Agenda item

Health and Safety Lessons Learnt (Local Authority Specific) (Verbal Report)


The Sub-Committee received a verbal report from the Service Manager (Health and Safety) on the following health and safety updates:


1)   Health and Safety Executive (HSE): The threat of prosecution and potential costs of damages was one of the reasons why companies invest heavily in health and safety, and with a harder line being taken by the HSE, this trend was likely to continue into the future.  Prosecutions brought by the HSE were a matter of public record and could be viewed on the register of convictions and notices.  The HSE was carrying out a view of its prosecutions to ensure they were more successful in the future.


2)   UKCA: Between now and 31 December 2021, it would be possible to place and buy on the UK market products carrying the UKCA mark or a CE mark.  However, where the CE mark needs to be supported by certification from a notified body (that was, for category II and III PPE), that body must be based in anyone of the 27 EU member states.  During 2022, it would only be possible to place on the UK market products carrying the UKCA mark on the outer packaging.  From 1 January 2023, it would only be possible to place on the UK market products carrying the UKVA mark.  The UKCA mark must ordinarily be affixed to the product.  However, if this was not possible, the UKCA mark could be place don the packaging instead of the product.


Note:  PPE that was already in circulation, for instance, company stock, was still fit for use.


3)   The Waste Industry Safety and Health (WISH):  The forum had redesigned its website and updated its guidance and information regarding health and safety in the waste industry.  Included, was s set of copyright-free questions to help assess an employee’s engagement with their company on health and safety issues.  With the introduction of the new worker engagement tool that had been developed to help in these areas, attendees were encouraged to take the tool back to their organisations to trail, prior to launching a finalised tool next year.


4)      Dorset Council Waste Depot:  It had been alerted by a member of the public after plumes of black smoke was seen across Weymouth and several explosions occurred.  21 waste vehicles were destroyed or severely damaged, of which 16 were used in collections and five for cleansing and maintenance. The cause of the fire was unknown and was being investigated by the fire service.  The cost of the fire was still being estimated but was expected to run into several million pounds.


5)   London Borough of Tower Hamlets Council:  The Council was fined after the death of a child in a playground back in 2015.  The HSE investigation found that the Council had failed to ensure that an annual playground safety check was carried out. Investigators also found the post was made from wood that was unsuitable and had decayed. The Council had previously implemented a system of inspections to ensure that play equipment was safe to use. However, the play equipment at Mile End Park had not been inspected by a playground inspector since September 2013. If the equipment had been inspected and tested for signs of rot, the risk might have been identified and appropriate action taken to remove and replace the equipment. The Council pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Etc. Act 1974 and were fined £330,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6,204.


The Sub-Committee considered the verbal report and asked questions to which the Service Manager (Health and Safety) provided responses.  In particular discussions were held playground equipment.  Officers explained that inspections on the council’s playgrounds were up to date.  The council had a dedicated play officer, and annual ROSPA inspections were carried out. 


There being no decision required, the Sub-Committee noted the verbal report.