Radioactivity in Food and the Environment (RIFE) report published

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The latest Radioactivity in Food and the Environment Report (RIFE, 2011) has been published and shows that doses of radioactivity received by people in Scotland are still well within international dose limits.

In the UK, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), the Food Standards Agency (FSA), the Environment Agency (EA) and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) are responsible for ensuring that doses from authorised releases of radioactivity do not pose an unacceptable risk to health.

The data collected by the agencies shows that levels and concentrations of radioactivity measured in the environment in 2011 were similar to those in 2010. SEPA is responsible for the radiological monitoring that is carried out in Scotland and has a duty to ensure that no member of the public receives a dose in excess of the statutory dose limit of one millisievert (1mSv) per year from authorised discharges. The report shows that doses received by the public in Scotland from authorised discharges of radioactivity were below the statutory limit. RIFE also reported that discharges from all of the nuclear licensed sites in Scotland were within the limits set by SEPA.

Additionally this year the report includes details of the monitoring that was done by the agencies across the United Kingdom, including SEPA, following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant incident.

via Radioactivity in Food and the Environment (RIFE) report published.

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Waste site dangers highlighted in Barnsley court – RG Wastecare Ltd

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A South Yorkshire waste management firm has admitted neglecting the safety of its workforce after two men were injured within just a week at its site in Barnsley.

One worker fell ten feet into a skip as he clung to a conveyor belt that began to operate. The other suffered serious injuries to his arm in a separate incident when it was drawn into the rollers of a large crushing machine.

The two incidents were investigated by the Health and Safety Executive, which prosecuted Carlton-based RG Wastecare Ltd today (18 October) for serious safety failings.

Barnsley Magistrates’ Court heard the first incident happened on 25 February last year when site workers Ian Ardron and John Clifford were setting up a waste sorting machine for use.

Mr Ardron climbed on to its front conveyor belt and kneeled down to clear some carpet that had tangled in the rollers. His co-worker thought he had gone to fetch a fitter to repair a fault and started up the machine to check a side belt was running. As he did, Mr Ardron was propelled along the belt and, despite his attempts to hang on, was dropped ten feet into an empty skip.

Mr Ardron, 40, of New Lodge, Barnsley, suffered fractures to his foot and skin and nerve damage where the bone fragments shattered. He was in hospital for ten days and was unable to return to work for some six months.

The court was told the second incident occurred just six days later on 3 March when Mr Clifford was helping to restart a Jaw Crusher machine. He saw some wire tangled in a magnetic belt roller and went to pull it free. The machine suddenly restarted and the wire was pulled back into the rollers along with Mr Clifford’s left forearm

Mr Clifford, 44, of Lundwood, Barnsley, sustained crush injuries to his forearm. He was off work for six weeks but has since returned.

HSE found RG Wastecare had failed to implement simple measures that would have prevented both incidents and had ignored earlier warnings from both HSE and an external consultant in 2009 about the lack of a safe system of work.

RG Wastecare Ltd, of Goodwin Yard, Boulder Bridge Lane, Barnsley, pleaded guilty to two breaches of Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined a total of £5,000 and ordered to pay £5,000 in costs.

via RNN media information for journalists and the press – Press Releases – Waste site dangers highlighted in Barnsley court – RNN media information for journalists and the press.

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Leicestershire man pays for operating illegal waste business from home

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Yesterday, Leslie George Collins, of Rockland Rise, Whitwick, Leicestershire, pleaded guilty at Loughborough Magistrates’ Court to one charge of operating a waste facility without an environmental permit.

The 68-year-old was fined £750, ordered to pay £6000 in costs, along with a £15 victim surcharge. He was also ordered to pay £50 for a breach of conditional discharge.The charge was brought by the Environment Agency under Regulation 12 (1) and 38 (1) of the Environmental Permitting Regulations 2010.Since early 2010, Leslie Collins ran a wood working business from his home address in Whitwick.

He received large quantities of waste wood, such as wooden storage pallets or other wood cut offs. This would often be left on his driveway. The waste wood would then be broken up and sold as fuel, or sometimes wooden goods, such as chicken hutches or bird boxes.

http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/news/143611.aspx

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European Oat Millers Ltd in court over fall

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A Bedford grain milling company has been prosecuted after a worker was injured in a fall during the night shift.Mark Askham, 45, fell nearly three metres on to concrete after he climbed pipework to unblock a feed pipe at European Oat Millers Ltd in Mile Road. Mr Askham, of Putnoe, Bedford, suffered broken ribs, cuts and bruising in the incident on 26 February 2011. Bedford Magistrates’ Court heard today (17 Oct) that an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found the incident could have been avoided had the company put basic measures in place to protect workers against falls from height. Mr Askham had pinpointed the blockage to a pipe in the basement of the nine-storey mill. With no ladder or platform available, he climbed on nearby pipework and sat on one of the pipes to reach the blockage. He unbalanced and fell some three metres, hitting pipes below before landing on the ground. http://www.hse.gov.uk/press/2012/rnn-e-10212.htm?eban=rss-

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Bradford Council has been fined after caretaker’s injury 5 days before retirement

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Bradford Council has been fined for breaching safety regulations after a school caretaker was left with permanent disabilities when he fell through the school hall ceiling five days before his retirement.

The hole from the roof void where Mr O’Hanlon fell at the former Beckfoot School in BradfordDavid O’Hanlon, 62, was putting a new light bulb in a roof void of the old Beckfoot School in Bingley so he could empty it safely before demolition. In doing so he stepped on to an unboarded area that gave way beneath him, and fell four metres through the ceiling into the hall below.

Mr O’Hanlon, of Bingley, suffered a fractured hip that required three screws, and a broken heel. He is likely to need a hip replacement and further surgery on his heel to add plates and screws. He has also been told he will suffer from severe arthritis and will not regain full mobility. http://www.hse.gov.uk/press/2012/rnn-yh-19112.htm?eban=rss-

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MB Facilities Management Ltd fined after worker falls through unstable stable roof

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A Knightsbridge facilities and cleaning company has been fined after one of its employees fell six metres through a riding school roof on the Longcross estate in Surrey. The worker, who does not wished to be named, miraculously escaped with only minor injuries in the fall after a sand-covered floor cushioned his impact.His employer MB Facilities Management Ltd had been sub-contracted to clean gutters at Lilypond Farm on the estate, near Chertsey, when the incident occurred on 23 March this year.

North Surrey Magistrates’ Court heard today (17 October) that the worker was cleaning the stable roof as part of the job when he stepped on a plastic skylight that gave way beneath him. He plunged to a riding arena below, covered with soft sand for the comfort of horses.An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) identified that he had he fallen onto concrete he could have been seriously injured or killed. http://www.hse.gov.uk/press/2012/rnn-se-19112.htm?eban=rss-

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Head injury leads to fine for components firm

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A company which manufactures metal components has been fined after a young worker was seriously injured at its Lincoln factory.The 20-year-old agency worker suffered a fractured skull and severe facial injuries when the grinding wheel broke on a hand-held grinder he was using. The wheel was thrown from the grinder and smashed through his visor, striking him in the face.

The Health and Safety Executive investigated the incident, which happened at the Tower Works site of Wyman-Gordon Ltd on Spa Road, Lincoln on 20 October 2010.The man, who doesn’t wish to be named, underwent significant treatment for his injuries, including a five-hour operation to remove a piece of bone which was touching his brain, before further reconstructive surgery could be carried out. The man has since returned to work.

http://www.hse.gov.uk/press/2012/rnn-em-15712.htm?eban=rss-

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Hamble Yacht Services Ltd in the dock

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Southampton company Hamble Yacht Services Ltd has been sentenced for safety failings after a worker fell whilst repairing a yacht.

Adam Whiteaway, 26, from Southampton, was working on a platform filling holes when support planks gave way. He fell nearly two metres, severely bruising his ribs and was off work for a month.

The incident, on 14 June 2011, was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which prosecuted the company for two safety breaches.

Southampton Magistrates’ Court heard today (16 October) that Mr Whiteaway had not received any training or instruction on how to safely construct staging and working platforms around the yachts.

HSE Inspectors found that two support bars on the staging used by Mr Whiteaway were missing and this caused the sides to move apart and the boards collapsed. The fall could have been prevented if the company had taken simple steps to regularly inspect the staging and provided Mr Whiteaway with sufficient training.

The company, of Port Hamble, Hampshire, was fined a total of £20,000 and ordered to pay £3,805 in costs after admitting two breaches of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

via RNN media information for journalists and the press – Press Releases – Southampton yacht repair copany in the dock – RNN media information for journalists and the press.

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Anglian Water to pay almost £42,000 for pollution

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More than 400 fish died when 3km of river was polluted with sewage and trade effluent, Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court heard today (Tues).

Anglian Water Services pleaded guilty to causing the pollution, which came from a combined sewer overflow in Thaxted, Essex. The company was fined £36,000 and ordered to pay full costs of £5,973.

Mrs Claire Corfield, prosecuting for the Environment Agency, told the court the overflow ran into a stream which feeds into the River Chelmer and could have been avoided.

“Anglian Water admitted that before the incident this stretch of sewer was not included on the schedule of planned preventative maintenance,” she said.

A member of the public reported pollution and dead fish in the River Chelmer. Agency staff investigated and found sewage solids and rags discharging into the stream from an outlet in Park Street, Thaxted.

via Environment Agency – Anglian Water to pay almost £42,000 for pollution.

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Bristol company and instructor fined after diver’s death

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An inexperienced diver from Bristol with serious medical conditions died on an organised dive off Dorset when a diving company failed in its duty of care towards him.

Bristol Crown Court heard how Ian Johnson, an instructor and director of Subaquaholics Ltd, had allowed Janek Karon, 54, from Horsecroft Gardens, Bristol to take part in recreational and training dives over the weekend of 18 – 19 October 2008 off Portland in Dorset.

On the Sunday, Mr Karon took part in a dive off Grove Point, with Mr Johnson. When Mr Karon surfaced at the end of the dive he was unresponsive. Mr Johnson, an instructor trained under the standards set by Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), alerted the dive boat skipper and the two men managed to get Mr Karon into the boat.

The pair tried to resuscitate Mr Karon, but he did not respond. He was airlifted from the boat but was pronounced dead at Dorset County Hospital. An inquest found Mr Karon died from drowning with coronary artery disease a contributing factor.

During an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Subaquaholics were unable to produce any of the medical screening forms which Mr Karon should have completed and handed to Subaquaholics before being allowed to dive. It is a legal requirement that student divers under training are medically fit to dive. Had Mr Karon completed a form it would have flagged-up his various conditions which put him at risk of coronary artery disease and resulted in his referral to his GP to assess whether he was fit to dive.

Mr Karon’s GP was interviewed by the HSE and confirmed she would not have passed him as fit to dive, given his medical conditions. Mr Karon was obese, had high blood pressure, a high cholesterol reading and chronic kidney disease. He had been prescribed statins to reduce his risk of coronary heart disease. He also suffered from Raynaud’s syndrome, where the vascular system responds to cold by shutting down the circulation in the extremities of the body.

Although Mr Karon was a relatively inexperienced diver, Mr Johnson’s diving log shows that on the fatal dive, the two divers went to a depth beyond 30m. Under guidelines provided by PADI, a dive between 18m to a maximum of 30m is classified as a deep water dive for divers with greater training and experience. Only highly experienced divers are permitted to dive beyond 30m. PADI also recommends maximum depths should be used conservatively and when planning a dive in cold water or under conditions that may be strenuous a, safety margin of four metres less than the actual depth should be used.

Mr Karon’s daughter, Emma Karon, then aged 10, also took part on dives with Subaquaholics. Her mother had filled in a medical form for the company stating that Emma suffered from asthma and had a prescription for asthma medication. However, Emma was not referred to a GP before being allowed to dive, even though it was a legal requirement with this condition.

The investigation also uncovered unsafe procedures at the company, including a lack of proper risk assessments for the dives run on 18/19 October, and no diving logs for the weekend’s activities.

Ian Johnson, of School Road, Kingswood, Bristol, pleaded guilty as dive supervisor to breaching Regulation 10 (1) of the Diving at Work Regulations 1997 for both Jan and Emma Karon and was fined £ 5,000. Subaquaholics Ltd, of Albert Crescent, St Philips, Bristol, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £10,000. Costs in both cases will be decided at a later hearing.

Mr Karon’s widow, Shirley Karon, said:

“Our family has been devastated by this needless tragedy which has left me without my husband and my two daughters, Tasha and Emma without their Dad. The fourth anniversary of Jan’s death is approaching but every day there is something to remind us that he is no longer here.

“The multiple failures revealed in this court case must send a message to those in the diver training industry that they have peoples’ lives in their hands.

“Companies responsible for teaching people to dive must follow the regulations which are there for very good reasons. We do not want more people to die in avoidable circumstances.”

via Bristol company and instructor fined after diver’s death.

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