Now that asbestos has moved a lot closer to the forefront of our minds in the construction industry as well as other industries, Asbestos Awareness training is a must for all who may come into contact with it during their working day.

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

For just £65 + VAT per person, attending our UKATA Asbestos Awareness course will give you the knowledge you need to ensure you’re aware of the basics and don’t get caught out.

12th January 2018
£65 + VAT per person
9am – 12.30pm
Held at our offices in Telford – address here

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

 

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

WENLOCK HEALTH & SAFETY Ltd EXTENDS WARMEST CHRISTMAS WISHES TO ALL OUR CLIENTS;
WE TRUST THAT 2018 WILL BE BOTH PROSPEROUS
AND SAFE!

COMPANY NEWS

Christmas Closure

As usual, we at Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) will be taking a well-earned break over the Christmas holiday period.

Please take note that our offices will be closing from midday on Friday 22 December 2017 and reopening at 8 am on Tuesday 2 January 2018. No consultants will be available during this period to provide normal services; however, if there is an emergency situation requiring immediate attention, please contact Jackie on 07866-605920 (emergencies only please!)

Additional Staff

We’re sure that you’ll join us in extending a warm welcome to our newest member of staff, Mr. Dave Copcutt.
Dave brings with him a wealth of experience, particularly in the field of construction-based training, and will contribute greatly to both the value and the range of our services over the coming months and years.

CDM Seminars

A reminder that we are holding two seminars at our premises on Tuesday, 23 January 2018, to assist our customers to understand and deal with the many issues and pitfalls that have become apparent since the advent of CDM 2015. Whether you’re a contractor, designer, developer or a one-off client, all duty holders may have experienced problems with the regulations; with the ‘holistic’ view of the developments taken by WHS, we can offer pragmatic solutions and approaches to the issues.

The cost for the seminars is: £60 + VAT per person per session or £100 per person for the full day:

  • 8.30 am to 12.30 pm ‘CDM 2015; practical advice for Clients, Developers and Designers’
  • 1.30 pm to 5 pm ‘CDM 2015; practical advice for Contractors’

 

Please refer to the flyer attached for both. Space is limited so book early

CITB Training Courses

In addition to the SMSTS & SSSTS courses below currently run on a one-day-per-week basis, and in order to accommodate client requests, we will soon be offering courses spanning single weeks. Availability will require a minimum of 6 persons (CITB rules, not ours!) so the more candidates you can muster for any one course, the better. Should this be your preferred option, please contact Vicki at WHS as soon as possible.

Forthcoming late 2017 and early 2018 dates currently in place and fees for the CITB courses are as follows. Courses are held at the WHS offices and fees include lunch, refreshments and all course literature.

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

And don’t forget that CITB levy-payers can claim substantial grants against all these courses and more – which will help alleviate the cost considerably. Contact WHS for further details.

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)
    Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week
    Dates: 30 January & 6, 13, 20 & 27 February 2018
    Cost: £495 + VAT per person
  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher
    Duration: 2 days
    Dates: 18 & 19 December 2017
    12 & 13 March 2018
    Cost: £265 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)
  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS)
    Duration: 2 days
    Dates: 8 & 9 January 2018
    22 & 23 March 2018
    Cost: £230 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)
  • CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness
    Duration: 1 day
    Dates: 4 December 2017
    26 February 2018
    Cost: £125 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

 

If any organisation requires places for 6 or more employees, we can arrange a specific course at dates, times and a location to suit. Please contact the WHS office to discuss your requirements.

New CITB Training Courses

Please note that WHS can now offer two new CITB-accredited courses:

  • Directors Role for Health and Safety
  • Achieving Behavioural Change (ABC)

 

Please ring Vicki at WHS on 01952-885885 for further information or to book courses. Do note that the same CITB rules apply (6 persons minimum per course) so courses may have to be aggregated.

First Aid Training

Forthcoming 2017 dates for the WHS 1-day Emergency First Aid courses, also held at our offices, are as follows; the fee is just £75 + VAT per person:

  • 11 December 2017
  • 18 January 2018
  • 20 January 2018
  • 26 March 2018

 

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

WHS Awards

Yes, it’s the time of year again when we take pride in recognising those clients who have demonstrated outstanding commitment to high standards of health & safety over the previous 12 months by presenting our 2017 WHS Health & Safety Awards. This is the first time in our 15 year history that we have made an award to a particular company two years running! Full details of our 2017 awards follows; we extend hearty congratulations to all winners:

Archway Products (UK) Ltd
Award for: Best Safety Culture

The Company designs, manufactures and operates its Roadmaster self-contained, very safe-to-operate, pot-hole repair vehicles throughout the UK. Despite proving to be exemplary in its approach to health & safety last year and, thus, winning a WHS award for ‘Commitment Through Innovation’, Company management still continually shows an appetite for exploring further innovation towards improvement. They have been more than willing to work with, and listen to advice given by, WHS – which is doubly important for a company based in the Republic of Ireland – and this has produced excellent results in a very short time.

Andy Collier of biT (Telford & Wrekin Council’s Architectural Design & Building Services)
Award for: Best Safety Manager

WHS has worked alongside Andy for 15 years. In his various TWC roles over those 15 years, he has always been resolute in his commitment to the health & safety. Now, in his latest role to manage the new biT Facilities Management Team, his commitment continues to be unwavering and exemplary. As with Archway, the willingness to work with, and listen to advice given by, WHS has produced excellent results in a very short time.

Richard Sherratt Builders Ltd
Award for: Best Small Contractor

Richard runs a small general building company based in Shrewsbury, mainly undertaking small projects and insurance work. His total commitment to the wellbeing of his employees, and the public he inevitably impacts as a result of his work, is highly commendable. This demonstrates that compliance is totally possible with just a bit of thought and effort, even within a small company. It also demonstrates that such commitment produces very positive effects – loyalty from both staff and clients.

Morris Property Ltd
Award for: Commitment to Training

Part of the prestigious Morris & Co group, contractor Morris Property Ltd has demonstrated total commitment to fully training their workforce at all levels. Their on-going efforts have produced huge improvements in the health & safety management and systems for both project and minor works, and is to be highly commended as an example to all parties within the industry.

Jake Edis of Edis Developments Ltd
Commendation for: High Standards of Site Management

Jake Edis was appointed site manager in July 2017 and has, since then, shown to be quick to understand requirements, strong to enforce site rules, willing to work alongside WHS and enthusiastic to implement improvements. Edis Developments Ltd, based in Shropshire, have certainly benefitted greatly by engaging Jake – particularly as the HSE was more than pleased with the site during a recent inspection!

Well done to all our worthy winners!! Can anyone else demonstrate such commitment over the next 12 months? The awards are there for the taking for those who deserve recognition.

Old First-Aid Supplies

Those WHS customers who have been with us for a while will know that periodically, we collect out-of-date but still wrapped and sterile first-aid items which Jackie then distributes in various needy locations.

Jackie has distributed supplies many times before to such needy places as Haiti, Nepal (following the earthquake), and various African countries. In July 2018, she will again be visiting clinics in far flung places so we’re asking now please that, if any of you have any out-of-date or unwanted but still sterile and usable first-aid supplies, please can you either give them to your WHS consultant when you next meet, post them to us, or let Vicki in the office know that they are available to collect.

Many thanks indeed in advance!

HSE NEWS

Fines Doubled in 12 Months

Despite the fall in the number of prosecutions reaching court, the fines levelled against those found guilty of health & safety offices has almost doubled in the last 12 months, and this is on top of a similar rise over the previous 12 month period.

For the same period during:

2014-15 £18 million in fines was collected
2015-16 £38.8 million collected
2016-17 £69.9 million collected – an effective rise of 388% in 2 years

The number of cases brought to court and resulting in conviction during 2016-17, at 554, was the lowest recorded in over 5 years. Of these, 206 (37%) were in construction – which is a sad reflection on the state of our industry as we only represent 5% of the total UK workforce.

So why is the increase in fines levied so high? Any recipients of this newsletter over the past 18 months will know the answer – new sentencing guidelines were introduced on 1 February 2016 which allowed for very much larger fines, the largest to date being £5 million (Merlin Entertainments – the Alton Towers accident). During 2016-17, 38 cases resulted in fines in excess of £500,000. And it must also be noted that several of those also resulted in imprisonment too.

Enforcement Increased

In addition to the above, HSE enforcement is steadily increasing year on year. 11,913 notices were issued by either the HSE or Local Authorities) during 2016-17, a 5% rise over the previous year.

And, as reported before, this is on top of the thousands of FFI (‘Fees For Intervention’) letters issued for lesser material breaches which attract no fines but fees of £129 per hour for all HSE work involved.

So…anyone not paying due attention to the law risks paying out far more than any savings made. Is it worth it? Does it really cost so much for a business to get its house in order? It will cost a lot more not to!

Breaches Relating to Plant Increased

And it’s disturbing that the Building Safety Group has reported a 74% rise in construction plant breaches in just 6 months mainly relating to poor planning and designation of person/plant segregation. In 2016-17, 23% of the total workplace fatalities resulted from pedestrians being struck by a moving vehicle. Considering the legal requirement to separate people from plant and vehicles has been in place for almost 20 years now, the lack of planning and control is inexcusable.

For example:
United Grab Hire was fined almost £506,000 after a reversing telehandler struck and killed a worker; no segregation had been established.
And see further cases at the end of this newsletter.

Stress – the Sad Facts

The HSE has issued latest figures regarding work place stress. And they demonstrate a worrying decline in the mental health of the UK workforce. It doesn’t take a genius to work out why in the current economic climate but it’s a sad fact that workplace stress has now overtaken musculoskeletal disorders as the most commonly reported work-related illness!

The number of new cases reported rose to 526,000 for the 2016-17 period, up 7% on the previous year and accounting for a massive 40.5% of the total number of work-related illness cases reported to the HSE. Food for thought…take care of your workforce, without them you have no business.

INDUSTRY NEWS

Lead – a Serious but Overlooked Risk Issue

We’re sure everyone is aware of the extremely hazardous nature of lead – the extreme effects on the nervous system which can lead to very unpleasant symptoms, total mental disablement or, worse case scenario, coma and death. The substance (whether in solid, particle or fume form) is so hazardous that, like asbestos, it warrants its own set of regulations, with very strict controls and continual health surveillance being necessary by law.

So why are we still building lead products into our new buildings without a thought for the possible consequences to those dealing with it both now and in the future? This is both a designer and a contractor issue. Both have a clear duty under CDM to eliminate risks where possible – so why are lead flashings, canopies, cladding, etc still being designed in when alternatives are available? It cannot be acceptable to rely on the contractor to ‘reduce the risk through appropriate controls’ when it is possible to design out the risk itself.

The ‘general principals of prevention’ are, as you know: eliminate – reduce – control
CDM clearly places the initial responsibility for the implementation of the general principals of prevention on the designer and more needs to be done to rid the industry of such serious, and unnecessary, health risks.

And the contractor spied recently by WHS advertising photographs of a ‘lead clad door canopy completed as an alternative to tiling’, pretty though it looked, clearly has no regard for safety or an understanding of the law.

For further information, refer to the WHS Health & Safety Manual, and generic COSHH and risk assessments relating to both lead and red lead: COSHH 024 & 025; lead removal 025.

Contact the WHS office on 01952-885885 for further information or to arrange a short lead awareness training course. The HSE is beginning to look hard at this issue so now is the time to make yourself fully aware.

Use of Gas Bottles on Site

The storage, handling and transporting of gas is becoming an ever-increasing issue with the HSE. Which is perfectly understandable as misuse and poor handling can have devastating consequences.

  • For construction sites, we need to have considered the following points:
    Where are the gas bottles going to be stored on site? Is this identified? What would happen to this storage in a fire?
  • How is the gas being moved around the site? Do workers know how to correctly move gas around the site – never rolled – always upright! Have they been trained?
  • Can a safe distance be maintained around the area when using gas? What about protection for other contractors and persons?
  • Is a necessary to use a hot works permit? Is there more than one person in attendance? Is the correct fire extinguisher provided?
  • Have those persons using the gas and all associated items (e.g. regulators) been properly trained. Just because the regulator fits, may not mean it’s the correct one to use. Does the user know the difference?
  • Have the weekly checks of plant and equipment been made? Does this include all mobile hoses?
  • Has the gas equipment been replaced within 5 years?
  • Has the site manager included gas/ hot works in the site fire risk assessment?
  • Is gas included in your emergency arrangements on site?

 

These are the minimum areas to consider and control when using gas and/or carrying out hot works on site. Failure to properly plan, assess and control may result in HSE enforcement or, worse still, serious incident causing serious injury, death or explosion.

For further information about controlling the risks and implications, consult the WHS Health & Safety Manual, and websites:

https://bfpa.co.uk/ (The British Fluid Power Association)
http://www.hse.gov.uk/pUbns/priced/l122.pdf (Pressure systems safety regulations 2000)
http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/hsg168.htm (HSG 168 – fire safety in construction)

Fire Protection with Timber Frame Construction

Believe it or not, 85% of all fires on construction sites are started by arson. Consequently, the HSE is increasingly pushing for all construction sites to have in place three fire emergency documents:

  • Fire risk assessment (on and off-site)
  • Fire plan
  • Fire emergency procedures and arrangements.

 

It is important to note that the fire risk assessment must address both on-site and off-site (beyond the site boundary) fire risk. This is particularly true for timber frames buildings, as the heat they radiant can cause significant damage to neighbouring properties. The radiant heat travels a much greater distance than most people realise. As a result, some control measures are insufficient to stop building damage and possible loss of life.

The on and off-site fire risk cannot only be considered, documented and communicated at construction phase; it is vital to also consider mitigated during the design stage. The guidance (parts 1 -3) from the Structural Timber Association is key in determining appropriate risk mitigation measures during the design phase, and must be referred to all timber frames designers and manufacturers. The category of timber frame selected has massive repercussions if a fire were to develop within the building.

Fire risk assessments and associated control measures must be site-specific and updated throughout the build. For example, as a timber-framed development grows, how will the spread of fire be affected? Additional temporary control measure, e.g. additional fire boarding over windows/ openings to halt the spread of fire, may well be required. Fire risk assessments must be viewed as ‘dynamic’ i.e. continually reviewed and developed as appropriate to site circumstances.

The HSE would always look to see higher fire mitigation arrangements (i.e. selection of Cat. B frame over A frame) over any other fire control method (i.e. fire-retardant cladding). These decisions are made at design stage; therefore, the HSE are increasingly prosecuting designers and principal designers for fires / fire damage / injury caused by timber framed construction. (Watch this space with respect to the repercussions of the Grenfell disaster.)

The obvious first step is to understand how heat travels and the distances. The guidance documents can help, but for larger scale developments, a fire specialist may need to be employed to analyse the design in relation to radiant heat travel distances and required segregation.

The Structural Timber Association is an obvious and very useful source for guidance documents, e.g:
http://www.structuraltimber.co.uk/ (STA home site)
http://www.structuraltimber.co.uk/assets/InformationCentre/eb6 (STA – design guide to separating distances (parts 1 – 4))
http://www.structuraltimber.co.uk/library/ (other STA guidance documents)

See also the WHS Health & safety Manual and other useful reference:
http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/hsg168 (HSG168 Fire prevention on construction sites, with checklist)
http://bit.ly/2hMChCL (PAS 79: the standard for fire risk assessment)

Pay Attention to Environmental Care

The following recent prosecution demonstrates the necessity to pay due attention to legal environmental requirements; even site run-off is strictly illegal.

Harron Homes were fined a total of almost £129,000 after run-off from one of their construction sites polluted a local stream which fed the Grimescar Dyke in Huddersfield.

Settlement tanks had been installed to control silt run-off but the system proved woefully inadequate, resulting in significant discharge into, and pollution of, the watercourse.

It must be remembered that even run-off or discharge resulting from flood conditions are the responsibility of the contractor. Forward planning and a few simple measures can control such risks. But to be unfamiliar with requirements could risk a massive fine as this prosecution demonstrates.

Those WHS customers who don’t yet have our Environmental Management System (EMS) are strongly advised to purchase one now to ensure that they are fully aware of all legal requirements relating to the construction industry. The EMS is available for a one-off fee of just £150 + VAT, and will be reviewed and amended as necessary free of charge for all subsequent years following renewal of subscription. Contact WHS on 01952-885885 for further details or order an EMS.

Wood Dusts

We’ve been labouring the points about extraction and control of dusts for months (if not, years) now, an issue that is becoming ever more important as the HSE moves towards raising the risk level to that equal with work at height.

But, just to prove a point, Jackie was heartened to see just what can be achieved during a recent visit to the Marshall Amplification manufacturing facility at Bletchley, Milton Keynes.

For those of you who aren’t perhaps familiar with what Marshall do, they produce hundreds of amplifiers a week (mainly used in rock music), all of which are based on wooden cabinets.

But just take a look at this, not a hint of airborne wood dust anywhere (and, she searched as hard as she could to find some!). Absolutely clean – and it just proves what can be done when the health of employees is placed above profit.

Oh, and by the way, they don’t allow lead in any of their components either……!

Ladder Standards are Changing

We are (or should be!) familiar with the current standards for step-ladders and leaning ladders, but it is important to note that these changed in November 2017. The distinction between domestic and commercial use is being removed, as is that between light and heavy industrial use. From now on, the ‘EN131’ standard is to be harmonised through the EU and UK, and will apply as follows:

  • EN131 Professional – intended for use in any workplace; maximum total load 150kg
  • EN131 Non-Professional – for use in domestic situations only; maximum total load 125kg

 

There will be a transition period to allow previously classified ladders to be withdrawn. During that period, companies are advised that, provided equipment is chosen as appropriate for the job and the mandatory weekly checks are carried out, this should be sufficient.

Do note thought that EN131 only applies to step-ladders and leaning ladders; step-stools of various types and loft-ladders are covered by other EN standards.

GENERAL NEWS

Grant Funding for Small Businesses

Within the Marches region, £33 million of grant funding – yes, £33 million! – is currently up for grabs by small to medium sized businesses. The Business Growth Programme (BGP) is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (financial assistance such as this will obviously disappear post-Brexit!) with the aim of promoting business development and innovation within the small-medium business sector.

Eligible companies within the Telford & Wrekin area can apply through the Council’s Growth Hub. Ring 01952-567589 for further information about eligibility and application. Elsewhere within the Marches Region should contact Birmingham City Council’s Growth Programme Hotline on 0121-464 6456.

General Data Protection Regulation

As highlighted in the last newsletter, the General Data Protection Regulation (or ‘GDPR’) will come into effect on 25 May 2018 across Europe and will have a significant effect on most businesses.

WHS has had many enquiries already about implementing a new Data Protection Policy. Although information is available via government websites (see previous newsletter), little can be done at present to write a Policy until the full facts are known nearer the time. Therefore, WHS is recording those companies who have or may approach us to ask for assistance, and our colleague Kay Heald will be making contact in due course.

If you think the new regulations will, or may, affect you, please contact WHS now in readiness and we will be pleased to assist with updating systems and writing a new Policy in due course.

HR NEWS

The Modern Slavery Act 2015

The Modern Slavery Act 2015 came into force last year for organisations with a global turnover of £36 million.
If you’re a small to medium sized business, you may think that this doesn’t then apply to you. However, it must be noted that, in order for these companies to meet their legal obligations, they have to pass down responsibilities for tackling modern slavery through their entire supply chain. And this has only just filtered down to the smaller organisations.

Consequently, many smaller companies are now being asked for a Modern Slavery Policy…so what’s that?

A policy should reflect actual processes to avoid human rights abuses, accusations of human trafficking or labour exploitation. Contractors and, in particular, labour agencies must establish sound policies and procedures to demonstrate commitment to avoiding these types of human abuses which are, unfortunately, all too common in the construction industry.

Anything less than strong and enforceable policies will not stand up to scrutiny by larger organisations (clients or principal contractors). So don’t just look for a ‘quick fix’; contact WHS for assistance.

AND FINALLY

Before sighting recent prosecutions for work at height, here’s a sobering thought:

If you fall from a height of 6m, that’s equivalent to be hit by a car travelling at a speed of at least 25 mph. A fall of 10m = being hit by a car at 35 mph; 20m = 45-50 mph. And the heavier the person, the greater the impact.

When you consider that it’s the head that normally hits the ground first, what are the chances that a person would survive such a fall? This photo relates to a car being hit from the side (i.e. not direct) at 40 mph…would a person’s head survive such an impact?

Work at height

Notice that the first two prosecutions relate to clients having no regard at all to ensuring they employ competent contractors:

  • Greencore Grocery Ltd was fined a total of well over £1 million after a self-employed electrician fell from a step-ladder, suffering fatal injuries. Greencore Grocery itself had provided the step-ladder which was said to be unsuitable for wiring a motor at height.

 

The golden rule: Use the right tool for the right job. Clearly a step-ladder was totally unsuitable. And, yes you can die by falling a short distance from a step-ladder.

  • Othman Hussein was given a 12 month prison sentence, suspended for 2 years, with a 3-month curfew after a self-employed worker fell through a ceiling to his death during building repair work. Hussien was found to have made no attempt to ensure a competent and properly equipped contractor was engaged.
  • Chris Smith, trading as C Smith Roofing, was given a suspended 8-month prison sentence, ordered to complete 200 hours of community work and to pay £5,800 on costs after 2 workers were observed carrying out work at height from partially incomplete and unprotected scaffolding.

 

Note that the case relates to an observed breach, not an accident. More evidence of stiffer sentencing.

  • Mager Homes Ltd was fined a total of almost £27,000 after a sub-contract joiner fell through a gap in the joists on the first floor of a new house, suffering life-changing injuries. There had been no attempt to prevent falls from height or mitigate the consequences.
  • Dufell Roofing Co. Ltd was fined a total of almost £50,000 after an employee suffered severe back injuries when he fell 4m through existing roof wood slabs during re-roofing. Again, no fall prevention measures were in place and the possibility of fragile roof materials had not been considered.
  • James Gibson was given a suspended 6-month prison sentence and ordered to pay costs of £8,442 after an employee fell through an unprotected 1.5 x 3m hole in the ground floor into the basement of a building being refurbished.
  • King Builders (Gloucester) Ltd was fined a total of over £48,000 after a worker fell through an unprotected skylight, suffering serious injuries.
  • Nicholas Birkin was fined a total of £3,240 after a worker under his supervision fell 5m from scaffolding where guard rails had been removed to facilitate the lifting of materials to a roof.

 

Overhead services

  • Boundary Scaffolding Ltd was fined a total of over £81,000 and its director, Jonathon Griffiths-Clark sentenced to a 6-month suspended prison sentence and ordered to pay £1545 in costs after an employee was left with serious injuries when he came into contact with 33kV overhead cables. The scaffolding being erected was far too close to the power cables; no safe distances had been established.
  • BAM Construction Ltd was fined a total of over £269,000 and its sub-contractor, Shorelands Projects Ltd, over £30,000 after a worker suffered seriously burns when posts he was installing made contact with an 11kV overhead power line. No controls had been established to ensure safe travel and working beneath the power cables.

 

Pedestrian safety

  • Savanna Rags International Ltd was fined a total of over £653,000 after a worker was killed by a reversing delivery vehicle. The victim was walking from a weighbridge to a smoking shelter when the visiting vehicle reversed in that area. It had been commonplace for vehicles to reverse in that area, which was shared by employees accessing the factory; no segregation had been established despite it being entirely foreseeable that such an accident could happen.
  • LPD Demolition, was fined a total of almost £52,000 after a worker was crushed by a reversing excavator and was lucky to survive. He had been clearing debris around the machine when it started to reverse; inadequate planning had failed to segregate plant and pedestrians.

 

Asbestos

  • IQA Operations Group was fined £6,000 after exposing four electrical workers to ACMs when they drilled through door panels; the panes had not been tested for the presence of asbestos…until it was too late. Residents of the tower block had to move out whilst the clean-up was carried out.
  • Unlicensed contractor, Anthony McGrath, was fined a total of almost £8,000 after breaking up and removing asbestos insulation board from an occupied dwelling. The clean-up cost £12,000 and took a week, during which time the occupant needed to move out.
  • Waste removal contractor, Mark Gibson (trading as All-Gone Waste), was fined a total of over £4,000 after advertising an asbestos removal service for which he was not, and never had been, licensed.

 

Gas

  • SJW Joinery & Building Ltd was fined a total of over £10,000 and its director, Simon Wiley, sentenced to 200 hours of community service and ordered to pay over £4,000 in costs after a family of four was hospitalised due to carbon monoxide poisoning. The roof of an extension being built by SJW at the family’s home had blocked the boiler flue, causing the fumes to be vented internally.
  • Wates Construction Ltd was fined a total of almost £661,000 and sub-contractor, RJ Fitters Ltd, well over £40,000 after flues were blocked during a house refurbishment. Insufficient investigation had taken place regarding which flues were redundant and which were live, with the result that live flues were blocked up. It was only when carbon monoxide monitors alerted the home-owner that the situation came to light!
    Equipment safety
  • Acenta Steel Ltd was fined a total of over £410,000 after an employee’s leg was crushed by a vice of an industrial bandsaw before the emergency stop button could be pressed. Not only had a guard been removed but several modifications had been made to facilitate easier use and cleaning, including the blocking of a sensor. Investigations showed that the sensor would have activated 12 times in the recent life of the machine = the potential for 12 such incidents (which is ironic as Acenta’s website boasts its BS OHSAS18001 credentials!)
  • MTI Welding Technologies Ltd was fined a total of over £56,000 after an electrician lost two fingers in a high-friction welding machine. The machine had been modified to ‘defeat’ safety interlock systems and allow maintenance whilst operating.

 

NEVER be tempted to modify or adapt equipment, or over-ride safety features. And a word of warning:
The buyer is responsible for ensuring that equipment purchased is safe for use and incorporates all necessary safety features (e.g. guards, interlocks and emergency buttons). Often items purchased from abroad do not incorporate safety features legally required under UK law; all new items must be checked for UK compliance. And beware of purchasing second-hand items as well; check, check and check again.

Equipment safety – barriers

  • Installer, Robert Churchyard, has been jailed for three and a half years after being found guilty of manslaughter. A woman died when the powered gate installed by Churchyard fell on her; he had failed to install a bracket to stop the gate falling off its rails. To rub salt into the wounds, Churchyard tried to blame the victim’s family for removing the bracket – how cold-hearted can you be?

 

Believe it or not, serious accidents and fatalities occur frequently; all fixtures, fittings and moving appliances within your premises fall under PUWER and must be both maintained and checked regularly. And do note that the following three prosecutions went to court before fines were increased last year; the penalties would be much harsher now.

  • North Lincolnshire Council was fined a total of over £200,000 after a man died when his car was hit by an unsecured horizontal swing barrier at a sports ground. As the victim drove towards the barrier, it swung open, the end piercing the car’s windscreen and hit him on the head.
  • Asda was fined a total of £217,000 after a customer was killed by a barrier that swung open in a gust of wind. Nobody had been named as responsible for checking the barrier was locked open.
  • Morrisons was fined a total of over £266,000 after an employee lost half his face (!!) when a barrier at the store’s petrol station swung across, smashing into the victim’s car…and his face.

 

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

WENLOCK HEALTH & SAFETY Ltd EXTENDS WARMEST CHRISTMAS WISHES TO ALL OUR CLIENTS;
WE TRUST THAT 2018 WILL BE PROSPEROUS AND SAFE!

COMPANY NEWS

Christmas Closure

As usual, we at Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) will be taking a well-earned break over the Christmas holiday period. Please take note that our offices will be closing from midday on Friday 22 December 2017 and reopening at 8 am on Tuesday 2 January 2018. No consultants will be available during this period to provide normal services; however, if there is an emergency situation requiring immediate attention, please contact Jackie on 07866-605920 (emergencies only please!)

Additional Staff

We’re sure that you’ll join us in extending a warm welcome to our newest member of staff, Mr. Dave Copcutt.
Dave brings with him a wealth of experience, particularly in the field of training, and will contribute greatly to both the value and the range of our services over the coming months and years.

CDM Seminars

A reminder that we are holding two seminars at our premises on Tuesday, 23 January 2018, to assist our customers to understand and deal with the many issues and pitfalls that have become apparent since the advent of the Construction* (Design & Management) Regulations 2015. Whether you’re a one-off client, developer or contractor, all duty holders may have experienced problems with the regulations; with the ‘holistic’ view of the developments taken by WHS, we can offer pragmatic solutions and approaches to the issues.

* Don’t forget that all types of refurbishment, decorating, electrical, IT, telecoms, heating, plumbing, and maintenance and repair of fixtures and fittings (and lots more related to the upkeep of your premises) is deemed ‘construction’ under the law – so these regulations apply to ALL businesses at some point.

The cost for the seminars is: £60 + VAT per person per session or £100 per person for the full day. Please refer to the flyer attached for both. Space is limited so book early.

  • 8.30 am to 12.30 pm ‘CDM 2015; practical advice for all types of businesses
  • 1.30 pm to 5 pm ‘CDM 2015; practical advice for Contractors’

 

New Training Courses

Please note that WHS can now offer two new accredited courses; please ring Vicki at WHS on 01952-885885 for further information or to book courses.

  • Directors Role for Health and Safety
  • Achieving Behavioural Change (ABC)

 

First Aid Training

Forthcoming 2017 dates for the WHS 1-day Emergency First Aid courses, also held at our offices, are as follows; the fee is just £75 + VAT per person:

  • 11 December 2017
  • 18 January 2018
  • 20 January 2018
  • 26 March 2018

 

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

WHS Awards

Yes, it’s the time of year again when we take pride in recognising those clients who have demonstrated outstanding commitment to high standards of health & safety over the previous 12 months by presenting our 2017 WHS Health & Safety Awards. This is the first time in our 15 year history that we have made an award to a particular company two years running! Full details of our 2017 awards follows; we extend hearty congratulations to all winners:

Archway Products (UK) Ltd
Award for: Best Safety Culture
The Company designs, manufactures and operates its Roadmaster self-contained, very safe-to-operate, pot-hole repair vehicles throughout the UK. Despite proving to be exemplary in its approach to health & safety last year and, thus, winning a WHS award for ‘Commitment Through Innovation’, Company management still continually shows an appetite for exploring further innovation towards improvement. They have been more than willing to work with, and listen to advice given by, WHS – which is doubly important for a company based in the Republic of Ireland – and this has produced excellent results in a very short time.

Andy Collier of biT (Telford & Wrekin Council’s Architectural Design & Building Services)
Award for: Best Safety Manager
WHS has worked alongside Andy for 15 years. In his various TWC roles over those 15 years, he has always been resolute in his commitment to the health & safety. Now, in his latest role to manage the new biT Facilities Management Team, his commitment continues to be unwavering and exemplary. As with Archway, the willingness to work with, and listen to advice given by, WHS has produced excellent results in a very short time.

Morris Property Ltd
Award for: Commitment to Training
Part of the prestigious Morris & Co group, contractor Morris Property Ltd has demonstrated total commitment to fully training their workforce at all levels. Their on-going efforts have produced huge improvements in the health & safety management and systems for both project and minor works, and is to be highly commended as an example to all parties within the industry.

Richard Sherratt Builders Ltd
Award for: Best Small Contractor
Richard runs a small general building company based in Shrewsbury, mainly undertaking small projects and insurance work. His total commitment to the wellbeing of his employees, and the public he inevitably impacts as a result of his work, is highly commendable. This demonstrates that compliance is totally possible with just a bit of thought and effort, even within a small company. It also demonstrates that such commitment produces very positive effects – loyalty from both staff and clients.

Jake Edis of Edis Developments Ltd
Commendation for: High Standards of Site Management
Jake Edis was appointed site manager in July 2017 and has, since then, shown to be quick to understand requirements, strong to enforce site rules, willing to work alongside WHS and enthusiastic to implement improvements. Edis Developments Ltd, based in Shropshire, have certainly benefitted greatly by engaging Jake – particularly as the HSE was more than pleased with the site during a recent inspection!

Well done to all our worthy winners!! Can anyone else demonstrate such commitment over the next 12 months? The awards are there for the taking for those who deserve recognition.

Old First-Aid Supplies

Those WHS customers who have been with us for a while will know that periodically, we collect out-of-date but still wrapped and sterile first-aid items which Jackie then distributes in various needy locations.

Jackie has distributed supplies many times before to such needy places as Haiti, Cambodia, Nepal (following the earthquake), Papua, and various African countries. She will again be visiting clinics, this time in Mongolia during July 2018, so we’re asking now please that, if any of you have any out-of-date or unwanted but still sterile and usable first-aid supplies, can you either give them to your WHS consultant when you next meet, post them to us or let Vicki in the office know that they are available to collect. Many thanks indeed in advance!

HSE NEWS

Fines Doubled in 12 Months

Despite the fall in the number of prosecutions reaching court, the fines levelled against those found guilty of health & safety offices has almost doubled in the last 12 months, and this is on top of a similar rise over the previous 12 month period.

For the same period during:

2014-15 £18 million in fines was collected
2015-16 £38.8 million collected
2016-17 £69.9 million collected – an effective rise of 388% in 2 years

The number of cases brought to court and resulting in conviction during 2016-17, at 554, was the lowest recorded in over 5 years. Of these, 206 (37%) were in construction – which is a sad reflection on the state of our industry as we only represent 5% of the total UK workforce.

So why is the increase in fines levied so high? Any recipients of this newsletter over the past 18 months will know the answer – new sentencing guidelines were introduced on 1 February 2016 which allowed for very much larger fines, the largest to date being £5 million (Merlin Entertainments – the Alton Towers accident). During 2016-17, 38 cases resulted in fines in excess of £500,000. And it must also be noted that several of those also resulted in imprisonment too.

Enforcement Increased

In addition to the above, HSE enforcement is steadily increasing year on year. 11,913 notices were issued by either the HSE or Local Authorities) during 2016-17, a 5% rise over the previous year.

And, as reported before, this is on top of the thousands of FFI (‘Fees For Intervention’) letters issued for lesser material breaches which attract no fines but fees of £129 per hour for all HSE work involved.

So…anyone not paying due attention to the law risks paying out far more than any savings made. Is it worth it? Does it really cost so much for a business to get its house in order? It will cost a lot more not to!

Breaches Relating to Pedestrian Segregation Increased

And it’s disturbing that the Building Safety Group has reported a 74% rise in just 6 months relating to poor planning and designation of person/plant segregation. In 2016-17, 23% of the total workplace fatalities resulted from pedestrians being struck by a moving vehicle. Considering the legal requirement to separate people from plant and vehicles has been in place for almost 20 years now, the lack of planning and control is inexcusable.

Stress – the Sad Facts

The HSE has issued latest figures regarding work place stress. And they demonstrate a worrying decline in the mental health of the UK workforce. It doesn’t take a genius to work out why in the current economic climate but it’s a sad fact that workplace stress has now overtaken musculoskeletal disorders as the most commonly reported work-related illness!

The number of new cases reported rose to 526,000 for the 2016-17 period, up 7% on the previous year and accounting for a massive 40.5% of the total number of work-related illness cases reported to the HSE. Food for thought…take care of your workforce, without them you have no business.

GENERAL NEWS

Grant Funding for Small Businesses

Within the Marches region, £33 million of grant funding – yes, £33 million! – is currently up for grabs by small to medium sized businesses. The Business Growth Programme (BGP) is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (financial assistance such as this will obviously disappear post-Brexit!) with the aim of promoting business development and innovation within the small-medium business sector.

Eligible companies within the Telford & Wrekin area can apply through the Council’s Growth Hub. Ring 01952-567589 for further information about eligibility and application. Elsewhere within the Marches Region should contact Birmingham City Council’s Growth Programme Hotline on 0121-464 6456.

General Data Protection Regulation

As highlighted in the last newsletter, the General Data Protection Regulation (or ‘GDPR’) will come into effect on 25 May 2018 across Europe and will have a significant effect on most businesses.

WHS has had many enquiries already about implementing a new Data Protection Policy. Although information is available via government websites (see previous newsletter), little can be done at present to write a Policy until the full facts are known nearer the time. Therefore, WHS is recording those companies who have or may approach us to ask for assistance, and our colleague Kay Heald will be making contact in due course.

If you think the new regulations will, or may, affect you, please contact WHS now in readiness and we will be pleased to assist with updating systems and writing a new Policy in due course.

Pay Attention to Environmental Care

The following recent prosecution demonstrates the necessity to pay due attention to legal environmental requirements; even site run-off is strictly illegal.

Harron Homes were fined a total of almost £129,000 after run-off from one of their sites polluted a local stream which fed the Grimescar Dyke in Huddersfield.

Settlement tanks had been installed to control silt run-off but the system proved woefully inadequate, resulting in significant discharge into, and pollution of, the watercourse.

It must be remembered that even run-off or discharge resulting from flood conditions are the responsibility of the site owner. Forward planning and a few simple measures can control such risks. But to be unfamiliar with requirements could risk a massive fine as this prosecution demonstrates.

Those WHS customers who don’t yet have an Environmental Management System (EMS) are strongly advised to ensure that they are fully aware of all legal requirements relating to their industry. Contact WHS on 01952-885885 for further details and/or a quote.

Wood Dusts

We’ve been labouring the points about extraction and control of dusts for months (if not, years) now, an issue that is becoming ever more important as the HSE moves towards raising the risk level to that equal with work at height.

But, just to prove a point, Jackie was heartened to see just what can be achieved during a recent visit to the Marshall Amplification manufacturing facility at Milton Keynes.

For those of you who aren’t perhaps familiar with what Marshall do, they produce hundreds of amplifiers a week (mainly used in rock music), all of which are based on wooden cabinets.

But just take a look at this, not a hint of airborne wood dust anywhere (and, she searched as hard as she could to find some!). Absolutely clean – and it just proves what can be done when the health of employees is placed above profit.

Ladder Standards are Changing

We are (or should be!) familiar with the current standards for step-ladders and leaning ladders, but it is important to note that these changed in November 2017. The distinction between domestic and commercial use is being removed, as is that between light and heavy industrial use. From now on, the ‘EN131’ standard is to be harmonised through the EU and UK, and will apply as follows:

  • EN131 Professional – intended for use in any workplace; maximum total load 150kg
  • EN131 Non-Professional – for use in domestic situations only; maximum total load 125kg

 

There will be a transition period to allow previously classified ladders to be withdrawn. During that period, companies are advised that, provided equipment is chosen as appropriate for the job and the mandatory weekly checks are carried out, this should be sufficient.

Do note thought that EN131 only applies to step-ladders and leaning ladders; step-stools of various types and loft-ladders are covered by other EN standards.

HR NEWS

The Modern Slavery Act 2015

The Modern Slavery Act 2015 came into force last year for organisations with a global turnover of £36 million.

If you’re a small to medium sized business, you may think that this doesn’t then apply to you. However, it must be noted that, in order for these companies to meet their legal obligations, they have to pass down responsibilities for tackling modern slavery through their entire supply chain. And this has only just filtered down to the smaller organisations.

Consequently, many smaller companies are now being asked for a Modern Slavery Policy…so what’s that?

A policy should reflect actual processes to avoid human rights abuses, accusations of human trafficking or labour exploitation. Contractors and, in particular, labour agencies must establish sound policies and procedures to demonstrate commitment to avoiding these types of human abuses which are, unfortunately, all too common in the construction industry.

Anything less than strong and enforceable policies will not stand up to scrutiny by larger organisations (clients or principal contractors). So don’t just look for a ‘quick fix’; contact WHS for assistance.

AND FINALLY

Before sighting recent prosecutions for work at height, here’s a sobering thought:

If you fall from a height of 6m, that’s equivalent to be hit by a car travelling at a speed of at least 25 mph. A fall of 10m = being hit by a car at 35 mph; 20m = 45-50 mph. And the heavier the person, the greater the impact.

When you consider that it’s the head that normally hits the ground first, what are the chances that a person would survive such a fall? This photo relates to a car being hit from the side (i.e. not direct) at 40 mph…would a person’s head survive such an impact?

Work at height

Notice that the first two prosecutions relate to clients having no regard at all to ensuring they employ competent contractors:

  • Greencore Grocery Ltd was fined a total of well over £1 million after a self-employed electrician fell from a step-ladder, suffering fatal injuries. Greencore Grocery itself had provided the step-ladder which was said to be unsuitable for wiring a motor at height. The golden rule: Use the right tool for the right job. Clearly a step-ladder was totally unsuitable. And, yes you can die by falling a short distance from a step-ladder.
  • Othman Hussein was given a 12 month prison sentence, suspended for 2 years, with a 3-month curfew after a self-employed worker fell through a ceiling to his death during building repair work. Hussien was found to have made no attempt to ensure a competent and properly equipped contractor was engaged.

 

Equipment safety

  • Acenta Steel Ltd was fined a total of over £410,000 after an employee’s leg was crushed by a vice of an industrial bandsaw before the emergency stop button could be pressed. Not only had a guard been removed but several modifications had been made to facilitate easier use and cleaning, including the blocking of a sensor. Investigations showed that the sensor would have activated 12 times in the recent life of the machine = the potential for 12 such incidents (which is ironic as Acenta’s website boasts its BS OHSAS18001 credentials!)
  • MTI Welding Technologies Ltd was fined a total of over £56,000 after an electrician lost two fingers in a high-friction welding machine. The machine had been modified to ‘defeat’ safety interlock systems and allow maintenance whilst operating.

 

NEVER be tempted to modify or adapt equipment, or over-ride safety features. And a word of warning:
The buyer is responsible for ensuring that equipment purchased is safe for use and incorporates all necessary safety features (e.g. guards, interlocks and emergency buttons). Often items purchased from abroad do not incorporate safety features legally required under UK law; all new items must be checked for UK compliance. And beware of purchasing second-hand items as well; check, check and check again.

Equipment safety – barriers

  • Installer, Robert Churchyard, has been jailed for three and a half years after being found guilty of manslaughter. A woman died when the powered gate installed by Churchyard fell on her; he had failed to install a bracket to stop the gate failing off its rails. To rub salt into the wounds, Churchyard tried to blame the victim’s family for removing the bracket – how cold-hearted can you be?

 

Believe it or not, serious accidents and fatalities occur frequently; all fixtures, fittings and moving appliances within your premises fall under PUWER and must be both maintained and checked regularly. And do note that the following three prosecutions went to court before fined were increased last year; the penalties would be much harsher now.

  • North Lincolnshire Council was fined a total of over £200,000 after a man died when his car was hit by an unsecured horizontal swing barrier at a sports ground. As the victim drove towards the barrier, it swung open, the end piercing the car’s windscreen and hit him on the head.
  • Asda was fined a total of £217,000 after a customer was killed by a barrier that swung open in a gust of wind. Nobody had been named as responsible for checking the barrier was locked open.
  • Morrisons was fined a total of over £266,000 after an employee lost half his face (!!) when a barrier at the store’s petrol station swung across, smashing into the victim’s car…and his face.

 

Fire

  • JS Sports were fined a total of over £67,000 after Christmas stock was found to be blocking fire exits in its Black Country Store, reducing the width of one corridor down to 30cms!

 

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

WENLOCK HEALTH & SAFETY Ltd EXTENDS WARMEST CHRISTMAS WISHES TO ALL OUR CLIENTS;
WE TRUST THAT 2018 WILL BE BOTH PROSPEROUS
AND SAFE!

COMPANY NEWS

Christmas Closure

As usual, we at Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) will be taking a well-earned break over the Christmas holiday period.

Please take note that our offices will be closing from midday on Friday 22 December 2017 and reopening at 8 am on Tuesday 2 January 2018. No consultants will be available during this period to provide normal services; however, if there is an emergency situation requiring immediate attention, please contact Jackie on 07866-605920 (emergencies only please!)

Additional Staff

We’re sure that you’ll join us in extending a warm welcome to our newest member of staff, Mr. Dave Copcutt.
Dave brings with him a wealth of experience, particularly in the field of construction-based training, and will contribute greatly to both the value and the range of our services over the coming months and years.

CDM Seminars

A reminder that we are holding two seminars at our premises on Tuesday, 23 January 2018, to assist our customers to understand and deal with the many issues and pitfalls that have become apparent since the advent of CDM 2015. Whether you’re a contractor, designer, developer or a one-off client, all duty holders may have experienced problems with the regulations; with the ‘holistic’ view of the developments taken by WHS, we can offer pragmatic solutions and approaches to the issues.

The cost for the seminars is: £60 + VAT per person per session or £100 per person for the full day:

  • 8.30 am to 12.30 pm ‘CDM 2015; practical advice for Clients, Developers and Designers’
  • 1.30 pm to 5 pm ‘CDM 2015; practical advice for Contractors’

 

Please refer to the flyer attached for both. Space is limited so book early
CITB Training Courses

In addition to the SMSTS & SSSTS courses below currently run on a one-day-per-week basis, and in order to accommodate client requests, we will soon be offering courses spanning single weeks. Availability will require a minimum of 6 persons (CITB rules, not ours!) so the more candidates you can muster for any one course, the better. Should this be your preferred option, please contact Vicki at WHS as soon as possible.

Forthcoming late 2017 and early 2018 dates currently in place and fees for the CITB courses are as follows. Courses are held at the WHS offices and fees include lunch, refreshments and all course literature.

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

And don’t forget that CITB levy-payers can claim substantial grants against all these courses and more – which will help alleviate the cost considerably. Contact WHS for further details.

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)
    Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week
    Dates: 30 January & 6, 13, 20 & 27 February 2018
    Cost: £495 + VAT per person
  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher
    Duration: 2 days
    Dates: 18 & 19 December 2017
    12 & 13 March 2018
    Cost: £265 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)
  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS)
    Duration: 2 days
    Dates: 8 & 9 January 2018
    22 & 23 March 2018
    Cost: £230 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)
  • CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness
    Duration: 1 day
    Dates: 4 December 2017
    26 February 2018
    Cost: £125 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

 

If any organisation requires places for 6 or more employees, we can arrange a specific course at dates, times and a location to suit. Please contact the WHS office to discuss your requirements.

New CITB Training Courses

Please note that WHS can now offer two new CITB-accredited courses:

  • Directors Role for Health and Safety
  • Achieving Behavioural Change (ABC)

 

Please ring Vicki at WHS on 01952-885885 for further information or to book courses. Do note that the same CITB rules apply (6 persons minimum per course) so courses may have to be aggregated.

First Aid Training

Forthcoming 2017 dates for the WHS 1-day Emergency First Aid courses, also held at our offices, are as follows; the fee is just £75 + VAT per person:

  • 11 December 2017
  • 18 January 2018
  • 20 January 2018
  • 26 March 2018

 

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

WHS Awards

Yes, it’s the time of year again when we take pride in recognising those clients who have demonstrated outstanding commitment to high standards of health & safety over the previous 12 months by presenting our 2017 WHS Health & Safety Awards. This is the first time in our 15 year history that we have made an award to a particular company two years running! Full details of our 2017 awards follows; we extend hearty congratulations to all winners:

Archway Products (UK) Ltd
Award for: Best Safety Culture

The Company designs, manufactures and operates its Roadmaster self-contained, very safe-to-operate, pot-hole repair vehicles throughout the UK. Despite proving to be exemplary in its approach to health & safety last year and, thus, winning a WHS award for ‘Commitment Through Innovation’, Company management still continually shows an appetite for exploring further innovation towards improvement. They have been more than willing to work with, and listen to advice given by, WHS – which is doubly important for a company based in the Republic of Ireland – and this has produced excellent results in a very short time.

Andy Collier of biT (Telford & Wrekin Council’s Architectural Design & Building Services)
Award for: Best Safety Manager

WHS has worked alongside Andy for 15 years. In his various TWC roles over those 15 years, he has always been resolute in his commitment to the health & safety. Now, in his latest role to manage the new biT Facilities Management Team, his commitment continues to be unwavering and exemplary. As with Archway, the willingness to work with, and listen to advice given by, WHS has produced excellent results in a very short time.

Richard Sherratt Builders Ltd
Award for: Best Small Contractor

Richard runs a small general building company based in Shrewsbury, mainly undertaking small projects and insurance work. His total commitment to the wellbeing of his employees, and the public he inevitably impacts as a result of his work, is highly commendable. This demonstrates that compliance is totally possible with just a bit of thought and effort, even within a small company. It also demonstrates that such commitment produces very positive effects – loyalty from both staff and clients.

Morris Property Ltd
Award for: Commitment to Training

Part of the prestigious Morris & Co group, contractor Morris Property Ltd has demonstrated total commitment to fully training their workforce at all levels. Their on-going efforts have produced huge improvements in the health & safety management and systems for both project and minor works, and is to be highly commended as an example to all parties within the industry.

Jake Edis of Edis Developments Ltd
Commendation for: High Standards of Site Management

Jake Edis was appointed site manager in July 2017 and has, since then, shown to be quick to understand requirements, strong to enforce site rules, willing to work alongside WHS and enthusiastic to implement improvements. Edis Developments Ltd, based in Shropshire, have certainly benefitted greatly by engaging Jake – particularly as the HSE was more than pleased with the site during a recent inspection!
Well done to all our worthy winners!! Can anyone else demonstrate such commitment over the next 12 months? The awards are there for the taking for those who deserve recognition.

Old First-Aid Supplies

Those WHS customers who have been with us for a while will know that periodically, we collect out-of-date but still wrapped and sterile first-aid items which Jackie then distributes in various needy locations.

Jackie has distributed supplies many times before to such needy places as Haiti, Nepal (following the earthquake), and various African countries. In July 2018, she will again be visiting clinics in far flung places so we’re asking now please that, if any of you have any out-of-date or unwanted but still sterile and usable first-aid supplies, please can you either give them to your WHS consultant when you next meet, post them to us, or let Vicki in the office know that they are available to collect.

Many thanks indeed in advance!

HSE NEWS

Fines Doubled in 12 Months

Despite the fall in the number of prosecutions reaching court, the fines levelled against those found guilty of health & safety offices has almost doubled in the last 12 months, and this is on top of a similar rise over the previous 12 month period.

For the same period during:

2014-15 £18 million in fines was collected
2015-16 £38.8 million collected
2016-17 £69.9 million collected – an effective rise of 388% in 2 years

The number of cases brought to court and resulting in conviction during 2016-17, at 554, was the lowest recorded in over 5 years. Of these, 206 (37%) were in construction – which is a sad reflection on the state of our industry as we only represent 5% of the total UK workforce.

So why is the increase in fines levied so high? Any recipients of this newsletter over the past 18 months will know the answer – new sentencing guidelines were introduced on 1 February 2016 which allowed for very much larger fines, the largest to date being £5 million (Merlin Entertainments – the Alton Towers accident). During 2016-17, 38 cases resulted in fines in excess of £500,000. And it must also be noted that several of those also resulted in imprisonment too.

Enforcement Increased

In addition to the above, HSE enforcement is steadily increasing year on year. 11,913 notices were issued by either the HSE or Local Authorities) during 2016-17, a 5% rise over the previous year.

And, as reported before, this is on top of the thousands of FFI (‘Fees For Intervention’) letters issued for lesser material breaches which attract no fines but fees of £129 per hour for all HSE work involved.

So…anyone not paying due attention to the law risks paying out far more than any savings made. Is it worth it? Does it really cost so much for a business to get its house in order? It will cost a lot more not to!

Stress – the Sad Facts

The HSE has issued latest figures regarding work place stress. And they demonstrate a worrying decline in the mental health of the UK workforce. It doesn’t take a genius to work out why in the current economic climate but it’s a sad fact that workplace stress has now overtaken musculoskeletal disorders as the most commonly reported work-related illness!

The number of new cases reported rose to 526,000 for the 2016-17 period, up 7% on the previous year and accounting for a massive 40.5% of the total number of work-related illness cases reported to the HSE. Food for thought…take care of your workforce, without them you have no business.

INDUSTRY NEWS

Ladder Standards are Changing

We are (or should be!) familiar with the current standards for step-ladders and leaning ladders, but it is important to note that these changed in November 2017. The distinction between domestic and commercial use is being removed, as is that between light and heavy industrial use. From now on, the ‘EN131’ standard is to be harmonised through the EU and UK, and will apply as follows:

  • EN131 Professional – intended for use in any workplace; maximum total load 150kg
  • EN131 Non-Professional – for use in domestic situations only; maximum total load 125kg

 

There will be a transition period to allow previously classified ladders to be withdrawn. During that period, companies are advised that, provided equipment is chosen as appropriate for the job and the mandatory weekly checks are carried out, this should be sufficient.

Do note though that EN131 only applies to step-ladders and leaning ladders; step-stools of various types and loft-ladders are covered by other EN standards.

GENERAL NEWS

Grant Funding for Small Businesses

Within the Marches region, £33 million of grant funding – yes, £33 million! – is currently up for grabs by small to medium sized businesses. The Business Growth Programme (BGP) is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (financial assistance such as this will obviously disappear post-Brexit!) with the aim of promoting business development and innovation within the small-medium business sector.

Eligible companies within the Telford & Wrekin area can apply through the Council’s Growth Hub. Ring 01952-567589 for further information about eligibility and application. Elsewhere within the Marches Region should contact Birmingham City Council’s Growth Programme Hotline on 0121-464 6456.

General Data Protection Regulation

As highlighted in the last newsletter, the General Data Protection Regulation (or ‘GDPR’) will come into effect on 25 May 2018 across Europe and will have a significant effect on most businesses.

WHS has had many enquiries already about implementing a new Data Protection Policy. Although information is available via government websites (see previous newsletter), little can be done at present to write a Policy until the full facts are known nearer the time. Therefore, WHS is recording those companies who have or may approach us to ask for assistance, and our colleague Kay Heald will be making contact in due course.

If you think the new regulations will, or may, affect you, please contact WHS now in readiness and we will be pleased to assist with updating systems and writing a new Policy in due course.

HR NEWS

The Modern Slavery Act 2015

The Modern Slavery Act 2015 came into force last year for organisations with a global turnover of £36 million.
If you’re a small to medium sized business, you may think that this doesn’t then apply to you. However, it must be noted that, in order for these companies to meet their legal obligations, they have to pass down responsibilities for tackling modern slavery through their entire supply chain. And this has only just filtered down to the smaller organisations.

Consequently, many smaller companies are now being asked for a Modern Slavery Policy…so what’s that?

A policy should reflect actual processes to avoid human rights abuses, accusations of human trafficking or labour exploitation. Contractors and, in particular, labour agencies must establish sound policies and procedures to demonstrate commitment to avoiding these types of human abuses which are, unfortunately, all too common in the construction industry.

Anything less than strong and enforceable policies will not stand up to scrutiny by larger organisations (clients or principal contractors). So don’t just look for a ‘quick fix’; contact WHS for assistance.

AND FINALLY

Before sighting recent prosecutions for work at height, here’s a sobering thought:

If you fall from a height of 6m, that’s equivalent to be hit by a car travelling at a speed of at least 25 mph. A fall of 10m = being hit by a car at 35 mph; 20m = 45-50 mph. And the heavier the person, the greater the impact.

When you consider that it’s the head that normally hits the ground first, what are the chances that a person would survive such a fall? This photo relates to a car being hit from the side (i.e. not direct) at 40 mph…would a person’s head survive such an impact?

Work at height

Notice that the first two prosecutions relate to clients having no regard at all to ensuring they employ competent contractors:

  • Greencore Grocery Ltd was fined a total of well over £1 million after a self-employed electrician fell from a step-ladder, suffering fatal injuries. Greencore Grocery itself had provided the step-ladder which was said to be unsuitable for wiring a motor at height.

 

The golden rule: Use the right tool for the right job. Clearly a step-ladder was totally unsuitable. And, yes you can die by falling a short distance from a step-ladder.

  • Othman Hussein was given a 12 month prison sentence, suspended for 2 years, with a 3-month curfew after a self-employed worker fell through a ceiling to his death during building repair work. Hussien was found to have made no attempt to ensure a competent and properly equipped contractor was engaged.
  • Chris Smith, trading as C Smith Roofing, was given a suspended 8-month prison sentence, ordered to complete 200 hours of community work and to pay £5,800 on costs after 2 workers were observed carrying out work at height from partially incomplete and unprotected scaffolding.

 

Note that the case relates to an observed breach, not an accident. More evidence of stiffer sentencing.

  • Mager Homes Ltd was fined a total of almost £27,000 after a sub-contract joiner fell through a gap in the joists on the first floor of a new house, suffering life-changing injuries. There had been no attempt to prevent falls from height or mitigate the consequences.
  • Dufell Roofing Co. Ltd was fined a total of almost £50,000 after an employee suffered severe back injuries when he fell 4m through existing roof wood slabs during re-roofing. Again, no fall prevention measures were in place and the possibility of fragile roof materials had not been considered.
  • James Gibson was given a suspended 6-month prison sentence and ordered to pay costs of £8,442 after an employee fell through an unprotected 1.5 x 3m hole in the ground floor into the basement of a building being refurbished.
  • King Builders (Gloucester) Ltd was fined a total of over £48,000 after a worker fell through an unprotected skylight, suffering serious injuries.
  • Nicholas Birkin was fined a total of £3,240 after a worker under his supervision fell 5m from scaffolding where guard rails had been removed to facilitate the lifting of materials to a roof.

 

Equipment safety

  • Acenta Steel Ltd was fined a total of over £410,000 after an employee’s leg was crushed by a vice of an industrial bandsaw before the emergency stop button could be pressed. Not only had a guard been removed but several modifications had been made to facilitate easier use and cleaning, including the blocking of a sensor. Investigations showed that the sensor would have activated 12 times in the recent life of the machine = the potential for 12 such incidents (which is ironic as Acenta’s website boasts its BS OHSAS18001 credentials!)
  • MTI Welding Technologies Ltd was fined a total of over £56,000 after an electrician lost two fingers in a high-friction welding machine. The machine had been modified to ‘defeat’ safety interlock systems and allow maintenance whilst operating.

 

NEVER be tempted to modify or adapt equipment, or over-ride safety features. And a word of warning:
The buyer is responsible for ensuring that equipment purchased is safe for use and incorporates all necessary safety features (e.g. guards, interlocks and emergency buttons). Often items purchased from abroad do not incorporate safety features legally required under UK law; all new items must be checked for UK compliance. And beware of purchasing second-hand items as well; check, check and check again.

Equipment safety – barriers

  • Installer, Robert Churchyard, has been jailed for three and a half years after being found guilty of manslaughter. A woman died when the powered gate installed by Churchyard fell on her; he had failed to install a bracket to stop the gate failing off its rails. To rub salt into the wounds, Churchyard tried to blame the victim’s family for removing the bracket – how cold-hearted can you be?

 

Believe it or not, serious accidents and fatalities occur frequently; all fixtures, fittings and moving appliances within your premises fall under PUWER and must be both maintained and checked regularly. And do note that the following three prosecutions went to court before fined were increased last year; the penalties would be much harsher now.

  • North Lincolnshire Council was fined a total of over £200,000 after a man died when his car was hit by an unsecured horizontal swing barrier at a sports ground. As the victim drove towards the barrier, it swung open, the end piercing the car’s windscreen and hit him on the head.
  • Asda was fined a total of £217,000 after a customer was killed by a barrier that swung open in a gust of wind. Nobody had been named as responsible for checking the barrier was locked open.
  • Morrisons was fined a total of over £266,000 after an employee lost half his face (!!) when a barrier at the store’s petrol station swung across, smashing into the victim’s car…and his face.

 

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

Construction Phase Plans

A Construction Phase Plan, or CPP, is a legal requirement under the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 for any construction project. Its purpose is to plan in terms of health and safety on site, as well as act as a method of passing this information to other contractors involved and to demonstrate to the client that these items have been considered.

It’s important to note that the requirements have changed since the CDM Regulations 2007. A CPP must now be completed regardless of the size, duration or value of the work. Even if the job is only going to last for one day, even if it is a domestic project, a CPP is now compulsory.

For projects where more than one contractor is involved, a Principal Contractor should be appointed – and it is their role to write the CPP. If only one contractor is working on the job, then it is naturally their responsibility. The Plan must be drawn up prior to set-up of the construction site, and should be reviewed as work commences and progresses to ensure it is fully up-to-date at all times.

To assist with writing CPPs for small jobs, the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) have developed a user-friendly app which guides the user through the creation of a very brief Plan – the CITB Wizard app (http://www.citb.co.uk/health-safety-and-other-topics/health-safety/construction-design-and-management-regulations/cdm-wizard-app/). It’s worth noting that CPPs can be in digital form – they do not have to be printed, so having it on your phone, tablet or other device is perfectly acceptable.

But don’t worry… for very small projects, it’s also possible to combine the CPP in the Risk Assessment/Method Statement, as long as the information included within is sufficient to cover all three documents.

So what exactly needs to be included in a Construction Phase Plan? Firstly it’s important that all details are specific to the works and are not just generic comments. For example, if there is reference to asbestos then there should also be details of the asbestos survey and the affected location(s). The actual content of the CPP will vary depending on the size and nature of the project.

For small jobs, it should contain:

  • Brief details of the work, the client, other parties involved, and dates
  • Site-specific risk assessments
  • Site-specific method statements
  • Other site specific information, e.g. circuit drawings, asbestos information etc

For larger works it should contain information on:

  • The project – description (what the project is, what the work may include), site location, CDM appointments (e.g. the Client, the Principal Designer, the health and safety consultants), duration, whether existing information provided is enough to be able to proceed with the work
  • Management arrangements – structure and responsibilities, details of regular liaison between parties on site/communication and consultation with the workforce/exchange of design information between parties/control of contractors, site security, welfare facilities and first aid, reporting and investigation of accidents/incidents/near misses, risk assessment, written safe systems of work, site rules
  • Arrangements for controlling significant risks – general risk issues (e.g. local restrictions, adjacent sites, site layout, deliveries, health issues)
  • The health and safety file – responsibility for collation, information required
  • Emergency procedures
  • Site induction literature
  • Contract risk assessment

Once in place, the CPP must be adhered to so that the site is safe and compliant with the law. It must be treated as a ‘live’ document and updated to reflect any changes as they happen. The document must be passed via the Principal Designer (if there is one) to the Client and must be passed down to all other contractors on the project.

Importantly, don’t be scared of CPPs! They are there to ensure the health and safety of all aspects of the job are considered and communicated to all involved. And please don’t leave them on a shelf!

Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd. can assist with writing Construction Phase Plans and Contract Risk Assessments.  We also offer CDM 2015 training if you need to brush up or stay up-to-speed with the requirements and have a course running on 23rd January 2018. Please get in touch with Vicki Brown (vicki.brown@wenlockhs.co.uk 01952 885885) for more information.

TRAINING COURSES

CDM Seminars

The Construction (Design & Management) Regs 2015 are now over two years old and many developments, both positive and negative, have taken shape over that period. Because we, at Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS), work with all types of organisations within the construction industry (client bodies, developers, designers, contractors, specialists, etc) we can take a holistic view of these developments and are very well placed to offer sound and practical advice to cater for all sorts of awkward situations.

To assist our clients to understand that most situations can have practical solutions, we are holding two seminars at our premises on Tuesday, 23 January 2018, at a cost of £60 + VAT per person per session or £100 per person for the full day:

  • 8.30 am to 12.30 pm ‘CDM 2015; practical advice for Clients, Developers and Designers’
  • 1.30 pm to 5 pm ‘CDM 2015; practical advice for Contractors’

 

Please refer to the flyer attached for both. Space is limited so book early

CITB Training Courses

In addition to the SMSTS & SSSTS courses below currently run on a one-day-per-week basis, and in order to accommodate client requests, we will soon be offering courses spanning single weeks. Availability will require a minimum of 6 persons (CITB rules, not ours!) so the more candidates you can muster for any one course, the better. Should this be your preferred option, please contact Vicki at WHS as soon as possible.

Forthcoming late 2017 and early 2018 dates currently in place and fees for the CITB courses are as follows. Courses are held at the WHS offices and fees include lunch, refreshments and all course literature.

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

And don’t forget that CITB levy-payers can claim substantial grants against all these courses and more – which will help alleviate the cost considerably. Contact WHS for further details.

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)
    Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week
    Dates: 14, 21, 28 November & 5, 12 December 2017
    15, 22, 29 January & 5, 12 February 2018
    Cost: £495 + VAT per person
  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher
    Duration: 2 days
    Dates: 18 & 19 December 2017
    12 & 13 March 2018
    Cost: £265 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)
  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS)
    Duration: 2 days
    Dates: 25 & 26 October 2017
    8 & 9 January 2018
    22 & 23 March 2018
    Cost: £230 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)
  • CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness
    Duration: 1 day
    Dates: 4 December 2017
    26 February 2018
    Cost: £125 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

 

If any organisation requires places for 6 or more employees, we can arrange a specific course at dates, times and a location to suit. Please contact the WHS office to discuss your requirements.

First Aid Training

Forthcoming 2017 dates for the WHS 1-day Emergency First Aid courses, also held at our offices, are as follows; the fee is just £75 + VAT per person:

  • 15 November 2017
  • 11 December 2017
  • 18 January 2018
  • 20 January 2018
  • 26 March 2018

 

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

HSE NEWS

10 years of Corporate Manslaughter

It’s very interesting to read the list of prosecutions made against the Corporate Manslaughter & Corporate Homicide Act since its advent in 2007; refer to the table issued by the Health & Safety at Work Magazine: http://bit.ly/2y8Yzbo

What’s interesting is how many of the companies prosecuted are no longer in business. Of the 25 companies prosecuted, 13 (approx. half) no longer trade. It’s a sad fact that, when we carry out training, businesses tend to focus on how much an accident will cost the company financially – rarely does anyone consider that we’re talking about killing someone and (more often than not) depriving a family of its livelihood. So, if money talks:

The result of a bad accident could, not only be the death of an employee or employees,
but also the death of the company

 

The HSE’s Blitz on Dusts

As we’ve discussed countless times before in these newsletters, a main HSE target issue is (and has been for some time) exposure to occupational dusts. Why? Within UK industry:

  • 400,000 working days lost each year in the UK due to lung disorders
  • 12,000 deaths each year from asbestos-related diseases, silicosis, alveolitis and other occupational lung diseases.
  • High risk jobs include electricians, plasterers, painters & decorators, plumbers, carpenters & joiners, bricklayers, roofers, demolition workers, stonemasons, flooring contractors, welders and solderers, paint sprayers, and general labourers.

 

To bring the message home, take a look at the short video recently released from the HSE:
http://www.hse.gov.uk/gohomehealthy/lungs.htm

Then note….

During October, the HSE is carrying out a ‘blitz’ across the country relating to dusts – and, as you know, during these ‘blitzes’ the HSE mean business! During a similar blitz earlier this year, the HSE issued enforcement against half of all sites visited!

So, if you’ve not done this before, thoroughly review all site work and ensure that:

(a) cutting, drilling, chasing etc are avoided where possible and/or
(b) all unavoidable dusts are suppressed or captured at source.

A reminder that the use of face-masks:

(a) is a ‘last resort only’ and will not be accepted by the HSE as the only control measure, and
(b) necessitates face-fit testing for all wearers

There’s no excuse; apart from the assistance and advice given by WHS, there is plenty of free guidance available from the HSE e.g. http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/cis36.pdf

The HSE’s Campaign Targeting Refurbishments

The HSE has reported personally to WHS that its continuing campaign to target refurbishments is still uncovering widespread non-compliance and bad practice, and that the campaign is likely to continue nationwide for the foreseeable future until there is a marked improvement in standards.

As an example, during the first week of October (alone), 100 sites in parts of Cheshire and Greater Manchester were spot checked by the HSE and enforcement issued to a shocking 99 of those 100 sites:

  • 24 Prohibition Notices (PNs)
  • 31 Improvement Notices (INs)
  • 44 Notifications of Contravention/s (NoCs)

 

A reminder that ALL HSE enforcement of any type attracts a charge of £129 per hour, including NoCs, that both PNs and INs are listed on the HSE website for all to see, and that prosecutions (should it come to that) are not only listed on the website but are ‘advertised’ in all manner of H&S and construction-related press.

So the knock-on effect of receiving HSE enforcement cannot be underestimated and we, at WHS, can list contractors who we’ve seen suffer, or completely disappear, because of enforcement notices alone!

Asbestos Health Surveillance

The HSE is currently holding a consultation exercise on a proposal to change regulation 22 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. The proposed change involves increasing the interval by one year with which licensed asbestos workers are required to attend medical examination. The deadline for receipt of comments is 30 October 2017; refer to the HSE’s website for the consultative document and on-line questionnaire:

http://www.hse.gov.uk/consult/condocs/cd285.htm

 

INDUSTRY NEWS

The Importance of Transmitted Information Between Parties

It’s stressed time and time again throughout legislation, including CDM, that all parties must think about who may require information they hold and (conversely) who may be affected if that information is not passed on. The idea behind CDM, from its inception 23 years ago, is that we all work as a ‘team’ to ensure that everyone considers health & safety within everything they do, and that appropriate information is both obtained and transmitted to those who need it.

Sadly, it seems to be a common occurrence that the requirement to transmit the information is overlooked or not even considered. We recently heard of an incident which, very fortunately, didn’t result in injury but could so easily have resulted in death. It involved a high-voltage cable being hit because it lay in the most unexpected of places (where nobody should or would normally come across any buried service, let alone a high-voltage cable). OK, these things happen. However, what’s disturbing is that some people knew it was there but those individuals didn’t think to pass that information on or warn the contractor.

If that incident had resulted in severe injury or death, the HSE would have (quite rightly) placed 100% of the blame on those who knew the cable was there but failed to transmit the information to those who actually needed it. None of this is rocket science and it shouldn’t take legislation to make people realise this is essential. Everyone involved in the work, whether it’s the contractor or project management, has the legal duty to consider those they ‘affect by their acts or omissions’ (Health & Safety at Work Act 1974). If information isn’t transmitted, the individual could be held legally responsible for the consequences.

If you Weren’t Convinced About Asbestos-Related Diseases Before….

We all remember the 9/11 atrocity….it was one of those land-mark events that changed the World (for the worse) forever. Almost 3000 people were killed in one fell swoop, which was truly diabolical. But how many people consider those who have died since as a result of the dusts inhaled, which included 2000 tons of asbestos (the equivalent of 182 single-decker buses).

Figures released in a recent study are appalling, and serve to demonstrate the devastating effects of uncontrolled release of asbestos and masonry dusts:

  • Every ‘first-responder’ has suffered lung disorders or worse
  • 19% rise in lung cancers amongst fire-fighters alone
  • 204 first-responders have died since 9/11
  • $2.775 million set aside under a compensation scheme for 25,000 responders and 25,000 survivors; however, most claimants find they are not covered by the scheme which is a truly shocking situation
    And…
  • Tests have shown that the air around Ground Zero is 112,000 x the legal limit of airborne asbestos dusts; the area has now become toxic in itself

 

Vibration Assessment

You’ll be aware from past newsletters that, with 900 new claims per year (2015 figures) for vibration-related diseases, the HSE has good reason for focusing extensively on the vibration health issue. The Control of Vibration at Work Regs came out in 2005 and placed a duty on all employers to assess the risk to employees from equipment that produces vibration – but still very few employers do this.

WHS can assist by producing good vibration assessments for you, and these assessments will give you definitive maximum periods of use for each tool. Alternatively, a quick assessment can be done using the HSE’s Vibration Calculator and a screen shot taken as a record:
http://www.hse.gov.uk/vibration/hav/vibrationcalc.htm

However, this is only part of the picture. Very rarely is one single tool used in isolation during one day; usually several tools will be used over the course of a working day. Therefore, the employer must, in some way, assess the total risk to workers from daily not individual use.

This can be done using personal monitoring devices; this is the ideal way but can be expensive to purchase. Or it can be done by logging usage of each tool by each individual (refer to the WHS vibration monitoring sheet on your H&S disk) but this can be laborious and time-consuming. A quicker and easier way to do this is by using the HSE’s Ready Reckoner: http://www.hse.gov.uk/vibration/hav/readyreckoner.htm

Contact WHS on 01952-885885 for assistance or instruction on how to calculate exposure and then assess the overall risk. The aim is to reduce daily exposure to within the ‘green’ band (i.e. it’s within acceptable and legal limits).

So what’s the risk of not carrying out full vibration risk assessment?

  • Newfield Fabrications Ltd fined a total of over £127,000 for failing to control vibration risks from hand-held tools used for grinding and polishing
  • Taylor Engineering & Plastics Ltd was fined a total of £21,171 as ‘the company risk assessments relating to vibration were not suitable or sufficient’

And even worse…

  • Wrexham County Borough Council was fined a total of almost £161,000 for ignoring its own vibration assessments and procedures with the result that 11 employees (whose work included grass cutting, strimming and leaf-blowing) developed HAVS or carpal tunnel.

 

Vibration – Eliminate the Risks

Having said all that, vibration assessment only tries to reduce risk where hand-held or hand-controlled tools are used. However, what we should all being doing is trying to find ways of eliminating this health risk altogether! And some companies have done a sterling job over the years towards doing just that…

For example, East Midlands Diamond Drilling has been innovative in exploring all manner of alternative equipment to carry out diamond drilling, sawing and wire-cutting remotely (i.e. with no necessity at all to hand-hold or control the equipment in any way). For example, here is the powerful Brokk which is small enough to fit through a doorway!

 

How much would that cost, I hear you ask?! Yes, use of the equipment is more expensive but these operations are much, much quicker that traditional methods and, as time is money, are therefore very cost-effective. And there are many other benefits, not the least being the significant reduction in dusts produced.

Reducing health risks is not just a contractor issue – all parties can, and should, have an influence here. Bear in mind that, under CDM, consideration of risk reduction begins with clients and designer at the planning stage. Discussions must begin early; these issues cannot be left to contractors alone.

The Importance of Fabrication Off-Site

An interesting article in the IOSH Magazine entitled ‘Here’s one I prepared earlier’ goes into detail about how fabrication off-site and ‘pod’ design makes a massive contribution to improvements in both health and safety on site. Refer to: http://bit.ly/2fVi6BB
The Farmer Review ‘Modernise of Die’ (http://bit.ly/2xtucYV ) strongly recommends moving towards off-site manufacture, something that we here at WHS Have been emphasizing for years. In simple terms, off-site manufacture or fabrication eliminates or vastly reduces health issues, including all the higher-profile, HSE-targetted risks such as:

  • Dusts
  • Fumes
  • Manual handling
  • Noise
  • Vibration

 

Plant Segregation

Another interesting article from the IOSH Magazine ( http://bit.ly/2xtePjl ) concerning Carillion’s approach to seriously reducing the possibility of plant/pedestrian contact. It describes the Company’s 5-point plan for ensuring that all persons requiring to be in the immediate vicinity to operating plant are kept safe and all non-essential personnel are held well beyond harm’s way. Useful reading – and a reminder that this serious issue (which accounts for far too many deaths, both in construction and UK industry) can so easily be controlled.

100% Carded is Not Always 100% Right!

A sensible stance regarding CSCS cards; we quote from HSE on-line:

Most people are familiar with the role Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) cards perform in improving standards and safety on construction sites. However, not everyone realises that those people attending site to perform a non-construction related occupation should not be expected to carry a card.

The CSCS is challenging the industry to stop turning away non-construction related workers without CSCS cards.

WHS wholeheartedly backs this stance; sites should be organised in such a way that meetings can be attended without setting foot on site and unavoidable visits to view the site are fully accompanied (and therefore properly controlled) at all times.

Having said that, we would always advocate personal health & safety awareness training for any person needing to step beyond the site office and into any working area. Contact WHS for details.

GENERAL NEWS

Lone Working

Does anyone remember poor Stephanie Slater? This poor girl, who has recently died of cancer, survived a horrific ordeal when she was kidnapped in 1992 and held for 8 days in a ‘makeshift coffin’ before being released after a ransom was paid.

Stephanie had met the kidnapper whilst carrying out her work as an estate agent; he had been a potential buyer at a house-viewing in Great Barr. Some years earlier, in 1986, Suzie Lamplugh disappeared in similar circumstances. She too was an estate agent who regularly met potential purchasers at the properties. However, unlike Stephanie, Suzie has never been found. Suzie’s mother has devoted her life to spreading the message that lone working is a very real risk issue and the consideration of personal safety is vital:
https://www.suzylamplugh.org/

Stephanie’s recent death (see http://bit.ly/2y2pa9H) is a poignant reminder of the pitfalls that employees, particularly females, can so easily fall into when lone working is not considered. WHS has, over the years, done a lot of work and carried out many training sessions for our clients on the subject of lone working. We must all get on with our jobs, and sometimes lone working is unavoidable. But assessment of the risks for likely situations is essential and a few simple and sensible precautions can often go a long way to alleviating the majority of risks.

So if any of your employees, male or female, have need to work away from the office for any reason, do ask our assistance to both consider the lone working risk issues and train your employees into personal safety controls.

Lone Working – a Monitoring Solution

As you probably know, there are many companies out there offering various lone worker monitoring systems, some more practical or affordable than others. One such company that we, at WHS, have come across recently – which offers several very practical and affordable solutions – is Voice Connect Ltd:
http://www.voiceconnect.co.uk/sectors.html#

 

Voice Connect offers a variety of systems, from basic mobile phone apps to more sophisticated monitoring and discreet alarm systems (left) and ID badges (right – showing the emergency alarm button on the reverse which can be quickly used without arousing suspicion), all of which have GPS incorporated for pinpoint accuracy of the victim’s location. The Voice Connect monitoring centre operates 24/7 with immediate response (we have seen proof of this) and emergency service contact if necessary. And one of the best things about these systems is that they are affordable, ranging from around £7 to £23 per person per month once the units are purchased. Bespoke systems and price packages are available.

So, whether your lone working issues relate to public aggression, malicious intent, injury or, indeed, personal health, there will be a system that exactly suits the situation and pocket. Contact Liz Kerr of Voice Connect direct on: 0116-232 2622 or liz.kerr@voiceconnect.co.uk

Unscrupulous Manufacturers’ Data

It’s come to our attention that, when manufacturers quote the weight of items purchased, the data may be somewhat less than accurate!

One of our clients had a suspicion this may be the case and took the precaution of weighing the items before he carried out manual handling assessments. The results were shocking – the actual weights of the items were almost twice those quoted!

Whether this is now slipping through because standards aren’t sufficiently monitored (particularly with imports) or for any other reason, this could have serious implications for industry. Businesses will naturally use the data provided for manual handling assessments but the question must be raised as to who would be liable should an incorrect assessment be made using this (incorrect) data. In most similar situations, the ‘user’ is liable, so does this mean that all significantly heavy items purchased (and unavoidably requiring manual handling) should actually be weighed by the purchaser? We think this would be wise!

General Data Protection Regulation

The General Data Protection Regulation (or ‘GDPR’) comes into effect on 25 May 2018 and will be enforced across Europe – including the UK post-Brexit. The Regulation aims to give people more control over their personal data and to create uniformity of rules across Europe.

The definition of ‘personal data’ will cover everything relating to an individual’s professional or personal life, including names, photos, email IDs, bank details, social networking posts, medical information, or computer IP addresses.

May 2018 isn’t that far off now so do a bit of homework now in preparation. Very useful information can be can be found on the Information Commission’s Office website: https://ico.org.uk/
particularly, http://bit.ly/2uw9Fop
and http://bit.ly/29lxF0U

Work-Related Road Traffic Accidents

The Department for Transport has released figures for road traffic accident as and fatalities related to journeys made for work purposes – so this is also a timely reminder that all employers would be wise to establish a sound Driving Policy to cover all such journeys. Bear in mind that all employers must risk assess all work-related activities (which, by inference, would obviously include travel), it follows that work-related travel must be properly assessed and suitable rules requirements and/or procedures established to ensure all employees are clear about both legal and company requirements.

Believe it or not, almost 30% of the 1792 road traffic fatalities (529 in total) happened on work-related journeys. Serious injuries on work-related journeys have risen by 24% since 2011, which is quite shocking. What’s even more shocking is that 33,506 commercial cars, buses, coaches, vans and heavy goods vehicles crashed last year!

So, when carrying out a travel risk assessment and formulating your driving policy, aim to reduce the need to rush to appointments or travel too far without breaks. So ensure appointments are reasonably spaced, deadlines are realistic and rest periods and/or overnight stops are programmed into the equation. We know it all costs money but it actually increases productivity as employees are properly rested … and it’s far better than killing someone!

And don’t forget that the HSE can, and do, investigate serious work-related driving accidents and employers are often prosecuted. Be prepared, and be realistic. Employees shouldn’t feel pressured into speeding or driving dangerously.

HR NEWS

Public Sector IR35

IR35 tax changes have caused huge disruption to public sector contractors, who now have their tax status determined by the organisations hiring them. If they are treated as ‘employees’ for tax purposes, they have tax and NI deducted at source, resulting in significant pay cuts for many. However, they are not currently automatically treated as employees under employment law.

HMRC has produced its own online checking tool:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-employment-status-for-tax

It should be noted that the government has confirmed the IR35 tax rules will be extended to the private sector within the next 2 years. It is likely that costs will escalate as a result, particularly for highly skilled contractors.

The Cost of Childcare

Tax-Free Childcare and the provision of 30 Hours Free Childcare are two separate government schemes designed to help parents with the cost of childcare. Parents can apply for both through one online application via the Childcare Service.

However, parents need to decide if the new tax-free childcare scheme is better for them than the existing Childcare voucher scheme which is currently administered by employers.
Full information can be found on: https://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk/

AND FINALLY

Prosecutions under CDM15

  • In House Design & Build was fined a total of £115,000 and its site manager, Neil Crow, personally fined £15,000 after the public raised concerns about health & safety standards on a site in London. The Company had a turnover of £62 million but were apparently unable to find funds to ensure safe work at height and excavations. The Company was prosecuted under CDM for a failure to plan, manage and monitor a safe site.
  • Claxton Engineering Services (Client) and contractor, Encompass Project Management (Principal Contractor), were fined totals of £600,000 and £250,000 respectively after a steel reinforced cage in a 2 metre deep trench collapsed on, and killed, two workers from sub-contractor, Hazegood Construction Ltd. Claxton was prosecuted under CDM for not ensuring work could be carried out safely and Encompass for not planning, managing and monitoring a safe site.
  • Developer, Meadows WR LLP was fined a total of £20,000 after a worker died falling from a ladder during house conversion work. Yet again, a company prosecuted under CDM for the failure to plan, manage and monitor a safe site.
  • Principal contractor, Sager Construction Ltd, was fined a total of almost £41,000 for breaches of CDM after a worker suffered fractures falling from formwork. Sub-contractor, Shaun Dixon Services had been prosecuted previously, fined a total of over £175,000 and since gone into liquidation.
  • LPD Demolition Ltd was fined a total of almost £52,000 after a worker was run over by a reversing excavator and left with punctured lungs, liver injuries and multiple fractures. The Company was prosecuted under CDM for a failure to ensure a safe site.
  • BFK, a joint venture between BAM Nuttall, Ferrovial Agroman and Kier Infrastructure, has been fined a total £807,000 with a £1 million penalty for breaches of CDM after the deaths of two workers during completely separate operations on their Crossrail sites. The Company was also fined £300,000 for breaches of the Work at Height Regs

 

Asbestos
Please take note of the 2 important notes in this section; these issues are full too often overlooked

  • Two contractors and a project management company have been fined a total of well over £1 million for illegally removing AIB. Principal contractor Mansell Construction Services, sub-contractor Squibb Group and project manager NPS London Ltd were fined totals of over £532,000, £175,000 and £402,000 respectively after a worker removed AIB ceiling tiles during a school refurbishment; the available survey information was subsequently found to be woefully inadequate, with numerous caveats and disclaimers that had not been appropriately checked or challenged.

 

N.B. WHS has seen far too many poor asbestos surveys where too many areas within a building are left un-surveyed with notes that say either ‘presumed’ or ‘no access possible’. Whilst there are instances where an asbestos surveyor can genuinely not gain entry into an area (e.g. it was locked), many such comments seem to be the result of laziness on the part of the surveyor. If a surveyor has been commissioned to carry out a Refurbishment Survey, he must expect to access and take samples from all areas, including (unless there is a genuine and uncontrollable risk to the surveyors safety) working at height. It is unacceptable to leave a client with insufficient information because the surveyor refuses to (under normal circumstances) work at height; surveyors should be suitably trained for such situations. Nor is it acceptable to thence ‘presume’ materials will be asbestos-containing materials and possibly incur major costs for the client which may actually be unfounded. Clients pay a lot of money for asbestos surveyors; it’s not unreasonable to expect, and insist upon, thorough and meaningful reports.

 

Having said that, where there are obvious areas that have not been surveyed, that is NOT an excuse to ignore the fact. Further survey work MUST be carried out before any disturbance. This prosecution is inexcusable in this day and age, particularly as it involved large reputable companies.

 

  • Anthony McGrath, a Wigan house builder, was ordered to pay almost £8,000 (in fines and compensation) after being found guilty of demolishing and removing AIB without license. In addition – and this is a warning to all builders who may be tempted to ‘risk it’ – McGrath had to pay more than £12,000 in clean up costs to make the house re-habitable.

 

N.B. Yet another reminder that the domestic market is absolutely no different from the commercial market:
• Although it’s unlikely that the occupant would be in possession of an asbestos survey, this is NOT an excuse for the contractor to ignore the issue; a survey is still legally required.
• And, just because safe removal will cost more, this is NOT an excuse to cut corners and ignore the law in order to win work.
The law will come down hard on contractors who ignore the law for ANY reason.

 

Work at height

  • Pyeroy was fined a total of over £144,000 after they had failed to train personnel into rapid emergency rescue from MEWP work in restricted overhead areas. Ensuing delays resulted in the death of an employee who became trapped between a roof beam and the controls of his MEWP.

 

N.B. This prosecution serves as a warning to all companies using MEWPs or any other equipment where rapid rescue is vital; emergency provision must always be included in the risk assessment process and procedural information passed to the workforce or appointed emergency rescue team.

  • Tesco was fined a total of almost £310,000 after an employee of contractor, Tesco Maintenance, fell through a skylight at a Tesco store, sustaining multiple injuries.

 

N.B. A clear reminder to all large businesses who employ either internal maintenance engineers or ‘favoured’ repeat contractors. ‘Maintenance’ is deemed to be ‘construction’ under CDM and all employers must ensure that the principles of CDM are established for the safety of all such workers. Clearly, in this case, the work at height had not been properly risk assessed nor planned nor adequate control measures established.

  • Mager Homes Ltd was fined a total of almost £27,000 after a worker suffered life-changing injuries when he fell through floor joists during a house-build. There had been no provision made for a suitable working platform where gaps clearly existed wide enough to fall through.
  • Wessexmoor Ltd was fined a total of almost £168,000 after the death of a worker who fell 2-storeys onto a concrete floor. The victim fell from an unguarded rear roof; a totally unacceptable situation which is reflected in the huge fine levelled against the contractor.

 

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

TRAINING COURSES

CDM Seminars

Yes, this does apply to you! The Construction (Design & Management) Regulations apply to any business who commission any type of construction, electrical, plumbing, heating, air-con, decorating, repair, maintenance, strip-out, cabling, IT installation….the list goes on. So, yes the regulations will apply to you at some point; how much do you know about your duties? Read on…

Although the Construction (Design & Management) Regs (or CDM) have been in place since 1994, major changes took place when the regs were updated in 2015. Over the last two years old, many developments, both positive and negative, have taken shape. Because we, at Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS), work with all types of organisations throughout industry (client bodies, developers, designers, contractors, specialists, etc) we can take a holistic view of these developments and are very well placed to offer sound and practical advice to cater for all sorts of awkward situations.

To assist our clients to understand that most situations can have practical solutions, we are holding two seminars at our premises on Tuesday, 23 January 2018, the first of which will be essential for all businesses who may not realise either that CDM applies to them or the extent to which they do apply.

  • 8.30 am to 12.30 pm ‘CDM 2015; practical advice for Clients, Developers and Designers’

 

The second (afternoon) seminar will also be essential for those businesses who have their own in-house maintenance team

  • 1.30 pm to 5 pm ‘CDM 2015; practical advice for Contractors’

 

The cost of the seminars is £60 + VAT per person per session or £100 per person for the full day:

Please refer to the flyer attached for both. Space is limited so book early

First Aid Training

Forthcoming 2017 dates for the WHS 1-day Emergency First Aid courses, also held at our offices, are as follows; the fee is just £75 + VAT per person:

  • 15 November 2017
  • 11 December 2017
  • 18 January 2018
  • 20 January 2018
  • 26 March 2018

 

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

Of course, we can also offer the full 3-day First Aid course; again there is a minimum requirement of 6 persons but, if this course is what you require, please do contact Vicki at WHS on 01952-885885.

HSE NEWS

10 years of Corporate Manslaughter

It’s very interesting to read the list of prosecutions made against the Corporate Manslaughter & Corporate Homicide Act since its advent in 2007; refer to the table issued by the Health & Safety at Work Magazine: http://bit.ly/2y8Yzbo

What’s interesting is how many of the companies prosecuted are no longer in business. Of the 25 companies prosecuted, 13 (approx. half) no longer trade. It’s a sad fact that, when we carry out training, businesses tend to focus on how much an accident will cost the company financially – rarely does anyone consider that we’re talking about killing someone and (more often than not) depriving a family of its livelihood. So, if money talks:

The result of a bad accident could, not only be the death of an employee or employees,
but also the death of the company

The HSE’s Blitz on Dusts

As we’ve discussed countless times before in these newsletters, a main HSE target issue is (and has been for some time) exposure to occupational dusts. Why? Within UK industry:

  • 400,000 working days lost each year in the UK due to lung disorders
  • 12,000 deaths each year from asbestos-related diseases, silicosis, alveolitis and other occupational lung diseases.
  • High risk jobs include bakers, agriculture employees working with grain, electricians, plasterers, painters & decorators, plumbers, carpenters & joiners, stonemasons, welders and solderers, paint sprayers, and general labourers.

 

To bring the message home, take a look at the short video recently released from the HSE:
http://www.hse.gov.uk/gohomehealthy/lungs.htm

Then note….

During October, the HSE is carrying out a ‘blitz’ across the country relating to dusts – and, as you know, during these ‘blitzes’ the HSE mean business! During a similar blitz earlier this year, the HSE issued enforcement against half of all sites visited!

So, if you’ve not done this before, thoroughly review all site work and ensure that:

(a) cutting, drilling, chasing etc are avoided where possible and/or
(b) all unavoidable dusts are suppressed or captured at source.

A reminder that the use of face-masks:

(a) is a ‘last resort only’ and will not be accepted by the HSE as the only control measure, and
(b) necessitates face-fit testing for all wearers

There’s no excuse; apart from the assistance and advice given by WHS, there is plenty of free guidance available from the HSE e.g. http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/cis36.pdf

INDUSTRY NEWS

If you Weren’t Convinced About Asbestos-Related Diseases Before….

We all remember the 9/11 atrocity….it was one of those land-mark events that changed the World (for the worse) forever. Almost 3000 people were killed in one fell swoop, which was truly diabolical. But how many people consider those who have died since as a result of the dusts inhaled, which included 2000 tons of asbestos (the equivalent of 182 single-decker buses).

Figures released in a recent study are appalling, and serve to demonstrate the devastating effects of uncontrolled release of asbestos and masonry dusts:

  • Every ‘first-responder’ has suffered lung disorders or worse
  • 19% rise in lung cancers amongst fire-fighters alone
  • 204 first-responders have died since 9/11
  • $2.775 million set aside under a compensation scheme for 25,000 responders and 25,000 survivors; however, most claimants find they are not covered by the scheme which is a truly shocking situation
    And…
  • Tests have shown that the air around Ground Zero is 112,000 x the legal limit of airborne asbestos dusts; the area has now become toxic in itself

 

Vibration Assessment

You’ll be aware from past newsletters that, with 900 new claims per year (2015 figures) for vibration-related diseases, the HSE has good reason for focusing extensively on the vibration health issue. The Control of Vibration at Work Regs came out in 2005 and placed a duty on all employers to assess the risk to employees from equipment that produces vibration – but still very few employers do this.

WHS can assist by producing good vibration assessments for you, and these assessments will give you definitive maximum periods of use for each tool. Alternatively, a quick assessment can be done using the HSE’s Vibration Calculator and a screen shot taken as a record:
http://www.hse.gov.uk/vibration/hav/vibrationcalc.htm

However, this is only part of the picture. Very rarely is one single tool used in isolation during one day; usually several tools will be used over the course of a working day. Therefore, the employer must, in some way, assess the total risk to workers from daily not individual use.

This can be done using personal monitoring devices; this is the ideal way but can be expensive to purchase. Or it can be done by logging usage of each tool by each individual (refer to the WHS vibration monitoring sheet on your H&S disk) but this can be laborious and time-consuming. A quicker and easier way to do this is by using the HSE’s Ready Reckoner: http://www.hse.gov.uk/vibration/hav/readyreckoner.htm

Contact WHS on 01952-885885 for assistance or instruction on how to calculate exposure and then assess the overall risk. The aim is to reduce daily exposure to within the ‘green’ band (i.e. it’s within acceptable and legal limits).

So what’s the risk of not carrying out full vibration risk assessment?

  • Newfield Fabrications Ltd fined a total of over £127,000 for failing to control vibration risks from hand-held tools used for grinding and polishing
  • Taylor Engineering & Plastics Ltd was fined a total of £21,171 as ‘the company risk assessments relating to vibration were not suitable or sufficient’

 

And even worse…

  • Wrexham County Borough Council was fined a total of almost £161,000 for ignoring its own vibration assessments and procedures with the result that 11 employees (whose work included grass cutting, strimming and leaf-blowing) developed HAVS or carpal tunnel.

 

Vibration – Eliminate the Risks

Having said all that, vibration assessment only tries to reduce risk where hand-held or hand-controlled tools are used. However, what we should all being doing is trying to find ways of eliminating this health risk altogether!

Machine Safety – a Useful Guide

Schneider Electrical has produced very useful guidance on the basics of machine safety; the Safe Machinery Handbook can be found on: http://bit.ly/2fXcl6v

Schneider Electrical can be a very useful source of information, both specific and general; if you’re an electrical contractor, or a contractor whose work includes electrical systems, contact the Company via their website for related queries or to register for their information portal: https://www.schneider-electric.co.uk/en/

New Qualification for Process Industries

NEBOSH, in close collaboration with the HSE, have developed a new H&S qualification specifically designed for process industries.

NEBOSH currently deliver both the General Certificate and the specialist Construction Certificate; the NEBOSH HSE Certificate in Process Safety Management is a valuable addition to their portfolio. Full details:
https://www.nebosh.org.uk/qualifications/certificate/default.asp?cref=1717

GENERAL NEWS

Lone Working

Does anyone remember poor Stephanie Slater? This poor girl, who has recently died of cancer, survived a horrific ordeal when she was kidnapped in 1992 and held for 8 days in a ‘makeshift coffin’ before being released after a ransom was paid.

Stephanie had met the kidnapper whilst carrying out her work as an estate agent; he had been a potential buyer at a house-viewing in Great Barr. Some years earlier, in 1986, Suzie Lamplugh disappeared in similar circumstances. She too was an estate agent who regularly met potential purchasers at the properties. However, unlike Stephanie, Suzie has never been found. Suzie’s mother has devoted her life to spreading the message that lone working is a very real risk issue and the consideration of personal safety is vital:
https://www.suzylamplugh.org/

Stephanie’s recent death (see http://bit.ly/2y2pa9H) is a poignant reminder of the pitfalls that employees, particularly females, can so easily fall into when lone working is not considered. WHS has, over the years, done a lot of work and carried out many training sessions for our clients on the subject of lone working. We must all get on with our jobs, and sometimes lone working is unavoidable. But assessment of the risks for likely situations is essential and a few simple and sensible precautions can often go a long way to alleviating the majority of risks.

So if any of your employees, male or female, have need to work away from the office for any reason, do ask our assistance to both consider the lone working risk issues and train your employees into personal safety controls.

Lone Working – a Monitoring Solution

As you probably know, there are many companies out there offering various lone worker monitoring systems, some more practical or affordable than others. One such company that we, at WHS, have come across recently – which offers several very practical and affordable solutions – is Voice Connect Ltd:
http://www.voiceconnect.co.uk/sectors.html#

Voice Connect offers a variety of systems, from basic mobile phone apps to more sophisticated monitoring and discreet alarm systems (photo overleaf, left) and ID badges (right – showing the emergency alarm button on the reverse which can be quickly used without arousing suspicion), all of which have GPS incorporated for pinpoint accuracy of the victim’s location. The Voice Connect monitoring centre operates 24/7 with immediate response (we have seen proof of this) and emergency service contact if necessary. And one of the best things about these systems is that they are affordable, ranging from around £7 to £23 per person per month once the units are purchased. Bespoke systems and price packages are available.

So, whether your lone working issues relate to public aggression, malicious intent, injury or, indeed, personal health, there will be a system that exactly suits the situation and pocket. Contact Liz Kerr of Voice Connect direct on: 0116-232 2622 or liz.kerr@voiceconnect.co.uk

Public Safety

All businesses who interact with the public in any way must ensure that the safety of all members of the public is held paramount in their attitude to safety. This is illustrated by the recent prosecution of a restaurant when a member of the public lost the tip of a finger in a hand drier.

Nocaz Ltd, which runs the Dragon King restaurant in Shrewsbury, was fined a total of almost £17,000 after a woman, who sufferers with learning difficulties, placed her finger in the unguarded outlet of the drier and made contact with the rotating fan blade inside. This fact that the grill/guard was missing may have seemed trivial to those who run the restaurant but all manner of situations must be considered when organising the health & safety of both staff and patrons alike, particularly those from vulnerable sections of society.

It is LAW to carry out frequent inspections of all work and public places under the jurisdiction of the business involved; nothing should be overlooked

Nothing is too trivial to be made safe; nothing is too important that safety can be ignored.

Public Safety – Trespassers Included

And never overlook trespassers; it is a legal requirement that ALL businesses and premises must be kept secure against intrusion. The recent case of a 12 year old boy who was air-lifted to hospital having fallen 50 feet through a fragile factory roof in Holmfirth illustrates, again, that all possible eventualities must be factored into a company’s safe systems where the pubic are concerned:
http://www.examiner.co.uk/news/boy-12-airlifted-hospital-after-12892128

We all know that children can often put themselves in some horribly dangerous situations; however, this is largely due to, not only their inflated capacity for thrills and devilment, but also their immature perception of safety. Therefore, it is incumbent on all businesses to eliminate, or at least reduce as far as reasonable, the possibility that children, youths and others who haven’t quite matured yet (!) can enter the premises unnoticed by properly securing the perimeter against entry.

Simple tips that can prevent a devastating accident:

  • Ensure your perimeter fencing is at least 2 metres high, regularly check the condition of the fencing; double check before holiday shut-down periods
  • Remove exterior objects that may compromise the effectiveness of fencing (walls, trees, post boxes, etc)
  • Plug any dips or voids beneath fencing to prevent little people slipping underneath

 

Unscrupulous Manufacturers’ Data

It’s come to our attention that, when manufacturers quote the weight of items purchased, the data may be somewhat less than accurate!
One of our clients had a suspicion this may be the case and took the precaution of weighing the items before he carried out manual handling assessments. The results were shocking – the actual weights of the items were almost twice those quoted!

Whether this is now slipping through because standards aren’t sufficiently monitored (particularly with imports) or for any other reason, this could have serious implications for industry. Businesses will naturally use the data provided for manual handling assessments but the question must be raised as to who would be liable should an incorrect assessment be made using this (incorrect) data. In most similar situations, the ‘user’ is liable, so does this mean that all significantly heavy items purchased (and unavoidably requiring manual handling) should actually be weighed by the purchaser? We think this would be wise!

General Data Protection Regulation

The General Data Protection Regulation (or ‘GDPR’) comes into effect on 25 May 2018 and will be enforced across Europe – including the UK post-Brexit. The Regulation aims to give people more control over their personal data and to create uniformity of rules across Europe.

The definition of ‘personal data’ will cover everything relating to an individual’s professional or personal life, including names, photos, email IDs, bank details, social networking posts, medical information, or computer IP addresses.

May 2018 isn’t that far off now so do a bit of homework now in preparation. Very useful information can be can be found on the Information Commission’s Office website: https://ico.org.uk/
particularly, http://bit.ly/2uw9Fop
and http://bit.ly/29lxF0U

Work-Related Road Traffic Accidents

The Department for Transport has released figures for road traffic accident as and fatalities related to journeys made for work purposes – so this is also a timely reminder that all employers would be wise to establish a sound Driving Policy to cover all such journeys. Bear in mind that all employers must risk assess all work-related activities (which, by inference, would obviously include travel), it follows that work-related travel must be properly assessed and suitable rules requirements and/or procedures established to ensure all employees are clear about both legal and company requirements.

Believe it or not, almost 30% of the 1792 road traffic fatalities (529 in total) happened on work-related journeys. Serious injuries on work-related journeys have risen by 24% since 2011, which is quite shocking. What’s even more shocking is that 33,506 commercial cars, buses, coaches, vans and heavy goods vehicles crashed last year!

So, when carrying out a travel risk assessment and formulating your driving policy, aim to reduce the need to rush to appointments or travel too far without breaks. So ensure appointments are reasonably spaced, deadlines are realistic and rest periods and/or overnight stops are programmed into the equation. We know it all costs money but it actually increases productivity as employees are properly rested … and it’s far better than killing someone!

And don’t forget that the HSE can, and do, investigate serious work-related driving accidents and employers are often prosecuted. Be prepared, and be realistic. Employees shouldn’t feel pressured into speeding or driving dangerously.

Hidden Dangers on the High Street

It’s become commonplace these days ladies to visit nail bars – but how many of us consider the hazards we may be putting ourselves through when we do so? And how many employees are properly trained and the working environment adequately controlled? We only have to walk past some nail bars to realise that not all such businesses place enough emphasis on the health & safety of both employees and the public. Risk issues include chemical sensitisation, contact dermatitis, poor hygiene, acrylic bonding methods that damage the nails, lung irritation from both chemicals and, believe it or not, the dust inhaled when filing umpteen sets of nails through the working day!

In addition, apparently, nail bars are often a cloak behind which a shady world of ‘modern slavery’ operates and the HSE is stepping up their enforcement regime to combat this type of organised crime. Often the workers in these establishments are oriental; many have found themselves locked into a cycle of debt from which there seems no way out. Because a lot of these nail bars pop up within shopping centres but without actual premises, it’s relatively easy for unscrupulous bosses to side step rules and regulations.

Who would have thought that a visit to a beauty establishment would have been so fraught with danger?!

HR NEWS

The Cost of Childcare

Tax-Free Childcare and the provision of 30 Hours Free Childcare are two separate government schemes designed to help parents with the cost of childcare. Parents can apply for both through one online application via the Childcare Service. However, parents need to decide if the new tax-free childcare scheme is better for them than the existing Childcare voucher scheme which is currently administered by employers.
Full information can be found on: https://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk/

AND FINALLY

Prosecutions under Construction (Design & Management) Regs 2015
A reminder that (as above) all businesses commissioning any type of work fall under CDM

  • Claxton Engineering Services (Client) and contractor, Encompass Project Management (Principal Contractor), were fined totals of £600,000 and £250,000 respectively after a steel reinforced cage in a 2 metre deep trench collapsed on, and killed, two workers from sub-contractor, Hazegood Construction Ltd. Claxton was prosecuted under CDM for not ensuring work could be carried out safely and Encompass for not planning, managing and monitoring a safe site.
  • Developer, Meadows WR LLP was fined a total of £20,000 after a worker died falling from a ladder during house conversion work. Yet again, a company prosecuted under CDM for the failure to plan, manage and monitor a safe site.

 

Asbestos

  • A project management company and two contractors have been fined a total of well over £1 million for illegally removing AIB. Principal contractor Mansell Construction Services, sub-contractor Squibb Group and project manager NPS London Ltd were fined totals of over £532,000, £175,000 and £402,000 respectively after a worker removed AIB ceiling tiles during a school refurbishment; the available survey information was subsequently found to be woefully inadequate, with numerous caveats and disclaimers that had not been appropriately checked or challenged.

 

N.B. WHS has seen far too many poor asbestos surveys where too many areas within a building are left un-surveyed with notes that say either ‘presumed’ or ‘no access possible’. Whilst there are instances where an asbestos surveyor can genuinely not gain entry into an area (e.g. it was locked), many such comments seem to be the result of laziness on the part of the surveyor. If a surveyor has been commissioned to carry out a Refurbishment Survey, he must expect to access and take samples from all areas, including (unless there is a genuine and uncontrollable risk to the surveyors safety) working at height. It is unacceptable to leave a client with insufficient information because the surveyor refuses to (under normal circumstances) work at height; surveyors should be suitably trained for such situations. Nor is it acceptable to thence ‘presume’ materials will be asbestos-containing materials and possibly incur major costs for the client which may actually be unfounded. Clients pay a lot of money for asbestos surveyors; it’s not unreasonable to expect, and insist upon, thorough and meaningful reports.

Having said that, where there are obvious areas that have not been surveyed, that is NOT an excuse to ignore the fact. Further survey work MUST be carried out before any disturbance. This prosecution is inexcusable in this day and age, particularly as it involved large reputable companies.

Work at height

  • Tesco was fined a total of almost £310,000 after an employee of contractor, Tesco Maintenance, fell through a skylight at a Tesco store, sustaining multiple injuries.

 

N.B. A clear reminder to all large businesses who employ either internal maintenance engineers or ‘favoured’ repeat contractors. ‘Maintenance’ is deemed to be ‘construction’ under CDM and all employers must ensure that the principles of CDM are established for the safety of all such workers. Clearly, in this case, the work at height had not been properly risk assessed nor planned nor adequate control measures established.

  • And similarly…coach fabrication company, Bespoke Bodies Ltd, was fined a total of over £23,000 after a worker was injured falling 10 metres through a sky-light during the cleaning of valley gutters on the company’s roof. CDM applied here also but, quite apart from that, the Company had paid absolutely no heed to the risks of fragile materials on the roof or to the need for the training and supervision required for this type of task.
  • Farming family concern, Maurice Mason, was fined a total of £72,000 after the death by asphyxiation of a young employee in a grain silo. The 21-year-old had been cleaning the grain bins with a broom as the grain emptied slowly through sluices. He had been using a harness secured to a fixed ladder to prevent a fall; however, the fall-arrest component of the lanyard extended allowing the worker to sink into the grain which then engulfed him as he sank ever deeper (grain behaves as quick-sand in these circumstances).

 

N.B. Clearly, although the Company knew this might happen and had, thus, provided a fall-arrest harness to prevent it, management were not in full possession of the facts, had not been properly trained in work at height and, thus, had neglected to properly assess what type of harness and lanyard was necessary. This went against the golden rule:

 

The right tool for the right job always; NO exceptions!

 

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

TRAINING COURSES

CDM Seminars

The Construction (Design & Management) Regs 2015 are now over two years old and many developments, both positive and negative, have taken shape over that period. Because we, at Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS), work with all types of organisations within the construction industry (client bodies, developers, designers, contractors, specialists, etc) we can take a holistic view of these developments and are very well placed to offer sound and practical advice to cater for all sorts of awkward situations.

To assist our clients to understand that most situations can have practical solutions, we are holding two seminars at our premises on Tuesday, 23 January 2018, at a cost of £60 + VAT per person per session or £100 per person for the full day:

  • 8.30 am to 12.30 pm ‘CDM 2015; practical advice for Clients, Developers and Designers’
  • 1.30 pm to 5 pm ‘CDM 2015; practical advice for Contractors’

 

Please refer to the flyer attached for both. Space is limited so book early

CITB Training Courses

In addition to the SMSTS & SSSTS courses below currently run on a one-day-per-week basis, and in order to accommodate client requests, we will soon be offering courses spanning single weeks. Availability will require a minimum of 6 persons (CITB rules, not ours!) so the more candidates you can muster for any one course, the better. Should this be your preferred option, please contact Vicki at WHS as soon as possible.

Forthcoming late 2017 and early 2018 dates currently in place and fees for the CITB courses are as follows. Courses are held at the WHS offices and fees include lunch, refreshments and all course literature.

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

And don’t forget that CITB levy-payers can claim substantial grants against all these courses and more – which will help alleviate the cost considerably. Contact WHS for further details.

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)
    Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week
    Dates: 14, 21, 28 November & 5, 12 December 2017
    15, 22, 29 January & 5, 12 February 2018
    Cost: £495 + VAT per person
  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher
    Duration: 2 days
    Dates: 18 & 19 December 2017
    12 & 13 March 2018
    Cost: £265 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)
  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS)
    Duration: 2 days
    Dates: 25 & 26 October 2017
    8 & 9 January 2018
    22 & 23 March 2018
    Cost: £230 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)
  • CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness
    Duration: 1 day
    Dates: 4 December 2017
    26 February 2018
    Cost: £125 + VAT per person(10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

 

If any organisation requires places for 6 or more employees, we can arrange a specific course at dates, times and a location to suit. Please contact the WHS office to discuss your requirements.

First Aid Training

Forthcoming 2017 dates for the WHS 1-day Emergency First Aid courses, also held at our offices, are as follows; the fee is just £75 + VAT per person:

  • 15 November 2017
  • 11 December 2017
  • 18 January 2018
  • 20 January 2018
  • 26 March 2018

 

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

HSE NEWS

10 years of Corporate Manslaughter

It’s very interesting to read the list of prosecutions made against the Corporate Manslaughter & Corporate Homicide Act since its advent in 2007; refer to the table issued by the Health & Safety at Work Magazine: http://bit.ly/2y8Yzbo

What’s interesting is how many of the companies prosecuted are no longer in business. Of the 25 companies prosecuted, 13 (approx. half) no longer trade. It’s a sad fact that, when we carry out training, businesses tend to focus on how much an accident will cost the company financially – rarely does anyone consider that we’re talking about killing someone and (more often than not) depriving a family of its livelihood. So, if money talks:

The result of a bad accident could, not only be the death of an employee or employees,
but also the death of the company

The HSE’s Blitz on Dusts

As we’ve discussed countless times before in these newsletters, a main HSE target issue is (and has been for some time) exposure to occupational dusts. Why? Within UK industry:

  • 400,000 working days lost each year in the UK due to lung disorders
  • 12,000 deaths each year from asbestos-related diseases, silicosis, alveolitis and other occupational lung diseases.
  • High risk jobs include electricians, plasterers, painters & decorators, plumbers, carpenters & joiners, bricklayers, roofers, demolition workers, stonemasons, flooring contractors, welders and solderers, paint sprayers, and general labourers.

 

To bring the message home, take a look at the short video recently released from the HSE:
http://www.hse.gov.uk/gohomehealthy/lungs.htm

Then note….

During October, the HSE is carrying out a ‘blitz’ across the country relating to dusts – and, as you know, during these ‘blitzes’ the HSE mean business! During a similar blitz earlier this year, the HSE issued enforcement against half of all sites visited!

So, if you’ve not done this before, thoroughly review all site work and ensure that:

(a) cutting, drilling, chasing etc are avoided where possible and/or
(b) all unavoidable dusts are suppressed or captured at source.

A reminder that the use of face-masks:

(a) is a ‘last resort only’ and will not be accepted by the HSE as the only control measure, and
(b) necessitates face-fit testing for all wearers

There’s no excuse; apart from the assistance and advice given by WHS, there is plenty of free guidance available from the HSE e.g. http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/cis36.pdf

The HSE’s Campaign Targeting Refurbishments

The HSE has reported personally to WHS that its continuing campaign to target refurbishments is still uncovering widespread non-compliance and bad practice, and that the campaign is likely to continue nationwide for the foreseeable future until there is a marked improvement in standards.

As an example, during the first week of October (alone), 100 sites in parts of Cheshire and Greater Manchester were spot checked by the HSE and enforcement issued to a shocking 99 of those 100 sites:

  • 24 Prohibition Notices (PNs)
  • 31 Improvement Notices (INs)
  • 44 Notifications of Contravention/s (NoCs)

 

A reminder that ALL HSE enforcement of any type attracts a charge of £129 per hour, including NoCs, that both PNs and INs are listed on the HSE website for all to see, and that prosecutions (should it come to that) are not only listed on the website but are ‘advertised’ in all manner of H&S and construction-related press.

So the knock-on effect of receiving HSE enforcement cannot be underestimated and we, at WHS, can list contractors who we’ve seen suffer, or completely disappear, because of enforcement notices alone!

Asbestos Health Surveillance

The HSE is currently holding a consultation exercise on a proposal to change regulation 22 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. The proposed change involves increasing the interval by one year with which licensed asbestos workers are required to attend medical examination. The deadline for receipt of comments is 30 October 2017; refer to the HSE’s website for the consultative document and on-line questionnaire:

http://www.hse.gov.uk/consult/condocs/cd285.htm

 

INDUSTRY NEWS

The Importance of Transmitted Information Between Parties

It’s stressed time and time again throughout legislation, including CDM, that all parties must think about who may require information they hold and (conversely) who may be affected if that information is not passed on. The idea behind CDM, from its inception 23 years ago, is that we all work as a ‘team’ to ensure that everyone considers health & safety within everything they do, and that appropriate information is both obtained and transmitted to those who need it.

Sadly, it seems to be a common occurrence that the requirement to transmit the information is overlooked or not even considered. We recently heard of an incident which, very fortunately, didn’t result in injury but could so easily have resulted in death. It involved a high-voltage cable being hit because it lay in the most unexpected of places (where nobody should or would normally come across any buried service, let alone a high-voltage cable). OK, these things happen. However, what’s disturbing is that some people knew it was there but those individuals didn’t think to pass that information on or warn the contractor.

If that incident had resulted in severe injury or death, the HSE would have (quite rightly) placed 100% of the blame on those who knew the cable was there but failed to transmit the information to those who actually needed it. None of this is rocket science and it shouldn’t take legislation to make people realise this is essential. Everyone involved in the work, whether it’s the contractor or project management, has the legal duty to consider those they ‘affect by their acts or omissions’ (Health & Safety at Work Act 1974). If information isn’t transmitted, the individual could be held legally responsible for the consequences.

If you Weren’t Convinced About Asbestos-Related Diseases Before….

We all remember the 9/11 atrocity….it was one of those land-mark events that changed the World (for the worse) forever. Almost 3000 people were killed in one fell swoop, which was truly diabolical. But how many people consider those who have died since as a result of the dusts inhaled, which included 2000 tons of asbestos (the equivalent of 182 single-decker buses).

Figures released in a recent study are appalling, and serve to demonstrate the devastating effects of uncontrolled release of asbestos and masonry dusts:

  • Every ‘first-responder’ has suffered lung disorders or worse
  • 19% rise in lung cancers amongst fire-fighters alone
  • 204 first-responders have died since 9/11
  • $2.775 million set aside under a compensation scheme for 25,000 responders and 25,000 survivors; however, most claimants find they are not covered by the scheme which is a truly shocking situation
    And…
  • Tests have shown that the air around Ground Zero is 112,000 x the legal limit of airborne asbestos dusts; the area has now become toxic in itself

 

Vibration Assessment

You’ll be aware from past newsletters that, with 900 new claims per year (2015 figures) for vibration-related diseases, the HSE has good reason for focusing extensively on the vibration health issue. The Control of Vibration at Work Regs came out in 2005 and placed a duty on all employers to assess the risk to employees from equipment that produces vibration – but still very few employers do this.

WHS can assist by producing good vibration assessments for you, and these assessments will give you definitive maximum periods of use for each tool. Alternatively, a quick assessment can be done using the HSE’s Vibration Calculator and a screen shot taken as a record:
http://www.hse.gov.uk/vibration/hav/vibrationcalc.htm

However, this is only part of the picture. Very rarely is one single tool used in isolation during one day; usually several tools will be used over the course of a working day. Therefore, the employer must, in some way, assess the total risk to workers from daily not individual use.

This can be done using personal monitoring devices; this is the ideal way but can be expensive to purchase. Or it can be done by logging usage of each tool by each individual (refer to the WHS vibration monitoring sheet on your H&S disk) but this can be laborious and time-consuming. A quicker and easier way to do this is by using the HSE’s Ready Reckoner: http://www.hse.gov.uk/vibration/hav/readyreckoner.htm

Contact WHS on 01952-885885 for assistance or instruction on how to calculate exposure and then assess the overall risk. The aim is to reduce daily exposure to within the ‘green’ band (i.e. it’s within acceptable and legal limits).

So what’s the risk of not carrying out full vibration risk assessment?

  • Newfield Fabrications Ltd fined a total of over £127,000 for failing to control vibration risks from hand-held tools used for grinding and polishing
  • Taylor Engineering & Plastics Ltd was fined a total of £21,171 as ‘the company risk assessments relating to vibration were not suitable or sufficient’

And even worse…

  • Wrexham County Borough Council was fined a total of almost £161,000 for ignoring its own vibration assessments and procedures with the result that 11 employees (whose work included grass cutting, strimming and leaf-blowing) developed HAVS or carpal tunnel.

 

Machine Safety – a Useful Guide

Schneider Electrical has produced very useful guidance on the basics of machine safety; the Safe Machinery Handbook can be found on: http://bit.ly/2fXcl6v

Schneider Electrical can be a very useful source of information, both specific and general; if you’re an electrical contractor, or a contractor whose work includes electrical systems, contact the Company via their website for related queries or to register for their information portal: https://www.schneider-electric.co.uk/en/

100% Carded is Not Always 100% Right!

A sensible stance regarding CSCS cards; we quote from HSE on-line:

Most people are familiar with the role Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) cards perform in improving standards and safety on construction sites. However, not everyone realises that those people attending site to perform a non-construction related occupation should not be expected to carry a card.

The CSCS is challenging the industry to stop turning away non-construction related workers without CSCS cards.

WHS wholeheartedly backs this stance; sites should be organised in such a way that meetings can be attended without setting foot on site and unavoidable visits to view the site are fully accompanied (and therefore properly controlled) at all times.

Having said that, we would always advocate personal health & safety awareness training for any person needing to step beyond the site office and into any working area. Contact WHS for details.

GENERAL NEWS

Lone Working

Does anyone remember poor Stephanie Slater? This poor girl, who has recently died of cancer, survived a horrific ordeal when she was kidnapped in 1992 and held for 8 days in a ‘makeshift coffin’ before being released after a ransom was paid.

Stephanie had met the kidnapper whilst carrying out her work as an estate agent; he had been a potential buyer at a house-viewing in Great Barr. Some years earlier, in 1986, Suzie Lamplugh disappeared in similar circumstances. She too was an estate agent who regularly met potential purchasers at the properties. However, unlike Stephanie, Suzie has never been found. Suzie’s mother has devoted her life to spreading the message that lone working is a very real risk issue and the consideration of personal safety is vital:
https://www.suzylamplugh.org/

Stephanie’s recent death (see http://bit.ly/2y2pa9H) is a poignant reminder of the pitfalls that employees, particularly females, can so easily fall into when lone working is not considered. WHS has, over the years, done a lot of work and carried out many training sessions for our clients on the subject of lone working. We must all get on with our jobs, and sometimes lone working is unavoidable. But assessment of the risks for likely situations is essential and a few simple and sensible precautions can often go a long way to alleviating the majority of risks.

So if any of your employees, male or female, have need to work away from the office for any reason, do ask our assistance to both consider the lone working risk issues and train your employees into personal safety controls.

Lone Working – a Monitoring Solution

As you probably know, there are many companies out there offering various lone worker monitoring systems, some more practical or affordable than others. One such company that we, at WHS, have come across recently – which offers several very practical and affordable solutions – is Voice Connect Ltd:
http://www.voiceconnect.co.uk/sectors.html#

Voice Connect offers a variety of systems, from basic mobile phone apps to more sophisticated monitoring and discreet alarm systems (left) and ID badges (right – showing the emergency alarm button on the reverse which can be quickly used without arousing suspicion), all of which have GPS incorporated for pinpoint accuracy of the victim’s location. The Voice Connect monitoring centre operates 24/7 with immediate response (we have seen proof of this) and emergency service contact if necessary. And one of the best things about these systems is that they are affordable, ranging from around £7 to £23 per person per month once the units are purchased. Bespoke systems and price packages are available.

So, whether your lone working issues relate to public aggression, malicious intent, injury or, indeed, personal health, there will be a system that exactly suits the situation and pocket. Contact Liz Kerr of Voice Connect direct on: 0116-232 2622 or liz.kerr@voiceconnect.co.uk

Unscrupulous Manufacturers’ Data

It’s come to our attention that, when manufacturers quote the weight of items purchased, the data may be somewhat less than accurate!

One of our clients had a suspicion this may be the case and took the precaution of weighing the items before he carried out manual handling assessments. The results were shocking – the actual weights of the items were almost twice those quoted!

Whether this is now slipping through because standards aren’t sufficiently monitored (particularly with imports) or for any other reason, this could have serious implications for industry. Businesses will naturally use the data provided for manual handling assessments but the question must be raised as to who would be liable should an incorrect assessment be made using this (incorrect) data. In most similar situations, the ‘user’ is liable, so does this mean that all significantly heavy items purchased (and unavoidably requiring manual handling) should actually be weighed by the purchaser? We think this would be wise!

General Data Protection Regulation

The General Data Protection Regulation (or ‘GDPR’) comes into effect on 25 May 2018 and will be enforced across Europe – including the UK post-Brexit. The Regulation aims to give people more control over their personal data and to create uniformity of rules across Europe.

The definition of ‘personal data’ will cover everything relating to an individual’s professional or personal life, including names, photos, email IDs, bank details, social networking posts, medical information, or computer IP addresses.

May 2018 isn’t that far off now so do a bit of homework now in preparation. Very useful information can be can be found on the Information Commission’s Office website: https://ico.org.uk/
particularly, http://bit.ly/2uw9Fop
and http://bit.ly/29lxF0U

Work-Related Road Traffic Accidents

The Department for Transport has released figures for road traffic accident as and fatalities related to journeys made for work purposes – so this is also a timely reminder that all employers would be wise to establish a sound Driving Policy to cover all such journeys. Bear in mind that all employers must risk assess all work-related activities (which, by inference, would obviously include travel), it follows that work-related travel must be properly assessed and suitable rules requirements and/or procedures established to ensure all employees are clear about both legal and company requirements.

Believe it or not, almost 30% of the 1792 road traffic fatalities (529 in total) happened on work-related journeys. Serious injuries on work-related journeys have risen by 24% since 2011, which is quite shocking. What’s even more shocking is that 33,506 commercial cars, buses, coaches, vans and heavy goods vehicles crashed last year!

So, when carrying out a travel risk assessment and formulating your driving policy, aim to reduce the need to rush to appointments or travel too far without breaks. So ensure appointments are reasonably spaced, deadlines are realistic and rest periods and/or overnight stops are programmed into the equation. We know it all costs money but it actually increases productivity as employees are properly rested … and it’s far better than killing someone!

And don’t forget that the HSE can, and do, investigate serious work-related driving accidents and employers are often prosecuted. Be prepared, and be realistic. Employees shouldn’t feel pressured into speeding or driving dangerously.

HR NEWS

Public Sector IR35

IR35 tax changes have caused huge disruption to public sector contractors, who now have their tax status determined by the organisations hiring them. If they are treated as ‘employees’ for tax purposes, they have tax and NI deducted at source, resulting in significant pay cuts for many. However, they are not currently automatically treated as employees under employment law.

HMRC has produced its own online checking tool:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-employment-status-for-tax

It should be noted that the government has confirmed the IR35 tax rules will be extended to the private sector within the next 2 years. It is likely that costs will escalate as a result, particularly for highly skilled contractors.

The Cost of Childcare

Tax-Free Childcare and the provision of 30 Hours Free Childcare are two separate government schemes designed to help parents with the cost of childcare. Parents can apply for both through one online application via the Childcare Service.

However, parents need to decide if the new tax-free childcare scheme is better for them than the existing Childcare voucher scheme which is currently administered by employers.
Full information can be found on: https://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk/

AND FINALLY

Prosecutions under CDM15

  • In House Design & Build was fined a total of £115,000 and its site manager, Neil Crow, personally fined £15,000 after the public raised concerns about health & safety standards on a site in London. The Company had a turnover of £62 million but were apparently unable to find funds to ensure safe work at height and excavations. The Company was prosecuted under CDM for a failure to plan, manage and monitor a safe site.
  • Claxton Engineering Services (Client) and contractor, Encompass Project Management (Principal Contractor), were fined totals of £600,000 and £250,000 respectively after a steel reinforced cage in a 2 metre deep trench collapsed on, and killed, two workers from sub-contractor, Hazegood Construction Ltd. Claxton was prosecuted under CDM for not ensuring work could be carried out safely and Encompass for not planning, managing and monitoring a safe site.
  • Developer, Meadows WR LLP was fined a total of £20,000 after a worker died falling from a ladder during house conversion work. Yet again, a company prosecuted under CDM for the failure to plan, manage and monitor a safe site.
  • Principal contractor, Sager Construction Ltd, was fined a total of almost £41,000 for breaches of CDM after a worker suffered fractures falling from formwork. Sub-contractor, Shaun Dixon Services had been prosecuted previously, fined a total of over £175,000 and since gone into liquidation.

 

Asbestos
Please take note of the 2 important notes in this section; these issues are full too often overlooked

  • Two contractors and a project management company have been fined a total of well over £1 million for illegally removing AIB. Principal contractor Mansell Construction Services, sub-contractor Squibb Group and project manager NPS London Ltd were fined totals of over £532,000, £175,000 and £402,000 respectively after a worker removed AIB ceiling tiles during a school refurbishment; the available survey information was subsequently found to be woefully inadequate, with numerous caveats and disclaimers that had not been appropriately checked or challenged.

 

N.B. WHS has seen far too many poor asbestos surveys where too many areas within a building are left un-surveyed with notes that say either ‘presumed’ or ‘no access possible’. Whilst there are instances where an asbestos surveyor can genuinely not gain entry into an area (e.g. it was locked), many such comments seem to be the result of laziness on the part of the surveyor. If a surveyor has been commissioned to carry out a Refurbishment Survey, he must expect to access and take samples from all areas, including (unless there is a genuine and uncontrollable risk to the surveyors safety) working at height. It is unacceptable to leave a client with insufficient information because the surveyor refuses to (under normal circumstances) work at height; surveyors should be suitably trained for such situations. Nor is it acceptable to thence ‘presume’ materials will be asbestos-containing materials and possibly incur major costs for the client which may actually be unfounded. Clients pay a lot of money for asbestos surveyors; it’s not unreasonable to expect, and insist upon, thorough and meaningful reports.

Having said that, where there are obvious areas that have not been surveyed, that is NOT an excuse to ignore the fact. Further survey work MUST be carried out before any disturbance. This prosecution is inexcusable in this day and age, particularly as it involved large reputable companies.

  • Anthony McGrath, a Wigan house builder, was ordered to pay almost £8,000 (in fines and compensation) after being found guilty of demolishing and removing AIB without license. In addition – and this is a warning to all builders who may be tempted to ‘risk it’ – McGrath had to pay more than £12,000 in clean up costs to make the house re-habitable.

 

N.B. Yet another reminder that the domestic market is absolutely no different from the commercial market:

• Although it’s unlikely that the occupant would be in possession of an asbestos survey, this is NOT an excuse for the contractor to ignore the issue; a survey is still legally required.
• And, just because safe removal will cost more, this is NOT an excuse to cut corners and ignore the law in order to win work.

The law will come down hard on contractors who ignore the law for ANY reason.

Work at height

  • Pyeroy was fined a total of over £144,000 after they had failed to train personnel into rapid emergency rescue from MEWP work in restricted overhead areas. Ensuing delays resulted in the death of an employee who became trapped between a roof beam and the controls of his MEWP.

 

N.B. This prosecution serves as a warning to all companies using MEWPs or any other equipment where rapid rescue is vital; emergency provision must always be included in the risk assessment process and procedural information passed to the workforce or appointed emergency rescue team.

  • Mager Homes Ltd was fined a total of almost £27,000 after a worker suffered life-changing injuries when he fell through floor joists during a house-build. There had been no provision made for a suitable working platform where gaps clearly existed wide enough to fall through.
  • Wessexmoor Ltd was fined a total of almost £168,000 after the death of a worker who fell 2-storeys onto a concrete floor. The victim fell from an unguarded rear roof; a totally unacceptable situation which is reflected in the huge fine levelled against the contractor.

 

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

Over two years since the advent of the Construction (Design & Management) Regs 2015 (CDM15), are the changes actually understood in practice?

To assist in understanding CDM15 and to realise that most situations actually can have easy and practical solutions, we are holding two open seminars…

23rd January 2018, 8.30am – 12.30pm
Practical Advice and Solutions for Clients, Principal Designers and Designers

23rd January 2018, 1.30pm – 5pm
Practical Advice and Solutions for Principal Contractors and Contractors

Each seminar will explore the changes and current requirements in detail, the difficulties encountered, examples of how requirements have been approached, and how the unofficial role of ‘CDM Advisor’ can be used to help you.

Each seminar is aimed at a specific sector within the construction industry; however, there will be many businesses that encompass several or all roles.

Half day £60 + VAT per person
Full day £100 + VAT per person

To book you place, please contact Vicki Brown on 01982-885885 or vicki@wenlockhs.co.uk

COMPANY NEWS

A Happy Event!

We extend congratulations to Company Director, Becki, on her recent marriage. We wish her and her husband well for their future lives together

Please make a note of her change of name to Becki Shenton and email address to: Becki.Shenton@wenlockhs.co.uk

SSiP – Problem Areas

As most of our contractors know by now, we at Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) work closely alongside SMAS Worksafe towards SSiP accreditation. To assist us, during June 2017, SMAS provided us with an analysis of problem areas which have led to rejection of recent applications. The results did not surprise us; of 33 recent applications, the following were reasons for refusal:

  • 33 related to assessment and control of sub-contractors and labour
  • 17 related to training and information transmittal
  • 12 related to supervisory management
  • 10 related to the Health & Safety Policy
  • 68 related to other various reasons

 

Note:

  • The full 33 were rejected because of poor contractor assessment and/or control. Refer to the article below on ‘prosecutions & enforcement under CDM 2015’; this is a serious issue and systems SMAS (and all other SSiP accreditations) require clear evidence that competent assessment is being carried out prior to the award of any work.
  • Lack of properly qualified supervisory management remains an all-to-common occurrence; the provision of ‘competent’ personal at all levels dates back to the 1974 Health & Safety at Work Act so it defies belief that over 40 years later we are still seeing so many deficiencies.
  • 10 relating to the H&S Policy?! Believe it or not, this has been due to either (a) the Policy Statement only being submitted despite the questionnaire clearly stating that the full Policy is required, (b) an old Policy being submitted (inexcusable when we issue a fresh updated Policy every year), or (c) the Policy not being signed (which we do point out every time the new Policy is issued).

 

Do make sure that you compile a first-class submission before applying to SMAS (or any other SSiP accreditation scheme such as CHAS or Safe Contractor). If in doubt, rectify the issue before submission; contact WHS for assistance if necessary.

Submitting below-par evidence will only cause delays and bad feeling when the submission is inevitably rejected. If you are compiling the submission yourself, it is always wise to allow WHS to review before issue; this may cost an hour’s worth of work but it will save a lot of angst later!

TRAINING COURSES

CITB Training Courses

Forthcoming 2017 dates and fees for the CITB courses are as follows. Courses are held at the WHS offices and fees include lunch, refreshments and all course literature.

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)
    Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week
    Dates: 4, 11, 18, 25 September & 2 October 2017
    Cost: £495 + VAT per person
  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher
    Duration: 2 days
    Dates: 4 & 5 October 2017
    Cost: £265 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)
  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS)
    Duration: 2 days
    Dates: 25 & 26 October 2017
    Cost: £230 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)
  • CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness
    Duration: 1 day
    Dates: 13 September 2017
    Cost: £125 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

 

If any organisation requires places for 6 or more employees, we can arrange a specific course at dates, times and a location to suit. Please contact the WHS office to discuss your requirements.

IMPORTANT NOTE: 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.

First Aid Training

Forthcoming 2017 dates for the WHS 1-day Emergency First Aid courses, also held at our offices, are as follows; the fee is just £75 + VAT per person:

  • 7 September 2017
  • 10 October 2017
  • 15 November 2017
  • 11 December 2017

 

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

HSE NEWS

Fatalities in a Multi-Billion £ Industry

The HSE has confirmed that the number of fatalities in the construction industry during 2016/17 fell to 30 – a fall of 36% and the lowest on record.

As one of the few EU countries who take health & safety as seriously as the EU directives require, we have consistently headed the tables related to EU construction industry fatality and accident statistics. Despite each of the 30 fatalities during 2016/17 being an individual tragedy (even 1 fatality is 1 too many), but we should be congratulating ourselves on the incredible progress we’ve collectively made within a £90 billion industry.

Stress

However and by contrast, it’s a very sad fact that the majority of suicides in the UK are within the construction industry. Long hours of work, travel, low pay, etc, all have a huge impact on work/life balance and that, combined with all-too-prevalent bullying from management, lack of respect and self-esteem, filthy conditions and poor welfare, can very easily and quickly produce a lethal cocktail and extreme stress.

The HSE wishes to remind all employers that legislation deals with health and safety, and (as has been very topical over recent weeks within the media) health includes mental health.

  • Consider the impact of working conditions on employees; is what you’re asking them to do ‘reasonable’ or is getting the job done the only thing that matters? Would you do it? Would you work in those conditions? Would you cut corners and take those risks? If not, don’t ask others to do so!
  • Know your employees. Notice behavioral changes; tactfully ask questions about their current condition (medical or mental); be sympathetic rather than dictatorial in approach.
  • We all need to get the job done, we all need our companies to be financially healthy. But if the cost to employees is lack of performance, stress, or eventual absence then, let’s face it, pushing too hard for completion of work in unreasonable conditions doesn’t help the individual or the employer!

 

A sound state of mind means sound performance. Listen to your employees and ensure that you take notice of their (mental) health as well as their safety.

Prosecutions & enforcement under CDM 2015

It is interesting to note that there have been over 20 prosecutions made by the HSE under the Construction (Design & Management) Regs 2015, all related to the either principal contractors or clients acting as principal contractor not carrying out their statutory duties.

There have also been 2382 enforcement notices issued (as at the beginning of June 2017) related to CDM 2015, including:

1. 1425 relating to principal contractor or contractor duties

2. 16 related to principal designer or designer duties

3. 170 related to client duties

4. 96 for not having a construction phase plan

5. 45 for failing to appoint a principal designer or principal contractor in writing

6. 149 for failing to check the competence of appointed contractors

WHS is still witnessing many sites (large as well as small/minor) where CDM 2015 is not being followed and one or more of the above breaches is evident. Over and above general safety on site (item 1), the main breach found (as reflected above, item 6) is the failure to check the competence (the ‘skills, knowledge, experience and organisational capacity’; Reg.8) of the parties appointed, mainly contractors but also including designers.

May we take this opportunity to reiterate, yet again, that checking the competence of all parties working under your jurisdiction has been a legal requirement for over 20 years (not just within CDM 2015) and failure to do so may well result in enforcement being taken out against you as the engaging party.

Make sure a sound and dynamic Approved List has been established for you by someone competent to do so (i.e. a qualified health & safety advisor such as WHS) and then…make sure only those companies who have who have been assessed as compliant are used! We all have to makes end meet but awarding work on price alone is asking for trouble; anything less than competent assessment and you risk enforcement.

Do bear in mind, this has to be done, by law; contact WHS for further details or assistance.

Think S.K.A.T.E…has your sub-contractor got the Skills, Knowledge, Attitude, Training, Experience

Think enforcement if you fail to assess!

The Principal Designer (PD) Role

In discussions with the HSE, they have made it clear that they view the PD role as an organisational role rather than that of an individual. This is based on the assumption that an individual cannot be an expert in every design field. This assumption will be obvious on large complex projects, but is also correct when dealing with small developments – an architect acting as PD on a small housing development will, undoubtedly, have an in-depth knowledge of (e.g.) M&E systems or civils.

There is, however, a distinct role for a named and competent contact within the PD organisation as there must be experienced and proficient control bringing in all design aspects to ensure (a) co-ordination and discussion between parties, and (b) receipt of appropriate information at the right time.

As with the old CDM Co-Ordinator, this role is not just ‘required by law’, it’s invaluable to ensure that all parties (design, client and contractors at an early stage) discuss all health & safety aspects as a ‘team’ effort, thereby reducing risk and the likelihood of accidents.

Footnote: The HSE are now targeting the PD role so make sure you have your house in order!

INDUSTRY NEWS

Face-Fit – a Disappointing Union Reaction

Recently, well-established construction company, Mears, banned workers from having beards where respiratory equipment (RPE) need to be worn. The stance is perfectly valid as beards or significant stubble prevent a good seal being achieved by the mask around the mouth and nose; the HSE have been highlighting this issue for years.

What we at WHS find most disturbing is the backlash experienced by Mears, most disappointingly from the UNITE union. Unions were established 150 years ago in the UK with the prime function of protecting workers in terms of employment rights, working conditions and health & safety. As a consequence of over a century of improvements initially brought about by unions, the protection of workers’ (and others affected, e.g. the public) health & safety is seen as paramount in the UK. It overrides all forms of discrimination (e.g. gender, age, disability, etc) law; if there is a valid health & safety reason for not employing an individual, then health & safety law prevails…which is why we don’t see many aging grannies or wheelchair users on site!!

It is very sad to realise that this seems to have been completely forgotten by UNITE in their bid to be ‘PC’ – is UNITE there to safeguard workers’ health & safety or not? We say…well done Mears! The company had assessed the issues involved, decided against alternative RPE because of practicalities on site, and quite rightly reached the conclusion that the only way to deal with, what after all are their legal obligations, was to ban beards for all respiratory equipment wearers.

ISO for Health & Safety

Those of you who already have, or are working your way towards, the current standard OHSAS 18001 will need to be aware that this standard is rapidly moving towards the first global occupational health & safety management system, ISO 45001.

The time scale for implementation will be decided in September and publication of the new standard is likely to be the early 2018. As usual, WHS will keep you informed; however, those affected would be wise to contact Laura at WHS now (01952-885885 or laura@wenlockhs.co.uk ) rather than leaving the issue until it becomes mandatory (and thus harder to implement quickly).

Guidance for Designers

An extremely valuable and detailed publication addressing safety through good design is published by CIRIA, the internationally renowned body headed by the UK’s major construction and design organisations whose sole aim is to spread best practice throughout all sectors.

The publication, C755 ‘CDM 2015 – construction work sector guidance for designers, fourth edition’ can be purchased in hard or pdf format direct from CIRIA on: http://bit.ly/2vdGwzv

CIRIA publications are not cheap (although there is also a wealth of FREE information also available: http://bit.ly/1PFUL3W) but the content is absolutely invaluable to any designer, whether involved with multi-million pound projects or basic schemes. There is a wealth of other relevant design-related publications available through CIRIA, e.g. C756 – ‘workplace in-use guidance for designers, second edition’, C760 – ‘guidance on embedded retaining wall design’, SP115 – ‘design for inherent security; guidance for non-residential buildings’ and many other diverse subjects.

Take a look, you’ll be surprised just how much in-depth information is available!

Guidance for Geotechnical & Environmental Specialists

As above, there is also a wealth of information available via CIRIA for all remediation, geotechnical and environmental specialists, both for purchase and free of charge, including dealing with buried asbestos, assessing risks of ground gases, remedial treatments, etc, etc.

Download the publications catalogue via: http://www.ciria.org/Books/Publications_Catalogue.aspx
or browse all publications via: http://bit.ly/2viAddM

Asbestos – a Tip for Designers and Contractors

Q. What’s the first thing you ask for when dealing with an existing building?
A. The asbestos survey or absolute proof that the structure was begun post-January 2000

Q. What type of asbestos survey is required before any disturbance of the structure can be permitted?
A. A very recent Refurbishment Survey (at least for the areas to be affected by the works) or a Demolition
Survey if any demolition is likely

Q. You have the correct survey, now what? What do you do with the information?
A. The information must be properly and thoroughly transmitted to project management, principal designer,
designers, principal contractor and the workforce

Q. “But this document is very long and complicated, so how do I do this?”
A. The Asbestos Register, plan of where samples were taken and the photo/sample results sheets (all of
which should be in any good survey) will help you do this; there must be in-depth discussion to ensure
that all parties have a thorough understanding of where asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) have
been found and where has been proved to be without ACMS and safe.
And don’t forget that all parties should have received recent asbestos awareness training to ensure a good understanding of the risks and necessary controls.

If anyone reading this did not readily know the answers to any of the above questions, please ring WHS as a matter of urgency! The issue of asbestos is deadly serious and a perennial prime target issue with the HSE.

But here’s a tip to ensure that everyone can easily access, and cannot forget, the vital information about where ACMs are present…

Transpose the locations of where ACMs have been located, and areas yet to be surveyed in depth, onto drawings; this clear pictorial method (which can be displayed in the site offices) is invaluable as people naturally assimilate visuals far more easily than text.

The Importance of a Good Employer Reputation

Recently, average wage growth has slowed to 1.7% whilst consumer prices have risen by 2.9%. This is obviously impact on household living standards, with pressure being laid at the feet of employers to do more to match the rise in inflation.

Because of the current growth in the construction industry, and as a result of losing an estimated 300,000 experienced personnel during the stock market ‘crash’ 9 years ago, many companies of all types are experiencing great difficulty in recruiting experienced and competent employees. Certainly brace yourselves for increased wages to entice new recruits – but also pay attention to your company and employment image, and ensure you take good care of your employees. It’s no good attracting employees with higher wages if they then either leave or become ill through poor working conditions (refer to the article about ‘stress’ above).

The ‘crash’ sent the construction industry reeling backwards 30 years in the inevitable fight to keep the working coming in – but it’s time to redress the balance now. Since the old Construction (Health, Safety & Welfare Regs of 1996) and the advent of CSCS, the HSE have tried to raise standards for construction workers and attract people to the industry. It’s time to revisit that ethos; image is extremely important.

Apprenticeships

Under the new Apprenticeships Levy, employers are responsible for ensuring apprentices receive a minimum of 20% of their paid work time as off-the-job training. Guidance can be found on: http://bit.ly/2slpdHz

GENERAL NEWS

Keeping Track of External Workers

Ensuring the safety of employees covers all aspects of risk during the working day, including driving and working away from the office. Many of our clients have access to specific risk assessments that cover these, general and often unpredictable, aspects; those who don’t need to address them within their overall risk assessment process/es. Contact WHS for further information or guidance if you need assistance.

Most companies have a log in/out system to record whether employees are in the office or out. However, reliance on this alone has drawbacks: it only works when the office is open and it does not alert the employer when problems occur. General training in risk awareness and sensible controls can go a long way towards employees keeping themselves safe. However, how can the employer raise the alarm when a particular problem is suspected, especially after normal working hours?

We at WHS have the same risk issues as anyone else working away from the office base; we have installed trackers in each vehicle (company and private) that may be used for business purposes, and these are continually monitored for, not only ensuring the whereabouts of an employee is known for business purposes, but to identify potential problems such as a lengthy unplanned stop (which may be a potential road traffic accident). We can also continue to monitor employees throughout the evening if necessary in case a problem occurs after normal working hours.

Many emergency alert and/or tracker systems are on the market; the choice is wide and alternatives may suit the individual employer depending on specific circumstances. WHS uses the Quartix system (https://www.quartix.net ); an installation fee and a small weekly charge per vehicle for peace of mind.

Never forget that safety covers ALL business-related activities, whether at Head Office or elsewhere, whether during normal hours or not.

Data Protection

Next year, the General Data Protection Regs will be enforced across Europe, giving citizens more control over their personal data. It will tighten up controls over data relating to professional and personal life, photos, email IDs, IP addresses, bank details, social networking posts, medical information, etc and is desperately needed.

Information can be found on Government website: http://bit.ly/29lxF0U
Compliance is complex but, as non-compliance fines would probably bankrupt most companies, it’s worth getting to grips with the implications now rather than later!

Environment Protection – and the Consequences of Incidents

Tesco was recently fined £8 million with £57,000 costs after a massive petrol leak from a garage forecourt in Lancashire; see http://bbc.in/2taA6xa for the full story. 23,500 gallons of petrol leaked from the establishment over a 29 hour period, killing fish in local rivers and causing sickness and headaches to local residents. Tesco was prosecuted under both environmental and health & safety legislation.

So a timely reminder that environmental protection is a serious issue throughout industry (including construction) and the consequences of non-compliance can be financial dire. On a static premises such as this (particularly when situated so close to watercourses), environmental emergency provision must be made and drills carried out to ensure everyone knows exactly what to do; it was totally inexcusable that the leak was allowed to continue for a full 29 hours.

However, legal requirements for construction sites are rather more difficult to ascertain – but are simply and thoroughly explained in the WHS Environmental Manual. Many WHS clients already have this document; those who don’t would be well advised to purchase a copy now. A WHS Environmental Management System (EMS) can be purchased at a one-off cost of £150 + VAT and is renewed every year free of charge upon subscription renewal. Considering how high environmental fines can be, this is a small price to pay to keep you in touch with your legal duties.

AND FINALLY

Work at height
Statistics prove that work at height still accounts for almost half of all fatalities in the construction industry.

  • Kier Construction Ltd was fined a total of over £401,500 after a worker was seriously injured falling almost 4m through plywood covering holes in the third floor.
  • Balfour Beatty was fined a total of almost £242,000 after a worker was injured falling 2.4m from an incomplete floor in a new-build house, along with 70 building blocks!
  • Electrical appliance manufacturer, Whirlpool UK Appliances Ltd was fined a total of almost £711,500 after a worker fell 5 m to his death from a mobile elevated work platform (MEWP) during fire systems maintenance work. An overhead conveyor had been started up whilst the victim was working on the overhead fire systems, causing the MEWP to tip over. No risk assessment had been carried out and no controls were in place to prevent the conflict between the conveyor and MEWP.
  • TE Scudder Ltd was fined a total of over £627,400 and a self-employed contract manager, Patrick Pearson, ordered to complete 120 hours community service and pay costs of £3,000, after a worker was killed and another seriously injured falling 6 storeys down a lift shaft during decommissioning.
  • LSDM was fined a total of over £450,000 after four workers were injured falling 3.5m from a working platform whilst trying to manually handle a ventilation unit.
  • Select Quality Homes Ltd was fined a total of £7,200 after exposing its workers to dangerous work at height on areas where scaffold was incomplete.
  • Structural Metal Decks Ltd was fined £105,000 after a worker was paralysed falling 4m whilst erecting scallolding.
  • JDB Industrial Roofing Ltd was fined a total of over £114,200 and sub-contractor, ACG Roofing Ltd, a total of over £36,700 after a worker suffered serious injuries falling 9m through a skylight.

 

Public protection

  • In 2012, we reported on the dreadful case of a female passer-by being killed by falling half-tonne, 13 x 13 foot window frames in Hanover Square, London. Kelvin Adsett, sole director and acting site manager of IS Europe (the window sub-contractor involved) was found guilty of gross misconduct and manslaughter and sentenced to 12 month imprisonment.

In addition, Damian Lakin-Hall, the site manager for principal contractor, Westgreen Construction Ltd, was given a 6 month suspended sentence, and the £100,000 costs were split between Adsett, Lakin-Hall and IS. The judge described a flagrant disregard for public safety. Adequate perimeter protection for the external works would have been so easy to plan and establish, but evidently was not considered worth the money or effort by Adsett. The result? A needless death of a young lady shopper.

Heavy lifting

  • Hague Construction Ltd was fined a total of almost £117,000 after a concrete drainage cover dropped onto a ground worker beneath, killing him. The judge heard that lifting equipment was inappropriate, the operation was poorly supervised and there was no lifting plan. WHS note: in addition, the victim should never have been standing in harm’s way beneath the lift.
  • CMF Ltd was fined a total of over £205,600 after a sub-contractor was fatally crushed by a falling concrete staircase during installation. Yet again, the operation was poorly planned and supervised, there was no lifting plan, and the victim was standing within the drop zone

 

Asbestos

  • Anthony West was fined a total of almost £8,400 after ignoring a pre-demolition asbestos survey and the advice to appoint a licensed contractor for the removal of asbestos.
  • Kingsley Asbestos Services (KAS) and Bourne Valley Construction Services (BVCS) were fined £6,000 and £8,000 plus costs respectively after cutting into AIB during repair work. No asbestos survey had been carried out ahead of the disturbance, an all-too-common occurrence in the domestic environment.

WHS note: the Control of Asbestos at Work Regs 2012 apply to ALL sites; it is the contractor’s responsibility to commission the asbestos survey for private domestic work.

Cable strikes

  • Amey LG was fined a total of £615,498 after a sub-contractor was set on fire by striking a, 11Kv service during the replacement of traffic lights. Amey had provided a CAT scanner but no training to ensure workers knew how to use it correctly, the operation was insufficiently supervised, and appropriate service information had not been passed to the gang. Conclusion? An appalling lack of concern from a multi-million £ company for the well-being of workers.

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