COMPANY NEWS

WHS Price Increases

After pegging our prices for a number of years, we must now increase them a little to cover costs and maintain our level of service. Although these minor price increases took effect from 1 January 2019, our customers will obviously not be subject to the revised rates until their current annual contracts expire.

Many clients won’t be affected for many months to come so, for those as yet unaffected, our tip to you would be to use WHS as much as possible now rather than waiting till later! Ring the WHS office (01952-885885) to arrange necessary site inspections, training, risk assessment reviews, etc now and you could save!

CITB Training Courses

Forthcoming 2019 dates currently in place and fees for the CITB courses are as follows. Courses are held at the WHS training rooms and fees include lunch, refreshments and all course literature.

IMPORTANT NOTES:
Please be aware that CITB specifies that candidates must be available to attend each session within the course; failure to do so may require a repeat course.

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)
    Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week
    Dates: 22 February and 1, 8, 15, March 2019 (Fridays)
    26 April and 3, 10, 17 & 24 May 2019 (Fridays)
    Cost: £495 + VAT per person
  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher
    Duration: 2 days
    Dates: 27 & 28 February 2019 (Wednesday & Thursday)
    10 & 11 April 2019 (Wednesday & Thursday)
    Cost: £265 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)
  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS)
    Duration: 2 days
    Dates: 20 & 21 February 2019 (Wednesday & Thursday)
    29 & 30 April 2019 (Monday & Tuesday)
    Cost: £230 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)
  • CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness
    Duration: 1 day
    Dates: 25 March 2019 (Monday)
    Cost: £125 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

First Aid Training

Forthcoming 2019 dates for the WHS 1-day Emergency First Aid courses, also held at WHS training rooms, are as follows; the fee is just £75 + VAT per person:

  • 26 February 2019
  • 27 March 2019
  • 25 April 2019
  • 28 May 2019
  • 26 June 2019
  • 25 July 2019

As with the CITB courses above, if any organisation requires first-aid for 6 or more employees, a specific course can be arranged at a date, time and location to suit. Please contact the WHS office to discuss your requirements.

WHS Safety Awards

As you will have read in our December newsletter, WHS tries to encourage good health & safety practice by issuing annual awards to those companies or individuals who have demonstrated clear and proven commitment to the well-being of their employees or colleagues. The winners have all received their awards and we are delighted to extend hearty congratulations to our worthy winners:

Awards for Commitment to Safety, for high standards of health & safety management throughout the many years of involvement with their employing companies, went to:

Kevin Dodd, Operations & H&S Manager
for TWS Highways and
Amanda Shephard, QMS,
H&S & Marketing Manager for ELS Spelsberg

Awards for Continual Improvement, where company management have constantly strived to improve their H&S systems, went to:

Islabikes; H&S/Office Manager, Sarah Worrallo, seen here accepting the award on behalf of the team and Protocol Control Systems; Office Manager, Lyn Steele, and Contracts Manager,
Alan Thomas, accepting the award for the Company

The award for Commitment to Health & Safety Compliance went to Advanced Glass Facades; Operations Manager, Paul Shaw, is seen here accepting the award for the Company

And, last, but by no means least, the award for Proactive Safety Management went to Mick Collins, Operations & H&S Manager for Morris Site Machinery

Sincere congratulations to all our winners! They are all shining examples of how things should be done.

New Documents

Two new documents have been added to our folio of templates to assist our customers further:

  • Ladder Inspection Sheet – to assist with the mandatory pre-use and weekly inspections of ladders. This will filter out to all customers as renewal packs are issued, but you are free to request a copy in the meantime.
  • Post-Incident Protocol – guidance on what to do and what to expect following a significant RIDDOR reportable accident or incident. This will be issued in future as soon as we are notified of the accident / incident.

Non-Licensed Asbestos Guidance

HSE guidance HSG210 (‘Asbestos Essentials’), which details safe systems for non-licensed minor work with asbestos materials, has always been included in your health & safety packs each year. However, since the HSE has amended some of the task sheets contained within it, we are no longer able to download the overall complete HSG210 document; it is only possible to download each task sheet individually.

Therefore, those requiring the guidance must either purchase the whole document from the HSE website at a cost of £25:
http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/hsg210.htm

or download the task sheets relevant to their particular work (free of charge) from:
http://www.hse.gov.uk/asbestos/essentials/index.htm

Dyslexia

We are only too well aware that a significant number of our customers’ employees experience issues with dyslexia and similar conditions that inhibit the ability to read or use our documentation. We always strive to pay particular and sensitive attention to the needs of any individuals experiencing difficulties of any nature, and we are currently working with specialists to try and enhance our documentation.

In the meantime, please do be assured that we are completely sympathetic to any difficulties; anyone is free to tell us, in confidence if necessary, that they may need additional assistance or sensitivity. However, please note that it is particularly important that we are kept informed where courses require mandatory paperwork and tests; real problems occur if we learn this at a later stage.

Footnote: This also applies to workers with a poor grasp of the English language. If candidates cannot understand or write in English, or complete tests, we cannot accept them on courses as we don’t profess to be linguists!

HSE NEWS

Mis-Use of Lifting Platforms – SAFETY WARNING

The HSE have issued a serious safety warning concerning unauthorised use of unlocking keys for lifts or lifting platforms which has resulted in serious injury and a fatality; to quote:

Mis-use of these keys is extremely dangerous. Owners must ensure that unlocking keys are kept securely, and that staff are instructed not to use them unless trained and authorised to do so.

A care home was recently fined after an employee suffered significant injuries when a door safety locking mechanism had been overridden with a screwdriver. In another incident a shop assistant used an unlocking key to open the ground floor landing door of a lifting platform which then descended toward the people in the lift-well. The fatality in South Wales resulted in a significant prosecution, as reported in the national press.

Further information for lift and lifting platform owners is contained on the following Health and Safety Bulletin:

Vertical lifting platforms or lifts for people with impaired mobility – potential falls from height risks to employees and members of the public from over-riding door locking safety devices

The LEIA (Lift and Escalator Industry Association) website can be accessed here.

Free Event

The HSE is holding a FREE Working Well Together event on Thursday 21 March 2019 in conjunction with the Staffordshire & Shropshire Working Well Together Group.

The event includes talks and demonstrations on the following important issues:

  • Telehandlers and MEWPs
  • Scaffolding
  • Underground cable strikes
  • Asbestos in soils
  • Silica dusts

Doors open at 8.30am for coffee and a breakfast bap; the event begins at 9am and will finish at 1pm.

Venue:
North Staffordshire Medical Institute
Hartshill Road
Hartshill
ST4 7NY Stoke-on-Trent
United Kingdom
View Map

And do note:
There is no dress code (site clothes are acceptable); however delegates should bring their own safety boots, & hi viz clothing as some demonstrations are outside.

This event will be invaluable for any construction directors, project managers, site management, supervisors and foremen; all delegates will receive an attendance certificate. Early booking advised:
https://bit.ly/2FIEexU

Another Free Event

The HSE is also holding a FREE day of seminars, exhibitions, discussions and workshops showcasing good health & safety practices on Wednesday 20 February 2019, at:

The Vox Conference Centre
Resorts World
Birmingham
B40 1PU

The event is aimed at all types of businesses, so those in construction may not feel it’s suitable; however, if you feel that it would be beneficial to attend (and we’re sure it will be), you can register on:
https://bit.ly/2CG0Kn9

INDUSTRY NEWS

Winter Working

It’s that time of year again where the weather can be icy and unpredictable, and never forget that it is the responsibility of every business requiring outside work or business travel to safeguard their employees against subsequent harm.

Therefore, this is a timely but important reminder of the following necessities:

  • All work areas must be kept clear of ice, snow, mud, deep water, and any other issue that could be the cause of personal injury. If work areas can’t be kept clear, they must be closed and secured against entry by workers and all others persons.
  • ‘Work areas’ include car-parks, walkways and any other area/s for which the Company is responsible.
  • All companies should write and enforce a Driving Policy, and this Policy should include the procedures to be followed when there is significantly inclement weather e.g. notification to employees of snow, severe weather warnings, blocked roads, etc and sites that have been closed. WHS includes a template for a Driving Policy in all health & safety packs (see the ‘Miscellaneous’ Templates folder) but we are very aware that few of our customers have established their own; you are strongly recommended to do so.

Do feel free to call the WHS if you have any issues regarding cold or inclement weather and individual responsibilities – and you can also refer to the generic risk assessment (also issued with health & safety packs) related to ‘winter working’.

Choosing Suitable Equipment for Work at Height

It’s often difficult to know which type of access equipment is appropriate or legally acceptable for work at height. Over and above a site’s specific rules (which must be observed regardless), it is every contractor’s responsibility to ensure equipment chosen is suitable; therefore, helpful guidance in attached to this newsletter to point you in the right direction.

And a reminder that, as with every other health & safety issue, the law requires managers to assess risks and:

  • Eliminate where possible; or, if that’s not possible…
  • Reduce to a ‘reasonable’ level according to the risk – and work at height is always very high risk

Therefore, the choice of equipment must be considered carefully – it is NOT acceptable to use the cheapest or whatever is readily available!

Site Signage

It is often the case that contractors are not too sure what type of signage is appropriate to their site/s and where to buy the items from. To help with this, and enable a one-off purchase rather than having to spend time sourcing from several providers, Seton now provide ‘starter packs’ tailored to your specific site requirements.

A great idea, and of immense use we’re sure:
https://bit.ly/2sFPfaX

GENERAL NEWS

Digital Tax Systems – IMPORTANT

Although this is nothing to do with health & safety, we issued a warning in the December newsletter about the impending deadline for mandatory on-line issue of VAT returns, and we’re doing it again!

As from 1 April 2019, ALL VAT returns must be issued to HMRC through an approved on-line, real-time accounting package. For those who don’t out-source their accounting, Sage, Quick Books Online, Xero and other packages are available and approved by HMRC; ask your accountant to verify which package is appropriate for your particular needs.

Further information is available from GOV.UK:
https://bit.ly/2xjRbaB

DO NOT IGNORE THE APRIL 2019 DEADLINE;
PENALTIES WILL BE APPLIED FOR NON-CONFORMANCE OR VAT ERRORS

GDPR

Responses to the new General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, have varied widely, with some companies doing their very best to comply in a practical way and others still blatantly ignoring the issue!

To help, and to put to bed some of the misconceptions, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has issued new and valuable guidance on the use of 3rd party data in accordance with GDPR; this can be freely downloaded from:
https://dma.org.uk/uploads/misc/third-party-data-guide-1.0.pdf

Lead Poisoning!

Our newsletters have regularly highlighted the issue of the harm that can be caused by lead. This has been brought to the forefront in the media only very recently after Canadian artist, Gillian Genser, was diagnosed with lead poisoning after spending years working with … sea shells! Unbelievable but true, take a look:
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6450071/Toronto-sculptor-59-gets-heavy-metal-poisoning-spending-15-years-mussel-shells.html
and:
https://www.livescience.com/64224-sculptor-unknowingly-poisons-herself-with-her-own-art.html

I don’t think any one of us would have suspected that the humble sea shell could be capable of such harm, but it’s worth reading the news items as they illustrate just how seriously lead can affect people. As it attacks the nervous system, Genser suffered severe effects such as immobility, disorientation, aches, pains, extreme anxiety and fatigue, all of which made her fatalistic and consider suicide before she was eventually diagnosed.

Her condition was probably unforeseeable, but this is cannot be said for construction or any other industry where working with lead is still commonplace. If this is you, make sure that you digest information given (by WHS, the HSE and others) and establish very sound controls – before it’s too late.

AND FINALLY

As always, the following prosecutions represent only a small percentage of those that successfully go through court each month, and this time we highlight some of the more ludicrous cases.

Work at height
Do some people actually have a death wish??!!

  • Cheshire Demolition and Excavation Contractors Ltd was fined a total of over £140,000 after two workers received serious injuries falling from an excavator!! The scissor lift previously provided had been removed from site, so apparently there was ‘no other means of accessing areas at height’!!! It’s a sad indictment of our industry that people still behave in such a totally irresponsible way.
  • Inex Works Civils Ltd was fined £1,300 and sub-contractor, Colin Martin, £2,000 after being photographed working on a roof in a totally unsafe way. Martin had slithered down a sloping roof to the edge whilst an employee held on to a webbing strap attached to a harness he was wearing!!

Again, it beggars belief that, in this day and age, people risk life and limb to save money!! He was wearing a harness but couldn’t be bothered to ensure it was attached to an anchor point? And it must be said that the choice of equipment does NOT include harnesses unless this is totally unavoidable – and saving money does NOT make using proper equipment unavoidable!

  • GB Industrial Cladding Ltd was fined a total of over £11,000 after a worker shattered an elbow falling from a ladder being used to access a flat roof. The ladder was not tied or footed, and was resting against a wet metal gutter. Just a little attention to detail (not a lot to ask) would have prevented this.
  • Solar Scaffolding Services Ltd was fined a total of almost £14,000 after a worker fell through a roof and sustained serious injuries. An access tower and guard rails had been erected to enable work on a roof; however, the worker fell through an unprotected sky-light.

Plant & vehicles

  • Three companies were fined a combined total of almost £1.5 million after a security guard was struck and killed by an articulated wagon. The guard was working at the security gate to Immingham Docks. There was no standard procedure, training or signage in place to ensure safety around HGVs; as a result, the guard had walked in front of the vehicle,, the HGV driver being totally unaware he was required to stop at that point.
  • APC Overnight Ltd was fined a total of £121,500 after an agency worker was run over and seriously injured by a fork-lift truck. The Company had failed to properly induct agency workers or explain the pedestrian segregation; it had also failed to control the use of fork-lifts, which were actually banned from the internal area where the accident happened.

As a result of this accident, the HSE issued a specific warning about the use of fork-lifts and other plant or vehicles in pedestrian areas. 26 workers died last year as a result of being struck by moving vehicles, and the HSE emphasises the necessity of adhering to the vehicle and transport safety advice and guidance, and legal requirements, given on its website:
https://bit.ly/2W9TQ2B

WHS still continually sees similar accidents waiting to happen; business management must listen to the guidance given by our consultants to provide segregation – before someone gets seriously hurt or killed.

  • Paul Robinson was fined a total of over £3,000 after he ran over and severely injured a farm worker. He had been chatting to the worker but then failed to check his whereabouts before driving off!

A reminder:
Never walk within 4 metres of any moving vehicle or plant; be sure that the driver has stopped and knows you are there before you come closer.
Make eye contact; use thumbs up to be sure.

  • E C Haste was fined a total of almost £34,000 after a 9-year old boy suffered serious leg injuries whilst riding on an all-terrain vehicle being driven by a 13-year old!! Words fail me!!

Work equipment

  • Anytime McDaids Ltd was fined a total of over £41,000 and Director, Lawrence McDaid, over £3,000 after a worker was hit and killed by concrete! The worker had been trying to clear a blockage in a concrete pump when it ejected the concrete, striking and killing him.

As with ALL work equipment, no maintenance of any sort is to be undertaken until the equipment is completely switched off or isolated. Not only is this law – it’s commonsense!

  • Morgan Sindall was fined a total of over £111,000 after a worker’s hand was severed by the unguarded hydraulic ram of a biomass boiler. As well as failing to guard hazardous parts of the boiler, MS had failed to lay down suitable procedures for maintenance.
  • Tudor Griffiths Ltd was fined a total of almost £47,000 after failing to ensure the guarding of moving machinery despite identifying the risks months earlier. On his first day working at the TG quarry, an employee got his arm caught between a conveyor and roller, resulting in severe injuries.
  • Hyspec Engineering Ltd was fined £80,000 after an apprentice suffered serious injuries from the moving parts of a CNC lathe. In this case, the cause was even more inexcusable as the interlock mechanism guarding the machine had been over-ridden; what on earth were they thinking? This wilful act has now resulted in life-changing injuries to a youngster.

Hazardous substances

  • Abel (UK) Ltd’s director, Nicholas Corbett, was given a 10-month prison sentence for on-line sales of products containing prohibited substances. A plant protection product was found to contain sodium chlorate and paint stripper to contain dichloromethane, both of which are either prohibited or severely restricted under law.

This case was clear cut as the distributor was operating within the UK, but one has to wonder what substances are creeping into the UK undetected via the net. As an example, we have recently found nail products (potentially fake but marked with a well-known brand) containing formaldehyde. So do be warned and, as we’ve said before, don’t buy from eBay or uncontrolled marketplaces; only buy from trusted manufacturers and distributors.

DON’T FORGET:
NON-COMPLIANCE TO HEALTH & SAFETY LAW WILL RESULT IN ENFORCEMENT OR PROSECUTION
AND, FAR MORE IMPORTANTLY, RISKS KILLING OR INJURING SOMEONE

WHS is working for you; help us to help you.
Our aim is to keep people safe and to keep your company working.
To contact WHS, ring: 01952-885885

COMPANY NEWS

WHS Price Increases

After pegging our prices for a number of years, we must now increase them a little to cover costs and maintain our level of service. Although these minor price increases took effect from 1 January 2019, our customers will obviously not be subject to the revised rates until their current annual contracts expire.

Many clients won’t be affected for many months to come so, for those as yet unaffected, our tip to you would be to use WHS as much as possible now rather than waiting till later! Ring the WHS office (01952-885885) to arrange necessary site inspections, training, risk assessment reviews, etc now and you could save!

CITB Training Courses

Forthcoming 2019 dates currently in place and fees for the CITB courses are as follows. Courses are held at the WHS training rooms and fees include lunch, refreshments and all course literature.

IMPORTANT NOTES:
Please be aware that CITB specifies that candidates must be available to attend each session within the course; failure to do so may require a repeat course.

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)
    Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week
    Dates: 22 February and 1, 8, 15, March 2019 (Fridays)
    26 April and 3, 10, 17 & 24 May 2019 (Fridays)
    Cost: £495 + VAT per person
  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)
    Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week
    Dates: 22 February and 1, 8, 15, March 2019 (Fridays)
    26 April and 3, 10, 17 & 24 May 2019 (Fridays)
    Cost: £495 + VAT per person
  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher
    Duration: 2 days
    Dates: 27 & 28 February 2019 (Wednesday & Thursday)
    10 & 11 April 2019 (Wednesday & Thursday)
    Cost: £265 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)
  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS)
    Duration: 2 days
    Dates: 20 & 21 February 2019 (Wednesday & Thursday)
    29 & 30 April 2019 (Monday & Tuesday)
    Cost: £230 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)
  • CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness
    Duration: 1 day
    Dates: 25 March 2019 (Monday)
    Cost: £125 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

First Aid Training

Forthcoming 2019 dates for the WHS 1-day Emergency First Aid courses, also held at WHS training rooms, are as follows; the fee is just £75 + VAT per person:

  • 26 February 2019
  • 27 March 2019
  • 25 April 2019
  • 28 May 2019
  • 26 June 2019
  • 25 July 2019

As with the CITB courses above, if any organisation requires first-aid for 6 or more employees, a specific course can be arranged at a date, time and location to suit. Please contact the WHS office to discuss your requirements.

WHS Safety Awards

As you will have read in our December newsletter, WHS tries to encourage good health & safety practice by issuing annual awards to those companies or individuals who have demonstrated clear and proven commitment to the well-being of their employees or colleagues. The winners have all received their awards and we are delighted to extend hearty congratulations to our worthy winners:

Awards for Commitment to Safety, for high standards of health & safety management throughout the many years of involvement with their employing companies, went to:

Kevin Dodd, Operations & H&S Manager
for TWS Highways and
Amanda Shephard, QMS,
H&S & Marketing Manager for ELS Spelsberg

Awards for Continual Improvement, where company management have constantly strived to improve their H&S systems, went to:

Islabikes; H&S/Office Manager, Sarah Worrallo, seen here accepting the award on behalf of the team and Protocol Control Systems; Office Manager, Lyn Steele, and Contracts Manager,
Alan Thomas, accepting the award for the Company

The award for Commitment to Health & Safety Compliance went to Advanced Glass Facades; Operations Manager, Paul Shaw, is seen here accepting the award for the Company

And, last, but by no means least, the award for Proactive Safety Management went to Mick Collins, Operations & H&S Manager for Morris Site Machinery

Sincere congratulations to all our winners! They are all shining examples of how things should be done.

New Documents

Two new documents have been added to our folio of templates to assist our customers further:

  • Ladder Inspection Sheet – to assist with the mandatory pre-use and weekly inspections of ladders. This will filter out to all customers as renewal packs are issued, but you are free to request a copy in the meantime.
  • Post-Incident Protocol – guidance on what to do and what to expect following a significant RIDDOR reportable accident or incident. This will be issued in future as soon as we are notified of the accident / incident.

Non-Licensed Asbestos Guidance

HSE guidance HSG210 (‘Asbestos Essentials’), which details safe systems for non-licensed minor work with asbestos materials, has always been included in your health & safety packs each year. However, since the HSE has amended some of the task sheets contained within it, we are no longer able to download the overall complete HSG210 document; it is only possible to download each task sheet individually.

Therefore, those requiring the guidance must either purchase the whole document from the HSE website at a cost of £25:
http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/hsg210.htm

or download the task sheets relevant to their particular work (free of charge) from:
http://www.hse.gov.uk/asbestos/essentials/index.htm

Dyslexia

We are only too well aware that a significant number of our customers’ employees experience issues with dyslexia and similar conditions that inhibit the ability to read or use our documentation. We always strive to pay particular and sensitive attention to the needs of any individuals experiencing difficulties of any nature, and we are currently working with specialists to try and enhance our documentation.

In the meantime, please do be assured that we are completely sympathetic to any difficulties; anyone is free to tell us, in confidence if necessary, that they may need additional assistance or sensitivity. However, please note that it is particularly important that we are kept informed where courses require mandatory paperwork and tests; real problems occur if we learn this at a later stage.

Footnote: This also applies to workers with a poor grasp of the English language. If candidates cannot understand or write in English, or complete tests, we cannot accept them on courses as we don’t profess to be linguists!

HSE NEWS

Mis-Use of Lifting Platforms – SAFETY WARNING

The HSE have issued a serious safety warning concerning unauthorised use of unlocking keys for lifts or lifting platforms which has resulted in serious injury and a fatality; to quote:

Mis-use of these keys is extremely dangerous. Owners must ensure that unlocking keys are kept securely, and that staff are instructed not to use them unless trained and authorised to do so.

A care home was recently fined after an employee suffered significant injuries when a door safety locking mechanism had been overridden with a screwdriver. In another incident a shop assistant used an unlocking key to open the ground floor landing door of a lifting platform which then descended toward the people in the lift-well. The fatality in South Wales resulted in a significant prosecution, as reported in the national press.

Further information for lift and lifting platform owners is contained on the following Health and Safety Bulletin:

Vertical lifting platforms or lifts for people with impaired mobility – potential falls from height risks to employees and members of the public from over-riding door locking safety devices

The LEIA (Lift and Escalator Industry Association) website can be accessed here.

Free Event

The HSE is holding a FREE Working Well Together event on Thursday 21 March 2019 in conjunction with the Staffordshire & Shropshire Working Well Together Group.

The event includes talks and demonstrations on the following important issues:

  • Telehandlers and MEWPs
  • Scaffolding
  • Underground cable strikes
  • Asbestos in soils
  • Silica dusts

Doors open at 8.30am for coffee and a breakfast bap; the event begins at 9am and will finish at 1pm.

Venue:
North Staffordshire Medical Institute
Hartshill Road
Hartshill
ST4 7NY Stoke-on-Trent
United Kingdom
View Map

And do note:
There is no dress code (site clothes are acceptable); however delegates should bring their own safety boots, & hi viz clothing as some demonstrations are outside.

This event will be invaluable for any construction directors, project managers, site management, supervisors and foremen; all delegates will receive an attendance certificate. Early booking advised:
https://bit.ly/2FIEexU

Another Free Event

The HSE is also holding a FREE day of seminars, exhibitions, discussions and workshops showcasing good health & safety practices on Wednesday 20 February 2019, at:

The Vox Conference Centre
Resorts World
Birmingham
B40 1PU

The event is aimed at all types of businesses, so those in construction may not feel it’s suitable; however, if you feel that it would be beneficial to attend (and we’re sure it will be), you can register on:
https://bit.ly/2CG0Kn9

INDUSTRY NEWS

Winter Working

It’s that time of year again where the weather can be icy and unpredictable, and never forget that it is the responsibility of every business requiring outside work or business travel to safeguard their employees against subsequent harm.

Therefore, this is a timely but important reminder of the following necessities:

  • All work areas must be kept clear of ice, snow, mud, deep water, and any other issue that could be the cause of personal injury. If work areas can’t be kept clear, they must be closed and secured against entry by workers and all others persons.
  • ‘Work areas’ include car-parks, walkways and any other area/s for which the Company is responsible.
  • All companies should write and enforce a Driving Policy, and this Policy should include the procedures to be followed when there is significantly inclement weather e.g. notification to employees of snow, severe weather warnings, blocked roads, etc and sites that have been closed. WHS includes a template for a Driving Policy in all health & safety packs (see the ‘Miscellaneous’ Templates folder) but we are very aware that few of our customers have established their own; you are strongly recommended to do so.

Do feel free to call the WHS if you have any issues regarding cold or inclement weather and individual responsibilities – and you can also refer to the generic risk assessment (also issued with health & safety packs) related to ‘winter working’.

Choosing Suitable Equipment for Work at Height

It’s often difficult to know which type of access equipment is appropriate or legally acceptable for work at height. Over and above a site’s specific rules (which must be observed regardless), it is every contractor’s responsibility to ensure equipment chosen is suitable; therefore, helpful guidance in attached to this newsletter to point you in the right direction.

And a reminder that, as with every other health & safety issue, the law requires managers to assess risks and:

  • Eliminate where possible; or, if that’s not possible…
  • Reduce to a ‘reasonable’ level according to the risk – and work at height is always very high risk

Therefore, the choice of equipment must be considered carefully – it is NOT acceptable to use the cheapest or whatever is readily available!

GENERAL NEWS

Digital Tax Systems – IMPORTANT

Although this is nothing to do with health & safety, we issued a warning in the December newsletter about the impending deadline for mandatory on-line issue of VAT returns, and we’re doing it again!

As from 1 April 2019, ALL VAT returns must be issued to HMRC through an approved on-line, real-time accounting package. For those who don’t out-source their accounting, Sage, Quick Books Online, Xero and other packages are available and approved by HMRC; ask your accountant to verify which package is appropriate for your particular needs.

Further information is available from GOV.UK:
https://bit.ly/2xjRbaB

DO NOT IGNORE THE APRIL 2019 DEADLINE;
PENALTIES WILL BE APPLIED FOR NON-CONFORMANCE OR VAT ERRORS

GDPR

Responses to the new General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, have varied widely, with some companies doing their very best to comply in a practical way and others still blatantly ignoring the issue!

To help, and to put to bed some of the misconceptions, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has issued new and valuable guidance on the use of 3rd party data in accordance with GDPR; this can be freely downloaded from:
https://dma.org.uk/uploads/misc/third-party-data-guide-1.0.pdf

AND FINALLY

As always, the following prosecutions represent only a small percentage of those that successfully go through court each month, and this time we highlight some of the more ludicrous cases.

Work at height
Do some people actually have a death wish??!!

  • Cheshire Demolition and Excavation Contractors Ltd was fined a total of over £140,000 after two workers received serious injuries falling from an excavator!! The scissor lift previously provided had been removed from site, so apparently there was ‘no other means of accessing areas at height’!!! It’s a sad indictment of our industry that people still behave in such a totally irresponsible way.
  • Inex Works Civils Ltd was fined £1,300 and sub-contractor, Colin Martin, £2,000 after being photographed working on a roof in a totally unsafe way. Martin had slithered down a sloping roof to the edge whilst an employee held on to a webbing strap attached to a harness he was wearing!!
  • Again, it beggars belief that, in this day and age, people risk life and limb to save money!! He was wearing a harness but couldn’t be bothered to ensure it was attached to an anchor point? And it must be said that the choice of equipment does NOT include harnesses unless this is totally unavoidable – and saving money does NOT make using proper equipment unavoidable!
  • GB Industrial Cladding Ltd was fined a total of over £11,000 after a worker shattered an elbow falling from a ladder being used to access a flat roof. The ladder was not tied or footed, and was resting against a wet metal gutter. Just a little attention to detail (not a lot to ask) would have prevented this.
  • Solar Scaffolding Services Ltd was fined a total of almost £14,000 after a worker fell through a roof and sustained serious injuries. An access tower and guard rails had been erected to enable work on a roof; however, the worker fell through an unprotected sky-light.

Plant & vehicles

  • Three companies were fined a combined total of almost £1.5 million after a security guard was struck and killed by an articulated wagon. The guard was working at the security gate to Immingham Docks. There was no standard procedure, training or signage in place to ensure safety around HGVs; as a result, the guard had walked in front of the vehicle,, the HGV driver being totally unaware he was required to stop at that point.
  • APC Overnight Ltd was fined a total of £121,500 after an agency worker was run over and seriously injured by a fork-lift truck. The Company had failed to properly induct agency workers or explain the pedestrian segregation; it had also failed to control the use of fork-lifts, which were actually banned from the internal area where the accident happened.

As a result of this accident, the HSE issued a specific warning about the use of fork-lifts and other plant or vehicles in pedestrian areas. 26 workers died last year as a result of being struck by moving vehicles, and the HSE emphasises the necessity of adhering to the vehicle and transport safety advice and guidance, and legal requirements, given on its website:
https://bit.ly/2W9TQ2B

WHS still continually sees similar accidents waiting to happen; business management must listen to the guidance given by our consultants to provide segregation – before someone gets seriously hurt or killed.

  • Paul Robinson was fined a total of over £3,000 after he ran over and severely injured a farm worker. He had been chatting to the worker but then failed to check his whereabouts before driving off!

A reminder:
Never walk within 4 metres of any moving vehicle or plant; be sure that the driver has stopped and knows you are there before you come closer.
Make eye contact; use thumbs up to be sure.

  • E C Haste was fined a total of almost £34,000 after a 9-year old boy suffered serious leg injuries whilst riding on an all-terrain vehicle being driven by a 13-year old!! Words fail me!!

Hazardous substances

  • Abel (UK) Ltd’s director, Nicholas Corbett, was given a 10-month prison sentence for on-line sales of products containing prohibited substances. A plant protection product was found to contain sodium chlorate and paint stripper to contain dichloromethane, both of which are either prohibited or severely restricted under law.

This case was clear cut as the distributor was operating within the UK, but one has to wonder what substances are creeping into the UK undetected via the net. As an example, we have recently found nail products (potentially fake but marked with a well-known brand) containing formaldehyde. So do be warned and, as we’ve said before, don’t buy from eBay or uncontrolled marketplaces; only buy from trusted manufacturers and distributors.

DON’T FORGET:
NON-COMPLIANCE TO HEALTH & SAFETY LAW WILL RESULT IN ENFORCEMENT OR PROSECUTION
AND, FAR MORE IMPORTANTLY, RISKS KILLING OR INJURING SOMEONE

WHS is working for you; help us to help you.
Our aim is to keep people safe and to keep your company working.
To contact WHS, ring: 01952-885885

COMPANY NEWS

WHS Price Increases

After pegging our prices for a number of years, we must now increase them a little to cover costs and maintain our level of service. Although these minor price increases took effect from 1 January 2019, our customers will obviously not be subject to the revised rates until their current annual contracts expire.

Many clients won’t be affected for many months to come so, for those as yet unaffected, our tip to you would be to use WHS as much as possible now rather than waiting till later! Ring the WHS office (01952-885885) to arrange necessary premises inspections, training, risk assessment reviews, etc now and you could save!

Training Courses – First Aid

Forthcoming 2019 dates for the WHS 1-day Emergency First Aid courses, held at WHS training rooms, are as follows; the fee is just £75 + VAT per person:

  • 26 February 2019
  • 27 March 2019
  • 25 April 2019
  • 28 May 2019
  • 26 June 2019
  • 25 July 2019

If any organisation requires first-aid for 6 or more employees, a specific course can be arranged at a date, time and location to suit. Please contact the WHS office to discuss your requirements.

WHS Safety Awards

As you will have read in our December newsletter, WHS tries to encourage good health & safety practice by issuing annual awards to those companies or individuals who have demonstrated clear and proven commitment to the well-being of their employees or colleagues. The winners have all received their awards and we are delighted to extend hearty congratulations to our worthy winners:

Awards for Commitment to Safety, for high standards of health & safety management throughout the many years of involvement with their employing companies, went to:

  • Kevin Dodd, Operations & H&S Manager
    for TWS Highways
    and
    Amanda Shephard, QMS,
    H&S & Marketing Manager for ELS Spelsberg

Awards for Continual Improvement, where company management have constantly strived to improve their H&S systems, went to:

  • Islabikes; H&S/Office Manager, Sarah Worrallo, seen here accepting the award on behalf of the team
    and Protocol Control Systems; Office Manager, Lyn Steele, and Contracts Manager,
    Alan Thomas, accepting the award for the Company

The award for Commitment to Health & Safety Compliance went to

  • Advanced Glass Facades; Operations Manager, Paul Shaw, is seen here accepting the award for the Company

And, last, but by no means least, the award for Proactive Safety Management went to

  • Mick Collins, Operations & H&S Manager for Morris Site Machinery

Sincere congratulations to all our winners! They are all shining examples of how things should be done.

New Documents

Two new documents have been added to our folio of templates to assist our customers further:

  • Ladder Inspection Sheet – to assist with the mandatory pre-use and weekly inspections of ladders. This will filter out to all customers as renewal packs are issued, but you are free to request a copy in the meantime.
  • Post-Incident Protocol – guidance on what to do and what to expect following a significant RIDDOR reportable accident or incident. This will be issued in future as soon as we are notified of the accident / incident.

Dyslexia

We are only too well aware that a significant number of our customers’ employees experience issues with dyslexia and similar conditions that inhibit the ability to read or use our documentation. We always strive to pay particular and sensitive attention to the needs of any individuals experiencing difficulties of any nature, and we are currently working with specialists to try and enhance our documentation.

In the meantime, please do be assured that we are completely sympathetic to any difficulties; anyone is free to tell us, in confidence if necessary, that they may need additional assistance or sensitivity. However, please note that it is particularly important that we are kept informed where courses require mandatory paperwork and tests; real problems occur if we learn this at a later stage.

Footnote: This also applies to workers with a poor grasp of the English language. If candidates cannot understand or write in English, or complete tests, we cannot accept them on courses as we don’t profess to be linguists!

HSE NEWS

Mis-Use of Lifting Platforms – SAFETY WARNING

The HSE have issued a serious safety warning concerning unauthorised use of unlocking keys for lifts or lifting platforms which has resulted in serious injury and a fatality; to quote:

Mis-use of these keys is extremely dangerous. Owners must ensure that unlocking keys are kept securely, and that staff are instructed not to use them unless trained and authorised to do so.

A care home was recently fined after an employee suffered significant injuries when a door safety locking mechanism had been overridden with a screwdriver. In another incident a shop assistant used an unlocking key to open the ground floor landing door of a lifting platform which then descended toward the people in the lift-well. The fatality in South Wales resulted in a significant prosecution, as reported in the national press.

Further information for lift and lifting platform owners is contained on the following Health and Safety Bulletin:

Vertical lifting platforms or lifts for people with impaired mobility – potential falls from height risks to employees and members of the public from over-riding door locking safety devices

The LEIA (Lift and Escalator Industry Association) website can be accessed here.

Free HSE Event

The HSE is holding a FREE day of seminars, exhibitions, discussions and workshops showcasing good health & safety practices on Wednesday 20 February 2019, at:

The Vox Conference Centre
Resorts World
Birmingham
B40 1PU

The event is aimed at all types of businesses so, if you feel that it would be beneficial to attend (and we’re sure it will be), you can register on:
https://bit.ly/2CG0Kn9

INDUSTRY NEWS

Winter Working

It’s that time of year again where the weather can be icy and unpredictable, and never forget that it is the responsibility of every business requiring outside work or business travel to safeguard their employees against subsequent harm.

Therefore, this is a timely but important reminder of the following necessities:

  • All work areas must be kept clear of ice, snow, mud, deep water, and any other issue that could be the cause of personal injury. If work areas can’t be kept clear, they must be closed and secured against entry by employees and all others persons.
  • ‘Work areas’ include car-parks, walkways and any other area/s for which the Company is responsible.
  • All companies should write and enforce a Driving Policy, and this Policy should include the procedures to be followed when there is significantly inclement weather e.g. notification to employees of snow, severe weather warnings, blocked roads, etc and sites that have been closed.

WHS includes a template for a Driving Policy in all health & safety packs (see the ‘Miscellaneous’ Templates folder) but we are very aware that few of our customers have established their own; you are strongly recommended to do so.

Do feel free to call the WHS if you have any issues regarding cold or inclement weather and individual responsibilities – and you can also refer to the generic risk assessment (also issued with health & safety packs) related to ‘winter working’.

Choosing Suitable Equipment for Work at Height

It’s often difficult to know which type of access equipment is appropriate or legally acceptable for work at height. It is every employer’s responsibility to ensure equipment chosen is suitable; therefore, helpful guidance in attached to this newsletter to point you in the right direction.

And a reminder that, as with every other health & safety issue, the law requires managers to assess risks and:

  • Eliminate where possible; or, if that’s not possible…
  • Reduce to a ‘reasonable’ level according to the risk – and work at height is always very high risk

Therefore, the choice of equipment must be considered carefully – it is NOT acceptable to use the cheapest or whatever is readily available!

GENERAL NEWS

Digital Tax Systems – IMPORTANT

Although this is nothing to do with health & safety, we issued a warning in the December newsletter about the impending deadline for mandatory on-line issue of VAT returns, and we’re doing it again!

As from 1 April 2019, ALL VAT returns must be issued to HMRC through an approved on-line, real-time accounting package. For those who don’t out-source their accounting, Sage, Quick Books Online, Xero and other packages are available and approved by HMRC; ask your accountant to verify which package is appropriate for your particular needs.

Further information is available from GOV.UK:
https://bit.ly/2xjRbaB

DO NOT IGNORE THE APRIL 2019 DEADLINE;
PENALTIES WILL BE APPLIED FOR NON-CONFORMANCE OR VAT ERRORS

GDPR

Responses to the new General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, have varied widely, with some companies doing their very best to comply in a practical way and others still blatantly ignoring the issue!

To help, and to put to bed some of the misconceptions, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has issued new and valuable guidance on the use of 3rd party data in accordance with GDPR; this can be freely downloaded from:
https://dma.org.uk/uploads/misc/third-party-data-guide-1.0.pdf

Lead Poisoning!

Our newsletters have regularly highlighted the issue of the harm that can be caused by lead. This has been brought to the forefront in the media only very recently after Canadian artist, Gillian Genser, was diagnosed with lead poisoning after spending years working with … sea shells! Unbelievable but true, take a look:
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6450071/Toronto-sculptor-59-gets-heavy-metal-poisoning-spending-15-years-mussel-shells.html
and:
https://www.livescience.com/64224-sculptor-unknowingly-poisons-herself-with-her-own-art.html

I don’t think any one of us would have suspected that the humble sea shell could be capable of such harm, but it’s worth reading the news items as they illustrate just how seriously lead can affect people. As it attacks the nervous system, Genser suffered severe effects such as immobility, disorientation, aches, pains, extreme anxiety and fatigue, all of which made her fatalistic and consider suicide before she was eventually diagnosed.

Her condition was probably unforeseeable, but this is cannot be said for any industry where working with lead is still commonplace. If this is you, make sure that you digest information given (by WHS, the HSE and others) and establish very sound controls – before it’s too late.

AND FINALLY

As always, the following prosecutions represent only a small percentage of those that successfully go through court each month, and this time we highlight some of the more ludicrous cases.

Work at height
Do some people actually have a death wish??!!

  • Inex Works Civils Ltd was fined £1,300 and sub-contractor, Colin Martin, £2,000 after being photographed working on a roof in a totally unsafe way. Martin had slithered down a sloping roof to the edge whilst an employee held on to a webbing strap attached to a harness he was wearing!!

It beggars belief that, in this day and age, people risk life and limb to save money!! He was wearing a harness but couldn’t be bothered to ensure it was attached to an anchor point? And it must be said that the choice of equipment does NOT include harnesses unless this is totally unavoidable – and saving money does NOT make using proper equipment unavoidable!

  • GB Industrial Cladding Ltd was fined a total of over £11,000 after a worker shattered an elbow falling from a ladder being used to access a flat roof. The ladder was not tied or footed, and was resting against a wet metal gutter. Just a little attention to detail (not a lot to ask) would have prevented this.
  • Solar Scaffolding Services Ltd was fined a total of almost £14,000 after a worker fell through a roof and sustained serious injuries. An access tower and guard rails had been erected to enable work on a roof; however, the worker fell through an unprotected sky-light.

Plant & vehicles

  • Three companies were fined a combined total of almost £1.5 million after a security guard was struck and killed by an articulated wagon. The guard was working at the security gate to Immingham Docks. There was no standard procedure, training or signage in place to ensure safety around HGVs; as a result, the guard had walked in front of the vehicle,, the HGV driver being totally unaware he was required to stop at that point.
  • APC Overnight Ltd was fined a total of £121,500 after an agency worker was run over and seriously injured by a fork-lift truck. The Company had failed to properly induct agency workers or explain the pedestrian segregation; it had also failed to control the use of fork-lifts, which were actually banned from the internal area where the accident happened.

As a result of this accident, the HSE issued a specific warning about the use of fork-lifts and other plant or vehicles in pedestrian areas. 26 workers died last year as a result of being struck by moving vehicles, and the HSE emphasises the necessity of adhering to the vehicle and transport safety advice and guidance, and legal requirements, given on its website:
https://bit.ly/2W9TQ2B

WHS still continually sees similar accidents waiting to happen; business management must listen to the guidance given by our consultants to provide segregation – before someone gets seriously hurt or killed.

  • Paul Robinson was fined a total of over £3,000 after he ran over and severely injured a farm worker. He had been chatting to the worker but then failed to check his whereabouts before driving off!

A reminder:
Never walk within 4 metres of any moving vehicle or plant; be sure that the driver has stopped and knows you are there before you come closer.
Make eye contact; use thumbs up to be sure.

  • E C Haste was fined a total of almost £34,000 after a 9-year old boy suffered serious leg injuries whilst riding on an all-terrain vehicle being driven by a 13-year old!! Words fail me!!

Work equipment

  • Anytime McDaids Ltd was fined a total of over £41,000 and Director, Lawrence McDaid, over £3,000 after a worker was hit and killed by concrete! The worker had been trying to clear a blockage in a concrete pump when it ejected the concrete, striking and killing him.

As with ALL work equipment, no maintenance of any sort is to be undertaken until the equipment is completely switched off or isolated. Not only is this law – it’s commonsense!

  • Morgan Sindall was fined a total of over £111,000 after a worker’s hand was severed by the unguarded hydraulic ram of a biomass boiler. As well as failing to guard hazardous parts of the boiler, MS had failed to lay down suitable procedures for maintenance.
  • Tudor Griffiths Ltd was fined a total of almost £47,000 after failing to ensure the guarding of moving machinery despite identifying the risks months earlier. On his first day working at the TG quarry, an employee got his arm caught between a conveyor and roller, resulting in severe injuries.
  • Hyspec Engineering Ltd was fined £80,000 after an apprentice suffered serious injuries from the moving parts of a CNC lathe. In this case, the cause was even more inexcusable as the interlock mechanism guarding the machine had been over-ridden; what on earth were they thinking? This wilful act has now resulted in life-changing injuries to a youngster.

Hazardous substances

  • Abel (UK) Ltd’s director, Nicholas Corbett, was given a 10-month prison sentence for on-line sales of products containing prohibited substances. A plant protection product was found to contain sodium chlorate and paint stripper to contain dichloromethane, both of which are either prohibited or severely restricted under law.

This case was clear cut as the distributor was operating within the UK, but one has to wonder what substances are creeping into the UK undetected via the net. As an example, we have recently found nail products (potentially fake but marked with a well-known brand) containing formaldehyde. So do be warned and, as we’ve said before, don’t buy from eBay or uncontrolled marketplaces; only buy from trusted manufacturers and distributors.

DON’T FORGET:
NON-COMPLIANCE TO HEALTH & SAFETY LAW WILL RESULT IN ENFORCEMENT OR PROSECUTION
AND, FAR MORE IMPORTANTLY, RISKS KILLING OR INJURING SOMEONE

WHS is working for you; help us to help you.
Our aim is to keep people safe and to keep your company working.
To contact WHS, ring: 01952-885885

COMPANY NEWS

New Course

WHS has highlighted the issue of mental health many times in the past, a condition that is particularly acute in the construction industry. Each year approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health condition and at least 1 in 6 employees experience common mental health problems in the workplace; figures are much higher in construction, often due to the perceived stigma and fear of discrimination. The culture of fear and silence around mental health can prove costly to employers.

WHS can now offer a new course, an FAA Award in First Aid for Mental Health. This 6-hour, Level 2 qualification is suitable for managers and supervisors, and provides the knowledge of how to recognise a range of mental health conditions, how to start a supportive conversation, and when and how to signpost a person to seek appropriate professional help. Attendees will learn how to recognise and manage stress, and understand the impact of substance abuse. They will learn about the first aid action plan for mental health, how to implement the plan, and how to promote a positive mental health culture within the workplace.

Details of this new FAA Award in First Aid for Mental Health (Level 2 RQF) are as follows; the course will take place at the Wenlock H&S Ltd offices in Jackfield, Telford:

Dates: 3 June 2019 (Monday)
Duration: 1 day (6 hours)
Cost: £75 + VAT per person
Lunch and refreshments included

Book early! Spaces are limited. Contact Vicki on 01952-885885 or via vicki@wenlockhs.co.uk

IOSH Managing Safely

Following the previous IOSH Managing Safely course run at the WHS offices, and in response to demand, we are pleased to offer the following dates for further courses:

Duration: 3 days
Dates: 9, 10 & 11 July (Tuesday – Thursday)
22, 23 & 24 October (Tuesday – Thursday)
Cost: £395 + VAT per person
Lunch and refreshments included

CITB Training Courses

Forthcoming dates and fees for the CITB courses are as follows. As always, courses are held at the WHS training rooms and fees include lunch, refreshments and all course literature.

IMPORTANT NOTES:
Please be aware that CITB specifies that candidates must be available to attend each session within the course; failure to do so may require a repeat course.

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)
    Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week
    Dates: 26 April and 3, 10, 17 & 24 May 2019 (Fridays)
    28 June, 5, 12, 19 & 26 July 2019 (Fridays)
    Cost: £495 + VAT per person
  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher
    Duration: 2 days
    Dates: 17 & 18 June 2019 (Monday & Tuesday)
    Cost: £265 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS)
    Duration: 2 days
    Dates: 29 & 30 April 2019 (Monday & Tuesday)
    12 & 13 June 2019 (Wednesday & Thursday)
    Cost: £230 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS) Refresher
    Duration: 1 day
    Dates: 7 June 2019 (Friday)
    Cost: £160 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

  • CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness
    Duration: 1 day
    Dates: 7 May 2019 (Tuesday)
    8 July 2019 (Monday)
    Cost: £125 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

With all the CITB courses mentioned above and the first aid course below, if any organisation requires attendance by 6 or more employees, a specific course can be arranged at a date, time and location to suit. Please contact the WHS office to discuss your requirements.

First Aid Training

Forthcoming dates for the WHS 1-day Emergency First Aid courses for the remainder of 2019 (to enable you to plan well ahead) are as follows.

  • 25 April 2019
  • 28 May 2019
  • 26 June 2019
  • 25 July 2019
  • 21 August 2019

Courses are also held at WHS training rooms, at just £75 + VAT per person However, please note that refreshments only are included with these courses; no lunch is provided.

New Templates

Over the coming months, WHS will be issuing additional templates and guidance for a range of safety issues, all of which will be free of charge to subscribers; cover letters will explain.

However, in the meantime, there are plenty of additional templates available on-line to help with a range of specific needs. For instance, ladder inspections and tagging systems can be purchased from:
https://bit.ly/2I8Eojt

Reporting Accidents

Can we remind all our clients to notify us please of all accidents and incidents immediately. All too often we are informed only after the HSE or insurance company gets involved, and at that late stage we can’t help you significantly as we won’t have carried out any investigation. We can’t assist if we’re not told!

HSE NEWS

FFI Fee Rate Rise – TAKE NOTE!

The HSE has raised (from 6 April 2019) the hourly rate levied against its ‘Fees For Intervention’ visits to…wait for it…
£154 per hour!

The fee can be levied by HSE inspectors or ‘visiting officers’ where they find a breach of legislation – and, from experience, some are far more stringent than others. Don’t forget that housekeeping, controlled site access, segregation, inspections, vibration, noise, and other basic issues, which many perceive as relatively low risk, are still subject to long-standing legal requirements and MUST be followed correctly. Failure to do so constitutes a ‘breach’ of the law and FFI will apply. In severe cases of course, such breaches could also result in enforcement or prosecution.

So get your act together before it costs you dear!

HSE 2019 Campaigns

This list may not be exhaustive but the HSE have informed us of the following nationwide campaigns. Health remains the big issue and two campaigns will target:

  • Respiratory control and protection through the month of June
  • Materials handling (manual handling) through October

These campaigns apply to ALL industries, will cover ALL types or premises as well as sites, and will be carried out by both the HSE AND the local authority enforcing bodies. In addition, any company can request assistance from a visiting officer free of charge. The VO can visit the premises and give advice to help towards compliance. VOs have no powers of enforcement so these visits will not result in enforcement against the company – unless, of course, the advice is not followed, then the company is asking for it!

  • Post-Grenfell (and rather too late in our opinion) the HSE and local authorities will also be targeting tower blocks – both under construction and existing – looking specifically at cladding and fire protection.

HSE Safety Bulletins

The HSE has issued two very important safety bulletins in relation to specific health & safety issues; therefore, all HSE inspectors have been instructed to look for these issues when making site or premises visits. Both are common sense but you’d be well advised to double-check that sufficient controls are in place; non-compliance would result in at least FFI being levied, at worse, enforcement:

  • Platform lifts maintenance and control; refer to: http://www.hse.gov.uk/safetybulletins/platform-lifts.htm
  • Mild steel welding fume; refer to: http://www.hse.gov.uk/safetybulletins/mild-steel-welding-fume.htm

Joinery

The HSE provides very sound guidance on their website about woodworking and joinery, both in terms of health & safety; indeed there is a specific and very valuable ‘Woodworking eBulletin’ on:
https://bit.ly/2URQZOd

As above, health is now a major priority for the HSE and, as wood dusts are obviously very high-risk, a series of in-depth COSHH advice sheets has been produced specifically for the woodworking industries and are freely available to download from: https://bit.ly/2P1FH4q

WHS frequently hears reluctance of employers to properly control wood dusts (typically: “it’s impossible, you know what it’s like”!!) but there really is no excuse in this day and age for ignoring the issue. And the advice sheets are a valuable resource to demonstrate both why this is necessary and how to achieve compliance – although there should never be any doubt these days as to WHY we need to comply! All workers deserve both a safe and a HEALTHY environment in which to work, simple.

Scaffold Advice from the HSE

The HSE also provides very sound guidance on their website about scaffolding, which is particularly useful for those engaging and, thus being responsible for, scaffolders:
http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/safetytopics/scaffoldinginfo.htm

The ‘Scaffold Checklist’ covers, in great detail, both the legal requirements and recognised industry expectations with regard to:

  • Design, both general and bespoke (TG20)
  • Competence and supervision
  • Inspections

Any contractor or business engaging scaffolders should not do so on price alone. Use the HSE’s checklist to guide your decision based on the proven competence of both scaffolders and scaffold designers; you must have evidence. So a timely reminder that ANY engaging party is responsible in law (particularly CDM) for ensuring that those appointed are appropriately trained and competent, and that they provide, and adhere to, good site-specific design and risk assessments.

WHS has seen some appalling scaffolding practices recently (are standards being allowed to slip to save money?) including unsafe ladders, lack of inspections, inadequate training, unauthorised alterations, and even unsecured planks flying off in high winds.

This is very serious stuff, so please do contact WHS whenever you have need to engage scaffolders and we can assist to ensure compliance….
before it’s too late, as this clearly illustrates: https://bit.ly/2VPK1Gh

INDUSTRY NEWS

Changes to CSCS cards – IMPORTANT

Significant changes are currently taking place within the CSCS card scheme – and all holders, and those wishing to go for a card, must take note of the following.

  • Visitors Cards are being phased out and will cease to exist after 31 August 2020. Any Visitor Card issued now will have that expiry date.
  • Those needing to visit site but as a ‘non-construction occupation’ e.g. vending machine repairs, pest controllers, tyre fitters, etc, do NOT need to hold a CSCS card; the site may have rules about whether that person therefore needs to be accompanied or not. Refer any person who says otherwise to:
  • https://www.cscs.uk.com/applying-for-cards/non-construction-related-occupations/
  • We know that a lot of construction-related professionals (e.g. structural engineers) went for the Visitor Card as, until recently, degrees and other professional qualifications were (quite incomprehensibly) not recognised by CSCS. This significant anomaly has been addressed; so professionals holding standard industry qualifications such as degrees, HNDs, etc., can now gain a relevant profession card through the ‘professionally qualified’ route.
  • Cards issued under ‘grandfather rights’ will cease to exist as from 31 December 2024. CSCS is trying to give plenty of notice here for those affected to gain at least an NVQ level 2 or recognised trade qualification to retain their cards, so plan ahead!
  • In future, there will be more emphasis on continual learning so evidence of CPD will be incorporated into card requirements. Indeed, some specialist CSCS cards already require this.
  • Postal applications have been discontinued; all applications are now on-line only.
  • Electronic cards checks are now prevalent to root out fraud; this is incredibly successful so tell your employees not to even think about it as a successful prosecution will result in a prison sentence!

And to be clear – the card belongs to the INDIVIDUAL, it does NOT belong to the employer. It’s tough on employers who spend money on training and then see their employees leave, but it’s a fact. Employers cannot retain the card. However, a tip, employers can quite legitimately put a ‘training policy’ in place to enable them to claw back wasted money. Speak to WHS for assistance with this.

Changes to the CITB Touch Screen Test – IMPORTANT

As you know, nobody can gain or renew a CSCS card without passing the CITB touch screen test. And there are important changes taking place with this also, aimed at making the test both more user-friendly and valuable. The aim is to ensure test questions are phrased to promote meaningful learning rather than just learning the questions in the book parrot-fashion as happens all too often.

WHS has been asked to take part in future reviews so, as many of you work in very specialist fields, can we ask that you relay any complaints about the wording of questions to Becki in the WHS office and we will relay your comments to CITB. Equally, if specialists identify an area of their work that doesn’t seem to be adequately covered by the test questions, please again can you let us know.

On 26 June 2019, CITB is launching a new-formal touch screen test to remove any ambiguity or misunderstanding and assist applicants to understand how to answer the questions more easily. This is a positive step, and plenty of help is at hand on-line to help applicants prepare in advance and get used to the new format. Refer to: https://bit.ly/2Uxa0pP for further details, and: https://bit.ly/2OXMXOP for examples of the new test questions and format. Other on-line, App or hard copy revision material can be purchased from:
https://citbstore.pearsonvue.com/

IMPORTANT NOTE: Those of you who have booked tests over the next few months MUST check which revision material is relevant to the date of the tests. As the website clearly states, any tests to be taken before 26 June will need the old (2018) revision material; any tests to be taken on or after 26 June 2019 will need new (2019) material. So CHECK which you need BEFORE you purchase!

Pay to be Paid?!

It has come to our attention that some local authorities are now asking contractors to pay extra to be ‘paid early’ and this is being included in tenders with a scored response! This totally unethical practice, which is apparently becoming widespread, actually means that contractors are being asked to pay extra to be paid on time!

We appreciate that local authorities are scratching around for funds to pay for essential work, but this is not the way to do it; if a council can’t afford to pay on time, then it can’t afford to commission the work, end of story. If any of our customers are asked to do this, please do let WHS know immediately. We have access to various pressure bodies who can name and shame, and hopefully get this practice stopped; your company name will not be mentioned to avoid black marks (another unethical practice).

Dust Suppression

We mention wood dusts above and the need to comply with the law. As with ALL dusts, the law says (quite rightly) that we should:

  • Avoid cutting, drilling, etc where possible i.e. avoid producing dusts altogether
  • Suppress at source where cutting, drilling, etc is unavoidable i.e. prevent the dusts becoming airborne through water suppression, vacuum, capture, etc
  • Use PPE (RPE) as a last resort only, not a first choice control to avoid inhalation, or an additional precaution
  • Ensure all RPE wearers are face-fit tested regularly (and, by implication, remain clean-shaven)

The vast majority of sites visited by WHS understand this now, although some still have woefully inadequate or non-existent controls; you have been warned, the HSE will take action if they spot non-compliance.

However, what most companies fail to realise is that inhalation of dusts must be prevented in ALL circumstances. This includes sweeping up of sawdust, plaster dusts, and (yes!) general site dusts deposited in the site office!! Respiratory problems can happen to anyone exposed, even those not involved in the work itself, and WHS has examples of occupational asthma and other ailments resulting purely from the dry-sweeping of dusts.

Suppress (damp down) or vacuum ALL unavoidable dusts; dry-sweeping is unacceptable and (by implication) illegal. Better still, as the law says, don’t produce them in the first place!!

GENERAL NEWS

Drain Cleaner – a Warning

It has been brought to our attention that some drain cleaners, which are readily available on the internet or over-the-counter, would be highly dangerous if used incorrectly or by inexperienced people. Some of these are highly concentrated sulphuric acid which is highly corrosive and can cause burns to skin burns or worse.

As an example, we know first-hand of one such product, bought in B&Q, that was so strong that it not only dissolved the blockage, it dissolved the drain cover as well!

Although some of these products do state on their websites that they are for ‘trade and professional use only’ many others do not display any such warnings nor do they have downloadable MSDS data sheets detailing the hazards and describing essential precautions. And, as we’ve said above, even those with website warnings and data sheets are being freely sold over the counter in general DIY stores such as B&Q for anyone to buy (which is unbelievable).

Our advice to anyone requiring an industrial-strength drain un-blocker is to (a) allow WHS to assess the proposed product thoroughly before purchase so that we can recommend the safest, and (b) use it only under the STRICTLY controlled conditions proscribed in our assessment, and only by STRICTLY authorised personnel.

Apart from the obvious hazards with these products, there are also risks of producing hydrogen in extreme circumstances and the subsequent risk of explosion, mixing with other cleaning chemicals and the subsequent risk of eruption, and leaving unseen residues around the drain cover which others could touch later (e.g. in showers). These are SERIOUSLY hazardous products which, we reiterate, are made all the more dangerous because they are freely available to anyone to buy on-line or in-store.

The other worrying aspect of this is that some bodies (e.g. housing associations and building managers) are leaving these products on the premises for general use. This is a HIGHLY DANGEROUS practice as, in untrained hands and without SPECIFIC PPE, these products can obviously cause severe injury or harm. Even similar products intended for domestic use (e.g. Mr Muscle) have strict controls printed on the packaging so, even these, could prove extremely dangerous in unauthorised hands so should never be held for general use.

ALWAYS assess any such products before purchase (and contact WHS for assistance). Our advice would be to ban products with high concentrations altogether and strictly control the rest, and NEVER leave them on the premises for cleaners or general use.

Employee or Contractor?

Public bodies (such as local authorities and the BBC) can check the tax status of their workers by using the Government’s CEST (Check Employments Status for Tax) digital on-line tool:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-employment-status-for-tax

The HRMC states (on the gov.uk website (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cest-tool-tested-against-tax-cases) that the system “was rigorously tested during development in conjunction with HMRC’s lawyers against live and settled cases and reflects employment status case law.” In fact, only 24 test cases were used! And this, of course, has resulted in numerous anomalies and incorrect decisions.

The issue was brought to light recently when Lorraine Kelly won her case against HRMC who said she owed £1.2 million in back tax because she was not (according to CEST) genuinely ‘freelance’. Lorraine was able to fight the decision, but it is estimated that CEST gets it wrong in a whopping 42% of cases (!!) and we haven’t all got the funds to fight HMRC through the courts.

The system is due to be rolled out to non-public bodies shortly – so the problem is likely to be compounded. Already, numerous people have been hit with seemingly incorrect decisions; they have been deemed employees of an organisation rather than contractors. HMRC’s response (rather than fixing the problem) is to excuse it by saying the CEST is ‘guidance’ and not intended to be definitive. Try telling that to contractors who have received letters stating that HMRC will “contact you again to find out what action you’ve taken”.
Our advice to anyone genuinely hit by this is to fight the decision by (a) contacting HMRC and (b) pointing out to the employing organisation that CEST is, in HMRC’s words, ‘guidance’ only and that the conclusion is incorrect.

Hidden Hazards

Just look at this warning from the Police: https://bit.ly/2Kr140v

Who would have thought that a simple item like a lanyard, something that so many of us wear, could cause so much damage? So, our advice to all readers is to remove all large objects, such as lanyards, chunky necklaces and brooches, etc, from your person before driving to avoid additional injury in crash situations, or even a lesser situation where air-bags are deployed.

Even spectacles can cause severe injury to the head in such situations – but, if you need them for driving, the risk of removing them is greater than the risks resulting from contact with air bags!

HR

A reminder that the following national minimum wage per hour rates apply from 1 April:

  • £8.21 25 years old and over
  • £7.70 21 – 24 years old
  • £6.15 18 – 20 years old
  • £4.35 School leaving to 17 years old
  • £3.90 apprentices under 19 years old or those over 19 in the first year of apprenticeship

AND FINALLY

As always, the following prosecutions represent only a small percentage of those that successfully go through court each month. And never forget, even if the HSE doesn’t prosecute, the knock on effects of enforcement (prohibition and improvement notices) can be phenomenal.
And don’t forget the £154 per hour for merely a telling off too!

Work at height

  • Riverdale Developments Ltd was fined a total of over £21,000 after a worker fell 2.7 metres through an open stairwell, sustaining serious multiple injuries. A risk assessment had been carried out for the refurbishment but the company had failed to install edge protection to, or air bags beneath, the gaps in the floors.
  • RFT Repairs Ltd was fined a total of over £155,000 after a worker fell 2 metres whilst carrying out repairs. There was no edge protection in place and even the ladder used to access the roof was unsafe; it had not been secured so it slipped and caused the fall
  • Kenneth Morris, trading as K&M Pointing, was given a 26 week prison sentence, suspended for 2 years, 180 hours community service, and ordered to pay £2,000 in costs after been caught exposing workers to falls from height and silica dust. He had deliberately not installed any edge protection (to platforms at 6 metres!!) or dust capture in order to save money…well Mr. Morris, what did you actually save?
  • ASA Property Management Ltd was fined a total of over £12,500 after an incomplete staircase collapsed, severely injuring two workers. The joiner erecting the staircase had warned the site manager that it was incomplete but poor communication with workers led to one being unaware and falling from the staircase as he used it, and another also being injured beneath.
  • Karro Foods was fined a total of over £1.86 million after two workers fell 4 metres through a roof-light and sustained serious injuries. The two company employees had been instructed to go onto the roof to investigate a leak, but neither had been told about the roof-lights nor given any form of fall-protection.
  • TS Rigging Ltd was fined a total of almost £40,000 after a worker fell 6 metres from a luxury house-boat undergoing restoration in dry-dock. Access to the rear of the boat was by ladder, which twisted during his descent, causing the fall
  • H&M Distribution Ltd was fined a total of over £67,000 after an agency delivery driver fell from his wagon during delivery of beer kegs. The driver had been using a pallet-truck to move kegs from the wagon but fell backwards from the edge of the raised tail lift. He sustained serious injuries, some of which were as a result of several kegs falling on top of him.

N.B. These last three cases are an important reminder that the Work at Heights Regs relate to ALL UK industry, NOT JUST CONSTRUCTION!! All employers must assess the risk, pass on the information and provide adequate protection against falls down or (as in this case) through.

The importance of competent design

  • Capstone Building Ltd was fined a total of over £960,000 after the death of an employee during the backfilling of a retaining wall. Capstone had been pumping concrete behind the wall

Retaining walls are ‘structures’ that need to be designed correctly to withstand projected loadings and stresses; was it not obvious that this imposes severe stress on the wall and the likely risk of collapse? Clearly, a structural engineer should have been engaged.

Electrical services

  • Options Energy Resource LLP was fined a total of over £417,000 after a worker on the company’s site was killed by contact with an 11kv overhead electric power line. The worker, employed by Just Grab Services was unloading materials but, although the risk had been identified in the risk assessments, the company had failed to establish controls or train workers.
  • AR Signs Ltd was fined a total of almost £37,500 after a worker suffered serious burns when he struck an underground electric cable whilst installing a post for a sign for a hotel. The worker had been using a breaker but no CAT scan had been carried out, nor any service drawings obtained; no risk assessment had been carried out and he had not even been trained to use the breaker!

N.B. Again, another case illustrating the point that legislation applies to ALL UK industry

Health issues

  • Faiveley transport Tamworth Ltd was fined a total of £135,000 after exposing workers to uncontrolled hand-arm vibration over a 10 year period. Workers had reported high vibration levels and lengthy periods of use but no action had been taken and there appeared to be no intention to do so. The result was that several workers developed symptoms of HAVS (hand-arm vibration syndrome).
  • Fine Organics Ltd was fined a total of over £241,000 after exposing workers to harmful chemicals and causing long-term skin damage. The company had failed to carry out adequate risk assessments, prevent chemical release and spread of contamination, properly decontaminate affected areas, and provide health surveillance.

WHS is working for you; help us to help you.
Our aim is to keep people safe and to keep your company working.
To contact WHS, ring: 01952-885885

COMPANY NEWS

New Course

WHS has highlighted the issue of mental health many times in the past, a condition that is particularly acute in the construction industry. Each year approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health condition and at least 1 in 6 employees experience common mental health problems in the workplace; figures are much higher in construction, often due to the perceived stigma and fear of discrimination. The culture of fear and silence around mental health can prove costly to employers.

WHS can now offer a new course, an FAA Award in First Aid for Mental Health. This 6-hour, Level 2 qualification is suitable for managers and supervisors, and provides the knowledge of how to recognise a range of mental health conditions, how to start a supportive conversation, and when and how to signpost a person to seek appropriate professional help. Attendees will learn how to recognise and manage stress, and understand the impact of substance abuse. They will learn about the first aid action plan for mental health, how to implement the plan, and how to promote a positive mental health culture within the workplace.

Details of this new FAA Award in First Aid for Mental Health (Level 2 RQF) are as follows; the course will take place at the Wenlock H&S Ltd offices in Jackfield, Telford:

Dates: 3 June 2019 (Monday)
Duration: 1 day (6 hours)
Cost: £75 + VAT per person
Lunch and refreshments included

Book early! Spaces are limited. Contact Vicki on 01952-885885 or via vicki@wenlockhs.co.uk

IOSH Managing Safely

Following the previous IOSH Managing Safely course run at the WHS offices, and in response to demand, we are pleased to offer the following dates for further courses:

Duration: 3 days
Dates: 9, 10 & 11 July (Tuesday – Thursday) 22, 23 & 24 October (Tuesday – Thursday)
Cost: £395 + VAT per person
Lunch and refreshments included

CITB Training Courses

Forthcoming dates and fees for the CITB courses are as follows. As always, courses are held at the WHS training rooms and fees include lunch, refreshments and all course literature.

IMPORTANT NOTES:
Please be aware that CITB specifies that candidates must be available to attend each session within the course; failure to do so may require a repeat course.

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)
    Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week
    Dates: 26 April and 3, 10, 17 & 24 May 2019 (Fridays)
    28 June, 5, 12, 19 & 26 July 2019 (Fridays)
    Cost: £495 + VAT per person
  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher
    Duration: 2 days
    Dates: 17 & 18 June 2019 (Monday & Tuesday)
    Cost: £265 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)
  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS)
    Duration: 2 days
    Dates: 29 & 30 April 2019 (Monday & Tuesday)
    12 & 13 June 2019 (Wednesday & Thursday)
    Cost: £230 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)
  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS) Refresher
    Duration: 1 day
    Dates: 7 June 2019 (Friday)
    Cost: £160 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)
  • CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness
    Duration: 1 day
    Dates: 7 May 2019 (Tuesday)
    8 July 2019 (Monday)
    Cost: £125 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

With all the CITB courses mentioned above and the first aid course below, if any organisation requires attendance by 6 or more employees, a specific course can be arranged at a date, time and location to suit. Please contact the WHS office to discuss your requirements.

First Aid Training

Forthcoming dates for the WHS 1-day Emergency First Aid courses for the remainder of 2019 (to enable you to plan well ahead) are as follows.

  • 25 April 2019
  • 28 May 2019
  • 26 June 2019
  • 25 July 2019
  • 21 August 2019

Courses are also held at WHS training rooms, at just £75 + VAT per person However, please note that refreshments only are included with these courses; no lunch is provided.

New Templates

Over the coming months, WHS will be issuing additional templates and guidance for a range of safety issues, all of which will be free of charge to subscribers; cover letters will explain.

However, in the meantime, there are plenty of additional templates available on-line to help with a range of specific needs. For instance, ladder inspections and tagging systems can be purchased from:
https://bit.ly/2I8Eojt

Reporting Accidents

Can we remind all our clients to notify us please of all accidents and incidents immediately. All too often we are informed only after the HSE or insurance company gets involved, and at that late stage we can’t help you significantly as we won’t have carried out any investigation. We can’t assist if we’re not told!


HSE NEWS

FFI Fee Rate Rise – TAKE NOTE!

The HSE has raised (from 6 April 2019) the hourly rate levied against its ‘Fees For Intervention’ visits to…wait for it…
£154 per hour!

The fee can be levied by HSE inspectors or ‘visiting officers’ where they find a breach of legislation – and, from experience, some are far more stringent than others. Don’t forget that housekeeping, controlled site access, segregation, inspections, vibration, noise, and other basic issues, which many perceive as relatively low risk, are still subject to long-standing legal requirements and MUST be followed correctly. Failure to do so constitutes a ‘breach’ of the law and FFI will apply. In severe cases of course, such breaches could also result in enforcement or prosecution.

So get your act together before it costs you dear!

HSE 2019 Campaigns

This list may not be exhaustive but the HSE have informed us of the following nationwide campaigns. Health remains the big issue and two campaigns will target:

  • Respiratory control and protection through the month of June
  • Materials handling (manual handling) through October

These campaigns apply to ALL industries, will cover ALL types or premises as well as sites, and will be carried out by both the HSE AND the local authority enforcing bodies. In addition, any company can request assistance from a visiting officer free of charge. The VO can visit the premises and give advice to help towards compliance. VOs have no powers of enforcement so these visits will not result in enforcement against the company – unless, of course, the advice is not followed, then the company is asking for it!

– Post-Grenfell (and rather too late in our opinion) the HSE and local authorities will also be targeting towers blocks – both under construction and existing – looking specifically at cladding and fire protection.

Scaffold Advice from the HSE

The HSE also provides very sound guidance on their website about scaffolding, which is particularly useful for those engaging and, thus being responsible for, scaffolders:
http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/safetytopics/scaffoldinginfo.htm

The ‘Scaffold Checklist’ covers, in great detail, both the legal requirements and recognised industry expectations with regard to:

  • Design, both general and bespoke (TG20)
  • Competence and supervision
  • Inspections

Any contractor or business engaging scaffolders should not do so on price alone. Use the HSE’s checklist to guide your decision based on the proven competence of both scaffolders and scaffold designers; you must have evidence. So a timely reminder that ANY engaging party is responsible in law (particularly CDM) for ensuring that those appointed are appropriately trained and competent, and that they provide, and adhere to, good site-specific design and risk assessments.

WHS has seen some appalling scaffolding practices recently (are standards being allowed to slip to save money?) including unsafe ladders, lack of inspections, inadequate training, unauthorised alterations, and even unsecured planks flying off in high winds.

This is very serious stuff, so please do contact WHS whenever you have need to engage scaffolders and we can assist to ensure compliance…. before it’s too late, as this clearly illustrates: https://bit.ly/2VPK1Gh


INDUSTRY NEWS

Changes to CSCS cards – IMPORTANT

Significant changes are currently taking place within the CSCS card scheme – and all holders, and those wishing to go for a card, must take note of the following.

  • Visitors Cards are being phased out and will cease to exist after 31 August 2020. Any Visitor Card issued now will have that expiry date.
  • Those needing to visit site but as a ‘non-construction occupation’ e.g. vending machine repairs, pest controllers, tyre fitters, etc, do NOT need to hold a CSCS card; the site may have rules about whether that person therefore needs to be accompanied or not. Refer any person who says otherwise to:
  • https://www.cscs.uk.com/applying-for-cards/non-construction-related-occupations/
  • We know that a lot of construction-related professionals (e.g. structural engineers) went for the Visitor Card as, until recently, degrees and other professional qualifications were (quite incomprehensibly) not recognised by CSCS. This significant anomaly has been addressed; so professionals holding standard industry qualifications such as degrees, HNDs, etc., can now gain a relevant profession card through the ‘professionally qualified’ route.
  • Cards issued under ‘grandfather rights’ will cease to exist as from 31 December 2024. CSCS is trying to give plenty of notice here for those affected to gain at least an NVQ level 2 or recognised trade qualification to retain their cards, so plan ahead!
  • In future, there will be more emphasis on continual learning so evidence of CPD will be incorporated into card requirements. Indeed, some specialist CSCS cards already require this.
  • Postal applications have been discontinued; all applications are now on-line only.
  • Electronic cards checks are now prevalent to root out fraud; this is incredibly successful so tell your employees not to even think about it as a successful prosecution will result in a prison sentence!

And to be clear – the card belongs to the INDIVIDUAL, it does NOT belong to the employer. It’s tough on employers who spend money on training and then see their employees leave, but it’s a fact. Employers cannot retain the card. However, a tip, employers can quite legitimately put a ‘training policy’ in place to enable them to claw back wasted money. Speak to WHS for assistance with this.

Changes to the CITB Touch Screen Test – IMPORTANT

As you know, nobody can gain or renew a CSCS card without passing the CITB touch screen test. And there are important changes taking place with this also, aimed at making the test both more user-friendly and valuable. The aim is to ensure test questions are phrased to promote meaningful learning rather than just learning the questions in the book parrot-fashion as happens all too often.

WHS has been asked to take part in future reviews so, as many of you work in very specialist fields, can we ask that you relay any complaints about the wording of questions to Becki in the WHS office and we will relay your comments to CITB. Equally, if specialists identify an area of their work that doesn’t seem to be adequately covered by the test questions, please again can you let us know.

On 26 June 2019, CITB is launching a new-formal touch screen test to remove any ambiguity or misunderstanding and assist applicants to understand how to answer the questions more easily. This is a positive step, and plenty of help is at hand on-line to help applicants prepare in advance and get used to the new format. Refer to: https://bit.ly/2Uxa0pP for further details, and: https://bit.ly/2OXMXOP for examples of the new test questions and format. Other on-line, App or hard copy revision material can be purchased from:
https://citbstore.pearsonvue.com/

IMPORTANT NOTE: Those of you who have booked tests over the next few months MUST check which revision material is relevant to the date of the tests. As the website clearly states, any tests to be taken before 26 June will need the old (2018) revision material; any tests to be taken on or after 26 June 2019 will need new (2019) material. So CHECK which you need BEFORE you purchase!

Pay to be Paid?!

It has come to our attention that some local authorities are now asking contractors to pay extra to be ‘paid early’ and this is being included in tenders with a scored response! This totally unethical practice, which is apparently becoming widespread, actually means that contractors are being asked to pay extra to be paid on time!

We appreciate that local authorities are scratching around for funds to pay for essential work, but this is not the way to do it; if a council can’t afford to pay on time, then it can’t afford to commission the work, end of story. If any of our customers are asked to do this, please do let WHS know immediately. We have access to various pressure bodies who can name and shame, and hopefully get this practice stopped; your company name will not be mentioned to avoid black marks (another unethical practice).

Dust Suppression

We mention wood dusts above and the need to comply with the law. As with ALL dusts, the law says (quite rightly) that we should:

  • Avoid cutting, drilling, etc where possible i.e. avoid producing dusts altogether
  • Suppress at source where cutting, drilling, etc is unavoidable i.e. prevent the dusts becoming airborne through water suppression, vacuum, capture, etc
  • Use PPE (RPE) as a last resort only, not a first choice control to avoid inhalation, or an additional precaution
  • Ensure all RPE wearers are face-fit tested regularly (and, by implication, remain clean-shaven)

The vast majority of sites visited by WHS understand this now, although some still have woefully inadequate or non-existent controls; you have been warned, the HSE will take action if they spot non-compliance.

However, what most companies fail to realise is that inhalation of dusts must be prevented in ALL circumstances. This includes sweeping up of sawdust, plaster dusts, and (yes!) general site dusts deposited in the site office!! Respiratory problems can happen to anyone exposed, even those not involved in the work itself. Suppress (damp down) or vacuum ALL unavoidable dusts; dry-sweeping is unacceptable and (by implication) illegal. Better still, as the law says, don’t produce them in the first place!!

Safe Access for HVAC

As you will all know (well, we hope you do!), safety for maintenance and repair is covered by CDM, not only in relation to the work but, more importantly, with respect to ‘designing out’ risk where possible or, as an absolute minimum, designing to reduce risk as far as possible.

Unfortunately, accidents related to poor access to HVAC equipment are all too common, with dire consequences for both victims and their families, and for the companies involved (including designers). So all HVAC contractors and designers need to impress on their clients the absolute need to agree safe access arrangements, and any refusal by the clients to do so should result in both the contractors and designers refusing to take part in the project as the risks are just too great.

The first objective must always be to avoid placing plant in hazardous areas (e.g. on roofs) but, given that this is sometimes impossible to achieve, the following hierarchy should be considered, in this order:

  1. The only safe access is from inside the building using a staircase rather than a ladder, with permanent edge protection or barriers on the roof to prevent personnel wandering too close to the edge. There will still be risks of falling internally (the same as any with internal staircase) and these must be assessed and reduced as much as possible. But these risks will be a lot less than falling from a roof – and use of a staircase is always safer than use of a ladder.
  2. If external access is unavoidable, a suitable access mechanism must be installed (e.g. a protected staircase or hooped ladder) together with edge protection from the point of entry to any roof or high area.
  3. Harnesses and lines (man-safe systems) are regarded as ‘PPE’; therefore, in law, they can only be used should all other options be impossible to implement. Note – the excuse that alternative systems are too costly is not valid when it comes to the extreme risks of working at height; there have to be genuine reasons for installing personal protective systems only.
    Other issues to consider include fragile roof materials (e.g. roof-lights; all must be secured against falls through) and ‘step-over’ protection that may need to be provided to ensure (a) pipework is not damaged during equipment installation, use or maintenance, and (b) trip hazards are minimised.

GENERAL NEWS

Employee or Contractor?

Public bodies (such as local authorities and the BBC) can check the tax status of their workers by using the Government’s CEST (Check Employments Status for Tax) digital on-line tool:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-employment-status-for-tax

The HRMC states (on the gov.uk website (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cest-tool-tested-against-tax-cases) that the system “was rigorously tested during development in conjunction with HMRC’s lawyers against live and settled cases and reflects employment status case law.” In fact, only 24 test cases were used! And this, of course, has resulted in numerous anomalies and incorrect decisions.

The issue was brought to light recently when Lorraine Kelly won her case against HRMC who said she owed £1.2 million in back tax because she was not (according to CEST) genuinely ‘freelance’. Lorraine was able to fight the decision, but it is estimated that CEST gets it wrong in a whopping 42% of cases (!!) and we haven’t all got the funds to fight HMRC through the courts.

The system is due to be rolled out to non-public bodies shortly – so the problem is likely to be compounded. Already, numerous people have been hit with seemingly incorrect decisions; they have been deemed employees of an organisation rather than contractors. HMRC’s response (rather than fixing the problem) is to excuse it by saying the CEST is ‘guidance’ and not intended to be definitive. Try telling that to contractors who have received letters stating that HMRC will “contact you again to find out what action you’ve taken”.
Our advice to anyone genuinely hit by this is to fight the decision by (a) contacting HMRC and (b) pointing out to the employing organisation that CEST is, in HMRC’s words, ‘guidance’ only and that the conclusion is incorrect.

Hidden Hazards

Just look at this warning from the Police: https://bit.ly/2Kr140v Who would have thought that a simple item like a lanyard, something that so many of us wear, could cause so much damage? So, our advice to all readers is to remove all large objects, such as lanyards, chunky necklaces and brooches, etc, from your person before driving to avoid additional injury in crash situations, or even a lesser situation where air-bags are deployed.

Even spectacles can cause severe injury to the head in such situations – but, if you need them for driving, the risk of removing them is greater than the risks resulting from contact with air bags!

HR

A reminder that the following national minimum wage per hour rates apply from 1 April:

  • £8.21 25 years old and over
  • £7.70 21 – 24 years old
  • £6.15 18 – 20 years old
  • £4.35 School leaving to 17 years old
  • £3.90 apprentices under 19 years old or those over 19 in the first year of apprenticeship

AND FINALLY

As always, the following prosecutions represent only a small percentage of those that successfully go through court each month. And never forget, even if the HSE doesn’t prosecute, the knock on effects of enforcement (prohibition and improvement notices) can be phenomenal. And don’t forget the £154 per hour for merely a telling off too!


Work at height

  • Riverdale Developments Ltd was fined a total of over £21,000 after a worker fell 2.7 metres through an open stairwell, sustaining serious multiple injuries. A risk assessment had been carried out for the refurbishment but the company had failed to install edge protection to, or air bags beneath, the gaps in the floors.
  • RFT Repairs Ltd was fined a total of over £155,000 after a worker fell 2 metres whilst carrying out repairs. There was no edge protection in place and even the ladder used to access the roof was unsafe; it had not been secured so it slipped and caused the fall
  • Kenneth Morris, trading as K&M Pointing, was given a 26 week prison sentence, suspended for 2 years, 180 hours community service, and ordered to pay £2,000 in costs after been caught exposing workers to falls from height and silica dust. He had deliberately not installed any edge protection (to platforms at 6 metres!!) or dust capture in order to save money…well Mr. Morris, what did you actually save?
  • ASA Property Management Ltd was fined a total of over £12,500 after an incomplete staircase collapsed, severely injuring two workers. The joiner erecting the staircase had warned the site manager that it was incomplete but poor communication with workers led to one being unaware and falling from the staircase as he used it, and another also being injured beneath.
  • Karro Foods was fined a total of over £1.86 million after two workers fell 4 metres through a roof-light and sustained serious injuries. The two company employees had been instructed to go onto the roof to investigate a leak, but neither had been told about the roof-lights nor given any form of fall-protection.
  • H&M Distribution Ltd was fined a total of over £67,000 after an agency delivery driver fell from his wagon during delivery of beer kegs. The driver had been using a pallet-truck to move kegs from the wagon but fell backwards from the edge of the raised tail lift. He sustained serious injuries, some of which were as a result of several kegs falling on top of him.

N.B. These last three cases are an important reminder that the Work at Heights Regs relate to ALL UK industry, NOT JUST CONSTRUCTION!! All employers must assess the risk, pass on the information and provide adequate protection against falls down or (as in this case) through.

Health issues

  • Faiveley transport Tamworth Ltd was fined a total of £135,000 after exposing workers to uncontrolled hand-arm vibration over a 10 year period. Workers had reported high vibration levels and lengthy periods of use but no action had been taken and there appeared to be no intention to do so. The result was that several workers developed symptoms of HAVS (hand-arm vibration syndrome).
  • Fine Organics Ltd was fined a total of over £241,000 after exposing workers to harmful chemicals and causing long-term skin damage. The company had failed to carry out adequate risk assessments, prevent chemical release and spread of contamination, properly decontaminate affected areas, and provide health surveillance.

WHS is working for you; help us to help you.
Our aim is to keep people safe and to keep your company working.
To contact WHS, ring: 01952-885885

COMPANY NEWS

New Course

WHS has highlighted the issue of mental health many times in the past. Each year approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health condition and at least 1 in 6 employees experience common mental health problems in the workplace; this is often due to the perceived stigma and fear of discrimination. The culture of fear and silence around mental health can prove costly to employers.

WHS can now offer a new course, an FAA Award in First Aid for Mental Health. This 6-hour, Level 2 qualification is suitable for managers and supervisors, and provides the knowledge of how to recognise a range of mental health conditions, how to start a supportive conversation, and when and how to signpost a person to seek appropriate professional help. Attendees will learn how to recognise and manage stress, and understand the impact of substance abuse. They will learn about the first aid action plan for mental health, how to implement the plan, and how to promote a positive mental health culture within the workplace.

Details of this new FAA Award in First Aid for Mental Health (Level 2 RQF) are as follows; the course will take place at the Wenlock H&S Ltd offices in Jackfield, Telford:

Dates: 3 June 2019 (Monday)
Duration: 1 day (6 hours)
Cost: £75 + VAT per person
Lunch and refreshments included

Book early! Spaces are limited. Contact Vicki on 01952-885885 or via vicki@wenlockhs.co.uk

IOSH Managing Safely

Following the previous IOSH Managing Safely course run at the WHS offices, and in response to demand, we are pleased to offer the following dates for further courses:

Duration: 3 days
Dates: 9, 10 & 11 July (Tuesday – Thursday) 22, 23 & 24 October (Tuesday – Thursday)
Cost: £395 + VAT per person
Lunch and refreshments included

First Aid Training

Forthcoming dates for the WHS 1-day Emergency First Aid courses for the remainder of 2019 (to enable you to plan well ahead) are as follows.

– 25 April 2019
– 28 May 2019
– 26 June 2019
– 25 July 2019
– 21 August 2019


Courses are also held at WHS training rooms, at just £75 + VAT per person However, please note that refreshments only are included with these courses; no lunch is provided.

Reporting Accidents

Can we remind all our clients to notify us please of all accidents and incidents immediately. All too often we are informed only after the HSE or insurance company gets involved, and at that late stage we can’t help you significantly as we won’t have carried out any investigation. We can’t assist if we’re not told!

HSE NEWS

FFI Fee Rate Rise – TAKE NOTE!

The HSE has raised (from 6 April 2019) the hourly rate levied against its ‘Fees For Intervention’ visits to…wait for it…
£154 per hour!

The fee can be levied by the HSE and local authority inspectors where a breach of legislation is identified – and, from experience, some are far more stringent than others. Don’t forget that housekeeping, public protection, vehicle and pedestrian segregation, equipment inspections, vibration and noise assessments and other basic issues, which many perceive as relatively low risk, are still subject to long-standing legal requirements and MUST be followed correctly. Failure to do so constitutes a ‘breach’ of the law and FFI will apply. In severe cases of course, such breaches could also result in enforcement or prosecution.

So get your act together before it costs you dear!

HSE 2019 Campaigns

This list may not be exhaustive but the HSE have informed us of the following nationwide campaigns (which will also be carried out by local authority inspectors). Health remains the big issue and two major campaigns will target:

– Respiratory control and protection through the month of June
– Materials handling (manual handling) through October

These campaigns apply to ALL industries, will cover ALL types or premises as well as sites, and will be carried out by both the HSE AND the local authority enforcing bodies. In addition, any company can request assistance from a visiting officer free of charge. The VO can visit the premises and give advice to help towards compliance. VOs have no powers of enforcement so these visits will not result in enforcement against the company – unless, of course, the advice is not followed, then the company is asking for it!

– Post-Grenfell (and rather too late in our opinion) the HSE and local authorities will also be targeting tower blocks – both under construction and existing – looking specifically at cladding and fire protection.

HSE Safety Bulletins

The HSE has issued two very important safety bulletins in relation to specific health & safety issues; therefore, all HSE inspectors have been instructed to look for these issues when making site or premises visits. Both are common sense but you’d be well advised to double-check that sufficient controls are in place; non-compliance would result in at least FFI being levied, at worse, enforcement:

– Platform lifts maintenance and control; refer to: http://www.hse.gov.uk/safetybulletins/platform-lifts.htm
– Mild steel welding fume; refer to: http://www.hse.gov.uk/safetybulletins/mild-steel-welding-fume.htm

Joinery

The HSE provides very sound guidance on their website about woodworking, both in terms of health & safety; indeed there is a specific and very valuable ‘Woodworking eBulletin’ on:
https://bit.ly/2URQZOd

As above, health is now a major priority for the HSE and, as wood dusts are obviously very high-risk, a series of in-depth COSHH advice sheets has been produced specifically for the woodworking industries and are freely available to download from: https://bit.ly/2P1FH4q

WHS frequently hears reluctance of employers to properly control wood dusts (typically: “it’s impossible, you know what it’s like”!!) but there really is no excuse in this day and age for ignoring the issue. And the advice sheets are a valuable resource to demonstrate both why this is necessary and how to achieve compliance – although there should never be any doubt these days as to WHY we need to comply! All workers deserve both a safe and a HEALTHY environment in which to work, simple.

Scaffold Advice from the HSE

The HSE also provides very sound guidance on their website about scaffolding, which is particularly useful for those engaging and, thus being responsible for, scaffolders:
http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/safetytopics/scaffoldinginfo.htm

The ‘Scaffold Checklist’ covers, in great detail, both the legal requirements and recognised industry expectations with regard to:

– Design, both general and bespoke (TG20)
– Competence and supervision
– Inspections

Any business engaging scaffolders should not do so on price alone. Use the HSE’s checklist to guide your decision based on the proven competence of both scaffolders and scaffold designers; you must have evidence. So a timely reminder that ANY engaging party is responsible in law for ensuring that those appointed are appropriately trained and competent, and that they provide, and adhere to, good site-specific design and risk assessments. So please do contact WHS whenever you have need to engage scaffolders and we can assist to ensure compliance….
before it’s too late, as this clearly illustrates: https://bit.ly/2VPK1Gh

INDUSTRY NEWS

Pay to be Paid?!

It has come to our attention that some local authorities are now asking suppliers to pay extra to be ‘paid early’ and this is being included in tenders with a scored response! This totally unethical practice, which is apparently becoming widespread, actually means that businesses are being asked to pay extra to be paid on time!

We appreciate that local authorities are scratching around for funds to pay for essential work, but this is not the way to do it; if a council can’t afford to pay on time, then it can’t afford to commission the supplies or work, end of story. If any of our customers are asked to do this, please do let WHS know immediately. We have access to various pressure bodies who can name and shame, and hopefully get this practice stopped; your company name will not be mentioned to avoid black marks (another unethical practice).

Dust Suppression

We mention wood dusts above and the need to comply with the law. As with ALL dusts, the law says (quite rightly) that we should:

– Avoid cutting, drilling, etc where possible i.e. avoid producing dusts altogether
– Suppress at source where cutting, drilling, etc is unavoidable i.e. prevent the dusts becoming airborne through water suppression, vacuum, capture, etc
– Use PPE (RPE) as a last resort only, not a first choice control to avoid inhalation, or an additional precaution
– Ensure all RPE wearers are face-fit tested regularly (and, by implication, remain clean-shaven)

The vast majority of premises visited by WHS understand this now, although some still have woefully inadequate or non-existent controls; you have been warned, the HSE (or local authority) will take action if they spot non-compliance.

However, what most companies fail to realise is that inhalation of dusts must be prevented in ALL circumstances. This includes sweeping up of sawdust, plaster dusts, etc. Respiratory problems can happen to anyone exposed, even those not involved in the work itself, and WHS has examples of occupational asthma and other ailments resulting purely from the dry-sweeping of dusts.

Suppress (damp down) or vacuum ALL unavoidable dusts; dry-sweeping is unacceptable and (by implication) illegal. Better still, as the law says, don’t produce them in the first place!!

GENERAL NEWS

Drain Cleaner – a Warning

It has been brought to our attention that some drain cleaners, which are readily available on the internet or over-the-counter, would be highly dangerous if used incorrectly or by inexperienced people. Some of these are highly concentrated sulphuric acid which is highly corrosive and can cause burns to skin burns or worse.

As an example, we know first-hand of one such product, bought in B&Q, that was so strong that it not only dissolved the blockage, it dissolved the drain cover as well!

Although some of these products do state on their websites that they are for ‘trade and professional use only’ many others do not display any such warnings nor do they have downloadable MSDS data sheets detailing the hazards and describing essential precautions. And, as we’ve said above, even those with website warnings and data sheets are being freely sold over the counter in general DIY stores such as B&Q for anyone to buy (which is unbelievable).

Our advice to anyone requiring an industrial-strength drain un-blocker is to (a) allow WHS to assess the proposed product thoroughly before purchase so that we can recommend the safest, and (b) use it only under the STRICTLY controlled conditions proscribed in our assessment, and only by STRICTLY authorised personnel.

Apart from the obvious hazards with these products, there are also risks of producing hydrogen in extreme circumstances and the subsequent risk of explosion, mixing with other cleaning chemicals and the subsequent risk of eruption, and leaving unseen residues around the drain cover which others could touch later (e.g. in showers). These are SERIOUSLY hazardous products which, we reiterate, are made all the more dangerous because they are freely available to anyone to buy on-line or in-store.

The other worrying aspect of this is that some bodies (e.g. housing associations and building managers) are leaving these products on the premises for general use. This is a HIGHLY DANGEROUS practice as, in untrained hands and without SPECIFIC PPE, these products can obviously cause severe injury or harm. Even similar products intended for domestic use (e.g. Mr Muscle) have strict controls printed on the packaging so, even these, could prove extremely dangerous in unauthorised hands so should never be held for general use.

ALWAYS assess any such products before purchase (and contact WHS for assistance). Our advice would be to ban products with high concentrations altogether and strictly control the rest, and NEVER leave them on the premises for cleaners or general use.

Hidden Hazards

Just look at this warning from the Police: https://bit.ly/2Kr140v

Who would have thought that a simple item like a lanyard, something that so many of us wear, could cause so much damage? So, our advice to all readers is to remove all large objects, such as lanyards, chunky necklaces and brooches, etc, from your person before driving to avoid additional injury in crash situations, or even a lesser situation where air-bags are deployed.

Even spectacles can cause severe injury to the head in such situations – but, if you need them for driving, the risk of removing them is greater than the risks resulting from contact with air bags!

HR

A reminder that the following national minimum wage per hour rates apply from 1 April:

– £8.21 25 years old and over
– £7.70 21 – 24 years old
– £6.15 18 – 20 years old
– £4.35 School leaving to 17 years old
– £3.90 apprentices under 19 years old or those over 19 in the first year of apprenticeship

AND FINALLY

As always, the following prosecutions represent only a small percentage of those that successfully go through court each month. And never forget, even if the HSE doesn’t prosecute, the knock on effects of enforcement (prohibition and improvement notices) can be phenomenal.
And don’t forget the £154 per hour for merely a telling off too!

Work at height

– Karro Foods was fined a total of over £1.86 million after two workers fell 4 metres through a roof-light and sustained serious injuries. The two company employees had been instructed to go onto the roof to investigate a leak, but neither had been told about the roof-lights nor given any form of fall-protection.

– TS Rigging Ltd was fined a total of almost £40,000 after a worker fell 6 metres from a luxury house-boat undergoing restoration in dry-dock. Access to the rear of the boat was by ladder, which twisted during his descent, causing the fall

– H&M Distribution Ltd was fined a total of over £67,000 after an agency delivery driver fell from his wagon during delivery of beer kegs. The driver had been using a pallet-truck to move kegs from the wagon but fell backwards from the edge of the raised tail lift. He sustained serious injuries, some of which were as a result of several kegs falling on top of him.

N.B. These cases are an important reminder that the Work at Heights Regs relate to ALL UK industry, NOT JUST CONSTRUCTION!! All employers must assess the risk, pass on the information and provide adequate protection against falls down or (as in this case) through.

Electrical services

– AR Signs Ltd was fined a total of almost £37,500 after a worker suffered serious burns when he struck an underground electric cable whilst installing a post for a sign for a hotel. The worker had been using a breaker but no CAT scan had been carried out, nor any service drawings obtained; no risk assessment had been carried out and he had not even been trained to use the breaker!

N.B. Again, another case illustrating the point that legislation applies to ALL UK industry

Health issues

– Faiveley transport Tamworth Ltd was fined a total of £135,000 after exposing workers to uncontrolled hand-arm vibration over a 10 year period. Workers had reported high vibration levels and lengthy periods of use but no action had been taken and there appeared to be no intention to do so. The result was that several workers developed symptoms of HAVS (hand-arm vibration syndrome).

– Fine Organics Ltd was fined a total of over £241,000 after exposing workers to harmful chemicals and causing long-term skin damage. The company had failed to carry out adequate risk assessments, prevent chemical release and spread of contamination, properly decontaminate affected areas, and provide health surveillance.

Work equipment
ALL of the following injuries could have been avoided. The laws are there for good reason and there is NO excuse for non-compliance in this day and age; these cases should have disappeared with the Victorians

– UKF Stainless Ltd was fined a total of over £51,000 after a worker lost two finger tips in unguarded machinery. The company had failed to risk assess, install suitable guards, establish safe systems and train employees; a pretty damning indictment really.

– Derek Anthony Ltd was fined a total of £24,000 after a worker’s finger was wrenched off by a rotating drill bit. The worker had been wearing loose rigger gloves whilst de-burring holes in steel when the tip of the drill bit snagged his right hand glove, drawing it in and severing his finger. The pillar drill was being operated in an unguarded state despite risk assessment, and training and supervision had been inadequate. But, to compound the risks…loose gloves with a drill? Where’s the common sense?

– Renault Retail Group UK Ltd was fined a total of over £217,000 after placing its employees in danger by using faulty vehicle lifts over a 12 month period. The company failed to ensure its equipment was maintained in good working order and that faulty equipment was withdrawn from use. Appalling complacency.

– Contour Showers was fined a total of almost £19,500 after a worker sustained tendon and ligament injuries to his left index finger when he was cut by a metal cutting saw as he was trying to clear a blockage. There was no safe system for maintenance, no locking-off of isolation procedures, inadequate guarding and no risk assessment; all basic stuff.

– Edward Flitton, trading as Hever Ironworks, was given a community order of 120 hours unpaid work and fined £300 after a part-time machinist suffered life-changing tendon injuries whilst drilling holes in aluminium casings.

Yet another case of gloves becoming entangled in a moving drill bit – but this time, this had been specified in company policy! There had been no appropriate safe system or work in place, and no employers’ liability insurance either, neither had the incident been reported to the HSE. Talk about making matters worse for yourself!!

WHS is working for you; help us to help you.
Our aim is to keep people safe and to keep your company working.
To contact WHS, ring: 01952-885885

WENLOCK HEALTH & SAFETY Ltd EXTENDS WARMEST CHRISTMAS WISHES TO ALL OUR CLIENTS;
WE TRUST THAT 2019 WILL BE BOTH PROSPEROUS
AND SAFE!

COMPANY NEWS

Christmas Closure

Yes, it’s that time of year again! My, how time flies! May we take this opportunity to extend warm seasonal wishes to all our clients, and thank you once again for your continuing and valued custom.

Please take note that our offices will be closing from midday on Friday 21 December 2018 until 8 am on Wednesday 2 January 2019. No consultants will be available during this period to provide normal services; however, if there is an emergency situation requiring immediate attention, please contact Laura on 07791-670987 (emergencies only please!)

IMPORTANT – New Courses

We now offer the following courses; as always, please contact the WHS office (01952-885885) for further details and to book places. The following fees assume training at WHS premises; additional travel costs will be applicable to courses undertaken elsewhere:

  • IOSH Managing Safely
    Duration: 3 days
    Dates: 13, 14 & 15 February 2019 (Tuesday & Wednesday)
    Cost: £395 + VAT per person
  • UKATA Category A Asbestos Awareness
    Duration: 1/2 day
    Dates: 4 January 2019 (Friday)
    Cost: £60 + VAT per person
  • Timber Frame Safety in Construction & Design
    Duration: 1/2 days
    Dates: To your requirements
    Cost: Normal hourly rate; maximum 12 persons
  • Lead Awareness
    Duration: 1/2 days
    Dates: To your requirements
    Cost: Normal hourly rate; maximum 12 persons

 

CITB Training Courses

Forthcoming 2019 dates currently in place and fees for the CITB courses are as follows. Courses are held at the WHS training rooms and fees include lunch, refreshments and all course literature.

IMPORTANT NOTES:
Please be aware that CITB specifies that candidates must be available to attend each session within the course; failure to do so may require a repeat course.

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)
    Duration: 5 days
    Dates: 7 – 11 January 2019 (BLOCK BOOKING Monday – Friday)
    22 Feb & 1, 8, 15 & 22 March 2019 1 day per week
    Cost: £495 + VAT per person
  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher
    Duration: 2 days
    Dates: 27 & 28 February 2019 (Wednesday & Thursday)
    Cost: £265 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)
  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS)
    Duration: 2 days
    Dates: 20 & 21 February 2019 (Wednesday & Thursday)
    Cost: £230 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)
  • CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness
    Duration: 1 day
    Dates: 30 January 2019 (Wednesday)
    Cost: £125 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

 

First Aid Training

Forthcoming 2018 / 2019 dates for the WHS 1-day Emergency First Aid courses, also held at training rooms, are as follows; the fee is just £75 + VAT per person:

  • 19 December 2018 places available
  • 21 January 2019 FULLY BOOKED
  • 26 February 2019 places available
  • 27 March 2019 places available
  • 25 April 2019 places available
  • 28 May 2019 places available

 

 

As with the CITB courses below, if any organisation requires first-aid for 6 or more employees, a specific course can be arranged at a date, time and location to suit. Please contact the WHS office to discuss your requirements.

A Plea from WHS

Some of our clients put their Health & Safety Policy on their websites – good practice but, if that is done, then please make sure it’s kept current! We’ve seen several examples of policies on websites that are several years out of date – which doesn’t look good for either the company or us!

WHS Safety Awards

As usual, at the end of each year, WHS tries to encourage good health & safety practice by issuing awards for those companies or individuals who have demonstrated clear and proven commitment to the well-being of their employees or colleagues. This year, we are delighted to announce the following awards:

  • Kevin Dodd – Operations & H&S Manager for TWS Highways, and
  • Amanda Shephard – QMS, H&S & Marketing Manager for Spelsberg

 

Both will receive awards for Commitment to Safety as they have demonstrated high standards of health & safety management throughout the many years of their involvement with their employing companies; examples to all businesses of how health & safety should become second nature to good effect.

  • Mick Collins – Operations & H&S Manager for Morris Site Machinery. Mick will receive an award for Proactive Safety Management as he is continually looking for mechanisms to improve the Company’s safety culture, despite that culture already being of a high standard.
  • Islabikes, and
  • Protocol Control Systems

 

Both will receive awards for Continual Improvement in Health & Safety; both companies are internally driven by management to explore new health & safety systems and documentation towards continual improvement.

  • Advanced Glass Facades – will receive an award for Commitment to Health & Safety Compliance as the Company has continually shown a strong desire to ensure a sound health & safety culture at all levels.

 

Hearty congratulations to all our winners! We’ve experienced a real mixed bag of good and (sometimes very) bad practice throughout our customer-base this year. However, the vast majority do try their best to safeguard their workforce, with those rewarded above being shining examples of how things should be done.

HSE NEWS

Beware!! New Harsher Sentencing

New sentencing guidelines came into effect on 1 November 2018, following on from previous changes resulting from the failure of previous fine and custodial levels being effective deterrents. So be warned!

These new sentencing guidelines relate to gross negligence manslaughter where the individual is proven to have had ‘such a disregard for life and the safety of others that it amounts to a crime against the state and conduct deserving punishment’. In other words, the individual is seen to have blatantly ignored his/her Duty of Care incumbent under the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974, resulting in the death/s.

And it’s important to note that the breach doesn’t have to have been the primary or only cause of death, as long as it was a contributing factor.

It is also important to note that the new guidelines apply to any offence that happened after APRIL 2010.

Prison sentences can range from 1 to a maximum of 18 years, with life sentences (18 years followed by parole) for the most serious cases. Other punishments, including director disqualifications for up to 15 years, are also possible. Full details can be found on: https://bit.ly/2OsyUjo

Any individuals can be prosecuted; they don’t have to be directors or senior management but can include health & safety managers and professionals, and others. So, if you have any problems or issues related to your role and/or responsibilities (particularly if you are in charge of health & safety in your organisation), please feel free to ring WHS to discuss further.

Note – this relates to UK law so, no matter what happens after Brexit, the Health & Safety at Work Act and the above will remain!

Latest HSE Statistics

Confirmed accident, injury and ill-health statistics were published by the HSE in October. The UK still has the best health & safety record in Europe (and probably the World, but that’s impossible to verify) and for that we should be proud rather than critical. However, there is always room for improvement and we should never become complacent or let our guard down. Every statistic relates to a person:

  • 144 workers killed at work
  • 555,000 injuries at work
  • 71,062 injuries to employees reported under RIDDOR
  • 1.4 million working people suffering from work-related ill health
  • 30.7 million working days lost due to work-related ill health and workplace injury
  • £15 billion estimated cost of injuries and ill health to the UK

 

And to Emphasise the Facts

To ram the message home about the actually costs to UK industry of accidents and ill-health (in terms of people and finance), the HSE issues an annual Vital Statistics poster, available from HSE Books.

Use it to refresh tired health and safety notice-boards with the latest statistics, raise awareness about the consequences of poor health and safety practice, and remind employees (and management) that good safety is good sense.

Targeting Vibration

A quote from a recent HSE bulletin:

“Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) is a permanent condition affecting the nerves and blood vessels of the hand. It can cause pain, tingling and numbness, making it difficult to carry out everyday tasks. The condition is caused by prolonged and regular exposure to hand arm vibration and can render a worker disabled, affecting their chances of employment.

Earlier this year, contractor Balfour Beatty Utility Solutions Ltd was fined £500,000 after exposing workers to this debilitating health condition over a nine-year period, which put them at risk of developing HAVS.

The HSE investigation found that the company failed in its legal duty to ensure the risks to workers who used these tools was kept to as low a level as reasonably practicable.

At HSE our mission is to prevent workplace death, injury and ill-health: If your workers are exposed to hand arm vibration, don’t let this happen to you.

HSE’s website has a wealth of information and advice for employers, including key messages and good practice solutions. Click here to find out more.”

The HSE has said that it will actively target the issue of vibration and HAVS from the start of 2019. WHS has already learned of many contractors who have received enforcement or FFI costs for not having vibration assessments. Vibration assessments have been a legal requirement on all hand-held or hand-controlled equipment, or where materials are worked on an abrasive wheel or similar, since 2005 – but, in our experience, it’s rarely done despite WHS emphasising the requirement time after time.

We do have some sympathy though as tools are way better than they were when it became necessary to implement the regulations in 2005, with the consequence that vibration is (usually) seen as a minor issue now. However, we do still find old or poor equipment in use and employers requiring employees to use vibrating equipment for long periods; so the need for specific vibration assessments is still there.

And it is still law – if you aren’t able to demonstrate that vibration assessment is carried out, then you can expect HSE enforcement. Or worse – as the Balfour Beatty case clearly shows.

INDUSTRY NEWS

Contractor Assessment

As we say time and time again, it is a legal requirement (through both CDM and Section 3 of the Health & Safety at Work Act) for ALL employing persons or bodies to ensure that those engaged are COMPETENT to do the job safely and without risk to either themselves or others affected. We still continually find that this is not being done by the vast majority of our customers.

And, yes, under the Health & Safety at Work Act, this covers ALL people employed, not just construction-related contractors. This includes cleaners, window cleaners, landscapers, service and repair engineers, etc, etc, and tree surgeons as the following prosecution demonstrates:

Alpha Schools was fined a total of £60,000 and ordered to pay £50,000 to the victim (a grand total of £110,000) after a tree surgeon was hit on the head by a falling branch, sustaining serious spinal injuries and permanently confining him to a wheelchair.

P&X Complete Cleaning Services had been employed at the Crown Preparatory School in High Wycombe to remove a sycamore tree ahead of later building works. Yes, the owner of P&X was given an 18-month suspended prison sentence as there had been no risk assessment carried out and no safe system of work established. But, Alpha Schools was fined because it had failed to carry out proper checks to verify the competency of the contractor it engaged.

A strong lesson to everyone – health & safety-related competency checks MUST by law be carried out before any appointment, whether it relates to construction or not. Laws are there for valid reasons!

The Importance of Failsafe Design

This recent horrendous accident is a good example of how designers (of all types) must consider the ‘what if’ scenario; what started out, presumably as a laugh, turned deadly:
https://bit.ly/2PXzUjf

The design of the roller-shutter door should not have allowed this to happen. Good garage roller-shutters have detection mechanisms built it to stop movement (opening or closing) as soon as resistance is detected. So a lesson to all designers to take account of all foreseeable risks (and this was foreseeable) and to those purchasing equipment to make sure that the equipment is designed for safety.

On that note, we would reiterate a warning given on many occasions before – it is perfectly legal for a CE-marked piece of equipment to be purchased which may not be legal to use in this country. CE marking relates to quality, not safety; just because an item is CE marked, this does not necessarily mean it is safe to use under UK law.

A stupid situation certainly but, in the UK, the onus is on the user (in this case, the landlord) to ensure that all foreseeable risks have been assessed and appropriate controls established. The secret is to risk assess the items before purchase so that future problems are not being inadvertently built in. If you have any doubts or questions about your equipment or future purchases, please don’t hesitate to contact WHS.

The Importance of Following Design in Installation

A glass balustrade panel fell recently from a feature staircase in a public building. Fortunately nobody was hurt, but the investigation showed that installation had not been undertaken in accordance with design.

The glass panels were to be installed using a propriety bracket; however, the installers omitted the locking pins, relying instead on clamping friction. Once installed, it was impossible to see whether the pins had been inserted or not; nobody had overseen the installation to ensure the operation was carried out correctly.

So, be honest, how many people reading this cut corners (whether to save time and/or money) and don’t install fixtures and fittings properly; how often do we find (e.g.) 2 screws instead of 4 holding something in place?! And who do you think would be blamed by the HSE if items not installed properly had caused injury?

The Importance of Competent Supervision
See also prosecutions section below

Again, fortunately, nobody was hurt in this recent accident but the investigation highlighted the effects of lack of competent supervision on the ground (as, indeed, did the previous case).

A set of chain blocks and a metre length of bar fell 5 metres to the ground during a lift. The chain blocks were suspended from a hook attached to a proprietary lifting anchor consisting of a cast-in bar which joined to other bars together using a coupler. The investigation showed that the anchor had not been installed in accordance with the design and the supervisor had made the decision to accept the situation without additional (competent) authority.

This is an all-too-typical case of inadequate specialist competence at the workface. Site managers and supervisors have a lot to contend with and are held to be adequately experienced and knowledgeable about construction in general. However, where specialism is required, contractors must acknowledge a deficiency and engage a suitably competent individual or company to properly supervise that specialist operation. The HSE would not see this as a sign of weakness, rather a sign of good management i.e. recognising and properly addressing deficiencies.

Asbestos (yet again!)

IOSH has been running an excellent campaign for some while now to highlight the very real necessity for a full understanding of asbestos and the extreme dangers of ignoring the issue. The ‘No Time to Lose’ campaign enables you to tap into some very valuable reference material (which can be used for tool-box talks or awareness refreshers) via:
https://www.iosh.co.uk/News/No-Time-to-Lose-asbestos.aspx
https://www.notimetolose.org.uk/
https://www.notimetolose.org.uk/free-resources/asbestos-pack-taster/

GENERAL NEWS

Planning for the Future

We all lead very busy lives, and it is typical amongst businesses across the spectrum that management ‘hasn’t got the time’ to sit down and plan properly for potential eventualities and for the future. However, the importance of this was brought home to WHS in no uncertain terms in 2010 when two of our employees were hospitalised and unable to work properly for a couple of months because of a serious car accident (which, we hasten to add, was not their fault!). The effect of suddenly losing two key employees within a small company employing just 7 was enormous in terms of both customer care and finance.

We’ve noted the latest HSE statistics above, but how many businesses plan for the very high likelihood of long-term absences such as experienced by WHS 8 years ago. According to a recent CIPD report:

  • 56% of those companies asked had experienced long-term absences due to mental health
  • 50% due to musculoskeletal injuries
  • 48% due to acute medical conditions
  • 19% due to injuries or accidents (work or non-work related)

 

So the chances of having to deal with long-term (or permanent) absence is very high for any business – and, of course, the effects are increasingly profound on smaller businesses.

Of course, the secret to a stable workforce is to ensure happy and loyal employees. All too often, employers foster discontent and stress through aggressive management, unrealistic expectations and lack of empathy. In the same CIPD report, the top 3 causes of stress amongst employees are due to:

  • 60% volume of work and unattainable expectations by management (resulting in 86% of employees admitting to working when unwell, using leave instead of calling in sick, or working during leave periods)
  • 32% management styles
  • 27% non-work related (e.g. family issues)

 

All of these can be reduced (and productivity increased) by listening and empathising with employees’ needs. We’re not all the same; not everyone can work in the same way or at the same pace. And we should all have the opportunity to relax and switch off (it’s a legal entitlement for a good reason!).

As an aside, the HSE has a ‘Talking Toolkit for Preventing & Managing Stress’; download the toolkit here.

However, the unforeseen happens; so set aside time to plan for business continuity and the ‘what if’ factor before it’s too late.

Planning for business continuity is also vital to prepare any business for hand-over as senior or key staff retire. According to the FSB, small businesses in the UK are heading for a cliff-edge in 7 or 8 years time as few of them have planned far enough ahead to be able to transfer responsibility to others. The result? Senior staff working till they drop and the eventual demise of the Company. Retirement may seem a long way off to a lot of people but, as we all know, time marches on far too quickly and there’s a huge risk of not thinking ahead and training good staff to take over until it’s too late.

‘Business continuity’ is not corporate jargon – it’s essential for all businesses. Take time to plan for the future – especially now that we’re facing an uncertain future because of Brexit!

Asbestos in Cigarettes??!!

As we’ve highlighted many times, and continually in our asbestos awareness training, that there is a strong possibility of asbestos creeping into imported goods – especially via eBay and non-UK portals. And here’s a good example of that very issue – fake cigarettes containing asbestos:
https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/bootleg-cigarettes-containing-asbestos-on-sale-in-belfast-30775111.html

So, if anyone out there is tempted to buy fake cigarettes, be warned! As always, you get what you pay for so, if it’s cheap, there’s a reason for it!

And, with the festive season upon us, the same applies to alcohol – never be tempted to buy from anyone other than reputable suppliers. There have been cases of fake spirits laced with bleach!!

AND FINALLY

Clients and contractors alike should take special note of the first accident mentioned below – a clear demonstration that, as WHS continually emphasises, British Law applies to EVERYONE working in this country, no matter where they are based.

And just look at the level of fine for the second prosecution – note there had been no accident and the prosecution was brought for failing to plan, manage and monitor the work.

Work at height

  • Contractor, Ortec BV of the Netherlands, was fined a total of almost £305,000 and sub-contractor, Mechantech Ltd, a total of over £41,000 after a worker sustained serious head injuries falling 10 metres from a racking system undergoing re-commissioning. No safe system had been established; there were no fall prevention measures in place at all, not even any harnesses as fall arrest (from 10 metres!).
  • MG Corporation Ltd was fined a total of almost £255,000 after ignoring prohibition notices and failing to improve safety. The Company was prosecuted under both the Work at Height Regs and CDM for ‘failing to plan, manage and monitor construction work under their control’.
  • Director of Brooke Ren Ltd, Jason Lycett, was fined a total of over £37,000 after the partial collapse of a building undergoing roof-work on a new build-block of flats. Lycett had been warned pre-construction that the roof needed to be designed by specialists (obviously!) but the warning was ignored. The result was that the roof structure could not withstand the loadings applied. Luckily, there were no injuries as a hoist breakdown meant that no workers were on the roof at the point of collapse. Lucky for the workers, and to some extent, Lycett himself as a fatality would almost certainly have resulted in jail.
    Asbestos
  • Pascla Huser Design & Build Ltd was fined a total of almost £21,000 for failing to obtain an asbestos survey before refurbishment work. As a result, AIB was not removed by a licensed contractor (as it should be by law), but by the Company itself without any precautions whatsoever.

 

Buried services

  • Southern Gas Networks Plc was fined a total of well over £1.2 million and contractor, Cliffe Contractors Ltd, almost £73,000 after a medium-pressure gas main was damaged and subsequently ignited, causing severe burns to two workers. Cliffe had not employing safe digging techniques so caused the damage; SGN had not followed their own procedures when called in to effect repair, causing the injuries.

 

Plant & vehicles

  • JS Wood & Son, a farm, was fined a total of £107,000 after an employee was struck and killed by a tractor as he stepped out of a calf shed. No thought had been given to how employees could safely exit the shed nor cross the busy tractor route without being struck. Yes, this case involved a farm – but ask yourself whether your own structures are safe to exit and/or have you organised safe traffic routes.
  • Lemon Groundwork Solutions Ltd was fined a total of over £106,000 after a worker suffered multiple leg injuries when a bundle of rebar fell from a fork-lift. No safe system of work had been established (to ensure the rebar didn’t slip from the forks) nor was there any person/plant segregation.
  • Whiterose Scaffolding (Leeds) Ltd was fined a total of over £62,000 after a worker was severely injured when a fork-lift overturned. The driver, who was the victim, had not been trained, nor had he been wearing his seat-belt (which would have restrained him within the ‘cockpit’ when the fork-lift overturned).

Again – laws are made for a reason, and they apply to all industries. It is LAW to wear the seat-belt to avoid just these types of crushing injuries

Health

  • Caldreys UK Ltd was fined a total of almost £65,000 for two clear breaches of health-related law:
    • Employees reported Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome after extensive use of pneumatic tools, and
    • No controls had been established to prevent inhalation of silica dusts

 

And lastly – failing to report under RIDDOR

  • Malcolm Foyle, trading as S Foyle & Son, was fined almost £3,000 for failing to report under RIDDOR. An employee received broken bones and head injuries when the dumper he was driving overturned in an excavation. Foyle was fined for failing to report the injuries and, upon investigation, also for failing to prevent the overturn of plant, falls into the excavation, or its collapse.

 

DON’T FORGET – THE PROSECUTIONS HIGHLIGHTED IN THESE NEWSLETTERS ARE JUST A FRACTION OF THOSE REPORTED. NON-COMPLIANCE TO HEALTH & SAFETY LAW WILL RESULT IN ENFORCEMENT OR PROSECUTION
AND, MORE IMPORTANTLY, RISKS KILLING OR INJURING SOMEONE

WHS is working for you; help us to help you.
Our aim is to keep people safe and to keep your company working.
To contact WHS, ring: 01952-885885

WENLOCK HEALTH & SAFETY Ltd EXTENDS WARMEST CHRISTMAS WISHES TO ALL OUR CLIENTS;
WE TRUST THAT 2019 WILL BE BOTH PROSPEROUS
AND SAFE!

COMPANY NEWS

Christmas Closure

Yes, it’s that time of year again! My, how time flies! May we take this opportunity to extend warm seasonal wishes to all our clients, and thank you once again for your continuing and valued custom.

Please take note that our offices will be closing from midday on Friday 21 December 2018 until 8 am on Wednesday 2 January 2019. No consultants will be available during this period to provide normal services; however, if there is an emergency situation requiring immediate attention, please contact Laura on 07791-670987 (emergencies only please!)

IMPORTANT – New Courses

We now offer the following courses; as always, please contact the WHS office (01952-885885) for further details and to book places. The following fees assume training at WHS premises; additional travel costs will be applicable to courses undertaken elsewhere:

  • IOSH Managing Safely
    Duration: 3 days
    Dates: 13, 14 & 15 February 2019 (Tuesday & Wednesday)
    Cost: £395 + VAT per person
  • UKATA Category A Asbestos Awareness
    This course should be attended by managers of building/s where construction started pre-January 2000
    Duration: 1/2 day
    Dates: 4 January 2019 (Friday)
    Cost: £60 + VAT per person
  • Lead Awareness
    Duration: 1/2 days
    Dates: To your requirements
    Cost: Normal hourly rate; maximum 12 persons

 

First Aid Training

Forthcoming 2018 / 2019 dates for the WHS 1-day Emergency First Aid courses, also held at training rooms, are as follows; the fee is just £75 + VAT per person:

  • 19 December 2018 places available
  • 21 January 2019 FULLY BOOKED
  • 26 February 2019 places available
  • 27 March 2019 places available
  • 25 April 2019 places available
  • 28 May 2019 places available

 

As with the CITB courses below, if any organisation requires first-aid for 6 or more employees, a specific course can be arranged at a date, time and location to suit. Please contact the WHS office to discuss your requirements.

A Plea from WHS

Some of our clients put their Health & Safety Policy on their websites – good practice but, if that is done, then please make sure it’s kept current! We’ve seen several examples of policies on websites that are several years out of date – which doesn’t look good for either the company or us!

WHS Safety Awards

As usual, at the end of each year, WHS tries to encourage good health & safety practice by issuing awards for those companies or individuals who have demonstrated clear and proven commitment to the well-being of their employees or colleagues. This year, we are delighted to announce the following awards:

  • Kevin Dodd – Operations & H&S Manager for TWS Highways, and
  • Amanda Shephard – QMS, H&S & Marketing Manager for Spelsberg

 

Both will receive awards for Commitment to Safety as they have demonstrated high standards of health & safety management throughout the many years of their involvement with their employing companies; examples to all businesses of how health & safety should become second nature to good effect.

  • Mick Collins – Operations & H&S Manager for Morris Site Machinery. Mick will receive an award for Proactive Safety Management as he is continually looking for mechanisms to improve the Company’s safety culture, despite that culture already being of a high standard.
  • Islabikes, and
  • Protocol Control Systems

 

Both will receive awards for Continual Improvement in Health & Safety; both companies are internally driven by management to explore new health & safety systems and documentation towards continual improvement.

  • Advanced Glass Facades – will receive an award for Commitment to Health & Safety Compliance as the Company has continually shown a strong desire to ensure a sound health & safety culture at all levels.

 

Hearty congratulations to all our winners! We’ve experienced a real mixed bag of good and (sometimes very) bad practice throughout our customer-base this year. However, the vast majority do try their best to safeguard their workforce, with those rewarded above being shining examples of how things should be done.

HSE NEWS

Beware!! New Harsher Sentencing

New sentencing guidelines came into effect on 1 November 2018, following on from previous changes resulting from the failure of previous fine and custodial levels being effective deterrents. So be warned!

These new sentencing guidelines relate to gross negligence manslaughter where the individual is proven to have had ‘such a disregard for life and the safety of others that it amounts to a crime against the state and conduct deserving punishment’. In other words, the individual is seen to have blatantly ignored his/her Duty of Care incumbent under the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974, resulting in the death/s

And it’s important to note that the breach doesn’t have to have been the primary or only cause of death, as long as it was a contributing factor.

It is also important to note that the new guidelines apply to any offence that happened after APRIL 2010.

Prison sentences can range from 1 to a maximum of 18 years, with life sentences (18 years followed by parole) for the most serious cases. Other punishments, including director disqualifications for up to 15 years, are also possible. Full details can be found on: https://bit.ly/2OsyUjo

Any individuals can be prosecuted; they don’t have to be directors or senior management but can include health & safety managers and other professionals. So, if you have any problems or issues related to your role and/or responsibilities (particularly if you are in charge of health & safety in your organisation), please feel free to ring WHS to discuss further.

Note – this relates to UK law so, no matter what happens after Brexit, the Health & Safety at Work Act and the above will remain!

Latest HSE Statistics

Confirmed accident, injury and ill-health statistics were published by the HSE in October. The UK still has the best health & safety record in Europe (and probably the World, but that’s impossible to verify) and for that we should be proud rather than critical. However, there is always room for improvement and we should never become complacent or let our guard down. Every statistic relates to a person:

  • 144 workers killed at work
  • 555,000 injuries at work
  • 71,062 injuries to employees reported under RIDDOR
  • 1.4 million working people suffering from work-related ill health
  • 30.7 million working days lost due to work-related ill health and workplace injury
  • £15 billion estimated cost of injuries and ill health to the UK

 

And to Emphasise the Facts

To ram the message home about the actually costs to UK industry of accidents and ill-health (in terms of people and finance), the HSE issues an annual Vital Statistics poster, available from HSE Books.

Use it to refresh tired health and safety notice-boards with the latest statistics, raise awareness about the consequences of poor health and safety practice, and remind employees (and management) that good safety is good sense.

Targeting Vibration

A quote from a recent HSE bulletin:

“Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) is a permanent condition affecting the nerves and blood vessels of the hand. It can cause pain, tingling and numbness, making it difficult to carry out everyday tasks. The condition is caused by prolonged and regular exposure to hand arm vibration and can render a worker disabled, affecting their chances of employment.

Earlier this year, contractor Balfour Beatty Utility Solutions Ltd was fined £500,000 after exposing workers to this debilitating health condition over a nine-year period, which put them at risk of developing HAVS.

The HSE investigation found that the company failed in its legal duty to ensure the risks to workers who used these tools was kept to as low a level as reasonably practicable.

At HSE our mission is to prevent workplace death, injury and ill-health: If your workers are exposed to hand arm vibration, don’t let this happen to you.

HSE’s website has a wealth of information and advice for employers, including key messages and good practice solutions. Click here to find out more.”

The HSE has said that it will actively target the issue of vibration and HAVS from the start of 2019. WHS has already learned of many businesses who have received enforcement or FFI costs for not having vibration assessments.

Note that the requirements apply to ALL industries, not just the likes of Balfour Beatty and construction. Vibration assessments have been a legal requirement on all hand-held or hand-controlled equipment, or where materials are worked on an abrasive wheel or similar, since 2005 – but, in our experience, it’s rarely done despite WHS emphasising the requirement time after time.

We do have some sympathy though as tools are way better than they were when it became necessary to implement the regulations in 2005, with the consequence that vibration is (usually) seen as a minor issue now. However, we do still find old or poor equipment in use and employers requiring employees to use vibrating equipment for long periods; so the need for specific vibration assessments is still there.

And it is still law – if you aren’t able to demonstrate that vibration assessment is carried out, then you can expect HSE enforcement. Or worse – as the Balfour Beatty case clearly shows.

INDUSTRY NEWS

Contractor Assessment

As we say time and time again, it is a legal requirement (through Section 3 of the Health & Safety at Work Act and other legislation) for ALL employing persons or bodies to ensure that those engaged are COMPETENT to do the job safely and without risk to either themselves or others affected. We still continually find that this is not being done by the vast majority of our customers.

And, yes, under the Health & Safety at Work Act, this covers ALL people employed, not just construction-related contractors. This includes cleaners, window cleaners, landscapers, service and repair engineers, etc, etc, and tree surgeons as the following prosecution demonstrates:

Alpha Schools was fined a total of £60,000 and ordered to pay £50,000 to the victim (a grand total of £110,000) after a tree surgeon was hit on the head by a falling branch, sustaining serious spinal injuries and permanently confining him to a wheelchair.

P&X Complete Cleaning Services had been employed at the Crown Preparatory School in High Wycombe to remove a sycamore tree ahead of later building works. Yes, the owner of P&X was given an 18-month suspended prison sentence as there had been no risk assessment carried out and no safe system of work established. But, Alpha Schools was fined because it had failed to carry out proper checks to verify the competency of the contractor it engaged.

A strong lesson to everyone – health & safety-related competency checks MUST by law be carried out before any appointment, whether it relates to construction or not. Laws are there for valid reasons!

The Importance of Failsafe Design

This recent horrendous accident is a good example of how designers (of all types) must consider the ‘what if’ scenario; what started out, presumably as a laugh, turned deadly:
https://bit.ly/2PXzUjf

The design of the roller-shutter door should not have allowed this to happen. Good garage roller-shutters have detection mechanisms built it to stop movement (opening or closing) as soon as resistance is detected. So a lesson to all designers to take account of all foreseeable risks (and this was foreseeable) and to those purchasing equipment to make sure that the equipment is designed for safety.

On that note, we would reiterate a warning given on many occasions before – it is perfectly legal for a CE-marked piece of equipment to be purchased which may not be legal to use in this country. CE marking relates to quality, not safety; just because an item is CE marked, this does not necessarily mean it is safe to use under UK law.

A stupid situation certainly but, in the UK, the onus is on the user (in this case, the landlord) to ensure that all foreseeable risks have been assessed and appropriate controls established. The secret is to risk assess the items before purchase so that future problems are not being inadvertently built in. If you have any doubts or questions about your equipment or future purchases, please don’t hesitate to contact WHS.

Asbestos (yet again!)

IOSH has been running an excellent campaign for some while now to highlight the very real necessity for a full understanding of asbestos and the extreme dangers of ignoring the issue.

The ‘No Time to Lose’ campaign enables you to tap into some very valuable reference material (which can be used for tool-box talks or awareness refreshers) via:
https://www.iosh.co.uk/News/No-Time-to-Lose-asbestos.aspx
https://www.notimetolose.org.uk/
https://www.notimetolose.org.uk/free-resources/asbestos-pack-taster/

Note that WHS is running an open asbestos awareness course on 4 January 2019 which is aimed at all businesses to manage buildings where construction was started pre-January 2000 (when asbestos was finally banned in the UK). So, any of our customers who own or occupy any such buildings should attend; please contact the WHS as soon as possible as places are limited.

We can’t emphasise enough that the presence and management of asbestos is not just a contractor concern; building owners and managers have clear legal duties, hence the importance of attending this course.

There’s no need to panic about the possibility, or expense, of asbestos being present as the law promotes good management and mechanisms to deal with the problem. However, as the prosecutions continually highlighted at the foot of our newsletters demonstrate, ignoring the issue could result in severe penalties!

GENERAL NEWS

Planning for the Future

We all lead very busy lives, and it is typical amongst businesses across the spectrum that management ‘hasn’t got the time’ to sit down and plan properly for potential eventualities and for the future. However, the importance of this was brought home to WHS in no uncertain terms in 2010 when two of our employees were hospitalised and unable to work properly for a couple of months because of a serious car accident (which, we hasten to add, was not their fault!). The effect of suddenly losing two key employees within a small company employing just 7 was enormous in terms of both customer care and finance.

We’ve noted the latest HSE statistics above, but how many businesses plan for the very high likelihood of long-term absences such as experienced by WHS 8 years ago. According to a recent CIPD report:

  • 56% of those companies asked had experienced long-term absences due to mental health
  • 50% due to musculoskeletal injuries
  • 48% due to acute medical conditions
  • 19% due to injuries or accidents (work or non-work related)

 

So the chances of having to deal with long-term (or permanent) absence is very high for any business – and, of course, the effects are increasingly profound on smaller businesses.

Of course, the secret to a stable workforce is to ensure happy and loyal employees. All too often, employers foster discontent and stress through aggressive management, unrealistic expectations and lack of empathy. In the same CIPD report, the top 3 causes of stress amongst employees are due to:

  • 60% volume of work and unattainable expectations by management (resulting in 86% of employees admitting to working when unwell, using leave instead of calling in sick, or working during leave periods)
  • 32% management styles
  • 27% non-work related (e.g. family issues)

 

All of these can be reduced (and productivity increased) by listening and empathising with employees’ needs. We’re not all the same; not everyone can work in the same way or at the same pace. And we should all have the opportunity to relax and switch off (it’s a legal entitlement for a good reason!).

As an aside, the HSE has a ‘Talking Toolkit for Preventing & Managing Stress’; download the toolkit here.

However, the unforeseen happens; so set aside time to plan for business continuity and the ‘what if’ factor before it’s too late.

Planning for business continuity is also vital to prepare any business for hand-over as senior or key staff retire. According to the FSB, small businesses in the UK are heading for a cliff-edge in 7 or 8 years time as few of them have planned far enough ahead to be able to transfer responsibility to others. The result? Senior staff working till they drop and the eventual demise of the Company. Retirement may seem a long way off to a lot of people but, as we all know, time marches on far too quickly and there’s a huge risk of not thinking ahead and training good staff to take over until it’s too late.

‘Business continuity’ is not corporate jargon – it’s essential for all businesses. Take time to plan for the future – especially now that we’re facing an uncertain future because of Brexit!

Asbestos in Cigarettes??!!

As we’ve highlighted many times, and continually in our asbestos awareness training, that there is a strong possibility of asbestos creeping into imported goods – especially via eBay and non-UK portals. And here’s a good example of that very issue – fake cigarettes containing asbestos:
https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/bootleg-cigarettes-containing-asbestos-on-sale-in-belfast-30775111.html

So, if anyone out there is tempted to buy fake cigarettes, be warned! As always, you get what you pay for so, if it’s cheap, there’s a reason for it!

And, with the festive season upon us, the same applies to alcohol – never be tempted to buy from anyone other than reputable suppliers. There have been cases of fake spirits laced with bleach!!

AND FINALLY

Businesses and contractors alike should take special note of the first accident mentioned below – a clear demonstration that, as WHS continually emphasises, British Law applies to EVERYONE working in this country, no matter where they are based.

Other prosecutions cited below also demonstrate that British Law applies to ALL Industries!

And just look at the level of fine for the second prosecution – note there had been no accident and the prosecution was brought for failing to plan, manage and monitor the work

Work at height

  • Contractor, Ortec BV of the Netherlands, was fined a total of almost £305,000 and sub-contractor, Mechantech Ltd, a total of over £41,000 after a worker sustained serious head injuries falling 10 metres from a racking system undergoing re-commissioning. No safe system had been established; there were no fall prevention measures in place at all, not even any harnesses as fall arrest (from 10 metres!).
  • MG Corporation Ltd was fined a total of almost £255,000 after ignoring prohibition notices and failing to improve safety. The Company was prosecuted under both the Work at Height Regs and CDM for ‘failing to plan, manage and monitor construction work under their control’.

 

Asbestos

  • Pascla Huser Design & Build Ltd was fined a total of almost £21,000 for failing to obtain an asbestos survey before refurbishment work. As a result, AIB was not removed by a licensed contractor (as it should be by law), but by the Company itself without any precautions whatsoever.

 

Lifting operations

  • Premier Hank Dyers Ltd was fined a total of over £24,000 for two offences. The first involved serious injuries being caused to a worker when his clothing became entangled in rotating parts of a machine. However, the second related to lifting operations and safe systems of work. A large tank containing boiling liquid was held in place by an overhead crane; the hook block on the crane failed, allowing the lid to drop into the tank, splashing scalding liquid onto the worker and causing serious burns.

 

Plant & vehicles

  • Devon farming partnership, MY & CEH Arthur was fined a total of over £67,000 after a worker was crushed and killed by a poorly maintained digger. Following a repeated ignition problem, the engine had been hot-wired! When the worker accessed the engine to start the digger, the digger moved and the victim was crushed between the plant and a wall.

The investigation found the fatality to be due to poor maintenance, an untrained driver and total lack of risk assessment – a reminder to ALL organisations, even family businesses, that the duty to risk assess is law.

  • Freight Movement Ltd was fined a total of almost £92,000 after a fork lift carrying a full pallet toppled over, 920kg of cardboard falling on a worker. As well as other breaches, the Company had failed to segregate plant and people, which is law (so far as reasonably practicable) for this very reason.
  • Lemon Groundwork Solutions Ltd was fined a total of over £106,000 after a worker suffered multiple leg injuries when a bundle of steel fell from a fork-lift. No safe system of work had been established (to ensure the steel didn’t slip from the forks) nor was there any person/plant segregation.
  • JS Wood & Son, a farm, was fined a total of £107,000 after an employee was struck and killed by a tractor as he stepped out of a calf shed. No thought had been given to how employees could safely exit the shed nor cross the busy tractor route without being struck. Yes, this case involved a farm – but ask yourself whether your own structures are safe to exit and/or have you organised safe traffic routes.

 

Work equipment

  • Marybelle Pur Natur Ltd was fined a total of almost £38,000 after a worker’s toe was crushed by an unguarded part of a machine. Because of faulty repair, the guard could not be properly fixed in position, with the result that the worker was able inadvertently to place his foot on the frame of the machine at the same time the a moving part was descending. A clear demonstration of how important it is to both ensure (and sign off) competent repair and to continually inspect all equipment to ensure it still functions properly and safely.
  • Director, Jonathon Gaskell, was jailed for 8 months and his company, Gaskells (North West) Ltd, fined a total of almost £800,000 after a worker was killed by a bailing machine which had the interlocking safety systems disabled to enable quicker unblocking. The worker had entered the baling chamber to dislodge a blockage and, of course, as soon as this was cleared, the equipment began operating again.

A warning to everyone throughout ALL industries; anyone caught disabling safety systems must be immediately removed from the workplace and disciplined. This is a very serious offence and, as is demonstrated above, if encouraged by management, they can expect to be blamed personally.

  • Viridor was fined a total of over £684,000 after a worker was fatally injured whilst clearing a recycling separator machine. The equipment had been switched off whilst the employee was inside carrying out maintenance; however, there had been no safe system to ensure that others didn’t switch the machine back on again. Someone did – and the consequences don’t bear thinking about.
  • Loosemores Transport Ltd was fined a total of over £20,000 after an agency worker’s hand was drawn into a waste sorting conveyor whilst he tried to remove a blockage.

Yet again, these are examples of very poor risk management which seems to be all-too-commonplace within the waste and recycling industry. In addition, as the previous example shows, employment of agency workers is also commonplace. So never forget to ensure that ALL staff, whether permanent, casual or agency must be trained and instructed to the required degree; rapid engagement of agency or casual workers almost inevitably results in lack of competence and the increased risk of injury or death.

Health

  • Caldreys UK Ltd was fined a total of almost £65,000 for two clear breaches of health-related law:
    • Employees reported Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome after extensive use of pneumatic tools, and
    • No controls had been established to prevent inhalation of silica dusts

 

Landlord duties

  • Torquay landlord, Mehmet Sevim, was given a 26 week suspended prison sentence, ordered to undertake 240 hours community service and told to pay costs of over £5,000 after engaging an unregistered gas fitter for work on one of his rental properties. Despite formerly being a gas engineer himself, and therefore fully aware of the law, Sevim wilfully failed to engage a Gas Safe registered engineer, covered up evidence by producing a fraudulent gas certificate and tried to bribe a prosecution witness! Talk about making matters worse!!

 

And lastly – failing to report under RIDDOR

  • Malcolm Foyle, trading as S Foyle & Son, was fined almost £3,000 for failing to report under RIDDOR. An employee received broken bones and head injuries when the dumper he was driving overturned in an excavation. Foyle was fined for failing to report the injuries and, upon investigation, also for failing to prevent the overturn of plant, falls into the excavation, or its collapse.

 

DON’T FORGET – THE PROSECUTIONS HIGHLIGHTED IN THESE NEWSLETTERS ARE JUST A FRACTION OF THOSE REPORTED. NON-COMPLIANCE TO HEALTH & SAFETY LAW WILL RESULT IN ENFORCEMENT OR PROSECUTION
AND, MORE IMPORTANTLY, RISKS KILLING OR INJURING SOMEONE

WHS is working for you; help us to help you.
Our aim is to keep people safe and to keep your company working.
To contact WHS, ring: 01952-885885

WENLOCK HEALTH & SAFETY Ltd EXTENDS WARMEST CHRISTMAS WISHES TO ALL OUR CLIENTS;
WE TRUST THAT 2019 WILL BE BOTH PROSPEROUS
AND SAFE!

COMPANY NEWS

Christmas Closure

Yes, it’s that time of year again! My, how time flies! May we take this opportunity to extend warm seasonal wishes to all our clients, and thank you once again for your continuing and valued custom.

Please take note that our offices will be closing from midday on Friday 21 December 2018 until 8 am on Wednesday 2 January 2019. No consultants will be available during this period to provide normal services; however, if there is an emergency situation requiring immediate attention, please contact Laura on 07791-670987 (emergencies only please!)

IMPORTANT – New Courses

We now offer the following courses; as always, please contact the WHS office (01952-885885) for further details and to book places. The following fees assume training at WHS premises; additional travel costs will be applicable to courses undertaken elsewhere:

  • IOSH Managing Safely
    Duration: 3 days
    Dates: 13, 14 & 15 February 2019 (Tuesday & Wednesday)
    Cost: £395 + VAT per person
  • UKATA Category A Asbestos Awareness
    Duration: 1/2 day
    Dates: 4 January 2019 (Friday)
    Cost: £60 + VAT per person

 

CITB Training Courses

Forthcoming 2019 dates currently in place and fees for the CITB courses are as follows. Courses are held at the WHS training rooms and fees include lunch, refreshments and all course literature.

IMPORTANT NOTES:
Please be aware that CITB specifies that candidates must be available to attend each session within the course; failure to do so may require a repeat course.

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)
    Duration: 5 days
    Dates: 7 – 11 January 2019 (BLOCK BOOKING Monday – Friday)
    22 Feb & 1, 8, 15 & 22 March 2019 1 day per week
    Cost: £495 + VAT per person
  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher
    Duration: 2 days
    Dates: 27 & 28 February 2019 (Wednesday & Thursday)
    Cost: £265 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)
  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS)
    Duration: 2 days
    Dates: 20 & 21 February 2019 (Wednesday & Thursday)
    Cost: £230 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)
  • CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness
    Duration: 1 day
    Dates: 30 January 2019 (Wednesday)
    Cost: £125 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

 

First Aid Training

Forthcoming 2018 / 2019 dates for the WHS 1-day Emergency First Aid courses, also held at training rooms, are as follows; the fee is just £75 + VAT per person:

  • 19 December 2018 places available
  • 21 January 2019 FULLY BOOKED
  • 26 February 2019 places available
  • 27 March 2019 places available
  • 25 April 2019 places available
  • 28 May 2019 places available

 

As with the CITB courses below, if any organisation requires first-aid for 6 or more employees, a specific course can be arranged at a date, time and location to suit. Please contact the WHS office to discuss your requirements.

A Plea from WHS

Some of our clients put their Health & Safety Policy on their websites – good practice but, if that is done, then please make sure it’s kept current! We’ve seen several examples of policies on websites that are several years out of date – which doesn’t look good for either the company or us!

WHS Safety Awards

As usual, at the end of each year, WHS tries to encourage good health & safety practice by issuing awards for those companies or individuals who have demonstrated clear and proven commitment to the well-being of their employees or colleagues. This year, we are delighted to announce the following awards:

  • Kevin Dodd – Operations & H&S Manager for TWS Highways, and
  • Amanda Shephard – QMS, H&S & Marketing Manager for Spelsberg

 

Both will receive awards for Commitment to Safety as they have demonstrated high standards of health & safety management throughout the many years of their involvement with their employing companies; examples to all businesses of how health & safety should become second nature to good effect.

  • Mick Collins – Operations & H&S Manager for Morris Site Machinery. Mick will receive an award for Proactive Safety Management as he is continually looking for mechanisms to improve the Company’s safety culture, despite that culture already being of a high standard.
  • Islabikes, and
  • Protocol Control Systems

 

Both will receive awards for Continual Improvement in Health & Safety; both companies are internally driven by management to explore new health & safety systems and documentation towards continual improvement.

  • Advanced Glass Facades – will receive an award for Commitment to Health & Safety Compliance as the Company has continually shown a strong desire to ensure a sound health & safety culture at all levels.

 

Hearty congratulations to all our winners! We’ve experienced a real mixed bag of good and (sometimes very) bad practice throughout our customer-base this year. However, the vast majority do try their best to safeguard their workforce, with those rewarded above being shining examples of how things should be done.

HSE NEWS

Beware!! New Harsher Sentencing

New sentencing guidelines came into effect on 1 November 2018, following on from previous changes resulting from the failure of previous fine and custodial levels being effective deterrents. So be warned!

These new sentencing guidelines relate to gross negligence manslaughter where the individual is proven to have had ‘such a disregard for life and the safety of others that it amounts to a crime against the state and conduct deserving punishment’. In other words, the individual is seen to have blatantly ignored his/her Duty of Care incumbent under the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974, resulting in the death/s

And it’s important to note that the breach doesn’t have to have been the primary or only cause of death, as long as it was a contributing factor.

It is also important to note that the new guidelines apply to any offence that happened after APRIL 2010.

Prison sentences can range from 1 to a maximum of 18 years, with life sentences (18 years followed by parole) for the most serious cases. Other punishments, including director disqualifications for up to 15 years, are also possible. Full details can be found on: https://bit.ly/2OsyUjo

Any individuals can be prosecuted; they don’t have to be directors or senior management but can include health & safety managers and other professionals. So, if you have any problems or issues related to your role and/or responsibilities (particularly if you are in charge of health & safety in your organisation), please feel free to ring WHS to discuss further.

Note – this relates to UK law so, no matter what happens after Brexit, the Health & Safety at Work Act and the above will remain!

Latest HSE Statistics

Confirmed accident, injury and ill-health statistics were published by the HSE in October. The UK still has the best health & safety record in Europe (and probably the World, but that’s impossible to verify) and for that we should be proud rather than critical. However, there is always room for improvement and we should never become complacent or let our guard down. Every statistic relates to a person:

  • 144 workers killed at work
  • 555,000 injuries at work
  • 71,062 injuries to employees reported under RIDDOR
  • 1.4 million working people suffering from work-related ill health
  • 30.7 million working days lost due to work-related ill health and workplace injury
  • £15 billion estimated cost of injuries and ill health to the UK

 

And to Emphasise the Facts

To ram the message home about the actually costs to UK industry of accidents and ill-health (in terms of people and finance), the HSE issues an annual Vital Statistics poster, available from HSE Books.

Use it to refresh tired health and safety notice-boards with the latest statistics, raise awareness about the consequences of poor health and safety practice, and remind employees (and management) that good safety is good sense.

Targeting Vibration

A quote from a recent HSE bulletin:

“Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) is a permanent condition affecting the nerves and blood vessels of the hand. It can cause pain, tingling and numbness, making it difficult to carry out everyday tasks. The condition is caused by prolonged and regular exposure to hand arm vibration and can render a worker disabled, affecting their chances of employment.

Earlier this year, contractor Balfour Beatty Utility Solutions Ltd was fined £500,000 after exposing workers to this debilitating health condition over a nine-year period, which put them at risk of developing HAVS.

The HSE investigation found that the company failed in its legal duty to ensure the risks to workers who used these tools was kept to as low a level as reasonably practicable.

At HSE our mission is to prevent workplace death, injury and ill-health: If your workers are exposed to hand arm vibration, don’t let this happen to you.

HSE’s website has a wealth of information and advice for employers, including key messages and good practice solutions. Click here to find out more.”

The HSE has said that it will actively target the issue of vibration and HAVS from the start of 2019. WHS has already learned of many contractors who have received enforcement or FFI costs for not having vibration assessments. Vibration assessments have been a legal requirement on all hand-held or hand-controlled equipment, or where materials are worked on an abrasive wheel or similar, since 2005 – but, in our experience, it’s rarely done despite WHS emphasising the requirement time after time.

We do have some sympathy though as tools are way better than they were when it became necessary to implement the regulations in 2005, with the consequence that vibration is (usually) seen as a minor issue now. However, we do still find old or poor equipment in use and employers requiring employees to use vibrating equipment for long periods; so the need for specific vibration assessments is still there.

And it is still law – if you aren’t able to demonstrate that vibration assessment is carried out, then you can expect HSE enforcement. Or worse – as the Balfour Beatty case clearly shows.

INDUSTRY NEWS

Contractor Assessment

As we say time and time again, it is a legal requirement (through both CDM and Section 3 of the Health & Safety at Work Act) for ALL employing persons or bodies to ensure that those engaged are COMPETENT to do the job safely and without risk to either themselves or others affected. We still continually find that this is not being done by the vast majority of our customers.

And, yes, under the Health & Safety at Work Act, this covers ALL people employed, not just construction-related contractors. This includes cleaners, window cleaners, landscapers, service and repair engineers, etc, etc, and tree surgeons as the following prosecution demonstrates:

Alpha Schools was fined a total of £60,000 and ordered to pay £50,000 to the victim (a grand total of £110,000) after a tree surgeon was hit on the head by a falling branch, sustaining serious spinal injuries and permanently confining him to a wheelchair.

P&X Complete Cleaning Services had been employed at the Crown Preparatory School in High Wycombe to remove a sycamore tree ahead of later building works. Yes, the owner of P&X was given an 18-month suspended prison sentence as there had been no risk assessment carried out and no safe system of work established. But, Alpha Schools was fined because it had failed to carry out proper checks to verify the competency of the contractor it engaged.

A strong lesson to everyone – health & safety-related competency checks MUST by law be carried out before any appointment, whether it relates to construction or not. Laws are there for valid reasons!

The Importance of Failsafe Design

This recent horrendous accident is a good example of how designers (of all types) must consider the ‘what if’ scenario; what started out, presumably as a laugh, turned deadly:
https://bit.ly/2PXzUjf

The design of the roller-shutter door should not have allowed this to happen. Good garage roller-shutters have detection mechanisms built it to stop movement (opening or closing) as soon as resistance is detected. So a lesson to all designers to take account of all foreseeable risks (and this was foreseeable) and to those purchasing equipment to make sure that the equipment is designed for safety.

On that note, we would reiterate a warning given on many occasions before – it is perfectly legal for a CE-marked piece of equipment to be purchased which may not be legal to use in this country. CE marking relates to quality, not safety; just because an item is CE marked, this does not necessarily mean it is safe to use under UK law.

A stupid situation certainly but, in the UK, the onus is on the user (in this case, the landlord) to ensure that all foreseeable risks have been assessed and appropriate controls established. The secret is to risk assess the items before purchase so that future problems are not being inadvertently built in. If you have any doubts or questions about your equipment or future purchases, please don’t hesitate to contact WHS.

The Importance of Following Design in Installation

A glass balustrade panel fell recently from a feature staircase in a public building. Fortunately nobody was hurt, but the investigation showed that installation had not been undertaken in accordance with design.

The glass panels were to be installed using a propriety bracket; however, the installers omitted the locking pins, relying instead on clamping friction. Once installed, it was impossible to see whether the pins had been inserted or not; nobody had overseen the installation to ensure the operation was carried out correctly.

So, be honest, how many people reading this cut corners (whether to save time and/or money) and don’t install fixtures and fittings properly; how often do we find (e.g.) 2 screws instead of 4 holding something in place?! And who do you think would be blamed by the HSE if items not installed properly had caused injury?

The Importance of Competent Supervision
See also prosecutions section below

Again, fortunately, nobody was hurt in this recent accident but the investigation highlighted the effects of lack of competent supervision on the ground (as, indeed, did the previous case).

A set of chain blocks and a metre length of bar fell 5 metres to the ground during a lift. The chain blocks were suspended from a hook attached to a proprietary lifting anchor consisting of a cast-in bar which joined to other bars together using a coupler. The investigation showed that the anchor had not been installed in accordance with the design and the supervisor had made the decision to accept the situation without additional (competent) authority.

This is an all-too-typical case of inadequate specialist competence at the workface. Site managers and supervisors have a lot to contend with and are held to be adequately experienced and knowledgeable about construction in general. However, where specialism is required, contractors must acknowledge a deficiency and engage a suitably competent individual or company to properly supervise that specialist operation. The HSE would not see this as a sign of weakness, rather a sign of good management i.e. recognising and properly addressing deficiencies.

Asbestos (yet again!)

IOSH has been running an excellent campaign for some while now to highlight the very real necessity for a full understanding of asbestos and the extreme dangers of ignoring the issue. The ‘No Time to Lose’ campaign enables you to tap into some very valuable reference material (which can be used for tool-box talks or awareness refreshers) via:
https://www.iosh.co.uk/News/No-Time-to-Lose-asbestos.aspx
https://www.notimetolose.org.uk/
https://www.notimetolose.org.uk/free-resources/asbestos-pack-taster/

GENERAL NEWS

Planning for the Future

We all lead very busy lives, and it is typical amongst businesses across the spectrum that management ‘hasn’t got the time’ to sit down and plan properly for potential eventualities and for the future. However, the importance of this was brought home to WHS in no uncertain terms in 2010 when two of our employees were hospitalised and unable to work properly for a couple of months because of a serious car accident (which, we hasten to add, was not their fault!). The effect of suddenly losing two key employees within a small company employing just 7 was enormous in terms of both customer care and finance.

We’ve noted the latest HSE statistics above, but how many businesses plan for the very high likelihood of long-term absences such as experienced by WHS 8 years ago. According to a recent CIPD report:

  • 56% of those companies asked had experienced long-term absences due to mental health
  • 50% due to musculoskeletal injuries
  • 48% due to acute medical conditions
  • 19% due to injuries or accidents (work or non-work related)

 

So the chances of having to deal with long-term (or permanent) absence is very high for any business – and, of course, the effects are increasingly profound on smaller businesses.

Of course, the secret to a stable workforce is to ensure happy and loyal employees. All too often, employers foster discontent and stress through aggressive management, unrealistic expectations and lack of empathy. In the same CIPD report, the top 3 causes of stress amongst employees are due to:

  • 60% volume of work and unattainable expectations by management (resulting in 86% of employees admitting to working when unwell, using leave instead of calling in sick, or working during leave periods)
  • 32% management styles
  • 27% non-work related (e.g. family issues)

 

All of these can be reduced (and productivity increased) by listening and empathising with employees’ needs. We’re not all the same; not everyone can work in the same way or at the same pace. And we should all have the opportunity to relax and switch off (it’s a legal entitlement for a good reason!).

As an aside, the HSE has a ‘Talking Toolkit for Preventing & Managing Stress’; download the toolkit here.

However, the unforeseen happens; so set aside time to plan for business continuity and the ‘what if’ factor before it’s too late.
Planning for business continuity is also vital to prepare any business for hand-over as senior or key staff retire. According to the FSB, small businesses in the UK are heading for a cliff-edge in 7 or 8 years time as few of them have planned far enough ahead to be able to transfer responsibility to others. The result? Senior staff working till they drop and the eventual demise of the Company. Retirement may seem a long way off to a lot of people but, as we all know, time marches on far too quickly and there’s a huge risk of not thinking ahead and training good staff to take over until it’s too late.

‘Business continuity’ is not corporate jargon – it’s essential for all businesses. Take time to plan for the future – especially now that we’re facing an uncertain future because of Brexit!

Asbestos in Cigarettes??!!

As we’ve highlighted many times, and continually in our asbestos awareness training, that there is a strong possibility of asbestos creeping into imported goods – especially via eBay and non-UK portals. And here’s a good example of that very issue – fake cigarettes containing asbestos:
https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/bootleg-cigarettes-containing-asbestos-on-sale-in-belfast-30775111.html

So, if anyone out there is tempted to buy fake cigarettes, be warned! As always, you get what you pay for so, if it’s cheap, there’s a reason for it!

And, with the festive season upon us, the same applies to alcohol – never be tempted to buy from anyone other than reputable suppliers. There have been cases of fake spirits laced with bleach!!

AND FINALLY

Clients and contractors alike should take special note of the first accident mentioned below – a clear demonstration that, as WHS continually emphasises, British Law applies to EVERYONE working in this country, no matter where they are based.

Other prosecutions cited below also demonstrate that British Law applies to ALL Industries!

And just look at the level of fine for the second prosecution – note there had been no accident and the prosecution was brought for failing to plan, manage and monitor the work

Work at height

  • Contractor, Ortec BV of the Netherlands, was fined a total of almost £305,000 and sub-contractor, Mechantech Ltd, a total of over £41,000 after a worker sustained serious head injuries falling 10 metres from a racking system undergoing re-commissioning. No safe system had been established; there were no fall prevention measures in place at all, not even any harnesses as fall arrest (from 10 metres!).
  • MG Corporation Ltd was fined a total of almost £255,000 after ignoring prohibition notices and failing to improve safety. The Company was prosecuted under both the Work at Height Regs and CDM for ‘failing to plan, manage and monitor construction work under their control’.
  • Director of Brooke Ren Ltd, Jason Lycett, was fined a total of over £37,000 after the partial collapse of a building undergoing roof-work on a new build-block of flats. Lycett had been warned pre-construction that the roof needed to be designed by specialists (obviously!) but the warning was ignored. The result was that the roof structure could not withstand the loadings applied. Luckily, there were no injuries as a hoist breakdown meant that no workers were on the roof at the point of collapse. Lucky for the workers, and to some extent, Lycett himself as a fatality would almost certainly have resulted in jail.

 

Asbestos

  • Pascla Huser Design & Build Ltd was fined a total of almost £21,000 for failing to obtain an asbestos survey before refurbishment work. As a result, AIB was not removed by a licensed contractor (as it should be by law), but by the Company itself without any precautions whatsoever.

 

Buried services

  • Southern Gas Networks Plc was fined a total of well over £1.2 million and contractor, Cliffe Contractors Ltd, almost £73,000 after a medium-pressure gas main was damaged and subsequently ignited, causing severe burns to two workers. Cliffe had not employing safe digging techniques so caused the damage; SGN had not followed their own procedures when called in to effect repair, causing the injuries.

 

Segregation of plant, vehicles & people

  • JS Wood & Son, a farm, was fined a total of £107,000 after an employee was struck and killed by a tractor as he stepped out of a calf shed. No thought had been given to how employees could safely exit the shed nor cross the busy tractor route without being struck. Yes, this case involved a farm – but ask yourself whether your own structures are safe to exit and/or have you organised safe traffic routes.
  • Freight Movement Ltd was fined a total of almost £92,000 after a fork lift carrying a full pallet toppled over, 920kg of cardboard falling on a worker. As well as other breaches, the Company had failed to segregate plant and people, which is law (so far as reasonably practicable) for this very reason.
  • Lemon Groundwork Solutions Ltd was fined a total of over £106,000 after a worker suffered multiple leg injuries when a bundle of steel fell from a fork-lift. No safe system of work had been established (to ensure the steel didn’t slip from the forks) nor was there any person/plant segregation.

 

Health

  • Caldreys UK Ltd was fined a total of almost £65,000 for two clear breaches of health-related law:
    • Employees reported Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome after extensive use of pneumatic tools, and
    • No controls had been established to prevent inhalation of silica dusts during the stripping of furnace linings

 

And lastly – failing to report under RIDDOR

  • Malcolm Foyle, trading as S Foyle & Son, was fined almost £3,000 for failing to report under RIDDOR. An employee received broken bones and head injuries when the dumper he was driving overturned in an excavation. Foyle was fined for failing to report the injuries and, upon investigation, also for failing to prevent the overturn of plant, falls into the excavation, or its collapse.

 

DON’T FORGET – THE PROSECUTIONS HIGHLIGHTED IN THESE NEWSLETTERS ARE JUST A FRACTION OF THOSE REPORTED. NON-COMPLIANCE TO HEALTH & SAFETY LAW WILL RESULT IN ENFORCEMENT OR PROSECUTION
AND, MORE IMPORTANTLY, RISKS KILLING OR INJURING SOMEONE

WHS is working for you; help us to help you.
Our aim is to keep people safe and to keep your company working.
To contact WHS, ring: 01952-885885

UKATA Asbestos Awareness Course

Asbestos should be one of the issues at the forefront of our minds in the construction industry as well as other industries, Asbestos Awareness training is a must for all who may come into contact with it during their working day.

Whether you’re a builder, electrician, plumber or install blinds, do you know where you could find asbestos?

For just £60 + VAT per person, attending our UKATA Category A Asbestos Awareness course will give you the knowledge you need to ensure you’re aware of the basics and don’t get caught out. UKATA are a nationally recognised organisation, backed by the HSE, overseeing a high standard of Asbestos Awareness Training delivered by its providers.

4th January 2019
£60 + VAT per person
9am – 12.30pm
Held at our offices in Jackfield, Telford

Please contact Vicki on 01952 885885 or vicki.brown@wenlockhs.co.uk to book your places.

This UKATA course that we are offering for sale, is sold under license from SB Asbestos Management Ltd who is the UKATA approved Professional Member UK1163A, and this company is not a UKATA Professional Member for this classification of training