OSHA cites Bontrager Excavating Ltd. in Uniontown, Ohio, for failing to protect workers in trench

UNIONTOWN, Ohio – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Bontrager Excavating Ltd. in Uniontown with three willful safety violations for failing to protect workers from cave-ins during trenching operations. OSHA initiated the inspection in June after receiving a complaint alleging unsafe working conditions. Proposed penalties total $115,500.

“Bontrager Excavating has again failed to take adequate safety measures to protect their workers from cave-ins at excavation sites despite having lost employees in the past as a result of failing to follow these industry-specific standards,” said Howard Eberts, OSHA’s area director in Cleveland. “OSHA implemented a trenching and excavation special emphasis programs in the 1980s, so the industry is well aware of the safety regulations for trenching operations.”

OSHA placed Bontrager Excavating in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program in 2011, after one worker was killed and another injured in a trench collapse in December 2010 in Stark County. The program focuses on recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations. Under the program, OSHA may inspect any of the employer’s facilities or job sites. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=DIRECTIVES&p_id=4503.


SAICA Pack UK Ltd & MD Engineering Services (UK) Ltd fined after forklift accident

Two North East firms have been fined after a worker suffered serious head injuries when the fork of a forklift truck struck him on the forehead.

Jim McGowan, 66, of Felling, Gateshead, was employed by MD Engineering Services (UK) Ltd when the incident happened on 15 December 2010.

The company had secured a contract to remove redundant machinery and equipment at the premises of SAICA Pack UK Ltd in Queensway, Hartlepool and he was carrying out the work with a colleague who was driving the forklift truck.

Mr McGowan was working to remove a piece of equipment from a mezzanine platform and had bent over ready to hook a lifting sling onto the fork of the forklift truck.

As the forks were raised, the right hand fork became caught on the stop bracket of the gate to the mezzanine. The driver was unaware and continued to raise the forks. The force was great enough to shear the bracket, releasing the fork which sprung upwards striking Mr McGowan on the forehead.

He suffered a double fracture to the skull, facial fractures and a fractured eye socket and continues to suffer both physically and mentally from the incident.

Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court heard today (12 December) that an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that SAICA Pack UK Ltd had failed to ensure the work was carried out by competent persons and that its control of contractors was inadequate.

The investigation also established that MD Engineering Services (UK) Ltd had failed to adequately assess, plan and carry out the lifting operation or ensure that the workers sent to do the job had not been properly trained.

SAICA Pack UK Ltd, of Eastmount Road, Darlington was fined £13,000 and ordered to pay £5,489.40 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

MD Engineering Services (UK) Ltd, of Blackthorn Way, Fencehouses, Houghton-le-Spring was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay £4,600 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 8(1)(c) of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Victoria Wise added:

“What happened on that day was totally preventable. Both companies failed in their duty of care to Mr McGowan and as a result he suffered serious head injuries.

“It clearly illustrates the importance of ensuring that lifting operations are properly planned and managed by a competent person.”

A father of two, with five grandchildren, Mr McGowan had hoped to continue working but the ongoing effects of his injuries have now forced him to retire.

He does not feel up to talking independently about his experiences, but speaking on his behalf his wife Brenda explained:

“Jim loved his job, he’d been in the trade for 49 years and had been self-employed working with MD Engineering for the last eight years. He really misses it, but he’s just not able to continue working now.

“He gets ongoing support from a support worker, case manager, physiotherapist and a psychologist. He still suffers short-term memory loss and it’s also affected his hearing, balance and taste, and we don’t know in the long term whether that will ever improve.

“It’s had a big impact on us both and the family. It’s changed everything. He was once so active and independent but now I have to spend more and more time with him, as you worry all the time if he’s safe.

“I hope that this case will help highlight the importance of safety, companies cannot afford to cut corners on safety putting people’s lives at risk. Jim was lucky, he could have been killed in this terrible incident and I just hope we can help stop anything like this happening to anyone else.”

via RNN media information for journalists and the press – Press Releases – TWO NORTH EAST FIRMS FINED AFTER WORKER SUFFERED SERIOUS HEAD INJURIES – RNN media information for journalists and the press.

Waste site run illegally – “Any uncontrolled handling of waste can harm human health and pollute the environment.”

Waste site run illegally

A man who stored and treated waste vehicles and parts without a permit has been fined £2,000 and ordered to pay a contribution of £2,000 towards costs.

Peterborough Magistrates’ Court heard today (Wed) that between 7 December 2011 and 22 February 2012, Maher Khater ran the vehicle dismantling business from premises at the former timber yard, First Drove, Peterborough, without the proper authorisation of an environmental permit.

Ms Holly Webb, prosecuting for the Environment Agency said: “This was a deliberate breach, Mr Khater was spoken to about similar activities in 2010.”

After the hearing, Environment Agency officer Graham Cantellow said: “Un-depolluted waste vehicles are hazardous and should be dealt with, and kept, securely to prevent risk to the environment.

“Any uncontrolled handling of waste can harm human health and pollute the environment.”

Maher Khater pleaded guilty to:

Between 7 December 2011 and 22 February 2012 at the Former timber yard, First Drove, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, PE1 5BJ, you did operate a regulated facility, namely a waste operation for the deposit, storage and treatment of waste, without being authorised by an environmental permit granted under Regulation 13 of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010.

Contrary to Regulation 12(1)(a) and 38(1)(a) of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010

via Environment Agency – Waste site run illegally.

Ordeal of elderly couple trapped twice in freezing lift – – Fulham Chronicle

Ordeal of elderly couple trapped twice in freezing lift – Local News – News – Fulham Chronicle: Husband and wife Bipin, 79, and Nirmal Mathur, 72, were trapped for nearly an hour in the freezing elevator at their home in Aspen Gardens last Saturday. And if that wasn’t enough, the same thing happened again on Sunday, and then the unlucky couple’s son Gaurav, 39, and their grandchildren, Maya, five, and Pearl, three, were also trapped.
On both occasions the fire service had to be called to rescue them after council operators couldn’t say how long it would take for contractors to set them free.

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Small claims limit raised to £5,000 in Grayling whiplash plan | The Law Gazette

Small claims limit raised to �5,000 in Grayling whiplash plan | The Law Gazette: Justice secretary Chris Grayling will today unveil his long-expected blueprint for bringing down the number of whiplash claims.

In a four-month consultation to be launched this morning, Grayling (pictured) will outline proposals for independent medical panels to diagnose whiplash injuries and raise the small-claims track threshold from �1,000 to �5,000.

The consultation paper acknowledges the argument that changes will harm access to justice and could mean victims with justified claims would either not challenge unreasonable offers by insurers or fail to claim proper damages for their injuries.

But the Ministry of Justice insists the reforms will make it less likely that fraudulent or exaggerated claims will be made, and if they are then they can be properly tested. Grayling said: ‘For too long honest drivers have been bearing the price of a system that has been open to abuse and it is time for that to change.

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Emissions trading: Government replaces EU ETS regulations with single instrument

Emissions trading: Government replaces EU ETS regulations with single instrument: Changes to the laws implementing European emissions trading rules will simplify an unnecessarily complex area of regulation as well as remove “inappropriate” criminal penalties for misreporting, an expert has said.

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Navy regular critically injured after incident onboard ship – Singapore

Navy regular critically injured after incident onboard ship: SINGAPORE – A Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) regular serviceman, Military Expert (ME) 2 Chee Weng Fai Jason, was critically injured onboard the Landing Ships Tank RSS Endeavour while it was berthed at Changi Naval Base.

He was caught between the motorised winch and the rope while checking on one of the berthing ropes that was being tightened.

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Woman loses compensation claim against Stoke Prior firm (From Bromsgrove Advertiser)

Woman loses compensation claim against Stoke Prior firm (From Bromsgrove Advertiser): A SENIOR assistant chef who made health and safety allegations about certain procedures against a Bromsgrove catering firm has lost her compensation claim for unfair dismissal.

Stephanie Morrison of Woodlands Road, Cookley, made her claim against Class Catering Services Ltd, of Weston Hall Road, Stoke Prior, at Birmingham Employment Tribunal.

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Iron and Steal – dismantled the whole bridge in a single night – – Romanian Times

Iron and Steal – Around the World News – Romanian Times Online News – English Newspaper: A scrap metal crook who sold an entire three ton bridge for just 250 GBP as been arrested by police in Djurdjevo, Serbia.

Thief Goran Kovic, 47, dismantled the whole bridge in a single night, carrying it away on a truck for melting down.

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Wrong Track – Croatian Times

Wrong Track – Around the World News – Croatian Times Online News – English Newspaper: Serb Jovan Djordjevic, 35, died from massive head injuries after he was left hanging from a train door that closed on his foot – dragging him down the track.

The man who had rushed to climb on the train in Belgrade before the doors closed was left with only his foot inside the carriage as the doors closed – and police are investigating why the automatic safety system failed.

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