regulatory development and the fiscal review we see as a great opportunity for the UK to maximise the remaining value.”

Mr van Beurden said Shell had made good progress with efforts to improve its performance but had a long way to go. The Dutch executive highlighted the oil products business and North American resources, such as shale, as areas where Shell needs to do better.

Shell has made big losses on hefty investments it has made in shale in the US. It has decided to focus on liquids rich shales.

The company recorded $1.9bn impairments in the latest quarter, mainly related to dry gas properties in the US.

“There may be even more writedowns to come,” said Jason Kenney, analyst at Santander, who has a “hold” rating on Shell’s shares.

Mr van Beurden told of his sadness about the crash of the MH17 Malaysia Airlines flight in eastern Ukraine in July, which took the lives of four Shell employees and many of his compatriots and which he described as a terrible tragedy. He said it was too soon to assess the implications for Shell’s operations in Russia, which faces more sanctions for its support for rebels in eastern Ukraine.

Analysts had expected Shell to make $5.46bn underlying profit in the second quarter.

Shell announced a quarterly dividend of $0.47 per ordinary share, up four percent year on year. The company said the value of its share buybacks and dividends for 2014 and 2015 would exceed $30bn.

Royal Dutch Shell A shares closed up 58.5p at £24.41.

Original Source: http://bit.ly/1m5muhy

Oil worker who died after falling on BP’s Unity platform in the North Sea has been named

A man who died after falling on BP’s Unity platform in the North Sea has been named.

Sean Anderson, 43, from the Tyne and Wear area, was an employee of Cape.

The incident happened at about 04:10 on Thursday, 97 miles off Aberdeen. Unity is part of the Forties pipeline system.

Simon Hicks, UK managing director of Cape, said: “Sean was a popular, hard-working and experienced employee. His co-workers are obviously shaken and saddened.”

Police Scotland is carrying out a joint investigation with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

A Cape statement added: “The deceased was part of a Cape team carrying out routine maintenance onboard BP’s Unity platform. Our thoughts go out to his family, to whom we will be offering every support.

“The deceased’s co-workers are obviously shocked and saddened and we are working alongside BP to ensure they receive the support they need.

“We do not currently know the circumstances of the incident, but will be working closely with BP, Police Scotland and the Health and Safety Executive on a full and thorough investigation.”

A spokesman for BP said: “We are working with Police Scotland, the HSE, Cape and other relevant organisations to support those affected and ensure that the incident is fully investigated.

“The company extends its deepest sympathies to the family and employers and will provide them with every support it can.”

Original Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-29076539

Australian model Robyn Lawley stages naked protest against huge coal mine seven times the size of Sydney Harbour

An Australian model has stripped naked to protest against a huge coal mine planned for Queensland that campaigners fear will damage the Great Barrier Reef.

Robyn Lawley, 25, posted a picture on her Instagram page with “stop coal mining” scrawled on her bare stomach in lipstick to draw attention to the issue.

In a long post with the image, she wrote: “Woke up this morning to find out that our Environmental minister and the Abbott government have approved what will be the biggest mine of Australia.

“Carmichael mine will cover an area seven times that of Sydney Harbour. The only way to get coal out of Carmichael mine is via the Great Barrier Reef. Millions of tonnes of seabed will have to be dredged and dumped in the World Heritage Area to make way for port expansions to service this mega-mine.”



Australia’s environment minister, Greg Hunt, approved the $16.5 billion (£9.1 billion) project on Monday and imposed 36 conditions to address environmental concerns.

”The absolute strictest of conditions have been imposed to ensure the protection of the environment, with a specific focus on the protection of groundwater,” he said in a statement.

”I am pleased that we have been able to apply some of the strictest environment conditions in Australian history as part of this decision.”

The mine, near Clermont, will be one of the biggest in the world when completed, with the capacity to churn out 60 million tonnes of coal a year.

A coal miner stands in a mine in Jaintia Hills, Meghalaya, India. India, reliant on coal for more than half its electricity, is struggling to ease blackouts as delays in adding railways hinder fuel supplies and discourage investors from building $36 billion of power plants. Bloomberg News photo by Brent Lewin

Most of the coal from Carmichael mine will be sent to India


It will be sent via a new, private, railway line to the sea and shipped from the port of Abbot Point or Hay Point, near the Great Barrier Reef.

Indian company Adani is behind the project and claimed the environmental impact had been carefully assessed in its proposals.

The firm has previously been penalised by the Indian government for the destruction of mangroves and breached regulations in Bocha Island, a conservation zone.

Lawley lambasted the company’s track record as well as the lack of renewable energy alternatives to fossil fuel.

She wrote: “Coal is soon going to be a dead commodity only bought buy irresponsible countries who do not care about climate change and the damage on the world.

“I’m shocked and feel powerless so I decided to get people to read this one way or another, we have to stop them… Before it’s too late.”

The model is a passionate environmental campaigner and carries a quote from American anthropologist Margaret Mead, which reads “we won’t have a society if we destroy our environment” on her Instragram page.

She rose of fame after appearing on the cover of both Vogue Italia and Vogue Australia’s first “plus-size” issues in 2011.

Lawley, who is 6ft 2ins tall and an estimated Australian size 12, once worked as a mainstream model but has enjoyed more success since switching to the “plus-size” category – a label she deplores.

Earlier this year, she told Clique Magazine there was a “no-man’s land” of models above the standard size six with perfectly proportioned bodies that are unable to find work.

“I don’t think anyone should be called plus-size,” she said. “I think it’s derogatory to anyone – it’s a label.”

Original Source: http://ind.pn/1pQDm9X


UK manufacturing grows at the fastest pace for 7 months

Activity in the UK’s manufacturing sector grew at the fastest pace for seven months in June, a closely-watched survey has suggested.

The latest Markit/CIPS purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for the sector was 57.5, up from 57.0 in May.

A reading above 50 indicates that the sector is expanding.

Markit said the sector continued to “flourish”, with jobs being created at the fastest pace for more than three years.

The survey results add to signs that the UK’s economic recovery is becoming more balanced.

The latest official GDP figures, released on Friday, confirmed that the economy grew by 0.8% in the first quarter of the year and recorded the fastest expansion in business investment in two years.

Strong quarter

While the PMI survey indicated that manufacturing output saw a slight slowdown in the rate of growth last month, it said output had now increased for 16 months in a row.

In addition, new orders grew at the fastest pace since November last year.

“UK manufacturing continued to flourish in June, rounding off one of the best quarters for the sector over the past two decades,” said Rob Dobson, senior economist at Markit.

“With levels of production surging higher, and order books swollen by a further upswing in demand from both domestic and overseas clients, job creation accelerated to its highest for over three years.”

David Tinsley, UK economist at BNP Paribas, said: “Manufacturing is growing strongly, and work flows suggest this has legs.

“This supports our view that UK GDP accelerated in Q2. As this news flow is absorbed further, rate hike expectations for the first hike in Q4 this year should harden.”

Original Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-28106368

UK shipping sector needs 5,000 extra skilled people

A major conference in Liverpool has heard that the UK commercial shipping industry faces a shortfall of 5,000 staff over the next few years.

More than 100 delegates at the Shipping and Maritime Industries event at the new Port Academy Liverpool were told everyone in the sector must do more to promote maritime careers to young people.

The conference was being held as part of the International Festival for Business 2014 and was co-organised by the Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association UK and saw presentations from the Engineering Development Trust, Seavision and Seafarers UK.

It heard that huge growth in the the UK’s shipping and logistics sectors was forecast – especially in the Liverpool city region – but that the skills shortage could slow expansion.

Seavision director Ewen Macdonald, whose campaign promotes the maritime industry to young people, emphasised the urgent need to positively promote maritime careers.

He said the 5,000 staffing shortage relates specifically to deck and engineering officers and is taken from the Transport Select Committee Report “Forging ahead?: UK shipping strategy” published in March this year.

Port Academy Liverpool project lead Shulah Jones said the new academy, located within Bootle’s Hugh Baird College, was recently launched to specifically address the skills shortage.

She said it will also help train the next generation of skilled workers to support the Liverpool city region’s £1.8bn Super Port development – a project designed to expand the freight and passenger capacity of the River Mersey.

Mr Macdonald said: “By 2020, the UK could be 5,000 seafarers short and this relates specifically deck and engineering officers. Government has introduced initiatives to address the skills shortage. However, the itime industry still faces a significant challenge to attract the talent we need.”

Mr Macdonald added the onus was now on the maritime community to unite and communicate with young people.

Original Source: http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/business/liverpool-conference-told-uk-shipping-7318288#.U6w36ATEMPA.twitter

Germany breaks 3 solar power records in 2 weeks

Over the first week of June 2014, German solar power systems generated 1.26 TWh of electricity, another new record for the country…

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