Safety, Health & Environment (SHE) Regulatory Newsletter


As the Crown Prosecution Service continues to flex its muscles under the Corporate Manslaughter and Homicide Act 2007, we set out below a summary of the ongoing prosecutions.

PS & JE Ward Ltd - charged following the death of an employee at its garden centre in Norfolk in July 2010. The employee was electrocuted when the hydraulic-lift trailer he was towing came into contact with overhead wires.

Plea and Case Management Hearing scheduled to take place at Norwich Crown Court on 14 August 2013.

MNS Mining Ltd - charged as a result of the deaths of four miners at its Gleison colliery in September 2011. The miners lost their lives when the area of the mine they were working in was engulfed in water.

Plea and Case Management Hearing scheduled to take place at Swansea Crown Court on 20 May 2013.

Prince's Sporting Club Ltd - charged as a result of the death of an 11-year old girl at its club in Middlesex in September 2010. The girl died after falling from a banana boat ride and being hit by the boat towing it.

Plea and Case Management Hearing took place at Southwark Crown Court on 26 April 2013. The company pleaded not guilty and the matter has been adjourned until 14 January 2014 at the Old Bailey for trial.

Mobile Sweepers (Reading) Ltd - charged as a result of the death of an employee on a farm in Basingstoke in March 2012. The employee was carrying out repairs underneath a road-sweeping truck when he inadvertently removed the hydraulic hose holding the vehicle up. The back of the vehicle then fell on top of the employee.

Plea and Case Management hearing scheduled to take place at Winchester Crown Court on 14 June 2013.

SHARPS- Do you know your duties?

The new Health and Safety (Sharp Instruments in Healthcare) Regulations 2013 ("the Regulations") come into force on 11 May 2013. The Regulations build on existing law and provide specific detail on requirements that must be undertaken by healthcare employers and their contractors.

In most cases, it will be clear when the Regulations apply. However, their application will be of particular interest to the following:

What is required?

"Sharps" refer to medical instruments or other objects that are necessary for carrying out healthcare work and could cause an injury by cutting or pricking the skin.

The Regulations follow the principles of the hierarchy of preventative control measures, set out in the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002.

However, they require that the following additional control measures are considered:

Avoid the unnecessary use of sharps When sharps have to be used, "safer sharps" are used where it is reasonably practicable to do so Place secure containers and instructions for safe disposal of medical sharps close to the work area Provide information and training The HSE has published a guidance document which sets out fully the requirements of the Regulations and can be found at

Businesses that may be affected are advised to carefully consider the guidance and seek legal advice from our team of specialist lawyers if they are concerned about their application.


Consultation into PACE Codes of Practice

A consultation has been launched in to proposals regarding changes to the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 ("PACE") Codes of Practice. The consultation concerns revised versions of Codes A, B, E and F under PACE, which deal with stop and search, searching premises and the audio and visual recording of interviews. Full details of how to respond can be found at publications/police/operational-policing/pace-codes-practice/?view=Standard&pubID=1159372 . The consultation closes on 10 May 2013, following which we will provide a further update.


Health and safety (miscellaneous repeals, revocations and amendments) regulations 2013

These Regulations, which came into force on 6 April 2013, have been introduced to remove legislation that has either been overtaken by more up to date Regulations (for instance, the Construction (Head Protection) Regulations 1989, are redundant or do not deliver the intended benefits (for instance the Notification of Conventional Tower Cranes Regulations 2010, which Professor Lfstedt argued provided no direct safety benefit).

A total of 12 statutory instruments are affected. A full list of the revoked legislation is available here http://

Don't apply the brakes to your driving policy

We are often asked by our corporate clients to advise them on driver policy issues. This is a particularly important concern, when it is estimated that up to a third of all road traffic accidents involve somebody who is at work at the time. It is understood this may account for up to 20 fatalities and 250 serious injuries every week.

What are the common mistakes?

Most employers incorrectly assume that provided they ensure their employees have a valid driving licence and MOT certificate, they have done enough to protect their business. This could not be further from the truth.

Is it just road traffic legislation which the business needs to comply with?

No, whilst the Police will continue, in the majority of cases, to take the lead on the investigation of road traffic incidents on the public highway, the Health and Safety Executive ("HSE") will also investigate road traffic matters, albeit in very limited circumstances.

Enforcement action by the HSE will usually be limited to incidents where the Police identify serious management failures as being a significant contributory factor. An example of this could be where drivers are required to work excessive hours and an accident has occurred due to driver fatigue.

What are the duties I need to comply with?

Employers are required to comply with their duties under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (the "Act") to ensure that its employees are not exposed to risks to their health and safety (section 2 of the Act). This includes the time when they are driving, whether that be in a company vehicle or a private vehicle.

Although the risks associated with driving cannot be completely eliminated, an employer has a responsibility to take steps to reduce such risks to as low level as is "reasonably practicable", in the same way as they would in the workplace.

What steps do I need to take to comply with this duty?

In order to determine what steps an employer should take, it must carry out a "suitable and sufficient" assessment of the hazards and risks associated with driving as part of its work activities.

Any investigation by the HSE will seek to establish whether an appropriate risk assessment has been carried out and whether measures to address the risks have been effectively implemented by way of a driving policy.

What sort of issues should be covered by the policy?

The following are some common examples of the important issues which every driving policy should cover:

Complying with road traffic legislation and the Highway Code, such as abiding by...

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