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Health and Safety Newsletter Q1 2023


· health and safety

Hello and welcome to our first round-up of 2023’s world of health and safety. In this issue, we cover;

1. Accident Review; Bernard Matthews employee suffers serious injuries in machinery.

2. “Disposable” vapes and fire risks

3. Accident Statistics; dull numbers or useful tool?

4. Fire Doors….. Who Needs Them?

5. RedCat’s own Published Author…. Sarah Daniels and Clay’s Handbook of Environmental Health


1. Accident Review; Bernard Matthews employee suffers serious injuries in machinery.

Food manufacturer Bernard Matthew’s has been fined £400,000 after an employee
sustained a pierced left lung, several broken ribs, four fractured vertebrae
and a spinal bleed after being drawn into a large screw conveyor at a Suffolk
factory. Here’s the details, and more importantly, the lessons learnt.

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Colin Frewin was left permanently paralysed and spent six months in hospital following an incident at the company’s Suffolk manufacturing plant. He was put in an induced
coma for three weeks and is now classed as a T6 paraplegic and has been diagnosed
with autonomic dysreflexia (AD).

On 28th January 2020 heard how 54-year-old suffered the injuries. He’d been tasked with cleaning a large screw conveyor used to move poultry turkeys along and chill
them. While working on the gantry between the spin chillers he noticed a turkey
stuck at the bottom of it.

As he attempted to dislodge the turkey using a squeegee, Colin was drawn into the
machine. It was only when a colleague noticed Colin was missing from the gantry
and heard his cries for help, the emergency stop was pulled.

Continue reading…

Lessons and processes to be learnt from the near-fatal incident

Ø The isolation process is known as Lockout/ Tagout and is used to isolate machinery and equipment from its energy source. It is important to ensure machinery/equipment is isolated from any potential uncontrolled energy source during repair, service or maintenance work.

Ø If Bernard Matthews had identified a Safe Systems of Work (SsoW) the accident could have easily been prevented. The process to develop a Safe Systems of Work (SsoW) Step 1 select the task to be analysed, Step 2 Record the steps of stages of the task, Step 3 evaluate the risk associated with each step, Step 4 Develop the safe working method, Step 5 implement the safe working method, Step 6 Monitor to insure it is effective

Ø Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998(PUWER) are pre-use checks that are carried out on equipment before each use.
This check is to be performed to ensure all safety devices are functioning and
the machinery is working correctly

2. Lithium Ion Batteries in “Disposable”vapes and fire risks

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Over 200 waste fires caused by discarded Lithium Ion batteries. Do you have Li-Ion batteries in your workplace? How are end-of-life batteries disposed of? Is this covered in your Fire Risk Assessment?

It has recently been estimated, by not-for-profit organisation, Material Focus, that over 200 waste fires a year are caused by lithium-ion (Li-Ion) batteries that have been discarded. The fires can occur in bins, compactors and refuse lorries. When the batteries are compacted and damaged, spontaneous and very energetic fires can occur. So, this is an emerging fire risk that we think our clients should be aware of, and actively controlling.

So where are you likely to find end-of-life Li-Ion batteries? As this article’s header suggests, disposable vapes are high on the list, although these are not actually disposable. Mobile phones is the other main source. Li-ion batteries should not find their way into the general waste stream but should be segregated and recycled.

As we review fire risk assessments, we shall be including this topic, but we do advise you to check how these batteries are being disposed of at your workplace.

If a Li-ion battery overheats, hisses or bulges, the next stage could be spontaneous combustion, so take it outside and isolate it away from any flammable materials. We’ve had one incident at No8 with a phone battery (bulging and getting hot), which was quickly taken outside but fortunately didn’t ignite.

3. Health and Safety Statistics; what doesthis picture tell you?

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If you care to count the number of people in the image, you should get to 123. This is the number of people killed in workplace accidents in 2022/23. As we come to the end of this years’ statistics, it’s time to remember this is a large number, but in terms of the fatalities per 1000 days worked, it is incredibly small. One of the best in the world. Indeed, we’ve had an 80% decrease in workplace fatalities since the introduction of the Health and Safety at Work Act, which is approaching its 50th anniversary. If that doesn’t motivate us to maintain and improve this, well……

During our training particularly, we have difficulty in making statistics meaningful or “concrete”, especially large numbers. So, we’ve spent a few minutes with the colouring pens to show you exactly what 123 people looks like. We’ll be using this image going forward.

Carry on the good work!

4. Fire Doors….. Who Needs Them?

Deaths from fire in commercial premises are relatively rare, usually less than 10 per year in the Great Britain. On the 2ndJanuary 2023, three people died in a fire at the New County Hotel, Perth. The list of defects found by the Fire Authority, three weeks before the fire, was extensive.

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The recent fire safety inspection headlines were as follows;

1. Fire risk assessment not reviewed

2. Fire prevention; no Electrical Installation Condition Report or proof of gas servicing

3. Emergency lighting; servicing and monthly testing

4. Means of Escape; inadequate emergency lighting in escape routes

5. Fire Doors; lack of maintenance (e.g. missing seals, missing hinges, not closing correctly), proof of fire resistance

6. Preventing the spread of fire and smoke; breaches in compartments requiring reinstatement (i.e. fire-stopping), suspect air transfer grilles.

7. History of malicious or accidental damage to call points

8. Fire drills not carried out.

There is an ongoing investigation into this fire.

With sleeping accommodation especially, the importance of early detection/alarm, containment, available escape routes and adequate emergency procedures are all paramount.

5. RedCat’s own Published Author…. Sarah Daniels and Clay’s Handbook of Environmental Health

Clays Handbook of Environmental Health is currently in its 22nd Edition,was first published in 1933. It has been the foremost text for students of Environmental Health ever since.

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CIEH Chief Executive Phil James, Vice President Stephen Battersby and President Julie Barratt at 15 Hatfields for the launch of the 22nd
edition of Clay's Handbook of Environmental Health.

Sarah Daniels is, unsurprisingly, the author of Chapter 3, Communication in Environmental Health; being asked to contribute to such as
respected to me is a great honour and reflection of how that individual is
valued. Any enforcement or compliance work requires some technical knowledge
and skills, for sure. But without communication skills to put a convincing case
for business change, what good is the technical knowledge? Our business is a
people and communication business first and foremost, as we hope our clients
realise and appreciate.