Farm worker blinded by cleaning chemical

November 2019: Health and Safety Prosecutions

Eliza Bonecka

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In August 2017, an employee was cleaning the walls of the dairy farm at Old House Farm in North Dean, Buckinghamshire, using a corrosive disinfectant DM CiD, which contains potassium hydroxide. The pump sprayer being used unexpectedly developed a fault and ruptured into the face of the employee. His face became covered in the caustic and corrosive disinfectant, rendering him permanently blind in both eyes...

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SOUTHALLS COMMENT:

This unfortunate case shows the importance of not only considering the use of chemicals but also ensuring that a suitable emergency procedure is in place that can be used in the event of an uncontrolled release of a chemical. Southalls not only assist clients in looking at ‘normal’ usage of a chemical including what PPE to wear but also at what to do in the event of emergency in terms of person exposure and clean up.

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Nazareth Care Charitable Trust has been fined £40,000 over the death of an 87-year-old resident, who fell down a flight of stairs at a care home in Bonnyrigg, Midlothian...

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SOUTHALLS COMMENT:

This horrific case shows the importance of tailoring risk assessments correctly to the persons that may be harmed. Where the people exposed are for example elderly or very young often extra precautions need to be taken to ensure their safety. Southalls ensure that their risk assessments reflect the type of people that will be exposed to the hazard.

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A school in Hertfordshire has been forced to close due to a raw sewage leak. Broom Barns Primary School in Stevenage informed parents and staff this morning (Thursday, November 14) that the school would be closed for the day...

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SOUTHALLS COMMENT:

A Hertfordshire school closed for two days when there was a raw sewage leak, relating to blocked toilets on the site. The school correctly identified that they have duties in regards to employee, student and visitor welfare, and must provide flushing toilets and working wash hand basins.

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Where these facilities were not available, and could not be provided by temporary accommodations, they decided to minimise exposure to potential pathogens by closing.

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Luton Magistrates’ Court was told that on 2 May 2017, a 36-year-old employee was working for MP Building. He climbed up to remove a nail from a brace holding trusses, one of which started to fall causing the employee to fall with it...

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SOUTHALLS COMMENT:

Work at height is one of the biggest workplace killers and there are numerous examples every year of serious injuries that are caused by falls from height. It is vital that all elements of a job are considered within the risk assessment and it is ensured that all the team involved understand the risks involved and how to work safely. Southalls make work at height one of their priority areas whenever they start working with a new business.

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Birmingham Magistrates’ Court heard that, between June 2017 and February 2018, Kulwant Singh Chatha and partner Satpaul Kaur Chatha of Isher Hangers failed to put suitable measures in place to control the risk of Legionella bacteria from the cooling tower on their premises. Concerns raised by their own water treatment consultants were ignored, and no Legionella risk assessments were in place...

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SOUTHALLS COMMENT:

Cooling towers are known to be able to spread bacteria if they are not suitably maintained. In this case it appears that the water consultants had concerns but these were ignored by the company that operated the cooling tower.

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Had the concerns been acted upon this case may have been prevented. It is a reminder to all businesses that if they are receiving competent advice they should then be putting appropriate control measures in place which would have been highlighted as part of a suitable and sufficient risk assessment.

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HSE investigators found that between 2009 and 2014 five employees of Places for People Homes used vibrating powered tools to carry out grounds maintenance tasks at sites in Milton Keynes, Rotherham and Hull...

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SOUTHALLS COMMENT:

We are very aware of the risk posed by vibrating tools and the debilitating impacts that hand arm vibration syndrome can have on employees. Southalls work with their clients to identify tasks that involve vibrating tools and determine what the maximum daily exposure limit for that tool would be. This is then highlighted to staff with appropriate training to ensure they understand the risks and the control measures in place that they must follow. Self declaration health surveillance can be done via Safety Cloud to identify early symptoms and referrals to occupational health can then be undertaken before any long term health impacts set in.

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