A waste and recycling site in Carmarthen was in such a dangerous condition that visiting health and safety inspectors had to issue eight notices to immediately halt a range of work activities.
The site run by Mekatek Ltd at Amex Park, Johnstown was subject to a routine inspection by HSE inspectors on 20 May 2013 when a number of serious safety issues were discovered, including access to unguarded dangerous machinery, exposure to risk of electrocution and areas contaminated by asbestos containing materials.
At the end of February 2015 the court was told the site had a catalogue of dangerous points, including:
- A “man basket” on a forklift truck to allow workers to carry out work at height. This basket was not secured to the forks of the truck and there was no cage behind the basket to stop workers becoming trapped with the fork lift truck mast.
- There were no suitable guards to prevent workers getting caught in the moving machine parts of a granulator, two compactors, a shredder and a paint mixing drum.
- Electrical cables were found trailing through liquid, leading to a risk of electrocution.
- Exposed and damaged pipe lagging, which included asbestos containing materials, was in a poor state and exposed workers at the site to the risk of contamination. This was allowed to continue by Mekatek despite an earlier report by a specialist that had identified the presence of asbestos in the area and recommended its urgent removal.
Asbestos-related cancer suffers are to receive up to £54,000 extra thanks to new compensation rules brought in on the 10th of February 2015.
New rules for the government’s Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme will see compensation rise up from the current 80% to match 100% of average civil claims, which could mean an increase of up to £54,000 a person.
Those diagnosed with asbestos-related mesothelioma as of February 10th 2015 will benefit from the payment increases.
Over £19 million has already been paid out in the first 10 months of the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme. Hundreds of diffuse mesothelioma sufferers unable to claim compensation as their employer or employer’s liability insurer is untraceable have already been helped.
Work and Pensions Minister, Lord Freud said:
“For years, many victims of this truly terrible disease have been failed by successive governments and the insurance industry. With this scheme we are continuing to help the many victims and families that mesothelioma has left without financial support.
From today we are raising compensation payments to 100% of average civil claims. It is partly thanks to the success of the insurance industry in tracing liable insurers and employers that we are able to make these changes as part of our on-going commitment to support mesothelioma sufferers.” Read more
A Suffolk building firm has been fined £10,000 after removing asbestos insulation board without a licence and failing to protect its workers from falls of up to four metres at a farm building in Waltham, Essex.
Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court heard the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) was alerted by a member of the public concerned that unsafe work was commencing at the farm building.
Despite telling the farm owner it held the necessary approvals, the HSE’s investigation found LJW Cladding Ltd was operating without a licence permitting them to remove asbestos.
In addition to this, none of the workers were trained to work with licensed asbestos and were also placed in danger of falling from height while removing the asbestos boards.
HSE found that the work, carried out between 26 and 28 February 2014, was significantly lacking in safety measures. Asbestos insulating boards were broken from their fixings with insufficient attempts to prevent the uncontrolled release of fibres. There was no use of an enclosure and the respiratory protective equipment provided to workers offered inadequate protection. Read more
Firms in Wales whose staff are treated for asbestos-related illnesses will not be required to reimburse the NHS.
The Supreme Court was asked to settle the matter after the insurance industry challenged the assembly’s right to pass legislation on the issue in 2013.
The Supreme Court agreed with insurers who claimed an assembly law passed in 2013 was outside its competence.
The court said Welsh ministers had no right to impose charges to fund the NHS, and insurers should not be given extra liabilities for asbestos exposure which long predated the bill.
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) welcomed the judgement.
“The Welsh Bill would have seen increased insurance premiums for Welsh businesses but no extra compensation for mesothelioma sufferers,” said a spokesperson.
“The insurance industry remains committed to doing all it can to help the victims of this terrible disease and would be happy to work constructively with the Welsh Government on this issue, as it does on other public policy.” Read more
To all ATaC members, UKAS will be conducting un-announced visits on all accredited organisations in the very near future.
During your 4 year assessment cycle they hope to conduct at least one un-announced visit. They are hoping to get some site work to look at but in reality that may be quite difficult and may have to conduct an office based visit instead.
Your individual Assessment Managers or Technical Assessors should inform you of their intentions and how it will work regarding costs. As long as there is no problem with the un-announced visit there should not be any additional costs. Read more