Two companies have been fined following the death of a 37-year-old worker, Andrew Bowes.
Preston Crown Court heard how, on 12 March 2012, Mr Bowes, a metal fabricator employed by Larkin Eng Services Ltd, died while working at the company’s premises on Meeting Industrial Estate in Barrow in Furness. Larkin Eng Services Ltd had contracted Cumbria Design Scaffold Ltd to collect two large metal walkways and deliver them to a customer using a flatbed lorry fitted with a mounted crane. Mr Bowes was directed to assist with the lifting operation by his employer. The first walkway had been lifted onto the back of the lorry but was not fastened down. As the crane moved to pick up the second walkway, a sling became snagged on the first walkway, causing it to tip over and fall from the back of the lorry onto Mr Bowes who sustained fatal crush injuries.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Cumbria Design Scaffold Ltd had failed to properly plan the lifting operation. The company failed to recognise the risks involved and did not have a safe system of work for what was a complex lift. Cumbria Design Scaffold Ltd also failed to supervise the lifting operation properly. As a consequence, the lifting operation was poorly organised and controlled, placing those in the immediate vicinity at significant risk.
The investigation also found that Larkin Eng Services Ltd had failed in its duty to ensure the safety of Mr Bowes. It had directed Mr Bowes, who had only been working for the company a week, to become actively involved whilst the operation was taking place.
Cumbria Design Scaffold Ltd of Ulverston, Cumbria pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and has been ordered to pay fines of £60,000 and costs of £27464.28.
Larkin Eng Services Ltd of, Barrow in Furness, Cumbria pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and has been ordered to pay fines of £20000 and costs of £27211.09.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Anthony Banks said:
“We would like to thank Andrew’s family for their patience throughout what has been a complex investigation.
“Companies should always ensure that lifting operations are properly planned, organised and conducted safely. Had this lifting operation been properly planned and supervised, then this tragedy could have been averted. HSE will take enforcement action against both clients and contractors who fail to meet the required standards.”
A man has been sentenced for selling DNP, after a successful prosecution by Allerdale Borough Council.
DNP is an industrial chemical and it is illegal to sell it for human consumption.
Shaun Corrigan was given a nine-month custodial sentence, suspended for 12 months, 180 hours unpaid work, and was disqualified from being a director of a company for two years after selling the toxic drug.
An investigation led by Allerdale Borough Council, with support from the FSA’s National Food Crime Unit and the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), resulted in a raid on Shaun Corrigan’s business premises in Wigton on 5 September 2017. Officers found DNP in powdered and tablet form and the council also seized equipment capable of producing the DNP tablets.
Mr Corrigan pleaded guilty to the charge of offering for sale the substance called 2,4 Dinitrophenol (DNP) as a ‘fat burner’ and weight-loss drug at Carlisle Magistrates Court on 29 September 2018. On 6 February 2019, a jury at Carlisle Magistrates Court, found Enhanced Athlete Europe Limited, a company for which Mr Corrigan was the sole director, guilty of placing an unsafe food product on to the market. The company was sentenced to a £100,000 fine, plus costs.
Speaking after the case, Allerdale Borough Councillor Carni McCarron-Holmes, Executive member with responsibility for Housing, Health and Wellbeing, praised the work of officers saying: “This has been a really meticulous investigation by Council officers and I’m really pleased that it has resulted in a guilty plea by Mr Corrigan, and a successful prosecution of Enhanced Athlete Europe Ltd. People need to be aware of the dangers associated with DNP and drugs that can be bought over the internet.”
Darren Davies, Head of the National Food Crime Unit, added: “DNP is a toxic chemical and the danger posed by this substance, with a very real risk of death, needs to be highlighted. It is completely irresponsible and unforgiveable to be selling this item for human consumption. We were pleased to work with Allerdale Council and the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency to secure this successful prosecution.”
What is DNP?
DNP is poisonous to humans and those taking it can experience: nausea, vomiting, restlessness, flushed skin, sweating, dizziness, headaches, rapid breathing and an irregular heartbeat. Since 2007, at least 25 people in the UK have died as a result of taking it.
A food manufacturer has today been sentenced following two separate incidents where workers became trapped in moving machinery.
Colchester Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 26 March 2016, whilst working for 2 Sisters Food Group Ltd at its poultry site in Flixton, Norfolk, Mr Romas Ciurlionis trapped his thumb in a moving shackle shortly after being shown how to remove chicken intestines. As the line was running, he was pulled away from the emergency stop cord and when it moved past a fixed gate his thumb was severed.
The Court also heard how, on 23 August 2016, Mr Darren Hamilton entered an area of the factory that should have had the power isolated before cleaning activities commenced. The safe system of work was not being followed and the shackle line was still running when his finger became trapped. As he could not reach the emergency stop his finger was severed.
The investigations carried out by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that 2 Sisters Food Group Ltd had failed to ensure that measures were in place to mitigate the consequences of a worker becoming entrapped in a shackle in the first instance and that they failed to ensure safe isolation procedures were followed in the second.
2 Sisters Food Group Ltd of Grange Road, Flixton, Bungay pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Works Equipment Regulations 1998 in relation to the first incident and has been fined £200,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,031.83.
In respect of the second incident, 2 Sisters Food Group Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety At Work Act 1974 and has been fined £74,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,386.52.
After the hearing, HSE inspector Saffron Turnell said: “These incidents could so easily have been avoided had appropriate controls been in place.
“Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”
A commercial vehicle dealer has been fined after an agency worker lost his leg from the knee down when an oil drum he was cutting up exploded.
Reading Magistrates’ Court heard how on 5 January 2017, an employee of Rygor Commercials Limited was injured at Unit 13, Hambridge Business Park, Newbury, when he used oxy-acetylene gas cutting equipment to cut up empty oil drums. As the flame from this gas cutting equipment came into contact with the drum, the flammable vapours inside the drum ignited, and the drum exploded. The impact of the explosion resulted in the drum lid hitting the employee’s lower right leg and the main body of the drum landed approximately 20 metres away.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company had failed to provide a safe system of work to dispose of the stockpile of empty oil drums. The risk of fire and explosion from flammable vapour residues in the empty drums was not identified and safer disposal options were not secured. The investigation also found the company failed to provide adequate instruction, supervision and training on the risks associated with the use of oxy-acetylene gas equipment.
Rygor Commercials Limited of The Broadway, West Wilts. Trading Estate, Westbury, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and Regulation 5 of the Dangerous Substances and Explosives Atmospheres Regulations 2002 and have been fined £400,000 and ordered to pay costs of £9671.55.
Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Nancy Harman said: “Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working and to provide the necessary information, instruction and training to their workers. If a suitable safe system of work had been in place prior to the incident, the life changing injuries sustained by the employee could have been prevented.”
Organisations have been reminded they could face a criminal prosecution if they fail to respect the public’s legal right to access their personal information.
The warning came from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) after housing developer Magnacrest Ltd was fined by Westminster Magistrates for breaching data protection laws. The company did not comply with an enforcement notice issued by the ICO and so the regulator prosecuted.
The court heard that an individual had submitted a subject access request on 17 April 2017. A subject access request, or SAR, allows someone to request all the personal information an organisation holds about them.
But Magnacrest, based in Hazlemere, Buckinghamshire, failed to provide the information within the required timescale of 40 calendar days and the individual complained to the data protection regulator, the ICO.
The ICO served an enforcement notice on the company ordering it to comply with the law and provide the requested information.
When the company failed to obey the notice, the ICO brought a criminal prosecution under s47(1) of the Data Protection Act 1998.
Magnacrest pleaded guilty to a charge of failing to comply with an enforcement notice when it appeared before Westminster Magistrates on 6 February 2019. The company was fined £300, with a £30 victim surcharge, and was ordered to pay £1,133.75 towards prosecution costs.
Mike Shaw, the ICO’s Criminal Enforcement Manager, said:
“The right to access your own personal information is a fundamental and long-standing principle of data protection law. New laws brought into effect last May strengthen those rights even further.
“Organisations not only have to respect this right but must also respect notices from the ICO enforcing the law. If they fail to do so then they must accept the consequences, which can include a criminal prosecution.”
A construction company has today been sentenced after an employee was run over and killed by a dumper truck.
Edinburgh Sherriff Court heard how, on 5 December 2016, Allenbuild Limited was the principal contractor on a construction site when an agency labourer was run over and killed by a dumper truck, driven by an employee of Crummock (Scotland) Limited. The incident happened at a building site know as ‘The Engine Yard’ at Leith Walk, Edinburgh.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found Allenbuild Limited failed to organise the construction site in such a way to ensure that pedestrians were not carrying out work on or near traffic routes whilst vehicles were in operation. It is thought that the deceased was spray painting a ‘piling marker’ in front of a dumper truck, when it moved forward, driving over him.
Allenbuild Limited of Cheapside, London plead guilty to breaching Regulation 27(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 and was fined £600,000.
Speaking after the hearing, inspector Rob Hirst said: “This was a tragic and wholly avoidable incident that arose due to the company’s failure to ensure that pedestrians were not carrying out work on or near traffic routes whilst vehicles were in operation.”
National Trading Standards Regional Investigations Team seize thousands of counterfeit and unsafe goods - National Trading Standards
A joint operation between the National Trading Standards Regional Investigations Team Central England, Birmingham Trading Standards, West Midlands Police and partners including the Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG), the National Markets Group (NMG) and brand representatives, has resulted in the seizure of £2.5 million worth of counterfeit and unsafe products including clothing, jewellery and cosmetics.
On Wednesday 9th January 2019, two entry warrants were executed on a residential home address based in the Hall Green area of Birmingham, and one storage unit based in the Digbeth area of Birmingham, of which the latter took the teams two days to clear out. The warrants were connected to Operation Beorma, a joint National Trading Standards (NTS) and National Markets Group (NMG) operation, into the importation and supply of branded counterfeit and unsafe products.
Tens of thousands of counterfeit products were seized, including watches, handbags, belts, purses, electrical products, footwear, clothing, sunglasses and accessories of brands including Chanel, Michael Kors, SuperDry, Dior, Louis Vuitton, North Face, Stone Island and GHD.
Four vans were also searched and a large amount of counterfeit goods seized, along with evidence of manufacturing labels and equipment. Of particular concern was the seizure of over 50,000 bottles of branded counterfeit perfumes (Chanel, Paco Rabanne,Armani) which the Officers believed to fail to comply with the Cosmetic Products Enforcement Regulations 2013.
Cllr Barbara Dring, chair of Birmingham City Council’s’ Licensing and Public Protection Committee, said:
“Trading Standards is completely focused on disrupting counterfeiting rings that fuel organised crime. Black market activities like these pose a serious threat to the British economy in terms of lost profits and tax revenues and may be linked to criminal activities such as child labour and modern day slavery.
“Birmingham Trading Standards are warning consumers to be careful as while these products may be tempting and look like a bargain, they may be buying cheap, poor quality and potentially unsafe products – or paying the full price for inferior, fake merchandise.”
Graham Mogg, Anti-Counterfeiting Group Intelligence Co-ordinator and Chair of the National Markets Group, said:
“This is an outstanding result and shows the benefit of a multi-agency partnership approach to removing counterfeit and unsafe goods off the streets of the UK. These products were destined for consumers visiting markets and car boot sales as well as those shopping on-line and on social media and places them at risk of harm as well as undermining legitimate businesses.
“The ACG and our members are proud to be supporting OP BEORMA and are very grateful to Birmingham Trading Standards, the Regional Investigation Team and other partners involved in this operation.”
Lord Toby Harris, Chair of National Trading Standards said:
“The seizure of such a significant amount of counterfeit and unsafe products is testament to the hard work and joint efforts of National Trading Standards and its partner agencies.
“Many of these products were destined for sale online to unsuspecting members of the public. I would urge consumers to be vigilant, especially when purchasing from online marketplaces, and to look out for and report anything suspicious to the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline, 03454 04 05 06.”
Anyone with information about this activity or links to supply of counterfeit goods should report this to Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0345 4040506.
Half of UK workers think that getting people with the right skills will be the biggest issue faced by their workplace in the year ahead - Acas Mobile
New research from workplace experts, Acas, has revealed that over half of workers (53%) believe that getting the right people with the right skills will be the biggest issue faced by their workplace in the year ahead.
Acas commissioned YouGov to find out what UK employees identified as the most important workplace issues in the year ahead. The other two top issues identified were technological change (36%) and productivity (36%).
Acas Chief Exec, Susan Clews, said:
"Employees feel that getting workers with the right skills is a key concern in the year ahead. This could be attributed to uncertainty around our relationship with the EU at the moment or general concerns around skills shortages.
"Technological change is also on people's minds and we have found that if it is not managed well then it can cause stress and impact workplace relations.
"It is unsurprising that productivity continues to be a top concern in UK workplaces. We believe a well-managed and innovative workplace that encourages employee engagement can help improve the UK's low productivity and make the most of people's skills."
Acas has done a lot of work on the UK's productivity puzzle with advice and a diagnostic tool for organisations. For more information, please visit: Building Productivity in the UK.
Acas published research in 2017 which revealed how technological advances at work can have wide ranging and often overlooked implications for employment relations and health and wellbeing: Mind Over Machines: New technology and employment relations [584kb].
Other issues identified by participants in the poll included fit and healthy staff (18%) and Equality and Fairness (17%).
ICO to audit data protection practices at Leave.EU and Eldon Insurance after fining both companies for unlawful marketing messages | ICO
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has issued fines totalling £120,000 to an EU referendum campaign and an insurance company for serious breaches of electronic marketing laws and is set to review how both are complying with data protection laws.
The ICO announced an audit and issued a preliminary enforcement notice as well as three notices of intent to fine Leave.EU and Eldon Insurance trading as Go Skippy Insurance, in November 2018 as part of its investigation into data analytics for political purposes.
After considering the companies’ representations, the ICO has issued the fines, confirming a change to one amount, with the other two remaining unchanged. The regulator has also issued two assessment notices to Leave.EU and Eldon Insurance to inform both organisations that they will be audited.
The ICO investigation found that Leave.EU and Eldon Insurance were closely linked. Systems for segregating the personal data of insurance customers’ from that of political subscribers’ were ineffective.
This resulted in Leave.EU using Eldon Insurance customers’ details unlawfully to send almost 300,000 political marketing messages. Leave.EU has been fined £15,000 for this breach.
Eldon Insurance carried out two unlawful direct marketing campaigns. The campaigns involved the sending of over one million emails to Leave.EU subscribers without sufficient consent. Leave.EU has been fined £45,000 and Eldon Insurance has been fined £60,000 for the breach.
Elizabeth Denham, Information Commissioner said:
“It is deeply concerning that sensitive personal data gathered for political purposes was later used for insurance purposes; and vice versa. It should never have happened.
“We have been told both organisations have made improvements and learned from these events. But the ICO will now audit the organisations to determine how they are using customers’ personal information.”
The assessment notices allow the ICO access to Leave.EU and Eldon’s joint offices, staff, and documentation. It is a criminal offence to obstruct an ICO audit or destroy information covered by it.
The ICO’s audit team will be looking at data protection practices including observing how personal data is processed, considering what policies and procedures are in place and looking at the types of training made available for staff. They will also be interviewing key employees across both organisations including the directors, staff and their data protection officers. The ICO’s audit findings will be made public at the conclusion of its work.
Eldon Insurance has also received an enforcement notice from the ICO ordering the company to take steps to ensure it complies with electronic marketing regulations.
The ICO has published two reports as part of its wide-ranging data analytics investigation. Democracy Disrupted? Personal information and political influence looks at the broader policy issues identified during the investigation along with findings and the Information Commissioner’s recommendations for future action. Investigation into the use of data analytics in political campaigns is the latest update for the investigation.
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