News
for the month of October, 2015

3 sickened: E. coli in Conwy county over

2nd of October 2015

An E. coli O157 outbreak in the Conwy area of the UK, which affected three children has been declared over, health officials said.

e.coli.vaccine.beefA total of 83 other people were screened for E. coli O157 as part of the investigation by Public Health Wales and Conwy council but were given the all clear.

A childcare provider shut voluntarily during the outbreak but has reopened and is not believed to be the source.

Three affected children are recovering at home.

I believe it happened at slaughter’ and other delusions: 9 sickened with E. coli from Worthy Burgers in Vermont, STEC found in unopened beef

2nd of October 2015

Vermont health inspectors found the DNA of Shiga toxin in unopened packaged beef at a South Royalton restaurant and believe that undercooked hamburgers at Worthy Burger were the source of an E. coli contamination that sickened several people in late summer, a Vermont health official said Tuesday.

happy.cowsBradley Tompkins, a health surveillance epidemiologist with the Department of Health, also said two more cases of E. coli have been linked to people who dined at the restaurant, and that there now are six confirmed and three probable cases of E. coli in the Vermont outbreak. All have recovered, although to varying degrees, he said.

Tompkins said eight of the nine diners ate ground beef at Worthy Burger between the end of August and the middle of September, when investigators with the Vermont Department of Health inspected the restaurant, recommended some changes, and took some beef and lettuce, which is served on the hamburgers, to test.

The lettuce tested negative — “we do not believe lettuce played a role in this outbreak,” Tompkins said — but the health department found the DNA for Shiga toxin in the ground beef.

When they tried to grow the E. coli in the lab, however, it came out to be a slightly different strain than the one found in the patients from Vermont. Still, Tompkins said, the department believes the beef is to blame.

“It’s certainly not conclusive that it did come from the ground beef, (but) based on the interviews that were done with the patients and that we found the E. coli and the Shiga toxins … we do believe the outbreak was caused by the ground beef that was being undercooked from the restaurant,” Tompkins said.

Asked which farm the beef came from and where it was slaughtered and packaged —Worthy Burger relies on local suppliers for its grass-fed beef and other food — Tompkins referred a reporter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, which oversees slaughterhouses.

USDA spokeswoman Gabrielle Johnston said “there’s still debate whether it’s actually been linked to the beef” and said the matter is “still under investigation.”

Aaron Lavallee, another USDA spokesman who was on the same phone line with Johnston, said the agency was not at a point where it would name which slaughterhouses are being investigated, but said officials are “trying to trace this back all the way to the slaughter facility.”

cow.poop.spinachWorthy Burger’s Executive Chef Jason Merrill said on Tuesday the beef that was tested was taken from the restaurant’s walk-in cold storage in its original packaging from a Vermont slaughterhouse, leading him to suggest the contamination could have occurred at what he called a “USDA-inspected plant.”

“The samples they took from us were in a receiving walk-in, and we hadn’t even touched it,” he said.

“I believe the beef was OK (at the farm), and when it got to the slaughterhouse, that’s when the infection happened,” Merrill said.

Source

Global firms sentenced after worker killed

12th of October 2015

Two global companies have been sentenced after a worker was killed and another seriously injured during construction of an offshore wind farm. 

The incident happened when a team of engineers were loading wind turbine blades onto a sea barge for delivery to Greater Gabbard, off the Suffolk coast, on 21 May 2010. 

During the loading of wind turbine components at Pakeston Quay, Harwich, a 2.11 tonne part of the blade transport arrangement fell off, crushing and fatally injuring one worker and seriously injuring another.  

Chelmsford Crown Court heard both workers were employed by Siemens Windpower A/S (SWP) but were working for Fluor Ltd, the principal contractor. 

The injured man, Frank Kroeger, was airlifted to Addenbrookes hospital in Cambridge where he was resuscitated twice. He suffered a ruptured spleen, lacerations to his liver, a collapsed lung collapsing, multiple rib fractures on his left side, and significant crush injuries to his right arm and hand, with nerve damage to his thumb and fingers.  

His injuries were life-changing and required almost three weeks in hospital in the UK, followed by a long period of rehabilitation and treatment near his home in Germany. 

The family of the fatally-injured man have asked that his name not be released. 

The investigation carried out by HSE found serious safety failings in the two firms’ management systems for the loading operation, which allowed vital parts of equipment to go unchecked before being lifted.  

Following a four-week trial in July, prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Fluor Ltd was found guilty of breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was today ordered to pay £275,000 in fines and £271,048 costs. 

Siemens Windpower A/S (SWP) were charged with the same offence and also a Section 2 (1) breach of the same act, but pleaded guilty at an earlier stage. They were also sentenced today and ordered to pay £375,000 in fines with costs of £105,355. 

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Julie Rayner said: “This incident could easily have been avoided had suitable systems and procedures been in place to ensure that all loads were properly connected whilst being lifted. 

“Had the right questions been asked when the lift was being planned and had the bolt and two brackets holding the blade and frame together been checked before they were lifted, the death and serious injury of two workers could have been prevented. 

Source

Hydraulic company sentenced after employee loses sight in one eye

12th of October 2015

A Clitheroe hydraulic cylinder manufacturer has been fined for serious safety breaches after an employee was badly injured when he was struck in the face during a test procedure.

Lodematic Components Ltd was prosecuted on Friday 2 October 2015 by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following an incident at Numbers 1,2 and 3 Works, Primrose Road, Clitheroe, Lancashire on 23 January 2014.

Preston Crown Court heard that the worker was struck in the face by a pressurised hose during a test when a connector catastrophically failed. The worker suffered a broken jaw multiple facial lacerations and total blindness in his right eye.

The worker was assisting the Works Manager and Design Engineer in pressure testing a hydraulic cylinder when the incident occurred. The HSE investigation found that the test zone was not segregated or safeguarded and that the test equipment was not maintained and suitable for the task. Lodematic Components had also failed to carry out a risk assessment.

Lodematic Components of Clitheroe pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £35,000 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £7,835.52

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Bradley Wigglesworth said “Lodematic (Components) Limited failed to assess the risks or provide a safe system of work for pressure testing hydraulic cylinders.

“The test was carried out without segregating or safeguarding the test zone, and the test connectors were not subject to maintenance or inspection. If these measures had been in place at the time of the incident then the employee’s life changing injuries could have been avoided.”

Sources