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

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

TRAINING COURSES

First Aid Training

Forthcoming 2017 dates for the WHS 1-day Emergency First Aid courses, 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

 

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

Stress

It’s a very sad fact that the number of suicides in the UK is rising. Long hours of work and 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, and unreasonable working conditions, can very easily and quickly produce a lethal cocktail of 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

CDM 2015 – the Construction (Design & Management) Regs 2015 – you may not think they are anything to do with you as a business, but think again and take note. ‘Construction’ is a very broad term legally so CDM applies, not only to traditional building work, but also to minor painting and decorating work, heating and plumbing, electrical and fire systems, telecoms, underground services, general repair and maintenance of the structure or fixtures, and a whole range of other types of work related to your building/s, yards, access roads and footways, drainage, fencing, etc.

We have previously highlighted the increased duties on ‘clients’ (i.e. those who commission the work) under CDM 2015 – please do contact WHS before you next commission any such work, however minor. To reinforce the issue, it is interesting to note that there have been over 20 prosecutions made by the HSE under CDM 2015, all related to the either principal contractors or clients acting as principal contractor not carrying out their statutory duties. And, of the 2382 enforcement notices issued in relation to CDM 2015 (as at the beginning of June 2017), the following directly referenced client duties:

1. 170 related to client duties

2. 96 for not having a construction phase plan

3. 45 for failing to appoint a principal designer or principal contractor in writing

4. 149 for failing to check the competence of appointed contractors

Contact WHS for further details or assistance before commissioning any type of potential ‘construction’ work; please bear in mind, this has to be done, by law.

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.

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.

If your business involves any type of a significant environmental risk, make sure you have established a sound Environmental Management System (EMS) to cope with, not just containment, waste and recycling, but also emergency situations. WHS can assist if necessary; please feel free to contact your advisor or Laura on 01952-885885 or laura@wenlockhs.co.uk

Considering how high environmental fines can be, the cost of a establishing an EMS and carrying out a bit of training is a small price to pay to avoid incidents!

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’ 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 working with dangerous machinery!!

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 construction sites, and quite rightly reached the conclusion that the only way to deal with, what after all are their legal obligations, was to ban beards.

So does this issue affect you? Do your workers need to wear respiratory protection because of dusts or fumes? If so, firstly you should know that it’s mandatory to have face-fit testing to ensure the mask fits the face (you should know this because WHS has been emphasising this time and time again for years!). But secondly, would it be possible given your particular circumstances to offer alternative respiratory protection for those who wear beards (such as the full-face masks offered by 3M: http://bit.ly/2u3jsUs )? If the answer is genuinely ‘no’ because of the practicalities of working (i.e. in many circumstances, as Mears concluded, the increased protection actually increased risks at the workface), then there will be no option but to ban beards or move bearded workers onto other non-hazardous tasks. Contact WHS for advice if in doubt.

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).

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 heavy losses of experienced workers 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). Revisit HR and ensure you promote a happy working environment; image is extremely important.

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!

AND FINALLY

Work at height
Statistics prove that work at height still accounts for almost a third of all fatalities throughout UK industry.

And YES, the Work at Height Regs 2005 apply to ALL industries, including schools, farms and manufacturing (as below) and all other businesses where employees work off the ground FOR ANY REASON

  • 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.
  • Inflite Engineering Services was fined a total of almost £165,500 after two workers were seriously injured falling 5m from the tail of a plane whilst carrying out checks.
  • Farming concern, Toft Partnership, was fined a total of almost £90,000 after the death of a farm manager. The farm manager stepped onto a fragile roof which gave way, the man falling to his death.

Readers will be aware that we have highlighted accidents and deaths related to fragile roofing time and time again, year after year. This was a totally foreseeable occurrence; a little thought and the provision of suitable access equipment would have prevented the death. Cost versus consequences? There is no judgement necessary in a case like this. A death and a £90,000 fine versus the cost of decent access equipment; it doesn’t take a genius to work out the answer. It’s inexcusable that, in this day and age, that we are still seeing this type of incident.

  • Queen Elizabeth’s Girls’ School in London was fined £2,000 plus costs after a teacher was knocked unconscious falling from a step-ladder. The teacher had been adjusting lighting rigging in the drama studio when she fell; there had been no risk assessment or work at height training, despite it being laid down within the School’s health & safety policy.

 

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.

  • Estate agent, Strakers (Holdings) Ltd, has been fined a total of almost £202,500 after a member of the public being shown around a property fell down a 10m well, sustaining head injuries and narrow avoiding death by drowning. The female prospective buyer had stepped on a loose board covering the well which gave way.

As stated above, the Work at Height Regs 2005 apply to ALL industries and ALL circumstances. Anybody managing a property or the public MUST ensure all drops are properly protected and falls prevented.

  • The Co-op grocery shop in Truro was fined £400,000 after an elderly customer slipped on water leaking from a chiller, hit his head and died 2 days later. A very sad case and, as in the management of any store or public area, one that was totally foreseeable and preventable.

 

COSHH

  • Broom Boats Ltd was fined a total of over £19,000 after a worker suffered serious burns from ignited fumes. The victim, an electrician, was operating a battery-powered drill in an area where highly flammable Propeel had been applied to a boat shortly beforehand; the result could and should have been predicted.

Not only should have a risk assessment been carried out – laying down conditions for the safe use of powered equipment where, clearly, fumes may have been a common occurrence – but a COSHH assessment should have highlighted that safer alternative substances could have been used.

Lifting of materials

  • 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 lifting equipment had been inappropriate, the operation was poorly supervised and the victim should never have been standing in harm’s way beneath the lift.
  • DFS was fined £1.8 million plus costs after a stack of 11kg wooden sofa arms fell from a trailer onto a worker, seriously injuring him. The judge increased the fine from £1.1 to £1.8 million because of the large number of others employers put at risk by the unsafe (or seemingly non-existent) system of work.
  • Arrow Recycling Ltd was fined a total of almost £163,000 after a worker was left fighting for his life when a 400kg bale of waste cardboard fell on him. No safe system had been established to control and move (what became) the heavy and unstable load.

 

Vehicle & plant safety

  • ATE Truck & Trailer Sales was fined a total of nearly £500,000 after a self-employed scrap metal worker was killed by a half-tonne trailer frame fell on his head during dismantling. ATE’s own defence legal costs amounted to £100,000. There had been no risk assessment carried out and the methodology was clearly totally unsafe; a reckless and inexcusable lack of consideration for the safety of others not in ATE’s direct employment.
  • BS Trailer Services Ltd was fined a total of almost £26,600 after an employee was crushed between a lorry’s cab and trailer. A colleague was assisting by reversing the cab to hook up to the trailer; however, the victim was standing in the driver’s blind spot and was not in communication, obvious and totally foreseeable causes of the accident. No safe system had been established for this manouevre.
  • Bryan Alexander Ltd was fined a total of almost £53,000 after a worker was crushed and seriously injured when he stepped out of the way of one vehicle but into the path of a hydraulic extension to another. There had been no segregation or safe system established.
  • Laing O’Rourke was fined a total of £810,000 after a worker was killed by a reversing dumper truck driven by his brother whilst attempting to move a broken-down scissor lift. Again, a lack of segregation (in an area where there was ample room to do so) resulted in the death.

 

Work equipment safety
Why are we still seeing accidents resulting in lost fingers in the 21st century?

  • WL Duffield & Sons Ltd was fined a total of over £51,000 after a worker lost a finger whilst vacuuming a mill producing animal feed. The cleaner was working inside a narrow gantry and rested his right hand onto a frame of an uncovered side valve; the valve suddenly opened, trapping the victim’s finger which then had to be amputated. The covers of 3 of the valves were subsequently found to be missing.
  • AEI Cables Ltd was fined £40,000 after a worker put his left hand into an unguarded machine and lost a finger. There had been no guarding in place to protect against moving parts.
  • Coldmac Ltd was fined a total of almost £8,000 after a worker lost 2 fingers during maintenance of an asphalt mixer; the victim had been scraping asphalt off moving parts with a screwdriver when his fingers became trapped. No guarding had been in place and no safe system for maintenance was in place.

 

BE SENSIBLE – STAY SAFE!!!

 

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

COMPANY NEWS

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 personSite 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).

Asbestos – a Tip for Effective Information Transmittal

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!

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.

 

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.

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.

BE SENSIBLE – STAY SAFE!!!

WHS is working for you; help us to help you.
Our aim is to keep people safe and to keep your company working.

COMPANY NEWS

Happy Anniversary Wenlock H&S!

Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) is proud to have recently celebrated its 15 year anniversary; WHS was established April 2002. We are also very proud to have made a positive difference to the health & safety of our clients over the years; we can announce that, although we have had to investigate a fair few accidents, we have never had to deal with a fatality or very serious injury within the 700+ clients who have passed through our hands over the years, evidence in itself that paying due attention to health & safety really does pay off for both employers and employees.

We look forward to serving our clients for many more years to come, and we thank each and every one of you for your custom. We never take our client base for granted and will continue to have your best interests at the forefront of everything we do.

Priority Health & Safety Issues

WHS continues, through our newsletters, training courses and particularly site inspections, to concentrate on the main causes of both injury and harm, mirroring the HSE’s on-going strategy. However, having given us all a pat on the back above, what WHS consultants find most disturbing is that we are picking up the same basic issues time and time again as we were way back 15 years ago; there are certain contractors who still seem either unable or unwilling to grasp the necessity to:

  • Protect employees from falls
  • Protect the public
  • Protect both employees and the public from asbestos and other hazardous dusts
  • Provide legal standards of site welfare
  • Establish tidy and well-managed sites to avoid all manner of trips, slips and falls
  • Establish regular legally required inspection regimes to prevent injury from defective equipment

 

And the list goes on…all basic stuff which we find hard to believe that, in 2017 after 22+ years of CDM (and more) can still be found all too often on site.

We will continue to do our job by hammering home the requirements; all we ask is that our clients listen and action our recommendations. We reiterate what we have said many times before: we are engaged as our clients’ competent advisors and, should our advice be ignored, we will not be able to help should an accident happen or the HSE levy enforcement. As stressed above, we only have your best interests in mind.

TRAINING COURSES

CITB Training Courses

Forthcoming 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: 3 & 4 July 2017
    Cost: £230 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)
  • CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness
    Duration: 1 day
    Dates: 21 June 2017
    Cost: £125 + 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 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:

  • 31 July 2017
  • 6 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

Charging for HSE Intervention

The HSE is currently going through a consultation process relating to FFI (Fees For Intervention), the process by which the HSE charge £129 per hour when a breach is found during a visit that doesn’t warrant enforcement. Whilst we, at WHS, have always regarded the recovery of charges for anything other than actual enforcement or prosecution as sending completely the wrong message to those the HSE serve (i.e. everyone throughout UK industry), we have to say at this point that we are seeing FFI as having a hugely positive affect throughout construction. To explain:
As we have already said above, WHS is still finding our advice ignored (either wholly or in part) by a fair percentage of our clients and, because we are advisors only with no legal power, we have no means by which to actually ensure compliance. The HSE have not helped us over the years to any great extent as their inspectors were not sufficiently evident on site to provide a deterrent. However, since FFI came about, the HSE have been out and about in force – and many of our clients have now been hit with FFI costs, all of which could have been avoided if they had just listened to our advice.

Our conclusion? Although we still think that FFI is morally wrong, may we say to the HSE…carry on! Money talks and it seems that the only way to make some contractors comply with the law is if there is a real and tangible risk of having to pay for the consequences of non-compliance!

Dusts & RPE

This issue has been discussed many, many times before in these newsletters but, having heard the HSE speak on the subject recently, there is a need to reiterate, yet again, the absolute need for good RPE (respiratory protective equipment) and face-fit testing to be available to all workers who have to wear face masks of any type for any reason.

The exposure limit for silica dust (which is present on all sites, from aggregates, masonry during drilling, etc) represents an amount so small that it cannot be seen by the naked eye – so imagine just how much harm we are doing to ourselves when we inhale this dust day in day out without adequate protection. The particles are so small that they not only collect deep in the lungs to produce (e.g.) occupational asthma or worse still, silicosis, but they also enter the blood-stream.

So yet another reminder:

  • Dusts must be suppressed or captured by LAW
  • PPE (and thus RPE) is in LAW a last resort only, or an additional safeguard
  • Where RPE is worn (whether unavoidable or as a secondary precaution), face-fit testing must be carried by LAW
  • When employees wear RPE, they must be CLEAN-SHAVEN to ensure a good seal; the HSE guidance is a wet-shave before the start of each 8 hour working day

 

These requirements have been LAW since 2004 – no excuses because workers’ health and lives are at risk. But, as alluded to above, it’s always so disappointing to us at WHS that this still, all too often, seems to fall on deaf ears and we are willfully ignored.

And so are the HSE, so much so that they are now proposing that it becomes mandatory for CSCS cards – what a great idea!

Asbestos

The HSE has provided an excellent App which gives good advice on risks and courses of action relating to asbestos. The App is very easy to use and is freely available from:
http://www.beware-asbestos.info/

Everyone reading this newsletter should have been properly trained in a minimum of asbestos awareness within at least the last 2 years (with a refresher within the past year); however, no amount of additional advice or reminders can hurt when it comes to such an important subject. So WHS recommends downloading the App and using it to help ascertain the level of risk and necessary controls.

And, just in case you still need any persuasion about the seriousness of the subject, take a look at this short CITB video; heartrending testimony from someone actually suffering from this awful and totally preventable disease:
http://bit.ly/2mXPsAT

INDUSTRY NEWS

Asbestos Surveys

While we’re on the subject of asbestos, we feel strongly that another warning must be issued to all our clients (whether you’re commissioning or carrying out work on existing buildings) that an asbestos survey that is too ‘presumptive’ in content is just no good to anyone – and we are seeing far too many of them.

Obviously surveyors sometimes have genuine difficulty accessing an area in order to take samples but, if a refurbishment or full demolition survey has been commissioned (as it must be legally prior to any significant disturbance), then the surveyor will have been pre-warned that access to loft spaces, ceiling voids and external areas will be required and he must arrive prepared.

It is inexcusable to report that he/she couldn’t access these areas just because they constituted ‘work at height’; we have seen one report recently that said no access was possible to a panel above a door because they wouldn’t ‘work at height’! It’s also inexcusable to report areas as ‘presumed asbestos’ unless there is a very good reason (e.g. asbestos may be present within heating systems which cannot, of course, be accessed); by doing so, the commissioning body may be incurring a lot of expense to control presumed risk where a sample may have proven the material to be asbestos-free.

Any less than a thorough survey means that (a) the survey is no help at all to the contractor and (b) the commissioning body is paying a lot of money for nothing. Make them do their job properly; scrutinise the survey report, make sure they have accessed all areas required and, if not, make them return and do the job properly. We are always at the end of the phone to assist; please don’t hesitate to ring for advice or email the report across to us for appraisal.

Very Encouraging Growth in Construction

We are not going to quote market figures here as they probably won’t mean anything to most people, but suffice to say that, during April alone, the construction industry grew by 2% which is hugely encouraging.

Growth is predominantly in house-building which reached a 4 month high, the strongest performance being in the sub-sectors. The continuing pattern of growth is excellent news, with 49% of contractors polled expecting increases in their own workloads.

However, as always, there is a fly in the ointment. The construction industry lost a massive 300,000 employees because of the 2008 economic crash, the result being that the availability of skills (both managerial and operative) has yet to recover and many companies are experiencing severe difficulty in recruitment to properly staff the increase in order books. However, the growth has led to the fastest pace of job creation within UK industry, which has to be good provided that employers don’t let their guards drop by recruiting less-than-properly competent employees to fill the gaps.

A Useful Site for Electricians

As a busy electrician, do you want to save time and make life easier? Register for the free ‘mySchneider’ electrician portal to get access to valuable business advice, support tools, product information, news and more all in one handy online hub; everything an electrician business needs, 24/7!
Sign up today at www.schneider-electric.co.uk/electricianpartner

In addition, Schneider offers the ‘Electrician Partner’ scheme which provides free benefits to help businesses grow. The Electrician Partner Programme is a free scheme for businesses with less than 10 employees, working in both the domestic and light commercial sectors. Benefits include a ‘My Rewards’ loyalty scheme, welcome pack, ‘Partner Locator’ listing, and exclusive promotions and special events. All very valuable support for small electrical businesses.
Apply via the mySchneider electrician portal as above.
Risk Assessment

A useful article was issued recently by Colin Seditas, Policy & Standards Manager for APS (the Association for Project Safety), ahead of proposed changes to HSE guidance on the subject, which bears out the WHS approach to risk assessment. Colin stresses that the approach to risk assessment must be pragmatic but absolutely site-specific; he says:

DO

  • Evaluate every site on its own merits, identifying unique features and risks
  • Consider if existing material already records the actions and controls required
  • Focus risk assessment efforts on identifying challenges and features that are unique to the circumstances at hand
  • Make the record relevant to the site and its existing management and monitoring systems

 

DON’T

  • Mistake the production of ‘risk assessment records’ for actual control – paperwork that is produced to ‘tick the box’ is a burden, not a tool and can undermine the entire health and safety management system.

 

We couldn’t have put it better ourselves, Colin!

GENERAL NEWS

Occupational Therapy

One of our clients, the Wolverhampton & District MS Therapy Centre, originally established to provide various recuperation and recovery therapies for elderly patients, has extended its range of treatments to cover many types of injuries such as torn muscles, dislocations, breaks and sprains.

As an example, the Centre runs a hyperbaric chamber, a treatment common in sport because it increases the oxygen flow through the body and speeds recovery. Moto GP rider, Valentino Rossi, made a spectacular recovery in 2010 when he used a chamber to help heal a broken right leg. So, if it works for sportsmen and women, why not utilize this local facility to aid the speedy recovery of employees? The treatments aren’t free but, as they say, time is money so the expense will be worth it to ensure individuals are back to work as quickly as possible. (N.B. Don’t forget that doctor’s note though to verify that all is well before you allow the individual back!). The Centre can be contacted on: 01902 744888; speak to Susan Husband who would be glad to discuss the types of therapies available and potential suitability for individuals

Elf and Safety Gone Mad??!!

We have all heard the myths about ‘elf and safety being supposedly responsible for unreasonable situations, but this story is far from a myth!

In Iceland, an organisation called Friends of Lava have blocked the construction of a new key highway project so as not to disturb elf habitat, including apparently an elf church! The case was taken to the Icelandic Supreme Court who agreed that the road would have, not only a significant environmental impact, but also a detrimental effect on elf culture. Apparently, an agreement has now been reached to delay the project “while the elves living there have supposedly moved on”!

Is this ‘elf and safety gone completely mad or is it a case of too many magic mushrooms?!

But This is Not a Myth

Believe it or not, drivers can (and have on many occasions) been prosecuted for supposedly breaking the law when they manouevre in order to allow emergency vehicles to pass. It’s hardly surprising that drivers are not aware that the onus is actually on the emergency vehicle to safely manouevre around the public vehicle, rather than it being a duty of drivers to try and pull over at the first opportunity.

How many of us would, for the sole benefit of the emergency vehicle, pull into a bus-lane to allow it to pass – a manouevre that would probably be the safest thing to do in our estimation. And would we think twice about moving into a box-junction to make way for the speeding vehicle? But it’s evident that many drivers have actually been prosecuted for doing just that.

The vast majority of drivers do their level best to avoid delaying an emergency vehicle and often even run the risk of ignoring traffic lights to do so. While unsafe actions like the jumping of red lights can never be condoned, it’s astonishing that over-zealous local authorities (armed these days with CCTV evidence) can be so cruel as to prosecute drivers who have safely manouevred to let emergency vehicles past because of the infringement of a local law designed for traffic flow rather than safety (e.g. bus lanes and box junctions). It must be assumed that the prosecuting authorities would rather risk the death of a patient than permit the use of a bus lane for, what would amount to, a few seconds. Cruel in the extreme.

Read more:
http://bit.ly/2rY7vgV

The Blue Light Aware campaign being run by GEM Motoring Assist aims to equip motorists with the knowledge of what’s right and what’s wrong when you see that blue flashing light approach at speed:
http://bit.ly/2qF7P06

All very well, but would someone mind telling emergency vehicle drivers as well! Very recently, and not for the first time, I was subject to very abusive behavior from an ambulance passenger when I couldn’t safely pull over immediately to allow the vehicle through.

The Highway Code

Whilst on the subject of motoring, we continue with our occasional articles to reiterate certain points within the Highway Code as it’s actually quite disconcerting how few people actually know what the rules are:

Rule 130

Areas of white diagonal stripes or chevrons painted on the road. These are to separate traffic lanes or to protect traffic turning right.

  • If the area is bordered by a broken white line, you should not enter the area unless it is necessary and you can see that it is safe to do so.
  • If the area is marked with chevrons and bordered by solid white lines you MUST NOT enter it except in an emergency.

 

Bearing in mind the warning given in the previous article, we wonder whether moving over to allow an ambulance past would constitute ‘an emergency’.

The Importance of Equipment Inspections

WHS keep reiterating the point (refer to page 1) that very regular recorded equipment inspections are legally required under various regulations (primarily the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regs 1998), and for a very sound reason. If equipment isn’t checked regularly, defects go unnoticed and accidents happen.

The Electricity at Work Regs require the same for all electrical equipment, which has generally been interpreted as regular Portable Appliance Testing (PAT). Do you carry out regular PAT? Do you think this is unnecessary? This is what happened when an electric heater caught fire…

And, if you ever see the absolutely devastating results of a building fire (which is all too often caused by a faulty appliance), you’d think twice about whether PAT is worthwhile.

AND FINALLY

After 15 years of prosecution after prosecution being cited here in the ‘And Finally’ section, usually for the same perennial issues as explained on page 1, we conclude that the consequences (in terms of death/injury and financial costs) don’t seem to stop people ignoring health & safety.

So, we’re going to give it a rest for this newsletter.

Instead, we’ll just show some photos and ask you what’s wrong on each occasion. If you don’t know, then please contact us immediately!!

BE SENSIBLE – STAY SAFE!!!

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

COMPANY NEWS

Happy Anniversary Wenlock H&S!

Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) is proud to have recently celebrated its 15 year anniversary; WHS was established April 2002. We are also very proud to have made a positive difference to the health & safety of our clients over the years; we can announce that, although we have had to investigate a fair few accidents, we have never had to deal with a fatality or very serious injury within the 700+ clients who have passed through our hands over the years, evidence in itself that paying due attention to health & safety really does pay off for both employers and employees.

We look forward to serving our clients for many more years to come, and we thank each and every one of you for your custom. We never take our client base for granted and will continue to have your best interests at the forefront of everything we do.

Priority Health & Safety Issues

WHS continues, through our newsletters, training courses and particularly site inspections, to concentrate on the main causes of both injury and harm, mirroring the HSE’s on-going strategy. However, having given us all a pat on the back above, what WHS consultants find most disturbing is that we are picking up the same basic issues time and time again as we were way back 15 years ago; there are certain contractors who still seem either unable or unwilling to grasp the necessity to:

  • Protect employees from falls
  • Protect the public
  • Protect both employees and the public from asbestos and other hazardous dusts
  • Establish tidy and well-managed work places to avoid all manner of trips, slips and falls
  • Establish regular legally required inspection regimes to prevent injury from defective equipment

 

And the list goes on…all basic stuff which we find hard to believe that, in 2017 can still be found all too often.
We will continue to do our job by hammering home the requirements; all we ask is that our clients listen and action our recommendations. We reiterate what we have said many times before: we are engaged as our clients’ competent advisors and, should our advice be ignored, we will not be able to help should an accident happen or the HSE levy enforcement. As stressed above, we only have your best interests in mind.

TRAINING COURSES

First Aid Training

Forthcoming 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:

  • 31 July 2017
  • 6 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

Charging for HSE Intervention

The HSE is currently going through a consultation process relating to FFI (Fees For Intervention), the process by which the HSE charge £129 per hour when a breach is found during a visit that doesn’t warrant enforcement. Whilst we, at WHS, have always regarded the recovery of charges for anything other than actual enforcement or prosecution as sending completely the wrong message to those the HSE serve (i.e. everyone throughout UK industry), we have to say at this point that we are seeing FFI as having a hugely positive affect. To explain:

As we have already said above, WHS is still finding our advice ignored (either wholly or in part) by a fair percentage of our clients and, because we are advisors only with no legal power, we have no means by which to actually ensure compliance. The HSE have not helped us over the years to any great extent as their inspectors were not sufficiently evident in the workplace to provide a deterrent. However, since FFI came about, the HSE have been out and about in force – and many of our clients have now been hit with FFI costs, all of which could have been avoided if they had just listened to our advice.

Our conclusion? Although we still think that FFI is morally wrong, may we say to the HSE…carry on! Money talks and it seems that the only way to make some contractors comply with the law is if there is a real and tangible risk of having to pay for the consequences of non-compliance!

Dusts & RPE

This issue has been discussed many, many times before in these newsletters but, having heard the HSE speak on the subject recently, there is a need to reiterate, yet again, the absolute need for good RPE (respiratory protective equipment) and face-fit testing to be available to all workers who have to wear face masks of any type for any reason.

The exposure limit for silica dust (present in masonry, plasters, aggregates, etc) represents an amount so small that it cannot be seen by the naked eye – so imagine just how much harm we are doing to ourselves when we inhale this dust day in day out without adequate protection. The particles are so small that they not only collect deep in the lungs to produce (e.g.) occupational asthma or worse still, silicosis, but they also enter the blood-stream. And this is only one hazardous substance; just think how many others workers are exposed to in their daily work lives.

So yet another reminder:

  • Dusts, fumes and gases must be suppressed or captured by LAW
  • PPE (and thus RPE) is in LAW a last resort only, or an additional safeguard
  • Where RPE is worn (whether unavoidable or as a secondary precaution), face-fit testing must be carried by LAW
  • When employees wear RPE, they must be CLEAN-SHAVEN to ensure a good seal; the HSE guidance is a wet-shave before the start of each 8 hour working day

 

These requirements have been LAW since 2004 – no excuses because workers’ health and lives are at risk. But, as alluded to above, it’s always so disappointing to us at WHS that this still, all too often, seems to fall on deaf ears and we are willfully ignored.

Asbestos

The HSE has provided an excellent App which gives good advice on risks and courses of action relating to asbestos. The App is very easy to use and is freely available from:
http://www.beware-asbestos.info/

All contractors, maintenance teams, etc should have been properly trained in a minimum of asbestos awareness within at least the last 2 years (with a refresher within the past year); however, no amount of additional advice or reminders can hurt when it comes to such an important subject. So WHS recommends downloading the App and using it to help ascertain the level of risk and necessary controls.

And, just in case you still need any persuasion about the seriousness of the subject, take a look at this short CITB video; heartrending testimony from someone actually suffering from this awful and totally preventable disease:
http://bit.ly/2mXPsAT

GENERAL NEWS

Asbestos Surveys

While we’re on the subject of asbestos, we feel strongly that another warning must be issued to all our clients (whether you’re commissioning or carrying out work on existing buildings) that an asbestos survey that is too ‘presumptive’ in content is just no good to anyone – and we are seeing far too many of them.

Obviously surveyors sometimes have genuine difficulty accessing an area in order to take samples but, if a refurbishment or full demolition survey has been commissioned (as it must be legally prior to any significant disturbance), then the surveyor will have been pre-warned that access to loft spaces, ceiling voids and external areas will be required and he must arrive prepared.

It is inexcusable to report that he/she couldn’t access these areas just because they constituted ‘work at height’; we have seen one report recently that said no access was possible to a panel above a door because they wouldn’t ‘work at height’! It’s also inexcusable to report areas as ‘presumed asbestos’ unless there is a very good reason (e.g. asbestos may be present within heating systems which cannot, of course, be accessed); by doing so, the commissioning body may be incurring a lot of expense to control presumed risk where a sample may have proven the material to be asbestos-free.

Any less than a thorough survey means that (a) the survey is no help at all to the contractor and (b) the commissioning body is paying a lot of money for nothing. Make them do their job properly; scrutinise the survey report, make sure they have accessed all areas required and, if not, make them return and do the job properly. We are always at the end of the phone to assist; please don’t hesitate to ring for advice or email the report across to us for appraisal.

Occupational Therapy

One of our clients, the Wolverhampton & District MS Therapy Centre, originally established to provide various recuperation and recovery therapies for elderly patients, has extended its range of treatments to cover many types of injuries such as torn muscles, dislocations, breaks and sprains.

As an example, the Centre runs a hyperbaric chamber, a treatment common in sport because it increases the oxygen flow through the body and speeds recovery. Moto GP rider, Valentino Rossi, made a spectacular recovery in 2010 when he used a chamber to help heal a broken right leg. So, if it works for sportsmen and women, why not utilize this local facility to aid the speedy recovery of employees? The treatments aren’t free but, as they say, time is money so the expense will be worth it to ensure individuals are back to work as quickly as possible. (N.B. Don’t forget that doctor’s note though to verify that all is well before you allow the individual back!).

The Centre can be contacted on: 01902 744888; speak to Susan Husband who would be glad to discuss the types of therapies available and potential suitability for individuals

Elf and Safety Gone Mad??!!

We have all heard the myths about ‘elf and safety being supposedly responsible for unreasonable situations, but this story is far from a myth!

In Iceland, an organisation called Friends of Lava have blocked the construction of a new key highway project so as not to disturb elf habitat, including apparently an elf church! The case was taken to the Icelandic Supreme Court who agreed that the road would have, not only a significant environmental impact, but also a detrimental effect on elf culture. Apparently, an agreement has now been reached to delay the project “while the elves living there have supposedly moved on”!

Is this ‘elf and safety gone completely mad or is it a case of too many magic mushrooms?!

But This is Not a Myth

Believe it or not, drivers can (and have on many occasions) been prosecuted for supposedly breaking the law when they manouevre in order to allow emergency vehicles to pass. It’s hardly surprising that drivers are not aware that the onus is actually on the emergency vehicle to safely manouevre around the public vehicle, rather than it being a duty of drivers to try and pull over at the first opportunity.

How many of us would, for the sole benefit of the emergency vehicle, pull into a bus-lane to allow it to pass – a manouevre that would probably be the safest thing to do in our estimation. And would we think twice about moving into a box-junction to make way for the speeding vehicle? But it’s evident that many drivers have actually been prosecuted for doing just that.

The vast majority of drivers do their level best to avoid delaying an emergency vehicle and often even run the risk of ignoring traffic lights to do so. While unsafe actions like the jumping of red lights can never be condoned, it’s astonishing that over-zealous local authorities (armed these days with CCTV evidence) can be so cruel as to prosecute drivers who have safely manouevred to let emergency vehicles past because of the infringement of a local law designed for traffic flow rather than safety (e.g. bus lanes and box junctions). It must be assumed that the prosecuting authorities would rather risk the death of a patient than permit the use of a bus lane for, what would amount to, a few seconds. Cruel in the extreme.

Read more:
http://bit.ly/2rY7vgV

The Blue Light Aware campaign being run by GEM Motoring Assist aims to equip motorists with the knowledge of what’s right and what’s wrong when you see that blue flashing light approach at speed:
http://bit.ly/2qF7P06

All very well, but would someone mind telling emergency vehicle drivers as well! Very recently, and not for the first time, I was subject to very abusive behavior from an ambulance passenger when I couldn’t safely pull over immediately to allow the vehicle through.

The Highway Code

Whilst on the subject of motoring, we continue with our occasional articles to reiterate certain points within the Highway Code as it’s actually quite disconcerting how few people actually know what the rules are:

Rule 130

Areas of white diagonal stripes or chevrons painted on the road. These are to separate traffic lanes or to protect traffic turning right.

  • If the area is bordered by a broken white line, you should not enter the area unless it is necessary and you can see that it is safe to do so.
  • If the area is marked with chevrons and bordered by solid white lines you MUST NOT enter it except in an emergency.

 

Bearing in mind the warning given in the previous article, we wonder whether moving over to allow an ambulance past would constitute ‘an emergency’.

AND FINALLY

After 15 years of prosecution after prosecution being cited here in the ‘And Finally’ section, usually for the same perennial issues as explained on page 1, we conclude that the consequences (in terms of death/injury and financial costs) don’t seem to stop people ignoring health & safety.

So, we’re going to give it a rest for this newsletter.

Instead, we’ll just show some photos and ask you what’s wrong on each occasion. If you don’t know, then please contact us immediately!!

BE SENSIBLE – STAY SAFE!!!

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

COMPANY NEWS

Happy Anniversary Wenlock H&S!

Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) is proud to have recently celebrated its 15 year anniversary; WHS was established April 2002. We are also very proud to have made a positive difference to the health & safety of our clients over the years; we can announce that, although we have had to investigate a fair few accidents, we have never had to deal with a fatality or very serious injury within the 700+ clients who have passed through our hands over the years, evidence in itself that paying due attention to health & safety really does pay off for both employers and employees.

We look forward to serving our clients for many more years to come, and we thank each and every one of you for your custom. We never take our client base for granted and will continue to have your best interests at the forefront of everything we do.

Priority Health & Safety Issues

WHS continues, through our newsletters, training courses and particularly site inspections, to concentrate on the main causes of both injury and harm, mirroring the HSE’s on-going strategy. However, having given us all a pat on the back above, what WHS consultants find most disturbing is that we are picking up the same basic issues time and time again as we were way back 15 years ago; there are certain contractors who still seem either unable or unwilling to grasp the necessity to:

  • Protect employees from falls
  • Protect the public
  • Protect both employees and the public from asbestos and other hazardous dusts
  • Provide legal standards of site welfare
  • Establish tidy and well-managed sites to avoid all manner of trips, slips and falls
  • Establish regular legally required inspection regimes to prevent injury from defective equipment

And the list goes on…all basic stuff which we find hard to believe that, in 2017 after 22+ years of CDM (and more) can still be found all too often on site.

We will continue to do our job by hammering home the requirements; all we ask is that our clients listen and action our recommendations. We reiterate what we have said many times before: we are engaged as our clients’ competent advisors and, should our advice be ignored, we will not be able to help should an accident happen or the HSE levy enforcement. As stressed above, we only have your best interests in mind.

TRAINING COURSES

CITB Training Courses

Forthcoming 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: 3 & 4 July 2017
    Cost: £230 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)
  • CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness
    Duration: 1 day
    Dates: 21 June 2017
    Cost: £125 + 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 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:

  • 31 July 2017
  • 6 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

Charging for HSE Intervention

The HSE is currently going through a consultation process relating to FFI (Fees For Intervention), the process by which the HSE charge £129 per hour when a breach is found during a visit that doesn’t warrant enforcement. Whilst we, at WHS, have always regarded the recovery of charges for anything other than actual enforcement or prosecution as sending completely the wrong message to those the HSE serve (i.e. everyone throughout UK industry), we have to say at this point that we are seeing FFI as having a hugely positive affect throughout construction. To explain:
As we have already said above, WHS is still finding our advice ignored (either wholly or in part) by a fair percentage of our clients and, because we are advisors only with no legal power, we have no means by which to actually ensure compliance. The HSE have not helped us over the years to any great extent as their inspectors were not sufficiently evident on site to provide a deterrent. However, since FFI came about, the HSE have been out and about in force – and many of our clients have now been hit with FFI costs, all of which could have been avoided if they had just listened to our advice.

Our conclusion? Although we still think that FFI is morally wrong, may we say to the HSE…carry on! Money talks and it seems that the only way to make some contractors comply with the law is if there is a real and tangible risk of having to pay for the consequences of non-compliance!

Dusts & RPE

This issue has been discussed many, many times before in these newsletters but, having heard the HSE speak on the subject recently, there is a need to reiterate, yet again, the absolute need for good RPE (respiratory protective equipment) and face-fit testing to be available to all workers who have to wear face masks of any type for any reason.

The exposure limit for silica dust (which is present on all sites, from aggregates, masonry during drilling, etc) represents an amount so small that it cannot be seen by the naked eye – so imagine just how much harm we are doing to ourselves when we inhale this dust day in day out without adequate protection. The particles are so small that they not only collect deep in the lungs to produce (e.g.) occupational asthma or worse still, silicosis, but they also enter the blood-stream.

So yet another reminder:

  • Dusts must be suppressed or captured by LAW
  • PPE (and thus RPE) is in LAW a last resort only, or an additional safeguard
  • Where RPE is worn (whether unavoidable or as a secondary precaution), face-fit testing must be carried by LAW
  • When employees wear RPE, they must be CLEAN-SHAVEN to ensure a good seal; the HSE guidance is a wet-shave before the start of each 8 hour working day

 

These requirements have been LAW since 2004 – no excuses because workers’ health and lives are at risk. But, as alluded to above, it’s always so disappointing to us at WHS that this still, all too often, seems to fall on deaf ears and we are willfully ignored.

And so are the HSE, so much so that they are now proposing that it becomes mandatory for CSCS cards – what a great idea!

Asbestos

The HSE has provided an excellent App which gives good advice on risks and courses of action relating to asbestos. The App is very easy to use and is freely available from:
http://www.beware-asbestos.info/

Everyone reading this newsletter should have been properly trained in a minimum of asbestos awareness within at least the last 2 years (with a refresher within the past year); however, no amount of additional advice or reminders can hurt when it comes to such an important subject. So WHS recommends downloading the App and using it to help ascertain the level of risk and necessary controls.

And, just in case you still need any persuasion about the seriousness of the subject, take a look at this short CITB video; heartrending testimony from someone actually suffering from this awful and totally preventable disease:
http://bit.ly/2mXPsAT

INDUSTRY NEWS

A Useful Site for Electricians

As a busy electrician, do you want to save time and make life easier? Register for the free ‘mySchneider’ electrician portal to get access to valuable business advice, support tools, product information, news and more all in one handy online hub; everything an electrician business needs, 24/7!
Sign up today at www.schneider-electric.co.uk/electricianpartner

In addition, Schneider offers the ‘Electrician Partner’ scheme which provides free benefits to help businesses grow. The Electrician Partner Programme is a free scheme for businesses with less than 10 employees, working in both the domestic and light commercial sectors. Benefits include a ‘My Rewards’ loyalty scheme, welcome pack, ‘Partner Locator’ listing, and exclusive promotions and special events. All very valuable support for small electrical businesses.
Apply via the mySchneider electrician portal as above.

A Useful NICEIC/ELECSA Collaboration

NICEIC and ELECSA have collaborated with TradePoint, one of the largest suppliers of building materials and tools, with a deal that member contractors can make huge savings on more than 3000 key products.

A key fob will be issued to contractors shortly and this will be pre-loaded with the discount an other information. Not only will the deal provide lower prices on tried and trusted products via 290 B&Q stores across the UK, it also provides the ability to order on-line 7 days a week. Read more: http://bit.ly/2r4BXS4

Consultation on 18th Edition

NICEIC is urging all electricians to contribute to the current public consultation on the proposed changes to the 18th Edition of the wiring regulations, due out July 2018. The closing date for comments is 23 august 2017.

Have you say; go to: http://bit.ly/2sCssvp

Asbestos Surveys

While we’re on the subject of asbestos, we feel strongly that another warning must be issued to all our clients (whether you’re commissioning or carrying out work on existing buildings) that an asbestos survey that is too ‘presumptive’ in content is just no good to anyone – and we are seeing far too many of them.

Obviously surveyors sometimes have genuine difficulty accessing an area in order to take samples but, if a refurbishment or full demolition survey has been commissioned (as it must be legally prior to any significant disturbance), then the surveyor will have been pre-warned that access to loft spaces, ceiling voids and external areas will be required and he must arrive prepared.

It is inexcusable to report that he/she couldn’t access these areas just because they constituted ‘work at height’; we have seen one report recently that said no access was possible to a panel above a door because they wouldn’t ‘work at height’! It’s also inexcusable to report areas as ‘presumed asbestos’ unless there is a very good reason (e.g. asbestos may be present within heating systems which cannot, of course, be accessed); by doing so, the commissioning body may be incurring a lot of expense to control presumed risk where a sample may have proven the material to be asbestos-free.

Any less than a thorough survey means that (a) the survey is no help at all to the contractor and (b) the commissioning body is paying a lot of money for nothing. Make them do their job properly; scrutinise the survey report, make sure they have accessed all areas required and, if not, make them return and do the job properly. We are always at the end of the phone to assist; please don’t hesitate to ring for advice or email the report across to us for appraisal.

Very Encouraging Growth in Construction

We are not going to quote market figures here as they probably won’t mean anything to most people, but suffice to say that, during April alone, the construction industry grew by 2% which is hugely encouraging.

Growth is predominantly in house-building which reached a 4 month high, the strongest performance being in the sub-sectors. The continuing pattern of growth is excellent news, with 49% of contractors polled expecting increases in their own workloads.

However, as always, there is a fly in the ointment. The construction industry lost a massive 300,000 employees because of the 2008 economic crash, the result being that the availability of skills (both managerial and operative) has yet to recover and many companies are experiencing severe difficulty in recruitment to properly staff the increase in order books. However, the growth has led to the fastest pace of job creation within UK industry, which has to be good provided that employers don’t let their guards drop by recruiting less-than-properly competent employees to fill the gaps.

Risk Assessment

A useful article was issued recently by Colin Seditas, Policy & Standards Manager for APS (the Association for Project Safety), ahead of proposed changes to HSE guidance on the subject, which bears out the WHS approach to risk assessment. Colin stresses that the approach to risk assessment must be pragmatic but absolutely site-specific; he says:

DO

  • Evaluate every site on its own merits, identifying unique features and risks
  • Consider if existing material already records the actions and controls required
  • Focus risk assessment efforts on identifying challenges and features that are unique to the circumstances at hand
  • Make the record relevant to the site and its existing management and monitoring systems

 

DON’T

  • Mistake the production of ‘risk assessment records’ for actual control – paperwork that is produced to ‘tick the box’ is a burden, not a tool and can undermine the entire health and safety management system.

 

We couldn’t have put it better ourselves, Colin!

GENERAL NEWS

Occupational Therapy

One of our clients, the Wolverhampton & District MS Therapy Centre, originally established to provide various recuperation and recovery therapies for elderly patients, has extended its range of treatments to cover many types of injuries such as torn muscles, dislocations, breaks and sprains.

As an example, the Centre runs a hyperbaric chamber, a treatment common in sport because it increases the oxygen flow through the body and speeds recovery. Moto GP rider, Valentino Rossi, made a spectacular recovery in 2010 when he used a chamber to help heal a broken right leg. So, if it works for sportsmen and women, why not utilize this local facility to aid the speedy recovery of employees? The treatments aren’t free but, as they say, time is money so the expense will be worth it to ensure individuals are back to work as quickly as possible. (N.B. Don’t forget that doctor’s note though to verify that all is well before you allow the individual back!). The Centre can be contacted on: 01902 744888; speak to Susan Husband who would be glad to discuss the types of therapies available and potential suitability for individuals

Elf and Safety Gone Mad??!!

We have all heard the myths about ‘elf and safety being supposedly responsible for unreasonable situations, but this story is far from a myth!

In Iceland, an organisation called Friends of Lava have blocked the construction of a new key highway project so as not to disturb elf habitat, including apparently an elf church! The case was taken to the Icelandic Supreme Court who agreed that the road would have, not only a significant environmental impact, but also a detrimental effect on elf culture. Apparently, an agreement has now been reached to delay the project “while the elves living there have supposedly moved on”!

Is this ‘elf and safety gone completely mad or is it a case of too many magic mushrooms?!

But This is Not a Myth

Believe it or not, drivers can (and have on many occasions) been prosecuted for supposedly breaking the law when they manouevre in order to allow emergency vehicles to pass. It’s hardly surprising that drivers are not aware that the onus is actually on the emergency vehicle to safely manouevre around the public vehicle, rather than it being a duty of drivers to try and pull over at the first opportunity.

How many of us would, for the sole benefit of the emergency vehicle, pull into a bus-lane to allow it to pass – a manouevre that would probably be the safest thing to do in our estimation. And would we think twice about moving into a box-junction to make way for the speeding vehicle? But it’s evident that many drivers have actually been prosecuted for doing just that.

The vast majority of drivers do their level best to avoid delaying an emergency vehicle and often even run the risk of ignoring traffic lights to do so. While unsafe actions like the jumping of red lights can never be condoned, it’s astonishing that over-zealous local authorities (armed these days with CCTV evidence) can be so cruel as to prosecute drivers who have safely manouevred to let emergency vehicles past because of the infringement of a local law designed for traffic flow rather than safety (e.g. bus lanes and box junctions). It must be assumed that the prosecuting authorities would rather risk the death of a patient than permit the use of a bus lane for, what would amount to, a few seconds. Cruel in the extreme.

Read more:
http://bit.ly/2rY7vgV

The Blue Light Aware campaign being run by GEM Motoring Assist aims to equip motorists with the knowledge of what’s right and what’s wrong when you see that blue flashing light approach at speed:
http://bit.ly/2qF7P06

All very well, but would someone mind telling emergency vehicle drivers as well! Very recently, and not for the first time, I was subject to very abusive behavior from an ambulance passenger when I couldn’t safely pull over immediately to allow the vehicle through.

The Highway Code

Whilst on the subject of motoring, we continue with our occasional articles to reiterate certain points within the Highway Code as it’s actually quite disconcerting how few people actually know what the rules are:

Rule 130

Areas of white diagonal stripes or chevrons painted on the road. These are to separate traffic lanes or to protect traffic turning right.

  • If the area is bordered by a broken white line, you should not enter the area unless it is necessary and you can see that it is safe to do so.
  • If the area is marked with chevrons and bordered by solid white lines you MUST NOT enter it except in an emergency.

 

Bearing in mind the warning given in the previous article, we wonder whether moving over to allow an ambulance past would constitute ‘an emergency’.

AND FINALLY

After 15 years of prosecution after prosecution being cited here in the ‘And Finally’ section, usually for the same perennial issues as explained on page 1, we conclude that the consequences (in terms of death/injury and financial costs) don’t seem to stop people ignoring health & safety.

So, we’re going to give it a rest for this newsletter.

Instead, we’ll just show some photos and ask you what’s wrong on each occasion. If you don’t know, then please contact us immediately!!

BE SENSIBLE – STAY SAFE!!!

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

Back in 2002, Jackie Horsewood was working as an internal Health and Safety Manager for a contractor. She was growing frustrated with the difficulties faced by small businesses in obtaining affordable health and safety assistance. An idea was born, and Wenlock Health & Safety was the result.

 

From its humble beginnings in Jackie’s home office, the company has grown to 7 employees in its current premises within Jackfield Tile Museum in Telford.

 

The recently increased office space allows Wenlock to provide training for larger groups, including accredited courses such as various CITB courses and First Aid, therefore keeping training costs low for customers and helping more people at all levels to obtain the training they need.

 

Jackie’s ambition to assist small businesses with health and safety has not only been realised, it has been a huge success – and it only continues to grow. Happy 15th birthday Wenlock!

COMPANY NEWS

CITB Training Courses

Forthcoming dates and fees for the CITB courses, all of which will take place at the Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) offices, are as follows; all fees include refreshments and all course literature.

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

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)
    Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week
    Dates: 27 April, 4, 11, 18 & 25 May 2017
    Cost: £495 + VAT per person
  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher
    Duration: 2 days
    Dates: 19 & 20 June 2017
    Cost: £265 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)
  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS)
    Duration: 2 days
    Dates: 3 & 4 April 2017
    Cost: £230 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)
  • CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness
    Duration: 1 day
    Dates: 28 April 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.

First Aid Training

Forthcoming dates for the WHS 1-day Emergency First Aid courses (held at our offices) are as follows; the cost is just £75 + VAT per person, probably the cheapest you can find!

  • 25 April 2017
  • 24 May 2017
  • 23 June 2017
  • 31 July 2017
  • 6 September 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.

Keep Abreast of Our News

In addition to these regular newsletters, don’t forget that our website is another useful resource; we post topical news and advice as well as events:

News

Room Hire

In addition, we offer training room hire, including provision of refreshments and buffet lunches if required. Our large training room seats 25 to 30 people in theatre style or 12 to 16 with desks; our smaller meeting room seats 6 – 10 people. Room hire rates as follows:

  • £17 + VAT per hour between 8 am and 5 pm, Monday to Friday.
  • Projector and screen are provided; a laptop can also be provided by arrangement.
  • Coffee, tea, water and biscuits are provided free of charge; catering can be arranged on request at an additional quoted cost or attendees can make use of the Museum café.
  • Free parking in the Museum car park by prior arrangement.

 

Please refer to our website www.wenlockhealthandsafety.co.uk and contact the office if these facilities can be of use to you.

WHS Support

A timely reminder, as we’ve had quite a few of our clients requiring support following HSE interventions…

We cannot support our clients at the point where it’s most needed (after an accident or HSE visit, PQQs and client interfaces) if they don’t allow us to support them throughout the year.

Our Mission Statement (all clients have had a copy) clearly states that health & safety works both ways. Yes, we are only your advisors but, if you won’t allow us to see you through the year or you choose to ignore any advice given, then we cannot support you when it’s most needed to counter any criticism by, or verify your competence to, the HSE or others,. We can’t verify competence if we’re not allowed to see how you work.

When our advisors contact you, please, follow their guidance as to what’s necessary e.g. site inspections, annual company assessments, safe systems, training requirements, etc. They do know what they’re talking about so trust their judgement – or we won’t be able to help you when the time comes.

The Importance of Following Instruction

Balfour Beatty was fined a total of almost £242,000 after flooring at a house-build development gave way, sending a worker and 70 building blocks crashing 2.4 metres vertically to the ground. The investigation found that the supporting joists had not been installed as per the designer’s instructions, thereby leaving them unstable.

This case clearly demonstrates the vital importance of both giving good, clear, competent (and written) instruction, and following that without deviation unless further competent (and written) instruction is received. As we’ve said many times before, every bit of paperwork produced in the name of health & safety should produce a ‘benefit’ – and the benefit (and purpose) of having a method statement is that all workers are clear about what they are expected to do. Generics aren’t acceptable as each site presents its own unique risks and designer’s requirements, and neither is deviating from the method statement/s unless properly amended by a competent person.

WHS recently heard of a nasty and life-threatening accident resulting from similar circumstances. Remember our advice: paperwork is not there ‘because the law says so’; the law says so because clarity is vital.

Environmental Management

As with health & safety, fines and penalties for breaches of environmental law can be very heavy and can result in serious consequences for any company. As the construction industry has a wide range of relevant environmental laws and requirements, and because normal day-to-day operations can so easily result in pollution or waste transgressions, it’s always wise to know the legal duties and necessary systems before it’s too late.

WHS can furnish you with all the knowledge and guidance you need within its Environmental Management System (EMS) at a one-off cost of £150 + VAT. Once in place, the EMS is reviewed and updated each year free of charge within the annual subscription fee (the same as the health & safety documents). Although it’s not a legal duty to have a full system in place, compliance with all relevant environmental legislation is legally required.

So, for those of you who still don’t have an EMS in place, ask yourself… £150 v. environmental enforcement possibly costing £thousands? Is it worth a small outlay to prevent a potential harmful problem? We think so!
Contact the WHS office (01952-885885) for details.

HSE NEWS

A Reminder from the HSE

The HSE have issued a short but potent video reminder on Twitter of the catastrophic affects of health & safety non-compliance in the workplace:

And a reminder from us at WHS – forget what others say, health & safety legislation is issued for one reason, and one reason only…to keep YOU safe. We ALL deserve to go home safely to our families at night.

So why cut corners?
Are you helping your employer by doing so? No, because an accident could wipe out the company so both your employer and your colleagues would suffer.

Are you helping yourself? No! You may think you can get the job done quicker – but, as they say: “it’s better to be late in this life than early to the next”

Another Reminder from the HSE

The HSE have issued a poster (which WHS is now including in all new or revised health & safety packs) emphasising the need for good respiratory protection (RPE):
http://www.bsif.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Opt3_Poster-CleanAir-A1_v3-3.jpg

Please run this poster off and display prominently on ALL sites.

Note:
The one thing they don’t mention here is the need to be clean shaven whenever a mask is worn; you won’t get a snug fit with significant stubble, and certainly not with a beard.
And a word of warning:
We’ve been warning for some time that the HSE is heavily enforcing face-fit testing; the emphasis has now shifted one step further to the condition of the masks and filters. Do make sure that all workers:
(a) have been face-fit tested (WHS can carry this out quickly and easily)
(b) keep their PPE & RPE in good and clean condition, with filters changed regularly and disposables being used as just that…disposable and NOT for reuse!

Heavy HSE Enforcement

As highlighted many times previously, the HSE is now out there continually inspecting sites and (as a consequence) enforcement becoming very much more regular. We are increasingly hearing of (WHS client) contractors who have been pulled up for some basic stuff and it’s always disappointing to us (not to say, disheartening) that, after all we’ve said and done, the HSE can still turn up and find such fundamental faults.

For instance, some recent examples:

  • Welfare – in this day and age (after 20 years of good standards being law) contractors are still being picked up for having nothing more than portaloos on site or for filthy conditions
  • Welfare for maintenance or other very brief works – minimum standards must still be met, somehow
  • Excavations – excavations?! Again, this is 2017 and we’re still seeing unsupported trenches and no recorded inspections
  • Work at height – badly erected or maintained scaffold and towers, defective ladders (??!!), no inspections

 

To be honest, any contractor that can’t even get these fundamental issues right deserves enforcement. We won’t be able to back you up if the basic legal requirements aren’t even there.

New PPE Requirements

Under the new EU Regulation 2016/424, which was officially adopted March 2016 and will come into force April 2018, there is a significant change with how hearing protection is viewed as a safety measure. All users need to be very aware of this and to plan ahead for the April 18 deadline – and, no, we won’t be out of the EU by then so, yes, this will be applied by the HSE!!

Hearing protection was (and currently still is) classified as a ‘Category II – intermediate’ PPE control measure, along with dust masks, eye protection, safety helmets and high-viz clothing. Items in this category are viewed as secondary precautions because first-defence mitigation controls should already be in place to prevent the risks to lungs, eyes, heads and of body-contact.

However, this new directive elevates hearing protection to Category III, alongside such other high risks issues as falls from height, hazardous substances and cutting equipment. The reason for this is probably that in some industries, construction included, it is almost impossible to reduce noise below the mandatory upper action level of 87dB, and hearing protection therefore becomes an unavoidable form of front-line defence.
All manufacturers, suppliers and distributors will be responsible for ensuring items meet current CE Cat.III PPE standards. However in addition, and this is the important point, the fact that the PPE has been elevated to Cat.III implies that all employers are totally responsible for:

  • Purchasing the right equipment for the nature of the work and the overall site conditions, including the over-riding need to communicate
  • Ensure the PPE is frequently inspected (we would recommend recording those inspections as proof to the HSE) and defective items replaced immediately
  • TRAIN at a higher level exactly what the risks are, what to use, and how to use it properly

 

So, don’t wait for April 2018 when the HSE will be expecting the above to already be in place – plan now, particularly if you work in difficult situations where the need for emergency communication is higher than the risk to hearing e.g. when working in highways. Careful consideration of options available will be key.

INDUSTRY NEWS

Preparations for War

We’ve been hearing a lot over recent years about how preparations for army incursions and actions have been rather less than would be expected in a ‘time or war’. There have been accusations of a shortage of body armour, poor standards of footwear, inadequate safety of troop vehicles and equipment, even a lack of sunglasses when operating in blinding sunlight.

On the home front, there was also the totally avoidable deaths of three reservist corporals whilst carrying out practice manouevres on Brecon Beacons in 2013. Apparently, there was a lack of specific risk assessment; the effects of marching 22 km in 27°C heat with 22 kg backpacks had not even been considered.

All warfare has to be pre-planned carefully so that the troops are as safe as reasonably practicable before they put their lives at risk. And, yes, circumstances change frequently and often at a moment’s notice – but the pre-planning includes equipping all personnel with the necessary skills to be able to make their own judgements about the best course of action, thereby arming them to take reasonable care of the health and safety of themselves and of other persons who may be affected by their actions.

The type of issues and the unnecessary deaths highlighted above hit the headlines for very valid reasons; there is no excuse for sending our troops into the front line, or even on manouevres, until they are appropriately kitted out, provided with the correct and appropriate equipment, have received the correct training, are given tasks suitable to their skills and ability, and are therefore properly prepared for battle….

…so why should we expect our construction workers to ‘go into battle’ with all the risks presented to them on site without being appropriately kitted out, provided with the right equipment, given a good level of appropriate training and instruction, given tasks appropriate to their skill-set, and are therefore properly prepared? But we still see employers cutting corners and risking lives time and time again – but it doesn’t make the headlines.

The results of cutting corners and under-preparedness are the same as with the forces – the potential for death or serious injury is massively, and totally unnecessarily, raised. Time and resources have always been key to good health & safety. ‘Time’ means having adequate time to plan and equip; ‘resources’ means ensuring there is properly trained supervision, appropriately trained manpower, suitable plant and equipment, and, yes sorry to have to say this but, also the cash to be able to do this.

Pre-planning and the availability of adequate resources (both client and contractors) have been mandatory under CDM for 22 years now for the sole purpose of reducing risks and more effectively controlling our ‘battle conditions’. So let’s not expect our (construction) troops to ‘go into battle’ ill-prepared; the issues are the same…lives are at risk.

Mesothelioma Claims

The Department for Work & Pensions have released their half-yearly figures for the compensation awarded mesothelioma victims under the ‘Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme’ which show that more than £84 million has been awarded to date, with the average lump sum pay-out now £141,000.

The Scheme offers help to those victims who, through negligent exposure, have contracted the disease on or after 25 July 2012 and where the perpetrating employers or their insurers no longer exist. Predictably, the vast majority of claimants had worked as carpenters, plumbers, electricians, and ship builders. The HSE predict that around 2,500 people will die per year from mesothelioma alone (add a further 2000 per year dying from other asbestos-related diseases) “until 2020 before annual numbers begin to decline”. However, one has to wonder whether this is just wishful thinking – as we all know (and most choose to ignore), contractors and householders doing DIY are still being exposed to asbestos fibres day in, day out because they don’t survey the property pre-start and therefore (choose to) continue to disturb ACMs still out there in bulk in most properties built pre-2000.

Now take a look at the real-life effect of asbestos exposure; hear mesothelioma-sufferer Simon’s story: http://bit.ly/2mXPsAT then think again before you knock a hole in that wall without finding out what’s in there.

Hand Protection

Most contractors (and other employers) have a policy these days about wearing gloves for all site work. Why? To protect one of the most valuable parts of the body, the hands, from sharp, abrasive or corrosive materials or objects.

And, if you don’t, why not? There are many reasons why a ‘gloves policy’ is not established and, if there is one, many reasons why workers choose to ignore it:

  • “They’re too bulky”
  • “I can’t grip”
  • “I can’t feel things with gloves on”
  • “They get in the way so I cut the fingers off”
  • “My hands get too hot”
    Then we, at WHS, also see far too many nasty instances of sliced fingers and hands despite gloves being worn, many severe injuries resulting in a significant amount of time off work or the loss fingers or the full use of hands.

 

All these comments and injuries indicate that the either the employer is complacent and won’t implement a gloves policy or the wrong type of glove is being supplied. One of the prime HSE targets currently is specific types of PPE being written into risk assessments…for a very sound reason. Even if gloves are mandatory, without specifying that Kevlar or similar anti-cut gloves must be used for cutting operations, there will still be inadequate protection; without specifying that impervious gloves must be worn where there is a risk of contact with concrete, the risk will be increased by the gloves potentially absorbing the harmful liquid.

To employers:
There is no excuse these days for not supplying the correct gloves for all tasks; there is so much choice on the market that there is a glove to suit all occasions and all individuals. There are even gloves that can keep moisture (sweat) away from the hands to increase comfort (and reduce expense) over long periods of use:
http://bit.ly/2nLRiK4

OK, we can guess the next comment…”that means I have to carry several pairs of gloves everywhere with me”! That’s not an excuse either, just clip them to your belt:
http://bit.ly/2nqxoDs

So to workers:
Come on, which would you rather have…the ‘inconvenience’ of several pairs of gloves or the loss of your hand? There is only one intelligent answer…use those gloves!!
And yes, if you’re a brick-layer, that does include you!

GENERAL NEWS

A Serious Personal Risk

We were dismayed to hear from one of our clients that his 5 year old nephew had been involved in horrific accident involving, simply, his footwear. The poor little boy had been wearing Crocs – common enough amongst children and people of all ages – but one of his shoes had become stuck in the grooves of an escalator which the devastating result that the back of his foot was torn away.

Absolutely shattering for both child and the poor father who was helpless to avoid the situation as it all happened so quickly. Looking on the internet though, this type of horrendous accident is not uncommon:
http://bit.ly/2nMury3; http://bit.ly/2mvLHYg; http://bit.ly/2ngimzL

and, indeed, there have been calls for Crocs to be banned:
http://bit.ly/2ngdTwW ; http://bit.ly/2nghXgz;

Do read the news clips and stop children, and indeed, adults from wearing these things – and also other rubber-soled shoes like flip-flops – in stores and other places where escalators may be present. We have seen the photos of the poor little boy involved in this latest accident, and it’s heartbreaking.

Should you want any further information, we do hold details of how the accidents happen. But the only way to be sure of safety is to stop wearing Crocs.

Hazardous Substances

This substance can cause burning and pain to the throat, irritation to the throat and eyes, choking, incapacity, fainting and loss of judgement, heartburn and increased bowel movements. Quite extreme – and so we all need to beware of this potentially hazardous substance. So what is it?…

You wouldn’t think that food could be so dangerous – we’re talking here about eating chillies!

Most of us enjoy eating spicy food, but those with medical conditions do actually need to beware as the irritation caused can exacerbate existing stomach and throat conditions. And just imagine the effect of eating a chilli on the magnitude 1,380,000 (the Naga Viper pepper) or 2,200,000 (the Carolina Reaper pepper) on the Scoville Chart ‘hotness’ scale, where a normal Jalapeno (which is hot by most people’s standards, is only 8,000! But there are competitions challenging contestants to eat the hottest chilli they can. We sincerely hope they’ve done their risk assessments beforehand!

AND FINALLY

As evidenced below, fines are getting larger and imprisonment more common…
And take note; as stated above, we can only help if (a) we know you well, and (b) you follow our guidance.

Personal responsibility

  • David Stead was sentenced to 8 months in prison and disqualified from being a director for 7 years after an employee was left with life-threatening injuries caused by ‘a fireball ignited by burning waste’. The worker had been ‘instructed to stand on top of a skip and pour a drum of flammable thinners onto the burning waste to aid the burning process’
    Stupidity itself – and Stead deserves the sentence.
  • Mafizur Rahman was sentenced to 30 months in prison for manslaughter after a 29 year old employee plunged to his death through the roof of the Al Amin Wholesale Ltd factory in Aston.

Al Amin Wholesale itself was fined a total of £188,600 for its failure to employ a competent contractor.

  • David Briggs was sentenced to 24 weeks in prison for illegally removing asbestos from a former education centre. Trading as Briggs Demolition, he had ignored a full asbestos survey (which indicated the need to significant licensed asbestos removal) despite the fact that it was him who told the client to commission one before work could begin!
  • Saleem Hussain was sentenced to 8 months in prison after a casual labourer fell 7 metres to his death through a fragile warehouse roof.
  • TE Scudder, a demolition wing of the Carey Group was fined a total of £627,400 after one worker was killed and another seriously injured when a lift they were standing on during de-commissioning plunged 6 storeys down the shaft. The chain supporting the lift had broken. One worker was wearing a harness attached to the lift car and sustained serious injuries as he became trapped between the lift car and shaft; the other worker was not wearing a harness and died instantly.

However, in addition, Patrick Pearson, director of Intervale and the project manager for the project refurbishment, was ordered to do 120 hours community work and pay costs of £3,000.

  • Director, Faris Mousa, was personally fined a total of over £43,600 and his company, Bluefig Developments Ltd fined a total of almost £46,700 after multiple failings were spotted by the public during the conversion of a pub into dwellings, including work at height, missing floors, an unsafe wall and lack of welfare. Note – there had been no accident to trigger the prosecution (although there would have been eventually had work not been stopped by the HSE!)
  • Frank Gaskin, trading as FG Blockplan, was fined a total of over £5,400 after a worker fell over 3 metres through an unprotected opening which had previously been created in a roof.
  • Roy Hardaker, trading as 9-to-5 Roofing, has been sentenced to 9 months imprisonment suspended for 2 years and 200 hours community work after an employee fell to his death from a flat roof. The victim had been handling cladding from a ladder and fell when he stepped onto the unprotected roof.
  • Directors, Jake Clarke and Aaron Hepworth (both in the photograph), were personally fined totals of almost £2,300 and £3,300 respectively, and their company, Enviroplay Roofing Ltd fined a total almost £14,400, after being spotted by the public working unsafely on a hotel development.

Note – again, there was no accident to prompt the prosecution and, again, they were lucky that the job was stopped before someone was killed.

  • Barrie Lyons, a well-trained asbestos analyst with 29 years’ experience, was fined a total of over £5,900 after falsifying air clearance certification following removal during refurbishment work. The deliberate act, not only resulted in necessary additional air clearance testing and subsequent delays to the client, but also potentially exposed many more people to hazardous fibres.
    Note – it’s appalling to think that someone in whom you put your trust would do such a thing; integrity must remain paramount.

 

More work at height

Spot the faults with this scaffolding where a brick-layer was injured falling through:

  • 5 points if you spotted the shortened length of the planks and inadequate support.
  • But a further 5 points if you questioned whether the mandatory pre-start and 7 day inspections had been carried out. And, if they had, was the person who inspected sufficiently qualified to spot the fault. Evidently not, and an injury resulted.

And we don’t need to award points for spotting what’s wrong with the way this idiot is working!

To the employer: read on for potential consequences of allowing such unsafe working.

To the employee: do you really think you’re helping your employer by not doing things properly? You risk your life and your (and your colleague’s) livelihoods.

  • ICH Ltd was fined a total of over £21,000 after a worker was left with serious injuries when he fell 3 metres through false ceiling; he had stepped backwards off an unprotected working platform onto the fragile ceiling
  • Select Quality Homes Ltd was fined a total of over £7,200 after the HSE spotted lack of edge protection on scaffolding. A Prohibition Notice had already been issued, but ignored.
  • Go Ahead London was fined a total of almost £679,000 after an employee was killed falling 2.5 metres from a ladder whilst accessing the top of a fuel tank. A sobering reminder that the necessity for edge protection applies to all work at height, even when the design of the tanks, silos, etc does not incorporate edge protection; and do put pressure on equipment designers to incorporate safety at height into their designs.

 

And lastly…
no, this was not taken abroad but very recently near Reading.
Very pretty in a rural setting, but come on guys!!

And more asbestos

  • Enviro-Safe Ltd was fined a total of over £23,700 for failing to meet asbestos removal requirements. The licensed removal contractor had failed to provide proper enclosures and associated controls
  • Tapecrown Ltd was fined a total of £12,000 after lack of asbestos management came to light following a fire in four units on its site.

 

Excavations

  • Amey was fined a total of almost £615,500 after a sub-contracted worker was seriously burnt when he struck an 11kv cable during traffic light works in Gloucestershire. Amey was found guilty because it had failed to provide information about underground services and had not sufficiently supervised the works.

 

COSHH

  • Westlands Construction Ltd was fined a total of over £16,800 after workers were exposed to carbon monoxide and dusts. A petrol-powered floor saw was being used to cut a concrete floor in a factory environment and, to prevent the spread of dust, had erected a polythene enclosure…with predictable results. Workers were overcome by the build-up of carbon monoxide, one having to be hospitalised.

Westland was also criticised for failing to prevent the dusts that they were evidently conscious they would be producing! There was no dust suppression nor respiratory protection – the fundamental controls which, in this day and age, are expected to be second nature to all contractors.

A tip – for dust suppression on large areas such as floor-sawing, demolition or stock-piles, look to hiring a mist-cannon such as: http://www.corgin.co.uk/odour-dust-suppression/mist-cannon
We’ve seen these in action and they are superb – used properly, there won’t be a breath of dust anywhere

The last word

No, Red Bull will NOT give you wings!

This is not inventive or clever, it’s stupid; one slip and he’ll come crashing down onto a concrete slab. Often falls onto concrete slabs, even low levels, result in death because people tend to fall backwards, hitting their heads; see above.

The result? Soft head v hard concrete slab? No contest, his head will come off worse.

As we’ve highlighted before, these photos circulating around social media aim to make fun of health & safety. But they are not funny, they are nothing but stupidity. Safety is no laughing matter; just ask the victims or their families.

Rather than making fun of health & safety, let’s publicise the idiots that risk our lives…
If anyone knows who the culprits are here, please do tell us before they kill someone: http://dailym.ai/2nXREKi

And, you macho men out there, what would you do without your manhood eh?! Take a look if you dare, then think again about what you’re doing: http://dailym.ai/2ndSmU4

WHS is working for you; help us to help you.
Our aim is to keep people safe and to keep your company working

COMPANY NEWS

First Aid Training

Forthcoming dates for the WHS 1-day Emergency First Aid courses (held at our offices) are as follows; the cost is just £75 + VAT per person, probably the cheapest you can find!

  • 25 April 2017
  • 24 May 2017
  • 23 June 2017
  • 31 July 2017
  • 6 September 2017

 

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.

Keep Abreast of Our News

In addition to these regular newsletters, don’t forget that our website is another useful resource; we post topical news and advice as well as events:

News

Room Hire

In addition, we offer training room hire, including provision of refreshments and buffet lunches if required. Our large training room seats 25 to 30 people in theatre style or 12 to 16 with desks; our smaller meeting room seats 6 – 10 people. Room hire rates as follows:

  • £17 + VAT per hour between 8 am and 5 pm, Monday to Friday.
  • Projector and screen are provided; a laptop can also be provided by arrangement.
  • Coffee, tea, water and biscuits are provided free of charge; catering can be arranged on request at an additional quoted cost or attendees can make use of the Museum café.
  • Free parking in the Museum car park by prior arrangement.

 

Please refer to our website www.wenlockhealthandsafety.co.uk and contact the office if these facilities can be of use to you.

WHS Support

A timely reminder, as we’ve had quite a few of our clients requiring support following HSE interventions…

We cannot support our clients at the point where it’s most needed (after an accident or HSE visit) if they don’t allow us to support them throughout the year.

Our Mission Statement (all clients have had a copy) clearly states that health & safety works both ways. Yes, we are only your advisors but, if you won’t allow us to see you through the year or you choose to ignore any advice given, then we cannot support you when it’s most needed to counter any criticism by, or verify your competence to, the HSE or others. We can’t verify competence if we’re not allowed to see how you work.
When our advisors contact you, please, follow their guidance as to what’s necessary e.g. site inspections, annual company assessments, safe systems, training requirements, etc. They do know what they’re talking about so trust their judgement – or we won’t be able to help you when the time comes.

HSE NEWS

A Reminder from the HSE

The HSE have issued a short but potent video reminder on Twitter of the catastrophic affects of health & safety non-compliance in the workplace:

And a reminder from us at WHS – forget what others say, health & safety legislation is issued for one reason, and one reason only…to keep YOU safe. We ALL deserve to go home safely to our families at night.

So why cut corners?
Are you helping your employer by doing so? No, because an accident could wipe out the company so both your employer and your colleagues would suffer.

Are you helping yourself? No! You may think you can get the job done quicker – but, as they say: “it’s better to be late in this life than early to the next”

Another Reminder from the HSE

The HSE have issued a poster (which WHS is now including in all new or revised health & safety packs) emphasising the need for good respiratory protection (RPE):
http://www.bsif.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Opt3_Poster-CleanAir-A1_v3-3.jpg

Please run this poster off and display prominently on ALL sites.

Note:
The one thing they don’t mention here is the need to be clean shaven whenever a mask is worn; you won’t get a snug fit with significant stubble, and certainly not with a beard.

And a word of warning:
We’ve been warning for some time that the HSE is heavily enforcing face-fit testing; the emphasis has now shifted one step further to the condition of the masks and filters. Do make sure that all workers:
(a) have been face-fit tested (WHS can carry this out quickly and easily)
(b) keep their PPE & RPE in good and clean condition, with filters changed regularly and disposables being used as just that…disposable and NOT for reuse!

Heavy HSE Enforcement

As highlighted many times previously, the HSE is now out there carrying out inspections continually and (as a consequence) enforcement becoming very much more regular. We are increasingly hearing of WHS clients who have been pulled up for some basic stuff and it’s always disappointing to us (not to say, disheartening) that, after all we’ve said and done, the HSE can still turn up and find such fundamental faults.

How does this apply to your company? Don’t overlook the fact that contractors (of any type) engaged by yourselves are your responsibility. Under the Health & Safety at Work Act, the Construction (Design & Management) Regs and many more, the engaging party is totally responsible for ensuring those they engage are competent in terms of health & safety. Ring us for advice, insist that we see proof of the contractor’s health & safety systems (all our clients are issued with appropriate pre-appointment questionnaires), and let’s make sure that the ‘cowboys’ (still all too prevalent out there) can’t put you at risk, in terms of both safety and possible commercial repercussions. Should a contractor have an accident (or an HSE visit) on your premises, it’s quite likely that you would be held equally culpable, and we need to avoid that situation.

It’s worth putting a little more effort, and paying a little more, to ensure the contractors you engage are legally compliant in order to avoid the risk of your company being prosecuted for someone else’s incompetence. Refer to the ‘And Finally’ section at the end of this newsletter for a good example of potential consequences (the Al Amin Wholesale fine).

New PPE Requirements

Under the new EU Regulation 2016/424, which was officially adopted March 2016 and will come into force April 2018, there is a significant change with how hearing protection is viewed as a safety measure. All users need to be very aware of this and to plan ahead for the April 18 deadline – and, no, we won’t be out of the EU by then so, yes, this will be applied by the HSE!!

Hearing protection was (and currently still is) classified as a ‘Category II – intermediate’ PPE control measure, along with dust masks, eye protection, safety helmets and high-viz clothing. Items in this category are viewed as secondary precautions because first-defence mitigation controls should already be in place to prevent the risks to lungs, eyes, heads and of body-contact.

However, this new directive elevates hearing protection to Category III, alongside such other high risks issues as falls from height, hazardous substances and cutting equipment. The reason for this is probably that in some industries, construction included, it is almost impossible to reduce noise below the mandatory upper action level of 87dB, and hearing protection therefore becomes an unavoidable form of front-line defence.

All manufacturers, suppliers and distributors will be responsible for ensuring items meet current CE Cat.III PPE standards. However in addition, and this is the important point, the fact that the PPE has been elevated to Cat.III implies that all employers are totally responsible for:

  • Purchasing the right equipment for the nature of the work and the overall site conditions, including the over-riding need to communicate
  • Ensure the PPE is frequently inspected (we would recommend recording those inspections as proof to the HSE) and defective items replaced immediately
  • TRAIN at a higher level exactly what the risks are, what to use, and how to use it properly

 

So, don’t wait for April 2018 when the HSE will be expecting the above to already be in place – plan now, particularly if you work in difficult situations where the need for emergency communication is higher than the risk to hearing e.g. when working with high-risk machinery. Careful consideration of options will be key.

INDUSTRY NEWS

Preparations for War

We’ve been hearing a lot over recent years about how preparations for army incursions and actions have been rather less than would be expected in a ‘time or war’. There have been accusations of a shortage of body armour, poor standards of footwear, inadequate safety of troop vehicles and equipment, even a lack of sunglasses when operating in blinding sunlight.

On the home front, there was also the totally avoidable deaths of three reservist corporals whilst carrying out practice manouevres on Brecon Beacons in 2013. Apparently, there was a lack of specific risk assessment; the effects of marching 22 km in 27°C heat with 22 kg backpacks had not even been considered.

All warfare has to be pre-planned carefully so that the troops are as safe as reasonably practicable before they put their lives at risk. And, yes, circumstances change frequently and often at a moment’s notice – but the pre-planning includes equipping all personnel with the necessary skills to be able to make their own judgements about the best course of action, thereby arming them to take reasonable care of the health and safety of themselves and of other persons who may be affected by their actions.

The type of issues and the unnecessary deaths highlighted above hit the headlines for very valid reasons; there is no excuse for sending our troops into the front line, or even on manouevres, until they are appropriately kitted out, provided with the correct and appropriate equipment, have received the correct training, are given tasks suitable to their skills and ability, and are therefore properly prepared for battle….
…so why should we expect our workers to ‘go into battle’ with all the risks presented to them at the workface without being appropriately kitted out, provided with the right equipment, given a good level of appropriate training and instruction, given tasks appropriate to their skill-set, and are therefore properly prepared? But we still see employers cutting corners and risking lives time and time again – but it doesn’t make the headlines.
The results of cutting corners and under-preparedness are the same as with the forces – the potential for death or serious injury is massively, and totally unnecessarily, raised. Time and resources have always been key to good health & safety. ‘Time’ means having adequate time to plan and equip; ‘resources’ means ensuring there is properly trained supervision, appropriately trained manpower, suitable plant and equipment, and, yes sorry to have to say this but, also the cash to be able to do this.

The need to risk assess, and thence to make available sufficient time and resources, has been mandatory for 25 years now with the sole purpose of reducing risks and more effectively controlling our ‘battle conditions’. So let’s not expect our ‘troops’ to ‘go into battle’ ill-prepared; the issues are the same…lives are at risk.

Mesothelioma Claims

The Department for Work & Pensions have released their half-yearly figures for the compensation awarded mesothelioma victims under the ‘Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme’ which show that more than £84 million has been awarded to date, with the average lump sum pay-out now £141,000.

The Scheme offers help to those victims who, through negligent exposure, have contracted the disease on or after 25 July 2012 and where the perpetrating employers or their insurers no longer exist. Predictably, the vast majority of claimants have worked as carpenters, plumbers, electricians, and ship builders. The HSE predict that around 2,500 people will die per year from mesothelioma alone (add a further 2000 per year dying from other asbestos-related diseases) “until 2020 before annual numbers begin to decline”.

However, one has to wonder whether this is just wishful thinking – as we all know (and most choose to ignore), employees, maintenance engineers, contractors and householders doing DIY are still being exposed to asbestos fibres day in, day out because asbestos surveys of the properties are not carried out (as is required by law) and therefore people continue to disturb ACMs, which are still out there in bulk in most properties built pre-2000, without realising the harm they are doing to themselves and others.

Now take a look at the real-life effect of asbestos exposure; hear mesothelioma-sufferer Simon’s story: http://bit.ly/2mXPsAT then think again before you knock a hole in that wall without finding out what’s in there.

Hand Protection

Most employers these days have a policy about wearing gloves for all work with the possibility of either contact with hazardous substances or there is a risk of injury. Why? To protect one of the most valuable parts of the body, the hands, from sharp, abrasive or corrosive materials or objects.

And, if you don’t, why not? There are many reasons why a ‘gloves policy’ is not established and, if there is one, many reasons why workers choose to ignore it:

  • “They’re too bulky”
  • “I can’t grip”
  • “I can’t feel things with gloves on”
  • “They get in the way so I cut the fingers off”
  • “My hands get too hot”

 

We, at WHS, also see far too many nasty instances of sliced fingers and hands despite gloves being worn, including some severe injuries resulting in the loss fingers or the full use of hands, or a significant amount of time off work.

All these comments and injuries indicate that the either the employer is complacent and won’t implement a gloves policy or the wrong type of glove is being supplied. One of the prime HSE targets currently is specific types of PPE being written into risk assessments…for a very sound reason. Even if gloves are mandatory, without specifying that Kevlar or similar anti-cut gloves must be used for cutting operations, there will still be inadequate protection; without specifying that impervious gloves must be worn where there is a risk of contact with concrete, the risk will be increased by the gloves potentially absorbing the harmful liquid.
To employers:
There is no excuse these days for not supplying the correct gloves for all tasks; there is so much choice on the market that there is a glove to suit all occasions and all individuals. There are even gloves that can keep moisture (sweat) away from the hands to increase comfort (and reduce expense) over long periods of use:
http://bit.ly/2nLRiK4

OK, we can guess the next comment…”that means I have to carry several pairs of gloves everywhere with me”! That’s not an excuse either, just clip them to your belt:
http://bit.ly/2nqxoDs

So to workers:
Come on, which would you rather have…the ‘inconvenience’ of several pairs of gloves or the loss of your hand? There is only one intelligent answer…use those gloves!!

GENERAL NEWS

A Serious Personal Risk

We were dismayed to hear from one of our clients that his 5 year old nephew had been involved in horrific accident involving, simply, his footwear. The poor little boy had been wearing Crocs – common enough amongst children and people of all ages – but one of his shoes had become stuck in the grooves of an escalator which the devastating result that the back of his foot was torn away.

Absolutely shattering for both child and the poor father who was helpless to avoid the situation as it all happened so quickly. Looking on the internet though, this type of horrendous accident is not uncommon:
http://bit.ly/2nMury3; http://bit.ly/2mvLHYg; http://bit.ly/2ngimzL

and, indeed, there have been calls for Crocs to be banned:
http://bit.ly/2ngdTwW ; http://bit.ly/2nghXgz;

Do read the news clips and stop children, and indeed, adults from wearing these things – and also other rubber-soled shoes like flip-flops – in stores and other places where escalators may be present. We have seen the photos of the poor little boy involved in this latest accident, and it’s heartbreaking.

Should you want any further information, we do hold details of how the accidents happen. But the only way to be sure of safety is to stop wearing Crocs.

Hazardous Substances

This substance can cause burning and pain to the throat, irritation to the throat and eyes, choking, incapacity, fainting and loss of judgement, heartburn and increased bowel movements. Quite extreme – and so we all need to beware of this potentially hazardous substance. So what is it?…

You wouldn’t think that food could be so dangerous – we’re talking here about eating chillies!

Most of us enjoy eating spicy food, but those with medical conditions do actually need to beware as the irritation caused can exacerbate existing stomach and throat conditions. And just imagine the effect of eating a chilli on the magnitude 1,380,000 (the Naga Viper pepper) or 2,200,000 (the Carolina Reaper pepper) on the Scoville Chart ‘hotness’ scale, where a normal Jalapeno (which is hot by most people’s standards, is only 8,000! But there are competitions challenging contestants to eat the hottest chilli they can. We sincerely hope they’ve done their risk assessments beforehand!

AND FINALLY

As evidenced below, fines are getting larger and imprisonment more common…
And take note; as stated above, we can only help if (a) we know you well, and (b) you follow our guidance.

Personal responsibility

  • Mafizur Rahman was sentenced to 30 months in prison for manslaughter after a 29 year old employee plunged to his death through the roof of the Al Amin Wholesale Ltd factory in Aston.
    Al Amin Wholesale itself was fined a total of £188,600 for its failure to employ a competent contractor.
  • David Stead was sentenced to 8 months in prison and disqualified from being a director for 7 years after an employee was left with life-threatening injuries caused by ‘a fireball ignited by burning waste’. The worker had been ‘instructed to stand on top of a skip and pour a drum of flammable thinners onto the burning waste to aid the burning process’

Stupidity itself – and Stead deserves the sentence.

  • Saleem Hussain was sentenced to 8 months in prison after a casual labourer fell 7 metres to his death through a fragile warehouse roof.
  • Barrie Lyons, a well-trained asbestos analyst with 29 years’ experience, was fined a total of over £5,900 after falsifying air clearance certification following removal during refurbishment work. The deliberate act, not only resulted in necessary additional air clearance testing and subsequent delays to the client, but also potentially exposed many more people to hazardous fibres.

Note – it’s appalling to think that someone in whom you put your trust would do such a thing; integrity must remain paramount.

More work at height

It doesn’t take a genius to spot what’s wrong with the way this idiot is working!

To the employer: read on for potential consequences of allowing such unsafe working.

To the employee: do you really think you’re helping your employer by not doing things properly? You risk your life and your (and your colleague’s) livelihoods.

  • Go Ahead London was fined a total of almost £679,000 after an employee was killed falling 2.5 metres from a ladder whilst accessing the top of a fuel tank.
  • Warburtons (bread makers) was fined a massive total of almost £2,020,000 after a worker fratured his spine falling 2 metres from a mixing machine during maintenance.

Note: Both these cases are sobering reminders that the necessity for edge protection applies to all work at height, even when the design of the tanks, silos, etc does not incorporate edge protection. It is the responsibility of the user to ensure safety, by adding edge protection themselves if necessary; and do put pressure on equipment designers to incorporate safety at height into their designs.

Moving loads

  • DFS (the furniture trading company) was fined a massive total of over £1,015,000 after a worker was left with serious neck and head injuries when a furniture part fell from an unstable load.

The Company had failed to ‘manage’ heavy consignments being moved between sites and had left loads unsecured on a regular basis, despite being reported as ‘near-misses’ previously.

  • HE Realisations Ltd was fined a total of over £40,200 after a worker received life-changing injuries when a load swung and hit him. The lifting equipment was marked with a safe working load (SWL) but the 18 tonne load had exceeded it, with the result that a clutch sheared, releasing the load.

The company had not planned the work, nor used suitable equipment, nor maintained the equipment; a recipe for an accident waiting to happen.

  • Burghley House Preservation Trust Ltd (yes, even stately homes are subject to the same risks and the same laws!) were fined a total of almost £283,000 after a domestic servant was crushed to death by a luggage lift as he tried to dislodge a bag which had become wedged; he had become trapped between the lift cage and stairwell banister.

No competent assessment had been carried out and, consequently, no emergency fault detection system had been fitted which would have avoided this dreadful accident.

COSHH

  • Westlands Construction Ltd was fined a total of over £16,800 after workers were exposed to carbon monoxide and dusts. A petrol-powered floor saw was being used to cut a concrete floor in a factory environment and, to prevent the spread of dust, had erected a polythene enclosure…with predictable results. Workers were overcome by the build-up of carbon monoxide, one having to be hospitalised.

Westland was also criticised for failing to prevent the dusts that they were evidently conscious they would be producing! There was no dust suppression nor respiratory protection – the fundamental controls which, in this day and age, are expected to be second nature to all contractors.

A tip – for dust suppression on large areas such as floor-sawing, demolition or stock-piles, look to hiring a mist-cannon such as: http://www.corgin.co.uk/odour-dust-suppression/mist-cannon
We’ve seen these in action and they are superb – used properly, there won’t be a breath of dust anywhere

The last word
No, Red Bull will NOT give you wings!

This is not inventive or clever, it’s stupid; one slip and he’ll come crashing down onto a concrete slab. Often falls onto concrete slabs, even low levels, result in death because people tend to fall backwards, hitting their heads; see above.

The result? Soft head v hard concrete slab? No contest, his head will come off worse.

As we’ve highlighted before, these photos circulating around social media aim to make fun of health & safety. But they are not funny, they are nothing but stupidity. Safety is no laughing matter; just ask the victims or their families.

Rather than making fun of health & safety, let’s publicise the idiots that risk our lives…
If anyone knows who the culprits are here, please do tell us before they kill someone: http://dailym.ai/2nXREKi

And, hey you men out there, what would you do without your manhood eh?! Take a look if you dare, then think again about what you’re doing: http://dailym.ai/2ndSmU4

WHS is working for you; help us to help you.
Our aim is to keep people safe and to keep your company working