Page 6 - IOSH Magazine March 2019
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        Veolia fined £1m after refuse

        worker run over and killed                                                                                © Terry Robinson (cc-by-sa/2.0)




        Veolia ES has been fined £1m after one of its dustbin                    Veolia failed to recruit a designated yard marshal
        lorries reversed into an employee and crushed him.                      that decision has been the most significant
                                                                                reason for the delay between the incident
                                                                                and today.”
        John Head, 60, was struck by the vehicle   sole job is traffic management within the   He continued: “Veolia’s ultimately
        while he was working as a banksman at   operational area. This will eliminate the   unsuccessful endeavours to place the
        Veolia’s household waste depot in Ross   need for loaders leaving the vehicles to act   blame for Mr Head’s death on its own
        Way, Folkestone, Kent, on 18 October 2013.   as reversing assistants […] reducing the   employees is somewhat inconsistent with
        He sustained multiple injuries and died at   exposure of people to vehicles.”   the assertion made in mitigation that this
        the scene.                            Judge Simon James said that, after Veolia   is a company which places the welfare of
          The recycling firm was found guilty of   had identified the “very risk that contributed   its employees at the very forefront of their
        breaching s 2(1) of the Health and Safety at   to Mr Head’s death”, it “failed to act”.  corporate philosophy.”
        Work Act and must pay £130,000 costs.   A Health and Safety Executive (HSE)   The judge highlighted several measures
        (See bit.ly/2SLqdWD for how the     investigation found that Veolia had not   that would have “significantly reduced”
        sentencing guidelines were applied.)  risk-assessed its yard activities and vehicles   the chances of the accident happening.
          Canterbury Crown Court was told that   often moved around without specific   These included recruiting a designated
        reversing assistants helped dustbin lorries   controls in place. It highlighted several   yard marshal, implementing a traffic light
        to manoeuvre around the busy yard, while   changes to the company’s system of work,   system, reducing the number of reversing
        the drivers and their loaders decided how   all of which were introduced quickly.   manoeuvres, and implementing a system
        and when to move.                     Judge James said: “Whilst it is    whereby only a single vehicle is permitted
          Senior regional management and those   undoubtedly to the defendant company’s   to unload at one time.
        responsible for site safety and health had   credit that they implemented the   He said “the exact mechanism” of how
        only recently carried out two walk-through   suggested changes almost immediately,   the accident happened was unclear. He
        examinations and raised concerns about   they have [...] steadfastly disputed that the    noted there was no “obvious reason” for
        dangerous vehicle manoeuvres.       pre-October 2013 system was in any way   Head to have been walking across the yard
          In response, Veolia drew up a document   deficient or unsafe and chose to vigorously   but said reversing assistants “were often
        that said: “Recruit a yard marshal whose   contest such assertions before a jury and   in the general area”.


         MHFA wins                  the mental health – as well as   “Alongside that, however, we   with 2016-17. In addition,
                                    the physical health – of their   have to think about the causes of   15.4 million working days were lost
         support in                 employees.                stress and anxiety. Often, it is due   to stress, depression or anxiety,
                                      Berger said: “This motion […] is   to unhealthy workplaces, where   which equates to 25.8 days on
         the House                  not seeking to substitute mental   people are not respected and   average for every case.
                                                                                           James Rudoni, managing
         of Commons                 health professionals with mental   where there is a bullying culture.   director of Mates in Mind, said:
                                    health first aiders. Mental health
                                                              That has to be confronted because
                                    first aid training gives people   that is the cause of so many   “We believe in a long-lasting
         Mates in Mind, the charity that   the knowledge, the skills and the   people feeling anxious, distressed   transformation of workplace
         aims to reduce the stigma of   confidence to intervene early if   and depressed as a result of what   mental health, through which
         mental health in the construction   someone is struggling.”  happens at work.  organisations can go beyond
         industry, has urged business   The motion, she added, was “in   “My plea to the government is   tackling a crisis of mental ill-
         leaders to develop a preventative   line” with the Conservative Party’s   that, as we hopefully commit to   health and act to prevent it in the
         workplace culture.         2017 manifesto, in which Prime   spending more on mental health,   first instance.
            The charity was responding to   Minister Theresa May pledged   we spend at least part of that on   “Mates in Mind affirms the
         a debate in the House of Commons   to update legislation to require   preventative measures.”   position taken by Norman Lamb.
         after which MPs voted in favour   employers to train mental health   Although mental health   Therefore, while we celebrate
         of updating regulations so that   first aid responders.  minister Jackie Doyle-Price agreed   the actions being taken to move
         mental and physical health are   Lamb told MPs: “The approach   that further debate on the issue   mental health up the government
         treated equally in the workplace.   we should be taking is about   was necessary, she said: “We   agenda […] we will continue […] to
            The motion was tabled by   preventing ill health in the   would not want to have legislation   strive for the transformation of
         a cross-party group of MPs,   workplace. The whole focus   that became a floor of service in   workplace culture.”
         including Luciana Berger, Norman   should be on creating healthy   mental health.”   In November IOSH published
         Lamb and Jonny Mercer. They   workplaces, where people are   According to the Health and   research findings on the provision
         called on the government to   treated with dignity and respect. It   Safety Executive, cases of work-  of mental health first aid that
         change the Health and Safety   is vital that employees across the   related stress, depression or   highlighted “significant issues
         at Work Act through secondary   workforce have the opportunity   anxiety rose by 13% to 1,800 for   around the lack of clarity with
         legislation so that employers’   to raise their awareness and   every 100,000 workers in the    boundaries and potential safety
         responsibilities explicitly cover   understanding of mental health.   12 months to April 2018 compared   concerns”.


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