Congratulations to everyone recognised in New Year Honours for their work in environment, health and safety. New posts are starting up tomorrow!
Monthly Archives: December 2013
I am taking a break from posting for the next few days for the Holidays. I have a lot of material stored up ready for compiling into new posts, and I will aim to get these out before the company offices re-open on 6th January 2014.
We wish everyone a very Happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year.
UK Review of EU Competencies
The UK government is presently engaged in a review of the EU’s competences, which the Foreign Secretary launched in July 2012. This review is an audit of what the EU does and how it affects the UK.
The review is broken down into a number of individual reports covering specific areas of competence, and is taking place over the course of 4 semesters:
Autumn 2012 to Summer 2013
Spring 2013 to Winter 2013
Autumn 2013 to Summer 2014
Spring 2014 to Autumn 2014
The process is – Government departments consult Parliament and its committees, business, the devolved administrations, and civil society to look in depth at how the EU’s competences (the power to act in particular areas conferred on it by the EU Treaties) work in practice. Individuals and organisations may submit evidence to the review.
The UK’s European partners and the EU institutions also contribute evidence to the review, and the review examines issues that are of interest across the EU.
Government departments will then report on areas of competence and their findings will be published during the course of the review.
Environment and Climate Change, and Transport were part of Semester 2 (consultation is closed, reports not yet published). Agriculture, Health and Safety (as part of employment), Fisheries and Energy are part of Semester 3 (consultation underway).
Further information (FAQs), including how to submit evidence, is here.
The review will not make policy.
Ethical Audits – a recommended read
Very useful collation of practical information – courtesy of The Guardian and it’s contributors – “Slaves in the supply chain: 12 ways to clean up business“.
Note the link to the new website Know the chain, identified in the article.
Waste Prevention Programme for England
The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has published today (11th December 2013) it’s Waste Prevention Programme for England. This programme sets out the roles and actions for government and others to reduce the amount of waste produced in England, and is a requirement of the revised Waste Framework Directive (2008/98/EC).
The documents are found here.
Measures in respect of food waste are found here. NB: food waste (above threshold quantities) must be separated at source and collected separately in Scotland (this is a legal requirement in Scotland, but not in England and Wales). My Query post on Scotland is found here.
NB: the EU is presently reviewing its waste legislation. Information is found here. I will post separately in 2014 on this.
UK Committee on Climate Change (CCC) 4th Carbon Budget Review
The CCC is the independent statutory body established under the UK Climate Change Act 2008. The Climate Change Act (2008) made the UK the first country to establish a long-term legally binding framework to cut carbon emissions. It contains a target requiring emissions reductions of 80% by 2050.
The fourth carbon budget, covering 2023-2027, was set in June 2011 following advice from the CCC in December 2010. As part of the agreement to set the budget, the Government announced that it would be reviewed in 2014.
The 4th Carbon Budget Review is found here, and comprises:
Part 1 (assessment of climate risk and the international response) published 7th November 2013,
Part 2 (cost-effective path to the 2050 target) and Technical Report (sectoral analysis) published today 11th December 2013.
Find here the launch presentation –
“the UK’s 2050 target requires very deep cuts in emissions across the economy”
“in 2010 we developed a feasible and cost-effective planning scenario for 2030 that is compatible with the 2050 target”
“the UK’s 2050 target of an 80% emissions reduction remains appropriate”
“the cost-effective path to meeting the 2050 target goes beyond the level of ambition in the 4th carbon budget; delaying action implies significant additional costs”
More Machinery Guarding Fines
Machinery guarding safety failings are a common cause of injury. I posted earlier on machinery guarding fines.
Update: 26th November (automatic scraper system machinery) – breach of Regulation 11(1) and 11(2) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) resulting in serious injury leads to a fine.
Update: 27th November (rip saw machinery) – breach of Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 resulting in injury leads to a fine.
Update: 28th November (paper conversion machinery) – breach of Regulation 11(1) of PUWER resulting in finger amputation leads to a fine.
Update: 29th November (silo machinery) – breach of Regulation 11(1) of PUWER resulting in finer amputation leads to a fine.
Update: 3rd December (roller conveyor machinery) – breach of Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 resulting in finger amputation leads to a fine. In this case the machinery supplier was also fined under Section 3(1) of the same Act.
Regulation 11(1) of PUWER states: “Every employer shall ensure that measures are taken in accordance – (a) to prevent access to any dangerous part of machinery or to any rotating stock-bar; or (b) to stop the movement of any dangerous part of machinery or rotating stock-bar before any part of a person enters a danger zone.”
Regulation 11(2) of PUWER states: “The measures required by Regulation 11(1) shall consist of – (a) the provision of fixed guards enclosing every dangerous part or rotating stock-bar where and to the extent that it is practicable to do so, but where or to the extent that it is not, then (b) the provision of other guards or protection devices where and to the extent that it is practicable to do so, but where or to the extent that it is not, then (c) the provision of jigs, holders, push-sticks or similar protection appliances used in conjunction with the machinery where and to the extent that it is practicable to do so, but where or to the extent that it is not, then (d) the provision of information, instruction, training and supervision.”
Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 states: “It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees”.
Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 states: “It shall be the duty of every employer to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in his employment who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety.”
Factory Safety Failings Fatality
A major engineering firm is sentenced (26th November) following the death of an electrician who was crushed by an overhead crane at a UK factory.
Investigation by Britain’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the electrician had been able to work on a platform in the path of an overhead crane without the power to the crane first being switched off. Preston Crown Court heard that the platform, which was around four metres above the ground, had been installed for a specific project in September 2000. End stops had previously been fitted to the rails used by the overhead crane that stopped the crane reaching the platform, but these had later been removed. The platform had remained at the factory but there was no barrier at the bottom of the access ladder to prevent workers climbing up it while the crane was in use.
On the day of the incident, the electrician had been trying to replace a cable, which hangs down from the crane to a handheld control, after it had developed an intermittent fault. The crane had been moved over the platform so he could reach the top of the cable where it connects to a junction box on the crane. As he climbed onto the platform, the crane moved and he was crushed between the guard rails around the top of the ladder and the crane itself.
The HSE investigation found the crane cleared the top of the guard rails around the ladder and platform by just 8.5cm. Despite this, the company had not identified the risk of workers being crushed by the crane if they used the platform so no action had been taken to stop this from happening.
Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 states: “It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees.”
The HSE Press Release is here.
Nelson Mandela International Day
Nelson Mandela 1918-2013, RIP.
UN Resolution A/RES/64/13 recognizes Nelson Mandela’s leading role in Africa’s struggle for liberation and Africa’s unity, and his support thereof.
With this resolution the UN General Assembly also recognizes “Nelson Mandela’s values and his dedication to the service of humanity, as a humanitarian in the fields of conflict resolution, race relations, the promotion and protection of human rights, reconciliation, gender equality and the rights of children and other vulnerable groups, as well as the upliftment of poor and underdeveloped communities.”
The resolution acknowledges his contribution to the struggle for democracy internationally and the promotion of a culture of peace throughout the world.
Information on Nelson Mandela International Day, on Nelson Mandela, and on the Nelson Mandela Foundation is here (EU 2012 External Action feature).
Environment Agency Flood Warnings
Throughout the night the Environment Agency has been doing a great job getting its Flood Alerts out via the online world.
See here for the Environment Agency’s Flood Warning Summary hub, updated every 15 mins.