HSE International

Three missing after South African gold mine collapses

Rescue workers say 87 miners brought to surface after cave-in at Makonjwaan mine in Barberton, but three who had been working on surface unaccounted for.

Almost 90 miners were rescued and three were still missing after a cave-in at a gold mine in northeastern South Africa on Friday, the firm that owns the mine said.

The collapse at the mine’s main entrance trapped 87 workers underground, all of whom were rescued, Vantage Goldfields said in a statement. However, three others who had been working on the surface at the time of the collapse could not be accounted for.

No deaths were reported. However, there was confusion regarding the number of workers involved.

Mike McChesney, chief executive of the small gold producer, and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union initially said 115 workers had been trapped.



Vantage Goldfields is an Australia-based company mining gold at Barberton, a town that traces its origin in the country’s 19th century gold rush. Vantage was delisted from the Australian bourse in January 2015.

South Africa’s mines are the deepest and among the most dangerous in the world, though fatal accidents in the industry have fallen due to improved safety and a reduction in staff as production declines.

Last year 77 workers were killed in mining accidents, the lowest number on record.


 Original Source: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/feb/05/south-african-mine-collapse-makonjwaan?CMP=twt_a-world_b-gdnworld


Italian actor Raphael Schumacher in coma following stage accident

An Italian actor is in a coma after a hanging scene in a live theatrical production went wrong, resulting in his strangulation.

Raphael Schumacher was rushed to hospital at the weekend after an audience member at the production in Pisa realised something was wrong and rushed to his aid.

The 27-year-old actor was appearing in a production of a play called Mirages at the Teatro Lux.

Police have launched an investigation.

A report in the Il Giorno newspaper suggested sufficient safety procedures had not been properly put in place prior to the performance.

Raphael Schumacher

According to another report, one of the other actors said afterwards: “The noose should have been fake and a harness should have caught him if he fell. I cannot explain how an incident like this happened.”

The audience member – believed to be a recent medical graduate – went to the aid of Schumacher, who was wearing a bag over his face, after seeing him tremble.

After loosening the noose, the performer was lowered to the ground with the assistance of another audience member.

Police reportedly sealed off the theatre and interviewed members of the cast and audience.

Schumacher has yet to regain consciousness and remains in hospital.


Original Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-35475381

Probe after man hurt on Fife building site during Storm Henry

Emergency services were called to a Fife building site this week after a worker was injured by building materials in high winds.

Firefighters confirmed they were called to the scene at the Persimmon Homes development just off Kelty’s Limepark Crescent on Monday afternoon, with crews using specialist equipment to harness the unidentified man out of a ditch dug for the foundations of a new home.

It is understood the 42-year-old had been struck by construction materials and sustained injuries to his back and arm.

An investigation into the incident is now under way, although the injured man was released from hospital on Monday evening following treatment.

A spokesman for Persimmon Homes said gale-force winds which swept in as part of Storm Henry were to blame for the accident.

A resident who lives across the road from where the incident took place said: “Before 1pm a partial wall of a new build had fallen down between that building and where the foundations were being cleared for the next plot.

“The emergency services then arrived. The fire service and line rescue worked on the area at the side of new build and after approximately 25 minutes a person was removed on a stretcher and taken to the ambulance.

“The ambulance didn’t move for another 20 minutes, but I have no clue as to the man’s condition. The site has since remained closed following the accident.”

A spokesman for Scottish Fire and Rescue said: “We received reports at 12.43pm on Monday afternoon that a male worker had become trapped in the foundations of a new home.

“We sent two appliances and our line rescue team to excavate the casualty before handing over to ambulance personnel.”

Iain Innes, managing director at Persimmon Homes North Scotland, said: “Due to the recent exceptionally strong high winds we can confirm an incident took place at our development off Limepark Crescent, Kelty, on Monday February 1.

“An operative was admitted to hospital and released the same day. A full investigation into this matter is being undertaken and our thoughts are with the injured party.”

Police confirmed they received a report of concern for a man at the construction site on Monday, and added: “We understand an internal health and safety investigation is now being conducted.”


Original Source: http://www.thecourier.co.uk/news/local/fife/probe-after-man-hurt-on-fife-building-site-during-storm-henry-1.922833

Mesothelioma lawyer secures financial settlement for client

Bryan Harvey, a former carpenter with mesothelioma settled his claim against his former employers after contracting mesothelioma.

Mr Harvey was in his late 50s when he was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a fatal cancer of the lining of the lungs caused by exposure to asbestos.

Before the diagnosis Mr Harvey was healthy and fit, and intended to continue working into his 70s.

Mr Harvey was exposed to asbestos whilst working as a carpenter in Kent from the mid to late 70s.

Even though extensive information about the dangers of asbestos was available at the time, he was frequently required to cut up asbestos sheets which caused him to be exposed to clouds of asbestos dust.

Mr Harvey was not given any suitable protection against asbestos exposure. Towards the end of his employment, a non-asbestos alternative was available but his employers never used this.

The business for which Mr Harvey worked was no longer trading by the time he was diagnosed with mesothelioma.

Mr Harvey was represented by mesothelioma lawyer Vijay Ganapathy who, carried out investigations at HM Revenue and Customs, where he discovered that the business was a partnership rather than a limited company.

In order to start Court proceedings, it was necessary to track down the individual partners who employed Mr Harvey in the 70s.  Despite the challenges associated with this, Vijay was able to locate them and identify the company that provided insurance at the relevant time.

Mr Harvey’s claim was settled for more than £250,000.

Mesothelioma lawyer Vijay Ganapathy said:

“As with many of the mesothelioma claims we handle it can be necessary to carry out extensive research to determine against whom the claim should be advanced.

“I am therefore pleased we were able to overcome these hurdles in Bryan’s case which meant that he and his family were provided with some measure of financial security.”

Original Source: https://www.leighday.co.uk/News/News-2016/February-2016/Former-carpenter-settles-mesothelioma-claim

Why is PPE needed for women?

by Natasha Mughal

Recently, we shared the news of Transport for London (TfL) launching a Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) range that is specifically designed for women on our LinkedIn page, and we were inundated with positive comments about the progressive move in the industry. The major move marks 100 Years of Women in Transport, but it made us wonder why it was needed and why it wasn’t possible for women to wear men’s safety equipment?

When three of the ladies from HSE Recruitment Network visited The Crossrail Project earlier this year, they received a first-hand account of why this PPE range is long overdue. They all wore the standard mens PPE, that until quite recently has been used as a “one size fits all” safety uniform, but it is massively ill-fitting, with the sleeves rolling down, socks having to be stuffed into shoes to make them fit and trousers being so long that they had to be rolled up.

To summarise, it was just too loose and too long for the women, and a safety hazard within itself. Before this point, it wasn’t something that would have been considered by the consultants or members of the team, as this was the only occasion where it was required, but it allowed for a understanding of why there may be a lack of women within the health and safety industry and how those that are, are not catered to.

Danielle Stallard, HSE Consultant and one of the ladies that visited The Crossrail Project, said After recently wearing the standard fit myself, there was an obvious need for this development. We were visiting the Crossrail Project and were provided with universally-sized PPE – my trousers were far too long and had to be rolled up so as not to drag on the floor, and I wasn’t the only one! There were several ladies in the room who were having to try on different jackets, trousers, gloves and glasses in order to find a reasonable fit. It is fantastic that TfL have taken the time to develop a varied range that allows women to carry out their work safely and comfortably – I can only imagine the relief that the many women working with TfL are feeling!”

TfL is not the only company to have seen this gap in the industry, with companies such as Network Rail and Arco already implementing similar safety uniforms and the Women in Health and Safety (WIHS) campaigning to have PPE specifically designed for women.

“London will need more engineers by the end of the decade to build the critical infrastructure we need, so it’s important that we take every step we can to make construction a more welcoming environment for all.” – TfL

The range that is being launched by TfL includes high-visibility jackets, trousers, gloves, adjustable eye protection and safety boots. The range has been designed with the results of a six-week trial at hand and will allow for a better fit for the female staff, making life more comfortable and allowing for less distractions.

Many are surprised that it has taken so long for specifically designed range for women to be launched, Rhaynukaa Soni – Health and Safety Manager at MTR Corporation (Crossrail) Limited, commented that “I suppose my thoughts are that a part of me is stunned it has taken this long to both acknowledge the need for & subsequently provide PPE designed for women. Equally though it is reflectively of the Rail & Construction sectors which remain heavily male dominated. This PPE is positive step towards recognizing the increase need to diversify & growing numbers of women joining these industries.”

We hope this marks a change for women in similar sectors, and will nudge other companies within the engineering, construction, transportation and other areas, to see the need for PPE designed for women and to boost diversity within their workforces.

Original Source: http://www.hserecruitment.co.uk/blog/why-is-ppe-needed-for-women/

RoSPA welcomes new corporate manslaughter sentencing rules

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) has welcomed new sentencing guidelines for criminal health and safety and corporate manslaughter cases that will see punishments increased for more serious offenders.

From today (Monday, February 1) new Sentencing Council guidelines will come into force to ensure health and safety breaches are fairly and proportionately punished, and will help to deter potential future offences.

Before today, guidance for judges and magistrates has been limited for offences that can be extremely complex and serious.

RoSPA has welcomed the changes, which will penalise companies that ignore health and safety, or do not follow procedures in order to save money. They will also bring penalties for health and safety offences into line with those for environmental and other corporate offences.

Dr Karen McDonnell, RoSPA’s occupational safety and health policy adviser, said: “These new guidelines will mean that, in some cases, offenders will receive larger penalties – particularly larger organisations that commit serious offences.

“Unfortunately, you occasionally hear of organisations deliberately breaking the law to cut corners with health and safety. It is our hope that the promise of harsher penalties will deter organisations from taking such risks with their employees’ lives in the future.”

The Sentencing Council says that increased penalties for serious offending have been introduced because, in the past, some offenders did not receive fines that properly reflected the crimes committed.

Now, as well as the severity of the offence, the culpability and means of the employer will also be assessed before fines are handed down.

Turnover is used to identify the starting point for a fine, but the guidelines also require the court to review and adjust the fine if necessary, taking into account factors such as profit margin, impact on employees, or the impact on the organisation’s ability to improve conditions. This means sentences will always be tailored to the offender’s specific circumstances.

The guidelines also include a range of mitigating factors which allow for voluntary, positive action to remedy a failure on the part of offenders to be reflected in sentences.

Original Source: http://www.rospa.com/media-centre/press-office/press-releases/detail/?id=1432

The cost of breaking the law just went up – keeping your employees healthy and safe pays

From 1 February 2016 Crown Courts and Magistrates Courts in England and Wales will be bound by tough new guidelines when sentencing offenders who have been convicted of breaking health and safety law.

For the first time courts in England and Wales will be required to follow comprehensive sentencing guidelines.

Neal Stone, Policy and Standards Director at the British Safety Council, said: “We broadly welcome the new guidelines and in particular that in future that three factors will be key in determining fines for health and safety offencese: the degree of harm caused, the culpability of the offender, and; the turnover of the offending organisation. Having consulted our members we were able to say in response to the Sentencing Council’s proposals that there was overwhelming support for this change which would help ensure greater consistency in the sentencing practice of our courts and a level of fines that fit the crime.

“This long overdue change is specifically in relation to the level of fines imposed and in certain cases the use of imprisonment as a sanction. What is clear is that the courts have on occasions failed to properly take into account the seriousness of the offence in weighing up the appropriate penalty.

“To date the largest fine imposed in Great Britain for a health and safety offence – £15 million – was on Transco in 2005. That unenviable record may soon change.

“The new guidelines, which will in some cases, result in far greater fines than courts are currently imposing, reflects a shift in not only public opinion but concerns among certain members of the judiciary, including Lord Thomas, the Lord Chief Justice. As he has made clear in recent appeal court decisions the purpose of fines is to reduce criminal offences, reform and rehabilitate the offender and protect the public.

“If the changes in sentencing practice do not help achieve these objectives – particularly ensuring compliance and discouraging law breaking – then they count for nothing. What we will need to see is clear evidence that the new guidelines have played their part in improving health and safety. Extra money through increased fines going into Treasury coffers should not be the name of the game. The objective must be to reduce the deficit of fatal and major injuries and occupational ill health.”

Original Source: https://www.britsafe.org/news/cost-breaking-law-just-went-keeping-your-employees-healthy-and-safe-pays#sthash.vS21ec8Y.dpuf

British Safety Council pledges support for Britain’s new health and safety strategy

British Safety Council highlights the evidence of good health and safety providing a strong platform for business as it lends support to HSE engagement on new strategy for health and safety.

The British Safety Council welcomes the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE’s) engagement with enterprises and other interested parties in light of its new strategy for health and safety – Helping Great Britain Work Well – re-affirming its view that good health and safety is good for business, and that there is work still to be done. The British Safety Council were delighted to have been invited to speak at a recent strategy roadshow in Bristol, and Neal Stone, Policy and Standards Director, highlighted the need to get the message across to all businesses, regardless of size, that having fit, healthy, present workers enables business, making it productive and competitive.

Neal Stone said: “We recognise the tremendous achievements in reducing the number and incidence of injuries and ill health occurrences over the last forty years. But there is much more still to be done. Let us recognise that many people are alive and well today due to the commitment of many thousands of workers and managers dedicated to keeping us healthy and safe.

“The British Safety Council remains committed to highlighting the immense, some would say unsustainable, cost of work-related ill health. One of our priorities is getting the message across that health and safety, managed in a sensible, targeted and proportionate way brings not only immense financial benefits to workers, employers and the public purse but social benefits too. The evidence is there, and is supported by our members.

“The British Safety Council is committed not only to pledging support for #HelpingGBWorkWell but adding flesh to the bones. We will continue to work with our members, HSE and other stakeholders to gather and publicise the evidence to help bring the strategy and the six themes to life. We pledge our wholehearted support not just for now but for the long term.”

Helping Great Britain Work Well covers six themes and interested parties can contribute ideas on ways of further improving Britain’s health and safety record on social media using the hashtag #HelpGBWorkWell

Original Source: https://www.britsafe.org/news/british-safety-council-pledges-support-britains-new-health-and-safety-strategy#sthash.k0pwyG2h.dpuf

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