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Health and Safety Examined in Tragic Beach Accident
Posted by David Cant on July 26, 2012
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HSE Rules

From time to time the regulations regarding health and safety are examined closely. The most recent incident where concerns over delays in rescue missions happened on July 24.  A woman was taking a leisurely walk along the beach accompanied by her boyfriend and her father when they were trapped under a 35ft pile of rubble from a landslide.

Charlotte Blackman was killed in the incident despite efforts made by her boyfriend and his father who had managed to escape. Tragically a second landslide occurred which hindered the rescue mission.  Miss Blackmans mother, who was sunbathing close by was alerted by her young son and the family were taken away from the beach to the cliffs so they could wait for any news.

Search dogs were brought by the crews along with diggers and devices which would allow them to listen to any sounds or movement below the huge pile of rubble. However, the search and rescue mission was halted for many hours as the conditions were considered to be too dangerous, with the threat of a further landside being present.

Lives Could Be Saved by Allowing Rescue Workers to Act

These delays have sparked another enquiry into whether the health and safety regulations have prevented a positive outcome.  Miss Blackman was finally found around 9pm, and sadly she had lost her life. There were 30 fire-fighters at the beach within 15 minutes of the landslide occurring, yet it was several hours before they began to search.  Concerns about the health and safety issues holding back the rescue have been raised once more, which seem to be a frequent occurrence.

Tragically More People Have Lost Their Lives

Other incidents which have called out for some changes in health and safety issues include a 44 year old man drowning in a 3 foot deep lake.  In this accident fire-fighters were on the scene and positioned just 20 feet away from the drowning man.  Some police men tried to enter the water to rescue Mr Burgess but they were told to come back. During this incident it was reported that fire-fighters could not enter the water if it was higher than their ankles.  These rules are based on the regulations which require all fire-fighters to go on a two day course before entering water which is higher than ankle deep.

A 14 year old girl also lost her life because medics would not move her as the terrain was considered to be too slippy. Shannon Powell collapsed while taking part in a cross country run, and the coroner ruled that the delay could have been the reason why her life could not be saved.

There are many other incidents where it appears that people have lost their lives because strict health and safety rules were being applied needlessly. Since the Incident involving Mr Burgess 999 emergency workers were told that if they breached health and safety laws while trying to rescue someone in an act of heroism they would not be prosecuted.

Time will tell whether health and safety regulations were a factor in the tragic death of Miss Blackman.  However this is another story which highlights some of the problems surrounding emergency workers and health and safety fears. If you would like to learn more about legalisation there are multiple courses available from health and safety consultants. Call 0800 1488 677 for further information.

About 

David Cant is a Chartered Safety and Health Practitioner with a brain you can pick. Fluent in practical advice. He has a wealth of Industry experience and is the Director of life at Veritas Consulting.

You can find him on – Twitter and Facebook also Linkedin

This post has been filed in: Health and Safety at Work, Health and Safety Law, Health and Safety Services, Workplace Health and Safety

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