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June 9, 2010

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Latest steelworks death prompts union to issue safety reminder

Trade union Unite is calling on all safety reps to be extra vigilant in ensuring employers take all the necessary steps to prevent fatalities in the workplace, in the wake of an incident in April in which one of its members was killed.

Tom Standerline, an electrician, was working for Corus at its Scunthorpe Concast Plant when he died on 23 April this year. The 26-year-old was carrying out maintenance duties on a high-level access platform on a steel-portal or ‘semi-goliath’ crane in the Slabyard area of the plant.

The semi-goliath crane has a ‘basket’ on top, with brass slippers that connect to the power-supply t-rails. The overhead crane operating above it also has a t-rail basket suspended from its underside.

Corus has launched an investigation into the incident, in which it is cooperating fully with all the relevant authorities, including the HSE, as well as Unite reps, but it appears that Mr Standerline was inside the semi-goliath basket when the overhead crane passed above, trapping and fatally crushing him between the two baskets.

Unite’s national officer for metals, Terry Pye, said: “This is a tragic incident where yet another Unite member has been killed at work. We are working with Corus to find the reasons for this accident, and the HSE is investigating all of the circumstances surrounding this death.

“It is important that other employers are aware of this accident so that they can make sure nothing similar can happen elsewhere.

“We are calling on all Unite safety reps to raise this alert with their employers and check that, if they have similar arrangements, all necessary steps have been taken to make sure a tragedy such as this cannot happen to them.”

The union is urging employers to ensure that they:

  • identify all hazards, particularly exposure to other moving equipment;
  • adequately control all identified hazards, including isolation and immobilisation where the potential for trapping by other moving equipment exists; and
  • clearly communicate any maintenance activity to other affected operations, and confirm control measures to be taken.

Approaches to managing the risks associated Musculoskeletal disorders

In this episode of the Safety & Health Podcast, we hear from Matt Birtles, Principal Ergonomics Consultant at HSE’s Science and Research Centre, about the different approaches to managing the risks associated with Musculoskeletal disorders.

Matt, an ergonomics and human factors expert, shares his thoughts on why MSDs are important, the various prevalent rates across the UK, what you can do within your own organisation and the Risk Management process surrounding MSD’s.

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