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HEALTH & SAFETY NEWS
Gas safety - Engineers
Since April 1998, the gas industry has worked together to provide guidance to engineers on how to deal with a
wide range of unsafe situations which they may identify during the course of their work on domestic and non-
domestic gas installations. This advice has been published through the Gas Industry Unsafe Situations Procedure,
the latest edition (6th edition) of which came into effect on 1st April 2009.
The 6th edition continues to improve industry gas safety standards in a number of key areas, in particular:
Reinforces key ventilation improvements in the 4th edition, in that from the 1st June 2008, all installations
providing less than 90 per cent of the purpose provided ventilation requirement will be classified as "At Risk".
Offers guidance on the risk factors engineers should consider if they encounter flues located in voids which
Introduces a wider range of information regarding unsafe situations identified on LPG installations
Includes advice on the actions required in line with BS7967 when using electronic portable combustion gas
analysers to investigate reports of fumes.
Clarifies RIDDOR reporting guidance for major injury incidents and dangerous gas fittings.
HSE continues to support the gas industry in taking forward improvements to the procedure to help engineers
respond effectively when unsafe gas installations are identified, thus helping to improve gas safety protection for
Due to the transition to thethe 5th edition of the procedure did not come into effect, so the
predecessor of the 6th edition is the 4th edition. Further guidance on the Gas Industry Unsafe Situations Procedure
is available from the Gas Safe Register.
HEALTH & SAFETY NEWS
Life-changing injuries for worker in scaffold fall
A scaffolding company and its director have been fined for safety failings after a worker suffered life-changing
injuries in a 2.5 metre fall from a scaffold platform at a property in Kent.
The worker, who was untrained
, fell from the first lift of the scaffold as it was being dismantled. He was
passing boards down to another worker when he lost his footing and fell to the concrete below.
The man, from Rainham, Kent, who does not wish to be named, suffered severe head injuries and needed surgery
to remove the frontal lobe of the brain. He spent many weeks in hospital and is unlikely to be able to work again.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) on 6 Nov 2012 prosecuted Paramount Scaffolding Ltd and director Luke
Jessup, both of Gillingham, Kent after investigating the incident at the house in Meopham, near Gravesend, on 25
Sevenoaks Magistrates' Court heard that Paramount Scaffolding had a three-man team on site to dismantle the
scaffolding. Director Luke Jessup was the only trained scaffolder among them.
The injured worker was standing on the first level of the scaffold and was lifting the boards and passing them to a
colleague below. The platform had been six boards wide and was down to three when he lost his footing and fell.
The edge protection had already been removed.
Paramount Scaffolding Ltd of Wigmore Road, Gillingham, and Luke Jessup of Wigmore Road, Gillingham, both
pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. Both Paramount and Mr
Jessup were fined £2,000 with £1,000 costs each.
After the hearing HSE Inspector Melvyn Stancliffe said:
"This is a very stark example of the tragedy that can result from a task carried out at height without proper thought
and planning. It has resulted in life-changing injuries for the worker and has had a devastating impact on his
family. In addition, Mr Jessup was a personal friend, and he also has to live with the consequences of his role in the
"What happened that day was totally preventable if simple working methods had been followed and the untrained
workers had been more closely and better supervised to ensure they carried out the work safely.
"The scaffolding industry has produced guidance on the safe working methods to follow and this case sadly reflects
HEALTH & SAFETY NEWS
Lancaster textile firm in court over employee's injuries
A fabric printing firm in Lancaster has appeared in court after an employee suffered injuries to his hand when it was
dragged between two rollers running at full speed.
Abaris Holdings Ltd was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following the incident at the
Standfast & Barracks factory on Caton Road on 12 February 2010.
Lancaster Magistrates' Court heard on 9 November 2012 that the 56-year-old worker from Lancaster, who has
asked not to be named, had been trying to remove a small piece of material from one of the rollers using a plastic
As he turned away, his right hand came into contact with the rollers and his hand and arm were dragged into the
He was able to pull the emergency stop cord but the machine had to be dismantled in order to free him. He
suffered a fractured thumb and hand, a swollen elbow and needed four stitches to his thumb.
A HSE investigation found there were no guards or other protective devices to prevent workers gaining access to
the rollers while the machine was operating.
Abaris Holdings Ltd pleaded guilty to a breach of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. The
company, of Oxford Road in Denham, Buckinghamshire, was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,940.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Matthew Tinsley said:
"It should simply not have been possible to reach the rollers while the machine was still operating at full speed.
"Guards to prevent access or a light beam that automatically stopped the machine when employees crossed it
should have been put in place to prevent this worker's injury.
"Sadly, incidents like this are still all too common in the manufacturing industry. Employers have a legal duty to
make sure machinery is properly guarded to protect their workers."
HEALTH & SAFETY NEWS
Defence Company sentenced over explosion death
Wallop Defence Systems Ltd (WDS) has been ordered to pay £376,000 in fines and costs for safety failings that
caused a fatal explosion at its Hampshire factory.
Anthony Sheridan, 37, from Over Wallop, was killed from injuries sustained in the blast at WDS, in Middle Wallop
Mr Sheridan was emptying one of six industrial ovens used in the manufacture of military flares. The ovens
contained high levels of nitroglycerin (NG) that exploded, causing an explosion that destroyed the factory building.
Several other workers were injured in the incident, with blast debris landing up to 600ft away.
Winchester Crown Court heard on 9 November 2012 that WDS had realised in 2004 that their process for curing
pellets as part of the production of military flares produced the explosive chemical as a by-product.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that none of the company's senior
management team or technical advisers were competent to deal with the NG issue, but did not seek
external professional assistance.
Reviewing the company's procedures since NG was discovered in 2004, HSE found WDS was not complying with
the basics in explosive safety and failed to adhere to licensing requirements for the storage and processing of
explosive substances. Their failure to properly assess and manage the risks put workers and the public in danger.
A second explosion occurred in December 2008 when the company attempted to dismantle the remaining NG
contaminated oven on the company's second site. No one was injured in the explosion. The court heard that the
company failed to engage with the HSE and seek competent expert advice on dismantling it and that the incident
Wallop Defence Systems Ltd, of Craydown Lane, Middle Wallop was fined a total of £266,000 and ordered to pay
£110,000 in costs for three breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, two relating to the fatal
explosion and the other to the second blast.
The company pleaded guilty to all three breaches in an earlier hearing at Andover Magistrates Court.
In a victim statement Anthony's sister, Tracy Sheridan, said:"The loss of Anthony has been massively devastating
on the whole family and particularly on me. We were very close.
"Anthony was involved with the whole family and particularly my children. He played a big role in my children's lives
and they still talk about him. He was a friendly person and liked by all, including all of his work mates at Wallop.
HEALTH & SAFETY NEWS
"The family have gradually come to terms with Anthony's loss, although this was made even more difficult with the
devastating injuries he suffered. The family wasn't able to lay an open coffin, an Irish tradition and say goodbye in
Speaking after sentencing, Qamar Khan, Principal Inspector for HSE's explosives team, added:
"Anthony Sheridan suffered horrifying injuries in the explosion that caused his death.
"Both this explosion and the subsequent blast in December 2008 were foreseeable and preventable had the
company sought and taken appropriate advice and implemented the correct measures. If these steps had been
taken Anthony Sheridan would still be alive.
"It is especially concerning that despite issues with the factory being reported to senior WDS management, nothing
materially changed to safeguard employees and the public. The company deluded itself that everything was OK and
"Companies working with dangerous substances must take extreme care at all times and in all aspects of their
operations. That clearly didn't happen here, and the consequences were tragic."
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