A COOPER SAFETY BRIEFING

Inside this Newsletter

  1     Fire Safety Review
  2     Psychiatric Worker Beaten to
         Death
  3     Winter Swimming
  4     Safety People Go Chartered
  5     Noise in October
  6     Safety Messages
  7     Holiday Report
  8     Patient death fall
  9     Questions of the Month
  10    Incident Reporting on Time
  11    Chlorine Gas Releases
  12    Garage Fuel Explosion
  13    Menopausal Safety
  14    New Disability Law
  15    Staff
  16    Newsletter Production

Fire Safety Review

Next year fire safety laws will be
reformed and the Fire Precautions
Act 1971 will no longer be used.
Standards of safety will be required
at the same high level.  What will
this mean for employers?

        A greater focus on fire
prevention

        Simplified legislation

        “Responsible Person” for
premises will be
accountable for fire safety

        Fire risk assessment will
be required from the
Responsible Person

        Responsible Person must
reduce or remove fire risks

        Fire certificates no longer
required

        Fire and Emergency Services
will still carry out fire safety
inspections and enforce
improvements

Psychiatric Worker
Beaten to Death

South West London and St George’s
Mental Health and Social Care NHS
Trust has pleaded guilty to causing
the death of a healthcare assistant at
Springfield Hospital in 2003.

        Eshan Chattun worked in
an
intensive care unit (ICU) ward

         Patient Jason Cann had
attacked other staff earlier

         The patient was under
observation through a window

 

        Mr Chattun had been instructed
not to enter the locked off area

        He entered the area whilst alone

        He was not properly trained in
restraint methods

        He had no walkie talkie to call
for help nor a personal alarm

        Mr Chattun was bludgeoned to
death

        The Trust had not introduced a
system of risk assessment taken
as standard practice elsewhere

        The Trust was fined 28,000

The Judge remarked on the total
management failure shown by the
Trust. This will be the test of the new
corporate homicide legislation
expected in 2006. This is a terrible
reminder of the risks which such
nursing staff take on a daily basis
and the safety measures required
are easy to see with hindsight.  We
urge clients in mental health
hospitals to continually review their
safety systems including lone
working, training and panic alarm
requirements.

Winter Swimming

The Corporation of London closed
three ponds on Hampstead Heath
as they were not staffed by lifeguards
and they feared prosecution if an
incident occurred.  The Hampstead
Heath Winter Swimming Club went
to the High Court and won the right
to swim.  The judge said;

        That swimmers knew and
accepted the risks

        The law protected individual
freedom

        The law would avoid “imposing a
grey and dull safety regime”

        If an adult swimmer with
knowledge of the risks chose to
swim unsupervised, the risks
incurred were the result of their
own decision

        The risks were not the result of
the permission to swim by the
pond’s keepers

The employer would not be liable

 

A COOPER SAFETY BRIEFING

Safety People Go
Chartered

Health and Safety practitioners who
are fully qualified and suitably
experienced will become “chartered
members” of the Institution of
Occupational Safety and Health
(IOSH) later in 2005 following the
granting of a Royal Warrant by the
Queen.

To gain the chartered  status, as
enjoyed by accountants, bankers
and other professionals, is a
welcome upgrade, indicating the
growing importance of the health
and safety role in all workplaces.
Those not already carrying out
Continual Professional Development
(CPD) will have to join the scheme.

Please note that all of our client’s
training and assessment is overseen
only by Registered Safety
Practitioners (RSP) with full
Membership of IOSH (MIOSH).

Noise In October

The European Week for Safety and
Health at Work will take place 24th
to 28th October 2005.  This year the
focus is on the dangers of noise.
More information is available on the
Website www.hse.gov.uk or call us
for suggestions for your own
campaign.Taking part is easy and if
you tell the HSE that you did
something (anything will do!) then
you will be sent a certificate for your
organisation.  If your efforts are
considered worthy you can win
prizes and invitations to prestigious
presentations!

Safety Messages

Recent personal experiences show
that safety communication within
many organisations is poor.
Looking
at safety notice-boards recently
found the following;

         Old-design safety at work poster
pre-1999

         A warning notice dated 2002

         A safety briefing from 2003

The new pink coloured HSE official
health and safety at work poster
with;

         The safety representative
section blank

         The appointed person for safety
was named but had left five
years ago

        The enforcing authority details
were given for the HSE’s
previous offices and the address
is more likely to now be a
McDonalds rather than the
Government’s department for
safety!

Interestingly an HSE study  found
that less than 10% of staff on a site
had noticed any safety messages.
In an experiment, they attached key
messages as warnings, cartoons
and photographs onto components
that staff handled.  The research
found that on the site using the
“Trojan Horse” attachments over
85% of staff were aware of the
safety messages!  Can you think of
a way of improving your safety
communication?  There is a prize for
the best idea reported to us by 14th
August 2005.

Holiday Report

The holiday season is upon us –
what’s happening in places you
might visit? A series of unfortunate
events have been reported in papers
and journals recently:

Electrocution

An unlicensed electrical contractor
wired in a Florida bus shelter.
Circuit breakers were not installed
and the earthing rods were
defective.  The transformer was
incorrectly installed and as it
vibrated in its housing, some
insulation became worn and the bus
shelter became “live”.  The faults led
to a schoolboy being electrocuted.
Fines of $61 million were imposed
plus compensation of $4.1 million.

Shark Attack

A 14 year-old girl, Jamie Daigle, was
dragged underwater as she played
with a friend on a Florida beach.  A
surfer punched the shark and
dragged the girl to the beach with

the shark attacking all the way.
Sadly she was dead on arrival at
hospital and the post mortem
identified that a bull shark had bitten
her at least five times.

Emergency Surgery following
Disney Ride

A 16 year-old girl, Leanne Deacon,
appeared to suffer a heart attack on
the 199 ft Tower of Terror ride which
simulates an elevator failure 13
floors up.  She was revived at the
scene and had emergency surgery.
There was no indication of a ride
malfunction.

These examples together with the
terrorist attacks in London, show that
there can be danger everywhere and
some may involve a failure of safety
management by employers whilst
other incidents are beyond anyone’s
control.

Patient Death Fall

The risks of service users self-
harming and committing suicide are
well known in the NHS mental health
and social care trusts.  A guide
recommends that windows are fitted
with limiting devices to restrict gaps
to 100 mm where vulnerable persons
are present.  In April a patient died at
Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge.

         The patient was recovering from
alcoholism

         She was being treated at the
hospital

         A GP faxed a warning of her
feeling suicidal

         The fax was lost

         Staff forgot to give her medication

         She asked a doctor directions to
a tall building which were given

        Doctor advised staff not to leave
her alone

        Doctor asked for nurse to stay
with her

        An hour and a half later she
received multiple injuries in a fall
from the roof

        The hospital offered deepest
and sincerest apologies to the
family and said it was addressing
its failings.

 

A COOPER SAFETY BRIEFING

Questions Of The
Month

We have heard most things but
these are new!  During a training
session the two types of fire alarms
were discussed.
A continuous alarm
indicates an incident in your area
whilst an intermittent alarm indicates
an incident in another area.

A delegate asked “what if someone
outside my department looked into
my area and saw a fire?  When they
raised the alarm in their area by
breaking the call point glass, they
would hear a continuous alarm but
be safe whereas we would hear an
intermittent alarm but would have
the fire!

This is possible but we have never
heard of it happening.  Any confusion
would be resolved since the person
discovering the fire should not only
raise the alarm but should also dial
the emergency number, usually 2222,
to report exactly what was seen.

In a hospital we discussed what
happens if patient evacuation is
actually required.  We would
consider the location of the fire in
relation to patients and the
generally move the most mobile
patients first, then the semi-mobile
and lastly the least mobile. A
delegate then asked “so would we
be expected to evacuate the
mortuary as well?”  The answer to
this is “Yes” providing it is safe to do
so

Incident Reporting
On Time

There have been some reports of
managers sending in reports of
injuries several weeks after the
event. This is unacceptable as the
risk management team cannot help
if they are not informed.  Also if the
incident is severe and is reportable
under the RIDDOR Regulations then
we must act swiftly to inform the
HSE.
Managers note that we need
your help.  Thank you!

 

 

Chlorine Gas
Releases

We have experienced two chlorine
gas incidents this year following the
inadvertent mixing of the incompatible
chemicals bleach and hydrochloric
acid, both of which are used in
swimming or hydrotherapy pool
maintenance.  Thankfully both of these
incidents resulted in minor exposure
and systems were quickly put in place
to prevent recurrence.

However, the chemical company Rhodia
Eco Services Ltd was not so fortunate
and released 500 Kg of chlorine gas into
the air.  Six maintenance workers were
hospitalised whilst local residents,
supermarket shoppers and schoolchildren
had to stay indoors for four hours to avoid
the toxic fumes.  One maintenance
worker needed oxygen treatment for four
hours after exposure.  Rhodia was fined
100,000 plus 20,000 costs for breaking
laws on both safety and environmental
protection.

Garage Fuel
Explosion

The owners of a garage have been
prosecuted following an explosion. The
father and son owned Anchor Garage
at Peacehaven, Sussex.

        Teenage apprentice mechanic
Lewis Murphy helped one owner
handling fuel in February 2004

        A petrol and diesel mixture was
moved from dustbin to waste oil
tank

        Vapours were sucked into a gas
boiler flue

        The ignited vapour exploded

        The teenage worker was horrifically
burnt and died four days later

        No procedures were in place for fuel
handling

        The garage was not registered with
the HSE

        The owners said that they relied on
common sense to ensure safety

        Unfortunately common sense is
often not in common supply

        The owners were prosecuted for
gross negligence at Lewis Crown
Court in April this year

        Glen Hawkins (son) was jailed for
nine months

        Howard Hawkins (father) was fined
10,000 plus 15,000 costs.

Imprisonment for failure in health and
safety is rare and this is only the
fifteenth case that we are aware of. It
does show, however, that gross failure
will lead to jail.

Menopausal Safety

The Transport and General Worker’s
Union has stated that 70% of women at
work are of menopausal age and that
only 2% of safety policies cover this
issue. Symptoms may include;

        Loss of energy

        Headaches

        Loss of concentration

These symptoms may have safety
implications and the union suggests that
a “menopausal policy” be developed by
employers.  This sounds reasonable but
which brave soul would comment on a
colleague’s lack of energy or
concentration?

New Disability
Laws

The timetable for implementing the new
Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 2005
have been announced setting out which of
the new provisions will come into force this
December and which will not apply until
December 2006.

The new legislation represents a move to
widen access to services and employment
for everyone, not just people with obvious
disabilities. From December 2005 the Act
will cover people with HIV, multiple
sclerosis and all types of cancers,
effectively from the point of diagnosis.

 


A COOPER SAFETY BRIEFING

The original Disability Discrimination
Act 1995 was a landmark piece of
legislation that is now firmly
entrenched in the UK's regulatory
framework. Despite this, the degree
to which some organizations are still
failing to understand or implement
their duties under current disability
discrimination legislation is surprising.
 
For example three senior managers at
Virgin Cross Country Trains were
ordered by an employment tribunal to
attend training in disability rights law,
in particular the duty to make
reasonable adjustments.
 
Virgin Cross Country had already been
found to be in breach of DDA 1995 for
failing to make reasonable adjustments
to enable train driver Martyn Hazelhurst
to return to light duties after an
operation on his knee.
 
The company was ordered to pay Mr
Hazelhurst his basic salary until he can
return to driving duties, is certified unfit
for any duties or starts a suitable new
job with Virgin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Staff

Consultants

Neil Cooper
Mobile  07831 342 576

Martin Marmoy-Haynes
Mobile 07782 319 934

Jon Halstead
Mobile 07909 911 714

Gilly Ede
Mobile 07841 436 516

Geraldine Perry
Mobile 07711 043 622

Luke Summers
Mobile 07910 989958

Dr Jay Dudhia
Genetic modification advice.

Office

Nikki Cooper
Tel 01483 765 557

Jane Read
Tel 01483 765 557

Newsletter
Production

Martin Marmoy-Haynes
Cooper Safety Associates Ltd
The Shieling
Beech Hill
Mayford, Woking
Surrey, GU22 0SB 

Telephone: 01483 765 557
Fax:            01483 727 099 

Website:
www.coopersafety.co.uk

e-mail address
neil@coopersafety.co.uk 

The information contained in this
newsletter is for information and
interest only and we accept no
responsibility for any errors or
omissions.

Edition 20 August 2005

Newsletter in Microsoft Word Format