HSE to make cost recovery dispute process fully independent.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has announced that it is to consult on proposals to make its cost recovery scheme dispute process fully independent.
The Fee for Intervention (FFI) scheme was introduced in October 2012 under regulations that made those who break health and safety laws liable for recovery of HSE’s related costs, including inspection, investigation and taking enforcement action. The scheme shifts the cost of regulating workplace health and safety from the public purse to businesses which break the law and ensures the cost burden of HSE intervention is picked up by those companies and not taxpayers.
The dutyholder has to pay the costs of the visit if during the visit, the HSE inspector identifies health and safety failings in the workplace serious enough to require written notification (i.e. a material breach). There is no charge if the inspector simply gives verbal advice.
Under the previous procedure, disputers were considered by a panel made up of two members from HSE and one independent person. However, after review HSE will consult with relevant stakeholders with a view to making the process fully independent.
To read the HSE Press Release on this story, click here .
National airline prosecuted for not protecting workers.
A national airline has been prosecuted for not protecting its workers from hand arm vibrations.
The Court heard how employees working within the airlines composite workshop at the Glasgow base, who used hand-held power tools to carry out repairs on various components, in the course of their work were exposed to the risk of Hand Arm Vibration (HAVs).
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) highlighted the airlines failure to control the effects of exposure to these vibrations on their workers, potentially exposing their workers to this risk while they worked within the workshops.
The airline pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 5 (1) of the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations (2005) and was fined £6,500.
HAV is a condition that can cause symptoms such as tingling, pins and needles, numbness and pain in the affected person’s hands. The condition can also cause difficulties in gripping and holding things, particularly small items such as screws, doing up buttons, writing and driving.
To read the full HSE Press Release on this story, click here.
Energy giant’s appeal against £3m fine dismissed.
An energy giant has failed in its bid to reduce the level of fine handed down after an offshore multiple gas release incident in the North Sea.
The energy corporation explores for oil and natural gas, producing and transporting crude oil, natural gas and bitumen. It has been operating in the United Kingdom (UK) for about 40 years.
The releases occurred at an Offshore Gas Gathering System installation in the North Sea solely operated and part owned by the corporation. The installation compresses gas collected from the corporations own well, from satellite platforms and subsea centres so it can be transported by pipeline to its terminal on the coast.
Starting at the end of November 2012, there were three gas release incidents on the installation platform during maintenance work on a defective pressure control valve. While all of the gas from the third release vented safely, 603 kilograms of gas (out of the approximately nine tonnes vented during the first two releases) spilled uncontrolled into the turbine hall at a dangerous proximity to the 66 people working on the platform at the time.
At a hearing on 14th December 2015, the company pleaded guilty to three offences involving contraventions of requirements imposed under regulations to which the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 applies and on 8th February 2016 the judge imposed a fine of £1 million on each of the three breaches and ordered the defendant to pay over £159,000 towards the costs of the prosecution.
At the appeal hearing, held in the Royal Courts of Justice in London on 11 October 2016, the appeal was dismissed.
To read the full HSE Press Release on this story, click here