Don’t fall foul of Health and Safety Laws

Safety officiers either know the law or they know the judge!

After a maintenance employee fell to his death at a South Wales power station, the energy giant, RWE npower and contractor AMEC Group Ltd must pay a total of 510,000. The firms were sentenced over the incident that a saw agency employee fall around 12 metres through an unprotected gap in a platform at Aberthaw Power Station in the Vale of Glamorgan.

Cardiff Crown Court heard that work was being carried out to insert equipment into a large deep pit in the water cooling system to hold back the seawater when the tide rose. Sections of the floor gratings at the top of the pit had been taken up to let the work to move on. Inadequate precautions had been taken to protect people working as a big opening in the walkway was left unprotected after the floor gratings had been removed, an investigation by the HSE showed.

RWE npower Plc, of Swindon, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. They were ordered to pay 30,000 costs and fined 250,000.

Accidents like this happen frequently because companies fail to make adequate risk assessments and plan a safe system of work.

The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, also referred to as HASAW or HSW, is the primary piece of legislation covering occupational health and safety in the United Kingdom. The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 is included in the primary legislation comprises the Acts of Parliament. The secondary legislation often referred to as ‘regulations’, is made up of Statutory Instruments (SIs). It is enforced by the HSE and Local Authorities (LAs). HSE and LAs work to common objectives and standards, locally, regionally and nationally.

Control of asbestos at work, diving, escape and rescue from mines, ionising radiation and working at height are all statutory instruments.

There are at least 1 statutory instrument relating to asbestos and at least 2 relating directly to construction. There are many other general statutory instruments for which employees must be aware of and adhere to.

Many companies run courses on Health and safety in the workplace and The Health and Safety Executive publish a range of free and priced information. Judith Hackitt, the chairperson of the Health and Safety Executive said, “Helping businesses understand their responsibilities is key to improving health and safety for everyone.”

Clearway Asbestos Management Limited provide a range of Health and Safety training from general Health and Safety risk assessment for office environments to specific training for construction groups. Training covers how to reduce risks to Health & Safety and compliance with relevant legislation and raising awareness.

They can help in companies safety policies, method statements, risk assessments, DSE assessments and general Health and Safety.

Make sure that you know the law otherwise you will get to know the judge.

For more information on Health and Safety Risk assessments, to use our online software or to contact us about asbestos removal please visit

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