Farm fined for polluting stream near Devon beauty spot

The owners of a North Devon dairy farm have been ordered to pay £5,623 in fines and costs for polluting a stream near a popular coastal beauty spot.

The case was brought by the Environment Agency.

In January 2012 the Agency was contacted by a member of the public after they saw pollution in the Speke’s Mill Stream near Hartland. The stream runs through an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and discharges into the sea via a spectacular 60ft waterfall at Speke’s Mill Mouth. This stretch of the North Devon coastline is especially popular with walkers and surfers.

An Agency officer saw the stream was heavily discoloured and smelled of slurry. A dark brown effluent was discharging from a pipe on the left bank of the watercourse just below Welsford Bridge.

The pollution was traced to Welsford Farm where a slurry store was found to be ‘brim full’. There was a pool of slurry on the ground beside the store. The slurry had run down a bank into a ditch before draining under a gateway and into the Speke’s Mill Stream.

The owner of Welsford Farm, Mr Paul Colwill, said there were 450 cows at the farm – 380 of which were used for milking. They were housed indoors for six months of the year. Mr Colwill said wet weather had prevented the spreading slurry on the land and this had caused the store to fill up. He had delayed spreading to avoid run-off and pollution.

The slurry store was built approximately 14 years ago when the farm had 350 cows. The owners had since covered more of the yard to reduce the amount of rainwater entering the storage lagoon. This had increased its capacity. However, the lagoon had not been emptied since before the winter reducing its capacity.

‘This pollution was the result of not so much a lack of storage capacity, but poor management. We accept the farm was reluctant to spread slurry with heavy rain forecast, but they should have realised the storage lagoon was close to overtopping and acted much sooner to reduce the risk of pollution,’ said Liz Iles for the Environment Agency.

Approximately a mile of the Speke’s Mill Stream was polluted as a result of the slurry spill.

BR, MJ & PJ Colwill, the partnership operating Welsford Farm at Hartland near Bideford, Devon was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay £1,623 costs after pleading guilty to discharging poisonous, noxious or polluting matter to a tributary of the Speke’s Mill Stream on or about January 10, 2012, an offence under the Environmental Permitting Regulations 2010. The case was heard by Barnstaple magistrates yesterday (Nov 7).

via Environment Agency – Farm fined for polluting stream near Devon beauty spot.

Wallop Defence Systems Ltd (WDS) has been ordered to pay £376,000 in fines and costs

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 near Stockbridge, in June 2006.

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 today (9 November) 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 was entirely foreseeable and avoidable.

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.

via RNN media information for journalists and the press – Press Releases – DEFENCE COMPANY SENTENCED OVER EXPLOSION DEATH – RNN media information for journalists and the press.

Abaris Holdings Ltd in court over employee’s injuries after being dragged into a machine.

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 today (9 November) 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 tool while the machine was running.

As he turned away, his right hand came into contact with the rollers and his hand and arm were dragged into the machine.

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.”

More information on improving safety in the manufacturing industry is available at

via RNN media information for journalists and the press – Press Releases – Lancaster textile firm in court over employee’s injuries – RNN media information for journalists and the press.

Devil’s Dust: in search of asbestos worker Jeremy Tear – The Drum – ABC News

Devil’s Dust: in search of asbestos worker Jeremy Tear – The Drum – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation): Matt Peacock, whose book Killer Company inspired the new ABC mini-series Devil’s Dust, searches for a man he interviewed 34 years ago about his time working at James Hardie’s asbestos insulation factory.All radio reporters have interviews they save up – ones that are so good you figure you’ll keep them until you can really do them justice. Usually you put them in a drawer somewhere safe until broadcast.

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56 per cent disasters in industries due to electrical faults – India

The Hindu : Cities / Hyderabad : 56 per cent disasters in industries due to electrical faults: ‘Electricity is not just a lifeline, it can also take away life when handled improperly’

Electrical faults seem to be the major reason for industrial disasters in the country as 56 per cent of incidents are reportedly caused by them.

Overheating, ageing of the material and use of sub-standard quality of electrical gadgets have been the main factors contributing to the increasing fire accidents in industries in the past four years, said V. Srinivas, member of the Fire and Security Association of India (FSAI) National Executive Board.

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Major electrical accident may disable Washington ferry for years – Washington – Oregon – Idaho Washington – Oregon – Idaho: A massive charge of electricity accidentally entered a motor under maintenance on board the M/ V Walla Walla on Sunday while the vessel was docked at the Washington State Ferries (WSF) maintenance facility on Bainbridge Island, known as Eagle Harbor.
No one was injured in the accident, yet a source with detailed knowledge of the event told the KING 5 Investigators that people could have easily died.

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Hedge fund founders lose their cool in lunchtime lift ordeal – Telegraph #justice

City Diary: Hedge fund founders lose their cool in lunchtime lift ordeal – Telegraph: NewSmith founders Michael Marks and Stephen Zimmerman had put in a full
morning’s work hedging funds in their Berkeley Square base.

But disaster struck on the way out to a well-earned Mayfair lunch when the
pair got trapped in the office lift for more than an hour.

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Fag Break – Romanian Times

Fag Break – Around the World News – Romanian Times Online News – English Newspaper: A drunk who astonished medics by surviving a 200ft fall from a 20th floor apartment may have been saved by the enormous amount of vodka he’d consumed, say police in Vladivostok, Russia.

Drinker Dennis Nekrasov who slipped while smoking on the balcony – bounced off the roof of an SUV car parked below the apartment block after consuming nearly a litre of booze.

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Stories of workers who went to work with every intention of going home, but never did.