Property owner fined £260k by HSE for worker falling from height

Sir Robert McAlpine has been fined £260,000 after a worker fell 4.8m through an unprotected opening at a property owned by a director of the firm.

Mark Smith, 36, was attaching straps to a water tank so it could be moved in order to paint flooring at Stone Gappe Hall in Bradford, which is owned by group director Richard McAlpine, when the incident occurred.

Smith was hospitalised for nine days after fracturing his leg, ankle, kneecap, eye socket and nose, cutting his face, injuring his ribs and sustaining a concussion.

He continues to suffer from the psychological effect of the incident and has not been able to return to work since, according to a statement by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

An HSE investigation found that he fell through an opening that did not have fixed-edge protection.

Sir Robert McAlpine of Eaton Court, Maylands Avenue, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, pleaded guilty to single breaches of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015.

The company was fined £260,000 and ordered to pay £38,299 in costs.

HSE inspector Paul Thompson said: “Falls from height often result in life-changing or fatal injuries. In most cases, these incidents are needless and could be prevented by properly planning of the work to ensure that effective preventative and protective measures are in place such as edge protection or barriers built to the correct standard.

“This incident could have easily been prevented if the company had undertaken a thorough risk assessment and installed adequate edge protection around the opening to prevent falls.”

Source: Construction News

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Wales launches climate change blueprint

A five-year blueprint to tackle climate change in Wales has been launched by the Welsh Government.

Prosperity for All: A Climate Conscious Wales sets out plans to improve flood defences, secure water supplies, and other environmental improvements.

See the source image

Environment minister Lesley Griffiths said the plan is “challenging”.

But Welsh Conservative Andrew RT Davies said “questions must be answered” over if the plans are “workable” and “economically viable”.

The plans build on the climate emergency declaration made earlier this year and Wales’ first climate change conference, the Welsh Government said.

Ms Griffiths added: “But we must all adapt and we must all commit to protect our nation for current and future generations.

“Success will mean Wales is a climate conscious nation, aware of the risks facing us, whilst being prepared and ready to adapt to the impacts before they occur.”

The proposals include:

  • Building defences to guard against flooding and coastal erosion
  • Protecting water supplies from drought
  • Reducing the use of pesticides
  • Growing more woodland
  • Creating more open spaces
  • The creation of 25,000 more energy efficient homes by 2021

Source: BBC News

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Essential tips on empty property

When a property is unoccupied – between tenants, awaiting sale, or the resident is absent for any reason, it is expected that the property will be exposed to greater level of risk than any other time.

Below are some few tips that can help;

  • Security – Review and implement adequate security measures and remove valuables
  • Water supply – To avoid the risk of freezing causing serious damage, systems should be drained down and the water switched off at the stopcock. Alternatively, the central heating system be active 24 hours per day (not timed) at a minimum of 15 degrees centigrade. If possible, the water should still be switched off at the stopcock (note – some boilers work on mains pressure, making this impractical). If any water is stored in the loft, the access hatch should be left open part way, allowing warm air to circulate in the loft space.
  • Water tank – Ensure it is kept warm or emptied
  • Regular visit – Inspect the property as often as possible
  • Gas and electricity – Ensure Gas and electricity are switched off at the mains if not in use.
  • Maintenance – Keep the property and grounds tidy
  • Insurance – If you don’t tell your insurer that the property is empty, at best the cover under your policy may be restricted. At worst be invalidated completely, leaving you totally uninsured. Many insurers will refuse to provide further cover, some may continue but with severe restrictions. There are specialist insurance companies that offer unoccupied property  insurance.


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Marathon runners to be disqualified if they drop plastic

Runners at north Wales’ largest running event were warned they would be disqualified if they dropped litter during the race.

Organisers of Sunday’s Conwy Half Marathon said the measures had been introduced as plastic was becoming an “increasing problem”.

Runners run past water bottles as they take part in the 2016 London Marathon in London

The Run Wales website said runners would also be “taken off the results if seen discarding their rubbish outside of a water stop or not with a marshal”.

The race is now in its eleventh year, and about 3,000 runners is expected to take part.

Organisers have not yet said if anybody was disqualified following the race, which started in front of the town’s castle.

This looks like the best solution to littering during marathon race. What do you think?

Source: BBC News


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Climate Change is the cause of Venice flood says Mayor

Severe flooding in Venice that has left much of the Italian city under water is a direct result of climate change, the mayor says.

The highest water levels in the region in more than 50 years would leave “a permanent mark”, Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro tweeted.

A man crosses the flooded St. Mark's Square in high water levels in Venice, 13 November 2019

“Now the government must listen,” he added. “These are the effects of climate change… the costs will be high.”

The waters in Venice peaked at 1.87m (6ft), according to the tide monitoring centre. Only once since official records began in 1923 has the tide been higher, reaching 1.94m in 1966.

Flood rescue in Northern part of England

People are being evacuated from their homes and there is chaos on the roads and trains after torrential downpours flooded parts of northern England.

Six severe warnings – meaning a danger to life – are in place along the River Don in Doncaster with some residents being told to leave their homes.

Dozens of people slept on chairs and benches after being left stranded in a shopping centre in Sheffield overnight.

People are being ferried to safety in Rotherham

More than 100 flood warnings are in place across England

Fran Lowe, from the Environment Agency (EA), said urged people to take them seriously “as they represent a threat to life”.

“Respond immediately and get out of any place affected by a severe flood warning,” she said.

More than 50 people have been rescued from their static homes after a caravan site near Doncaster flooded.

Elderly and vulnerable people were among those who were led to safety from Willow Bridge Caravan Site after the River Don overtopped in the area.

Meanwhile, residents in Rotherham have been told to stay at home and not leave unless asked to do so by emergency services.

The council said the town centre, Whiston, Catcliffe and Laughton Common were areas of greatest concern.

Source: BBC News

Going green to save money and the planet

Making your home green and eco-friendly requires just a few simple adjustments which can make a real difference to you saving money and the environment along the way.

  1. Save Energy – Making you home energy efficient as best as you can could save you up to £300 a year on energy bills, as well as two tonnes of CO2 emissions. Simple measures you can take includes: fitting energy saving light bulbs, draught-proofing doors and windows; fitting room thermostats, programmer and thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs); turning off lights when not needed and never leaving electronic and electrical gadgets on standby;  double glazed window; insulation of walls and loft; fitting energy efficient heating systems etc.
  2. Save Water – Water is an extremely valuable resource, but much of what we use are wasted. To save water, don’t leave the tap running when you brush your teeth, shave, wash your hands, wash plates, cups and pots. This can waste up to five litres of water per minute. Fix leaky taps and start taking more showers and fewer baths. A five minute shower uses about a third of the water of a bath, unless you have a power shower. install a water butt to collect rainwater with which to water your garden plants.
  3. Reduce – Reduce is the first in the mantra of ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’. that’s because it’s better to reduce the amount of waste we sent to landfills in the first place than to use energy to recycle it. When shopping, cooking and eating always buy, cook and eat what you need not want. There is a big difference between what we need and want, getting the balance right can go a long way in saving money and the environment.
  4. Reuse – Think before you throw something away. Could you, or someone else reuse it? By reusing items, you will save money and benefit the environment. For example, reuse plastic carrier bags for shopping, reuse drinking bottles, turn halves of plastic bottles into garden cloches to protect plants, reuse papers and envelopes (stick scrap paper over the old address). Always try repairing, restoring or re-upholstering furniture before buying new. If you can’t think of a way to reuse something, try local charity shop, recycle centres or freecycle websites.
  5. Recycle – It’s now very easy to recycle at home because nine out of 10 households have a kerbside recycling collection run by their local council, either weekly or fortnightly. You can check what materials your council recycles by visiting their website. Most council have recycling centres and you can also recycle items through local facebook group pages.

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