Lessons from recent industrial disasters – 1) Safety inspectors are lax or go easy on owners| The Daily Star

The costs of industrialisation are many. Human beings, wildlife, nature, the environment, and future generations often pay the price. In some instances, those who shoulder the burden do so voluntarily; some are compensated for their sacrifice and, in most cases, the suffering is imposed without their knowledge and consent. Add to that the tons of catastrophic events such as industrial accidents, mine collapses, and transport disasters that are a regular news item in this day and age. Ironically, many of these were foreseen and the deaths and illnesses could have been prevented.

Victims of industrial accidents are sometimes paid compensation although these are often small quantities of money and frequently do not reach the victims on time. Fortunately, we now have the capability to identify the culprits and are constantly refining the mechanism to measure the cost of the pain, suffering and physical damage they generate.

A review of these disasters has identified three problems:

1) Safety inspectors are lax or go easy on owners;

2) Companies hire inspectors from “friendly” agencies; and

3) Companies ignore inspection reports or disregard early warning signs. 

via Lessons from recent industrial disasters | The Daily Star.

Photo by Hans Ripa on Unsplash

£3,000 penalty for illegal waste carrier – GOV.UK

A 35-year-old man from Bradford has been ordered to pay £3,116.80 after pleading guilty to operating as an illegal waste carrier in a case heard at Nottingham Magistrates Court.

Caught in road-stop sting
Andrew Clarke of Southcroft Avenue, Birkenshaw, Bradford, was stopped at a multi-agency road stop operation on the A614 at Ollerton, Nottinghamshire, on 25 May 2018. A search of his transit van revealed he was carrying waste carpet.

Environment Agency officers then carried out a check on the public register, which showed the defendant did not have the required waste carrier registration. He was given 10 days to obtain the necessary paperwork or face prosecution.
— Read on www.gov.uk/government/news/3000-penalty-for-illegal-waste-carrier

Midlands hand car washes inspected in scheme to protect workers | Recruiter

Thirty hand car washes in the Midlands are to be inspected and audited this month as part of an industry-led pilot project tackling modern slavery and lack of compliance within the hand car wash industry.A statement released by the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) yesterday, revealed they will carry out 10 of the inspections with a further 10 conducted by the industry and 10 through joint inspections as part of the Responsible Car Wash Scheme (RCWS) project.

via Midlands hand car washes inspected in scheme to protect workers | Recruiter.

Photo by Brunel Johnson on Unsplash

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£23,000 asbestos training for Aberdeen City Council staff – Evening Express

Aberdeen City Council will spend a total of £23,000 offering “bespoke asbestos training” to its frontline staff.The local authority was ordered to improve after an investigation last year found an asbestos incident at Bridge of Don Academy contravened health and safety law.The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) ordered the council to improve its level of training in the wake of its investigation.

via £23,000 asbestos training for Aberdeen City Council staff – Evening Express.

Farmer fined for ‘shocking’ incident of water pollution – Mid Ulster Mail

A District Judge has described photographs of a water pollution incident in south Derry as “shocking.”Before the court was farmer Eric Scott Thom, from Quarry Road, Desertmartin, who was fined £750 and ordered to pay a £15 offender levy.Judge Oonagh Mullan told Scott that the incident should never have happened and he should have taken steps sooner to prevent “poisonous polluting matter” from entering the waterway.Magherafelt Magistrates Court heard that an inspection of the Grange waterway, part of

via Farmer fined for ‘shocking’ incident of water pollution – Mid Ulster Mail.

Judge orders Thames Water to pay up for sewer flooding after 10-year delay, and increased the amount the company must pay to its victims.

An appeal by Thames Water to pay a smaller fine and less compensation to victims of sewer flooding backfired last week, after an unimpressed appeal judge and two justices increased the amount the company must pay to its victims.

Thames Water was appealing against fines totalling £204,000 imposed in 2011 by the Bromley Magistrates Court, for letting raw sewage flood homes, gardens and a local stream in Wimborne Way and St James Avenue, South London, back in 2003. The case was brought by the Environment Agency.

Over a period of two months, from February to April 2003, raw sewage repeatedly escaped from the local sewer system into properties, a street and into St James’s Stream. The court found that Thames Water failed to take steps to bring the situation under control. The Court also heard that there had been previous sewage flooding affecting residents.

On Thursday his Honour Judge Leonard QC sitting with two justices at Southwark Crown Court, rejected Thames Water’s appeal, upheld the fines and increased the amount that the company must pay its victims – from £2,000 to £3,000 for a homeowner impacted by the sewage and from £250 to £1,000 to an allotment holder. The court also ordered Thames Water to pay the Environment Agency’s appeal costs of over £10,000.

This is the latest in a ten year litigation saga, during which Thames Water went to the High Court three times and the European Court of Justice once, to try to escape legal liability for the consequences of the escape of untreated sewage from their sewers into residential properties and over allotments. Apart from the fines and compensation totalling £208,015, Thames Water had to pay another £206,000 to cover the Environment Agency’s legal costs for their various unsuccessful legal proceedings. It is estimated that the 10-year case has cost Thames Water over £750,000 when its own legal costs are included.

Angus Innes of the Environment Agency’s Prosecutions Team said: “It could reasonably be suggested that the money spent on this litigation could have been better applied to replacing and augmenting the sewer system in this area to protect the residents from further sewer flooding.”

The Environment Agency is currently investigating another incidence of sewer flooding affecting the same residents, which occurred in January this year.

via Environment Agency – Judge orders Thames Water to pay up for sewer flooding after 10-year delay.

Severn Trent Water fined over pollution of the River Leadon

On 15 November 2012, Severn Trent Water Ltd pleaded guilty at Hereford Magistrates’ Court to polluting the River Leadon, a high quality salmon and trout watercourse, by discharging untreated sewage from their Ledbury sewage treatment works.

The company was fined £18,000 (£6,000 per offence) and ordered to pay £5,017 in costs, along with £15 victim surcharge.  The charges were brought by the Environment Agency under Regulation 38(1)(a) and Regulation 12(1)(b) of the Environmental Permitting Regulations 2010.

Yesterday’s prosecution relates to three incidents in August 2011, which resulted in untreated sewage entering the River Leadon, causing the death of fish.

Over the weekend of 6/7 August 2011, the Environment Agency responded to calls from the public reporting a number of dead fish on the River Leadon.  On inspection of the area, a Fisheries Officer assessed the pollution as a category one (major) incident, due to the number of dead fish observed over an 8km stretch below the Severn Trent Ledbury outfall.

The Environment Agency took water samples which detected low oxygen levels.   Severn Trent were contacted, but they were not aware of a problem at their sewage works.

After checking their records, Severn Trent confirmed that on 4 August 2011, the inlet penstock that controls the flow of sewage through the works for treatment, automatically closed, diverting all incoming sewage to the River Leadon.