COMPANY NEWS

STAFF CHANGES

It is with heartfelt thanks and gratitude for his service with Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) that we say a fond farewell to Health & Safety Consultant, Charles Yates.

Charles joined our team in September 2018 and rapidly became a well-respected and valued advisor to his personal clients. He retired on 30 April 2021 but might well be seen occasionally delivering a first-aid course or two. In the meantime, all Charles’s clients will be re-allocated to either Laura (07791-670987) or Emma (07811-417888) who will become their main points of contact from now on; please ring the office (01952-885885) if you’re in any doubt.

We wish Charles a very happy and safe retirement, and sincerely thank him for the very valuable contribution he has made to the continuing and admirable reputation of WHS.

TRAINING

Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) is running a full programme of classroom-based courses at our offices or, upon request, at customers’ premises provided they can meet any necessary Covid-related controls.

WHS has taken the decision to retain some restrictions until at least June; any necessary criteria and restrictions will be personally communicated, both directly at the time of booking and again through joining instructions, ahead of planned courses. It is vital that these are understood and, particularly for the First Aid and CITB courses, relevant information clearly passed to candidates*.

As usual, please contact Vicki at Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) on 01952 885885 or enquiries@wenlockhs.co.uk or vicki@wenlockhs.co.uk to book places.

Please enquire about other courses available, both classroom and non-classroom based; the full range is also detailed on our website:
http://wenlockhealthandsafety.co.uk/

*Some companies have evidently failed to pass on relevant covid-related information to their employees in the past about what they need to bring with them when attending courses; as a result, some candidates have been without refreshments etc. Please do ensure joining instructions are passed on to the candidates.

FIRST AID

1-day Emergency First-Aid at Work course dates are listed below; strict Covid-specific controls will still apply for the moment and will be advised within the joining instructions. Demand is expected to be high, so book places as soon as possible to avoid disappointment:

Dates:

  • 26 May 2021 fully booked but a reserve list is operating
  • 3 June 2021
  • 24 June 2021 limited spaces still available
  • 27 July 2021
  • 25 August 2021
  • 28 September 2021
  • 29 October 2021
  • 24 November 2021
  • 20 December 2021

Cost: £85 + VAT per person

IOSH

A 3-day IOSH Managing Safely course:

Dates:

  • 7, 8 & 9 September 2021

Cost: £395 + VAT per person

CITB Courses

It must be noted that CITB attendance rules are very strict; they MUST be understood and are reiterated here:

  • CITB specifies that candidates must be available to attend each session within the course; failure to do so may require a repeat course.
  • And booked attendance is absolutely vital; because of CITB rules, we may be forced to cancel a course ON THAT MORNING if some candidates fail to take part, to the detriment of all candidates.
  • Strict Covid-specific controls apply and no lunch can be offered; candidates to make their own provision.

Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)

Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week
Dates:

  • 7, 14, 21, 28 July & 4 August 2021 (Wednesdays) fully booked but a reserve list is operating
  • 10, 17, 24 September & 1, 8 October 2021 (Fridays)
  • 15, 22, 29 November & 6, 13 December 2021 (Mondays)

Cost: £495 + VAT per person

Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

  • 7 & 8 June 2021 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 9 & 10 August 2021 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 4 & 5 October 2021 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 9 & 10 December 2021 (Thursday & Friday)

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 July 2021 (Thursday & Friday)
  • 20 & 21 September 2021 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 25 & 26 November 2021 (Thursday & Friday)

Cost: £230 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS) Refresher

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

  • 25 June 2021 (Friday)
  • 20 August 2021 (Friday)
  • 18 October 2021 (Monday)

Cost: £160 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

  • 2 July 2021 (Friday) limited spaces available
  • 6 September 2021 (Monday)
  • 1 November 2021 (Monday)
  • 17 December 2021 (Friday)

Cost: £125 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

COVID 19

RESTRICTIONS STILL APPLY!

It is important to reiterate that, despite the general feeling that things may be getting back to some normality with the declining Covid death and hospitalisation rates, some restrictions (very sensibly) still apply; any hasty loosening of controls will invite another wave, which is something that everyone is desperate to avoid.

WHS has seen a general decline in the implementation and enforcement of controls across sites – the general perception seems to be that, with the very successful and rapid roll-out of the vaccination programme, vaccinated individuals no longer need to be careful. Firstly, large numbers of workers have still not yet been vaccinated so are still vulnerable. Secondly, even those who have received the second dose can still contract and pass on the virus to colleagues, friends and family who may still be vulnerable.

Having both doses of the vaccine does not mean the guidelines and controls don’t apply; they do, and the law can still be brought to bear for violations. It’s vital that employers continue to implement and enforce the necessary controls in and around any workplace until the government advice changes; the HSE and local councils are still monitoring premises and enforcing where necessary.

To quote an excerpt from the Government website:

“After you’ve had the vaccine will you still need to follow all the infection control advice?

The vaccine cannot give you COVID-19 infection, and 2 doses will reduce your chance of becoming seriously ill. No vaccine is completely effective and it will take a few weeks for your body to build up protection.
So, you will still need to follow the guidance in your workplace, including wearing the correct personal protection equipment and taking part in any screening programmes.

To continue to protect yourself, your patients, your family, friends and colleagues you should follow the general advice at work, at home and when you are out and about:

  • practice social distancing
  • wear a face mask
  • wash your hands carefully and frequently
  • follow the current guidance”

Always refer to the Government website before both establishing and/or modifying controls:
https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

HSE NEWS

HSE COVID UPDATES & ADVICE

The HSE has published a range of Covid-related guidance and information to help keep workplaces Covid-secure as restrictions are eased and we all try to get back to some semblance of normality.

  • Equipment stored or left unused for long periods should be checked for deterioration or damage: https://bit.ly/3vUdr7V
  • Water and air-conditioning systems in buildings which have been closed or had reduced occupancy or use should be checked for stagnation or risk of legionella: https://bit.ly/3bfG0Fa
  • Ventilation and air conditioning should have sufficient air-movement and air-exchange to help reduce the spread of Coronavirus and other airborne viruses and bacteria: https://bit.ly/3bfZnhr
  • Non-HSE requirements are also covered such as workplace testing, Test & Trace and vaccinations: https://bit.ly/3tIv49z
  • Gas safety for engineers and landlords: https://bit.ly/2SwsHJO – Note – there is no specific guidance relating to electrical work but the same principles apply

And for additional and the latest current advice and information:
https://bit.ly/3hf7Jtt

And the HSE would like to remind all businesses that there is still a need for Covid to be addressed in the legally required risk assessments which must cover ALL areas of work in ALL work premises, including offices; the HSE is out enforcing this right now.

STRESS TALKING TOOLKIT

Developed specifically for the construction industry, the HSE has published a Work-Related Stress Talking Toolkit* as a valuable and user-friendly first step to promoting positive mental health, supporting those in need and preventing a potentially destructive decline in well-being.

*The Toolkit doesn’t literally talk; it’s published in pdf but encourages help through a series of face-to-face structured discussions and support.

This is the first product introduced to help with the very specific issues within the industry in mind and is aimed primarily at small to medium-sized businesses who employ or use contracted workers.

Download the Talking Toolkit from:
https://bit.ly/3hf4li5

And further HSE information about stress, recommended actions and the support available can be found on:
https://bit.ly/3o1YfTA

LUNG DISEASE

Continuing its current emphasis on the prevention of lung disease and damage, the HSE is drawing attention to the following in-depth information and guidance. Bearing in mind that the current HSE campaign can target any industry, business and/or premises where work could potentially pose a risk to the respiratory health or workers (obviously including the construction industry), it would be prudent to review all your systems and controls to ensure you and/or your sites won’t be caught out should the HSE visit.
Specific information including within the construction industry and its trades:
https://bit.ly/3uC8dNV

Basic information about lung disease, the causes and repercussions:
https://bit.ly/33uiCPI

And recognising, assessing and getting preventative help:
https://bit.ly/2RHlAOc

NOISE EXPOSURE

The HSE has recently revised its noise exposure and hearing protection calculators which are designed to help work out how much workers are or may be exposed to on a daily and weekly basis, estimate the performance of hearing protection and thereby assess/re-assess necessary controls to keep within legal limits. The ready-reckoners can be printed for easy completion by hand.

These, together with a range of invaluable information and resources, can be downloaded from:
https://bit.ly/3hbTzt3

INDUSTRY NEWS

NHBC SAFEMARK

For many years, NHBC has provided its benchmark Safemark accreditation to promote and recognise good standards of health & safety amongst its member contractors within the overriding Safety Schemes in Procurement (SSiP) scheme. However, NHBC has now taken the decision to cease this provision over the next 12 months, beginning 31 March 2021 but accepting renewals up to the deadline of 9 June 2021 (i.e. no applications for renewals will be accepted as from 10 June 2021).

Accreditation certificates will remain valid over their 12-month periods and can be used to gain alternative accreditation through the SSiP ‘deemed to satisfy’ process. Alternatively, NHBC has negotiated a 30% discount with Alcumus SafeContractor for any Safemark accredited contractors not already accredited under SafeContractor scheme.

For those of you yet to gain any type of industry health & safety accreditation, WHS can strongly recommend that this be addressed to vastly improve your marketing potential and safety standards. Schemes such as CHAS, SMAS Worksafe and SafeContractor all verify your company’s capabilities against industry and legal standards and, thus, you have a head start in gaining acceptance on the approved lists of potential clients. Feel free to contact WHS for advice, guidance and assistance to promote your company’s virtues – by engaging WHS, you already have at least a few boxes ticked!

ASBESTOS CONTINUES TO KILL

Following on from the references to lung cancer and respiratory diseases above, it is absolutely astonishing to realise that work-related cancers claim at least 742,000 lives a year worldwide (bearing in mind this is only a conservative estimate as, of course, many countries don’t document work-related deaths at all).

And even more disturbing that upward of 230,000 of these deaths relate to exposure to asbestos.

This figure, first published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health in 2018, dwarfs the previous estimate of 107,000 and, not only proves that the figure cannot be substantiated (again, this has to be a very conservative estimate as many countries still continue to extract the mineral, manufacture asbestos-based products and totally fail to control exposure), but also draws attention to the immeasurable harm done to workers and the public alike from an issue which can easily to controlled if governments and businesses have the will.

All WHS contractors, designers and developers (unless they can honestly say, hand on heart, that they will never come into contact with asbestos-related materials, ACMS, e.g. road contractors) should have, by now, have established a regular programme of asbestos awareness training (minimum) as required by the HSE; if not, ring the WHS office immediately on 01952-885885.

Training into the legally required controls and awareness of the life-threatening issues is the best way to ensure the safety of workers and those members of the public affected, and the HSE reflect this with the very high level of enforcement and prosecutions.

To help with this, and to ensure the spotlight stays on this issue of asbestos (an issue that is unlikely to go away for decades, if at all), the Institute of Occupational Safety & Health (IOSH) launched its No Time to Lose Campaign in 2018 with the aim of raising awareness throughout UK industry and beyond. The Campaign also provides very valuable and freely downloadable resources and advice about asbestos and harm prevention:
https://www.notimetolose.org.uk/

A survey conducted on the third anniversary of the Campaign found that a third of tradespeople contracted never checked the asbestos register before starting work, and half of those weren’t even aware that there has to (legally) be an asbestos register at each commercial premises and that they would be responsible for a survey when working in domestic premises.

No wonder 5,000 people die each year in this country from mesothelioma alone; total figures for deaths from all asbestos-related diseases aren’t available but are estimated at around 10,000. And all asbestos-related diseases are incurable but totally preventable. In the 21st century, it is inexcusable that anyone (worker or public) is exposed to asbestos when all the specific legislation and mechanisms for safe working have been in place for decades. Remember (to quote IOSH):

Prevention remains the only cure

SCAFFOLDING

Just a reminder that there is a wealth of freely downloadable resources available on the NASC (National Access and Scaffolding Association) website, ranging from manual handling to hazardous substances to asbestos to fall prevention to work during covid, all specifically related to the scaffolding industry:
https://nasc.org.uk/product-category/health-and-safety-guidance/

Of course, it is strongly recommended that scaffold companies sign up to the NASC; there are many benefits, not the least being part of an industry-recognised and well-respected trade body that takes pride in working alongside the HSE to develop and promote very high standards:
https://nasc.org.uk/about/

SCAFFOLD DESIGN

The new revision of TG20, the ‘bible’ for scaffold design of all types, is now available online from NASC:
https://bit.ly/2SJ1UKw

TG20:21 can be purchased on annual subscription (to ensure continual accuracy) for £300 per year, discounted to £75 for full NASC members. However, in fairness to existing users, there is a period of free access to the new software which can be accessed using the TG20:13 serial number.

WORK AT HEIGHT

We drew attention in the April newsletter to the No Fall Foundation, a new charitable body that aims to promote education and awareness of the safety issues and best practice relating to work at height, promote the work of the HSE and related industry bodies such as the NASC, IPAF, PASMA and the Ladder Association, and to support those whose lives have been changed by falls.

Anyone can subscribe to the Foundation’s newsletter (free or by making a very gratefully received donation), and there is a wealth of excellent information and experience available via the website:
https://nofallsfoundation.org/index.php/aims-objectives/

For instance, in the first of a series of articles, former HSE Principal Inspector, Ray Cooke, highlights the absolute need to properly plan, organise and manage work at height – no matter what industry you’re in!
https://bit.ly/33CBHiJ
To quote Ray, “Just take a little time and think before you begin”. It could save a life.

And read the stories of the Foundation’s Ambassadors, workers whose lives have been permanently changed by a fall from height and now do all they can to draw attention to the dreadful consequences of carelessness:
https://bit.ly/3uC36xo

LADDER SAFETY

The latest Foundation newsletter also highlighted the very disturbing story of Suffolk County Council Trading Standards’ recent interception of a very dangerous and illegal batch of imported telescopic standing ladders.
Although the ladders appeared to have the correct EN131 and some other correct safety labels, others were either missing or incorrect, prompting investigation and testing – with quite horrendous results!
https://bit.ly/3txJNnl

This story just goes to prove that all safety-related items, whether it be plant, equipment, PPE or materials, must be purchased through reputable dealers. NEVER cut corners; NEVER be tempted to buy cheap. Low prices will mean low standards and probably illegal items: low standards will risk serious harm or death.

A guide to the single legal standard for ladders, EN131, can be found on the Ladder Association’s website:
https://bit.ly/3vSzpZ6

ACCESS SAFETY IN TIGHT SPACES

Do you need to access a tight space? Do you have difficulty working out what access equipment is appropriate? The new Ecolift from JLG fits the bill perfectly, is reasonably priced and, alternatively, is widely available from plant hirers:
https://www.jlg.com/en/equipment/low-level-access/non-powered-ecolifts/ecolift70

Coming in at just 0.7m width and 1.28m length, the Ecolift can reach a platform height of up to 2.2m, giving access to heights of up to 4.2m – sufficiently small to slip into those really tight spaces. In addition, it’s called the Ecolift for very good reasons because it’s battery, power and oil free, so virtually maintenance- and running-cost-free.

It is prudent to use ‘push around vertical equipment’ where possible (to avoid the risks associated with mechanised equipment) and this, again, fits the bill perfectly being lightweight and easy to manually manoeuvre but with a safe working load of 150kg (1 person + tools). And, as an added bonus, IPAF (the International Powered Access Federation, the industry leader in powered access to height) has a specific Push Around Vertical Course (IPAF-PAV) for users.

GENERAL NEWS

TINNITUS

With the advent of the Noise at Work Regulations 2005 (not to mention the general health & safety duties within the Health & Safety at Work Act going way back to 1974), occupational hearing loss and tinnitus should be a thing of the past. Sadly, it isn’t and many are still subjected to unreasonably high levels of noise of spells of exposure. Obviously, noise exposure can occur at home as well as at work (rock concerts can still break the sound barrier!) and it’s up to all of us to take care of ourselves. But there’s no excuse these days for legal requirements to be ignored or unenforced (refer to the article above about the HSE Noise Calculator).

Noise exposure can result in, not only deafness, but a range of other debilitating conditions as well such as tinnitus (ringing in the ears). It may sound improbable but tinnitus can become so intense that it’s becomes all-consuming and, in at least one case, has resulted in suicide.

Chris Martin of Coldplay spoke out last year about how debilitating his tinnitus had become over the years. He had apparently ignored the initial signs of tinnitus, developed as a young lad listening to loud rock music, and then performed without hearing protection when he joined Coldplay in 1996. Like with so many musicians, hearing loss isn’t taken seriously but the consequences have been profound for Chris and he’s now an advocate for spreading awareness of the issue within the industry.

Admittedly, rock music is perhaps an extreme example of exposure to unreasonable noise levels – but there are still regular prosecutions against business for failing to assess and control noise exposure for their employees. Now may the time to go back and review what you have in place before it’s too late. Make sure you know the noise levels for all equipment – but also make sure you know the likely total noise levels when several pieces are working at once. How long is each employee exposed to noise and what controls are in place (remember that, legally, PPE is a ‘last resort’ only)? And is health surveillance in place?

As highlighted before, the HSE has a long-term campaign to enforce health surveillance so take notice of the HSE advice about what’s required relating to noise, as well as COSHH and vibration:
https://bit.ly/3vV4xXW

COVID FINANCIAL SUPPORT

For those self-employed workers who haven’t yet received financial support when their work has ceased due to Covid, it may be advisable to log into the Government’s gov.uk website to see whether you can claim a grant against the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS):
https://bit.ly/2RKesAA

This tranche of the grant will cover 80% of 3 months’ average trading profit and can be claimed from April 2021. If this doesn’t affect you, maybe you know of friends or relatives who could benefit? It covers all industries.

In addition, for workers who have to work from home (either normally or due to Covid) can claim tax relief of £6 per week to cover costs. Not a huge amount but every little helps, as they say!
https://www.gov.uk/tax-relief-for-employees/working-at-home

NATIONAL LIVING WAGE

There are a few increases in statutory rates from April 2021 of which everyone should be aware.

New National Living Wage (NLW) for:

23+ year olds – £8.91/hour note the threshold has decreased to include 23 and 24 year-olds
21-22 years – £8.36/hour
18-20 years – £6.56/hour
16-17 years – £4.62/hour
Apprentices – £4.30/hour

New maternity/paternity/etc – £151.97/week
New sick pay – £96.35/week

New max limit for redundancy calculations – £544/week

KICHSTART SCHEME

The Government’s Kickstart Scheme (which aims to give young people a helping hand because of obstacles through Covid) currently runs to 31 December 2021. It provides 100% NLW, NI and pension contributions for 25 hours a week work by 16-24 year-olds; employers can pay more voluntarily. However, the posts must be new; they cannot be existing roles or vacancies.
https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/kickstart-scheme

As an interesting footnote, NASC report than over 400 Kickstart places have been successfully provided by 77 of its members – a great example of the huge potential of this scheme in the construction industry:
https://nasc.org.uk/blog/article/nasc-kickstart-numbers-soar-past-400-placements/

AND FINALLY

Work at height…as usual

We usually concentrate on prosecutions; however, these alone don’t give a fair picture of just how bad the situation still is after so many years of specific work at height legislation, developed best practice and HSE campaigns. So, this time we begin by including a number (but not an exhaustive list – there are many, many more) of recent deaths and serious injuries related to work at height which are pending HSE investigation.

  • Grant Maloney, a 55-year old father of 7 who had been a roofer since he was 16, died in January after falling from a ladder in Kent: https://bit.ly/3uEvIWH
  • Michael Harrison, a 42-year old scaffolder, died when he fell from height in Holmes Chapel in February. https://bit.ly/3o3P2Km
  • A 50-year old worker died after falling from scaffolding in Gwynedd in March. https://bit.ly/3hcZnlR
  • A 36-year old worker died after falling from the roof of a building in Warrington in February. https://bit.ly/2RHaSXY
  • Two fatalities on farms. A man was killed in Cheshire in February when he fell from an unsecured wooden crate being lifted by a forklift while he carried out roof-work. A farm worker was killed in Dorset in January when he was struck on the head by falling concrete. https://bit.ly/3tzHMar
  • A contractor suffered life-changing injuries after falling 25 feet from the roof of a care home in Lincolnshire in February. https://bit.ly/3bcuDxC
  • 36-year old, Filipe Abreu, was left fighting for his life after he fell from scaffolding in Jersey in February. https://bit.ly/3haKNvk
  • A worker suffered life-changing injuries after he fell 14 feet through a sky-light in Southampton in March. https://bit.ly/3o4MMCD
  • A worker sustained a broken ankle after he fell from height in Suffolk in March; more serious injury was prevented as he ‘became stuck’ someway off the ground. https://bit.ly/3eB3SoG
  • A tree surgeon was airlifted to Southampton General Hospital after an accident that happened in a garden in the Isle of Wight in March. https://bit.ly/33vopof

Work at height…and still the prosecutions keep coming

  • In January, the governing body of Christ the King Catholic High School & Sixth Form Centre in Southport was fined a total of almost £16,000 after an employee fell 3m from a roof whilst trying to retrieve balls. A reminder that the rules apply to ALL employers in ALL circumstances for a very good reason!
  • In February, R4 Industrial Roofing Cladding Systems Ltd fined a total of almost £186,000 after an employee died falling 10m through a roof-light.
  • In March, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy was fined a massive total of over £549,600 after an agency worker fell 1.8m from a turbine blade under manufacture at its factory in Hull suffering multiple broken bones and a punctured lung.
  • Again, a reminder that the rules apply to ALL employers in ALL circumstances for a very good reason!

And in April alone:
Just note how many of these prosecutions have resulted from observations, not accidents.

  • Bradley Demolition Ltd was fined a massive total of almost £222,000 after the operator of a boom-type cherry picker became trapped between the platform rail and the roof of an industrial shed, sustaining life-changing injuries.
  • Mark Wakefield, trading as Mark Wakefield Construction, was fined a total of £3,400 after a worker fell 4m through the fragile roof-light of an agricultural building, sustaining multiple fractures to his spine.
  • Greenway Partnership Ltd was fined a total of almost £28,000 after an apprentice fell 2m from an unprotected flat roof at a school undergoing part-demolition (photo), suffering head and facial injuries.
  • The joint clients of a housing project in Canvey Island, Richard Balls and London & Essex Property Partnership Ltd, and principal contractor, Ludovic Calo, were given sentences ranging from 29-week suspended jail terms and 3-month electronic curfews (for the 2 individuals), a £20,000 fine (for London & Essex), and orders to each pay £5,000 costs after the public reported multiple safety breaches including work at height.
  • JNR Developers Ltd was fined a total of £40,000 and Director, Mehrded Chegounchei, given a 6-month suspended jail sentence and ordered to carry out 80 hours of unpaid work after being found guilty of multiple safety breaches including work at height.
  • SSF Construction Ltd was fined a total of over £51,000 after being observed during a routine HSE visit carrying out unsafe work at height.
  • Ron Richardson Construction Ltd was fined a total of over £21,000 after two employees were clearly seen working close to the unprotected edge to a flat roof (photo)

Footnote:

During April 2021 alone, there were 9 prosecutions with a total of £1,189,219 in fines alone being levied, plus significant HSE and court costs attached to each. An accident may result, not only in a death, it may also result in the death of the offending company.

And just a final note of warning, just in case anyone is tempted not to report an accident:

Paul Adams, trading as Surrey Conversions, was jailed for 24 weeks and ordered to pay costs of over £2,000 for failing to report an accident on his site that resulted in an amputation. This case demonstrates both the legal responsibility to report and the high importance placed on investigation to prevent recurrence.

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

STAFF CHANGES

It is with heartfelt thanks and gratitude for his service with Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) that we say a fond farewell to Health & Safety Consultant, Charles Yates.

Charles joined our team in September 2018 and rapidly became a well-respected and valued advisor to his personal clients. He retired on 30 April 2021 but might well be seen occasionally delivering a first-aid course or two. In the meantime, all Charles’s clients will be re-allocated to either Laura (07791-670987) or Emma (07811-417888) who will become their main points of contact from now on; please ring the office (01952-885885) if you’re in any doubt.

We wish Charles a very happy and safe retirement, and sincerely thank him for the very valuable contribution he has made to the continuing and admirable reputation of WHS.

TRAINING

Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) is running a full programme of classroom-based courses at our offices or, upon request, at customers’ premises provided they can meet any necessary Covid-related controls.

WHS has taken the decision to retain some restrictions until at least June; any necessary criteria and restrictions will be personally communicated, both directly at the time of booking and again through joining instructions, ahead of planned courses. It is vital that these are understood and, particularly for the First Aid and CITB courses, relevant information clearly passed to candidates*.

As usual, please contact Vicki at Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) on 01952 885885 or enquiries@wenlockhs.co.uk or vicki@wenlockhs.co.uk to book places.

Please enquire about other courses available, both classroom and non-classroom based; the full range is also detailed on our website:
http://wenlockhealthandsafety.co.uk/

*Some companies have evidently failed to pass on relevant covid-related information to their employees in the past about what they need to bring with them when attending courses; as a result, some candidates have been without refreshments etc. Please do ensure joining instructions are passed on to the candidates.

FIRST AID

1-day Emergency First-Aid at Work course dates are listed below; strict Covid-specific controls will still apply for the moment and will be advised within the joining instructions. Demand is expected to be high, so book places as soon as possible to avoid disappointment:

Dates:

  • 26 May 2021 fully booked but a reserve list is operating
  • 3 June 2021
  • 24 June 2021 limited spaces still available
  • 27 July 2021
  • 25 August 2021
  • 28 September 2021
  • 29 October 2021
  • 24 November 2021
  • 20 December 2021

Cost: £85 + VAT per person

IOSH

A 3-day IOSH Managing Safely course:

Dates:

  • 7, 8 & 9 September 2021

Cost: £395 + VAT per person

CITB Courses

It must be noted that CITB attendance rules are very strict; they MUST be understood and are reiterated here:

  • CITB specifies that candidates must be available to attend each session within the course; failure to do so may require a repeat course.
  • And booked attendance is absolutely vital; because of CITB rules, we may be forced to cancel a course ON THAT MORNING if some candidates fail to take part, to the detriment of all candidates.
  • Strict Covid-specific controls apply and no lunch can be offered; candidates to make their own provision.

Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)

Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week
Dates:

  • 7, 14, 21, 28 July & 4 August 2021 (Wednesdays) fully booked but a reserve list is operating
  • 10, 17, 24 September & 1, 8 October 2021 (Fridays)
  • 15, 22, 29 November & 6, 13 December 2021 (Mondays)

Cost: £495 + VAT per person

Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

  • 7 & 8 June 2021 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 9 & 10 August 2021 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 4 & 5 October 2021 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 9 & 10 December 2021 (Thursday & Friday)

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 July 2021 (Thursday & Friday)
  • 20 & 21 September 2021 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 25 & 26 November 2021 (Thursday & Friday)

Cost: £230 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS) Refresher

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

  • 25 June 2021 (Friday)
  • 20 August 2021 (Friday)
  • 18 October 2021 (Monday)

Cost: £160 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

  • 2 July 2021 (Friday) limited spaces available
  • 6 September 2021 (Monday)
  • 1 November 2021 (Monday)
  • 17 December 2021 (Friday)

Cost: £125 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

COVID 19

RESTRICTIONS STILL APPLY!

It is important to reiterate that, despite the general feeling that things may be getting back to some normality with the declining Covid death and hospitalisation rates, some restrictions (very sensibly) still apply; any hasty loosening of controls will invite another wave, which is something that everyone is desperate to avoid.

WHS has seen a general decline in the implementation and enforcement of controls across sites – the general perception seems to be that, with the very successful and rapid roll-out of the vaccination programme, vaccinated individuals no longer need to be careful. Firstly, large numbers of workers have still not yet been vaccinated so are still vulnerable. Secondly, even those who have received the second dose can still contract and pass on the virus so colleagues, friends and family can still be vulnerable

Having both doses of the vaccine does not mean the guidelines and controls don’t apply; they do, and the law can still be brought to bear for violations. It’s vital that employers continue to implement and enforce the necessary controls in and around any workplace until the government advice changes; the HSE and local councils are still monitoring premises and enforcing where necessary.

To quote an excerpt from the Government website:

“After you’ve had the vaccine will you still need to follow all the infection control advice?

The vaccine cannot give you COVID-19 infection, and 2 doses will reduce your chance of becoming seriously ill. No vaccine is completely effective and it will take a few weeks for your body to build up protection.
So, you will still need to follow the guidance in your workplace, including wearing the correct personal protection equipment and taking part in any screening programmes.

To continue to protect yourself, your patients, your family, friends and colleagues you should follow the general advice at work, at home and when you are out and about:

  • practice social distancing
  • wear a face mask
  • wash your hands carefully and frequently
  • follow the current guidance”

Always refer to the Government website before both establishing and/or modifying controls:
https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

HSE NEWS

HSE COVID UPDATES & ADVICE

The HSE has published a range of Covid-related guidance and information to help keep workplaces Covid-secure as restrictions are eased and we try and get back to some semblance of normality.

  • Equipment stored or left unused for long periods should be checked for deterioration or damage: https://bit.ly/3vUdr7V
  • Water and air-conditioning systems in buildings which have been closed or had reduced occupancy or use should be checked for stagnation or risk of legionella: https://bit.ly/3bfG0Fa
  • Ventilation and air conditioning should have sufficient air-movement and air-exchange to help reduce the spread of Coronavirus and other airborne viruses and bacteria: https://bit.ly/3bfZnhr
  • Non-HSE requirements are also covered such as workplace testing, Test & Trace and vaccinations: https://bit.ly/3tIv49z
  • Gas safety for engineers and landlords: https://bit.ly/2SwsHJO – Note – there is no specific guidance relating to electrical work but the same principles apply
  • And for additional and the latest current advice and information: https://bit.ly/3hf7Jtt

And the HSE would like to remind all businesses that there is still a need for Covid to be addressed in the legally required risk assessments which must cover ALL areas of work in ALL work premises, including offices; the HSE is out enforcing this right now.

STRESS TALKING TOOLKIT

Developed specifically for the construction industry, the HSE has published a Work-Related Stress Talking Toolkit* as a valuable and user-friendly first step to promoting positive mental health, supporting those in need and preventing a potentially destructive decline in well-being.

*The Toolkit doesn’t literally talk; it’s published in pdf but encourages help through a series of face-to-face structured discussions and support.

This is the first product introduced to help with the very specific issues within the industry in mind and is aimed primarily at small to medium-sized businesses who employ or use contracted workers.

Download the Talking Toolkit from:
https://bit.ly/3hf4li5

And further HSE information about stress, recommended actions and the support available can be found on:
https://bit.ly/3o1YfTA

LUNG DISEASE

Continuing its current emphasis on the prevention of lung disease and damage, the HSE is drawing attention to the following in-depth information and guidance. Bearing in mind that the current HSE campaign can target any industry, business and/or premises where work could potentially pose a risk to the respiratory health or workers (obviously including the construction industry), it would be prudent to review all your systems and controls to ensure you and/or your sites won’t be caught out should the HSE visit.

Specific information including within the construction industry and its trades:
https://bit.ly/3uC8dNV

Basic information about lung disease, the causes and repercussions:
https://bit.ly/33uiCPI

And recognising, assessing and getting preventative help:
https://bit.ly/2RHlAOc

NOISE EXPOSURE

The HSE has recently revised its noise exposure and hearing protection calculators which are designed to help work out how much workers are or may be exposed to on a daily and weekly basis, estimate the performance of hearing protection and thereby assess/re-assess necessary controls to keep within legal limits. The ready-reckoners can be printed for easy completion by hand.

These, together with a range of invaluable information and resources, can be downloaded from:
https://bit.ly/3hbTzt3

INDUSTRY NEWS

NHBC SAFEMARK

For many years, NHBC has provided its benchmark Safemark accreditation to promote and recognise good standards of health & safety amongst its member contractors within the overriding Safety Schemes in Procurement (SSiP) scheme. However, NHBC has now taken the decision to cease this provision over the next 12 months, beginning 31 March 2021 but accepting renewals up to the deadline of 9 June 2021 (i.e. no applications for renewals will be accepted as from 10 June 2021).

Accreditation certificates will remain valid over their 12-month periods and can be used to gain alternative accreditation through the SSiP ‘deemed to satisfy’ process. Alternatively, NHBC has negotiated a 30% discount with Alcumus SafeContractor for any Safemark accredited contractors not already accredited under SafeContractor scheme.

For those of you yet to gain any type of industry health & safety accreditation, WHS can strongly recommend that this be addressed to vastly improve your marketing potential and safety standards. Schemes such as CHAS, SMAS Worksafe and SafeContractor all verify your company’s capabilities against industry and legal standards and, thus, you have a head start in gaining acceptance on the approved lists of potential clients. Feel free to contact WHS for advice, guidance and assistance to promote your company’s virtues – by engaging WHS, you already have at least a few boxes ticked!

ASBESTOS CONTINUES TO KILL

Following on from the references to lung cancer and respiratory diseases above, it is absolutely astonishing to realise that work-related cancers claim at least 742,000 lives a year worldwide (bearing in mind this is only a conservative estimate as, of course, many countries don’t document work-related deaths at all).

And even more disturbing that upward of 230,000 of these deaths relate to exposure to asbestos.

This figure, first published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health in 2018, dwarfs the previous estimate of 107,000 and, not only proves that the figure cannot be substantiated (again, this has to be a very conservative estimate as many countries still continue to extract the mineral, manufacture asbestos-based products and totally fail to control exposure), but also draws attention to the immeasurable harm done to workers and the public alike from an issue which can easily to controlled if governments and businesses have the will.

All WHS contractors, designers and developers (unless they can honestly say, hand on heart, that they will never come into contact with asbestos-related materials, ACMS, e.g. road contractors) should have, by now, have established a regular programme of asbestos awareness training (minimum) as required by the HSE; if not, ring the WHS office immediately on 01952-885885.

Training into the legally required controls and awareness of the life-threatening issues is the best way to ensure the safety of workers and those members of the public affected, and the HSE reflect this with the very high level of enforcement and prosecutions.

To help with this, and to ensure the spotlight stays on this issue of asbestos (an issue that is unlikely to go away for decades, if at all), the Institute of Occupational Safety & Health (IOSH) launched its No Time to Lose Campaign in 2018 with the aim of raising awareness throughout UK industry and beyond. The Campaign also provides very valuable and freely downloadable resources and advice about asbestos and harm prevention:
https://www.notimetolose.org.uk/

A survey conducted on the third anniversary of the Campaign found that a third of tradespeople contracted never checked the asbestos register before starting work, and half of those weren’t even aware that there has to (legally) be an asbestos register at each commercial premises and that they would be responsible for a survey when working in domestic premises.

No wonder 5,000 people die each year in this country from mesothelioma alone; total figures for deaths from all asbestos-related diseases aren’t available but are estimated at around 10,000. And all asbestos-related diseases are incurable but totally preventable. In the 21st century, it is inexcusable that anyone (worker or public) is exposed to asbestos when all the specific legislation and mechanisms for safe working have been in place for decades. Remember (to quote IOSH):

Prevention remains the only cure

WORK AT HEIGHT

We drew attention in the April newsletter to the No Fall Foundation, a new charitable body that aims to promote education and awareness of the safety issues and best practice relating to work at height, promote the work of the HSE and related industry bodies such as the NASC, IPAF, PASMA and the Ladder Association, and to support those whose lives have been changed by falls.

Anyone can subscribe to the Foundation’s newsletter (free or by making a very gratefully received donation), and there is a wealth of excellent information and experience available via the website:
https://nofallsfoundation.org/index.php/aims-objectives/

For instance, in the first of a series of articles, former HSE Principal Inspector, Ray Cooke, highlights the absolute need to properly plan, organise and manage work at height – no matter what industry you’re in!
https://bit.ly/33CBHiJ
To quote Ray, “Just take a little time and think before you begin”. It could save a life.

And read the stories of the Foundation’s Ambassadors, workers whose lives have been permanently changed by a fall from height and now do all they can to draw attention to the dreadful consequences of carelessness:
https://bit.ly/3uC36xo

LADDER SAFETY

The latest Foundation newsletter also highlighted the very disturbing story of Suffolk County Council Trading Standards’ recent interception of a very dangerous and illegal batch of imported telescopic standing ladders.
Although the ladders appeared to have the correct EN131 and some other correct safety labels, others were either missing or incorrect, prompting investigation and testing – with quite horrendous results!
https://bit.ly/3txJNnl

This story just goes to prove that all safety-related items, whether it be plant, equipment, PPE or materials, must be purchased through reputable dealers. NEVER cut corners; NEVER be tempted to buy cheap. Low prices will mean low standards and probably illegal items: low standards will risk serious harm or death.

A guide to the single legal standard for ladders, EN131, can be found on the Ladder Association’s website:
https://bit.ly/3vSzpZ6

ACCESS SAFETY IN TIGHT SPACES

Do you need to access a tight space? Do you have difficulty working out what access equipment is appropriate? The new Ecolift from JLG fits the bill perfectly, is reasonably priced and, alternatively, is widely available from plant hirers:
https://www.jlg.com/en/equipment/low-level-access/non-powered-ecolifts/ecolift70

Coming in at just 0.7m width and 1.28m length, the Ecolift can reach a platform height of up to 2.2m, giving access to heights of up to 4.2m – sufficiently small to slip into those really tight spaces. In addition, it’s called the Ecolift for very good reasons because it’s battery, power and oil free, so virtually maintenance- and running-cost-free.

It is prudent to use ‘push around vertical equipment’ where possible (to avoid the risks associated with mechanised equipment) and this, again, fits the bill perfectly being lightweight and easy to manually manoeuvre but with a safe working load of 150kg (1 person + tools). And, as an added bonus, IPAF (the International Powered Access Federation, the industry leader in powered access to height) has a specific Push Around Vertical Course (IPAF-PAV) for users.

GENERAL NEWS

TINNITUS

With the advent of the Noise at Work Regulations 2005 (not to mention the general health & safety duties within the Health & Safety at Work Act going way back to 1974), occupational hearing loss and tinnitus should be a thing of the past. Sadly, it isn’t and many are still subjected to unreasonably high levels of noise of spells of exposure. Obviously, noise exposure can occur at home as well as at work (rock concerts can still break the sound barrier!) and it’s up to all of us to take care of ourselves. But there’s no excuse these days for legal requirements to be ignored or unenforced (refer to the article above about the HSE Noise Calculator).

Noise exposure can result in, not only deafness, but a range of other debilitating conditions as well such as tinnitus (ringing in the ears). It may sound improbable but tinnitus can become so intense that it’s becomes all-consuming and, in at least one case, has resulted in suicide.

Chris Martin of Coldplay spoke out last year about how debilitating his tinnitus had become over the years. He had apparently ignored the initial signs of tinnitus, developed as a young lad listening to loud rock music, and then performed without hearing protection when he joined Coldplay in 1996. Like with so many musicians, hearing loss isn’t taken seriously but the consequences have been profound for Chris and he’s now an advocate for spreading awareness of the issue within the industry.

Admittedly, rock music is perhaps an extreme example of exposure to unreasonable noise levels – but there are still regular prosecutions against business for failing to assess and control noise exposure for their employees. Now may the time to go back and review what you have in place before it’s too late. Make sure you know the noise levels for all equipment – but also make sure you know the likely total noise levels when several pieces are working at once. How long is each employee exposed to noise and what controls are in place (remember that, legally, PPE is a ‘last resort’ only)? And is health surveillance in place?

As highlighted before, the HSE has a long-term campaign to enforce health surveillance so take notice of the HSE advice about what’s required relating to noise, as well as COSHH and vibration:
https://bit.ly/3vV4xXW

COVID FINANCIAL SUPPORT

For those self-employed workers who haven’t yet received financial support when their work has ceased due to Covid, it may be advisable to log into the Government’s gov.uk website to see whether you can claim a grant against the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS):
https://bit.ly/2RKesAA

This tranche of the grant will cover 80% of 3 months’ average trading profit and can be claimed from April 2021. If this doesn’t affect you, maybe you know of friends or relatives who could benefit? It covers all industries.

In addition, for workers who have to work from home (either normally or due to Covid) can claim tax relief of £6 per week to cover costs. Not a huge amount but every little helps, as they say!
https://www.gov.uk/tax-relief-for-employees/working-at-home

NATIONAL LIVING WAGE

There are a few increases in statutory rates from April 2021 of which everyone should be aware.

New National Living Wage (NLW) for:

23+ year olds – £8.91/hour note the threshold has decreased to include 23 and 24 year-olds
21-22 years – £8.36/hour
18-20 years – £6.56/hour
16-17 years – £4.62/hour
Apprentices – £4.30/hour

New maternity/paternity/etc – £151.97/week
New sick pay – £96.35/week

New max limit for redundancy calculations – £544/week

KICHSTART SCHEME

The Government’s Kickstart Scheme (which aims to give young people a helping hand because of obstacles through Covid) currently runs to 31 December 2021. It provides 100% NLW, NI and pension contributions for 25 hours a week work by 16-24 year-olds; employers can pay more voluntarily. However, the posts must be new; they cannot be existing roles or vacancies.
https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/kickstart-scheme

As an interesting footnote, NASC report than over 400 Kickstart places have been successfully provided by 77 of its members – a great example of the huge potential of this scheme in the construction industry:
https://nasc.org.uk/blog/article/nasc-kickstart-numbers-soar-past-400-placements/

AND FINALLY

Work at height…as usual

We usually concentrate on prosecutions; however, these alone don’t give a fair picture of just how bad the situation still is after so many years of specific work at height legislation, developed best practice and HSE campaigns. So, this time we begin by including a number (but not an exhaustive list – there are many, many more) of recent deaths and serious injuries related to work at height which are pending HSE investigation.

  • Grant Maloney, a 55-year old father of 7 who had been a roofer since he was 16, died in January after falling from a ladder in Kent: https://bit.ly/3uEvIWH
  • Michael Harrison, a 42-year old scaffolder, died when he fell from height in Holmes Chapel in February. https://bit.ly/3o3P2Km
  • A 50-year old worker died after falling from scaffolding in Gwynedd in March. https://bit.ly/3hcZnlR
  • A 36-year old worker died after falling from the roof of a building in Warrington in February. https://bit.ly/2RHaSXY
  • Two fatalities on farms. A man was killed in Cheshire in February when he fell from an unsecured wooden crate being lifted by a forklift while he carried out roof-work. A farm worker was killed in Dorset in January when he was struck on the head by falling concrete. https://bit.ly/3tzHMar
  • A contractor suffered life-changing injuries after falling 25 feet from the roof of a care home in Lincolnshire in February. https://bit.ly/3bcuDxC
  • 36-year old, Filipe Abreu, was left fighting for his life after he fell from scaffolding in Jersey in February. https://bit.ly/3haKNvk
  • A worker suffered life-changing injuries after he fell 14 feet through a sky-light in Southampton in March. https://bit.ly/3o4MMCD
  • A worker sustained a broken ankle after he fell from height in Suffolk in March; more serious injury was prevented as he ‘became stuck’ someway off the ground. https://bit.ly/3eB3SoG
  • A tree surgeon was airlifted to Southampton General Hospital after an accident that happened in a garden in the Isle of Wight in March. https://bit.ly/33vopof

Work at height…and still the prosecutions keep coming

  • In January, the governing body of Christ the King Catholic High School & Sixth Form Centre in Southport was fined a total of almost £16,000 after an employee fell 3m from a roof whilst trying to retrieve balls.
  • A reminder that the rules apply to ALL employers in ALL circumstances for a very good reason!
  • In February, R4 Industrial Roofing Cladding Systems Ltd fined a total of almost £186,000 after an employee died falling 10m through a roof-light.
  • In March, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy was fined a massive total of over £549,600 after an agency worker fell 1.8m from a turbine blade under manufacture at its factory in Hull suffering multiple broken bones and a punctured lung. Again, a reminder that the rules apply to ALL employers in ALL circumstances for a very good reason!

And in April alone:
Just note how many of these prosecutions have resulted from observations, not accidents.

  • Bradley Demolition Ltd was fined a massive total of almost £222,000 after the operator of a boom-type cherry picker became trapped between the platform rail and the roof of an industrial shed, sustaining life-changing injuries.
  • Greenway Partnership Ltd was fined a total of almost £28,000 after an apprentice fell 2m from an unprotected flat roof at a school undergoing part-demolition (photo), suffering head and facial injuries.
  • Mark Wakefield, trading as Mark Wakefield Construction, was fined a total of £3,400 after a worker fell 4m through the fragile roof-light of an agricultural building, sustaining multiple fractures to his spine.
  • The joint clients of a housing project in Canvey Island, Richard Balls and London & Essex Property Partnership Ltd, and principal contractor, Ludovic Calo, were given sentences ranging from 29-week suspended jail terms and 3-month electronic curfews (for the 2 individuals), a £20,000 fine (for London & Essex), and orders to each pay £5,000 costs after the public reported multiple safety breaches including work at height.
  • JNR Developers Ltd was fined a total of £40,000 and Director, Mehrded Chegounchei, given a 6-month suspended jail sentence and ordered to carry out 80 hours of unpaid work after being found guilty of multiple safety breaches including work at height.
  • SSF Construction Ltd was fined a total of over £51,000 after being observed during a routine HSE visit carrying out unsafe work at height.
  • Ron Richardson Construction Ltd was fined a total of over £21,000 after two employees were clearly seen working close to the unprotected edge to a flat roof (photo)

Footnote:

During April 2021 alone, there were 9 prosecutions with a total of £1,189,219 in fines alone being levied, plus significant HSE and court costs attached to each. An accident may result, not only in a death, it may also result in the death of the offending company.

And just a final note of warning, just in case anyone is tempted not to report an accident:

Paul Adams, trading as Surrey Conversions, was jailed for 24 weeks and ordered to pay costs of over £2,000 for failing to report an accident on his site that resulted in an amputation.

This case demonstrates both the legal responsibility to report and the high importance placed on investigation to prevent recurrence.

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

STAFF CHANGES

It is with heartfelt thanks and gratitude for his service with Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) that we say a fond farewell to Health & Safety Consultant, Charles Yates.

Charles joined our team in September 2018 and rapidly became a well-respected and valued advisor to his personal clients. He retired on 30 April 2021 but might well be seen occasionally delivering a first-aid course or two. In the meantime, all Charles’s clients will be re-allocated to either Laura (07791-670987) or Emma (07811-417888) who will become their main points of contact from now on; please ring the office (01952-885885) if you’re in any doubt.

We wish Charles a very happy and safe retirement, and sincerely thank him for the very valuable contribution he has made to the continuing and admirable reputation of WHS.

TRAINING

Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) is running a full programme of classroom-based courses at our offices or, upon request, at customers’ premises provided they can meet any necessary Covid-related controls.

WHS has taken the decision to retain some restrictions until at least June; any necessary criteria and restrictions will be personally communicated, both directly at the time of booking and again through joining instructions, ahead of planned courses. It is vital that these are understood and, particularly for the First Aid and CITB courses, relevant information clearly passed to candidates*.

As usual, please contact Vicki at Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) on 01952 885885 or enquiries@wenlockhs.co.uk or vicki@wenlockhs.co.uk to book places.

Please enquire about other courses available, both classroom and non-classroom based; the full range is also detailed on our website:
http://wenlockhealthandsafety.co.uk/

*Some companies have evidently failed to pass on relevant covid-related information to their employees in the past about what they need to bring with them when attending courses; as a result, some candidates have been without refreshments etc. Please do ensure joining instructions are passed on to the candidates.

FIRST AID

1-day Emergency First-Aid at Work course dates are listed below; strict Covid-specific controls will still apply for the moment and will be advised within the joining instructions. Demand is expected to be high, so book places as soon as possible to avoid disappointment:

Dates:

  • 26 May 2021 fully booked but a reserve list is operating
  • 3 June 2021
  • 24 June 2021 limited spaces still available
  • 27 July 2021
  • 25 August 2021
  • 28 September 2021
  • 29 October 2021
  • 24 November 2021
  • 20 December 2021

Cost: £85 + VAT per person

IOSH

A 3-day IOSH Managing Safely course:

Dates:

  • 7, 8 & 9 September 2021

Cost: £395 + VAT per person

COVID 19

RESTRICTIONS STILL APPLY!

It is important to reiterate that, despite the general feeling that things may be getting back to some normality with the declining Covid death and hospitalisation rates, some restrictions (very sensibly) still apply; any hasty loosening of controls will invite another wave, which is something that everyone is desperate to avoid.

WHS has seen a general decline in the implementation and enforcement of controls across sites – the general perception seems to be that, with the very successful and rapid roll-out of the vaccination programme, vaccinated individuals no longer need to be careful. Firstly, large numbers of workers have still not yet been vaccinated so are still vulnerable. Secondly, even those who have received the second dose can still contract and pass on the virus so colleagues, friends and family can still be vulnerable

Having both doses of the vaccine does not mean the guidelines and controls don’t apply; they do, and the law can still be brought to bear for violations. It’s vital that employers continue to implement and enforce the necessary controls in and around any workplace until the government advice changes; the HSE and local councils are still monitoring premises and enforcing where necessary.

To quote an excerpt from the Government website:

*After you’ve had the vaccine will you still need to follow all the infection control advice?

The vaccine cannot give you COVID-19 infection, and 2 doses will reduce your chance of becoming seriously ill. No vaccine is completely effective and it will take a few weeks for your body to build up protection.
So, you will still need to follow the guidance in your workplace, including wearing the correct personal protection equipment and taking part in any screening programmes.

To continue to protect yourself, your patients, your family, friends and colleagues you should follow the general advice at work, at home and when you are out and about:

  • practice social distancing
  • wear a face mask
  • wash your hands carefully and frequently
  • follow the current guidance”

Always refer to the Government website before both establishing and/or modifying controls:
https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

HSE NEWS

HSE COVID UPDATES & ADVICE

The HSE has published a range of Covid-related guidance and information to help keep workplaces Covid-secure as restrictions are eased and we try and get back to some semblance of normality.

  • Equipment stored or left unused for long periods should be checked for deterioration or damage: https://bit.ly/3vUdr7V
  • Water and air-conditioning systems in buildings which have been closed or had reduced occupancy or use should be checked for stagnation or risk of legionella: https://bit.ly/3bfG0Fa
  • Ventilation and air conditioning should have sufficient air-movement and air-exchange to help reduce the spread of Coronavirus and other airborne viruses and bacteria: https://bit.ly/3bfZnhr
  • Non-HSE requirements are also covered such as workplace testing, Test & Trace and vaccinations: https://bit.ly/3tIv49z
  • Gas safety for engineers and landlords: https://bit.ly/2SwsHJO Note – there is no specific guidance relating to electrical work but the same principles apply
  • And for additional and the latest current advice and information: https://bit.ly/3hf7Jtt

And the HSE would like to remind all businesses that there is still a need for Covid to be addressed in the legally required risk assessments which must cover ALL areas of work in ALL work premises, including offices; the HSE is out enforcing this right now.

STRESS TALKING TOOLKIT

Developed specifically for the construction industry, the HSE has published a Work-Related Stress Talking Toolkit* as a valuable and user-friendly first step to promoting positive mental health, supporting those in need and preventing a potentially destructive decline in well-being.

*The Toolkit doesn’t literally talk; it’s published in pdf but encourages help through a series of face-to-face structured discussions and support.

This is the first product introduced to help with the specific issues within various industries in mind and is aimed primarily at small to medium-sized businesses.

  • Download the Talking Toolkit from: https://www.hse.gov.uk/stress/assets/docs/stress-talking-toolkit.pdf
  • And further HSE information about stress, recommended actions and the support available can be found on: https://bit.ly/3o1YfTA

CAMPAIGN ON WELDING FUME etc

  • The HSE is currently carrying out a campaign targeting those businesses who carry out metal fabrication and/or welding to ensure adequate controls are in place to protect workers’ respiratory health. The following press release was issued in May: https://bit.ly/33vdV8t
  • So that there’s no excuse for lack of controls, the HSE has drawn attention to the following resources which are feely downloadable from their website: Managing the risks – Welding: Protect Your Workers: https://bit.ly/3o5NbVn
  • Protecting against the harm from metalworking fluids – COSHH essentials for machining with metalworking fluids: https://bit.ly/3f6UUi6
  • And free access to a recording of the recent Safety & Health Engineering Partnership (SHEP) Welding Fume and Metalworking Fluid Webinar: https://bit.ly/3f7Wq3t

LUNG DISEASE

And continuing its current emphasis on the prevention of lung disease and damage, the HSE is drawing attention to the following in-depth information and guidance. Bearing in mind that the current HSE campaign can target any industry, business and/or premises where work could potentially pose a risk to the respiratory health or workers (obviously including the construction industry), it would be prudent to review all your systems and controls to ensure you and/or your sites won’t be caught out should the HSE visit.

  • Specific information including within the construction industry and its trades: https://bit.ly/3uC8dNV
  • Basic information about lung disease, the causes and repercussions: https://bit.ly/33uiCPI
  • And recognising, assessing and getting preventative help: https://bit.ly/2RHlAOc

NOISE EXPOSURE

The HSE has recently revised its noise exposure and hearing protection calculators which are designed to help work out how much workers are or may be exposed to on a daily and weekly basis, estimate the performance of hearing protection and thereby assess/re-assess necessary controls to keep within legal limits. The ready-reckoners can be printed for easy completion by hand.

  • These, together with a range of invaluable information and resources, can be downloaded from: https://bit.ly/3hbTzt3

INDUSTRY NEWS

ASBESTOS CONTINUES TO KILL

Following on from the references to lung cancer and respiratory diseases above, it is absolutely astonishing to realise that work-related cancers claim at least 742,000 lives a year worldwide (bearing in mind this is only a conservative estimate as, of course, many countries don’t document work-related deaths at all).

And even more disturbing that upward of 230,000 of these deaths relate to exposure to asbestos.

This figure, first published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health in 2018, dwarfs the previous estimate of 107,000 and, not only proves that the figure cannot be substantiated (again, this has to be a very conservative estimate as many countries still continue to extract the mineral, manufacture asbestos-based products and totally fail to control exposure), but also draws attention to the immeasurable harm done to workers and the public alike from an issue which can easily to controlled if governments and businesses have the will.

All WHS contractors, designers and developers (unless they can honestly say, hand on heart, that they will never come into contact with asbestos-related materials, ACMS, e.g. road contractors) should have, by now, have established a regular programme of asbestos awareness training (minimum) as required by the HSE; if not, ring the WHS office immediately on 01952-885885.

Training into the legally required controls and awareness of the life-threatening issues is the best way to ensure the safety of workers and those members of the public affected, and the HSE reflect this with the very high level of enforcement and prosecutions.

To help with this, and to ensure the spotlight stays on this issue of asbestos (an issue that is unlikely to go away for decades, if at all), the Institute of Occupational Safety & Health (IOSH) launched its No Time to Lose Campaign in 2018 with the aim of raising awareness throughout UK industry and beyond. The Campaign also provides very valuable and freely downloadable resources and advice about asbestos and harm prevention:
https://www.notimetolose.org.uk/

A survey conducted on the third anniversary of the Campaign found that a third of tradespeople contracted never checked the asbestos register before starting work, and half of those weren’t even aware that there has to (legally) be an asbestos register at each commercial premises and that they would be responsible for a survey when working in domestic premises.

No wonder 5,000 people die each year in this country from mesothelioma alone; total figures for deaths from all asbestos-related diseases aren’t available but are estimated at around 10,000. And all asbestos-related diseases are incurable but totally preventable. In the 21st century, it is inexcusable that anyone (worker or public) is exposed to asbestos when all the specific legislation and mechanisms for safe working have been in place for decades. Remember (to quote IOSH):

Prevention remains the only cure

WORK AT HEIGHT

We drew attention in the April newsletter to the No Fall Foundation, a new charitable body that aims to promote education and awareness of the safety issues and best practice relating to work at height, promote the work of the HSE and related industry bodies such as the NASC, IPAF, PASMA and the Ladder Association, and to support those whose lives have been changed by falls.

  • Anyone can subscribe to the Foundation’s newsletter (free or by making a very gratefully received donation), and there is a wealth of excellent information and experience available via the website: https://nofallsfoundation.org/index.php/aims-objectives/
  • For instance, in the first of a series of articles, former HSE Principal Inspector, Ray Cooke, highlights the absolute need to properly plan, organise and manage work at height – no matter what industry you’re in! https://bit.ly/33CBHiJ – To quote Ray, “Just take a little time and think before you begin”. It could save a life.
  • And read the stories of the Foundation’s Ambassadors, workers whose lives have been permanently changed by a fall from height and now do all they can to draw attention to the dreadful consequences of carelessness: https://bit.ly/3uC36xo

LADDER SAFETY

The latest Foundation newsletter also highlighted the very disturbing story of Suffolk County Council Trading Standards’ recent interception of a very dangerous and illegal batch of imported telescopic standing ladders.
Although the ladders appeared to have the correct EN131 and some other correct safety labels, others were either missing or incorrect, prompting investigation and testing – with quite horrendous results!
https://bit.ly/3txJNnl

This story just goes to prove that all safety-related items, whether it be plant, equipment, PPE or materials, must be purchased through reputable dealers. NEVER cut corners; NEVER be tempted to buy cheap. Low prices will mean low standards and probably illegal items: low standards will risk serious harm or death.

A guide to the single legal standard for ladders, EN131, can be found on the Ladder Association’s website:
https://bit.ly/3vSzpZ6

ACCESS SAFETY IN TIGHT SPACES

Do you need to access a tight space? Do you have difficulty working out what access equipment is appropriate? The new Ecolift from JLG fits the bill perfectly, is reasonably priced and, alternatively, is widely available from plant hirers:
https://www.jlg.com/en/equipment/low-level-access/non-powered-ecolifts/ecolift70

Coming in at just 0.7m width and 1.28m length, the Ecolift can reach a platform height of up to 2.2m, giving access to heights of up to 4.2m – sufficiently small to slip into those really tight spaces. In addition, it’s called the Ecolift for very good reasons because it’s battery, power and oil free, so virtually maintenance- and running-cost-free.

It is prudent to use ‘push around vertical equipment’ where possible (to avoid the risks associated with mechanised equipment) and this, again, fits the bill perfectly being lightweight and easy to manually manoeuvre but with a safe working load of 150kg (1 person + tools). And, as an added bonus, IPAF (the International Powered Access Federation, the industry leader in powered access to height) has a specific Push Around Vertical Course (IPAF-PAV) for users.

GENERAL NEWS

TINNITUS

With the advent of the Noise at Work Regulations 2005 (not to mention the general health & safety duties within the Health & Safety at Work Act going way back to 1974), occupational hearing loss and tinnitus should be a thing of the past. Sadly, it isn’t and many are still subjected to unreasonably high levels of noise of spells of exposure. Obviously, noise exposure can occur at home as well as at work (rock concerts can still break the sound barrier!) and it’s up to all of us to take care of ourselves. But there’s no excuse these days for legal requirements to be ignored or unenforced (refer to the article above about the HSE Noise Calculator).

Noise exposure can result in, not only deafness, but a range of other debilitating conditions as well such as tinnitus (ringing in the ears). It may sound improbable but tinnitus can become so intense that it’s becomes all-consuming and, in at least one case, has resulted in suicide.

Chris Martin of Coldplay spoke out last year about how debilitating his tinnitus had become over the years. He had apparently ignored the initial signs of tinnitus, developed as a young lad listening to loud rock music, and then performed without hearing protection when he joined Coldplay in 1996. Like with so many musicians, hearing loss isn’t taken seriously but the consequences have been profound for Chris and he’s now an advocate for spreading awareness of the issue within the industry.

Admittedly, rock music is perhaps an extreme example of exposure to unreasonable noise levels – but there are still regular prosecutions against business for failing to assess and control noise exposure for their employees. Now may the time to go back and review what you have in place before it’s too late. Make sure you know the noise levels for all equipment – but also make sure you know the likely total noise levels when several pieces are working at once. How long is each employee exposed to noise and what controls are in place (remember that, legally, PPE is a ‘last resort’ only)? And is health surveillance in place?

As highlighted before, the HSE has a long-term campaign to enforce health surveillance so take notice of the HSE advice about what’s required relating to noise, as well as COSHH and vibration:
https://bit.ly/3vV4xXW

COVID FINANCIAL SUPPORT

For those self-employed workers who haven’t yet received financial support when their work has ceased due to Covid, it may be advisable to log into the Government’s gov.uk website to see whether you can claim a grant against the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS):
https://bit.ly/2RKesAA

This tranche of the grant will cover 80% of 3 months’ average trading profit and can be claimed from April 2021. If this doesn’t affect you, maybe you know of friends or relatives who could benefit? It covers all industries.

In addition, for workers who have to work from home (either normally or due to Covid) can claim tax relief of £6 per week to cover costs. Not a huge amount but every little helps, as they say!
https://www.gov.uk/tax-relief-for-employees/working-at-home

NATIONAL LIVING WAGE

There are a few increases in statutory rates from April 2021 of which everyone should be aware.

New National Living Wage (NLW) for:

23+ year olds – £8.91/hour – note the threshold has decreased to include 23 and 24 year-olds
21-22 years – £8.36/hour
18-20 years – £6.56/hour
16-17 years – £4.62/hour
Apprentices -£4.30/hour

New maternity/paternity/etc – £151.97/week
New sick pay – £96.35/week

New max limit for redundancy calculations – £544/week

KICHSTART SCHEME

The Government’s Kickstart Scheme (which aims to give young people a helping hand because of obstacles through Covid) currently runs to 31 December 2021. It provides 100% NLW, NI and pension contributions for 25 hours a week work by 16-24 year-olds; employers can pay more voluntarily. However, the posts must be new; they cannot be existing roles or vacancies.
https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/kickstart-scheme

As an interesting footnote, NASC report than over 400 Kickstart places have been successfully provided by 77 of its members – a great example of the huge potential of this scheme in the construction industry:
https://nasc.org.uk/blog/article/nasc-kickstart-numbers-soar-past-400-placements/

AND FINALLY

Work at height…as usual

We usually concentrate on prosecutions; however, these alone don’t give a fair picture of just how bad the situation still is after so many years of specific work at height legislation, developed best practice and HSE campaigns. So, this time we begin by including a number (but not an exhaustive list – there are many, many more) of recent deaths and serious injuries related to work at height which are pending HSE investigation.

Although the majority of these cases relate to construction, it must be reiterated that health & safety legislation, including the Work at Height Regulations 2005, applies to ALL industries. So, just stop and think before you send someone up to the gutters to inspect them, up a ladder to erect a sign, onto the roof to find that leak, onto that piece of plant for cleaning, etc., etc. Every task off the ground is covered by legislation, and prosecution will result from an accident in any industry.

  • Grant Maloney, a 55-year old father of 7 who had been a roofer since he was 16, died in January after falling from a ladder in Kent: https://bit.ly/3uEvIWH
  • Two fatalities on farms. A man was killed in Cheshire in February when he fell from an unsecured wooden crate being lifted by a forklift while he carried out roof-work. A farm worker was killed in Dorset in January when he was struck on the head by falling concrete. https://bit.ly/3tzHMar
  • A contractor suffered life-changing injuries after falling 25 feet from the roof of a care home in Lincolnshire in February. https://bit.ly/3bcuDxC
  • A worker suffered life-changing injuries after he fell 14 feet through a sky-light in Southampton in March. https://bit.ly/3o4MMCD
  • A worker sustained a broken ankle after he fell from height in Suffolk in March; more serious injury was prevented as he ‘became stuck’ someway off the ground. https://bit.ly/3eB3SoG
  • A tree surgeon was airlifted to Southampton General Hospital after an accident that happened in a garden in the Isle of Wight in March. https://bit.ly/33vopof
  • Michael Harrison, a 42-year old scaffolder, died when he fell from height in Holmes Chapel in February. https://bit.ly/3o3P2Km
  • A 50-year old worker died after falling from scaffolding in Gwynedd in March. https://bit.ly/3hcZnlR
  • A 36-year old worker died after falling from the roof of a building in Warrington in February. https://bit.ly/2RHaSXY
  • 36-year old, Filipe Abreu, was left fighting for his life after he fell from scaffolding in Jersey in February. https://bit.ly/3haKNvk

Work at height…and still the prosecutions keep coming

  • In January, the governing body of Christ the King Catholic High School & Sixth Form Centre in Southport was fined a total of almost £16,000 after an employee fell 3m from a roof whilst trying to retrieve balls. A reminder that the rules apply to ALL employers in ALL circumstances for a very good reason!
  • In February, R4 Industrial Roofing Cladding Systems Ltd fined a total of almost £186,000 after an employee died falling 10m through a roof-light.
  • In March, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy was fined a massive total of over £549,600 after an agency worker fell 1.8m from a turbine blade under manufacture at its factory in Hull suffering multiple broken bones and a punctured lung. Again, a reminder that the rules apply to ALL employers in ALL circumstances for a very good reason!

And in April alone:
Just note how many of these prosecutions have resulted from observations, not accidents.

  • Bradley Demolition Ltd was fined a massive total of almost £222,000 after the operator of a boom-type cherry picker became trapped between the platform rail and the roof of an industrial shed, sustaining life-changing injuries.
  • Mark Wakefield, trading as Mark Wakefield Construction, was fined a total of £3,400 after a worker fell 4m through the fragile roof-light of an agricultural building, sustaining multiple fractures to his spine.
  • Greenway Partnership Ltd was fined a total of almost £28,000 after an apprentice fell 2m from an unprotected flat roof at a school undergoing part-demolition (photo), suffering head and facial injuries.
  • The joint clients of a housing project in Canvey Island, Richard Balls and London & Essex Property Partnership Ltd, and principal contractor, Ludovic Calo, were given sentences ranging from 29-week suspended jail terms and 3-month electronic curfews (for the 2 individuals), a £20,000 fine (for London & Essex), and orders to each pay £5,000 costs after the public reported multiple safety breaches including work at height.
  • JNR Developers Ltd was fined a total of £40,000 and Director, Mehrded Chegounchei, given a 6-month suspended jail sentence and ordered to carry out 80 hours of unpaid work after being found guilty of multiple safety breaches including work at height.
  • SSF Construction Ltd was fined a total of over £51,000 after being observed during a routine HSE visit carrying out unsafe work at height.
  • Ron Richardson Construction Ltd was fined a total of over £21,000 after two employees were clearly seen working close to the unprotected edge to a flat roof (photo)

Footnote:

During April 2021 alone, there were 9 prosecutions with a total of £1,189,219 in fines alone being levied, plus significant HSE and court costs attached to each. An accident may result, not only in a death, it may also result in the death of the offending company.

And just a final note of warning, just in case anyone is tempted not to report an accident:

Paul Adams, trading as Surrey Conversions, was jailed for 24 weeks and ordered to pay costs of over £2,000 for failing to report an accident on his site that resulted in an amputation.

This case demonstrates both the legal responsibility to report and the high importance placed on investigation to prevent recurrence.

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

COVID 19

We at Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd realise that you must be sick of hearing about Covid and the legal restrictions that still apply. However, we have to highlight here an issue that is so vitally important to everyone’s safety but that we, to be quite honest, are sick of encountering both on site and at fixed premises.

If anyone has reason to, or is told to, get tested for Covid for any reason whatsoever, that person cannot come into work until the test result is received and is negative; that person MUST self-isolate in the meantime.

It is unbelievable just how many times our advisors have come across workers, and often management themselves, who are at work awaiting test results thus putting, not only their fellow workers at risk, but our advisors too. This is both unacceptable and illegal and employers, management and the workers involved can all be prosecuted if they ignore this legal (and common sense!) instruction.

COMPANY NEWS

TRAINING

Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) is running a full programme of classroom-based courses at our offices or, upon request, at customers’ premises provided they can meet the necessary Covid-related controls. The courses are restricted to a maximum attendance of 8 candidates (for social-distancing) but 6 for first-aid courses with no mouth-to-mouth practical work. With severely restricted numbers, early booking is vital.

Any necessary criteria and restrictions will be personally communicated, both directly at the time of booking and again through joining instructions, ahead of planned courses. It is vital that these are understood and relevant information clearly passed to candidates.

As usual, please contact Vicki at Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) on 01952 885885 or enquiries@wenlockhs.co.uk or vicki@wenlockhs.co.uk to book places.

LEGIONELLA AWARENESS

WHS is holding an open Legionella Awareness Course:

27th April, 9am – 1pm
£95 + VAT per person

After a period of closure, businesses need to think about a potential risk of legionella in buildings or parts of buildings that have been left dormant, as well as the ongoing risks. This is also particularly applicable for house builders who leave properties unoccupied while completing sales, as well as landlords both commercial and domestic. It is important that those people involved in assessing risk and applying precautions are competent, trained and aware of their responsibilities. Refer to the specific article later in this newsletter.

This course will cover the background of the bacteria and disease, where and how it occurs, and your legal obligations. To book a place, please email Vicki on vicki@wenlockhs.co.uk

MENTAL HEALTH

It is widely known that the problems over the last year, compounded in particular with the January – March 2021 lockdown, have produced a profound amount of emotional distress amongst people of all walks of life, whether employed or not. To assist our clients in dealing with possible mental health issues amongst the workforce (and also at home), WHS is also holding an open Mental Health First Aid Course:

Date: 21st May, 9am – 4pm
Cost: £75 + VAT per person

This 6-hour qualification is aimed at managers and supervisors, and provides learners with the knowledge to recognise a range of mental health conditions, how to start a supportive conversation, and when and how to help a person to seek appropriate professional help.

Please note that strict Covid-specific controls will apply as always and, thus, no lunch can be offered.

FIRST AID

1-day (6 hours) Emergency First-Aid at Work course dates are listed below; very strict Covid-specific controls will apply and no lunch can be offered until further notice. Demand is expected to be high, so book places as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

Dates:

  • 13 April 2021 an additional course because of high demand
  • 26 April 2021 fully booked – but names can always go on the waiting list!
  • 26 May 2021
  • 24 June 2021
  • 27 July 2021
  • 25 August 2021
  • 28 September 2021
  • 29 October 2021
  • 24 November 2021
  • 20 December 2021

Cost: £85 + VAT per person

CITB Courses

It must be noted that CITB attendance rules are very strict; they MUST be understood and are reiterated here:

  • CITB specifies that candidates must be available to attend each session within the course; failure to do so may require a repeat course.
  • And booked attendance is absolutely vital: because of CITB rules, we may be forced to cancel a course ON THAT MORNING if some candidates fail to take part, to the detriment of all candidates.
  • Strict Covid-specific controls apply and no lunch can be offered; candidates to make their own provision.

Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)

Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week
Dates:

  • 7, 14, 21, 28 May & 4 June 2021 (Fridays)
  • 7, 14, 21, 28 July & 4 August 2021 (Wednesdays)
  • 10, 17, 24 September & 1, 8 October 2021 (Fridays)
  • 15, 22, 29 November & 6, 13 December 2021 (Mondays)

Cost: £495 + VAT per person

Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

  • 14 & 15 April 2021 (Wednesday & Thursday)
  • 7 & 8 June 2021 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 9 & 10 August 2021 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 4 & 5 October 2021 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 9 & 10 December 2021 (Thursday & Friday)

Cost: £265 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS)

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

  • 24 & 25 May 2021 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 29 & 30 July 2021 (Thursday & Friday)
  • 20 & 21 September 2021 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 25 & 26 November 2021 (Thursday & Friday)

Cost: £230 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS) Refresher

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

  • 19 April 2021 (Monday)
  • 25 June 2021 (Friday)
  • 20 August 2021 (Friday)
  • 18 October 2021 (Monday)

Cost: £160 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

  • 2 July 2021 (Friday)
  • 1 November 2021 (Monday)
  • 17 December 2021 (Friday)

Cost: £125 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

WHS PARKING ARRANGEMENTS

A reminder about the new parking arrangements when visiting the WHS offices; we made them plain in our last newsletter but several people have not adhered to them and were therefore charged parking fees. The arrangements are reiterated when booking courses but are evidently not being passed on to candidates. Those visiting our offices for ad-hoc reasons also please take note if you want to avoid charges. To reiterate:

WHS has negotiated FREE parking for all our visitors, but this is totally reliant on the following criteria to avoid being charged by Ironbridge Gorge Museums Trust (and there’s nothing we can do about it afterwards, sorry!).

  • It is VITAL that you give WHS your car registration number WITHIN 20 MINUTES of arrival at the car park so that we can log it with Ironbridge Gorge to allow for your free parking.
  • If you arrive early and need to bide time, park up elsewhere, NOT in our car park; the clock starts ticking the minute you enter! And obviously, DON’T HANG ABOUT! Make sure you tell us your registration number within that 20 minutes or you will be charged by Ironbridge Gorge.

HSE NEWS

Through the current Covid crisis, the HSE has continued to update its guidance to focus specifically on how best to control commonplace issues in relation to risks posed by the pandemic. A selection of recent HSE bulletins follows; a vast array of further information is available and continually updated on the HSE website:
https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/

COVID RISK ASSESSMENT

As you know (or you should do by now!), the law requires all employers to carry out sufficient risk assessments to cover every risk of element of every task undertaken at work. And, as we have said so many times before, this includes the very high risk of Covid transmission.

The HSE has issued a warning that, if an inspector visits your site or premises and does not find a specific risk assessment or assessments to cover Covid, enforcement will be issued. In our experience, all too many managers or employers think that issuing a generic Covid assessment is sufficient; it is not and the HSE are coming down heavily where they find this to be the case.

ALL risk assessments must be site and task specific

WHS has issued guidance as to what is required but please do ring us if you still don’t understand. Do be aware that we can’t help you actually write assessments without visiting your site or premises, but we can certainly discuss on the phone what is required.

If you need more clarity and/or guidance, go to the HSE’s specific guidance on:
https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/working-safely/risk-assessment.htm

OFFICIAL HSE App

The HSE has released an app designed to help organisations understand health & safety law and legal responsibilities. The app is a good tool for businesses who have little or no knowledge of health & safety law and is cheap, being available from the Apple or Google Play stores at £2.99 via: https://bit.ly/3vbFDUo

But nobody reading this newsletter should need this type of assistance other than for use as a handy reminder; everyone reading this should have been adequately trained by WHS or equivalent, and should have sufficient documentation and systems in place to be legally compliant. If you think you need the app, or feel that you may not know enough to establish compliant documentation and systems, then ring us straight away! Our advisors, as always, are more than happy to discuss requirements with you – but only you can ensure that enough is in place to be both compliant and able to prove compliance to the HSE.

NEAR-MISS BOOK

The HSE has also released a new Near-Miss Book to help record and report near-misses at work. WHS has always issued (free to our clients) our own version of near-miss report sheets to encourage formalisation of near-miss reporting and investigation to prevent future accidents. However, the new HSE book is a positive step towards encouraging a culture of investigation and, thence, improvement. Both Near-Miss Report Books and Accident Books can be purchased online for £8 each including VAT from: https://bit.ly/3qxacjW

And never forget that some serious near-misses are classified as ‘dangerous occurrences’ and MUST legally be reported to the HSE anyway: https://www.hse.gov.uk/riddor/dangerous-occurences.htm

INDUSTRY NEWS

LEGIONELLA – very important

Legionella is a naturally occurring bacteria in watercourses such as rivers and ponds. The bacteria enter a domestic water system and will thrive at temperatures between 20°C and 45°C.
During the Covid lockdown buildings, or parts of buildings, that would normally have a high-water turnover have been left dormant providing an ideal situation for Legionella bacteria to grow and thrive. There is a potential for multiple outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease caused by the Legionella bacteria (which presents similar symptoms to Covid) following the Covid lockdowns if actions taken now are not carefully considered. It is essential that when buildings, or parts of buildings, reopen following the lifting of Covid restrictions water systems are not simply put straight back to use. Simply reopening a building, or part thereof, that has stood idle without addressing the safety of the water system, is unacceptable and is likely to be in breach of the law. A comprehensive action plan should be derived and implemented using the Legionella Risk Assessment and Written Scheme. Should this not be available professional advice should be sought on the best way forward.

Any water system, with the right environmental conditions, could be a source for Legionella bacteria growth and as an employer, business owner, care provider, landlord (and many more) the right precautions need to be taken and implemented to reduce the risks of exposure to legionella. Therefore, under health and safety legislation there is a legal obligation to carry out a legionella risk assessment of the water services in any workplace or business-related premise, including both commercial and domestic rented properties.

For further information, guidance and Legionella surveys, please contact water hygiene specialists, Clira (www.clira.co.uk ), on 01743-247942 or contact Rachel Griffiths direct on rachel@clira.co.uk

TOWER SCAFFOLDING

All contractors reading this must, by now, be aware of the absolute need to ensure those who erect tower scaffolds (of all types) are properly trained and competent, and that it has been generally accepted for several decades now, both by the industry and the HSE, that this means taking a PASMA course. A quick 5-minute briefing by the supplier or a read of the instruction manual is NOT acceptable as it will not cover, amongst other things, the correct method of erection necessary to satisfy the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

We trust that everyone out there who has need to erect, alter or dismantle a tower scaffold therefore has a PASMA card – yes? Maybe not – we know from experience that many have not and therefore risk being shut down by the HSE. But how many contractors and site management realise that managers also must, by law, be trained and competent to the correct level?

It is worth reminding everyone that both the Work at Height Regulations and CDM state quite clearly that all work must be properly planned, organised and supervised by a competent person or persons, which means that any manager or supervisor in charge of those erecting, dismantling or using scaffolding must, by law, be appropriately competent and qualified to be able to supervise the work – and that includes tower scaffolds.

It is therefore prudent, if not essential, for site managers and/or supervisors to undertake the 1-day PASMA Towers for Managers course; find a course near you via: https://pasma.co.uk/training/towers-for-managers/

The course, which can be taken with or without holding a PASMA tower erection card, is aimed at ensuring managers and supervisors can recognise ‘good’ practice; it is totally insufficient (and illegal) to rely solely on the competence of the contractors or workers involved, and any site that cannot demonstrate management/supervisory competence as well will attract enforcement from the HSE.

So, what does ‘good’ look like? The course teaches managers/supervisors the principles of safe erection/dismantling including assessing ground conditions and the site environment, potential loadings, understanding the many different configurations and categories, choosing appropriate equipment, ensuring workers have the correct training and competence, and other important factors such as current and possible weather conditions. We can’t go into too much detail in this newsletter, space doesn’t permit, which is why attendance at the Towers for Managers course is vital. But several key points to note:

  • There are 7 different categories of ‘standard’ towers, from mobile access towers to linked towers, each with its own BS or EN standard, each with specific different assembly techniques and, thus, each with its own specific PASMA card.
  • In addition, there is a PASMA card for the more complex or awkward ‘non-standard’ towers.
  • It is therefore vital that those erecting anything other than a basic tower scaffold have the appropriate category of PASMA card – and it’s the legal responsibility of managers/supervisors to plan for and ensure this happens: https://pasma.co.uk/training/
  • Tower scaffolds cannot be used when wind speeds reach 17 mph, which is actually quite low. When wind speeds are likely to reach between 17 and 25 mph, towers should be tied to the structure but they still cannot be used. When wind speeds are likely to exceed 25 mph, the tower must be dismantled and re-erected later. Strict forward planning, followed by pro-active management, is therefore vital.
  • Manufacturers’ instructions must be read and strictly adhered to because these will dictate permissible loadings. Never forget that total permissible loadings will include, not only materials, but equipment and workers too. Assessment of likely loadings is essential – plus an added factor of safety!
  • Risk assessments must be both site and operation specific and must include an emergency rescue plan. The HSE will shut down operations if this emergency planning says ‘call 999’ only! The rescue plan must reflect all aspects of the work and environment, must be communicated to the workforce and, as recommended by the HSE, practiced as well.
  • And lastly a reminder that inspections of towers by competent persons are required by law before first ascent, following any alteration, move or incident that could affect the towers’ integrity, and at a minimum frequency of 7 days if they remain unmoved, unaltered and uncompromised.

Those working on the towers but who have not been involved with the erection, etc., don’t have to have a PASMA card. However, everyone working at height must be suitably trained to ‘work at height’ and PASMA also has a very useful half-day Work at Height Novice course which covers, not only use of mobile towers, but an insight into the use of all forms of access equipment: https://pasma.co.uk/training/work-at-height-novice/

A few final points which are worth mentioning:

  • Because of Covid, PASMA has re-organised training courses to enable online learning where preferred or during a lockdown. However, many of the PASMA courses focus, for obvious reasons, on the practical side; therefore, classroom-based theory can be undertaken online but completion of the courses and issue of cards will rely on practical sessions at a later date.
  • Courses can be organised on site or at customers’ premises provided that there is a Covid-safe classroom and there is a safe area well away from other work where the tower erection practical exercise can take place. PASMA trainers will not conduct a course where the environment is deemed unsuitable.
  • It is useful to sign up to both the PASMA newsletter: www.pasma.co.uk/newsletter and also to the newsletter of the No Falls Foundation, a charity which, not only carries out research etc, but also offers support for victims of falls (at work and at home) and shares stories to help others avoid accidents: www.nofallsfoundation.org/index.php/sign-up-to-newsletter. A free downloadable support pack for anyone affected by a fall can be accessed from: https://nofallsfoundation.org/index.php/support/support-after-a-fall-from-height/
  • An excellent recent PASMA/HSE webinar, succinctly summarising the points raised above and much more, can be freely downloaded from: https://bit.ly/2Q8RTot It is strongly recommended that all WHS clients who have need to use towers, or manage sites where they are used, watch the video. And, if you have any questions at all, please do contact WHS immediately. N.B. The video does not constitute training in any way.

And lastly, just one recent accident and resultant prosecution resulting from a fall from a tower is highlighted at the end of this newsletter; be warned, be alert and get trained.

CABLE AVOIDANCE

There has been an extremely disturbing increase over recent years in the number of ‘safety related incidents’ concerning cable strikes, joint or link box damage, etc. Between July and September 2020 alone, there were 475 reports of cable damage compared to 395 for the same period in 2019 and, over the last 6 years, there was a massive 700% increase in safety-related incidents reported to the HSE. We have to question why this is happening; the legal requirements haven’t changed and there is still a strict necessity for site operatives and management to be NRSW trained to the appropriate level. Therefore, the increase must be as a result of poor management on site and/or potentially from the outset. And every incident could potentially result in a fatality.

To help the situation, the Highways Authorities & Utilities Committee, HAUC(UK), has issued a useful app to help road contractors and workers to avoid damage to underground services. The app, which includes a simple, searchable copy of the Red Book, an interactive checklist and latest updates and advice from the HAUC(UK), is free from: https://app.hauc-uk.org.uk/guidance-on-use-of-the-app

Unfortunately, we are still yet to see a comprehensive, open and easy-to-access central data base of all underground services to make life so much safer, but we live in hope!

FALLOUT FROM GRENFELL

One of the aspects which attracted severe criticism during the ongoing Grenfell Tower Inquiry (https://www.grenfelltowerinquiry.org.uk/ ) is that of poor or fraudulent compliance testing. In this case, the Inquiry focused on the Building Research Establishment (BRE), an organisation responsible on behalf of the Government for certifying the safety of construction materials, which had ‘failed to report’ that fire tests on the
Kingspan insulation used at Grenfell had actually failed. In addition, Kingspan itself had used the erroneous report to write 29 desk-top studies/assessments into the use of the material – desk-top studies, not in-situ, not in the field. Therefore, failed and unreported BRE testing, in conjunction with unsupported Kingspan assessments, appear to have contributed to the 74 deaths at Grenfell.

There are several reasons for reporting this to our clients. Firstly, all parties responsible for designing and installing safety and/or quality related construction materials must be up to date with the latest requirements and must insist on seeing current and appropriate certification. All too often, WHS has witnessed project teams settling for certification which either does not cover the specific materials involved or is several years out of date. When unsure, challenge the materials suppliers; if you need safety-related advice, contact WHS.

Secondly, over recent years, testing and certification has been downgraded in many people’s minds, allowing self-certification to seep in (resulting in a number of serious accidents) and, where external verification is sought, a culture within some testing houses of ‘what result would you like?’ Testing and certification does cost money – but the consequences of going without, or accepting unchallenged what’s provided, can be dire.

The message is, therefore, that designers, project managers, contractors and installers must be properly aware of what certification and testing is required and must critically read what’s given; if in doubt about dates, content or suitability, challenge and seek expert assistance. To not do so can land some or all parties in court.

And do be aware that poor past certification can affect refurbishment of existing structures. The Health & Safety File for each structure built since CDM was enacted in 1994 should contain all relevant certification. If in doubt about the age or relevance of the existing certification (bearing in mind the many changes in Building Regulations and industry standards over the years) or, indeed, if there is no certification for whatever reason, further expert analysis may be required. The team undertaking the current refurbishment is responsible for ensuring safety and this may well include critical analysis of existing materials and upgrading where necessary.

GENERAL NEWS

MOTORWAY DRIVING

Everyone should know that, when re-joining a motorway from the hard shoulder, it is necessary to speed up to match the speed of the traffic and watch for a safe gap in the traffic before accessing the inside lane (obviously watching out for other vehicles within the hard shoulder whilst doing so). This is enshrined within the Highway Code so must be followed.

However, the advent of so-called ‘smart motorways’ has produced additional risks as the hard shoulder may well now be open for use at certain times and as indicated on the overhead gantries. Emergency areas have been provided for use on smart motorways to avoid risks to those in broken down vehicles within a ‘live’ inside lane. However, it is often impossible to reach one of these emergency areas when a vehicle breaks down; it simply happens too quickly to travel to the safe space. So what should you do?

Highways England have issued the following advice:

  • Try your best to travel safely to the left lane of the motorway
  • Call Highways England on 0300 123 5000, then your breakdown provider for assistance.

This implies that there must be a mobile phone with the vehicle and it is a proposal that having a fully charged mobile phone will be made a legal requirement in the near future, as it is in many other countries already. Apart from any future legal requirement, it is common-sense that drivers should equip themselves with a changed mobile before setting out on any journey.

But what happens when the driver does manage to reach an emergency area? Is it sufficient to contact Highways England using your mobile, and what about re-joining the motorway as there is no safe lane from which to gain speed and feed into the traffic?

Several serious accidents have occurred involving these emergency areas on smart motorways because of their limitations. It is therefore worth pointing out that drivers stopping in one of these must immediately make a call using the emergency telephone provided. This is so that the operator can immediately close off the inside lane (using the gantry signage) to ensure additional safety and to enable the driver to safely exit the emergency area into the (closed) inside lane and gather speed before entering the flow of traffic.

A further change to the Highway Code is being proposed to make it mandatory to use the emergency phone provided but, as this is still in the consultation stage, our advice would be to just do that anyway; the risks of being parked up by, and then re-entering into, live traffic cannot be underestimated.

AND FINALLY

Work at height

  • Rooffabs Direct Ltd was fined a total of £21,000 and director, Paul McMahon, ordered to complete 100 hours of unpaid community service after two workers suffered fractures to legs and ankles when they fell 2 metres from an incorrectly assembled tower scaffold. Those who erected the tower hadn’t been properly trained, guard rails were missing and no outriggers were in place.

The HSE commented that there were an estimated 36,000 falls from height last year, a shocking 99 per day. Invariably they are found to have been avoidable; most, as with this case, resulted from lack of training, planning and competent supervision.

  • Pearsons Glass was fined a total of almost £87,000 after a contractor’s worker fell 6 metres to his death through a fragile asbestos roof. No fall arrest equipment had been installed.

Note here that, although investigations are ongoing, it was the employing body, Pearson Glass, rather than the contractor who has been prosecuted so far. Under the Health & Safety at Work Act Section 3(1) states that:
“It shall be the duty of every employer to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in his employment who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety.”

Clearly, the employing body had failed to ensure that the contractor was both competent for the tasks and properly equipped to undertake the work safely. A salutary lesson for all employers.

  • Climar Scaffolding Ltd was fined a total of over £17,500 following a scaffolding collapse at the Coventry Skydome in March 2019. The large scaffold (13 metres x 4 metres) had not been designed and installed to withstand foreseeable wind loadings and had not been adequately fixed to the structure.

A reminder that all scaffold must be properly designed to TG20:13, including provision for wind loadings:
https://nasc.org.uk/product/tg2013-design-guide/

  • SolarUK Ltd was fined a total of £42,000 after a worker fell 4 metres through an unprotected skylight, sustaining multiple injuries to his wrist. Despite being fully aware of the risks, the Company had failed to plan, manage or equip the work, with workers being put at risk throughout.
  • Atec Maintenance Ltd was fined a total of £38,000 after the friend of company director, Terry Adams, fell 6 metres through a warehouse roof. Stephen Bowkett was helping Adams install netting on the roof of the warehouse; after unclipping his harness for a break, he stepped backwards and fell through the roof, suffering severe injuries to his torso. This case demonstrates that it only takes a second of carelessness for a life to be destroyed.
  • Principal Contractor, Robert Norman Construction Ltd, was fined a total of over £148,000 and its contractor, R&B Plastering Ltd, over £35,000 after an R&BH employee fell 3 metres through a hole cut in a floor of a property during refurbishment; he sustained fractures to his vertebrae and ribs, and required a back brace. Not only was R&B’s risk assessment inadequate but, despite the PC’s policy to review all contractors’ risk assessments before they were allowed to start work, this had not been done. Therefore, the inadequacy of the assessment had not been challenged, a clear failure on the PC’s part.

N.B. This is an issue that WHS advisors see on site all the time – Principal Contractors ignoring the content of contractors’ risk assessments (if, indeed, they ask for them at all!) with the result that the work cannot possibly be planned, managed or supervised properly. It is just not good enough to assume that contractors’ risk assessments are adequate – and how can Principal Contractors properly manage the site and tasks if they don’t know how contractors intend to do or control the work?!

Safe systems of work

  • PCR Steel was fined a total of almost £60,000 after an employee of South East Galvanizers was crushed to death by a 400kg balcony frame that fell from a telehandler during loading. The HSE found that there was no safe system of work in place at all. There was no lifting plan, no competent supervision and nothing to prevent persons from standing in harm’s way; nothing to assess the size, weight and security of the load, and nothing to ensure the safety of employees. The victim had been standing on the trailer bed, which says it all.
  • Calachem Ltd was fined £560,000 after an employee was severely scalded with boiling water during a cleaning operation. Without going into technical detail here, the original safe system of work requiring wash down with clean, cold water had been incrementally altered over time to facilitate a second process, but neither the process nor these changes had ever been re-assessed. The result was that boiling water, related to the second process, rushed from the vessel, scalding and disfiguring the employee.

N.B. This case clearly demonstrates that ANY change in the working method, circumstances or environment MUST be re-assessed. Each incremental change will present different and maybe additional risks and, although each may seem insignificant at the time, they may well build up over time to present a severe risk – as in this case.

Risk assessment is NOT to be done and left on the shelf; risk assessment requires continual review and revision to be sure that any foreseeable risks are controlled BEFORE they become significant.

Equally, NO method of work can be altered or modified without re-assessment and approval by management. Again, small changes may seem harmless BUT they, all too often, build up to present significant risks which remain unseen and unrecognised because management is unaware.

Identify the hazards – assess the risks – control those risks – then…..
CONTINUALLY REVIEW – RE-ASSESS & CONTROL – CONTINUE TO MONITOR
SUITABILITY & EFFECTIVENESS

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

COVID 19

We at Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd realise that you must be sick of hearing about Covid and the legal restrictions that still apply. However, we have to highlight here an issue that is so vitally important to everyone’s safety but that we, to be quite honest, are sick of encountering both on site and at fixed premises.

If anyone has reason to, or is told to, get tested for Covid for any reason whatsoever, that person cannot come into work until the test result is received and is negative; that person MUST self-isolate in the meantime.

It is unbelievable just how many times our advisors have come across workers, and often management themselves, who are at work awaiting test results thus putting, not only their fellow workers at risk, but our advisors too. This is both unacceptable and illegal and employers, management and the workers involved can all be prosecuted if they ignore this legal (and common sense!) instruction.

COMPANY NEWS

TRAINING

Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) is running a full programme of classroom-based courses at our offices or, upon request, at customers’ premises provided they can meet the necessary Covid-related controls. The courses are restricted to a maximum attendance of 8 candidates (for social-distancing) but 6 for first-aid courses with no mouth-to-mouth practical work. With severely restricted numbers, early booking is vital.

Any necessary criteria and restrictions will be personally communicated, both directly at the time of booking and again through joining instructions, ahead of planned courses. It is vital that these are understood and relevant information clearly passed to candidates.

As usual, please contact Vicki at Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) on 01952 885885 or enquiries@wenlockhs.co.uk or vicki@wenlockhs.co.uk to book places.

LEGIONELLA AWARENESS

WHS is holding an open Legionella Awareness Course:

27th April, 9am – 1pm
£95 + VAT per person

After a period of closure, businesses need to think about a potential risk of legionella in buildings or parts of buildings that have been left dormant, as well as the ongoing risks. This is also particularly applicable for house builders who leave properties unoccupied while completing sales, as well as landlords both commercial and domestic. It is important that those people involved in assessing risk and applying precautions are competent, trained and aware of their responsibilities. Refer to the specific article later in this newsletter.

This course will cover the background of the bacteria and disease, where and how it occurs, and your legal obligations. To book a place, please email Vicki on vicki@wenlockhs.co.uk

MENTAL HEALTH

It is widely known that the problems over the last year, compounded in particular with the January – March 2021 lockdown, have produced a profound amount of emotional distress amongst people of all walks of life, whether employed or not. To assist our clients in dealing with possible mental health issues amongst the workforce (and also at home), WHS is also holding an open Mental Health First Aid Course:

Date: 21st May, 9am – 4pm
Cost: £75 + VAT per person

This 6-hour qualification is aimed at managers and supervisors, and provides learners with the knowledge to recognise a range of mental health conditions, how to start a supportive conversation, and when and how to help a person to seek appropriate professional help.

Please note that strict Covid-specific controls will apply as always and, thus, no lunch can be offered.

FIRST AID

1-day (6 hours) Emergency First-Aid at Work course dates are listed below; very strict Covid-specific controls will apply and no lunch can be offered until further notice. Demand is expected to be high, so book places as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

Dates:

  • 13 April 2021 an additional course because of high demand
  • 26 April 2021 fully booked – but names can always go on the waiting list!
  • 26 May 2021
  • 24 June 2021
  • 27 July 2021
  • 25 August 2021
  • 28 September 2021
  • 29 October 2021
  • 24 November 2021
  • 20 December 2021

Cost: £85 + VAT per person

CITB Courses

It must be noted that CITB attendance rules are very strict; they MUST be understood and are reiterated here:

  • CITB specifies that candidates must be available to attend each session within the course; failure to do so may require a repeat course.
  • And booked attendance is absolutely vital: because of CITB rules, we may be forced to cancel a course ON THAT MORNING if some candidates fail to take part, to the detriment of all candidates.
  • Strict Covid-specific controls apply and no lunch can be offered; candidates to make their own provision.

Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)

Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week
Dates:

  • 7, 14, 21, 28 May & 4 June 2021 (Fridays)
  • 7, 14, 21, 28 July & 4 August 2021 (Wednesdays)
  • 10, 17, 24 September & 1, 8 October 2021 (Fridays)
  • 15, 22, 29 November & 6, 13 December 2021 (Mondays)

Cost: £495 + VAT per person

Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

  • 14 & 15 April 2021 (Wednesday & Thursday)
  • 7 & 8 June 2021 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 9 & 10 August 2021 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 4 & 5 October 2021 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 9 & 10 December 2021 (Thursday & Friday)

Cost: £265 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS)

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

  • 24 & 25 May 2021 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 29 & 30 July 2021 (Thursday & Friday)
  • 20 & 21 September 2021 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 25 & 26 November 2021 (Thursday & Friday)

Cost: £230 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS) Refresher

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

  • 19 April 2021 (Monday)
  • 25 June 2021 (Friday)
  • 20 August 2021 (Friday)
  • 18 October 2021 (Monday)

Cost: £160 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

  • 2 July 2021 (Friday)
  • 1 November 2021 (Monday)
  • 17 December 2021 (Friday)

Cost: £125 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

WHS PARKING ARRANGEMENTS

A reminder about the new parking arrangements when visiting the WHS offices; we made them plain in our last newsletter but several people have not adhered to them and were therefore charged parking fees. The arrangements are reiterated when booking courses but are evidently not being passed on to candidates. Those visiting our offices for ad-hoc reasons also please take note if you want to avoid charges. To reiterate:

WHS has negotiated FREE parking for all our visitors, but this is totally reliant on the following criteria to avoid being charged by Ironbridge Gorge Museums Trust (and there’s nothing we can do about it afterwards, sorry!).

  • It is VITAL that you give WHS your car registration number WITHIN 20 MINUTES of arrival at the car park so that we can log it with Ironbridge Gorge to allow for your free parking.
  • If you arrive early and need to bide time, park up elsewhere, NOT in our car park; the clock starts ticking the minute you enter! And obviously, DON’T HANG ABOUT! Make sure you tell us your registration number within that 20 minutes or you will be charged by Ironbridge Gorge.

HSE NEWS

Through the current Covid crisis, the HSE has continued to update its guidance to focus specifically on how best to control commonplace issues in relation to risks posed by the pandemic. A selection of recent HSE bulletins follows; a vast array of further information is available and continually updated on the HSE website:
https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/

COVID RISK ASSESSMENT

As you know (or you should do by now!), the law requires all employers to carry out sufficient risk assessments to cover every risk of element of every task undertaken at work. And, as we have said so many times before, this includes the very high risk of Covid transmission.

The HSE has issued a warning that, if an inspector visits your site or premises and does not find a specific risk assessment or assessments to cover Covid, enforcement will be issued. In our experience, all too many managers or employers think that issuing a generic Covid assessment is sufficient; it is not and the HSE are coming down heavily where they find this to be the case.

ALL risk assessments must be site and task specific

WHS has issued guidance as to what is required but please do ring us if you still don’t understand. Do be aware that we can’t help you actually write assessments without visiting your site or premises, but we can certainly discuss on the phone what is required.

If you need more clarity and/or guidance, go to the HSE’s specific guidance on:
https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/working-safely/risk-assessment.htm

OFFICIAL HSE App

The HSE has released an app designed to help organisations understand health & safety law and legal responsibilities. The app is a good tool for businesses who have little or no knowledge of health & safety law and is cheap, being available from the Apple or Google Play stores at £2.99 via: https://bit.ly/3vbFDUo

But nobody reading this newsletter should need this type of assistance other than for use as a handy reminder; everyone reading this should have been adequately trained by WHS or equivalent, and should have sufficient documentation and systems in place to be legally compliant. If you think you need the app, or feel that you may not know enough to establish compliant documentation and systems, then ring us straight away! Our advisors, as always, are more than happy to discuss requirements with you – but only you can ensure that enough is in place to be both compliant and able to prove compliance to the HSE.

NEAR-MISS BOOK

The HSE has also released a new Near-Miss Book to help record and report near-misses at work. WHS has always issued (free to our clients) our own version of near-miss report sheets to encourage formalisation of near-miss reporting and investigation to prevent future accidents. However, the new HSE book is a positive step towards encouraging a culture of investigation and, thence, improvement. Both Near-Miss Report Books and Accident Books can be purchased online for £8 each including VAT from: https://bit.ly/3qxacjW

And never forget that some serious near-misses are classified as ‘dangerous occurrences’ and MUST legally be reported to the HSE anyway: https://www.hse.gov.uk/riddor/dangerous-occurences.htm

INDUSTRY NEWS

LEGIONELLA – very important

Legionella is a naturally occurring bacteria in watercourses such as rivers and ponds. The bacteria enter a domestic water system and will thrive at temperatures between 20°C and 45°C.
During the Covid lockdown buildings, or parts of buildings, that would normally have a high-water turnover have been left dormant providing an ideal situation for Legionella bacteria to grow and thrive. There is a potential for multiple outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease caused by the Legionella bacteria (which presents similar symptoms to Covid) following the Covid lockdowns if actions taken now are not carefully considered. It is essential that when buildings, or parts of buildings, reopen following the lifting of Covid restrictions water systems are not simply put straight back to use. Simply reopening a building, or part thereof, that has stood idle without addressing the safety of the water system, is unacceptable and is likely to be in breach of the law. A comprehensive action plan should be derived and implemented using the Legionella Risk Assessment and Written Scheme. Should this not be available professional advice should be sought on the best way forward.

Any water system, with the right environmental conditions, could be a source for Legionella bacteria growth and as an employer, business owner, care provider, landlord (and many more) the right precautions need to be taken and implemented to reduce the risks of exposure to legionella. Therefore, under health and safety legislation there is a legal obligation to carry out a legionella risk assessment of the water services in any workplace or business-related premise, including both commercial and domestic rented properties.

For further information, guidance and Legionella surveys, please contact water hygiene specialists, Clira (www.clira.co.uk ), on 01743-247942 or contact Rachel Griffiths direct on rachel@clira.co.uk

TOWER SCAFFOLDING

All contractors reading this must, by now, be aware of the absolute need to ensure those who erect tower scaffolds (of all types) are properly trained and competent, and that it has been generally accepted for several decades now, both by the industry and the HSE, that this means taking a PASMA course. A quick 5-minute briefing by the supplier or a read of the instruction manual is NOT acceptable as it will not cover, amongst other things, the correct method of erection necessary to satisfy the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

We trust that everyone out there who has need to erect, alter or dismantle a tower scaffold therefore has a PASMA card – yes? Maybe not – we know from experience that many have not and therefore risk being shut down by the HSE. But how many contractors and site management realise that managers also must, by law, be trained and competent to the correct level?

It is worth reminding everyone that both the Work at Height Regulations and CDM state quite clearly that all work must be properly planned, organised and supervised by a competent person or persons, which means that any manager or supervisor in charge of those erecting, dismantling or using scaffolding must, by law, be appropriately competent and qualified to be able to supervise the work – and that includes tower scaffolds.

It is therefore prudent, if not essential, for site managers and/or supervisors to undertake the 1-day PASMA Towers for Managers course; find a course near you via: https://pasma.co.uk/training/towers-for-managers/

The course, which can be taken with or without holding a PASMA tower erection card, is aimed at ensuring managers and supervisors can recognise ‘good’ practice; it is totally insufficient (and illegal) to rely solely on the competence of the contractors or workers involved, and any site that cannot demonstrate management/supervisory competence as well will attract enforcement from the HSE.

So, what does ‘good’ look like? The course teaches managers/supervisors the principles of safe erection/dismantling including assessing ground conditions and the site environment, potential loadings, understanding the many different configurations and categories, choosing appropriate equipment, ensuring workers have the correct training and competence, and other important factors such as current and possible weather conditions. We can’t go into too much detail in this newsletter, space doesn’t permit, which is why attendance at the Towers for Managers course is vital. But several key points to note:

  • There are 7 different categories of ‘standard’ towers, from mobile access towers to linked towers, each with its own BS or EN standard, each with specific different assembly techniques and, thus, each with its own specific PASMA card.
  • In addition, there is a PASMA card for the more complex or awkward ‘non-standard’ towers.
  • It is therefore vital that those erecting anything other than a basic tower scaffold have the appropriate category of PASMA card – and it’s the legal responsibility of managers/supervisors to plan for and ensure this happens: https://pasma.co.uk/training/
  • Tower scaffolds cannot be used when wind speeds reach 17 mph, which is actually quite low. When wind speeds are likely to reach between 17 and 25 mph, towers should be tied to the structure but they still cannot be used. When wind speeds are likely to exceed 25 mph, the tower must be dismantled and re-erected later. Strict forward planning, followed by pro-active management, is therefore vital.
  • Manufacturers’ instructions must be read and strictly adhered to because these will dictate permissible loadings. Never forget that total permissible loadings will include, not only materials, but equipment and workers too. Assessment of likely loadings is essential – plus an added factor of safety!
  • Risk assessments must be both site and operation specific and must include an emergency rescue plan. The HSE will shut down operations if this emergency planning says ‘call 999’ only! The rescue plan must reflect all aspects of the work and environment, must be communicated to the workforce and, as recommended by the HSE, practiced as well.
  • And lastly a reminder that inspections of towers by competent persons are required by law before first ascent, following any alteration, move or incident that could affect the towers’ integrity, and at a minimum frequency of 7 days if they remain unmoved, unaltered and uncompromised.

Those working on the towers but who have not been involved with the erection, etc., don’t have to have a PASMA card. However, everyone working at height must be suitably trained to ‘work at height’ and PASMA also has a very useful half-day Work at Height Novice course which covers, not only use of mobile towers, but an insight into the use of all forms of access equipment: https://pasma.co.uk/training/work-at-height-novice/

A few final points which are worth mentioning:

  • Because of Covid, PASMA has re-organised training courses to enable online learning where preferred or during a lockdown. However, many of the PASMA courses focus, for obvious reasons, on the practical side; therefore, classroom-based theory can be undertaken online but completion of the courses and issue of cards will rely on practical sessions at a later date.
  • Courses can be organised on site or at customers’ premises provided that there is a Covid-safe classroom and there is a safe area well away from other work where the tower erection practical exercise can take place. PASMA trainers will not conduct a course where the environment is deemed unsuitable.
  • It is useful to sign up to both the PASMA newsletter: www.pasma.co.uk/newsletter and also to the newsletter of the No Falls Foundation, a charity which, not only carries out research etc, but also offers support for victims of falls (at work and at home) and shares stories to help others avoid accidents: www.nofallsfoundation.org/index.php/sign-up-to-newsletter A free downloadable support pack for anyone affected by a fall can be accessed from: https://nofallsfoundation.org/index.php/support/support-after-a-fall-from-height/
  • An excellent recent PASMA/HSE webinar, succinctly summarising the points raised above and much more, can be freely downloaded from: https://bit.ly/2Q8RTot
  • It is strongly recommended that all WHS clients who have need to use towers, or manage sites where they are used, watch the video. And, if you have any questions at all, please do contact WHS immediately. N.B. The video does not constitute training in any way.

And lastly, just one recent accident and resultant prosecution resulting from a fall from a tower is highlighted at the end of this newsletter; be warned, be alert and get trained.

GENERAL NEWS

MOTORWAY DRIVING

Everyone should know that, when re-joining a motorway from the hard shoulder, it is necessary to speed up to match the speed of the traffic and watch for a safe gap in the traffic before accessing the inside lane (obviously watching out for other vehicles within the hard shoulder whilst doing so). This is enshrined within the Highway Code so must be followed.

However, the advent of so-called ‘smart motorways’ has produced additional risks as the hard shoulder may well now be open for use at certain times and as indicated on the overhead gantries. Emergency areas have been provided for use on smart motorways to avoid risks to those in broken down vehicles within a ‘live’ inside lane. However, it is often impossible to reach one of these emergency areas when a vehicle breaks down; it simply happens too quickly to travel to the safe space. So what should you do?

Highways England have issued the following advice:

  • Try your best to travel safely to the left lane of the motorway
  • Call Highways England on 0300 123 5000, then your breakdown provider for assistance.

This implies that there must be a mobile phone with the vehicle and it is a proposal that having a fully charged mobile phone will be made a legal requirement in the near future, as it is in many other countries already. Apart from any future legal requirement, it is common-sense that drivers should equip themselves with a changed mobile before setting out on any journey.

But what happens when the driver does manage to reach an emergency area? Is it sufficient to contact Highways England using your mobile, and what about re-joining the motorway as there is no safe lane from which to gain speed and feed into the traffic?

Several serious accidents have occurred involving these emergency areas on smart motorways because of their limitations. It is therefore worth pointing out that drivers stopping in one of these must immediately make a call using the emergency telephone provided. This is so that the operator can immediately close off the inside lane (using the gantry signage) to ensure additional safety and to enable the driver to safely exit the emergency area into the (closed) inside lane and gather speed before entering the flow of traffic.

A further change to the Highway Code is being proposed to make it mandatory to use the emergency phone provided but, as this is still in the consultation stage, our advice would be to just do that anyway; the risks of being parked up by, and then re-entering into, live traffic cannot be underestimated.

AND FINALLY

Work at height

  • Rooffabs Direct Ltd was fined a total of £21,000 and director, Paul McMahon, ordered to complete 100 hours of unpaid community service after two workers suffered fractures to legs and ankles when they fell 2 metres from an incorrectly assembled tower scaffold. Those who erected the tower hadn’t been properly trained, guard rails were missing and no outriggers were in place.

The HSE commented that there were an estimated 36,000 falls from height last year, a shocking 99 per day. Invariably they are found to have been avoidable; most, as with this case, resulted from lack of training, planning and competent supervision.

  • Pearsons Glass was fined a total of almost £87,000 after a contractor’s worker fell 6 metres to his death through a fragile asbestos roof. No fall arrest equipment had been installed.

Note here that, although investigations are ongoing, it was the employing body, Pearson Glass, rather than the contractor who has been prosecuted so far. Under the Health & Safety at Work Act Section 3(1) states that:

“It shall be the duty of every employer to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in his employment who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety.”

Clearly, the employing body had failed to ensure that the contractor was both competent for the tasks and properly equipped to undertake the work safely. A salutary lesson for all employers.

  • SolarUK Ltd was fined a total of £42,000 after a worker fell 4 metres through an unprotected skylight, sustaining multiple injuries to his wrist. Despite being fully aware of the risks, the Company had failed to plan, manage or equip the work, with workers being put at risk throughout.
  • Atec Maintenance Ltd was fined a total of £38,000 after the friend of company director, Terry Adams, fell 6 metres through a warehouse roof. Stephen Bowkett was helping Adams install netting on the roof of the warehouse; after unclipping his harness for a break, he stepped backwards and fell through the roof, suffering severe injuries to his torso. This case demonstrates that it only takes a second of carelessness for a life to be destroyed.
  • Principal Contractor, Robert Norman Construction Ltd, was fined a total of over £148,000 and its contractor, R&B Plastering Ltd, over £35,000 after an R&BH employee fell 3 metres through a hole cut in a floor of a property during refurbishment; he sustained fractures to his vertebrae and ribs, and required a back brace.

Not only was R&B’s risk assessment inadequate but, despite the PC’s policy to review all contractors’ risk assessments before they were allowed to start work, this had not been done. Therefore, the inadequacy of the assessment had not been challenged, a clear failure on the PC’s part.

N.B. This is an issue that WHS advisors see on site all the time – Principal Contractors ignoring the content of contractors’ risk assessments (if, indeed, they ask for them at all!) with the result that the work cannot possibly be planned, managed or supervised properly. It is just not good enough to assume that contractors’ risk assessments are adequate – and how can Principal Contractors properly manage the site and tasks if they don’t know how contractors intend to do or control the work?!

Safe systems of work

  • PCR Steel was fined a total of almost £60,000 after an employee of South East Galvanizers was crushed to death by a 400kg balcony frame that fell from a telehandler during loading. The HSE found that there was no safe system of work in place at all. There was no lifting plan, no competent supervision and nothing to prevent persons from standing in harm’s way; nothing to assess the size, weight and security of the load, and nothing to ensure the safety of employees. The victim had been standing on the trailer bed, which says it all.
  • Calachem Ltd was fined £560,000 after an employee was severely scalded with boiling water during a cleaning operation. Without going into technical detail here, the original safe system of work requiring wash down with clean, cold water had been incrementally altered over time to facilitate a second process, but neither the process nor these changes had ever been re-assessed. The result was that boiling water, related to the second process rushed from the vessel, scalding and disfiguring the employee.

N.B. This case clearly demonstrates that ANY change in the working method, circumstances or environment MUST be re-assessed. Each incremental change will present different and maybe additional risks and, although each may seem insignificant at the time, they may well build up over time to present a severe risk – as in this case.

Risk assessment is NOT to be done and left on the shelf; risk assessment requires continual review and revision to be sure that any foreseeable risks are controlled BEFORE they become significant.

Equally, NO method of work can be altered or modified without re-assessment and approval by management. Again, small changes may seem harmless BUT they, all too often, build up to present significant risks which remain unseen and unrecognised because management is unaware.

Identify the hazards – assess the risks – control those risks – then…..
CONTINUALLY REVIEW – RE-ASSESS & CONTROL – CONTINUE TO MONITOR
SUITABILITY & EFFECTIVENESS

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

COVID 19

We at Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd realise that you must be sick of hearing about Covid and the legal restrictions that still apply. However, we have to highlight here an issue that is so vitally important to everyone’s safety but that we, to be quite honest, are sick of encountering.

If anyone has reason to, or is told to, get tested for Covid for any reason whatsoever, that person cannot come into work until the test result is received and is negative; that person MUST self-isolate in the meantime.

It is unbelievable just how many times our advisors have come across workers, and often management themselves, who are at work awaiting test results thus putting, not only their fellow workers at risk, but our advisors too. This is both unacceptable and illegal and employers, management and the workers involved can all be prosecuted if they ignore this legal (and common sense!) instruction.

COMPANY NEWS

TRAINING

Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) is running a full programme of classroom-based courses at our offices or, upon request, at customers’ premises provided they can meet the necessary Covid-related controls. The courses are restricted to a maximum attendance of 8 candidates (for social-distancing) but 6 for first-aid courses with no mouth-to-mouth practical work. With severely restricted numbers, early booking is vital.

Any necessary criteria and restrictions will be personally communicated, both directly at the time of booking and again through joining instructions, ahead of planned courses. It is vital that these are understood and relevant information clearly passed to candidates.

As usual, please contact Vicki at Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) on 01952 885885 or enquiries@wenlockhs.co.uk or vicki@wenlockhs.co.uk to book places.

LEGIONELLA AWARENESS

WHS is holding an open Legionella Awareness Course:

27th April, 9am – 1pm
£95 + VAT per person

After a period of closure, businesses need to think about a potential risk of legionella in buildings or parts of buildings that have been left dormant, as well as the ongoing risks. This is also particularly applicable for house builders who leave properties unoccupied while completing sales, as well as landlords both commercial and domestic. It is important that those people involved in assessing risk and applying precautions are competent, trained and aware of their responsibilities. Refer to the specific article later in this newsletter.

This course will cover the background of the bacteria and disease, where and how it occurs, and your legal obligations. To book a place, please email Vicki on vicki@wenlockhs.co.uk

MENTAL HEALTH

It is widely known that the problems over the last year, compounded in particular with the January – March 2021 lockdown, have produced a profound amount of emotional distress amongst people of all walks of life, whether employed or not. To assist our clients in dealing with possible mental health issues amongst the workforce (and also at home), WHS is also holding an open Mental Health First Aid Course:

Date: 21st May, 9am – 4pm
Cost: £75 + VAT per person

This 6-hour qualification is aimed at managers and supervisors, and provides learners with the knowledge to recognise a range of mental health conditions, how to start a supportive conversation, and when and how to help a person to seek appropriate professional help.

Please note that strict Covid-specific controls will apply as always and, thus, no lunch can be offered.

FIRST AID

1-day (6 hours) Emergency First-Aid at Work course dates are listed below; very strict Covid-specific controls will apply and no lunch can be offered until further notice. Demand is expected to be high, so book places as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

Dates:

  • 13 April 2021 an additional course because of high demand
  • 26 April 2021 fully booked – but names can always go on the waiting list!
  • 26 May 2021
  • 24 June 2021
  • 27 July 2021
  • 25 August 2021
  • 28 September 2021
  • 29 October 2021
  • 24 November 2021
  • 20 December 2021

Cost: £85 + VAT per person

WHS PARKING ARRANGEMENTS

A reminder about the new parking arrangements when visiting the WHS offices; we made them plain in our last newsletter but several people have not adhered to them and were therefore charged parking fees. The arrangements are reiterated when booking courses but are evidently not being passed on to candidates. Those visiting our offices for ad-hoc reasons also please take note if you want to avoid charges. To reiterate:

WHS has negotiated FREE parking for all our visitors, but this is totally reliant on the following criteria to avoid being charged by Ironbridge Gorge Museums Trust (and there’s nothing we can do about it afterwards, sorry!).

  • It is VITAL that you give WHS your car registration number WITHIN 20 MINUTES of arrival at the car park so that we can log it with Ironbridge Gorge to allow for your free parking.
  • If you arrive early and need to bide time, park up elsewhere, NOT in our car park; the clock starts ticking the minute you enter! And obviously, DON’T HANG ABOUT! Make sure you tell us your registration number within that 20 minutes or you will be charged by Ironbridge Gorge.

HSE NEWS

Through the current Covid crisis, the HSE has continued to update its guidance to focus specifically on how best to control commonplace issues in relation to risks posed by the pandemic. A selection of recent HSE bulletins follows; a vast array of further information is available and continually updated on the HSE website:
https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/

COVID RISK ASSESSMENT

As you know (or you should do by now!), the law requires all employers to carry out sufficient risk assessments to cover every risk of element of every task undertaken at work. And, as we have said so many times before, this includes the very high risk of Covid transmission.

The HSE has issued a warning that, if an inspector visits your premises and does not find a specific risk assessment or assessments to cover Covid, enforcement will be issued. In our experience, all too many managers or employers think that issuing a generic Covid assessment is sufficient; it is not and the HSE are coming down heavily where they find this to be the case.

ALL risk assessments must be premises and task specific

WHS has issued guidance as to what is required but please do ring us if you still don’t understand. Do be aware that we can’t help you actually write assessments without visiting your premises, but we can certainly discuss on the phone what is required.

If you need more clarity and/or guidance, go to the HSE’s specific guidance on:
https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/working-safely/risk-assessment.htm

OFFICIAL HSE App

The HSE has released an app designed to help organisations understand health & safety law and legal responsibilities. The app is a good tool for businesses who have little or no knowledge of health & safety law and is cheap, being available from the Apple or Google Play stores at £2.99 via: https://bit.ly/3vbFDUo

But nobody reading this newsletter should need this type of assistance other than for use as a handy reminder; everyone reading this should have been adequately trained by WHS or equivalent, and should have sufficient documentation and systems in place to be legally compliant. If you think you need the app, or feel that you may not know enough to establish compliant documentation and systems, then ring us straight away! Our advisors, as always, are more than happy to discuss requirements with you – but only you can ensure that enough is in place to be both compliant and able to prove compliance to the HSE.

NEAR-MISS BOOK

The HSE has also released a new Near-Miss Book to help record and report near-misses at work. WHS has always issued (free to our clients) our own version of near-miss report sheets to encourage formalisation of near-miss reporting and investigation to prevent future accidents. However, the new HSE book is a positive step towards encouraging a culture of investigation and, thence, improvement. Both Near-Miss Report Books and Accident Books can be purchased online for £8 each including VAT from: https://bit.ly/3qxacjW

And never forget that some serious near-misses are classified as ‘dangerous occurrences’ and MUST legally be reported to the HSE anyway: https://www.hse.gov.uk/riddor/dangerous-occurences.htm

GENERAL NEWS

LEGIONELLA – very important

Legionella is a naturally occurring bacteria in watercourses such as rivers and ponds. The bacteria enter a domestic water system and will thrive at temperatures between 20°C and 45°C.
During the Covid lockdown buildings, or parts of buildings, that would normally have a high-water turnover have been left dormant providing an ideal situation for Legionella bacteria to grow and thrive. There is a potential for multiple outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease caused by the Legionella bacteria (which presents similar symptoms to Covid) following the Covid lockdowns if actions taken now are not carefully considered. It is essential that when buildings, or parts of buildings, reopen following the lifting of Covid restrictions water systems are not simply put straight back to use. Simply reopening a building, or part thereof, that has stood idle without addressing the safety of the water system, is unacceptable and is likely to be in breach of the law. A comprehensive action plan should be derived and implemented using the Legionella Risk Assessment and Written Scheme. Should this not be available professional advice should be sought on the best way forward.

Any water system, with the right environmental conditions, could be a source for Legionella bacteria growth and as an employer, business owner, care provider, landlord (and many more) the right precautions need to be taken and implemented to reduce the risks of exposure to legionella. Therefore, under health and safety legislation there is a legal obligation to carry out a legionella risk assessment of the water services in any workplace or business-related premise, including both commercial and domestic rented properties.

For further information, guidance and Legionella surveys, please contact water hygiene specialists, Clira (www.clira.co.uk ), on 01743-247942 or contact Rachel Griffiths direct on rachel@clira.co.uk

MOTORWAY DRIVING

Everyone should know that, when re-joining a motorway from the hard shoulder, it is necessary to speed up to match the speed of the traffic and watch for a safe gap in the traffic before accessing the inside lane (obviously watching out for other vehicles within the hard shoulder whilst doing so). This is enshrined within the Highway Code so must be followed.

However, the advent of so-called ‘smart motorways’ has produced additional risks as the hard shoulder may well now be open for use at certain times and as indicated on the overhead gantries. Emergency areas have been provided for use on smart motorways to avoid risks to those in broken down vehicles within a ‘live’ inside lane. However, it is often impossible to reach one of these emergency areas when a vehicle breaks down; it simply happens too quickly to travel to the safe space. So what should you do?

Highways England have issued the following advice:

  • Try your best to travel safely to the left lane of the motorway
  • Call Highways England on 0300 123 5000, then your breakdown provider for assistance.

This implies that there must be a mobile phone with the vehicle and it is a proposal that having a fully charged mobile phone will be made a legal requirement in the near future, as it is in many other countries already. Apart from any future legal requirement, it is common-sense that drivers should equip themselves with a changed mobile before setting out on any journey.

But what happens when the driver does manage to reach an emergency area? Is it sufficient to contact Highways England using your mobile, and what about re-joining the motorway as there is no safe lane from which to gain speed and feed into the traffic?

Several serious accidents have occurred involving these emergency areas on smart motorways because of their limitations. It is therefore worth pointing out that drivers stopping in one of these must immediately make a call using the emergency telephone provided. This is so that the operator can immediately close off the inside lane (using the gantry signage) to ensure additional safety and to enable the driver to safely exit the emergency area into the (closed) inside lane and gather speed before entering the flow of traffic.

A further change to the Highway Code is being proposed to make it mandatory to use the emergency phone provided but, as this is still in the consultation stage, our advice would be to just do that anyway; the risks of being parked up by, and then re-entering into, live traffic cannot be underestimated.

AND FINALLY

Work at height
The HSE has commented that there were an estimated 36,000 falls from height last year, a shocking 99 per day. Most are found to have been avoidable, resulting from poor training, planning and competent supervision.

  • Country Style Foods Ltd was fined a total of almost £152,000 after a worker was impaled on the handrail of a set of ‘airline style’ steps whilst cleaning ovens, suffering a torn artery and nerve damage. The steps used were found to be totally inappropriate for the work; they had been adapted for a different task. This set of steps had been used in preference to an existing scissor lift because the worker was not trained in its use – one correct conclusion out of two just isn’t good enough.
  • Pearl Food Distribution was fined a total of over £68,000 after a Birmingham City Council safety inspector saw an employee raised to mezzanine level on a pallet balanced on the forks of a fork-lift truck. — Note that this prosecution resulted from observation – there had been no accident (thank goodness!)
  • Pearsons Glass was fined a total of almost £87,000 after a contractor’s worker fell 6 metres to his death through a fragile asbestos roof. No fall arrest equipment had been installed. Note here that, although investigations are ongoing, it was the employing body, Pearson Glass, rather than the contractor who has been prosecuted so far. Under the Health & Safety at Work Act Section 3(1) states that. — “It shall be the duty of every employer to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in his employment who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety.”

Clearly, the employing body had failed to ensure that the contractor was both competent for the tasks and properly equipped to undertake the work safely. A salutary lesson for all employers.

  • SolarUK Ltd was fined a total of £42,000 after a worker fell 4 metres through an unprotected skylight, sustaining multiple injuries to his wrist. Despite being fully aware of the risks, the Company had failed to plan, manage or equip the work, with workers being put at risk throughout.

Safe systems of work

  • PCR Steel was fined a total of almost £60,000 after an employee of South East Galvanizers was crushed to death by a 400kg balcony frame that fell from a telehandler during loading. The HSE found that there was no safe system of work in place at all. There was no lifting plan, no competent supervision and nothing to prevent persons from standing in harm’s way; nothing to assess the size, weight and security of the load, and nothing to ensure the safety of employees. The victim had been standing on the trailer bed, which says it all.
  • Calachem Ltd was fined £560,000 after an employee was severely scalded with boiling water during a cleaning operation. Without going into technical detail here, the original safe system of work requiring wash down with clean, cold water had been incrementally altered over time to facilitate a second process, but neither the process nor these changes had ever been re-assessed. The result was that boiling water, related to the second process rushed from the vessel, scalding and disfiguring the employee.

N.B. This case clearly demonstrates that ANY change in the working method, circumstances or environment MUST be re-assessed. Each incremental change will present different and maybe additional risks and, although each may seem insignificant at the time, they may well build up over time to present a severe risk – as in this case. Risk assessment is NOT to be done and left on the shelf; risk assessment requires continual review and revision to be sure that any foreseeable risks are controlled BEFORE they become significant.

Equally, NO method of work can be altered or modified without re-assessment and approval by management. Again, small changes may seem harmless BUT they, all too often, build up to present significant risks which remain unseen and unrecognised because management is unaware.

Identify the hazards – assess the risks – control those risks – then…..
CONTINUALLY REVIEW – RE-ASSESS & CONTROL – CONTINUE TO MONITOR
SUITABILITY & EFFECTIVENESS

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

COVID 19 / CORONAVIRUS

CURRENT LOCKDOWN

Well, here we are with the distinct feeling of déjà vu; after almost 10 months, Britain is back in total lockdown – with the exception of a few essential industries such as construction and manufacturing. The difference this time around, though, is that those of us who are still able to work in the field should already have very robust Covid controls in place and we should, therefore, all be very confident that our workplaces are safe.

However, it is extremely important to remember that:

  • Going to and from work can also be a very significant risk, especially for those who have to rely on public transport, particularly in London and other densely populated areas. If you can work from home, do so. But if you have to travel, as many of us do, use your own car wherever possible and avoid car-sharing. Employers are advised to carry out in-depth Covid risk assessments and to transmit all relevant information clearly to employees.
  • If you don’t feel Covid-safe in your workplace, this should be pointed out to your management for action to be taken. This is for the employer’s sake as well as the employee’s; workplaces can and are being shut by the HSE and local authorities if controls are found lacking.
  • Covid is only one of the risks we currently meet in our daily working lives – don’t let your guard drop. All the other ever-present risks will still be there and enforcement, penalties and human costs remain the same as ever.

The construction industry has, throughout this pandemic, continually developed better and more appropriate ways to control Covid risks on site. To that end, the Construction Leadership Council has recently issued an update to its Site Operating Procedures – Version 7. It is extremely important that this, and each new version of the Procedures, is read and followed; the HSE carry out their site checks against these principles:
https://bit.ly/39iU3Id

General guidance and instruction about lockdown can be found on the Government’s websites:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/national-lockdown-stay-at-home
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19

COMPANY NEWS

TRAINING

Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) is doing its level best to carry out its training programme where and how at all possible. We are very much hoping to get back to relative normality by March but, in the meantime, we do ask you to bear with us should there be any unavoidable disruption to your plans; you will appreciate that the situation is totally out of our hands. We will, of course keep you fully notified of further developments.

Unavoidable changes to our programme are detailed below and will also be personally communicated, both directly and through joining instructions, ahead of planned courses. It is vital that these are understood and relevant information clearly passed to candidates.

First Aid

Because of the unavoidable close contact necessary to undertake any first aid course, our open courses have had to be cancelled till March; WHS will contact those affected and the situation will be closely monitored. As we have yet to hear of any provision for extending expiry dates, managers are advised to review levels of cover to ensure adequate first aid cover in all workplaces.

If you require a First Aid course, it’s been confirmed by the awarding body that we can run these now, however we’d like to limit any mixing of companies to reduce risk where we can, so can only be undertaken for one company until March.

We can run the 1-day (6 hours) Emergency First-Aid at Work courses from March, dates are listed below; very strict Covid-specific controls will apply and no lunch can be offered until further notice. Demand is expected to be high, so book places as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

Dates:

  • 16 March 2021 fully booked
  • 30 March 2021 limited spaces available
  • 26 April 2021
  • 26 May 2021
  • 24 June 2021
  • 27 July 2021
  • 25 August 2021
  • 28 September 2021
  • 29 October 2021
  • 24 November 2021
  • 20 December 2021

Cost: £85 + VAT per person

As usual, please contact Vicki at Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) on 01952 885885 or enquiries@wenlockhs.co.uk or vicki@wenlockhs.co.uk to book places

CITB Courses

Until lockdown ceases, and to enable as many people as possible to be able to access training, all CITB and similar classroom-based courses will be conducted by our staff online. Full details will be given in the joining instructions but it must be noted that, as with online courses successfully conducted during the previous lockdown, each candidate must have access to a computer or laptop.

It must be noted that all previous attendance rules apply, reiterated here:

  • CITB specifies that candidates must be available to attend each session within the course; failure to do so may require a repeat course.
  • And booked online attendance is vital: because of CITB rules, we may be forced to cancel a course ON THAT MORNING if some candidates fail to take part, to the detriment of all candidates.

Do note also that CITB are allowing a grace period; anyone with an SMSTS or SSSTS expiring after 1 October 2020 now has until 30 April 2021 to attend a refresher course. Any delegate whose certificate expired before 1 October 2020 will be required to join a full SMSTS or SSSTS course, rather than the refresher equivalent.

Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)

Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week
Dates:

  • 22, 29 January & 5, 12 & 19 February 2021 (Tuesdays) Online; please note date changes
  • 1, 8, 15, 22 & 29 March 2021 (Mondays)
  • 7, 14, 21, 28 May & 4 June 2021 (Fridays)
  • 5, 12, 19, 26 July & 2 August 2021 (Mondays)
  • 10, 17, 24 September & 1, 8 October 2021 (Fridays)
  • 15, 22, 29 November & 6, 13 December 2021 (Mondays)

Cost: £495 + VAT per person

Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

  • 8 & 9 February 2021 (Monday & Tuesday) Online
  • 14 & 15 April 2021 (Wednesday & Thursday)
  • 7 & 8 June 2021 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 9 & 10 August 2021 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 4 & 5 October 2021 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 9 & 10 December 2021 (Thursday & Friday)

Cost: £265 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS)

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

  • 10 & 11 March 2021 (Wednesday & Thursday)
  • 24 & 25 May 2021 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 29 & 30 July 2021 (Thursday & Friday)
  • 20 & 21 September 2021 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 25 & 26 November 2021 (Thursday & Friday)

Cost: £230 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS) Refresher

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

  • 19 April 2021 (Monday)
  • 25 June 2021 (Friday)
  • 20 August 2021 (Friday)
  • 18 October 2021 (Monday)

Cost: £160 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

  • 2 March 2021 (Tuesday)
  • 10 May 2021 (Monday)
  • 2 July 2021 (Friday)
  • 6 September 2021 (Monday)
  • 1 November 2021 (Monday)
  • 17 December 2021 (Friday)

Cost: £125 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

UKATA

These two open courses have been postponed until March to enable them to take place at the WHS offices; UKATA does not permit online learning. Places are obviously limited so book early to avoid disappointment, particularly as we have yet to hear whether UKATA will permit extensions to certificate expiry dates.

Duration: 3.5 hours
Dates:

  • 5 March 2021; 2 sessions available, commencing 9 am and 1 pm

Cost: £60 + VAT per person

IOSH Managing Safely

This course is scheduled to take place at the WHS offices if possible; the situation will obviously be closely monitored. Again, please note that lunch cannot be offered until further notice.

Duration: 3 days (Monday to Wednesday)
Dates:

  • 22, 23 & 24 February 2021

Cost: £395 + VAT per person

FACE FIT TESTING

As it can be unavoidable and obviously essential for safe working on site, face-fit testing is still being undertaken at the WHS offices under very strict controls. However, it would obviously be preferrable to postpone face-fit testing where this is at all possible (i.e. where the health of workers is not compromised) until we are no longer under lockdown.

WHS PARKING ARRANGEMENTS

Ironbridge Gorge Museums Trust have significantly changed parking payment arrangements at our offices and this will affect all WHS visitors – whether visiting for training, meetings, or any other reason. WHS has negotiated FREE parking for all our visitors, but this is totally reliant on the following criteria:

  • It is vital that you give WHS your car registration number WITHIN 20 MINUTES of arrival at the car park so that we can log it with Ironbridge Gorge Museum to allow for your free parking.
  • If you arrive early and need to bide time, park up elsewhere, not in our car park; the clock starts ticking the minute you enter! Make sure you tell us your registration number within that 20 minutes or you will be charged by Ironbridge Gorge Museum.

Joining instructions will give details but those making ad hoc visits to WHS offices for whatever reason should take note the above or you will be charged by Ironbridge Gorge Museum (and there’s nothing we can do about it, sorry!).

SAFETY AWARDS 2020

With all the doom and gloom about right now, it gives us great pleasure to focus again on the Wenlock Health & Safety Awards 2020. Our two very worthy winners received their certificates at the end of 2020 and we are delighted, once again, to draw attention to their achievements:

Commitment to Site Safety:
Mark Bennett
of Morris Property Ltd

Mark, shown here with his award, is a Site Manager for Shrewsbury-based Morris Property Ltd.

Mark was awarded the certificate because he has always demonstrated an exemplary attitude towards health & safety on his sites, and a proactive management approach.

An excellent example to set for the Morris Property team.

Commitment to Health & Safety Training:
Richard Sherratt Builders Ltd

Based in Shrewsbury; this commercial and domestic building company was given the award on the strength of its exemplary attitude towards training the entire workforce in various health & safety areas, including through the trials of the last year.

Richard is shown here with the award; keep up the excellent work Richard!

HSE NEWS

Through the current Covid crisis, the HSE has continued to update its guidance to focus specifically on how best to control commonplace issues in relation to risks posed by the pandemic. A selection of recent HSE bulletins follows; a vest array of further information is available and continually updated on the HSE website:
https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/

VENTILATION & AIR-CONDITIONING

The law requires all employers to ensure an adequate supply of fresh air in the workplace – and this is even more important during the current pandemic. The HSE’s guidance on ventilation and air conditioning has been updated to reflect the importance during Covid: https://bit.ly/2MTetA2

The guidance includes:

  • Balancing ventilation with the need to keep people warm
  • Identifying poorly ventilated areas
  • Improvements to be made
  • Ventilation in vehicles

LOCAL EXHAUST VENTILATION (LEV)

Another issue that is increasingly important because of the pandemic is adequate LEV. The law requires all employers where dusts, fumes or vapours are produced within enclosed or poorly ventilated areas to:

  • Assess the risks and equipment required to controls the risks to an adequate degree; remember, use of RPE alone is illegal, mechanical extraction (LEV) or similar must be put in place.
  • Maintain LEV in good and efficient order, which includes regular visual checks plus thorough test and inspections by specialists at least every 14 months.

Over and above the HSE’s general guidance available on: https://www.hse.gov.uk/lev/ the HSE has issued specific guidance to ensure that LEV test and inspections remain a high priority and are carried out during the pandemic: https://bit.ly/2XtkC7Q

REDUCING THE NEED FOR RPE

The use of RPE, which has become so essential during the pandemic, has also produced major problems with interrupted supplies of reputably sourced masks and accessories of the types required by law that we are all used to having readily to hand, e.g. for protection against silica dusts, etc.

The HSE has therefore produced new guidance outlining alternative ways of working when using power tools (such as drills, cut-off saws, breakers and angle grinders) through this pandemic which could either reduce or actually remove the need to use RPE: https://bit.ly/39nVh4S . Sound advice for the future too!

AVOIDING MUSCULOSKELETAL DISORDERS

Musculoskeletal disorders remain the single-most harm issue in UK industry (and no doubt worldwide too) despite decades of focus and improvements – and it is still the most common cause of injury, permanent harm and early retirement in the construction industry.

The HSE website holds a multitude of guidance about
musculoskeletal and upper limb disorders, e.g:
https://bit.ly/3nCyWWi
https://bit.ly/35x5E5j
https://bit.ly/35v7nIm

However, even this issue can also relate to Covid (e.g. the comfort of those spending long hours working in uncontrolled conditions at home), so the HSE has updated the information accordingly:
https://bit.ly/3oDukR2

AND A REMINDER – THE HSE CONTINUES WITH SPOT CHECKS

As the Covid restrictions bite ever deeper, the need for strict controls for those businesses that must remain open and working are even more important than ever. Consequently, the HSE (and local authorities) are carrying out even more regular spot checks on sites, shops, offices, workshops and other premises – and they continue to fine or close those businesses who have not established appropriate controls or cannot justify remaining open.

To help, yet more in-depth HSE guidance is available (e.g. https://bit.ly/35yizEe ) which includes:

• cleaning, hygiene and handwashing
• protecting vulnerable workers during the pandemic
• first aid during the pandemic

Covid has been with us for so long now, there is no excuse whatsoever for not controlling your workplace adequately – and also seeking to continually improve those controls where possible.

DRIVING FOR WORK

Notwithstanding the current need to work from home where at all possible, the HSE is in the process of updating its joint (with the DfT) guidance, INDG382: Driving at Work, to help duty holders manage work-related road risk.

Since the original guidance was released in 2014, there have been significant developments in technological and driving practices so the HSE is now asking for feedback across all industries, including construction, to gauge the relevance and accuracy of the current guidance. Please spare a few minutes to take the survey via this link: short survey

INDUSTRY NEWS

ROOFING SAFETY ALERT

Following a recent roof fire that destroyed a school in Nottinghamshire, the National Federation of Roofing Contractors (NFRC) has issued a safety alert relating to concerns about roof work on the lightweight system-built CLASP (Consortium of Local Authorities Special Programme) schools commonly erected from the 1950s to the 1980s: https://bit.ly/3bseiWD

The design means there is an increased risk of fire breaching into the building itself; therefore, the NFRC strongly recommends that a flame-free waterproofing system should be chosen to avoid this risk.

It is vital that the potential but high risk of fire is recognised at the earliest stage with any necessary roof-work on a CLASP school – i.e. the principal designer, as well as the contractor, must make the client aware of the absolute necessity to address fire risk with the use of flame-free systems throughout the works.

It is essential to read and digest the implication and recommendations of the NFRC safety alert.

WHS might also draw attention to the necessity to include evacuation safety in the risk assessment for any roof-works, regardless of where it is undertaken. Adequate exit points must be built into the access scaffold; a single entry/exit point may not be sufficient to cater for safe evacuation from the roof and/or scaffold; what happened if a fire directly affects that particular area.

INTERNAL SAFE ACCESS TO HEIGHT

Still on the subject of working at height, but internally this time…

A lot of our contractors experience difficulty in relation to working within properties where space is too small for scaffolding or mobile towers to fit. WHS has unfortunately seen a number of incidents on site where contractors (such as plasterers, painters and decorators) have improvised and made their own working platforms to access difficult to reach areas, in some cases with zero edge protection and in one recent case resulting in a fall from height which could very easily have resulted in a fatality.

One of our more responsible contractors has recently found and successfully used systems supplied by MK Engineering Services; details may be of use to others experiencing similar issues on site. The systems are easily erected and can be fully tailored to each specific situation: www.mkeservices.com

Another similar system has been supplied for many years by Lobo: https://www.lobosystems.com/contact/

Unfortunately, these pieces of access and protection equipment are not covered under the PASMA Card. Therefore, it is vital to remember that all users of equipment must be provided with suitable information, instruction and training on erection, use and equipment safely, so training must still be provided by the employer. Both MK Engineering and Lobo provide instruction material; however, as stated in law, the training must be delivered by an adequately experienced person with proven competence.

SAFETY FOR YOUNG PERSONS

You should all know that the law makes special provision for the safety of ‘young persons’ (under 18-year olds) – if not, why not, where have you been??!! The emphasis on young persons was realised decades ago because of their inexperience, incomplete bodily development, lack of maturity, and a tendency to think they are immortal! Special controls to prevent undue risk to this sector of the workforce include a cap on working hours and limitations on the type of tasks that can be allocated.

However, the ‘inexperience’ can also apply to older workers who have only recently entered the construction industry and therefore lack training and the level of hands-on experience necessary to identify and control the risks presented to them on site. The main category we refer to here are apprentices – who are increasingly commonplace throughout the industry and are not always covered by the Young Persons Regs.

WHS training covers the subject of the special provisions necessary for both under-18s and older but inexperienced employees, including apprentices. Disturbingly, WHS has witnessed several situations recently where those appropriate provisions have not been made and the worker has then been subject to undue risk. To illustrate the point, we draw attention to a recent prosecution relating to the endangering of an apprentice:

M&J Engineers of Hitchin was fined a total of over £285,000 after an apprentice fell from the roof of a site cabin, causing back and leg injuries. He had climbed onto the roof to attach lifting chains to a power float and, when the crane boom swung, he jumped to avoid injury. He was very lucky not to have been killed.

The huge fine was levelled against M&J because, not only was the crane driver not properly trained, but also (as was specifically highlighted during the trial) the inexperienced apprentice had not been adequately ‘managed’. i.e. nobody was supervising and instructing him.

It is prudent to reiterate one of the particular issues often discussed during WHS training – the link between ability and confidence during the stages of a worker’s development, something that can be true of many of us!

  • When an employee is initially instructed in a task, he (he/she obviously) thinks he knows it all and this can produce over-confidence.
  • That over-confidence can result in risk taking, whether in relation to physical risks or admin tasks.
  • The over-confidence can then result in taking one too many risks and a potentially serious situation; again, this applies as much to physical tasks as to losing an employer’s money through sloppy accounting!
  • Assuming he survives, the employee is then shocked and embarrassed into realising that his over-confidence almost resulted in a serious incident…so he slips back into the learning stage.
  • He’s learnt his lesson and he now realises that he needs to take more time and effort to learn and to behave more responsibly.

Employers too can easily share the over-confidence in those early stages, failing to grasp that competence relates to experience, continual improvement and trustworthiness, not simply instruction and training. Hence, the law requires that both young persons and inexperienced employees are properly supervised and monitored until such time as the employee can truly be called competent for the task/s.

If you have any queries or would like to give your young or inexperienced workers targeted training, please do contact WHS on the usual number: 01952-885885.

ENVIRONMENTAL NEWS

BAT SURVEYS

Whilst focusing on health & safety, especially during the current pandemic, it is all too easy to forget that environmental care is also absolutely essential in law – and that includes mandatory wildlife surveys ahead of work on all types of existing properties, greenfield and brownfield sites. Ignore the legal requirement to your peril:

The largest ever fine of £600,000 for this offence was levied against house builder, Bellway Homes, plus £30,000 in court costs and a compulsory £20,000 donation to the Bat Conservation Trust. Bellway had demolished a building during the 2018 breeding season where pipistrelle bats (the little creature on the right) had previously been recorded and, in doing so, destroyed the breeding site.

This type of crime is treated so seriously that it was the Metropolitan Police who investigated and prosecuted this case – it should serve as a warning to all developers, contractors and businesses that wildlife protection is vital and required by law from the outset as part of the planning process.

GENERAL NEWS

HAND-ARM VIBRATION SYNDROME

As we have mentioned so many times before, another reminder that combatting Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) must remain high on the health & safety agenda for ANY business where power tools are used. Using the data provided (by law) by the equipment manufacturer, a specific vibration risk assessment must (by law) be carried out that accurately reflects the working day for each operator. We at WHS always recommend carrying out an assessment before purchasing new equipment so that safer items can be purchased and risks reduced from the outset – it’s a bit late once you’re stuck with a high-vibration item!!

The seriousness of the issue is illustrated by yet another high-profile prosecution:

Liverpool housing association, Onward Homes Ltd, was fined a total of over £85,000 after four grounds maintenance employees developed disabling HAVS from regularly using vibrating power tools over several years. The fact that several employees all developed the disease demonstrates the Company’s total disregard for their health. The Company had failed to not provide information and training on the safe use of the tools used, nor had they carried out any (legally required) health surveillance – with life-changing consequences for the workers and their families.

But it shouldn’t be the threat of prosecution that spurs employers into action; as highlighted here, employees who contract HAVS are debilitated for life – that’s the reason for action!!

How many of those reading this article can honestly say they have properly risk assessed their power tools in relation to vibration levels and how they are actually used in the field?

And, those of employers who use tradesmen who provide their own tools, that doesn’t let you off the hook! ALL employers are responsible for ensuring that tools are assessed and used appropriated. The law does not accept the excuse that tradesmen, even self-employed tradesmen, are being put at risk on your sites, you are responsible for safety throughout your sites so make sure those assessments are carried out somehow.

PPE

And, on a similar note, we emphasise yet again the necessity of risk assessing every aspect of every task to ensure that (a) controls are established to eliminate or reduce risks without the need for PPE (which, by law if you remember, must be seen as a last resort only) and (b) if PPE has to be used, the correct type is provided without introducing additional risks to the wearer.

The following recent prosecution amply illustrates the points:

  • PPE is a last resort
  • PPE MUST be suitable

LS Starrett Company Ltd, a precision tool manufacturer, was fined £100,000 after an employee lost a finger when operating a radial arm drilling machine.

No risk assessment had been carried and employees were not appropriately trained. Consequently, no guard was in place and the operator was not told to remove his gloves when using the drill; the gloves became entangled in the drill and a finger was so severely lacerated that it had to be amputated.

ALL tasks must (by law) be fully assessed, appropriate controls established and workers properly trained and instructed – and that includes instruction into the safe use of any necessary PPE.

AND FINALLY

A look at the HSE prosecution statistics (across all industries) for November 2020 alone rams home the point that, despite the emphasis on Covid, the HSE is still just as active in enforcement and prosecution:

  • 20 prosecutions, including 2 fatalities
  • Results included fines included several at or of almost £300,000 and 3 suspended sentences
  • Total fines £1,636,109 plus costs

The current requirements to SAVE LIVES and PROTECT THE NHS apply just as much to all other risk factors as it does to Covid!!

Work at height

  • Michael Devlin, director of Design Roof Systems (DRS) Ltd, was given a 6-month suspended prison sentence and ordered to observe a 20-week curfew for deliberately cutting corners in order to lower costs and win a contract; as a result, a man died when he fell through an unprotected skylight. The Company itself was fined a total of almost £146,000

The contract involved the replacement of 70 skylights; DRS had quoted £7865 + VAT to do the work, a vastly under-costed price because Devlin had not included for any form of fall protection. How could Devlin not see that the saving of £Xs could never justify risking both a man’s life and a prosecution?

And a warning here also for clients commissioning work from any external contractors – in law, you could also be held culpable. Is the quoted price vastly below others? Is it too good to be true? It probably is.

  • Peter Green, director of Home Improvements Ltd, was given an 8-month suspended sentence for his ‘wilful neglect’ in failing to protect those working at height, despite (thankfully) there having been no accident. Green had totally failed to properly plan, supervise and carry out the works on pitched roofs at two separate locations.
  • Builder, Mark Bucknall, was fined a total of almost £4,000 after another worker fell 8 metres (!) from a roof. The two had been installing roof-lights on a flat roof during a loft conversion and, to access the roof, they had climbed out of a window (!!!) onto the roof tiles; scaffold had initially been installed but had been removed. The worker fell and landed on concrete, suffering multiple injuries to his spine and legs; he was extremely lucky to survive. Presumably, the worker in question wasn’t prosected as well as the HSE concluded that he’d already been rewarded for his incompetence!
  • Solar panel installer, Blue Sun Energy Ltd, was fined a total of over £39,000 after a sub-contract employee fell 3.5 metres through an unmarked and unguarded roof-light of a cow-shed; the worker suffered brain as well as other life-changing injuries and was, again, lucky to survive.
  • Conservatory and window fitting company, DNA Home Improvements (Cheshire) ltd, was fined a total of almost £35,000 after a worker fell from a conservatory roof, landed on step-ladders beneath and sustained broken ribs and bruising.

Being February, the roof had been slippery with ice and, not only was there no edge or fall protection installed, nobody had thought to assess weather conditions or instruct workers not to access slippery surfaces.

Plant & vehicles

  • Director of principal contractor, Pro’conn Ltd, Kevin March, received a 32-week suspended prison sentence and ordered to pay £20,000 costs and TSD Group project Manager, Graham Kuhlmann, a 21-week suspended prison sentence and £5,000 costs, after a worker was crushed and killed when the dumper he had been operating rolled over. The operator was untrained and unsupervised, and there had been inadequate traffic routing to prevent plant being driven onto the slopes of spoil heaps. In addition, as particularly highlighted by the HSE, the (legal) requirement to wear seat-belts had not been enforced; when the dumper rolled, the operator was thrown from his seat and crushed beneath the machine.

And again:

  • SM Dixon Building Contractors Ltd was fined a total of over £14,000 after an employee suffered serious crush injuries when the forward-tipping dumper he was operating rolled over. Not only had the operator not been trained adequately or supervised, the requirement to wear seat-belts had not been enforced; gain, when the dumper rolled, the operator was thrown from his seat and crushed beneath the machine.

And yet again:

  • Jim Eliot & Son was fined a total of almost £3,000 after an employee suffered serious crush injuries when the dumper he was operating rolled over; yet again, he had not been wearing a seat-belt and was crushed.

SEAT BELTS MUST BE WORN ON SITE!!!

  • Cheshire Oak Structures Ltd was fined a total of almost £32,500 after an employee was run over by a telehandler, sustaining serious injuries. The telehandler, driven by the Company’s director, was transporting roof rafters down a narrow alley and 2 workers were helping to guide it when the victim was struck and run over. Clearly, such a tricky manoeuvre should have been better assessed and planned.
  • G-Tekt Europe Manufacturing Ltd was fined a total of over £528,000 after an employee was struck by a forklift and suffered serious brain injuries. The accident occurred because there had been a total lack of controls to segregate forklifts and other vehicles from pedestrians – no pedestrian routes or crossing points and insufficient warning signage.
  • Construction logistics provider, Wilson James Ltd, was fined almost £862,000 after a traffic marshal, employed to control large vehicles down a loading bay ramp during the re-development of the former BBC TV Centre, was struck and killed by a reversing 26 tonne waste wagon. Assessment and safe systems were totally inadequate for the extreme risks involved in establishing traffic management by individual workers.

Work equipment

  • Specialist industrial services company, Leadec Ltd, was fined £2 million and £30,000 in costs after an employee was struck by the end of a flexi-lance and killed; he had been using the water jetting equipment to clear paint residues from pipes at a car manufacturer.

Any pressure jetting is very high risk and requires very detailed risk assessment for each new task, a high degree of controls to prevent unintended ejection, and full training and instruction. None of this had been established in this case, with the result that a man lost his life; the seriousness is reflected in the fine.

Risk assessment & planning

  • The Platform Lift Company Ltd was fined a total of over £15,000 and the Director of its specialist sub-contractor, Davey Marcus of Premier Lift Solutions Ltd, a total of almost £1,500, after a worker was paralysed when a heavy component of an external platform being dismantled fell on him.

Neither company had taken the trouble to properly risk assess, plan the work or provide appropriate scaffold equipment to prevent the collapse of the structure; as a result, a worker suffered severe life-changing injuries

Asbestos

  • Prestige EA Ltd was fined a total of £5,000 after failing to commission the appropriate level of asbestos survey ahead of the refurbishment of flats following a gas explosion; the Company has since gone into liquidation.

The HSE did not specify in its press release which level of survey had been carried out – but everyone reading this should know exactly what level is required and at exactly what point in the proceedings it should be undertaken…if you don’t, ring WHS immediately!!!!

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

COVID 19 / CORONAVIRUS

CURRENT LOCKDOWN

Well, here we are with the distinct feeling of déjà vu; after almost 10 months, Britain is back in total lockdown – with the exception of a few essential industries such as construction and manufacturing. The difference this time around, though, is that those of us who are still able to work in the field should already have very robust Covid controls in place and we should, therefore, all be very confident that our workplaces are safe.

However, it is extremely important to remember that:

  • Going to and from work can also be a very significant risk, especially for those who have to rely on public transport, particularly in London and other densely populated areas. If you can work from home, do so. But if you have to travel, as many of us do, use your own car wherever possible and avoid car-sharing. Employers are advised to carry out in-depth Covid risk assessments and to transmit all relevant information clearly to employees.
  • If you don’t feel Covid-safe in your workplace, this should be pointed out to your management for action to be taken. This is for the employer’s sake as well as the employee’s; workplaces can and are being shut by the HSE and local authorities if controls are found lacking.
  • Covid is only one of the risks we currently meet in our daily working lives – don’t let your guard drop. All the other ever-present risks will still be there and enforcement, penalties and human costs remain the same as ever.

The construction industry has, throughout this pandemic, continually developed better and more appropriate ways to control Covid risks on site. To that end, the Construction Leadership Council has recently issued an update to its Site Operating Procedures – Version 7. It is extremely important that this, and each new version of the Procedures, is read and followed; the HSE carry out their site checks against these principles:
https://bit.ly/39iU3Id

General guidance and instruction about lockdown can be found on the Government’s websites:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/national-lockdown-stay-at-home
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-Covid-19

COMPANY NEWS

TRAINING

Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) is doing its level best to carry out its training programme where and how at all possible. We are very much hoping to get back to relative normality by March but, in the meantime, we do ask you to bear with us should there be any unavoidable disruption to your plans; you will appreciate that the situation is totally out of our hands. We will, of course keep you fully notified of further developments.

Unavoidable changes to our programme are detailed below and will also be personally communicated, both directly and through joining instructions, ahead of planned courses. It is vital that these are understood and relevant information clearly passed to candidates.

First Aid

Because of the unavoidable close contact necessary to undertake any first aid course, our open courses have had to be cancelled till March; WHS will contact those affected and the situation will be closely monitored. As we have yet to hear of any provision for extending expiry dates, managers are advised to review levels of cover to ensure adequate first aid cover in all workplaces.

If you require a First Aid course, it’s been confirmed by the awarding body that we can run these now, however we’d like to limit any mixing of companies to reduce risk where we can, so can only be undertaken for one company until March.

We can run the 1-day (6 hours) Emergency First-Aid at Work courses from March, dates are listed below; very strict Covid-specific controls will apply and no lunch can be offered until further notice. Demand is expected to be high, so book places as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

Dates:

  • 16 March 2021 fully booked
  • 30 March 2021 limited spaces available
  • 26 April 2021
  • 26 May 2021
  • 24 June 2021
  • 27 July 2021
  • 25 August 2021
  • 28 September 2021
  • 29 October 2021
  • 24 November 2021
  • 20 December 2021

Cost: £85 + VAT per person

As usual, please contact Vicki at Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) on 01952 885885 or enquiries@wenlockhs.co.uk or vicki@wenlockhs.co.uk to book places

CITB Courses

Until lockdown ceases, and to enable as many people as possible to be able to access training, all CITB and similar classroom-based courses will be conducted by our staff online. Full details will be given in the joining instructions but it must be noted that, as with online courses successfully conducted during the previous lockdown, each candidate must have access to a computer or laptop.

It must be noted that all previous attendance rules apply, reiterated here:

  • CITB specifies that candidates must be available to attend each session within the course; failure to do so may require a repeat course.
  • And booked online attendance is vital: because of CITB rules, we may be forced to cancel a course ON THAT MORNING if some candidates fail to take part, to the detriment of all candidates.

Do note also that CITB are allowing a grace period; anyone with an SMSTS or SSSTS expiring after 1 October 2020 now has until 30 April 2021 to attend a refresher course. Any delegate whose certificate expired before 1 October 2020 will be required to join a full SMSTS or SSSTS course, rather than the refresher equivalent.

Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)

Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week
Dates:

  • 22, 29 January & 5, 12 & 19 February 2021 (Tuesdays) Online; please note date changes
  • 1, 8, 15, 22 & 29 March 2021 (Mondays)
  • 7, 14, 21, 28 May & 4 June 2021 (Fridays)
  • 5, 12, 19, 26 July & 2 August 2021 (Mondays)
  • 10, 17, 24 September & 1, 8 October 2021 (Fridays)
  • 15, 22, 29 November & 6, 13 December 2021 (Mondays)

Cost: £495 + VAT per person

Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

  • 8 & 9 February 2021 (Monday & Tuesday) Online
  • 14 & 15 April 2021 (Wednesday & Thursday)
  • 7 & 8 June 2021 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 9 & 10 August 2021 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 4 & 5 October 2021 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 9 & 10 December 2021 (Thursday & Friday)

Cost: £265 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS)

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

  • 10 & 11 March 2021 (Wednesday & Thursday)
  • 24 & 25 May 2021 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 29 & 30 July 2021 (Thursday & Friday)
  • 20 & 21 September 2021 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 25 & 26 November 2021 (Thursday & Friday)

Cost: £230 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS) Refresher

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

  • 19 April 2021 (Monday)
  • 25 June 2021 (Friday)
  • 20 August 2021 (Friday)
  • 18 October 2021 (Monday)

Cost: £160 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

  • 2 March 2021 (Tuesday)
  • 10 May 2021 (Monday)
  • 2 July 2021 (Friday)
  • 6 September 2021 (Monday)
  • 1 November 2021 (Monday)
  • 17 December 2021 (Friday)

Cost: £125 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

UKATA

These two open courses have been postponed until March to enable them to take place at the WHS offices; UKATA does not permit online learning. Places are obviously limited so book early to avoid disappointment, particularly as we have yet to hear whether UKATA will permit extensions to certificate expiry dates.

Duration: 3.5 hours
Dates:

  • 5 March 2021; 2 sessions available, commencing 9 am and 1 pm

Cost: £60 + VAT per person

IOSH Managing Safely

This course is scheduled to take place at the WHS offices if possible; the situation will obviously be closely monitored. Again, please note that lunch cannot be offered until further notice.

Duration: 3 days (Monday to Wednesday)
Dates:

  • 22, 23 & 24 February 2021

Cost: £395 + VAT per person

FACE FIT TESTING

As it can be unavoidable and obviously essential for safe working on site, face-fit testing is still being undertaken at the WHS offices under very strict controls. However, it would obviously be preferrable to postpone face-fit testing where this is at all possible (i.e. where the health of workers is not compromised) until we are no longer under lockdown.

WHS PARKING ARRANGEMENTS

Ironbridge Gorge Museums Trust have significantly changed parking payment arrangements at our offices and this will affect all WHS visitors – whether visiting for training, meetings, or any other reason. WHS has negotiated FREE parking for all our visitors, but this is totally reliant on the following criteria:

  • It is vital that you give WHS your car registration number WITHIN 20 MINUTES of arrival at the car park so that we can log it with Ironbridge Gorge Museum to allow for your free parking.
  • If you arrive early and need to bide time, park up elsewhere not in our car park; the clock starts ticking the minute you enter! Make sure you tell us your registration number within that 20 minutes or you will be charged by Ironbridge Gorge Museum.

Joining instructions will give details but those making ad hoc visits to WHS offices for whatever reason should take note the above or you will be charged by Ironbridge Gorge Museum (and there’s nothing we can do about it, sorry!).

SAFETY AWARDS 2020

With all the doom and gloom about right now, it gives us great pleasure to focus again on the Wenlock Health & Safety Awards 2020. Our two very worthy winners received their certificates at the end of 2020 and we are delighted, once again, to draw attention to their achievements:

Commitment to Site Safety:
Mark Bennett of Morris Property Ltd

Mark, shown here with his award, is a Site Manager for Shrewsbury-based Morris Property Ltd.

Mark was awarded the certificate because he has always demonstrated an exemplary attitude towards health & safety on his sites, and a proactive management approach.

An excellent example to set for the Morris Property team.

Commitment to Health & Safety Training:
Richard Sherratt Builders Ltd

Based in Shrewsbury; this commercial and domestic building company was given the award on the strength of its exemplary attitude towards training the entire workforce in health & safety, including through the trials of the last year.

Richard is shown here with the award; keep up the excellent work, Richard!

HSE NEWS

Through the current Covid crisis, the HSE has continued to update its guidance to focus specifically on how best to control commonplace issues in relation to risks posed by the pandemic. A selection of recent HSE bulletins follows; a vest array of further information is available and continually updated on the HSE website:
https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/

VENTILATION & AIR-CONDITIONING

The law requires all employers to ensure an adequate supply of fresh air in the workplace – and this is even more important during the current pandemic. The HSE’s guidance on ventilation and air conditioning has been updated to reflect the importance during Covid: https://bit.ly/2MTetA2

The guidance includes:

  • Balancing ventilation with the need to keep people warm
  • Identifying poorly ventilated areas
  • Improvements to be made
  • Ventilation in vehicles

LOCAL EXHAUST VENTILATION (LEV)

Another issue that is increasingly important because of the pandemic is adequate LEV. The law requires all employers where dusts, fumes or vapours are produced within enclosed or poorly ventilated areas to:

  • Assess the risks and equipment required to controls the risks to an adequate degree; remember, use of RPE alone is illegal, mechanical extraction (LEV) or similar must be put in place.
  • Maintain LEV in good and efficient order, which includes regular visual checks plus thorough test and inspections by specialists at least every 14 months.

Over and above the HSE’s general guidance available on: https://www.hse.gov.uk/lev/ the HSE has issued specific guidance to ensure that LEV test and inspections remain a high priority and are carried out during the pandemic: https://bit.ly/2XtkC7Q

REDUCING THE NEED FOR RPE

The use of RPE, which has become so essential during the pandemic, has also produced major problems with interrupted supplies of reputably sourced masks and accessories of the types required by law that we are all used to having readily to hand, e.g. for protection against silica dusts, etc.

The HSE has therefore produced new guidance outlining alternative ways of working when using power tools (such as drills, cut-off saws, breakers and angle grinders) through this pandemic which could either reduce or actually remove the need to use RPE: https://bit.ly/39nVh4S . Sound advice for the future too!

AVOIDING MUSCULOSKELETAL DISORDERS

Musculoskeletal disorders remain the single-most harm issue in UK industry (and no doubt worldwide too) despite decades of focus and improvements – and it is still the most common cause of injury, permanent harm and early retirement in the construction industry.

The HSE website holds a multitude of guidance about
musculoskeletal and upper limb disorders, e.g:
https://bit.ly/3nCyWWi
https://bit.ly/35x5E5j
https://bit.ly/35v7nIm

However, even this issue can also relate to Covid (e.g. the comfort of those spending long hours working in uncontrolled conditions at home), so the HSE has updated the information accordingly:
https://bit.ly/3oDukR2

AND A REMINDER – THE HSE CONTINUES WITH SPOT CHECKS

As the Covid restrictions bite ever deeper, the need for strict controls for those businesses that must remain open and working are even more important than ever. Consequently, the HSE (and local authorities) are carrying out even more regular spot checks on sites, shops, offices, workshops and other premises – and they continue to fine or close those businesses who have not established appropriate controls or cannot justify remaining open.

To help, yet more in-depth HSE guidance is available (e.g. https://bit.ly/35yizEe ) which includes:

  • cleaning, hygiene and handwashing
  • protecting vulnerable workers during the pandemic
  • first aid during the pandemic

Covid has been with us for so long now, there is no excuse whatsoever for not controlling your workplace adequately – and also seeking to continually improve those controls where possible.

DRIVING FOR WORK

Notwithstanding the current need to work from home where at all possible, the HSE is in the process of updating its joint (with the DfT) guidance, INDG382: Driving at Work, to help duty holders manage work-related road risk.

Since the original guidance was released in 2014, there have been significant developments in technological and driving practices so the HSE is now asking for feedback across all industries, including construction, to gauge the relevance and accuracy of the current guidance. Please spare a few minutes to take the survey via this link: short survey

INDUSTRY NEWS

INTERNAL SAFE ACCESS TO HEIGHT

A lot of our contractors experience difficulty in relation to working within properties where space is too small for scaffolding or mobile towers to fit. WHS has unfortunately seen a number of incidents on site where contractors (such as plasterers, painters and decorators) have improvised and made their own working platforms to access difficult to reach areas, in some cases with zero edge protection and in one recent case resulting in a fall from height which could very easily have resulted in a fatality.

One of our more responsible contractors has recently found and successfully used systems supplied by MK Engineering Services; details may be of use to others experiencing similar issues on site. The systems are easily erected and can be fully tailored to each specific situation: www.mkeservices.com
Another similar system has been supplied for many years by Lobo: https://www.lobosystems.com/contact/

Unfortunately, these pieces of access and protection equipment are not covered under the PASMA Card. Therefore, it is vital to remember that all users of equipment must be provided with suitable information, instruction and training on erection, use and equipment safely, so training must still be provided by the employer. Both MK Engineering and Lobo provide instruction material; however, as stated in law, the training must be delivered by an adequately experienced person with proven competence.

SAFETY FOR YOUNG PERSONS

You should all know that the law makes special provision for the safety of ‘young persons’ (under 18-year olds) – if not, why not, where have you been??!! The emphasis on young persons was realised decades ago because of their inexperience, incomplete bodily development, lack of maturity, and a tendency to think they are immortal! Special controls to prevent undue risk to this sector of the workforce include a cap on working hours and limitations on the type of tasks that can be allocated.

However, the ‘inexperience’ can also apply to older workers who have only recently entered the construction industry and therefore lack training and the level of hands-on experience necessary to identify and control the risks presented to them on site. The main category we refer to here are apprentices – who are increasingly commonplace throughout the industry and are not always covered by the Young Persons Regs.

WHS training covers the subject of the special provisions necessary for both under-18s and older but inexperienced employees, including apprentices. Disturbingly, WHS has witnessed several situations recently where those appropriate provisions have not been made and the worker has then been subject to undue risk. To illustrate the point, we draw attention to a recent prosecution relating to the endangering of an apprentice:

M&J Engineers of Hitchin was fined a total of over £285,000 after an apprentice fell from the roof of a site cabin, causing back and leg injuries. He had climbed onto the roof to attach lifting chains to a power float and, when the crane boom swung, he jumped to avoid injury. He was very lucky not to have been killed.

The huge fine was levelled against M&J because, not only was the crane driver not properly trained, but also (as was specifically highlighted during the trial) the inexperienced apprentice had not been adequately ‘managed’. i.e. nobody was supervising and instructing him.

It is prudent to reiterate one of the particular issues often discussed during WHS training – the link between ability and confidence during the stages of a worker’s development, something that can be true of many of us!

  • When an employee is initially instructed in a task, he (he/she obviously) thinks he knows it all and this can produce over-confidence.
  • That over-confidence can result in risk taking, whether in relation to physical risks or admin tasks.
  • The over-confidence can then result in taking one too many risks and a potentially serious situation; again, this applies as much to physical tasks as to losing an employer’s money through sloppy accounting!
  • Assuming he survives, the employee is then shocked and embarrassed into realising that his over-confidence almost resulted in a serious incident…so he slips back into the learning stage.
  • He’s learnt his lesson and he now realises that he needs to take more time and effort to learn and to behave more responsibly.

Employers too can easily share the over-confidence in those early stages, failing to grasp that competence relates to experience, continual improvement and trustworthiness, not simply instruction and training. Hence, the law requires that both young persons and inexperienced employees are properly supervised and monitored until such time as the employee can truly be called competent for the task/s.

If you have any queries or would like to give your young or inexperienced workers targeted training, please do contact WHS on the usual number: 01952-885885.

GENERAL NEWS

HAND-ARM VIBRATION SYNDROME

As we have mentioned so many times before, another reminder that combatting Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) must remain high on the health & safety agenda for ANY business where power tools are used. Using the data provided (by law) by the equipment manufacturer, a specific vibration risk assessment must (by law) be carried out that accurately reflects the working day for each operator. We at WHS always recommend carrying out an assessment before purchasing new equipment so that safer items can be purchased and risks reduced from the outset – it’s a bit late once you’re stuck with a high-vibration item!!

The seriousness of the issue is illustrated by yet another high-profile prosecution:

Liverpool housing association, Onward Homes Ltd, was fined a total of over £85,000 after four grounds maintenance employees developed disabling HAVS from regularly using vibrating power tools over several years. The fact that several employees all developed the disease demonstrates the Company’s total disregard for their health. The Company had failed to not provide information and training on the safe use of the tools used, nor had they carried out any (legally required) health surveillance – with life-changing consequences for the workers and their families.

But it shouldn’t be the threat of prosecution that spurs employers into action; as highlighted here, employees who contract HAVS are debilitated for life – that’s the reason for action!!

How many of those reading this article can honestly say they have properly risk assessed their power tools in relation to vibration levels and how they are actually used in the field?

And, those of employers who use tradesmen who provide their own tools, that doesn’t let you off the hook! ALL employers are responsible for ensuring that tools are assessed and used appropriated. The law does not accept the excuse that tradesmen, even self-employed tradesmen, are being put at risk on your sites, you are responsible for safety throughout your sites so make sure those assessments are carried out somehow.

PPE

And, on a similar note, we emphasise yet again the necessity of risk assessing every aspect of every task to ensure that (a) controls are established to eliminate or reduce risks without the need for PPE (which, by law if you remember, must be seen as a last resort only) and (b) if PPE has to be used, the correct type is provided without introducing additional risks to the wearer.

The following recent prosecution amply illustrates the points:

  • PPE is a last resort
  • PPE MUST be suitable

LS Starrett Company Ltd, a precision tool manufacturer, was fined £100,000 after an employee lost a finger when operating a radial arm drilling machine.

No risk assessment had been carried and employees were not appropriately trained. Consequently, no guard was in place and the operator was not told to remove his gloves when using the drill; the gloves became entangled in the drill and a finger was so severely lacerated that it had to be amputated.

ALL tasks must (by law) be fully assessed, appropriate controls established and workers properly trained and instructed – and that includes instruction into the safe use of any necessary PPE.

AND FINALLY

A look at the HSE prosecution statistics (across all industries) for November 2020 alone rams home the point that, despite the emphasis on Covid, the HSE is still just as active in enforcement and prosecution:

  • 20 prosecutions, including 2 fatalities
  • Results included fines included several at or of almost £300,000 and 3 suspended sentences
  • Total fines £1,636,109 plus costs

The current requirements to SAVE LIVES and PROTECT THE NHS apply just as much to all other risk factors as it does to Covid!!

Work at height

  • Michael Devlin, director of Design Roof Systems (DRS) Ltd, was given a 6-month suspended prison sentence and ordered to observe a 20-week curfew for deliberately cutting corners in order to lower costs and win a contract; as a result, a man died when he fell through an unprotected skylight. The Company itself was fined a total of almost £146,000

The contract involved the replacement of 70 skylights; DRS had quoted £7865 + VAT to do the work, a vastly under-costed price because Devlin had not included for any form of fall protection. How could Devlin not see that the saving of £Xs could never justify risking both a man’s life and a prosecution?

And a warning here also for clients commissioning work from any external contractors – in law, you could also be held culpable. Is the quoted price vastly below others? Is it too good to be true? It probably is.

  • Peter Green, director of Home Improvements Ltd, was given an 8-month suspended sentence for his ‘wilful neglect’ in failing to protect those working at height, despite (thankfully) there having been no accident. Green had totally failed to properly plan, supervise and carry out the works on pitched roofs at two separate locations.
  • Builder, Mark Bucknall, was fined a total of almost £4,000 after another worker fell 8 metres (!) from a roof. The two had been installing roof-lights on a flat roof during a loft conversion and, to access the roof, they had climbed out of a window (!!!) onto the roof tiles; scaffold had initially been installed but had been removed. The worker fell and landed on concrete, suffering multiple injuries to his spine and legs; he was extremely lucky to survive. Presumably, the worker in question wasn’t prosected as well as the HSE concluded that he’d already been rewarded for his incompetence!
  • Solar panel installer, Blue Sun Energy Ltd, was fined a total of over £39,000 after a sub-contract employee fell 3.5 metres through an unmarked and unguarded roof-light of a cow-shed; the worker suffered brain as well as other life-changing injuries and was, again, lucky to survive.
  • Conservatory and window fitting company, DNA Home Improvements (Cheshire) ltd, was fined a total of almost £35,000 after a worker fell from a conservatory roof, landed on step-ladders beneath and sustained broken ribs and bruising.

Being February, the roof had been slippery with ice and, not only was there no edge or fall protection installed, nobody had thought to assess weather conditions or instruct workers not to access slippery surfaces.

Plant & vehicles

  • Cheshire Oak Structures Ltd was fined a total of almost £32,500 after an employee was run over by a telehandler, sustaining serious injuries. The telehandler, driven by the Company’s director, was transporting roof rafters down a narrow alley and 2 workers were helping to guide it when the victim was struck and run over. Clearly, such a tricky manoeuvre should have been better assessed and planned.
  • G-Tekt Europe Manufacturing Ltd was fined a total of over £528,000 after an employee was struck by a forklift and suffered serious brain injuries. The accident occurred because there had been a total lack of controls to segregate forklifts and other vehicles from pedestrians – no pedestrian routes or crossing points and insufficient warning signage.
  • Construction logistics provider, Wilson James Ltd, was fined almost £862,000 after a traffic marshal, employed to control large vehicles down a loading bay ramp during the re-development of the former BBC TV Centre, was struck and killed by a reversing 26 tonne waste wagon. Assessment and safe systems were totally inadequate for the extreme risks involved in establishing traffic management by individual workers.

Work equipment

  • Specialist industrial services company, Leadec Ltd, was fined £2 million and £30,000 in costs after an employee was struck by the end of a flexi-lance and killed; he had been using the water jetting equipment to clear paint residues from pipes at a car manufacturer.

Any pressure jetting is very high risk and requires very detailed risk assessment for each new task, a high degree of controls to prevent unintended ejection, and full training and instruction. None of this had been established in this case, with the result that a man lost his life; the seriousness is reflected in the fine.

Risk assessment & planning

  • The Platform Lift Company Ltd was fined a total of over £15,000 and the Director of its specialist sub-contractor, Davey Marcus of Premier Lift Solutions Ltd, a total of almost £1,500, after a worker was paralysed when a heavy component of an external platform being dismantled fell on him.

Neither company had taken the trouble to properly risk assess, plan the work or provide appropriate scaffold equipment to prevent the collapse of the structure; as a result, a worker suffered severe life-changing injuries

Asbestos

  • Prestige EA Ltd was fined a total of £5,000 after failing to commission the appropriate level of asbestos survey ahead of the refurbishment of flats following a gas explosion; the Company has since gone into liquidation.

The HSE did not specify in its press release which level of survey had been carried out – but everyone reading this should know exactly what level is required and at exactly what point in the proceedings it should be undertaken…if you don’t, ring WHS immediately!!!!

STAY SAFE – STAY ALERT

FOLLOW THE RULES – DON’T IGNORE ADVICE

SAFEGUARD YOURSELF AND THE LIVES OF THOSE YOU AFFECT

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

COVID 19 / CORONAVIRUS

CURRENT LOCKDOWN

Well, here we are with the distinct feeling of déjà vu; after almost 10 months, Britain is back in total lockdown – with the exception of a few essential industries such as construction and manufacturing. The difference this time around, though, is that those of us who are still able to work should already have very robust Covid controls in place and we should, therefore, all be very confident that our workplaces are safe.

However, it is extremely important to remember that:

  • Going to and from work can also be a very significant risk, especially for those who have to rely on public transport, particularly in London and other densely populated areas. If you can work from home, do so. But if you have to travel, as many of us do, use your own car wherever possible and avoid car-sharing. Employers are advised to carry out in-depth Covid risk assessments and to transmit all relevant information clearly to employees.
  • If you don’t feel Covid-safe in your workplace, this should be pointed out to your management for action to be taken. This is for the employer’s sake as well as the employee’s; workplaces can and are being shut by the HSE and local authorities if controls are found lacking.
  • Covid is only one of the risks we currently meet in our daily working lives – don’t let your guard drop. All the other ever-present risks will still be there and enforcement, penalties and human costs remain the same as ever.

General guidance and instruction about lockdown can be found on the Government’s websites:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/national-lockdown-stay-at-home
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19

COMPANY NEWS

TRAINING

Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) is doing its level best to carry out its training programme where and how at all possible. We are very much hoping to get back to relative normality by March but, in the meantime, we do ask you to bear with us should there be any unavoidable disruption to your plans; you will appreciate that the situation is totally out of our hands. We will, of course keep you fully notified of further developments.

Unavoidable changes to our programme are detailed below and will also be personally communicated, both directly and through joining instructions, ahead of planned courses. It is vital that these are understood and relevant information clearly passed to candidates.

First Aid

Because of the unavoidable close contact necessary to undertake any first aid course, our open courses have had to be cancelled till March; WHS will contact those affected and the situation will be closely monitored. As we have yet to hear of any provision for extending expiry dates, managers are advised to review levels of cover to ensure adequate first aid cover in all workplaces.

If you require a First Aid course, it’s been confirmed by the awarding body that we can run these now, however we’d like to limit any mixing of companies to reduce risk where we can, so can only be undertaken for one company until March.

We can run the 1-day (6 hours) Emergency First-Aid at Work courses from March, dates are listed below; very strict Covid-specific controls will apply and no lunch can be offered until further notice. Demand is expected to be high, so book places as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

Dates:

  • 16 March 2021 fully booked
  • 30 March 2021 limited spaces available
  • 26 April 2021
  • 26 May 2021
  • 24 June 2021
  • 27 July 2021
  • 25 August 2021
  • 28 September 2021
  • 29 October 2021
  • 24 November 2021
  • 20 December 2021

Cost: £85 + VAT per person

As usual, please contact Vicki at Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) on 01952 885885 or enquiries@wenlockhs.co.uk or vicki@wenlockhs.co.uk to book places

IOSH Managing Safely

This course is scheduled to take place at the WHS offices if possible; the situation will obviously be closely monitored. Again, please note that lunch cannot be offered until further notice.

Duration: 3 days (Monday to Wednesday)

Dates:

  • 22, 23 & 24 February 2021

Cost: £395 + VAT per person

FACE FIT TESTING

As it can be unavoidable and obviously essential for safe working on site, face-fit testing is still being undertaken at the WHS offices under very strict controls. However, it would obviously be preferrable to postpone face-fit testing where this is at all possible (i.e. where the health of workers is not compromised) until we are no longer under lockdown.

WHS PARKING ARRANGEMENTS

Ironbridge Gorge Museums Trust have significantly changed parking payment arrangements at our offices and this will affect all WHS visitors – whether visiting for training, meetings, or any other reason. WHS has negotiated FREE parking for all our visitors, but this is totally reliant on the following criteria:

  • It is vital that you give WHS your car registration number WITHIN 20 MINUTES of arrival at the car park so that we can log it with Ironbridge Gorge Musem to allow for your free parking.
  • If you arrive early and need to bide time, park up elsewhere, not in our car park; the clock starts ticking the minute you enter! Make sure you tell us your registration number within that 20 minutes or you will be charged by Ironbridge Gorge Museum.

Joining instructions will give details but those making ad hoc visits to WHS offices for whatever reason should take note the above or you will be charged by Ironbridge Gorge Museum (and there’s nothing we can do about it, sorry!).

SAFETY AWARDS 2020

With all the doom and gloom about right now, it gives us great pleasure to focus again on the Wenlock Health & Safety Awards 2020. Our two very worthy winners received their certificates at the end of 2020 and we are delighted, once again, to draw attention to their achievements:

Commitment to Site Safety:
Mark Bennett of Morris Property Ltd

Mark, shown here with his award, is a Site Manager for Shrewsbury-based Morris Property Ltd.

Mark was awarded the certificate because he has always demonstrated an exemplary attitude towards health & safety on his sites, and a proactive management approach.

An excellent example to set for the Morris Property team.

Commitment to Health & Safety Training:
Richard Sherratt Builders Ltd

Based in Shrewsbury; this commercial and domestic building company was given the award on the strength of its exemplary attitude towards training the entire workforce in various health & safety areas, including through the trials of the last year.

Richard is shown here with the award; keep up the excellent work Richard!

HSE NEWS

Through the current Covid crisis, the HSE has continued to update its guidance to focus specifically on how best to control commonplace issues in relation to risks posed by the pandemic. A selection of recent HSE bulletins follows; a vest array of further information is available and continually updated on the HSE website:
https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/

VENTILATION & AIR-CONDITIONING

The law requires all employers to ensure an adequate supply of fresh air in the workplace – and this is even more important during the current pandemic. The HSE’s guidance on ventilation and air conditioning has been updated to reflect the importance during Covid: https://bit.ly/2MTetA2

The guidance includes:

  • Balancing ventilation with the need to keep people warm
  • Identifying poorly ventilated areas
  • Improvements to be made
  • Ventilation in vehicles

LOCAL EXHAUST VENTILATION (LEV)

Another issue that is increasingly important because of the pandemic is adequate LEV. The law requires all employers where dusts, fumes or vapours are produced within enclosed or poorly ventilated areas to:

  • Assess the risks and equipment required to controls the risks to an adequate degree; remember, use of RPE alone is illegal, mechanical extraction (LEV) or similar must be put in place.
  • Maintain LEV in good and efficient order, which includes regular visual checks plus thorough test and inspections by specialists at least every 14 months.

Over and above the HSE’s general guidance available on: https://www.hse.gov.uk/lev/ the HSE has issued specific guidance to ensure that LEV test and inspections remain a high priority and are carried out during the pandemic: https://bit.ly/2XtkC7Q

REDUCING THE NEED FOR RPE

The use of RPE, which has become so essential during the pandemic, has also produced major problems with interrupted supplies of reputably sourced masks and accessories of the types required by law that we are all used to having readily to hand, e.g. for protection against silica dusts, etc.

The HSE has therefore produced new guidance outlining alternative ways of working when using power tools (such as drills, cut-off saws, breakers and angle grinders) through this pandemic which could either reduce or actually remove the need to use RPE: https://bit.ly/39nVh4S . Sound advice for the future too!

AVOIDING MUSCULOSKELETAL DISORDERS

Musculoskeletal disorders remain the single-most harm issue in UK industry (and no doubt worldwide too) despite decades of focus and improvements – and it is still the most common cause of injury, permanent harm and early retirement in the construction industry.

The HSE website holds a multitude of guidance about
musculoskeletal and upper limb disorders, e.g:
https://bit.ly/3nCyWWi
https://bit.ly/35x5E5j
https://bit.ly/35v7nIm

However, even this issue can also relate to Covid (e.g. the comfort of those spending long hours working in uncontrolled conditions at home), so the HSE has updated the information accordingly:
https://bit.ly/3oDukR2

AND A REMINDER – THE HSE CONTINUES WITH SPOT CHECKS

As the Covid restrictions bite ever deeper, the need for strict controls for those businesses that must remain open and working are even more important than ever. Consequently, the HSE (and local authorities) are carrying out even more regular spot checks on shops, offices, workshops and other premises – and they continue to fine or close those businesses who have not established appropriate controls or cannot justify remaining open.

To help, yet more in-depth HSE guidance is available (e.g. https://bit.ly/35yizEe ) which includes:

  • cleaning, hygiene and handwashing
  • protecting vulnerable workers during the pandemic
  • first aid during the pandemic

Covid has been with us for so long now, there is no excuse whatsoever for not controlling your workplace adequately – and also seeking to continually improve those controls where possible.

DRIVING FOR WORK

Notwithstanding the current need to work from home where at all possible, the HSE is in the process of updating its joint (with the DfT) guidance, INDG382: Driving at Work, to help duty holders manage work-related road risk.

Since the original guidance was released in 2014, there have been significant developments in technological and driving practices so the HSE is now asking for feedback across all industries, including construction, to gauge the relevance and accuracy of the current guidance. Please spare a few minutes to take the survey via this link: short survey

GENERAL NEWS

SAFETY FOR YOUNG PERSONS

You should all know that the law makes special provision for the safety of ‘young persons’ (under 18-year olds) – if not, why not, where have you been??!! The emphasis on young persons was realised decades ago because of their inexperience, incomplete bodily development, lack of maturity, and a tendency to think they are immortal! Special controls to prevent undue risk to this sector of the workforce include a cap on working hours and limitations on the type of tasks that can be allocated.

However, the ‘inexperience’ can also apply to older workers who have only recently entered the construction industry and therefore lack training and the level of hands-on experience necessary to identify and control the risks presented to them on site. The main category we refer to here are apprentices – who are increasingly commonplace throughout the industry and are not always covered by the Young Persons Regs.

WHS training covers the subject of the special provisions necessary for both under-18s and older but inexperienced employees, including apprentices. Disturbingly, WHS has witnessed several situations recently where those appropriate provisions have not been made and the worker has then been subject to undue risk. To illustrate the point, we draw attention to a recent prosecution relating to the endangering of an apprentice:

M&J Engineers of Hitchin was fined a total of over £285,000 after an apprentice fell from the roof of a site cabin, causing back and leg injuries. He had climbed onto the roof to attach lifting chains to a power float and, when the crane boom swung, he jumped to avoid injury. He was very lucky not to have been killed.

The huge fine was levelled against M&J because, not only was the crane driver not properly trained, but also (as was specifically highlighted during the trial) the inexperienced apprentice had not been adequately ‘managed’. i.e. nobody was supervising and instructing him.

It is prudent to reiterate one of the particular issues often discussed during WHS training – the link between ability and confidence during the stages of a worker’s development, something that can be true of many of us!

  • When an employee is initially instructed in a task, he (he/she obviously) thinks he knows it all and this can produce over-confidence.
  • That over-confidence can result in risk taking, whether in relation to physical risks or admin tasks.
  • The over-confidence can then result in taking one too many risks and a potentially serious situation; again, this applies as much to physical tasks as to losing an employer’s money through sloppy accounting!
  • Assuming he survives, the employee is then shocked and embarrassed into realising that his over-confidence almost resulted in a serious incident…so he slips back into the learning stage.
  • He’s learnt his lesson and he now realises that he needs to take more time and effort to learn and to behave more responsibly.

Employers too can easily share the over-confidence in those early stages, failing to grasp that competence relates to experience, continual improvement and trustworthiness, not simply instruction and training. Hence, the law requires that both young persons and inexperienced employees are properly supervised and monitored until such time as the employee can truly be called competent for the task/s.

If you have any queries or would like to give your young or inexperienced workers targeted training, please do contact WHS on the usual number: 01952-885885.

HAND-ARM VIBRATION SYNDROME

As we have mentioned so many times before, another reminder that combatting Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) must remain high on the health & safety agenda for ANY business where power tools are used. Using the data provided (by law) by the equipment manufacturer, a specific vibration risk assessment must (by law) be carried out that accurately reflects the working day for each operator. We at WHS always recommend carrying out an assessment before purchasing new equipment so that safer items can be purchased and risks reduced from the outset – it’s a bit late once you’re stuck with a high-vibration item!!

The seriousness of the issue is illustrated by yet another high-profile prosecution:

Liverpool housing association, Onward Homes Ltd, was fined a total of over £85,000 after four grounds maintenance employees developed disabling HAVS from regularly using vibrating power tools over several years. The fact that several employees all developed the disease demonstrates the Company’s total disregard for their health. The Company had failed to not provide information and training on the safe use of the tools used, nor had they carried out any (legally required) health surveillance – with life-changing consequences for the workers and their families.

But it shouldn’t be the threat of prosecution that spurs employers into action; as highlighted here, employees who contract HAVS are debilitated for life – that’s the reason for action!!

How many of those reading this article can honestly say they have properly risk assessed their power tools in relation to vibration levels and how they are actually used in the workplace?

PPE

And, on a similar note, we emphasise yet again the necessity of risk assessing every aspect of every task to ensure that (a) controls are established to eliminate or reduce risks without the need for PPE (which, by law if you remember, must be seen as a last resort only) and (b) if PPE has to be used, the correct type is provided without introducing additional risks to the wearer.

The following recent prosecution amply illustrates the points:

  • PPE is a last resort
  • PPE MUST be suitable

LS Starrett Company Ltd, a precision tool manufacturer, was fined £100,000 after an employee lost a finger when operating a radial arm drilling machine.

No risk assessment had been carried and employees were not appropriately trained. Consequently, no guard was in place and the operator was not told to remove his gloves when using the drill; the gloves became entangled in the drill and a finger was so severely lacerated that it had to be amputated.

ALL tasks must (by law) be fully assessed, appropriate controls established and workers properly trained and instructed – and that includes instruction into the safe use of any necessary PPE.

ENVIRONMENTAL NEWS

BAT SURVEYS

Whilst focusing on health & safety, especially during the current pandemic, it is all too easy to forget that environmental care is also absolutely essential in law – and that includes mandatory wildlife surveys ahead of all types of work on existing properties, greenfield and brownfield sites. Ignore the legal requirement to your peril:

The largest ever fine of £600,000 for this offence was levied against house builder, Bellway Homes, plus £30,000 in court costs and a compulsory £20,000 donation to the Bat Conservation Trust. Bellway had demolished a building during the 2018 breeding season where pipistrelle bats (the little creature on the right) had previously been recorded and, in doing so, destroyed the breeding site.

This type of crime is treated so seriously that it was the Metropolitan Police who investigated and prosecuted this case – it should serve as a warning to all developers, contractors and businesses that wildlife protection is vital and required by law from the outset as part of the planning process.

AND FINALLY

A look at the HSE prosecution statistics (across all industries) for November 2020 alone rams home the point that, despite the emphasis on Covid, the HSE is still just as active in enforcement and prosecution:

• 20 prosecutions, including 2 fatalities
• Results included fines included several at or of almost £300,000 and 3 suspended sentences
• Total fines £1,636,109 plus costs

The current requirements to SAVE LIVES and PROTECT THE NHS apply just as much to all other risk factors as it does to Covid!!

Work at height

  • Michael Devlin, director of Design Roof Systems (DRS) Ltd, was given a 6-month suspended prison sentence and ordered to observe a 20-week curfew for deliberately cutting corners in order to lower costs and win a contract; as a result, a man died when he fell through an unprotected skylight. The Company itself was fined a total of almost £146,000

The contract involved the replacement of 70 skylights; DRS had quoted £7865 + VAT to do the work, a vastly under-costed price because Devlin had not included for any form of fall protection. How could Devlin not see that the saving of £Xs could never justify risking both a man’s life and a prosecution?

And a warning here also for clients commissioning work from any external contractors – in law, you could also be held culpable. Is the quoted price vastly below others? Is it too good to be true? It probably is.

  • Peter Green, director of Home Improvements Ltd, was given an 8-month suspended sentence for his ‘wilful neglect’ in failing to protect those working at height, despite (thankfully) there having been no accident. Green had totally failed to properly plan, supervise and carry out the works on pitched roofs at two separate locations.
  • Builder, Mark Bucknall, was fined a total of almost £4,000 after another worker fell 8 metres (!) from a roof. The two had been installing roof-lights on a flat roof during a loft conversion and, to access the roof, they had climbed out of a window (!!!) onto the roof tiles; scaffold had initially been installed but had been removed. The worker fell and landed on concrete, suffering multiple injuries to his spine and legs; he was extremely lucky to survive. Presumably, the worker in question wasn’t prosected as well as the HSE concluded that he’d already been rewarded for his incompetence!
  • Solar panel installer, Blue Sun Energy Ltd, was fined a total of over £39,000 after a sub-contract employee fell 3.5 metres through an unmarked and unguarded roof-light of a cow-shed; the worker suffered brain as well as other life-changing injuries and was, again, lucky to survive.
  • Conservatory and window fitting company, DNA Home Improvements (Cheshire) ltd, was fined a total of almost £35,000 after a worker fell from a conservatory roof, landed on step-ladders beneath and sustained broken ribs and bruising.

Being February, the roof had been slippery with ice and, not only was there no edge or fall protection installed, nobody had thought to assess weather conditions or instruct workers not to access slippery surfaces.

Plant & vehicles

  • Cheshire Oak Structures Ltd was fined a total of almost £32,500 after an employee was run over by a telehandler, sustaining serious injuries. The telehandler, driven by the Company’s director, was transporting roof rafters down a narrow alley and 2 workers were helping to guide it when the victim was struck and run over. Clearly, such a tricky manoeuvre should have been better assessed and planned.
  • G-Tekt Europe Manufacturing Ltd was fined a total of over £528,000 after an employee was struck by a forklift and suffered serious brain injuries. The accident occurred because there had been a total lack of controls to segregate forklifts and other vehicles from pedestrians – no pedestrian routes or crossing points and insufficient warning signage.
  • Construction logistics provider, Wilson James Ltd, was fined almost £862,000 after a traffic marshal, employed to control large vehicles down a loading bay ramp during the re-development of the former BBC TV Centre, was struck and killed by a reversing 26 tonne waste wagon. Assessment and safe systems were totally inadequate for the extreme risks involved in establishing traffic management by individual workers.

Work equipment

  • Specialist industrial services company, Leadec Ltd, was fined £2 million and £30,000 in costs after an employee was struck by the end of a flexi-lance and killed; he had been using the water jetting equipment to clear paint residues from pipes at a car manufacturer.

Any pressure jetting is very high risk and requires very detailed risk assessment for each new task, a high degree of controls to prevent unintended ejection, and full training and instruction. None of this had been established in this case, with the result that a man lost his life; the seriousness is reflected in the fine.

Asbestos

  • Prestige EA Ltd was fined a total of £5,000 after failing to commission the appropriate level of asbestos survey ahead of the refurbishment of flats following a gas explosion; the Company has since gone into liquidation.

The HSE did not specify in its press release which level of survey had been carried out but the case demonstrates just how vital it is that any business carrying out any works on any existing property commissions the appropriate survey. If you’re in doubt or need further advice, please do contact WHS immediately

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
WISHES YOU ALL A VERY HAPPY
& HEALTHY CHRISTMAS

COMPANY NEWS

WHS CHRISTMAS BREAK

Please note, and tell all relevant staff, that the Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) office will close at midday on Wednesday 23 December 2020 and will reopen at 8 am on Monday 4 January 2021.

For those who may still be at work during this period, your WHS advisor can be contacted in cases of emergency ONLY on his/her mobile.

TRAINING

Despite the current national restrictions, WHS is still able to quite legitimately operate a full training programme, as we have strict covid-related precautions in place. As we are so severely limited to the number of places available due to these restrictions, we must reiterate that it is vitally important to ensure that, once booked, courses and places are not cancelled.

We would also reiterate that these covid precautions for courses run at the WHS facilities have necessitated that neither lunch nor drinks can be provided; candidates are requested to bring their own lunch and refreshments. Full details of the precautions we have taken, and also what is expected from the candidates, are issued with the joining instructions for each course.

Any organisation requiring attendance at their own premises can request a specific course provided that suitable Covid-specific precautions can be agreed at the point of booking.

Courses shown below are for the early part of 2021; further courses will be added shortly and the full 2021 programme will be available on the WHS website: http://wenlockhealthandsafety.co.uk/
As usual, please contact Vicki at Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) on 01952 885885 or enquiries@wenlockhs.co.uk or vicki@wenlockhs.co.uk to book places.

First Aid

WHS 1-day (6 hours) Emergency First-Aid at Work. Demand remains high so book places as soon as possible.

Dates:

  • 16 December 2020
  • 27 January 2021
  • 25 February 2021
  • 30 March 2021
  • 26 April 2021

Cost: £85 + VAT per person

CITB Courses

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 for the individual.

And attendance is vital, not only because it affects the candidate personally, but also because it can seriously affect others. As highlighted in previous newsletters, because of CITB rules, we may be forced to cancel a course ON THAT MORNING if some candidates don’t turn up.

Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)

Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week
Dates:

  • 15, 22, 29 January, 5 & 12 February 2021 (Fridays)
  • 1, 8, 15, 22 & 29 March 2021 (Monday)

Cost: £495 + VAT per person

Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

  • 7 & 8 December 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 8 & 9 February 2021 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 14 & 15 April 2021 (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:

  • 11 & 12 January 2021 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 10 & 11 March 2021 (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:

  • 18 December 2020 (Friday)
  • 13 January 2021 (Wednesday)

Cost: £160 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

  • 14 December 2020 (Monday)
  • 7 January 2021 (Thursday)
  • 2 March 2021 (Tuesday)

Cost: £125 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

A final note:

CITB had previously extended SMSTS and SSSTS expiry dates until 30 November 2020 for any candidates who required refresher courses after 15 March 2020. However, to ensure availability of courses, this has now been extended still further to 31 January 2021. Therefore, if you have been unable to sit the refresher course before 30 November 2020 for whatever reason, you can now do so until the end of January 2021 rather than having to take the full course again. But you are advised not to wait top book; demand is obviously high and CITB has advised that this grace period will not be extended again.

WHS SAFETY AWARDS

It’s that time of year again when it gives us great pleasure to recognise the health & safety commitment and achievements of our clients and, despite the extraordinary circumstances we’ve all had to contend with in 2020, this year is no exception. We are therefore delighted to announce the following WHS awards for 2020:

Commitment to Health & Safety Training – Richard Sherratt Builders Ltd
Based in Shrewsbury; this commercial and domestic building contractor has always shown an exemplary attitude towards training the entire workforce in health & safety, including utilising any downtime during 2020 to best advantage.

Commitment to Site Safety – Mark Bennett of Morris Property Ltd
Mark is a Site Manager for Shrewsbury-based Morris Property Ltd; he has always demonstrated an exemplary attitude towards health & safety on his sites, with a proactive management approach.

Well done to both our worthy award winners! Both serve as examples of the high standards attainable.

We must also mention that many of our clients have shown a high degree of commitment in establishing good standards of covid protection, both on site and in their offices; this has not gone unnoticed.

ACCIDENT RATE FOR 2020 DISAPPOINTS

Unfortunately, despite the above examples of exemplary standards, WHS has to report that 2020 has been an extremely disappointing year as regards accidents; we have never, in our 18-year history, had so many accidents (let alone the serious accidents involved) reported by our contractors.

We have concluded that there are two possible reasons for this; either:

a) the focus on covid, or
b) the high volume of work currently being undertaken

has distracted companies from the basic risks we all encounter day in, day out on site – risks that should be controlled by second nature in this day and age. Yes, covid encompasses serious risks – but so does work at height, excavations, control of plant and vehicles, etc, etc. And yes, with increased volumes of work comes a corresponding increase in the amount of risks presented and increased pressures on site management. But the fact that high-risk/highly-governed fields of work such as work at height, excavations and control of plant and vehicles have produced the worst of the accidents reported to us is absolutely inexcusable.

And don’t make the mistake of thinking that HSE inspectors are currently concentrating on covid to the detriment of other risks – they most certainly are not! However, what is likely to happen is that, because of the current volume of the HSE’s work, investigations will take longer, much longer! Which means that the anguish and trauma experienced by any company under investigation will be experienced over 1 year, maybe 2 years, longer than usual (in practice, up to 4 years or so).

Let’s face it, if your site has been properly set up to control covid, it should be more, not less, safe overall! So please, don’t lose sight of the basic risks and controls; don’t let standards drop for ANY reason.

COVID & RELATED ISSUES

COVID-19 / CORONAVIRUS

Let’s hope that 2021 allows us all to get back to some semblance of normality before long! However, in the meantime, we would remind all employers and employees that covid must still be taken seriously and all controls under the mantra ‘hands, face, space’ must still be practiced, both at work and at home.

To reinforce the message around your workplaces, the NHS posters are freely available from:
https://coronavirusresources.phe.gov.uk/Hands-Face-Space-/resources/posters/
And a very serious reminder (sadly, we need to repeat this because we have seen a significant number of people ignoring this instruction) that, if you have reason, or have been told by the NHS Test & Trace app, to get a covid test, you DO NOT go to work or mix with others whilst you’re waiting for the result!!

A reminder also to employers that they MUST be responsible when it comes to allowing employees time off for self-isolating. You are at liberty to ask for proof of the need to self-isolate, but employees should be encouraged to do the right thing and not pressurised to return to work too soon.

HSE SPOT CHECKS

The HSE is continuing its policy of unannounced spot checks and inspections to make sure that businesses and workplaces are following government covid guidelines – and WHS has seen much evidence of this policy being carried through, so be warned!

The HSE has stated that all visiting personnel will be carrying identification and a letter of authorisation from the HSE, implying that they may not be direct HSE employees. If you wish to verify whether the visitor is legitimate, please call the HSE on 0300 790 6896.

Further details can be found on spot checks and inspections, as well as HSE guidance on being COVID-secure

FURTHER IMPORTANT COVID GUIDANCE

In addition, the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) regularly updates its construction-specific guidance on how to interpret government guidance on construction sites or when working in people’s homes.

The CLC’s Site Operating Procedures Version 6 is now available:
https://www.constructionleadershipcouncil.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Site-Operating-Procedures-Version-6.pdf

Please make sure that you read it and put the required systems into practice as it is considered the definitive guidance for construction sites, site management and individual workers.

It makes interesting reading, particularly the often-confusing issue of the wearing of face coverings on site:
https://builduk.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/The-Use-of-Face-Coverings-in-Construction-during-Coronavirus.pdf

THE IMPORTANCE OF GOOD VENTILATION

We should all know by now about the importance of good ventilation to help in the fight against covid. Of course, working outdoors reduces the risks immeasurably (provided we all practice distancing) but what about indoors? What about aircon, are there risks?

The HSE has issued specific guidance on the subject: https://bit.ly/32O9PIL

OTHER HSE NEWS

RESPIRATORY INSPECTIONS

The previous WHS newsletter brought to your attention the current nationwide HSE campaign focusing on respiratory health, which obviously now covers the risks and controls relating to covid.

It seems that the HSE has certainly followed through with this campaign; WHS has heard of a good number of our customers receiving both announced and unannounced visits.

If you’ve not yet done so, it is in the interests of every contractor, engineer, workshop, etc to read the specific HSE guidance on controlling respiratory health risks: https://bit.ly/2RStPE4

LOCAL EXHAUST VENTILATION

The HSE has issued its latest Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) eBulletin which focuses on the key topic of competence.

Obviously, we all have a duty to ensure the relevant competence of those who work for us in whatever guise that may be (including building contractors in our home environment according to CDM 2015!). Hopefully, all businesses would take this duty seriously when it comes to engaging both employees and external contractors such as electricians and gas engineers. But how many businesses think about ensuring the competence of specialists such as maintenance and monitoring engineers, or indeed supply/installers themselves?

It’s obvious that ensuring the competence of electrical and gas engineers, asbestos removal companies, building contractors, etc is vital to the safety of us, our employees and the future of our businesses. But how many of us actually check the qualifications, current trade requirements, and trustworthiness of companies we engage for (e.g.) dust, noise, legionella, equipment, etc maintenance, servicing and equipment supply/installs? Yet this is vital to ensure that all our equipment and systems are equipped to keep us and our employees safe.

As the safety and efficiency of LEV equipment is so important to ensure our respiratory health, this latest HSE ebulletin gives advice and guidance on both the nature of ‘competence’ in general and what is required for LEV engineers: https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/UKHSE/bulletins/2ac4af5

Last year, the cross-industry LEV Competency Matrix was launched at the joint ILEVE / BOHS conference. The HSE points out that the Matrix, although aimed primarily at those involved in LEV design, installation, commissioning, thorough examination and testing, would also be very useful for those engaging LEV specialists as it helps the engaging businesses to identify possible knowledge gaps and necessary CPD of the engineers. The Matrix is available via the ILEVE website

The ILEVE website also gives access to accredited LEV engineers. Although it must be said that it is not mandatory, membership of this institute is obviously a good measure of competence and trustworthiness:
https://www.cibse.org/institute-of-local-exhaust-ventilation-engineers/ileve-accredited-members

INDUSTRY NEWS

SEAT-BELTS

In addition to the need to stay focused on basic site safety and health issues as highlighted above, WHS would add yet another plea – this time about the wearing of seat-belts on plant.

Despite being legally required from 1998, the wearing of seat-belts on mobile plant has never been universally observed despite our many warnings. However, this is another area where things seem to be getting much worse, including the deliberate by-passing of alert systems.

So, before yet another serious accident is reported to WHS, a reminder that all site managers MUST enforce the wearing of seat-belts on plant (and in vehicles). Without being firmly held within the roll-bar or cab by the belt, a driver will be at extreme risk if the plant overturns or encounters sloped or uneven terrain. He may think he can jump away from a roll, but he can’t; he will be crushed under the equipment, and the site manager will run the risk of prosecution for not enforcing the legally binding rules. It has been law for over 20 years for a very good reason!!!

GENERAL NEWS

HIGH-RISK BUILDING SAFETY

In the light of the Grenfell disaster in June 2017, the Construction Industry Council (CIC) has been working with the Government and HSE to produce a draft Building Safety Bill whereby those deemed responsible in law for the safety of higher-risk buildings and their occupants (persons such as landlords) will be required to appoint a Building Safety Manager. Buildings that fall into the ‘higher-risk’ category would include multi-occupancy residential buildings of 18 metres height or more, or six or more storeys.
Under the proposed legislation, the Building Safety Manager would require specific in-depth competencies to equip him/her to look after the day-to-day management of fire and structural safety and provide a clear point of contact for residents when issues arise.

Not a moment too soon. For too long, those responsible for these higher-risk buildings have failed (or been allowed to fail?) in their duties of care towards the occupants; but, as always, it takes a serious incident to wake people up to the deficiencies. The final CIC report ‘Setting the Bar’, together with the annexes and press release, can be found on: http://cic.org.uk/setting-the-bar-annexes.php

A very concise and useful executive summary, which is certainly worth reading, can be found on:
http://cic.org.uk/admin/resources/setting-the-bar-exec-summary-final.pdf

MENTAL HEALTH & STRESS

We must all be aware by now that mental health has become an even more serious issue because of covid. One the one hand, it can affect those under lockdown or prevented from seeing loved ones; at the other end of the spectrum, it can affect those who are under severe strain at work, whether because of longer hours, difficult work situations, lack of company or personal income, etc.

Whatever the background to people’s distress, we must all take the issue (or potential for the issue to arise) seriously and keep a watchful eye on employees and colleagues, as well as loved ones, friends, relatives, etc.

Two very useful construction-specific resources have been added recently to the plethora of previously issued general advice; both are worth reading:

  • The CONIAC Tackling Ill Health Working Group has issued a draft ‘Talking Toolkit’ Preventing Work-Related Stress in Construction, freely downloadable from: https://bit.ly/3lCxfIo
  • Building Mental Health, a construction-industry initiative group, has freely downloadable resources, including a tool-box talk and ‘5 steps to building a successful mental health culture’; available from: https://www.buildingmentalhealth.net/resources.html

AND FINALLY

With thanks to the HSE for the photographs

As stressed above, despite covid, HSE enforcement and prosecutions have not ceased; far from it. Not only is there an increased number of spot checks, but you can still be assured that every serious accident (as a minimum) will be investigated by the HSE and prosecutions will follow where breaches of the law are found.

The Vital Importance of Training & Safe Systems

  • Formula Scaffolding (London) Ltd was fined a total of over £171,500 following a scaffolding collapse in Maidenhead in April 2018. An inadequately trained worker was removing scaffold ties when high winds caused the scaffold to ‘act as a giant sail’.

Luckily, nobody was hurt. However, this was evidently yet another accident that could have been prevented if the legal duties to properly train the workforce and organise a safe system of work had been followed.

  • Reason Transport UK was prosecuted and is now in liquidation after an agency worker was fatally crushed by a pallet of tiles weighing 1400kg. The worker had been struggling to manoeuvre the pallet onto the tail-lift of the truck he was driving when he lost control; the pallet fell on him and he died from his injuries.

The agency worker had been engaged only 2 weeks beforehand but had received no training at all in the safe handling of the extremely heavy loads; a totally avoidable fatality.

  • Hi Peak Feeds Ltd was fined a total of over £142,500 after an employee’s arm was severed below the elbow by a moving conveyor. The employee had opened a hatch on a closed conveyor to clear a blockage when the conveyor unexpectedly started to move, severing his arm.

Not a construction accident but this case starkly shows, yet again, the vital importance of both properly training the workforce and the establishment (and monitoring) of safe systems. No training had been given nor instruction material provided; as a result, the practice of clearing blockages by opening the hatch had ‘developed over time’ and management had failed to monitor work and rectify the situation.

  • Novaflex Ltd was fined a total of over £29,000 after an agency worker’s sleeve was pulled into a spinning lathe, resulting in serious open fractures to his right arm.

Yet again, there had been no training given, nor a safe system of work established. And another case involving an agency worker. AGENCY WORKERS ARE ENTITLED TO THE SAME TRAINING AS PERMANENT EMPLOYEES; the alternative being, as in the case of construction, ONLY properly trained employees are to be hired.

  • Axio (Special Works) Ltd was fined a total of over £25,000 after the boom of a concrete pump struck a worker, causing life-changing serious injuries, including brain damage. Concrete was being poured using a 52 metre boom when the ground beneath one of the pump outriggers gave way, causing the boom to swing and strike the worker.

No checks had been made to ensure the ground conditions could take the loadings, nor had the type and size of the spreader plates beneath the outriggers been considered. Another case of assumptions being made rather than planning and establishing a sound safe system of work. ALL site-specific issues MUST be considered when risk assessing EVERY operation; clearly, the vitally important issue of ground conditions had not been adequately considered in this case.

  • Three contractors involved in the demolition of a house, Ryde Demolition Ltd, HJ Bennett Ltd and Stoneham Construction Ltd were fined totals of over £92,000, £132,000 and £58,600 respectively after a gable wall partially collapsed, causing a worker’s death when he fell backwards.

Not one of the contractors had properly planned or managed the work on this seemingly simple job, with the result that timbers were removed out of sequence and the brick gable was left unsupported. Another totally avoidable death.

N.B. A reminder here that DEMOLITION is still ‘CONSTRUCTION’ and is covered by CDM; it requires the same planning, management systems, competent personnel, monitoring, etc as any other form of construction.

  • Specialist industrial services company, Leadec Ltd, was fined £2 million plus £30,000 in costs after an employee suffered fatal injuries whilst cleaning waste-water pipes. The worker was using high-pressure jetting equipment to clear paint residue from pipes when he was struck by the end of the flexi-lance.

N.B. Another reminder: high-pressure jetting equipment can be lethal if used incorrectly; thorough task-specific risk assessments must be undertaken, safe systems established and thorough training given.

STAY SAFE – STAY ALERT
FOLLOW THE RULES – DON’T IGNORE ADVICE
SAFEGUARD YOURSELF AND THE LIVES OF THOSE YOU AFFECT

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