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Armed Forces: Safety

Volume 482: debated on Wednesday 12 November 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what procedures are in place in the armed forces to consider and act upon recommendations following Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigations; what HSE reports were received in 2007; and what steps were taken as a result of each. (230829)

The procedures for consideration and acting upon recommendations following Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Investigations are contained within Ministry of Defence policy documentation Joint Service Publication (JSP) 815—Defence Environment and Safety Management, Annex L and JSP 375—The MOD Health and Safety Handbook, Volume 2 Leaflet 14.

Information about HSE reports received in 2007 and the actions taken is not held centrally and officials are collating the details. Once this work has been completed I will write to my hon. Friend.

Substantive answer from Bob Ainsworth to Joan Humble:

I undertook to write to you in answer to your Parliamentary Question on 29 October (Official Report, column 1029W) about Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigations and reports.

In answering your question I have interpreted the phrase ‘HSE Reports’ to mean Crown Censures1 or Crown Improvement Notices. None of the latter has been reported. The Ministry of Defence received two Crown Censures during January to December 2007.

The first Crown Censure followed the fatality of a Corporal as a result of injuries sustained from being crushed between two armoured personnel carriers being unloaded from a low loader at Teesport, Cleveland in March 2007. The second Crown Censure was a fatality as a result of crushing between a Multiple Launch Rocket System vehicle and a large fork lift truck at Albemarle Barracks, Northumberland also in March 2007.

As a result of these tragic incidents, investigations were carried out which have led to a revision of arrangements for assessing workplace transport risks in the MOD; specifically, improvements have been made in the following areas:

1. Safe systems of work are now in place, including carrying out risk assessments and taking action on the resulting recommendations before any work is undertaken.

2. All staff involved are properly trained and have access to sufficient information and instruction to enable them to carry out the work safely.

3. Staff with supervisory duties now receive improved training on those responsibilities.

4. Interfaces between the MOD internal organisations responsible for the delivery of vehicles and those operating the vehicle fleets have been improved.

5. Equipment maintenance practises have been reviewed and improved systems have been put in place.

1 Crown Censure is an administrative procedure, whereby HSE may summon a Crown employer to be censured for a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act, or a subordinate regulation, which, but for Crown Immunity, would have led to prosecution with a realistic prospect of a conviction.