COMPANY NEWS

Christmas Closure

It’s that time of year again so may we, at Wenlock Health & Safety, wish all our customers and colleagues a

very happy, healthy and safe Christmas, and New Year

In addition, please note that our office will close from 5pm on Friday 20 December 2019 and re-open at 8am on Thursday 2 January 2020.

Forthcoming Courses

Forthcoming dates and fees for courses for the remainder of 2019 and early 2020 are as follows. Please contact Vicki at Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) on 01952 885885 or vicki@wenlockhs.co.uk to book.

Note that all courses will be held at our offices in Jackfield, Telford. However, if any organisation requires attendance by 6 or more employees, a specific course can be arranged at a date, time and location to suit. Please contact the WHS office to discuss your requirements and agree costs.

First Aid

Forthcoming dates for the WHS 1-day Emergency First Aid courses are as follows:

Duration: 1 day (6 hours)

2019 dates:

  • 26 November 2019
  • 18 December 2019

Cost: £75 + VAT per person

2020 dates:

  • 27 January 2020
  • 25 February 2020

Cost: £85 + VAT per person (please note the small price increase)

WHS can also run the full 4-day First Aid at Work course for companies who need additional skills and wish to send 4+ candidates; contact Vicki for fees. However, do initially discuss first aid requirements with your own WHS consultant to assess whether the 4-day course is actually appropriate for your circumstances.

IOSH Managing Safely

Duration: 3 days
Dates: 28, 29 & 30 January 2020
Cost: £395 + VAT per person

CITB Courses

IMPORTANT NOTES:

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

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

Forthcoming course dates are as follows; all CITB course fees include lunch.

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)

Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week
Dates:

  • 17, 24, 31 January, 7 & 14 February 2020 (Fridays)
  • 6, 13, 20, 27 March & 3 April 2020 (Fridays)

Cost: £495 + VAT per person

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

  • 4 & 5 December 2019 (Wednesday & Thursday)
  • 3 & 4 February 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 1 & 2 April 2020 (Wednesday & Thursday)

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

  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS)

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

  • 11 & 12 December 2019 (Wednesday & Thursday)
  • 10 & 11 February 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 20 & 21 April 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)

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

  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS) Refresher

Duration: 1 day
Dates: PLEASE CONTACT WHS; no date currently confirmed

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

  • CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

  • 13 January 2020 (Monday)
  • 16 March 2020 (Monday)

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

Safety Awards

As usual at this time of year, we like to recognise, in a small but significant way, the commendable efforts that some of our clients have made over the last year to tangibly ensure the health & safety of their personal, the public and others. Although we have already seen early but disturbing signs that some companies are becoming either complacent or cash-strapped and, thus, standards seem to be all too easily falling, others demonstrate an exemplary commitment to ensuring the well-being of their workforce and the safety of others. So this year we have two clear winners, both of which are shining examples of how things should be done – and how easy it can be if the commitment is there and personnel are valued.

  • Commitment to Safety:

Morris Property Ltd of Shrewsbury.

Working within the 150 year old Morris & Co Ltd group, Morris Property Ltd have expanded into commercial development and contracting over the last decade and, during that time, have shown continual improvement to health & safety and a commitment to ensuring legal compliance. Management are intrinsically involved with maintaining standards and have allowed us to recommend and do what we think is necessary to ensure that health & safety remains paramount throughout the Company’s operations.

  • Commitment to Continual Improvement:

Matt Kershaw, Health & Safety Co-Ordinator for Edgebourn Building Contracts Ltd of Stourbridge.

Matt has always shown commitment to improving standards through the Company’s systems in his role as Health & Safety Co-Ordinator, with a clear commitment to training the workforce. He has always worked with the mantra ‘if you wouldn’t do it yourself, then why ask others to do so?’, so has demonstrated a clear empathy. He has spear-headed compliant safe working systems, and personally monitors their effectiveness with a view to continual improvements where necessary.

Congratulations to both our winners; they set a benchmark of achievable construction-based health & safety. Photos will be included in the January 2020 newsletter – well done indeed!

Help with Dyslexia

Dyslexia can be a significantly debilitating condition which, with no obvious outward signs, can be hidden from employers and others, causing anxiety and suppressing confidence. It is a common issue within construction and can cause extreme stress when sufferers are required to write paperwork or undertake courses and tests.

WHS is well aware of the issues and we completely understand the reluctance of individuals to tell employers and, often, us as well. However, it is vital that those who need to know are told so that assistance can be offered. For example, WHS can offer assistance to those taking course and tests if we are informed beforehand – in confidence if necessary.

However, WHS has now taken a step to help both our subscribed employers and their employees to access appropriate government funded assistance. The Government’s ‘Access to Work’ scheme (established as a result of the 2010 Equality Act) is aimed at ensuring people can, not only work towards employment, but also stay in employment by offering practical help for all types of disabilities – including dyslexia. And the best thing about the scheme is that it’s free to employers who have less than 50 employees, and they only charge a nominal amount for larger employers.

The website gives details: https://www.gov.uk/access-to-work
but isn’t brilliant; it can be confusing and onerous when it comes to sorting what is actually available.

However, WHS now has access to a dyslexia specialist in the Telford area who can (free of charge) give first-hand assistance to help individuals through the process of accessing available help – which can include tailored software to help with the writing or understanding of paperwork.

Unfortunately, we can only offer the specialist’s service to those within the broad Telford area – but, if you are local and think you or your employees could benefit from this service, please do not hesitate to contact the WHS office. You don’t get much free these days – so take advantage!

COSHH Assessment Changes

Our COSHH assessment format is changing; the changes will come into effect (at no cost to you) as your documents are re-issued at renewal. The same information will be contained – but in a different order. The changes are primarily to make the documents more user-friendly so the information that must be known by workers is foremost, whilst other information required by management and emergency services (requiring technical details about substances) will be last.

So some timely reminders at this point:

  • COSHH assessments are required by law; data sheets are insufficient
  • COSHH assessment information must be transmitted clearly to workers involved
  • COSHH assessments must be held on site both for reference and to give emergency services information about what the products contained and the likely hazards

Permits to Work Changes

Other templates are changing and, as highlighted in the cover letter when you receive your renewal pack, it is essential that you familiarise yourself with all documents and make the necessary changes internally.

One such change is to the permit-to-dig which has been required for ground disturbance for decades now. However, the industry standard terminology has changed from permit-to-dig to the (rather more accurate) ‘permit for ground disturbance’. You can carry on using the current format until such time as the new one is issued to you; but you must be aware that:

The permit-to-dig has always been intended to cover any ground disturbance at all (refer to your Health & Safety Manual) as it is just as likely that an underground service will be hit when banging in (e.g.) road pins or erecting fencing as when excavating. So be sure you are using the permit to ensure safety with all ground disturbance, no matter how shallow, brief or seemingly minor.

The Importance of Environmental Management

Environmental issues have hit the headlines recently as protestors try to ensure politicians actually do something about the current unsustainable use of our finite resources. However, when it comes to construction, there are a huge number of other day-to-day issues and legal requirements that we all need to be aware of, such as permits and exemptions, hazardous waste, allowable processes, siting of compounds, etc, etc.

Fines for breaches of environmental law can be enormous and prosecutions are frequent, often involving contractors who are either unaware of, or choose to ignore, legal requirements. Those of our customers who already hold a WHS Environmental Management System (EMS) are urged to ensure that all the information therein is read, understood and acted upon. Those customers who don’t yet have an EMS are strongly recommended to purchase one so that you know the facts before it’s too late! Even trades-people have legal requirements relating to (e.g.) disposing of and transporting waste, etc.

Our EMS comes at a bargain and one-off price of £150 + VAT for basic contractors (the fee may be a little more for unusual circumstances) and is reviewed and renewed each year free of charge upon re-subscription. It is worth this small outlay to have the information at your fingertips.

HSE NEWS

HSE Enforcement

(With grateful thanks to the HSE for all photos; refer to https://bit.ly/2OPpuRV for further photos)

It’s pretty obvious why the following photos were subject to HSE enforcement….

But what about these?

If you are unsure of the answers, please contact WHS immediately!

Believe it or not, WHS still sees unsafe practices such as these during site inspections! And never forget that the Principal Contractor will be held liable by the HSE for any such unacceptable site conditions – because, even if the sub-contractor is proved to be adequately health & safety competent, the Principal Contractor’s site management MUST (by law) control who is working on site AND HOW THEY ARE WORKING! It’s fundamental and the HSE would always investigate the adequacy of site management first. For example:

Bowmer & Kirkland fined a total of over £356,000 after the director of the roofing contractor’s sub-contractor, JKW Roofing, was blown 11 metres off the roof of a school new-build in 2017 in the very high winds (in excess of 150km per hour) from Storm Doris. Roofing contractor, Advanced Roofing, was fined over £35,000 and the JKW director (and sole trader) given a 12 month conditional discharge and ordered to pay over £6000 costs. Yes, the roofer and the roofing sub-contractor should have refused to work – if they were competent roofers, they would have known that roof-work in significant (let alone high) winds should never happen. But neither should the Principal Contractor have ever allowed it to happen. Hence, the HSE found the Principal Contractor, PDR, had failed to plan, manage and monitor the work at height and was, thus, under CDM, almost totally liable for the serious injuries sustained; hence Bowmer & Kirkland was fined over 10 x that of Advanced Roofing.

And again, PDR Construction Ltd was fined a total of £233,000 and the roofing contractor, Metcalfe Roofing & Building Services Ltd, fined £2,000 after a roofer fell 3 metres through a fragile roof. The HSE found the Principal Contractor, PDR, had failed to plan, manage and monitor the work at height and was, thus, under CDM, almost totally liable for the serious injuries sustained.

An Important Reminder

Following on from the risks highlighted above related to high winds, WHS reminds contractors that the Work at Height Regs require competent recorded scaffold / access equipment inspections:

  • Before first ascent – and, no, the Handover Certificate does not serve this purpose
  • Every 7 days minimum
  • After EVERY event that could have compromised its integrity

Events that could compromise the integrity and safety of work at height equipment certainly include high winds, flooding, ground instability, being hit by plant or vehicles, etc. The equipment MUST be inspected following such events BEFORE the next ascent BY LAW for obvious reasons, but WHS rarely sees this done.

Another Important Reminder

You may have seen on national news that Wood Flour Mill of Bosley (under the ownership of Wood Treatment Ltd) has been charged with Corporate Manslaughter, and a director and 2 manager charged with gross negligence, following the deaths of 4 employees in July 2015; the extensive uncontrolled wood dust exploded causing the mill to collapse and fires to break out: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-50349682

This was an appalling case resulting from management’s complete disregard for the safety of employees despite previous warnings. We await the outcome of the court case; the sentencing is likely to be considerable.
But a reminder – dusts can kill, and some airborne dusts resulting from flammable materials can kill by exploding. Significant concentrations (i.e. uncontrolled) wood, grain, dusts, sugars, even coffee and cocoa, can explode if there is an ignition source. And that ignition source could be as simple as heat from tools and static from mobiles. As stated above, COSHH assessments are legally required – for very valid reasons. And, in circumstances where flammable dusts are produced, they are absolutely vital. The COSHH assessment must dictate that airborne dusts are prevented as well as further appropriate controls, PPE, etc, something that certainly didn’t happen in this case, with the result that 4 innocent people lost their lives.

INDUSTRY NEWS

Safety on Forward Tipping Dumpers

Forward tipping dumpers are often fitted with cabs – but a word of warning here. The incorporated roll-bar has been a legally required safety feature for over 20 years; however, this does NOT make the cab a ‘safe place’ of work for the driver. The cab itself is not designed to protect the driver from falling materials; hence, the requirement to dismount whilst the dumper is being loaded STILL stands.

Radon

The presence of radon gas within both developing and existing sites in the UK is all too often overlooked. Many of you will have an appreciation of the very real risks to people living or working within affected regions (in a nutshell, radon is carcinogenic) and will know what has to be done to combat those risks. Others may be totally unaware of the risks and oblivious of the (often very simple) ways to control them.

WHS will be issuing a risk assessment for radon within your annual health & safety packs as from January 2020. Whether you are a developer, designer, contractor or, indeed, a business manager working from a static premises, please do make sure you read the risk assessment, digest what is required, and act on the recommendations. And don’t overlook the fact that your own house may be affected as well, so it’s doubly important that you act at home as well if you find your house may be affected.

As a starting point, everyone should make themselves familiar with the UK map from Public Health England, available on: https://www.ukradon.org/information/ukmaps which clearly shows areas of the country potentially affected or clear. Further information can be sought from: https://www.ukradon.org/
However, if anyone would like an email copy of the risk assessment in advance of your annual pack, please do feel free to ring the WHS office.

Underground Services

The following advice has been issued by the Utility Strike Avoidance Group (USAG), an invaluable resource for both groundworks and others who may make contact with utility services and is free to join; for detailed information, go to the website: https://www.utilitystrikeavoidancegroup.org/

To summarise the USAG advice:

  • You are not permitted to use mechanical means for ground disturbance (notice we don’t just say ‘excavations’; see above!) within 500mm to 1000mm of a known or suspected underground service.
  • The ‘safe’ distance will depend on the level of risk, i.e. an 11kV cable or a high-pressure gas main require a greater safe distance than a water pipe! Utility companies will give advice on their recommended safe distances.

However, WHS would also add:

  • Other issues may well affect the standard safe distance, e.g. wet conditions can make electricity arc to vast distances from services. So the risk level MUST be evaluated pre-start ON THE DAY and MUST allow a sufficient margin of error to ensure safety.
  • And, no, it is not acceptable to use mechanical equipment when you’ve located the services, no matter what the reason; most excavator drivers are indeed skilful BUT they cannot guarantee they won’t snag the service if they operate the bucket with less than a 500mm buffer zone, even if the risk level is perceived to be low.

These few simple practical rules issued by USAG can help you avoid contact with buried services – and the potential for serious injury and prosecution:

  • Use non-conductive hand tools, use gentle foot pressure, DO NOT throw or spike them in the ground.
  • Dig in line with utility survey mark outs, DO NOT dig across
  • Dig forwards from the edge of the mark out corridor; DO NOT start in the middle of the corridor
  • And BEWARE if using picks, pins, spikes and forks to free rocks and break hard layers. DO NOT use in soft soil near services. The worker who used a metal spike to dislodge rocks in this photo suffered serious facial burns when he struck the cable (ringed) and the electricity arced:

Refer also to the generic risk assessments for the voidance of both underground and overhead services.

Mental Health Awareness

WHS has covered mental wellbeing within the construction industry many times in recent years and offers specific courses to help identify and deal with mental health issues before it’s too late.

Additional industry-specific help is available free of charge on the Construction Industry Helpline App:
https://www.constructionindustryhelpline.com/app.html
which is designed to give personal and confidential support to the individual,
or the 24/7 phone line: 0345-605 1956

Distribute this information to all your employees, give a tool box talk, and encourage them to download the App before, rather than when, the issue hits home.

Work at Height – Fall Arrest

The Work at Height Regulations 2005 require that, where scaffold and edge protection (fall prevention measures) are not practicable, fall arrest systems MUST be established to avoid injury through falls. Traditional fall arrest systems include bean bags and air bags, both of which have their problems, and crash decking which can be time-consuming and expensive to erect.

A good alternative to the conventional birdcage crash decking is Rhinodeck which is quick to erect, fully braced, economical system which can, in its steel format, be loaded to 600 kg/m2 (plastic up to 200 kg/m2 ). Edge protection can be incorporated where necessary. A 1-day training course is offered to ensure full competence for the erection of the system and (which is very good news) this is then suitable towards gaining a relevant CSCS card.
Go to: https://www.sayfasystems.co.uk/rhinodeck/ for full details and on-line tools to help you calculate your needs.

If bags are the preferred option, try Airdeck which are fire-rated/retardant, anti-static (ideal for the oil & gas industries), weather-resistant and long-lasting air bags which can prove very economical as they can be transported 50 bags to a pallet.
Go to: https://www.sayfasystems.co.uk/airdeck/ for full details.

Both products are manufactured and distributed by Sayfa Systems who have pioneered a number of excellent work at height safety access and fall protection products.
Go to: https://www.sayfasystems.co.uk/ for their full range of products.

Footnote:

Erection of any type of scaffold system, including crash decking, constitutes ‘temporary works’ and arrangements must, therefore, be made for competence, supervision and monitoring through both erection AND design. Contact WHS for assistance or further information.

GENERAL NEWS

Mobile Phones Whilst Driving

Many of you will have heard in the media that the Government is planning to close the loophole whereby drivers cannot be prosecuted for taking photos, scrolling social media or using their mobile phones for anything other than making calls or texting whilst driving: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-50250730

It never ceases to amaze us at WHS just how many people try to find loopholes to enable them to carry on doing what is clearly extremely dangerous – whether driving or whilst on site! Whether it’s illegal or not, driving without full concentration is dangerous!

Employers are reminded they are wholly responsible for the behaviour of their employees whilst at work – and this includes whilst driving for work. Those of you who haven’t yet put together a company driving policy should consider this a priority; lay down strict company rules about how you expect your employees to behave behind the wheel, including whether use of mobiles is allowable using blue-tooth (and under what circumstances) or banned completely whilst driving.

Remember, employers are liable for any fines emanating from employees’ breaches of road traffic law unless a sound driving policy is in place and signed by the driver. And prosecutions of employers do happen where accidents have happened as a result of bad driving, tiredness, poor vehicle maintenance, etc. If you need assistance putting a driving policy in place, do contact the WHS office.

Yet Another Victim of Asbestos

On 2 October 2019, father of 5, Phil Moreton passed away, becoming yet another victim of the killer asbestos-related disease mesothelioma. The thing to note about this case is that Phil evidently contracted the disease whilst playing on building sites as a youngster. 36 year old Phil had only been diagnosed 5 weeks before his death. He deteriorated very quickly, losing 5 stone in weight, and was unable to even hold his baby boy in his final days. Read the story and hear heart-rending testimony from Phil’s widow: https://dailym.ai/2WQGkBK

Can we just make yet another plea to everyone, whether you’re an employer or an individual doing DIY, please make absolutely sure you do NOT disturb asbestos. For the sake of your family, make sure you have an asbestos survey before you touch anything in buildings built or started before 2000. And, if you don’t know, don’t touch! Just imagine how bad Christmas will be for Phil’s wife and children.

AND FINALLY

With sincere thanks to the HSE for all photographs

First off this time, we highlight the consequences of, what can only be described as very poor site management. The Bowmer & Kirkland prosecution discussed above has already illustrated the points that the Principal Contractor is, under CDM, liable for safety in all work under their control, whether carried out directly or by sub-contractors. Here are a few more examples of the consequences of failing to properly manage sites – not only were contractors prosecuted but, more importantly, people got hurt. And do note also that management is just as likely to be held personally accountable these days as the businesses themselves.

Management

  • Clancy Docwra Ltd was fined a total of over £1,108,000 and site supervisor, Daniel Walsh, given a 6-month suspended sentence and ordered to pay costs of £15,000 after a worker was struck by an excavator and killed during night work. The victim had been disconnecting lifting accessories from metal piles when he was hit and crushed against a concrete wall. Not only had the Principal Contractor failed to plan and manage the work, but Walsh was also found to have failed to take reasonable care of persons under his control.
  • BAM Nuttall Ltd was fined a total of almost £839,000 after a worker was seriously injured when he was hit on the head by a large polystyrene block falling from an excavator bucket. It should have been obvious that an excavator bucket is not appropriate lifting and transportation equipment for such a large object but this had not been challenged.
  • Principal contractor, PDR Construction Ltd was fined a total of £233,000 and sub-contractor, Metcalfe Roofing & Building Services Ltd, fined £2,000 after a worker fell 3 metres through non-load-bearing mesh, suffering multiple injuries. PDR had failed to plan and carry out the work in a safe manner.
  • Bifrangi UK and Italian contractor, Zamperoni F.lli Srl, were fined totals of over £146,000 and £55,000 respectively after a Zamperoni employee fell 5.4 metres through a fragile roof and sustained multiple broken bones. Both companies had failed to risk assess, properly plan for the roof-work and establish safe systems.
  • RW Hill (Felixstowe) Ltd was fined a total of almost £39,000 following the death of a worker employed by a specialist concrete sub-contractor. A concrete pump hose had become blocked then, as the blockage dislodged under the increasing pressure, it whipped round violently, killing the worker and injuring another. The Company had failed to adequately plan and manage the operation by not establishing an exclusion zone, ensuring competent supervision and providing suitable information to the contractor.
  • Navkaar Ltd was fined a total of almost £39,000 after an HSE inspector found that the Company had failed to prevent risks from falls from height, exposure to asbestos and dangerous electrical systems. The Company had been found to breach CDM duties to ‘plan, manage and monitor’ work on site – not to mention countless other legal duties by the sound of it!
  • Williams Homes (Bala) Ltd was fined a total of over £67,000 after a sub-contract joiner was hit on the head and seriously injured by a falling beam during erection of a timber-frame house. The lifting operation had not been properly planned, managed nor supervised by the Principal Contractor.
  • RB Wilson (Electrical) Ltd was fined £24,000 after two members of the public were injured falling through an unprotected floor hatch. Whilst installing a new heating system in a domestic property under contract to the local council, the Company had failed to put physical barriers or warning signs around the uncovered floor hatch, with the result that the occupier and her brother-in-law fell through the gap.

Footnote:
WHS is continually pointing out that safety on all sites is the contractor’s responsibility, whether in a commercial or domestic situation. Just because the work in a domestic situation tends to be relatively minor, this does not mean that safety is secondary; indeed, as the occupants tend to be present, ensuring that everyone is kept protected and safe is even more of a priority as this case proves.

Work at height

  • Roofing contractor, Henderson & Aitken Ltd, was fined £53,000 after a fatal fall of a worker from a scaffold ladder; the victim had been told by a director to erect the scaffold, despite being unqualified. The ladder had only been fixed to one style using nylon cord; as the worker exited the scaffold, the ladder slipped sideways by just 20 cms, causing him to fall to his death.
  • Weathervane Roofing & Building Ltd was fined a total of over £21,000 and its director, Ian Wilkinson, sentenced to a 12-month community order, carry out 160 hours of unpaid work and pay costs of £1,125, after a worker fell 15 metres through a skylight and sustained serious injuries. The Company had not planned a safe system of work for the replacement of the fragile sheeted roof, nor had they provided any edge protection or fall arrest equipment.
  • Kingswinford Engineering Co Ltd was fined a total of £27,000 and its repeat contractor, James Durrans, a total of £120,000 after carrying out unsafe pipe repair work on a roof; both companies had ‘assumed’ the other was responsible so neither did anything!! Workers had jumped a 3 metre gap to get onto the wet and slippery roof from a man-cage; no edge protection had been provided, nor had any thought been given to the method of access and fall protection. Both companies had failed to carry out risk assessment and both had wilfully risked life and limb by not even considering a safe system of work.
  • Both partners of CB Roofing were sentenced after being observed carrying out unsafe work; they both received 6-month suspended custodial sentences and ordered to carry out 250 hours of unpaid work and pay costs of £1836.
  • STS Constructions Ltd was fined a total of almost £28,000 after an HSE inspection highlighted unsafe work at height, including unprotected edges, no fall arrest – and a floor being removed with a breaker whilst workers were standing on it!!! Unbelievable!!!

Important footnote:
In these last 3 cases, there had been no accident but the Companies were seen to be carrying out unsafe work at height without the necessary precautions; beware – the public are observant and the HSE are everywhere!!

Heavy lifting

  • National Grid Electricity Transmission PLC was fined a total of almost £352,000 after a worker was killed by a remote-controlled crane. The victim was moving a heavy delivery crate containing a compressor using by operating the remote-control unit himself; however, as he attempted to attach lifting hooks, he was struck by the crane. No training had been provided, nor had the risks of using remote-control been properly assessed.
  • Engineering company, IODS Pipe Cad Ltd was fined £60,000 after a worker was struck on the head and killed by a heavy pipe being transported across the yard by a side-loading fork-lift. Clearly not the correct equipment for the movement of such a load and, in addition, the pipe began to roll during the operation as it had not been secured to the forks.

Plant & vehicle segregation

  • Minteq UK Ltd was fined a total of over £223,000 after a worker was struck and killed by a forklift whilst she was walking along a designated pedestrian route. Insufficient measures were in place to protect people; the pedestrian walkway ran, unprotected, down the centre of the roadway used by vehicles.
  • Cangrain Stores Ltd was fined a total of £200,000 after a worker was struck and killed by a lorry reversing within the yard. No segregation between pedestrians and vehicles had been established.
  • The Director of a waste management company, Michael Toon, was ordered to carry out 120 hours of unpaid community work and pay costs of £1,500 after a worker was critically injured whilst using a tele-handler. The worker had become trapped between the machine and a gate post when it moved unexpectedly; it had become stuck and he had dismounted. Toon was present at the time and, in the judge’s words, the offence had been committed ‘with his consent… (and was) attributable to his neglect’

STAY SAFE! IT’S THE BEST CHRISTMAS PRESENT YOU CAN GIVE TO YOUR FAMILY

                           

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

Christmas Closure

It’s that time of year again so may we, at Wenlock Health & Safety, wish all our customers and colleagues a

very happy, healthy and safe Christmas, and New Year

In addition, please note that our office will close from 5pm on Friday 20 December 2019 and re-open at 8am on Thursday 2 January 2020.

Forthcoming Courses

Forthcoming dates and fees for courses for the remainder of 2019 and early 2020 are as follows. Please contact Vicki at Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) on 01952 885885 or vicki@wenlockhs.co.uk to book.

Note that all courses will be held at our offices in Jackfield, Telford. However, if any organisation requires attendance by 6 or more employees, a specific course can be arranged at a date, time and location to suit. Please contact the WHS office to discuss your requirements and agree costs.

First Aid

Forthcoming dates for the WHS 1-day Emergency First Aid courses are as follows:

Duration: 1 day (6 hours)

2019 dates:

  • 26 November 2019
  • 18 December 2019

Cost: £75 + VAT per person

2020 dates:

  • 27 January 2020
  • 25 February 2020

Cost: £85 + VAT per person

WHS can also run the full 4-day First Aid at Work course for companies who need additional skills and wish to send 4+ candidates; contact Vicki for fees. However, do initially discuss first aid requirements with your own WHS consultant to assess whether the 4-day course is actually appropriate for your circumstances.

IOSH Managing Safely

Duration: 3 days
Dates: 28, 29 & 30 January 2020
Cost: £395 + VAT per person

CITB Courses

IMPORTANT NOTES:

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

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

Forthcoming course dates are as follows; all CITB course fees include lunch.

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)

Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week

Dates:

  • 17, 24, 31 January, 7 & 14 February 2020 (Fridays)
  • 6, 13, 20, 27 March & 3 April 2020 (Fridays)

Cost: £495 + VAT per person

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

  • 4 & 5 December 2019 (Wednesday & Thursday)
  • 3 & 4 February 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 1 & 2 April 2020 (Wednesday & Thursday)

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

  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS)

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

  • 11 & 12 December 2019 (Wednesday & Thursday)
  • 10 & 11 February 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 20 & 21 April 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)

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

  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS) Refresher

Duration: 1 day
Dates: PLEASE CONTACT WHS; no date currently confirmed
Cost: £160 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

  • CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

  • 13 January 2020 (Monday)
  • 16 March 2020 (Monday)

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

Safety Awards

As usual at this time of year, we like to recognise, in a small but significant way, the commendable efforts that some of our clients have made over the last year to tangibly ensure the health & safety of their personal, the public and others. Although we have already seen early but disturbing signs that some companies are becoming either complacent or cash-strapped and, thus, standards seem to be all too easily falling, others demonstrate an exemplary commitment to ensuring the well-being of their workforce and the safety of others. So this year we have two clear winners, both of which are shining examples of how things should be done – and how easy it can be if the commitment is there and personnel are valued.

  • Commitment to Safety:

Morris Property Ltd of Shrewsbury.

Working within the 150 year old Morris & Co Ltd group, Morris Property Ltd have expanded into commercial development and contracting over the last decade and, during that time, have shown continual improvement to health & safety and a commitment to ensuring legal compliance. Management are intrinsically involved with maintaining standards and have allowed us to recommend and do what we think is necessary to ensure that health & safety remains paramount throughout the Company’s operations.

  • Commitment to Continual Improvement:

Matt Kershaw, Health & Safety Co-Ordinator for Edgebourn Building Contracts Ltd of Stourbridge.

Matt has always shown commitment to improving standards through the Company’s systems in his role as Health & Safety Co-Ordinator, with a clear commitment to training the workforce. He has always worked with the mantra ‘if you wouldn’t do it yourself, then why ask others to do so?’, so has demonstrated a clear empathy. He has spear-headed compliant safe working systems, and personally monitors their effectiveness with a view to continual improvements where necessary.

Congratulations to both our winners; they set a benchmark of achievable construction-based health & safety. Photos will be included in the January 2020 newsletter – well done indeed!

Help with Dyslexia

Dyslexia can be a significantly debilitating condition which, with no obvious outward signs, can be hidden from employers and others, causing anxiety and suppressing confidence. It is a common issue within construction and can cause extreme stress when sufferers are required to write paperwork or undertake courses and tests.

WHS is well aware of the issues and we completely understand the reluctance of individuals to tell employers and, often, us as well. However, it is vital that those who need to know are told so that assistance can be offered. For example, WHS can offer assistance to those taking course and tests if we are informed beforehand – in confidence if necessary.

However, WHS has now taken a step to help both our subscribed employers and their employees to access appropriate government funded assistance. The Government’s ‘Access to Work’ scheme (established as a result of the 2010 Equality Act) is aimed at ensuring people can, not only work towards employment, but also stay in employment by offering practical help for all types of disabilities – including dyslexia. And the best thing about the scheme is that it’s free to employers who have less than 50 employees, and they only charge a nominal amount for larger employers.

The website gives details: https://www.gov.uk/access-to-work
but isn’t brilliant; it can be confusing and onerous when it comes to sorting what is actually available.

However, WHS now has access to a dyslexia specialist in the Telford area who can (free of charge) give first-hand assistance to help individuals through the process of accessing available help – which can include tailored software to help with the writing or understanding of paperwork.

Unfortunately, we can only offer the specialist’s service to those within the broad Telford area – but, if you are local and think you or your employees could benefit from this service, please do not hesitate to contact the WHS office. You don’t get much free these days – so take advantage!

COSHH Assessment Changes

Our COSHH assessment format is changing; the changes will come into effect (at no cost to you) as your documents are re-issued at renewal. The same information will be contained – but in a different order. The changes are primarily to make the documents more user-friendly so the information that must be known by workers is foremost, whilst other information required by management and emergency services (requiring technical details about substances) will be last.

So some timely reminders at this point:

  • COSHH assessments are required by law; data sheets are insufficient
  • COSHH assessment information must be transmitted clearly to workers involved
  • COSHH assessments must be held on site both for reference and to give emergency services information about what the products contained and the likely hazards

The Importance of Environmental Management

Environmental issues have hit the headlines recently as protestors try to ensure politicians actually do something about the current unsustainable use of our finite resources. However, when it comes to construction, there are a huge number of other day-to-day issues and legal requirements that we all need to be aware of, such as permits and exemptions, hazardous waste, allowable processes, siting of materials, etc, etc.

Fines for breaches of environmental law can be enormous and prosecutions are frequent, often involving contractors who are either unaware of, or choose to ignore, legal requirements. Those of our customers who already hold a WHS Environmental Management System (EMS) are urged to ensure that all the information therein is read, understood and acted upon. Those customers who don’t yet have an EMS are strongly recommended to purchase one so that you know the facts before it’s too late! Even trades-people have legal requirements relating to (e.g.) disposing of and transporting waste, etc.

Our EMS comes at a bargain and one-off price of £150 + VAT for basic contractors (the fee may be a little more for unusual circumstances) and is reviewed and renewed each year free of charge upon re-subscription. It is worth this small outlay to have the information at your fingertips.

HSE NEWS

HSE Enforcement

(With grateful thanks to the HSE for all photos; refer to https://bit.ly/2OPpuRV for further photos)

It’s pretty obvious why the following photos were subject to HSE enforcement….

But what about these?

All contractors should know the answers, whatever the trade; if you are unsure, please contact WHS immediately!

Believe it or not, WHS still sees unsafe practices such as these during site inspections! And never forget that the Principal Contractor will be held liable by the HSE for any such unacceptable site conditions – because, even if the sub-contractor is proved to be adequately health & safety competent, the Principal Contractor’s site management MUST (by law) control who is working on site AND HOW THEY ARE WORKING! It’s fundamental and the HSE would always investigate the adequacy of site management first.

For example:
Bowmer & Kirkland fined a total of over £356,000 after the director of the roofing contractor’s sub-contractor, JKW Roofing, was blown 11 metres off the roof of a school new-build in 2017 in the very high winds (in excess of 150km per hour) from Storm Doris. Roofing contractor, Advanced Roofing, was fined over £35,000 and the JKW director (and sole trader) given a 12 month conditional discharge and ordered to pay over £6000 costs. Yes, the roofer and the roofing sub-contractor should have refused to work – if they were competent roofers, they would have known that roof-work in significant (let alone high) winds should never happen. But neither should the Principal Contractor have ever allowed it to happen. Hence, the HSE found the Principal Contractor, PDR, had failed to plan, manage and monitor the work at height and was, thus, under CDM, almost totally liable for the serious injuries sustained; hence Bowmer & Kirkland was fined over 10 x that of Advanced Roofing.

And again, PDR Construction Ltd was fined a total of £233,000 and the roofing contractor, Metcalfe Roofing & Building Services Ltd, fined £2,000 after a roofer fell 3 metres through a fragile roof. The HSE found the Principal Contractor, PDR, had failed to plan, manage and monitor the work at height and was, thus, under CDM, almost totally liable for the serious injuries sustained.

An Important Reminder

Following on from the risks highlighted above related to high winds, WHS reminds contractors that the Work at Height Regs require competent recorded scaffold / access equipment inspections:

  • Before first ascent – and, no, the Handover Certificate does not serve this purpose
  • Every 7 days minimum
  • After EVERY event that could have compromised its integrity

Events that could compromise the integrity and safety of work at height equipment certainly include high winds, flooding, ground instability, being hit by plant or vehicles, etc. The equipment MUST be inspected following such events BEFORE the next ascent BY LAW for obvious reasons, but WHS rarely sees this done.

INDUSTRY NEWS

Mental Health Awareness

WHS has covered mental wellbeing within the construction industry many times over recent years and, now, as highlighted above, offers specific courses to help identify and deal with mental health issues before it’s too late.

Additional industry-specific help is available free of charge on the Construction Industry Helpline App:
https://www.constructionindustryhelpline.com/app.html
which is designed to give personal and confidential support to the individual, or the 24/7 phone line:
0345-605 1956

Distribute this information to all your employees, give a tool box talk, and encourage them to download the App before, rather than when, the issue hits home.

Work at Height – Fall Arrest

The Work at Height Regulations 2005 require that, where scaffold and edge protection (fall prevention measures) are not practicable, fall arrest systems MUST be established to avoid injury through falls. Traditional fall arrest systems include bean bags and air bags, both of which have their problems, and crash decking which can be time-consuming and expensive to erect.

A good alternative to the conventional birdcage crash decking is Rhinodeck which is quick to erect, fully braced, economical system which can, in its steel format, be loaded to 600 kg/m2 (plastic up to 200 kg/m2 ). Edge protection can be incorporated where necessary. A 1-day training course is offered to ensure full competence for the erection of the system and (which is very good news) this is then suitable towards gaining a relevant CSCS card. Go to: https://www.sayfasystems.co.uk/rhinodeck/ for full details and on-line tools to help you calculate your needs.

If bags are the preferred option, try Airdeck which are fire-rated/retardant, anti-static (ideal for the oil & gas industries), weather-resistant and long-lasting air bags which can prove very economical as they can be transported 50 bags to a pallet. Go to: https://www.sayfasystems.co.uk/airdeck/ for full details.

Both products are manufactured and distributed by Sayfa Systems who have pioneered a number of excellent work at height safety access and fall protection products. Go to: https://www.sayfasystems.co.uk/ for their full range of products.

Footnote:

Erection of any type of scaffold system, including crash decking, constitutes ‘temporary works’ and arrangements must, therefore, be made for competence, supervision and monitoring through both erection AND design. Contact WHS for assistance or further information.

Electrical Safety and Innovation

WHS does not have a vested interest in Telford-based Schneider Electrical (UK), but we are continually impressed by the services and products offered by the Company to electricians. Not only is product safety a top priority, they are also innovation and quality driven; and they are keen to follow this through by providing training, webinars, chat lines, and support services via their Schneider Electric Exchange.

So, whether you are an electrician, a contractor, or indeed a designer specifying products, it would be a benefit to log into their UK website:
https://www.se.com/uk/en/about-us/company-profile/schneider-electric-uk/
and register your interest in receiving their newsletter:
https://www.se.com/uk/en/partners/exchange/
to hear the latest industry developments, innovations and best practice.

GENERAL NEWS

Mobile Phones Whilst Driving

Many of you will have heard in the media that the Government is planning to close the loophole whereby drivers cannot be prosecuted for taking photos, scrolling social media or using their mobile phones for anything other than making calls or texting whilst driving: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-50250730

It never ceases to amaze us at WHS just how many people try to find loopholes to enable them to carry on doing what is clearly extremely dangerous – whether driving or whilst on site! Whether it’s illegal or not, driving without full concentration is dangerous!

Employers are reminded they are wholly responsible for the behaviour of their employees whilst at work – and this includes whilst driving for work. Those of you who haven’t yet put together a company driving policy should consider this a priority; lay down strict company rules about how you expect your employees to behave behind the wheel, including whether use of mobiles is allowable using blue-tooth (and under what circumstances) or banned completely whilst driving.

Remember, employers are liable for any fines emanating from employees’ breaches of road traffic law unless a sound driving policy is in place and signed by the driver. And prosecutions of employers do happen where accidents have happened as a result of bad driving, tiredness, poor vehicle maintenance, etc. If you need assistance putting a driving policy in place, do contact the WHS office.

Yet Another Victim of Asbestos

On 2 October 2019, father of 5, Phil Moreton passed away, becoming yet another victim of the killer asbestos-related disease mesothelioma. The thing to note about this case is that Phil evidently contracted the disease whilst playing on building sites as a youngster. 36 year old Phil had only been diagnosed 5 weeks before his death. He deteriorated very quickly, losing 5 stone in weight, and was unable to even hold his baby boy in his final days. Read the story and hear heart-rending testimony from Phil’s widow: https://dailym.ai/2WQGkBK
Can we just make yet another plea to everyone, whether you’re an employer or an individual doing DIY, please make absolutely sure you do NOT disturb asbestos. For the sake of your family, make sure you have an asbestos survey before you touch anything in buildings built or started before 2000. And, if you don’t know, don’t touch! Just imagine how bad Christmas will be for Phil’s wife and children.

AND FINALLY

With sincere thanks to the HSE for all photographs

First off this time, we highlight the consequences of, what can only be described as very poor site management. The Bowmer & Kirkland prosecution discussed above has already illustrated the points that the Principal Contractor is, under CDM, liable for safety in all work under their control, whether carried out directly or by sub-contractors. Here are a few more examples of the consequences of failing to properly manage sites – not only were contractors prosecuted but, more importantly, people got hurt.

And do note also that management is just as likely to be held personally accountable these days as the businesses themselves.

Management

  • Clancy Docwra Ltd was fined a total of over £1,108,000 and site supervisor, Daniel Walsh, given a 6-month suspended sentence and ordered to pay costs of £15,000 after a worker was struck by an excavator and killed during night work. The victim had been disconnecting lifting accessories from metal piles when he was hit and crushed against a concrete wall. Not only had the Principal Contractor failed to plan and manage the work, but Walsh was also found to have failed to take reasonable care of persons under his control.
  • BAM Nuttall Ltd was fined a total of almost £839,000 after a worker was seriously injured when he was hit on the head by a large polystyrene block falling from an excavator bucket. It should have been obvious that an excavator bucket is not appropriate lifting and transportation equipment for such a large object but this had not been challenged.
  • RW Hill (Felixstowe) Ltd was fined a total of almost £39,000 following the death of a worker employed by a specialist concrete sub-contractor. A concrete pump hose had become blocked then, as the blockage dislodged under the increasing pressure, it whipped round violently, killing the worker and injuring another. The Company had failed to adequately plan and manage the operation by not establishing an exclusion zone, ensuring competent supervision and providing suitable information to the contractor.
  • Navkaar Ltd was fined a total of almost £39,000 after an HSE inspector found that the Company had failed to prevent risks from falls from height, exposure to asbestos and dangerous electrical systems. The Company had been found to breach CDM duties to ‘plan, manage and monitor’ work on site – not to mention countless other legal duties by the sound of it!
  • Principal contractor, PDR Construction Ltd was fined a total of £233,000 and sub-contractor, Metcalfe Roofing & Building Services Ltd, fined £2,000 after a worker fell 3 metres through non-load-bearing mesh, suffering multiple injuries. PDR had failed to plan and carry out the work in a safe manner.
  • Bifrangi UK and Italian contractor, Zamperoni F.lli Srl, were fined totals of over £146,000 and £55,000 respectively after a Zamperoni employee fell 5.4 metres through a fragile roof and sustained multiple broken bones. Both companies had failed to risk assess, properly plan for the roofwork and establish safe systems.
  • RB Wilson (Electrical) Ltd was fined £24,000 after two members of the public were injured falling through an unprotected floor hatch. Whilst installing a new heating system in a domestic property under contract to the local council, the Company had failed to put physical barriers or warning signs around the uncovered floor hatch, with the result that the occupier and her brother-in-law fell through the gap.

Footnote:
WHS is continually pointing out that safety on all sites is the contractor’s responsibility, whether in a commercial or domestic situation. Just because the work in a domestic situation tends to be relatively minor, this does not mean that safety is secondary; indeed, as the occupants tend to be present, ensuring that everyone is kept protected and safe is even more of a priority as this case proves.

Work at height

  • Vertellus Specialities UK Ltd was fined a total of over £125,000 after a worker fell 2 metres, suffering serious arm injuries. The employee had been using a ladder to inspect a steam leak using a ladder which the HSE described as being ‘not fit for use’; no inspections had been undertaken – inspections which are legally required for this very reason – so the faults had not been detected.
  • Roofing contractor, Henderson & Aitken Ltd, was fined £53,000 after a fatal fall of a worker from a scaffold ladder; the victim had been told by a director to erect the scaffold, despite being unqualified. The ladder had only been fixed to one style using nylon cord; as the worker exited the scaffold, the ladder slipped sideways by just 20 cms, causing him to fall to his death.
  • Weathervane Roofing & Building Ltd was fined a total of over £21,000 and its director, Ian Wilkinson, sentenced to a 12-month community order, carry out 160 hours of unpaid work and pay costs of £1,125, after a worker fell 15 metres through a skylight and sustained serious injuries. The Company had not planned a safe system of work for the replacement of the fragile sheeted roof, nor had they provided any edge protection or fall arrest equipment.
  • Solar UK Ltd were fined a total of £42,000 after a worker fell 4 metres through an unprotected skylight during solar panel installation work.
  • Kingswinford Engineering Co Ltd was fined a total of £27,000 and its repeat contractor, James Durrans, a total of £120,000 after carrying out unsafe pipe repair work on a roof; both companies had ‘assumed’ the other was responsible so neither did anything!!

Workers had jumped a 3 metre gap to get onto the wet and slippery roof from a man-cage; no edge protection had been provided, nor had any thought been given to the method of access and fall protection. Both companies had failed to carry out risk assessment and both had wilfully risked life and limb by not even considering a safe system of work.

Footnote:
In this last case, there had been no accident but the Company was seen to be carrying out unsafe work at height without the necessary precautions; beware – the public are observant and the HSE are everywhere!!

                                

STAY SAFE! IT’S THE BEST CHRISTMAS PRESENT YOU CAN GIVE TO YOUR FAMILY

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

Christmas Closure

It’s that time of year again so may we, at Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd, wish all our customers and colleagues a

very happy, healthy and safe Christmas, and New Year

In addition, please note that our office will close from 5pm on Friday 20 December 2019 and re-open at 8am on Thursday 2 January 2020.

Forthcoming Courses

Forthcoming dates and fees for courses for the remainder of 2019 and early 2020 are as follows. Please contact Vicki at Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) on 01952 885885 or vicki@wenlockhs.co.uk to book.

Note that all courses will be held at our offices in Jackfield, Telford. However, if any organisation requires attendance by 6 or more employees, a specific course can be arranged at a date, time and location to suit. Please contact the WHS office to discuss your requirements and agree costs.

First Aid

Forthcoming dates for the WHS 1-day Emergency First Aid courses are as follows:

Duration: 1 day (6 hours)

2019 dates:

  • 26 November 2019
  • 18 December 2019

Cost: £75 + VAT per person

2020 dates:

  • 27 January 2020
  • 25 February 2020

Cost: £85 + VAT per person

WHS can also run the full 4-day First Aid at Work course for companies who need additional skills and wish to send 4+ candidates; contact Vicki for fees. However, do initially discuss first aid requirements with your own WHS consultant to assess whether the 4-day course is actually appropriate for your circumstances.

IOSH Managing Safely

Duration: 3 days
Dates: 28, 29 & 30 January 2020
Cost: £395 + VAT per person

Safety Awards

As usual at this time of year, we like to recognise, in a small but significant way, the commendable efforts that some of our clients have made over the last year to tangibly ensure the health & safety of their personal, the public and others. Although we have already seen early but disturbing signs that some companies are becoming either complacent or cash-strapped and, thus, standards seem to be all too easily falling, others demonstrate an exemplary commitment to ensuring the well-being of their workforce and the safety of others. So this year we have two clear winners, both of which are shining examples of how things should be done – and how easy it can be if the commitment is there and personnel are valued.

  • Commitment to Safety:

Morris Property Ltd of Shrewsbury.

Working within the 150 year old Morris & Co Ltd group, Morris Property Ltd have expanded into commercial development and contracting over the last decade and, during that time, have shown continual improvement to health & safety and a commitment to ensuring legal compliance. Management are intrinsically involved with maintaining standards and have allowed us to recommend and do what we think is necessary to ensure that health & safety remains paramount throughout the Company’s operations.

  • Commitment to Continual Improvement:

Matt Kershaw, Health & Safety Co-Ordinator for Edgebourn Building Contracts Ltd of Stourbridge.

Matt has always shown commitment to improving standards through the Company’s systems in his role as Health & Safety Co-Ordinator, with a clear commitment to training the workforce. He has always worked with the mantra ‘if you wouldn’t do it yourself, then why ask others to do so?’, so has demonstrated a clear empathy. He has spear-headed compliant safe working systems, and personally monitors their effectiveness with a view to continual improvements where necessary.

Congratulations to both our winners; they set a benchmark of achievable construction-based health & safety. Photos will be included in the January 2020 newsletter – well done indeed!

Help with Dyslexia

Dyslexia can be a significantly debilitating condition which, with no obvious outward signs, can be hidden from employers and others, causing anxiety and suppressing confidence. It is a common issue and can cause extreme stress when sufferers are required to write paperwork or undertake courses and tests.

WHS is well aware of the issues and we completely understand the reluctance of individuals to tell employers and, often, us as well. However, it is vital that those who need to know are told so that assistance can be offered. For example, WHS can offer assistance to those taking course and tests if we are informed beforehand – in confidence if necessary.

However, WHS has now taken a step to help both our subscribed employers and their employees to access appropriate government funded assistance. The Government’s ‘Access to Work’ scheme (established as a result of the 2010 Equality Act) is aimed at ensuring people can, not only work towards employment, but also stay in employment by offering practical help for all types of disabilities – including dyslexia. And the best thing about the scheme is that it’s free to employers who have less than 50 employees, and they only charge a nominal amount for larger employers.

The website gives details: https://www.gov.uk/access-to-work
but isn’t brilliant; it can be confusing and onerous when it comes to sorting what is actually available. However, WHS now has access to a dyslexia specialist in the Telford area who can (free of charge) give first-hand assistance to help individuals through the process of accessing available help – which can include tailored software to help with the writing or understanding of paperwork.

Unfortunately, we can only offer the specialist’s service to those within the broad Telford area – but, if you are local and think you or your employees could benefit from this service, please do not hesitate to contact the WHS office. You don’t get much free these days – so take advantage!

COSHH Assessment Changes

Our COSHH assessment format is changing; the changes will come into affect (at no cost to you) as your documents are re-issued at renewal. The same information will be contained – but in a different order. The changes are primarily to make the documents more user-friendly so the information that must be known by workers is foremost, whilst other information required by management and emergency services (requiring technical details about substances) will be last.

So some timely reminders at this point:

  • COSHH assessments are required by law; data sheets are insufficient
  • COSHH assessment information must be transmitted clearly to workers involved
  • COSHH assessments must be held at the work station both for reference and to give emergency services information about what the products contained and the likely hazards

HSE NEWS

An Important Reminder

You may have seen on national news that Wood Flour Mill of Bosley (under the ownership of Wood Treatment Ltd) has been charged with Corporate Manslaughter, and a director and 2 manager charged with gross negligence, following the deaths of 4 employees in July 2015; the extensive uncontrolled wood dust exploded causing the mill to collapse and fires to break out:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-50349682

This was an appalling case resulting from management’s complete disregard for the safety of employees despite previous warnings. We await the outcome of the court case; the sentencing is likely to be considerable.

But a reminder – dusts can kill, and some airborne dusts resulting from flammable materials can kill by exploding. Significant concentrations (i.e. uncontrolled) wood, grain, dusts, sugars, even coffee and cocoa, can explode if there is an ignition source. And that ignition source could be as simple as heat from tools and static from mobiles. As stated above, COSHH assessments are legally required – for very valid reasons. And, in circumstances where flammable dusts are produced, they are absolutely vital. The COSHH assessment must dictate that airborne dusts are prevented as well as further appropriate controls, PPE, etc, something that certainly didn’t happen in this case, with the result that 4 innocent people lost their lives.

GENERAL NEWS

Mobile Phones Whilst Driving

Many of you will have heard in the media that the Government is planning to close the loophole whereby drivers cannot be prosecuted for taking photos, scrolling social media or using their mobile phones for anything other than making calls or texting whilst driving: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-50250730

It never ceases to amaze us at WHS just how many people try to find loopholes to enable them to carry on doing what is clearly extremely dangerous – whether driving or whilst in the workplace! Whether it’s illegal or not, driving without full concentration is dangerous!

Employers are reminded they are wholly responsible for the behaviour of their employees whilst at work – and this includes whilst driving for work. Those of you who haven’t yet put together a company driving policy should consider this a priority; lay down strict company rules about how you expect your employees to behave behind the wheel, including whether use of mobiles is allowable using blue-tooth (and under what circumstances) or banned completely whilst driving.

Remember, employers are liable for any fines emanating from employees’ breaches of road traffic law unless a sound driving policy is in place and signed by the driver. And prosecutions of employers do happen where accidents have happened as a result of bad driving, tiredness, poor vehicle maintenance, etc.

If you need assistance putting a driving policy in place, do contact the WHS office.

Radon

The presence of radon gas within both new-build and existing sites in the UK is all too often overlooked. Many of you will have an appreciation of the very real risks to people living or working within affected regions (in a nutshell, radon is carcinogenic) and will know what has to be done to combat those risks. Others may be totally unaware of the risks and oblivious of the (often very simple) ways to control them.

WHS will be issuing a risk assessment for radon within your annual health & safety packs as from January 2020. The issues don’t just apply to design with new properties; it can affect existing properties as well. Any business owner or manager working from a static premises must make sure that the risk assessment is read, digested, and recommendations are acted upon. And don’t overlook the fact that your own house may be affected as well, so it’s doubly important that you act at home as well if you find your house may be affected.

As a starting point, everyone should make themselves familiar with the UK map from Public Health England, available on: https://www.ukradon.org/information/ukmaps which clearly shows areas of the country potentially affected or clear. Further information can be sought from: https://www.ukradon.org/

However, if anyone would like an email copy of the risk assessment in advance of your annual pack, please do feel free to ring the WHS office.

Yet Another Victim of Asbestos

On 2 October 2019, father of 5, Phil Moreton passed away, becoming yet another victim of the killer asbestos-related disease mesothelioma. The thing to note about this case is that Phil evidently contracted the disease whilst playing on building sites as a youngster.

36 year old Phil had only been diagnosed 5 weeks before his death. He deteriorated very quickly, losing 5 stone in weight, and was unable to even hold his baby boy in his final days. Read the story and hear heart-rending testimony from Phil’s widow: https://dailym.ai/2WQGkBK

Can we just make yet another plea to everyone, whether you’re an employer or an individual doing DIY, please make absolutely sure you do NOT disturb asbestos. For the sake of your family, make sure you have an asbestos survey before you touch anything in buildings built or started before 2000. And, if you don’t know, don’t touch!

Just imagine how bad Christmas will be for Phil’s wife and children.

AND FINALLY

With sincere thanks to the HSE for all photographs

First off this time, we highlight the consequences of, what can only be described as very poor management. And do note also that management is just as likely to be held personally accountable these days as the businesses themselves.

Management

  • Solid Surface Shop UK Ltd was fined a total of over £16,000 for failing to develop better systems to satisfy 5 Improvement Notices issued by the HSE which related to the airborne silica dusts produced by their processes. Despite repeated calls, emails and letters from the HSE, the Company Directors had failed to provide extraction systems, testing and monitoring of airborne dusts, PPE and risks assessments for the operation, noise or vibration.
  • JL Engineering (Rixton) Ltd was find a total of almost £28,000 after a worker was crushed by a metal frame being carried by a fork-lift. No risk assessment had been undertaken and training or instruction had been provided.
  • Volvo Group Ltd was fines over £13,000 after a worker was seriously injured by a truck rolling from a pit jack. The worker had not engaged the handbrake or use wheel chocks and, while adjusting the brakes of the truck, it started to roll causing an attached trailer to slip from the jack, crushing him.

Footnote:

You may wonder why the worker himself was not prosecuted. The Company was held to be responsible because they had provided insufficient information, instruction, supervision, training and safe working practices. No employer can ever assume that employees know how to do things properly.

Work at height

  • Vertellus Specialities UK Ltd was fined a total of over £125,000 after a worker fell 2 metres, suffering serious arm injuries. The employee had been using a ladder to inspect a steam leak using a ladder which the HSE described as being ‘not fit for use’; no inspections had been undertaken – inspections which are legally required for this very reason – so the faults had not been detected.
  • Water tank manufacturer, Braithwaite Engineers Ltd, was fined a total of over £11,000 after an employee fell from a lorry bed during unloading, sustaining multiple fractures. The Company had failed to plan for safe access to and unloading from lorry beds.

Important footnote:

Work at height in any industry is just as dangerous, therefore weekly and pre-use inspections are required regardless of the type of work. The Work at Height Regs require recorded access equipment inspections:

  • Every 7 days minimum

and in addition, where temporary ‘structures’ are used, such as scaffold, towers, temporary staircases, etc:

  • Before first ascent
  • After every event that could have compromised its integrity e.g. ground instability, being hit by plant or vehicles, etc.

Plant & vehicle segregation

  • Minteq UK Ltd was fined a total of over £223,000 after a worker was struck and killed by a forklift whilst she was walking along a designated pedestrian route. Insufficient measures were in place to protect people; the pedestrian walkway ran, unprotected, down the centre of the roadway used by vehicles.
  • Cangrain Stores Ltd was fined a total of £200,000 after a worker was struck and killed by a lorry reversing within the yard. No segregation between pedestrians and vehicles had been established.
  • The Director of a waste management company, Michael Toon, was ordered to carry out 120 hours of unpaid community work and pay costs of £1,500 after a worker was critically injured whilst using a tele-handler. The worker had become trapped between the machine and a gate post when it moved unexpectedly; it had become stuck and he had dismounted. Toon was present at the time and, in the judges words, the offence had been committed ‘with his consent… (and was) attributable to his neglect’

Machinery & guarding

  • Joshua Mark Noon, proprietor of Josh Noon Tree Services, was fined a total of over £9,100 after a worker lost a finger and the tip of another by becoming trapped in an unguarded log-splitter machine.
  • Hafeez Ghafoor, former director of now-dissolved landscaping company, RK United Ltd, was given a 12-month suspended prison sentence and ordered to carry out 200 hours of community service after a worker was impaled on a spike; the spike had been protruding from the control system of the crane being used to unload soil. The HSE found serious defects with the machine, including a deliberately disabled safety system and guard.
  • Aviramp Ltd was fined a total of over £55,000 after a worker’s hand was severed by an unguarded chop saw. In addition to the lack of guarding, the company had failed to maintain the machine and had provided no assessment, training or instruction.
  • Andrew Gibson, formerly trading as Crosby Kitchens, was given a suspended 26-week prison sentence, ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work and to pay costs of £17,000 after a worker lost 3 fingers to an unguarded saw blade. The guard had been removed and no push stick or safe system had been provided.
  • Cheshire Mouldings & Woodturning Ltd was fined a total of £474,000 and production director, Paul Carney, fined a total of over £54,000 after an agency worker suffered serious injuries by being dragged into an unguarded rotating drive shaft. Other machinery, including conveyor belts and other drive shafts, were found to also be unguarded; Carney was well aware but had ignored the issues despite previously being issued with 2 enforcement notices.
  • Nene Milling Company Ltd was fined a total of almost £7,500 after a worker sustained serious hand injuries from an unguarded cutter on a block; the hood enclosures were defective, resulting in the interlocks not functioning.
  • Tinmasters Swansea Ltd was fined a total of almost £31,000 after a worker became entangled and trapped between rollers of a printing press, sustaining serious injuries; the electronic interlocking device had been disabled.
  • Flory Works Ltd was fined a total of over £12,000 after a 2 workers lost fingers, one whilst using an unstable sliding table saw and the second on an unguarded planer-thicknesser, despite the issue of enforcement notices previously by the HSE.
  • Aylescott Feeds & Driers Ltd was fined a total of almost £17,500 after a worker was crushed in a pellet press and suffered serious hand injuries; there had been no isolation or lock-off procedure in place to cater for the removal of blockages such as the worker was undertaking at the time.
  • Siddall & Hilton Products Ltd was fined a total of almost £21,000 after a worker became trapped in a moving part of welder machine during maintenance, suffering serious injuries. The worker had opened the interlocking gate which stopped the machine; however, as the required maintenance involved identifying a faulty cable, his colleague restarted the machine and the victim became trapped. One would have thought it was common sense not to attempt to restart the machine – but the Company was found liable as no robust system was in place for maintenance and no instruction had been given.
                 

STAY SAFE! IT’S THE BEST CHRISTMAS PRESENT YOU CAN GIVE TO YOUR FAMILY

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

Forthcoming Courses

Forthcoming dates and fees for courses for the remainder of 2019 and early 2020 are as follows. Please contact Vicki at Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) on 01952 885885 or vicki@wenlockhs.co.uk to book.

Note that all courses will be held at our offices in Jackfield, Telford. However, if any organisation requires attendance by 6 or more employees, a specific course can be arranged at a date, time and location to suit. Please contact the WHS office to discuss your requirements and agree costs.

All course fees below include tea & coffee and all course literature. However, lunch is included on some, but not all, courses; it is important to check the details below.

First Aid

Forthcoming dates for the WHS 1-day Emergency First Aid courses are as follows:

Duration: 1 day (6 hours)

2019 dates:

  • 21 October 2019
  • 14 November 2019 (this is an additional date due to high demand)
  • 26 November 2019
  • 18 December 2019

Cost: £75 + VAT per person
Lunch is NOT provided

2020 dates:

  • 27 January 2020
  • 25 February 2020

Cost: £85 + VAT per person
Please note the small price increase because LUNCH IS PROVIDED 2020 ONWARDS

WHS can also run the full 4-day First Aid at Work course for companies who need additional skills and wish to send 4+ candidates; contact Vicki for fees. However, do initially discuss first aid requirements with your own WHS consultant to assess whether the 4-day course is actually appropriate for your circumstances.

First Aid for Mental Health

Duration: 1 day Level 2 RQF (6 hours)

Dates:

  • 2 October 2019 (Wednesday)

Cost: £75 + VAT per person
Lunch is provided

Previous courses sold out immediately so please book as soon as possible to be sure of securing places.

IOSH Managing Safely

Duration: 3 days

Dates:

  • January 2020 (date to be confirmed)

Cost: £395 + VAT per person
Lunch is provided

CITB Courses

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

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

Forthcoming course dates are as follows; all CITB course fees include lunch.

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)

Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week

Dates:

  • 11, 18, 25 November, 2 & 9 December 2019 (Mondays)
  • 17, 24, 31 January, 7 & 14 February 2020 (Fridays)
  • 6, 13, 20, 27 March & 3 April 2020 (Fridays)

Cost: £495 + VAT per person

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher

Duration: 2 days

Dates:

  • 7 & 8 October 2019 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 4 & 5 December 2019 (Wednesday & Thursday)
  • 3 & 4 February 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 1 & 2 April 2020 (Wednesday & Thursday)

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

  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS)

Duration: 2 days

Dates:

  • 16 & 17 October 2019 (Wednesday & Thursday)
  • 11 & 12 December 2019 (Wednesday & Thursday)
  • 10 & 11 February 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 20 & 21 April 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)

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

  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS) Refresher

Duration: 1 day

Dates:

  • PLEASE CONTACT WHS; no date currently confirmed

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

  • CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness

Duration: 1 day

Dates:

  • 7 November 2019 (Thursday)
  • 13 January 2020 (Monday)
  • 16 March 2020 (Monday)

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

HSE NEWS

Vibration – IMPORTANT

The HSE has revised the guidance document (L140) related to the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005; this is downloadable free of charge from: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/priced/l140.pdf

However, it is important to realise that the Regulations have not charged in any way and the basics of vibration risk assessment, the establishment of adequate monitoring and controls and the requirement for health surveillance still apply. Very few companies carry out proper vibration assessment, even fewer undertake health surveillance; ‘controls’ tend to consist of cursory monitoring of vibration exposure periods. WHS continually draws attention to the fact that the HSE is increasingly focusing on ‘harm’ issues such as manual handling and vibration and companies who do not comply with the Regulations may be subject to HSE enforcement. Refer to the prosecutions section at the end of the newsletter.

To assist with adequate vibration assessment, the HSE has also amended their Vibration Calculator to include a highly visible warning when exposure limits are likely to be exceeded. Go to: https://bit.ly/2kK0Jd2 for the new Vibration Calculator, the ‘Ready Reckoner’ and HSE guidance on how to use both. Use the Calculator to help assess the risks from your equipment and processes, but don’t forget to retain the results (print or save a screen shot) and issue appropriate instruction to your employees or the whole exercise will be pointless.

If you need further assistance, don’t hesitate to contact WHS; we’re here to help.

First-Aid – IMPORTANT

Although the Health and Safety (First-aid) Regulations 1981 have not changed, the HSE has issued fresh advice and a very useful means of assessing first-aid requirements. Go to:
http://www.hse.gov.uk/simple-health-safety/firstaid/index.htm and simply follow the steps.

Do note, however, that the advice given on the HSE’s website does now stress the need to include ‘mental health first-aid’; refer to: https://bit.ly/2kMFpUp

WHS runs regular certified mental health first-aid courses; page 1 of this newsletter gives details. Because of the recent emphasis on stress and mental health, both by the HSE and through the media, these courses do (commendably) sell out quickly. Contact WHS as soon as possible to book your place to ensure that mental issues within your workforce can be identified at an early stage and before it’s too late.

INDUSTRY NEWS

Why Wear Safety Eyewear?

Just take a look at the following link which clearly demonstrates why it is so vital to wear safety goggles whenever there is even the slightest chance of an eye injury: https://bit.ly/2n2iZPW

As the injured worker emphasises, why risk your safety for the sake of a £3 pair of safety goggles? So, to all construction workers….put away that bravado and think ‘safety first’. Your families will thank you!

Abrasive Wheels Training

The short video about eye wear also illustrates the importance of having good abrasive wheels training. Yes, the safety eyewear saved his sight, but the worker was still severely injured. And the cause? Listen to the video again.

Then ring WHS to book abrasive wheels training if any of your workers who use cutting or abrasive discs haven’t received the training within the last 3 – 5 years. It’s vital, and may save a life.

Legionella & CDM

As highlighted in the previous newsletter, WHS now offers Legionella Awareness training to ensure that project clients, managers, contractors and designers are able to properly acquaint themselves with the serious and very real risks of legionella (or Legionnaires Disease). Contact the WHS to book a course.

In the meantime, the following points about legionella are worth noting:

  • CDM covers design for safe end-use; the possibility of legionella being created within both standard water systems and additional water fixtures or features MUST therefore be considered by both the Client and Designer and thence incorporated into design risk assessment.
  • Are water features and/or anything over and above standard water supply systems really necessary? Installing showers into office environments is very good for staff well-being but, if they are only used very infrequently, an additional risk of legionella spores developing will be introduced. Ponds and fountains are very pleasant to look at but there may be a possibility of sprays introducing the legionella bacteria into the air. So, designers need to ensure that clients know the facts. Are they happy to pay for the necessary additional checks and maintenance, or would they prefer to avoid introducing such risks into the work environment altogether. Don’t forget, both clients and designers would be under investigation if a legionella outbreak occurred.
  • A full risk assessment for all existing water systems, followed by flushing & testing by a legionella professional, is required before the refurbishing of any building previously left unoccupied.
  • Even completed houses on new-build development projects will require weekly flushing during unoccupied periods. And also bear in mind that ancillary staff who may carry out the final clean prior to hand-over may be subject to legionella if systems have not been flushed regularly whilst unoccupied. All such tasks and situations will be subject to risk assessment

Legionella – General Comments

Consult HSG274 Parts 1, 2 & 3 for full details of legal requirements related the control of legionella in various water systems; go to: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/hsg274.htm
and follow the links to the freely downloadable documents.

Legionnaires Disease is reportable to the HSE under RIDDOR, even if the patient is a member of the public visiting a premises such as a museum, water park, leisure centre, etc; these are deemed ‘work environments’ (i.e. people are employed there). Do note that the relevant local authority MUST also be notified in writing within 3 days of the verified OR SUSPECTED outbreak.

The Disease is not reportable under RIDDOR if the patient contracted the disease in a purely domestic environment and not as a result of any employed ‘work’ carried out.

Welfare

Whilst on the subject of water systems, do note (as we have stressed on countless occasions) that poorly maintained and/or filthy welfare facilities (sanitation or canteen facilities) are totally unacceptable; they are unhealthy, illegal and may well result in HSE action being taken against the offending company, whether on site or at Head Office.

Despite our warnings, we STILL see disgusting welfare facilities in a variety of premises and several have, as predicted, recently resulted in HSE enforcement. And deservedly so as this example shows:

This company expected their visiting drivers to use this. What does this say about a company’s attitude to health & safety? The HSE agreed and issued a serious warning. Refer also to the prosecutions section at the end of the newsletter.

Fire Plans

An important reminder that fire risk assessment is mandatory for ALL premises including ALL sites, and that suitable fire alarm and evacuation plans and procedures must then formulated and made known to all employees and visitors through induction or briefings and display.

And another reminder that these assessments, plans and procedures on construction sites (including refurbishments) need to be amended as work progresses. Escape routes may be obstructed, escape distances increased, fire stops and/or fire doors removed, etc as the project progresses so, of course, fire plans must change, employees and visitors re-inducted or re-briefed, and display material updated.

The legal requirement to ‘test’ the effectiveness of the plans also applies to ALL structures and is, arguably, even more important on construction sites as the structure and safe exit routes can be altered day by day.

As reported many times previously, the HSE is actively targeting fire systems on construction sites so take a good hard look at how you carry out fire risk assessment and organise effective fire alarm and evacuation procedures – particularly with high-rise and/or multi-occupancy structures where the risks are increased.

Telescopic Mobile Towers

WHS has encountered a growing number of these light-weight and easily-handled telescopic mobile towers on sites. Whilst these may present an easy solution to transporting and erecting work at height access equipment, WHS would stress the following:

Mobile towers must meet the standards of EN1004 so, unless the equipment is stamped with that verification, it cannot be guaranteed safe. And the mere fact that the equipment is ‘telescopic’ automatically compromises the safety standards laid down in EN1004, particularly the Safe Working Load. Therefore, this type of tower must be regarded as for light work only – and no side-loadings.

In addition, the outriggers are very small and, therefore, unless the equipment is positioned on very solid and totally level ground, stability cannot be guaranteed. Note that the tower in the photo needed to be positioned on board to ensure stability.

PASMA training (or suitable equivalent) must be given to all persons erecting mobile towers; PASMA does not include this type of equipment in its training as it does not meet EN1004. Indeed, PASMA actively advise against the use of such equipment.

As always, use of such equipment is subject to risk assessment; the judgement as to whether the equipment is suitable for the purpose intended is down to you. If in doubt, do not use this type of tower, no matter how quick easy and cheap it may be!

New Guidance on Dumpers

The Strategic Forum Plant Safety Group (SFPSG), which comprises the Construction Plant Hire Association, the Civil Engineering Contractors Association and the HSE, has recently published new practical guidance on the safe use of forward-tipping dumpers. This follows an increase in the number of fatalities and serious injuries resulting from spills and collisions, many of which could have been avoided with better training and awareness.

This is a very well-written and valuable document, and includes guidance on planning, supervision, driver competence, machine selection, exclusion zoning and the site environment. It’s a must-read for all civils, groundworks and highways contractors, and can be downloaded free of charge, together a wide variety of other guidance documents on safe plant use, from:
https://www.cpa.uk.net/sfpsgpublications/

CSCS Cards – Important Changes

In early September, CSCS made a significant change to the requirements for card application. Previously, applicants did not have to pass the CITB’s Health, Safety & Environment Test if they held an industry-recognised qualification such as an NVQ or SVQ. In order to satisfy the Construction Leadership Council’s requirements aimed at ensuring a properly trained workforce, CSCS and its 35 partner schemes agreed that a minimum of the CITB test pass must be held for all cards.

Therefore, please note that exemptions NO LONGER APPLY. ALL applicants for new AND renewed cards MUST hold a pass for the correct level of CITB Health, Safety & Environment Test.

Please note also that, from 2020, CSCS will be paving the way for the withdrawal of cards issued under ’industry accreditation’ (also known as ‘grandfather rights’). Again, the aim is to ensure that, having operated CSCS for well over 20 years, we do actually move towards a properly qualified workforce – which, after all, was the original and very valid aim when the scheme was set up in the 1990s.

The industry accreditation route to card applications was closed to new applicants in 2010 but, as from 1 January 2020, any renewal of cards previously issued under industry accreditation will only be valid until 31 December 2024; NO such renewals will be processed after 30 June 2024.

Shortly therefore, ALL new and renewal applicants will be required to hold both an appropriate construction-related qualification AND a CITB test pass. So, take a good look at your workforce and make sure they either hold, or are working towards, the correct qualification/s BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!

For further information about how to apply for a CSCS card, which card best applies to the role/s, and which qualification will be required, go to: https://www.cscs.uk.com

GENERAL NEWS

Ensure Accuracy!

You will all be aware that safety and directional signs often have to be written in one or several languages these days. But please do get a fluent translator to write the text, and double check before issue.

To illustrate the point, take a look at this. If anyone of you can speak Welsh, you’ll already be laughing….

The Welsh text reads “ I am currently out of the office. Please submit any work to the translation team”!!!!

The Use of Drones

There has been a great deal of discussion recently about the potential harm that can be caused by unlicensed use of drones, an issue that should have been addressed by the government years ago.

However, the use of drones at work can also have huge beneficial effects because they are able to access areas that are either inaccessible to workers or present risks when doing so. For example, it is now commonplace to inspect high-rise structures and bridges remotely using drones. The operation is a fraction of the cost of traditional methods requiring the installation of access equipment, and eliminates the risks presented to those installing the access equipment, entering the confined space and carrying out the work.

Remember the basis of the General Principles of Prevention (risk assessment)? To ELIMINATE the risks is ALWAYS the first choice – and the use of drones for accessing hazardous environments can do this.

There are many companies now offering drone services; try Stag Communications:
https://www.stagcommunications.com/drone

AND FINALLY


With sincere thanks to the HSE for all photographs

In this newsletter, we concentrate on ‘health’ rather than injury. As we have stressed so many times before, the HSE has been actively targeting the ’health’ side of health & safety for several years now but WHS still sees poor, or even non-existent, controls which then often result in HSE enforcement.

Health is still not taken seriously within the construction industry as a whole, despite so many of our workers dying each year from asbestos-related diseases and silicosis, or becoming permanently disabled through excessive manual handling or prolonged exposure to noise, vibration, or hazardous substances. We at WHS know how difficult it is to control the health issues in an industry that relies on its workforce for the majority of operations. However, legislation has been around for 15, 25, even 45 years to prevent health risks and, with all the equipment available these days to combat such issues, not to mention CDM requirements to combat health risks at design stage, there is no excuse for NOT properly controlling health risks to the workforce.

Vibration

  • Celtic Rock Services Ltd was fined a total of over £40,000 after a number of workers were diagnosed with Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS). The Company is a specialist in rock drilling, cliff stabilisation and the installation of rock anchors and often used manually-held equipment rather than plant because of the difficult working environments. However, despite workers declaring symptoms as much as 16 years previously, risk assessment had not been updated to reflect current equipment, work methods had not been altered to reduce risks, and no health surveillance or monitoring had been established – ALL of which are required BY LAW.

In addition – please note – the Director of Celtic Rock Services Ltd was given a 12-week suspended custodial sentence, a 12 week curfew (how embarrassing is that?!) and ordered to pay £3,560 costs.

  • Dacorum Borough Council (Hemel Hempstead) was fined a massive total of almost £130,000 after several maintenance staff contracted HAVS from prolonged use of power tools. The workers had been employed for grounds maintenance and street care which (all too obviously) employs a lot of hand-held powered equipment. However, little or no risk assessment had been carried out, no controls had been introduced into working methods, nor had staff been trained in controlling vibration and recognising symptoms of HAVS.

We question how many local authorities and grounds maintenance employers do actually try to reduce risks from vibration to their employees; it is likely that we will see many more court cases.

Welfare

Following from the article above:

  • R&S Builders (Mcr) Ltd was fined a total of almost £10,000 for inadequate welfare facilities on site. The Company had failed to provide the minimum standards of welfare required by CDM, including hot and cold running water.

Be warned – provision of decent welfare and the stocking of adequate consumables has been LAW for construction sites since 1996!

Hazardous substances

  • GO Stonemasonry Ltd was fined a total of £18,000 for exposing employees to uncontrolled silica dust. The Company had not provided dust extraction equipment, respiratory protection, appropriate methodology or health surveillance.
  • Playground installation and landscaping contractor, Playscape Design Ltd, was fined £23,000 after exposing workers to silica dust. Two workers on a garden centre project had been cutting flag stones with power tools without wearing any respiratory protection.

Despite being served an Improvement Notice to improve controls, the Company was then found to be acting in exactly the same way on a subsequent project, prompting the prosecution.

  • Allow wheel refurbishment company, Wheelnut Ltd, was fined a total of almost £34,000 after an apprentice was overcome by fumes in the workshop. The apprentice had entered a room used for stripping the wheels which contained Dichloromethane (DCM), Methanol and Hydrofluoric Acid and was later found slumped over a barrel.

The risk and COSHH assessments were found to be inadequate, no extraction systems were in place and, although respiratory protection was provided, its use was not enforced and workers had not been properly trained

And, inevitably…there’s asbestos

Asbestos

  • Farul Kamali, owner of the Marco Polo restaurant in Wickford, was fined a total of over £9,000 after he allowed asbestos insulation board to be removed and broken up during a refurbishment. No survey had been carried out until the materials had been torn down.

As this photo shows, the results were shocking! And this case goes to prove that the Client (i.e. the instigator of any ‘construction’ work) is well and truly responsible for the safety of his workers and anyone else affected in this case, the public)

  • Sherwood Homes Ltd was fined a total of almost £180,500 and its Director, Peter Kiely, a total of £13,500, after ignoring the findings of an asbestos survey and ordering the removal of asbestos without controls.

Apparently, the extra work required to remove the asbestos identified in the survey would have increased the costs and timescale, and the Director therefore chose to ignore the issue! Was it really worth the risks, not only to the health of his employees, but to his and the Company’s pockets?

  • Mohammed Arshad, a contractor working on a domestic refurbishment, was fined a total of £2,200 after stripping out asbestos insulation board from the garage himself. He had been reported to the HSE by an eagle-eyed member of the public who suspected that the waste materials were asbestos.

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

Forthcoming Courses

Forthcoming dates and fees for courses for the remainder of 2019 and early 2020 are as follows. Please contact Vicki at Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) on 01952 885885 or vicki@wenlockhs.co.uk to book.

Note that all courses will be held at our offices in Jackfield, Telford. However, if any organisation requires attendance by 6 or more employees, a specific course can be arranged at a date, time and location to suit. Please contact the WHS office to discuss your requirements and agree costs.

All course fees below include tea & coffee and all course literature. However, lunch is included on some, but not all, courses; it is important to check the details below.

First Aid

Forthcoming dates for the WHS 1-day Emergency First Aid courses are as follows:

Duration: 1 day (6 hours)

2019 dates:

  • 21 October 2019
  • 14 November 2019 (this is an additional date due to high demand)
  • 26 November 2019
  • 18 December 2019

Cost: £75 + VAT per person
Lunch is NOT provided

2020 dates:

  • 27 January 2020
  • 25 February 2020

Cost: £85 + VAT per person
Please note the small price increase because LUNCH IS PROVIDED 2020 ONWARDS

WHS can also run the full 4-day First Aid at Work course for companies who need additional skills and wish to send 4+ candidates; contact Vicki for fees. However, do initially discuss first aid requirements with your own WHS consultant to assess whether the 4-day course is actually appropriate for your circumstances.

First Aid for Mental Health

Duration: 1 day Level 2 RQF (6 hours)

Dates:

  • 2 October 2019 (Wednesday)

Cost: £75 + VAT per person
Lunch is provided

Previous courses sold out immediately so please book as soon as possible to be sure of securing places.

IOSH Managing Safely

Duration: 3 days

Dates:

  • January 2020 (date to be confirmed)

Cost: £395 + VAT per person
Lunch is provided

CITB Courses

IMPORTANT NOTES:

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

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

Forthcoming course dates until the end of 2019 are as follows; all CITB course fees include lunch.

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)

Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week

Dates:

  • 11, 18, 25 November, 2 & 9 December 2019 (Mondays)
  • 17, 24, 31 January, 7 & 14 February 2020 (Fridays)
  • 6, 13, 20, 27 March & 3 April 2020 (Fridays)

Cost: £495 + VAT per person

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher

Duration: 2 days

Dates:

  • 7 & 8 October 2019 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 4 & 5 December 2019 (Wednesday & Thursday)
  • 3 & 4 February 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 1 & 2 April 2020 (Wednesday & Thursday)

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

  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS)

Duration: 2 days

Dates:

  • 16 & 17 October 2019 (Wednesday & Thursday)
  • 11 & 12 December 2019 (Wednesday & Thursday)
  • 10 & 11 February 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 20 & 21 April 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)

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

  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS) Refresher

Duration: 1 day

Dates:

  • PLEASE CONTACT WHS; no dates currently planned

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

  • CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness

Duration: 1 day

Dates:

  • 7 November 2019 (Thursday)
  • 13 January 2020 (Monday)
  • 16 March 2020 (Monday)

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

HSE NEWS

Vibration – IMPORTANT

The HSE has revised the guidance document (L140) related to the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005; downloadable free of charge from: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/priced/l140.pdf

However, it is important to realise that the Regulations have not charged in any way and the basics of vibration risk assessment, the establishment of adequate monitoring and controls and the requirement for health surveillance still apply. Very few companies carry out proper vibration assessments, even fewer undertake health surveillance; ‘controls’ tend to consist of cursory monitoring of vibration exposure periods. WHS continually draws attention to the fact that companies who do not comply with the Regulations may be subject to HSE enforcement, and to the fact that the HSE is increasingly focusing on ‘harm’ issues such as manual handling and vibration. Refer to the prosecutions section at the end of the newsletter.

To assist with sound vibration assessment, the HSE has also amended their Vibration Calculator to include a highly visible warning when exposure limits are likely to be exceeded. Go to: https://bit.ly/2kK0Jd2 for the new Vibration Calculator, the ‘Ready Reckoner’ and HSE guidance on how to use both. Use the Calculator to help assess the risks from your equipment and processes, but don’t forget to retain the results (print or save a screen print) and issue appropriate instruction to your employees or the whole exercise will be pointless.

If you need further assistance, don’t hesitate to contact WHS; we’re here to help.

First-Aid – IMPORTANT

Although the Health and Safety (First-aid) Regulations 1981 have not changed, the HSE has issued fresh advice and a very useful means of assisting with assessing first-aid requirements. Go to:
http://www.hse.gov.uk/simple-health-safety/firstaid/index.htm and simply follow the steps.

Do note, however, that the advice given on the HSE’s website does stress the need to include ‘mental health first-aid’; refer to: https://bit.ly/2kMFpUp

WHS runs regular certified mental health first-aid courses; page 1 of this newsletter gives details. Because of the recent emphasis on stress and mental health, both by the HSE and through the media, these courses do (commendably) sell out quickly. Contact WHS as soon as possible to book your place to ensure that mental issues within your workforce can be identified at an early stage and before it’s too late.

INDUSTRY NEWS

Why Wear Safety Eyewear?

Just take a look at the following link which clearly demonstrates why it is so vital to wear safety goggles whenever there is even the slightest chance of an eye injury: https://bit.ly/2n2iZPW

As the injured worker emphasises, why risk your safety for the sake of a £3 pair of safety goggles? So, to all construction workers….put away that bravado and think ‘safety first’. Your family will thank you!

Abrasive Wheels Training

The short video about eye wear also illustrates the importance of having good abrasive wheels training. Yes, the safety eyewear saved his sight, but the worker was still severely injured. And the cause? Listen to the video again.

Then ring WHS to book abrasive wheels training if any of your workers who use cutting or abrasive discs haven’t had it within the last 3 – 5 years.

Legionella & CDM

As highlighted in the previous newsletter, WHS now offers Legionella Awareness training to ensure that project clients, managers, contractors and designers are able to properly acquaint themselves with the serious and very real risks. Contact the WHS to book a course.

In the meantime, the following points about legionella are worth noting:

  • CDM covers design for safe end-use; the possibility of legionella being created within both standard water systems and additional water fixtures or features MUST therefore be considered by both the Client and Designer and thence incorporated into design risk assessment.
  • Are water features and/or anything over and above standard water supply systems really necessary? Installing showers into office environments is very good for staff well-being but, if they are only used very infrequently, an additional risk of legionella spores developing will be introduced. Ponds and fountains are very pleasant to look at but there may be a possibility of sprays introducing the legionella bacteria into the air. So, designers need to ensure that clients know the facts. Are they happy to pay for the necessary additional checks and maintenance or would they prefer to avoid introducing such risks into the work environment. Don’t forget, both clients and designers would be under investigation if a legionella outbreak occurred.
  • A full risk assessment for all existing water systems, followed by flushing & testing by a legionella professional, is required before the refurbishing of any building previously left unoccupied.
  • Even completed houses on new-build development projects will require weekly flushing during unoccupied periods. And also bear in mind that ancillary staff who may carry out the final clean prior to hand-over may be subject to legionella if systems have not been flushed regularly whilst unoccupied. All such tasks and situations will be subject to risk assessment

Legionella – General Comments

Consult HSG274 Parts 1, 2 & 3 for full details of legal requirements related the control of legionella in various water systems; go to: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/hsg274.htm
and follow the links to the freely downloadable documents.

Legionella (or Legionnaires Disease) is reportable to the HSE under RIDDOR, even if the patient is a member of the public visiting a premises such as a museum, water park, leisure centre, etc. which is deemed a ‘work environment’ (i.e. people are employed there). Do note that the relevant local authority MUST also be notified in writing within 3 days of the verified OR SUSPECTED outbreak.

It is not reportable under RIDDOR if the patient contracted the disease in a purely domestic environment and not as a result of any employed ‘work’ carried out.

Welfare

And, whilst on the subject of water systems, do note (as we have stressed on countless occasions) that poorly maintained and/or filthy welfare facilities (sanitation or canteen facilities) are totally unacceptable; they are illegal and may well result in HSE action being taken against the offending company, whether on site or at Head Office.

Despite our warnings, we STILL see disgusting welfare facilities in a variety of premises and several have, as predicted, recently resulted in HSE enforcement. And deservedly so as this example show:

This company expected their visiting drivers to use this. What does this say about a company’s attitude to health & safety? The HSE agreed and issued a serious warning. Refer also to the prosecutions section at the end of the newsletter.

Fire Plans

An important reminder that fire risk assessment is mandatory for ALL premises including ALL sites, and that suitable fire alarm and evacuation plans and procedures must then formulated and made known to all employees and visitors through induction or briefings and display.

And another reminder that these assessments, plans and procedures on construction sites (including refurbishments) need to be amended as work progresses. Escape routes may be obstructed, escape distances increased, fire stops and/or fire doors removed, etc as the project progresses so, of course, fire plans must change, employees and visitors re-inducted or re-briefed, and display material updated.

The legal requirement to ‘test’ the effectiveness of the plans also applies to ALL structures and is, arguably, even more important on construction sites as the structure and safe exit routes can be altered day by day.

As reported many times previously, the HSE is actively targeting fire systems on construction sites so take a good hard look at how you carry out fire risk assessment and organise effective fire alarm and evacuation procedures – particularly with high-rise and/or multi-occupancy structures where the risks are increased.

Telescopic Mobile Towers

WHS has encountered a growing number of these light-weight and easily-handled telescopic mobile towers on sites. Whilst these may present an easy solution to transporting and erecting work at height access equipment, WHS would stress the following:

Mobile towers must meet the standards of EN1004 so, unless the equipment is stamped with that verification, it cannot be guaranteed safe. And the mere fact that the equipment is ‘telescopic’ automatically compromises the safety standards laid down in EN1004, particularly the Safe Working Load. Therefore, this type of tower must be regarded as for light work only – and no side-loadings.

In addition, the outriggers are very small and, therefore, unless the equipment is positioned on very solid and totally level ground, stability cannot be guaranteed. Note that the tower in the photo needed to be positioned on board to ensure stability.

PASMA training (or suitable equivalent) must be given to all persons erecting mobile towers; PASMA does not include this type of equipment in its training as it does not meet EN1004. Indeed, PASMA actively advise against the use of such equipment.

As always, use of such equipment is subject to risk assessment; the judgement as to whether the equipment is suitable for the purpose intended is down to you. If in doubt, do not use this type of tower, no matter how quick easy and cheap it may be!

CSCS Cards – Important Changes

In early September, CSCS made a significant change to the requirements for card application. Previously, applicants did not have to pass the CITB’s Health, Safety & Environment Test if they held an industry-recognised qualification such as an NVQ or SVQ. In order to satisfy the Construction Leadership Council’s requirements aimed at ensuring a properly trained workforce, CSCS and its 35 partner schemes agreed that a minimum of the CITB test pass must be held for all cards.

Therefore, please note that exemptions NO LONGER APPLY. ALL applicants for new AND renewed cards MUST hold a pass for the correct level of CITB Health, Safety & Environment Test.

Please note also that, from 2020, CSCS will be paving the way for the withdrawal of cards issued under ’industry accreditation’ (also known as ‘grandfather rights’). Again, the aim is to ensure that, having operated CSCS for well over 20 years, we do actually move towards a properly qualified workforce – which, after all, was the original and very valid aim when the scheme was set up in the 1990s.

The industry accreditation route to card applications was closed to new applicants in 2010 but, as from 1 January 2020, any renewal of cards previously issued under industry accreditation will only be valid until 31 December 2024; NO such renewals will be processed after 30 June 2024.

Shortly therefore, ALL new and renewal applicants will be required to hold both an appropriate construction-related qualification AND a CITB test pass. So, take a good look at your workforce and make sure they either hold, or are working towards, the correct qualification/s BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!

For further information about how to apply for a CSCS card, which card best applies to the role/s, and which qualification will be required, go to: https://www.cscs.uk.com

GENERAL NEWS

Ensure Accuracy!

You will all be aware that safety and directional signs often have to be written in one or several languages these days. But please do get a fluent translator to write the text, and double check before issue.

To illustrate the point, take a look at this. If anyone of you can speak Welsh, you’ll already be laughing….

The Welsh text reads “ I am currently out of the office. Please submit any work to the translation team”!!!!

The Use of Drones

There has been a great deal of discussion recently about the potential harm that can be caused by unlicensed use of drones, an issue that should have been addressed by the government years ago.

However, the use of drones at work can also have huge beneficial effects because they are able to access areas that are either inaccessible to workers or present risks when doing so. For example, it is now commonplace to inspect high-rise structures and bridges remotely using drones. The operation is a fraction of the cost of traditional methods requiring the installation of access equipment, and eliminates the risks presented to those installing the access equipment, entering the confined space and carrying out the work.

Remember the basis of the General Principles of Prevention (risk assessment)? To ELIMINATE the risks is ALWAYS the first choice – and the use of drones for accessing hazardous environments can do this.

There are many companies now offering drone services; try Stag Communications:
https://www.stagcommunications.com/drone

AND FINALLY

With sincere thanks to the HSE for all photographs

In this newsletter, we concentrate on ‘health’ rather than injury. As we have stressed so many times before, the HSE has been actively targeting the ’health’ side of health & safety for several years now but WHS still sees poor, or even non-existent, controls which then often result in HSE enforcement.

Health is still not taken seriously within the construction industry as a whole, despite so many of our workers dying each year from asbestos-related diseases and silicosis, or becoming permanently disabled through excessive manual handling or prolonged exposure to noise, vibration, or hazardous substances. We at WHS know how difficult it is to control the health issues in an industry that relies on its workforce for the majority of operations. However, legislation has been around for 15, 25, even 45 years to prevent health risks and, with all the equipment available these days to combat such issues, not to mention CDM requirements to combat health risks at design stage, there is no excuse for NOT properly controlling health risks to the workforce.

Vibration

  • Celtic Rock Services Ltd was fined a total of over £40,000 after a number of workers were diagnosed with Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS). The Company is a specialist in rock drilling, cliff stabilisation and the installation of rock anchors and often used manually-held equipment rather than plant because of the difficult working environments. However, despite workers declaring symptoms as much as 16 years previously, risk assessment had not been updated to reflect current equipment, work methods had not been altered to reduce risks, and no health surveillance or monitoring had been established – ALL of which are required BY LAW.

In addition – please note – the Director of Celtic Rock Services Ltd was given a 12-week suspended custodial sentence, a 12 week curfew (how embarrassing is that?!) and ordered to pay £3,560 costs.

  • Dacorum Borough Council (Hemel Hempstead) was fined a massive total of almost £130,000 after several maintenance staff contracted HAVS from prolonged use of power tools. The workers had been employed for grounds maintenance and street care which (all too obviously) employs a lot of hand-held powered equipment. However, little or no risk assessment had been carried out, no controls had been introduced into working methods, nor had staff been trained in controlling vibration and recognising symptoms of HAVS.

We question how many local authorities and grounds maintenance employers do actually try to reduce risks from vibration to their employees; it is likely that we will see many more court cases.

Welfare

Following from the article above:

  • R&S Builders (Mcr) Ltd was fined a total of almost £10,000 for inadequate welfare facilities on site. The Company had failed to provide the minimum standards of welfare required by CDM, including hot and cold running water.

Be warned – provision of decent welfare and the stocking of adequate consumables has been LAW for construction sites since 1996!

Hazardous substances

  • GO Stonemasonry Ltd was fined a total of £18,000 for exposing employees to uncontrolled silica dust. The Company had not provided dust extraction equipment, respiratory protection, appropriate methodology or health surveillance.
  • Playground installation and landscaping contractor, Playscape Design Ltd, was fined £23,000 after exposing workers to silica dust. Two workers on a garden centre project had been cutting flag stones with power tools without wearing any respiratory protection.

Despite being served an Improvement Notice to improve controls, the Company was then found to be acting in exactly the same way on a subsequent project, prompting the prosecution.

  • Allow wheel refurbishment company, Wheelnut Ltd, was fined a total of almost £34,000 after an apprentice was overcome by fumes in the workshop. The apprentice had entered a room used for stripping the wheels which contained Dichloromethane (DCM), Methanol and Hydrofluoric Acid and was later found slumped over a barrel.

The risk and COSHH assessments were found to be inadequate, no extraction systems were in place and, although respiratory protection was provided, its use was not enforced and workers had not been properly trained

And, inevitably…there’s asbestos

Asbestos

  • Farul Kamali, owner of the Marco Polo restaurant in Wickford, was fined a total of over £9,000 after he allowed asbestos insulation board to be removed and broken up during a refurbishment. No survey had been carried out until the materials had been torn down.

As this photo shows, the results were shocking! And this case goes to prove that the Client (i.e. the instigator of any ‘construction’ work) is well and truly responsible for the safety of his workers and anyone else affected in this case, the public)

  • Sherwood Homes Ltd was fined a total of almost £180,500 and its Director, Peter Kiely, a total of £13,500, after ignoring the findings of an asbestos survey and ordering the removal of asbestos without controls.

Apparently, the extra work required to remove the asbestos identified in the survey would have increased the costs and timescale, and the Director therefore chose to ignore the issue! Was it really worth the risks, not only to the health of his employees, but to his and the Company’s pockets?

  • Mohammed Arshad, a contractor working on a domestic refurbishment, was fined a total of £2,200 after stripping out asbestos insulation board from the garage himself. He had been reported to the HSE by an eagle-eyed member of the public who suspected that the waste materials were asbestos.

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

Forthcoming Courses

Forthcoming dates and fees for courses for the remainder of 2019 and early 2020 are as follows. Please contact Vicki at Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) on 01952 885885 or vicki@wenlockhs.co.uk to book.

Note that all courses will be held at our offices in Jackfield, Telford. However, if any organisation requires attendance by 6 or more employees, a specific course can be arranged at a date, time and location to suit. Please contact the WHS office to discuss your requirements and agree costs.

All course fees below include tea & coffee and all course literature. However, lunch is included on some, but not all, courses; it is important to check the details below.

First Aid

Forthcoming dates for the WHS 1-day Emergency First Aid courses are as follows:

Duration: 1 day (6 hours)

2019 dates:

  • 21 October 2019
  • 14 November 2019 (this is an additional date due to high demand)
  • 26 November 2019
  • 18 December 2019

Cost: £75 + VAT per person
Lunch is NOT provided

2020 dates:

  • 27 January 2020
  • 25 February 2020

Cost: £85 + VAT per person
Please note the small price increase because LUNCH IS PROVIDED 2020 ONWARDS

WHS can also run the full 4-day First Aid at Work course for companies who need additional skills and wish to send 4+ candidates; contact Vicki for fees. However, do initially discuss first aid requirements with your own WHS consultant to assess whether the 4-day course is actually appropriate for your circumstances.

First Aid for Mental Health

Duration: 1 day Level 2 RQF (6 hours)

Dates:

  • 2 October 2019 (Wednesday)

Cost: £75 + VAT per person
Lunch is provided

Previous courses sold out immediately so please book as soon as possible to be sure of securing places.

IOSH Managing Safely

Duration: 3 days

Dates:

  • January 2020 (date to be confirmed)

Cost: £395 + VAT per person
Lunch is provided

HSE NEWS

Vibration – IMPORTANT

The HSE has revised the guidance document (L140) related to the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005; downloadable free of charge from: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/priced/l140.pdf

However, it is important to realise that the Regulations have not charged in any way and the basics of vibration risk assessment, the establishment of adequate monitoring and controls and the requirement for health surveillance still apply. Very few companies carry out proper vibration assessments, even fewer undertake health surveillance; ‘controls’ tend to consist of cursory monitoring of vibration exposure periods. WHS continually draws attention to the fact that companies who do not comply with the Regulations may be subject to HSE enforcement, and to the fact that the HSE is increasingly focusing on ‘harm’ issues such as manual handling and vibration. Refer to the prosecutions section at the end of the newsletter.

To assist with sound vibration assessment, the HSE has also amended their Vibration Calculator to include a highly visible warning when exposure limits are likely to be exceeded. Go to: https://bit.ly/2kK0Jd2 for the new Vibration Calculator, the ‘Ready Reckoner’ and HSE guidance on how to use both. Use the Calculator to help assess the risks from your equipment and processes, but don’t forget to retain the results (print or save a screen print) and issue appropriate instruction to your employees or the whole exercise will be pointless.

If you need further assistance, don’t hesitate to contact WHS; we’re here to help.

First-Aid – IMPORTANT

Although the Health and Safety (First-aid) Regulations 1981 have not changed, the HSE has issued fresh advice and a very useful means of assisting with assessing first-aid requirements. Go to:
http://www.hse.gov.uk/simple-health-safety/firstaid/index.htm and simply follow the steps.

Do note, however, that the advice given on the HSE’s website does stress the need to include ‘mental health first-aid’; refer to: https://bit.ly/2kMFpUp

WHS runs regular certified mental health first-aid courses; page 1 of this newsletter gives details. Because of the recent emphasis on stress and mental health, both by the HSE and through the media, these courses do (commendably) sell out quickly. Contact WHS as soon as possible to book your place to ensure that mental issues within your workforce can be identified at an early stage and before it’s too late.

INDUSTRY NEWS

Why Wear Safety Eyewear?

Just take a look at the following link which clearly demonstrates why it is so vital to wear safety goggles whenever there is even the slightest chance of an eye injury: https://bit.ly/2n2iZPW

As the injured worker emphasises, why risk your safety for the sake of a £3 pair of safety goggles? So, .put away that bravado and think ‘safety first’. Your family will thank you!

Abrasive Wheels Training

The short video about eye wear also illustrates the importance of having good abrasive wheels training. Yes, the safety eyewear saved his sight, but the worker was still severely injured. And the cause? Listen to the video again.

Then ring WHS to book abrasive wheels training if any of your workers who use cutting or abrasive discs haven’t had it within the last 3 – 5 years.

Welfare

And, whilst on the subject of water systems, do note (as we have stressed on countless occasions) that poorly maintained and/or filthy welfare facilities (sanitation or canteen facilities) are totally unacceptable; they are illegal and may well result in HSE action being taken against the offending company.

Despite our warnings, we STILL see disgusting welfare facilities in a variety of premises and several have, as predicted, recently resulted in HSE enforcement. And deservedly so as this example shows:

This company expected their visiting drivers to use this. What does this say about a company’s attitude to health & safety? The HSE agreed and issued a serious warning. Refer also to the prosecutions section at the end of the newsletter.

Legionella & CDM

As highlighted in the previous newsletter, WHS now offers Legionella Awareness training to ensure that businesses, project managers, contractors and designers are able to properly acquaint themselves with the serious and very real risks. Contact the WHS to book a course.

In the meantime, the following points about legionella are worth noting:

  • The Construction (Design & Management) Regulations (or ‘CDM’) cover design for safe end-use; the possibility of legionella being created within both standard water systems and additional water fixtures or features MUST therefore be considered by both the client and designer and thence incorporated into design risk assessment.
  • Are water features and/or anything over and above standard water supply systems really necessary? Installing showers into office environments is very good for staff well-being but, if they are only used very infrequently, an additional risk of legionella spores developing will be introduced. Ponds and fountains are very pleasant to look at but there may be a possibility of sprays introducing the legionella bacteria into the air. So, clients and designers need to know the facts. Is business client happy to pay for the necessary additional checks and maintenance or would he/she prefer to avoid introducing such risks into the work environment. Don’t forget, both clients and designers would be under investigation if a legionella outbreak occurred.
  • A full risk assessment for all existing water systems, followed by flushing & testing by a legionella professional, is required before the refurbishing of any building previously left unoccupied.
  • Any structure that incorporates water systems or features will require weekly flushing during unoccupied periods, even new-builds. All such tasks and situations will be subject to risk assessment and controls.

Legionella – General Comments

Consult HSG274 Parts 1, 2 & 3 for full details of legal requirements related the control of legionella in various water systems; go to: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/hsg274.htm
and follow the links to the freely downloadable documents.

Legionella (or Legionnaires Disease) is reportable to the HSE under RIDDOR, even if the patient is a member of the public visiting a premises such as a museum, water park, leisure centre, etc. which is deemed a ‘work environment’ (i.e. people are employed there). Do note that the relevant local authority MUST also be notified in writing within 3 days of the verified OR SUSPECTED outbreak.

It is not reportable under RIDDOR if the patient contracted the disease in a purely domestic environment and not as a result of any employed ‘work’ carried out.

Telescopic Mobile Towers

WHS has encountered a growing number of these light-weight and easily-handled telescopic mobile towers being used. Whilst these may present an easy solution to transporting and erecting work at height access equipment, WHS would stress the following:

Mobile towers must meet the standards of EN1004 so, unless the equipment is stamped with that verification, it cannot be guaranteed safe. And the mere fact that the equipment is ‘telescopic’ automatically compromises the safety standards laid down in EN1004, particularly the Safe Working Load. Therefore, this type of tower must be regarded as for light work only – and no side-loadings.

In addition, the outriggers are very small and, therefore, unless the equipment is positioned on very solid and totally level ground, stability cannot be guaranteed. Note that the tower in the photo needed to be positioned on board to ensure stability.

PASMA training (or suitable equivalent) must be given to all persons erecting mobile towers; PASMA does not include this type of equipment in its training as it does not meet EN1004. Indeed, PASMA actively advise against the use of such equipment.

As always, use of such equipment is subject to risk assessment; the judgement as to whether the equipment is suitable for the purpose intended is down to you. If in doubt, do not use this type of tower, no matter how quick easy and cheap it may be!

GENERAL NEWS

Ensure Accuracy!

You will all be aware that safety and directional signs often have to be written in one or several languages these days. But please do get a fluent translator to write the text, and double check before issue.

To illustrate the point, take a look at this. If anyone of you can speak Welsh, you’ll already be laughing….

The Welsh text reads “ I am currently out of the office. Please submit any work to the translation team”!!!!

The Use of Drones

There has been a great deal of discussion recently about the potential harm that can be caused by unlicensed use of drones, an issue that should have been addressed by the government years ago.

However, the use of drones at work can also have huge beneficial effects because they are able to access areas that are either inaccessible to workers or present risks when doing so. For example, it is now commonplace to inspect high-rise structures and bridges remotely using drones. The operation is a fraction of the cost of traditional methods requiring the installation of access equipment, and eliminates the risks presented to those installing the access equipment, entering the confined space and carrying out the work.

Remember the basis of the General Principles of Prevention (risk assessment)? To ELIMINATE the risks is ALWAYS the first choice – and the use of drones for accessing hazardous environments can do this.

There are many companies now offering drone services; try Stag Communications:
https://www.stagcommunications.com/drone

AND FINALLY

With sincere thanks to the HSE for all photographs

In this newsletter, we concentrate on ‘health’ rather than injury. As we have stressed so many times before, the HSE has been actively targeting the ’health’ side of health & safety for several years now but WHS still sees poor, or even non-existent, controls which then often result in HSE enforcement.

Health is still not taken seriously within UK industry as a whole, despite so many of our workers dying each year from asbestos-related diseases and silicosis, or becoming permanently disabled through excessive manual handling or prolonged exposure to noise, vibration, or hazardous substances. We at WHS know how difficult it is to control the health issues in industries that often rely on the workforce for the majority of operations. However, legislation has been around for 15, 25, even 45 years to prevent health risks and, with all the equipment available these days to combat such issues, not to mention the requirement to combat health risks during design stage, there is no excuse for NOT properly controlling health risks.

Vibration

  • Celtic Rock Services Ltd was fined a total of over £40,000 after a number of workers were diagnosed with Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS). The Company is a specialist in rock drilling, cliff stabilisation and the installation of rock anchors and often used manually-held equipment rather than plant because of the difficult working environments. However, despite workers declaring symptoms as much as 16 years previously, risk assessment had not been updated to reflect current equipment, work methods had not been altered to reduce risks, and no health surveillance or monitoring had been established – ALL of which are required BY LAW.

In addition – please note – the Director of Celtic Rock Services Ltd was given a 12-week suspended custodial sentence, a 12 week curfew (how embarrassing is that?!) and ordered to pay £3,560 costs.

  • Dacorum Borough Council (Hemel Hempstead) was fined a massive total of almost £130,000 after several maintenance staff contracted HAVS from prolonged use of power tools. The workers had been employed for grounds maintenance and street care which (all too obviously) employs a lot of hand-held powered equipment. However, little or no risk assessment had been carried out, no controls had been introduced into working methods, nor had staff been trained in controlling vibration and recognising symptoms of HAVS.

We question how many local authorities and grounds maintenance employers do actually try to reduce risks from vibration to their employees; it is likely that we will see many more court cases.

Welfare

Following from the article above:

  • R&S Builders (Mcr) Ltd was fined a total of almost £10,000 for inadequate welfare facilities. The Company had failed to provide the minimum standards of welfare, including hot and cold running water.

Be warned – provision of decent welfare and the stocking of adequate consumables is LAW and the HSE will act if the law is not complied with.

Hazardous substances

  • GO Stonemasonry Ltd was fined a total of £18,000 for exposing employees to uncontrolled silica dust. The Company had not provided dust extraction equipment, respiratory protection, appropriate methodology or health surveillance.
  • Playground installation and landscaping contractor, Playscape Design Ltd, was fined £23,000 after exposing workers to silica dust. Two workers on a garden centre project had been cutting flag stones with power tools without wearing any respiratory protection.

Despite being served an Improvement Notice to improve controls, the Company was then found to be acting in exactly the same way on a subsequent project, prompting the prosecution.

  • Allow wheel refurbishment company, Wheelnut Ltd, was fined a total of almost £34,000 after an apprentice was overcome by fumes in the workshop. The apprentice had entered a room used for stripping the wheels which contained Dichloromethane (DCM), Methanol and Hydrofluoric Acid and was later found slumped over a barrel.

The risk and COSHH assessments were found to be inadequate, no extraction systems were in place and, although respiratory protection was provided, its use was not enforced and workers had not been properly trained

Asbestos

  • Farul Kamali, owner of the Marco Polo restaurant in Wickford, was fined a total of over £9,000 after he allowed asbestos insulation board to be removed and broken up during a refurbishment. No survey had been carried out until the materials had been torn down.

As this photo shows, the results were shocking! And this case goes to prove that the Client (i.e. the instigator of any ‘construction’ work) is well and truly responsible for the safety of his workers and anyone else affected in this case, the public)

  • Sherwood Homes Ltd was fined a total of almost £180,500 and its Director, Peter Kiely, a total of £13,500, after ignoring the findings of an asbestos survey and ordering the removal of asbestos without controls.

Apparently, the extra work required to remove the asbestos identified in the survey would have increased the costs and timescale, and the Director therefore chose to ignore the issue! Was it really worth the risks, not only to the health of his employees, but to his and the Company’s pockets?

  • Mohammed Arshad, a contractor working on a domestic refurbishment, was fined a total of £2,200 after stripping out asbestos insulation board from the garage himself. He had been reported to the HSE by an eagle-eyed member of the public who suspected that the waste materials were asbestos.

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

Forthcoming Courses

Forthcoming dates and fees for courses for the remainder of 2019 are as follows. Please contact Vicki at Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) on 01952 885885 or vicki@wenlockhs.co.uk to book a course.

Note that all courses will be held at our offices in Jackfield, Telford

However, if any organisation requires attendance by 6 or more employees, a specific course can be arranged at a date, time and location to suit. Please contact the WHS office to discuss your requirements and agree costs.

All course fees below include tea & coffee and all course literature. However, lunch is included on some, but not all, courses; it is important to check the details below.

IOSH Managing Safely

Duration: 3 days
Dates:

22, 23 & 24 October (Tuesday – Thursday)

Cost: £395 + VAT per person
Lunch is provided

First Aid

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

Duration: 1 day Emergency First Aid (6 hours)
Dates:

21 August 2019
23 September 2019
21 October 2019 (please note that this date has changed)
26 November 2019
18 December 2019

Cost: £75 + VAT per person
Lunch is NOT provided

First Aid for Mental Health

Duration: 1 day Level 2 RQF (6 hours)
Dates:

2 October 2019 (Wednesday)

Cost: £75 + VAT per person
Lunch is provided

This is proving to be a very popular course. Both previous courses sold out immediately so please book as soon as possible to be sure of securing places.

CITB Courses

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

AND

We have had serious issues recently where CITB themselves refused to issue certificates when a course had, unavoidably, fallen below their minimum number of attendees because several candidates backed out at the very last minute. WHS did not cancel the course because we didn’t want to let the remaining candidates down – but it seems that, in doing our best for the candidates, we were then put in the really difficult position of having to explain to the remaining candidates why they had been refused their certificates. CITB is meant to be working for the industry, not against it!! But this issue won’t go away so….

Attendance is vital

– not only because it affects you personally, but also because it can seriously affect others. In future, we may be put in the awful position of having to cancel a course ON THAT MORNING if some candidates don’t turn up

Forthcoming course dates until the end of 2019 are as follows; all CITB course fees include lunch.

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)

Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week
Dates:

6, 13, 20, 27 September & 4 October 2019 (Fridays)
11, 18, 25 November, 2 & 9 December 2019 (Mondays)

Cost: £495 + VAT per person

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

5 & 6 August 2019 (Monday & Tuesday)
7 & 8 October 2019 (Monday & Tuesday)
4 & 5 December 2019 (Wednesday & Thursday)

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

  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS)

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

19 & 20 August 2019 (Monday & Tuesday)
16 & 17 October 2019 (Wednesday & Thursday)
11 & 12 December (Wednesday & Thursday)

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

  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS) Refresher

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

30 August 2019 (Friday)

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

  • CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

9 September 2019 (Monday)
7 November 2019 (Thursday)

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

WHS Lobbying of Your Behalf

Many people don’t realise just how much work WHS does on our customers’ behalf behind the scenes. Because we all have so much experience working within the wider world of the construction industry, we understand the complexities and the pit-falls. And we are passionate about getting a better deal for our customers, whether this relates to Government legislation, industry-related guidelines, or client practices. Hence, we are is constant touch with organisations such as HSE, CITB, SSiP (who oversee CHAS, Safe Contractor, SMAS, etc), FSB, local authorities and other influential client bodies, etc, and we lobby hard to put right what we perceive as the wrongs within the health & safety side of our industry.

So be assured that your feedback and complaints do not fall on deaf ears! If you have anything at all that you feel is unfair, unreasonable or unjust within current nationwide or local systems, do ring us and we’ll do our best to bring it to the attention of those on high – we don’t always win, but can make serious waves!!

Your Documents Are YOUR Responsibility!!

As many of you will know by now, we have recently made some significant changes to the contents of your health & safety packs as they go through their annual review and reissue. The cover letters have drawn attention to this and to the need to destroy all previous documents and templates to prevent errors.

We would like to take this opportunity to respectfully remind all our customers that the accuracy of the texts and the suitability of the templates provided are your responsibility. Yes, we ask relevant questions before we issue and re-issue documents. However (as the HSE will concur), the acceptance of the accuracy and suitability of these documents and templates is down to you, our customer.

In the same way as the purchase of a piece of equipment is the responsibility of the buyer/user to assess suitability, so it is the responsibility of the buyer and user of our services to assess the suitability of what’s provided. So please read everything thoroughly and, if there are any issues at all with the texts or suitability of what’s provided by us as your health & safety advisors, please do ring us immediately.

Please discuss anomalies now, not once it’s been picked up by the HSE or others; if something’s wrong, it needs to be put right. Do feel free to pick up the phone at any time to discuss your concerns; we are here to listen and to help.

However, equally, if we have provided texts and templates that need to be followed to satisfy the law – it’s your responsibility to do so!

HSE NEWS

CDM in the Exhibition & Entertainments Industry

Within the events industry as a whole, there seems to be a lot of misconception about exactly how far the Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2015 (and since 1994), or CDM, affect other industries beyond traditional ‘construction’ – and it seems that many general health & safety advisors miss the point that the term ‘construction’ is very far-reaching in law.

The definition of ‘construction’ under CDM spans 5 lengthy paragraphs; refer to HSE publication L153 included within your WHS health & safety pack, or available free of charge on: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/priced/l153.pdf
and includes such operations as:

“…the construction, alteration, …dismantling of a structure;
…assembly … or disassembly on site of prefabricated elements which… formed a structure;
…the installation, commissioning, maintenance, repair or removal of …electrical…telecommunications, computer or similar services which are normally fixed within or to a structure…”

And it’s worth also noting that the term ‘structure’ includes scaffolding or similar used to provide both support and as a means of access.

Clearly, the creation or alteration of any type of ‘structure’, whether significantly large (as the photo shows) or low-key involving more than just the putting in place of free-standing items, and including the installation of electrical (and/or other) systems, will fall under CDM.
The HSE understands the misconception and offers valuable guidance on its website. But it takes great pains to emphasise that ANYTHING that could constitute ‘construction’ under the legal CDM definition, MUST be treated as such. HSE guidance can be found on:
http://www.hse.gov.uk/entertainment/cdm-2015/

Further invaluable guidance has been issued by the events-industry Events Supplier & Services Association. A specific website, called CDM4Events, has been established to help all parties (clients, designers and contractors alike) understand what is (legally) necessary: https://www.cdm4events.org.uk/#.hpButton

And there is even specific advice offered by general industry bodies about how work should be planned and carried out in the events industry. For instance, IPAF (the body that oversees safety with Mobile Elevated Work Platforms) has issued detailed advice entitled ‘Exhibition guidelines for powered access machines’, available on: https://www.ipaf.org/en-us/resource-library/exhibition-guidelines-mewps

However, let’s face it – it’s irrelevant whether CDM applies or not; the issues are pretty much the same throughout UK industry (e.g. work at height, safe equipment, safe lifting, manual handling, welfare, safety of the public, etc, etc) and ALL businesses, regardless of nature, are under a legal obligation to properly risk assess and to plan, manage and monitor resultant safe systems. There are NO exceptions.

Those WHS customers who commission events or whose work involves the setting up of events should read the information on the links given above and contact WHS immediately for further advice if necessary.

Legionella

The subject of legionella is now heavily in the HSE spotlight. This is probably because of the significant rise in the number of cases over recent years. Readers of this newsletter who either install or design water systems, water-based HVAC systems, water-based landscaping features, etc., or occupy/own buildings within which there are such systems, should take note of the legal requirements as laid down in the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health 2002 and the HSE’s Approved Code of Practice, L8.

A wealth of information, together with free downloadable guidance (including L8), can be found on:
http://www.hse.gov.uk/legionnaires/

Because of the general lack of understanding related to this issue WHS will soon be offering legionella awareness training. Please contact the WHS office (01952-885885) for details.

The Cost of NOT Doing Things Properly!

Apart from the possibility of killing or causing serious harm to employees, and the threat of resultant prosecution or enforcement, WHS would gently remind our customers that the HSE charge per hour for any work they carry out in connection with breaches of legislation, including just a telling-off!

And the cost has recently risen to a staggering £154 per hour! Costs for seemingly small transgressions can very quickly escalate and, before you know it, the bill can rise to hundreds or thousands of pounds.

So, we’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: just weigh up the cost of employing our services to spot the problems before the HSE against the potential bill for not doing so. It makes sound economic sense to use the services available to you from the health & safety advisors you have engaged.

INDUSTRY NEWS

Rescue Plans for Work at Height

In the last newsletter, we again covered the dangers of working with Mobile Elevated Work Platforms (MEWPs) of various types. Much legislation these days (including CDM and the Work at Height Regs) require thorough emergency rescue assessment and planning – and, of course, when we’re talking about work at height in its many forms, rapid rescue can often mean the difference between life and death.

Questions:

  • How long would a person survive if they had fallen from height and are dangling on a lanyard?
  • How would workers exit a scaffold if the area around the access ladder is on fire?
  • How would you retrieve workers in trouble at height?

It must be asked of ALL companies working at significant height for any reason at all, whether related to construction or not, as to what their emergency arrangements are and what has been done to ensure that all workers know what to do. Emergency planning is a legal requirement for a very good reason; those seconds are vital so it’s no good trying to find out what to do once the emergency has happened.

IPAF, the industry authority on powered access equipment, has a wealth of information about rescue plans on their website: https://www.ipaf.org/en/resource-library/rescue-persons-mewps
including the link to a very valuable guidance document of rescue from MEWPs: https://bit.ly/2MGWuKW

And, if you don’t know the answers to the questions raised above, ring WHS urgently!!

Welding Fume etc

The June 2019 newsletter covered the re-classification of welding fume as a serious carcinogen and the HSE’s subsequent safety alert (https://bit.ly/2Wig1qe). Arco, an industry leader in safety supplies, has produced an excellent advice and guidance document, ‘EXPERT GUIDE Welding Fume; An update following the HSE safety alert and the change in enforcement expectations’ which can be downloaded free of charge from: https://bit.ly/2ZkxnRT

Any business who carries out welding, or contracts any other party to do so on its premises or site, should review this document. And, as always, please do contact WHS for further assistance or guidance.

Face-Fit Testing

Several of our larger contractors carry out their own ‘face-fit testing’ as is required under COSHH. The HSE’s guidance document covering the requirements of in-house face-fit testing, INDG 479 can be downloaded free of charge from: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg479.htm

However, to assist with a better understanding of how to both carry out effective testing and also safeguard the health of those being tested, the Fit2Fit organisation, which champions effective testing, has released several new guidance documents. These can be downloaded free of charge from:
https://www.bsif.co.uk/fit2fit-companions-released/
and are essential reading for all persons carrying out face-fit testing

Vibration

We have stressed and re-stressed over the years, the importance of assessing the vibration levels on all your hand-held and hand-controlled tools, and also highlighted the HSE’s on-going campaign to ensure satisfactory vibration assessments are carried out as required by law.

Since 2011, there has been a 69% increase in successful claims against employers for HAVS; in 2014 alone, there were 44,000. The costs to insurance companies of these cases obviously result in rising premiums, something that then affects all of us. And it’s a sobering fact that, for every £1 recovered in insured costs, employers will actually spend £10 covering uninsured costs – so it doesn’t make economic sense to ignore the issue.

We also continually stress that, even though some employees may never be affected, others may well contract hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) with just short-term use if not adequately controlled. HAVS can be contracted in any industry that uses any type of vibration-producing equipment. Even equipment commonly in use at home (such as strimmers, food mixers, and hair-driers) can cause symptoms and, if remaining unchecked, eventually result in HAVS or similar debilitating conditions. To illustrate this point, just take a look at the photos on the next page.

These hands belong to a young lady called Emily who contracted serious HAVS at the age of 16 from the vibration produced from nothing more than road-bike racing. Needing to grip the handlebars tightly when riding over rough terrain accentuates the levels of vibration experienced. As a result, Emily had to give up a very promising road-racing career and suffers frequently, particularly when temperatures are low. These photos were taken after she’d spent just 5 minutes hanging out washing in her garden at 12 C.

Because she is passionate about preventing others suffering the same fate, Emily now works for industry specialists, Reactec, who offer a wide range of equipment to assess and monitor vibration dosages and nip the issue in the bud before it becomes a medical problem. Their systems are invaluable, particularly for those businesses and contractors whose work entails very frequent use of vibration-producing equipment. Product and contact details can be found on: https://www.reactec.com

Never forget that it is a legal requirement to safeguard your employees against all types of occupational harm. If you need advice or assistance, please contact the WHS office or consult the HSE website.

Important Footnote:

Although the spare time activities of employees do not fall under the jurisdiction of employers, it is always wise to have some idea as, what an employee does at home, may well impact on the health of that employee at work. For instance, if an employee has a second job, this may well result in tiredness and impact on his/her awareness. And, equally, if an employee is significantly exposed to vibration levels through activities outside of work (as above), this may severely increase the risk of contracting HAVS through work.

Although employers are not at liberty to pry into employees’ home lives, it is wise to explain to them the commonsense of disclosing out-of-hours activities where they may have an impact on occupational health.

And do get to know your employees so that you can gauge when something is amiss. If you suspect tiredness and other health symptoms, try to sensitively get to the bottom of exactly why this might be happening. With tiredness, it may be a serious personal issue where a sympathetic ear is needed, or as simple as a pay-rise to prevent the need for a second job!

Asbestos – the Reality of the Suffering

An interesting article about the suffering and deaths from asbestos in our local area: https://bit.ly/2YvONi0

Some of these deaths have resulted from the catastrophic fire at MOD Donnington in 1983 and this case does demonstrate clearly that the spread of airborne asbestos fibres can affect everybody in that area, not just those directly involved. Related to another catastrophic event, 9/11, (at the last count) 204 first responders who attended have died, many having been diagnosed with mesothelioma, and ALL first responders now have symptoms. But, perhaps even more shockingly, to date a total of 44,000 claims have been made by first responders and members of the public under a scheme set up to help sufferers from the 9/11 attacks; the effects of the disaster were extremely far-reaching and will continue to haunt for decades.

However, these high-profile cases fail to adequately detail the real extent of the day-to-day problem. The HSE estimates that around 5,000 people are still dying each year in this country alone from asbestos-related diseases (ref: http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/causdis/asbestos.htm). And, of course, these include many who have not contracted these terrible diseases from their work but from activities at home (DIY, etc). So, whether at home or at work, if you don’t know what’s in it, don’t touch it!!!! It could cost lives, including yours!

Site Security

It has become evident that break-ins and theft from sites is on the increase. Apart from the legal requirement to ensure that all sites are properly secured against trespass and potential injury to members of the public, it makes sound economic sense. And we at WHS have seen standards of site security in general dropping dramatically over recent years. With all the equipment and systems available to the contractor, there is no excuse for inadequately tight security, and also for not ensuring that items can be tracked and found if they are stolen. As above, every penny claimed on insurance results in increases in insurance costs and additional expenditure. It pays to pay for preventative measures.

And don’t forget that if, heaven forbid, a break-in results in injury, the contractor could also end up in court!

GENERAL NEWS

Keep a Track of Your Personnel – at ALL times

There are many aspects of our health & safety laws that are aimed at ensuring the wellbeing of employees during working periods times – whether at a place of work or whilst travelling. Consequently, the visitors’ book and a sound booking-in/out system for employees, together with a tracking or monitoring system for those working remotely, are essential items in any company’s health & safety systems. And enforcing their use is also essential, even if employees are ‘just popping out’ for whatever reason.

Over the years, we have come across several occasions where employees have left the workplace and this has gone unnoticed until there is a realisation that something is wrong. In one such very disturbing case, an employee had felt unwell and left the site unnoticed to sit in his car; he had not signed out so evidently nobody actually missed him for quite a while. Unfortunately, the poor man died whilst sitting in his car and, by the time he was found, it was too late to resuscitate him.

So, a plea to ALL businesses, both site and office-based, please ensure that sound booking in/out and monitoring systems are established to cover both employees and visitors, with responsibilities clearly laid down, trialled to gauge effectiveness, and their use strictly enforced.

Safety Alert – Defibrillators

The Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency has issued a safety alert concerning uncertified defibrillators. The Medical Device Alert has been issued to all NHS and other medical bodies, but is just as relevant to any business who hold defibrillators and charities, etc., who have installed them for public use.

The alert relates to all Telefunken HR1 and FA1 defibrillators as their safety and performance is not verified by CE certification. Any of our customers who have their own defibrillators are asked to urgently check the make and model, and to remove any suspect defibrillators from use immediately. Our readers are also urged to tell others who they know have their own, or have installed public-use, equipment.

RIDDOR

The RIDDOR Regulations includes the requirement to report to the HSE any ‘incapacities’ lasting longer than 7 days, including non-work periods. Note the term ‘incapacities’ rather than ‘injuries’.

The question has arisen as to whether, if someone who is very active in his/her normal occupation (e.g. a site worker) returns to work but on very light duties only because of the medical condition, this constitutes a RIDDOR ‘incapacity’ because he/she can’t carry out his/her normal tasks. As yet, we have not received a clear response from the HSE so the WHS policy remains – that this would be reportable under RIDDOR.

We say this because, as with any issue where there could be doubt (whether it relates to RIDDOR, the F10 Notification or any other such issue requiring judgement), it is always better to err on the side of caution and notify the HSE. Always better to over report than get caught out!

Highway Code – Important Rule Changes

The Department for Transport has recently made a few significant changes to sign rules for motorways. They relate to flashing red and amber signals. As these changes affect all drivers, please relay them to all staff. Details are made clear on:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-highway-code/motorways-253-to-273#rule258

HSE Law Poster – it is Law!!

Just a gentle reminder that the display of the HSE Law Poster ‘What You Need to Know’ at each place of work (both at Head Office AND on each site) is law. It is also a legal requirement to fill in the details of your health & safety personnel in the small white box so do make sure this is done – and kept up to date!

Where companies work from home or there is another valid reason why displaying the poster isn’t possible, then employees MUST, by law, each be given the equivalent – the HSE Law Leaflet.

All WHS customers are provided with the leaflets in their health & safety packs (refer to ‘Templates – Miscellaneous’); alternatively, they can be purchased or downloaded free of charge from:
http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/lawleaflet.htm

No excuses!! One way or the other, ALL employees must be given the information; it is a legal requirement, and just remember that £159 per hour that can be levied by the HSE for any breaches!

AND FINALLY

With sincere thanks to the HSE for all photographs

We concentrate this time on prosecutions resulting from illegal work at height because, put simply, there are just so many of them! And so many of these cases involve falls through roof-lights or fragile roof materials; work at height includes falls THROUGH, as well as falls from, height; no exemptions.

We at WHS find it so disappointing that, despite having had over 14 years of the Work at Height Regulations (and more previously) which detail a very practical and sensible ‘hierarchy’ of control measures, some employers STILL demonstrate a blatant disregard for workers’ safety.

The HSE and courts are obviously totally fed up with this situation too, as demonstrated by the number of prison sentences, court orders and personal fines handed out these days.

Falls for height

  • Director, Claudio De Falco, was personally fined a total of over £46,000 and his company, CDF Property Investment Ltd, a total of almost £93,000 after a worker fell from a tree and died two weeks later. Two men had been cutting down a large tree using a chain saw when a branch swung back and knocked one of them to the ground; neither were trained in tree surgery nor use of chain saws, and neither were wearing safety harnesses or any type of PPE! A truly appalling case of a director demonstrating a complete disregard for the safety of his workers.
  • Company directors, Karl Grice and Steven Dixon, were each given suspended prison sentences of 16 weeks and fines of £3,000, and Sean Mullen fined a total of £3,500 after a worker fell two storeys from an improvised ladder and down a stairwell onto a concrete floor, sustaining multiple fractures and brain damage. The company itself, Green Generation Renewable Services Ltd, was fined a total of well over £22,000.

This is a shocking case as Grice, Dixon and Mullen knew that the makeshift ladder to access the loft was damaged (indeed, they had actually used it themselves!) and that there was no fall protection to the stairwell. The photo says it all.

  • Foundations & Buildings Ltd was fined a total of almost £35,000 after a worker broke his back when he fell 5 metres through a fragile barn roof during the construction of an adjoining agricultural building. Although harnesses had been provided, their use was not enforced – probably because they were totally impractical.

A pertinent reminder – use of harnesses as the only control measure is a last result in law; edge protection, nets and/or other solutions to prevent falls must be used where at all possible.

  • Ashford Timber Ltd was fined over £23,000 plus costs after a worker was seriously injured when he fell 2.5 metres from an unprotected roof edge of a domestic property.
  • Company boss, Asa Hamilton, was given a suspended 12 month prison sentence and ordered to carry out 200 hours unpaid community work and pay £4,000 towards court costs, after his workers were observed working on a two-storey domestic house roof with no edge protection (see photo).

Just a gentle but very stern reminder: NO, domestic work is NOT exempt from health & safety legislation!!!!

  • Brown Construction Ltd was fined over £17,000 after a worker fell 3 metres through an unprotected second storey stairwell opening, sustaining significant injuries. No attempt had been made to protect the opening which had obviously been left to install the stairwell later. ALL open edges MUST be protected.
  • McDonald Roofing Contractors Ltd was fined a total of over £31,000 after a worker sustained serious injuries falling from a flat roof. There was no edge protection.
  • Clear Property Solutions Ltd was fined a total of over £31,000 after a worker sustained serious injuries falling from a flat roof. The company had supplied scaffolding but the access ladder onto which the worker stepped was unsecured; the ladder slipped and the worker fell. Having gone to the trouble of doing things correctly by providing the scaffold (see photo), who would have believed they would have neglected to secure the ladder?!
  • St Albans City Football & Athletic Club Ltd was prosecuted after a 71 year old volunteer fell to his death through fragile roof sheeting onto the terraces below.

Another reminder: Yes, health & safety legislation applies to employers of ALL types of workers, whether they are paid or unpaid; ALL are owed risk assessment, adequate controls and a safe place of work.

In addition, the wisdom of the Club agreeing to a 71 year old volunteer working at significant height must also be questioned. All workers must be adequately fit for the required work so, for a person of this age, assessment is essential.

  • Company boss, Stephen Brennan, was given a suspended 6 month prison sentence and ordered to carry out 180 hours unpaid community work and pay costs of £14,000 after a worker fell 11.5 metres to his death through a fragile roof. The worker was actually in the process of installing edge protection but the company had failed to take the fragility of the roof sheeting into account! The company was also fined a total of over £74,000.
  • Weiser Construction Ltd was fined a total of over £150,000 and Complete Cladding Systems Ltd over £170,000 after a worker fell 9.7 metres through a roof-light into an active factory area below, sustaining serious injuries. The worker had been fixing metal cladding and capping to the gable end of an adjoining building; scaffolding previously in place had been removed and no nets had been installed beneath the work area.

Weiser has since gone into liquidation, again proving (as we continually warn) that ignoring the need for safe systems, not only risks the death of a worker, but also risks the death of the company as well.

  • PNR Roofing & Building Services Ltd was fined a total of over £21,000 after a worker fell 3 metres through a roof-light whilst laying felt on a roof. Air bags had been provided, but had been moved to clear up debris and not replaced.

WHS has seen this scenario so many times; PLEASE clear debris on the ground when nobody is working above AND replace the bags immediately before work resumes.

  • Kenneth Morris, trading as K&M Pointing, was given a suspended 26 week prison sentence and ordered to carry out 180 hours unpaid community work and pay £2,000 costs, after his workers were seen pointing from a 6 metre high unguarded platform (!!). Morris had deliberately decided not to erect scaffolding to save money!
  • Farmer, Robert Latham, was fined a total of over £30,000 after a worker fell to his death through the fragile roof of a milking shed whilst cleaning gutters
  • Premier Window Cleaners Ltd was fined almost £7,000 after a worker was seriously injured when he fell 7 metres through a fragile roof-light. Three workers had been cleaning a 400-panel solar array but no attempt had been made to prevent falls through the roof-lights.

Take note: Yes, the Work at Height Regulations obviously apply to ALL industries and ALL work at height, not just construction!

  • Self-employed plasterer, Michael Fletcher, was fined a total of almost £3,000 after a worker fell 2.4 metres from an unprotected landing, sustaining serious injuries. He had been helping the worker move plaster board from ground level to the first floor landing but had failed to ensure the fall prevention measures were in place.

And take note: No, the self-employed are NOT exempt from health & safety legislation, no matter what myths circulate; we ALL have a duty of care towards the safety of others.

AND SO IT GOES ON – HOW MANY OTHER WORKERS HAVE TO DIE OR SUSTAIN LIFE-CHANGING INJURIES FALLING FROM HEIGHT BEFORE EMPLOYERS TAKE THE RISKS SERIOUSLY AND IMPLEMENT THE CORRECT PROCTIVE MEASURES?

And lastly, a truly awful case…

  • Self-employed builder, Grzegorz Glowacki, was given a suspended prison sentence and ordered to carry out 220 hours unpaid community work and pay costs of almost £6,000 after a 3 year old girl suffered severe head injuries when timber fell 10 metres from scaffolding. The little girl was lucky to survive such a catastrophic incident; initially, the parents were told that she wouldn’t. It is not yet known whether she will make a full recovery; we all wish her well.

A flat was undergoing refurbishment and, despite scaffolding being erected, the materials were being lifted externally using only a knotted rope and pulley. There was no exclusion zone, even though the scaffolding was erected over a public pavement and a restaurant, and no appropriate equipment with which to lift materials.

This case is shocking as a little girl has suffered so dreadfully purely because of the thoughtlessness of the contractor. But, even more shockingly, we at WHS are often see this type of blazé attitude towards public safety. Plan ahead and organise the safest way to do things – NOT the cheapest or quickest!

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

Forthcoming Courses

Forthcoming dates and fees for courses for the remainder of 2019 are as follows. Please contact Vicki at Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) on 01952 885885 or vicki@wenlockhs.co.uk to book a course.

Note that all courses will be held at our offices in Jackfield, Telford

However, if any organisation requires attendance by 6 or more employees, a specific course can be arranged at a date, time and location to suit. Please contact the WHS office to discuss your requirements and agree costs.

All course fees below include tea & coffee and all course literature. However, lunch is included on some, but not all, courses; it is important to check the details below.

IOSH Managing Safely

Duration: 3 days
Dates: 22, 23 & 24 October (Tuesday – Thursday)
Cost: £395 + VAT per person
Lunch is provided

First Aid

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

Duration: 1 day Emergency First Aid (6 hours)
Dates:

21 August 2019
23 September 2019
21 October 2019 (please note that this date has changed)
26 November 2019
18 December 2019


Cost: £75 + VAT per person
Lunch is NOT provided

First Aid for Mental Health

Duration: 1 day Level 2 RQF (6 hours)
Dates:

2 October 2019 (Wednesday)

Cost: £75 + VAT per person
Lunch is provided

This is proving to be a very popular course. Both previous courses sold out immediately so please book as soon as possible to be sure of securing places.

CITB Courses

IMPORTANT NOTES:

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

AND

We have had serious issues recently where CITB themselves refused to issue certificates when a course had, unavoidably, fallen below their minimum number of attendees because several candidates backed out at the very last minute. WHS did not cancel the course because we didn’t want to let the remaining candidates down – but it seems that, in doing our best for the candidates, we were then put in the really difficult position of having to explain to the remaining candidates why they had been refused their certificates. CITB is meant to be working for the industry, not against it!! But this issue won’t go away so….

Attendance is vital

– not only because it affects you personally, but also because it can seriously affect others. In future, we may be put in the awful position of having to cancel a course ON THAT MORNING if some candidates don’t turn up

Forthcoming course dates until the end of 2019 are as follows; all CITB course fees include lunch.

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)

Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week
Dates:

6, 13, 20, 27 September & 4 October 2019 (Fridays)
11, 18, 25 November, 2 & 9 December 2019 (Mondays)

Cost: £495 + VAT per person

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

5 & 6 August 2019 (Monday & Tuesday)
7 & 8 October 2019 (Monday & Tuesday)
4 & 5 December 2019 (Wednesday & Thursday)

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

  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS)

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

19 & 20 August 2019 (Monday & Tuesday)
16 & 17 October 2019 (Wednesday & Thursday)
11 & 12 December (Wednesday & Thursday)

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

  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS) Refresher

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

30 August 2019 (Friday)

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

  • CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

9 September 2019 (Monday)
7 November 2019 (Thursday)

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

WHS Lobbying of Your Behalf

Many people don’t realise just how much work WHS does on our customers’ behalf behind the scenes. Because we all have so much experience working within the wider world of the construction industry, we understand the complexities and the pit-falls. And we are passionate about getting a better deal for our customers, whether this relates to Government legislation, industry-related guidelines, or client practices. Hence, we are is constant touch with organisations such as HSE, CITB, SSiP (who oversee CHAS, Safe Contractor, SMAS, etc), FSB, local authorities and other influential client bodies, etc, and we lobby hard to put right what we perceive as the wrongs within the health & safety side of our industry.

So be assured that your feedback and complaints do not fall on deaf ears! If you have anything at all that you feel is unfair, unreasonable or unjust within current nationwide or local systems, do ring us and we’ll do our best to bring it to the attention of those on high – we don’t always win, but can make serious waves!!

Your Documents Are YOUR Responsibility!!

As many of you will know by now, we have recently made some significant changes to the contents of your health & safety packs as they go through their annual review and reissue. The cover letters have drawn attention to this and to the need to destroy all previous documents and templates to prevent errors.

We would like to take this opportunity to respectfully remind all our customers that the accuracy of the texts and the suitability of the templates provided are your responsibility. Yes, we ask relevant questions before we issue and re-issue documents. However (as the HSE will concur), the acceptance of the accuracy and suitability of these documents and templates is down to you, our customer.

In the same way as the purchase of a piece of equipment is the responsibility of the buyer/user to assess suitability, so it is the responsibility of the buyer and user of our services to assess the suitability of what’s provided. So please read everything thoroughly and, if there are any issues at all with the texts or suitability of what’s provided by us as your health & safety advisors, please do ring us immediately.

Please discuss anomalies now, not once it’s been picked up by the HSE or others; if something’s wrong, it needs to be put right. Do feel free to pick up the phone at any time to discuss your concerns; we are here to listen and to help.

However, equally, if we have provided texts and templates that need to be followed to satisfy the law – it’s your responsibility to do so!

HSE NEWS

Legionella

The subject of legionella is now heavily in the HSE spotlight. This is probably because of the significant rise in the number of cases over recent years. Readers of this newsletter who either install or design water systems, water-based HVAC systems, water-based landscaping features, etc., or occupy/own buildings within which there are such systems, should take note of the legal requirements as laid down in the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health 2002 and the HSE’s Approved Code of Practice, L8.

A wealth of information, together with free downloadable guidance (including L8), can be found on:
http://www.hse.gov.uk/legionnaires/

Because of the general lack of understanding related to this issue WHS will soon be offering legionella awareness training. Please contact the WHS office (01952-885885) for details.

The Cost of NOT Doing Things Properly!

Apart from the possibility of killing or causing serious harm to employees, and the threat of resultant prosecution or enforcement, WHS would gently remind our customers that the HSE charge per hour for any work they carry out in connection with breaches of legislation, including just a telling-off!

And the cost has recently risen to a staggering £154 per hour! Costs for seemingly small transgressions can very quickly escalate and, before you know it, the bill can rise to hundreds or thousands of pounds.

So, we’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: just weigh up the cost of employing our services to spot the problems before the HSE against the potential bill for not doing so. It makes sound economic sense to use the services available to you from the health & safety advisors you have engaged.

INDUSTRY NEWS

Rescue Plans for Work at Height

In the last newsletter, we again covered the dangers of working with Mobile Elevated Work Platforms (MEWPs) of various types. Much legislation these days (including CDM and the Work at Height Regs) require thorough emergency rescue assessment and planning – and, of course, when we’re talking about work at height in its many forms, rapid rescue can often mean the difference between life and death.

Questions:

  • How long would a person survive if they had fallen from height and are dangling on a lanyard?
  • How would you retrieve workers in trouble at height?

It must be asked of ALL companies working at significant height for any reason at all, whether related to construction or not, as to what their emergency arrangements are and what has been done to ensure that all workers know what to do. Emergency planning is a legal requirement for a very good reason; those seconds are vital so it’s no good trying to find out what to do once the emergency has happened.

IPAF, the industry authority on powered access equipment, has a wealth of information about rescue plans on their website: https://www.ipaf.org/en/resource-library/rescue-persons-mewps
including the link to a very valuable guidance document of rescue from MEWPs: https://bit.ly/2MGWuKW

And, if you don’t know the answers to the questions raised above, ring WHS urgently!!

Roller Shutter Doors

In a previous newsletter, we highlighted the case of a young lady who was crushed to death when she became trapped in a roller shutter door as it opened. Sadly, a similar case resulted in another fatality, but this time also in a prosecution:

BS Graves (Electrical) Ltd was fined £25,000 plus £6,500 in costs because, not only was the work that the company had carried out some years ago found to be wired incorrectly, but inspections the company had undertaken only a month previously had failed to check that the safety sensors operated correctly and, thus, the fault had not been identified.

We must stress again that ALL inspections, whether in-depth as these should have been or the frequent basic visual inspections required by PUWER, MUST be carried out properly and by someone who is both competent and trustworthy. Anyone (company or individual) putting their name to an inspection would most certainly be held accountable if found to be insufficient, even if an accident hadn’t yet occurred.

Vibration

We have stressed and re-stressed over the years, the importance of assessing the vibration levels on all your hand-held and hand-controlled tools, and also highlighted the HSE’s on-going campaign to ensure satisfactory vibration assessments are carried out as required by law.

Since 2011, there has been a 69% increase in successful claims against employers for HAVS; in 2014 alone, there were 44,000. The costs to insurance companies of these cases obviously result in rising premiums, something that then affects all of us. And it’s a sobering fact that, for every £1 recovered in insured costs, employers will actually spend £10 covering uninsured costs – so it doesn’t make economic sense to ignore the issue.

We also continually stress that, even though some employees may never be affected, others may well contract hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) with just short-term use if not adequately controlled. HAVS can be contracted in any industry that uses any type of vibration-producing equipment. Even equipment commonly in use at home (such as strimmers, food mixers, and hair-driers) can cause symptoms and, if remaining unchecked, eventually result in HAVS or similar debilitating conditions. To illustrate this point, just take a look at the photos on the next page.
The hands belong to a young lady called Emily who contracted serious HAVS at the age of 16 from the vibration produced from nothing more than road-bike racing. Needing to grip the handlebars tightly when riding over rough terrain accentuates the levels of vibration experienced. As a result, Emily had to give up a very promising road-racing career and suffers frequently, particularly when temperatures are low. These photos were taken after she’d spent just 5 minutes hanging out washing in her garden at 12 C.

Because she is passionate about preventing others suffering the same fate, Emily now works for industry specialists, Reactec, who offer a wide range of equipment to assess and monitor vibration dosages and nip the issue in the bud before it becomes a medical problem. Their systems are invaluable, particularly for those businesses and contractors whose work entails very frequent use of vibration-producing equipment. Product and contact details can be found on: https://www.reactec.com

Never forget that it is a legal requirement to safeguard your employees against all types of occupational harm. If you need advice or assistance, please contact the WHS office or consult the HSE website.

Important Footnote:

Although the spare time activities of employees do not fall under the jurisdiction of employers, it is always wise to have some idea as, what an employee does at home, may well impact on the health of that employee at work. For instance, if an employee has a second job, this may well result in tiredness and impact on his/her awareness. And, equally, if an employee is significantly exposed to vibration levels through activities outside of work (as above), this may severely increase the risk of contracting HAVS through work.

Although employers are not at liberty to pry into employees’ home lives, it is wise to explain to them the commonsense of disclosing out-of-hours activities where they may have an impact on occupational health.

And do get to know your employees so that you can gauge when something is amiss. If you suspect tiredness and other health symptoms, try to sensitively get to the bottom of exactly why this might be happening. With tiredness, it may be a serious personal issue where a sympathetic ear is needed, or as simple as a pay-rise to prevent the need for a second job!

Asbestos – the Reality of the Suffering

An interesting article about the suffering and deaths from asbestos in our local area: https://bit.ly/2YvONi0

Some of these deaths have resulted from the catastrophic fire at MOD Donnington in 1983 and this case does demonstrate clearly that the spread of airborne asbestos fibres can affect everybody in that area, not just those directly involved. Related to another catastrophic event, 9/11, (at the last count) 204 first responders who attended have died, many having been diagnosed with mesothelioma, and ALL first responders now have symptoms. But, perhaps even more shockingly, to date a total of 44,000 claims have been made by first responders and members of the public under a scheme set up to help sufferers from the 9/11 attacks; the effects of the disaster were extremely far-reaching and will continue to haunt for decades.

However, these high-profile cases fail to adequately detail the real extent of the day-to-day problem. The HSE estimates that around 5,000 people are still dying each year in this country alone from asbestos-related diseases (ref: http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/causdis/asbestos.htm). And, of course, these include many who have not contracted these terrible diseases from their work but from activities at home (DIY, etc). So, whether at home or at work, if you don’t know what’s in it, don’t touch it!!!! It could cost lives, including yours!

Site Security

It has become evident that break-ins and theft from sites is on the increase. Apart from the legal requirement to ensure that all sites are properly secured against trespass and potential injury to members of the public, it makes sound economic sense. And we at WHS have seen standards of site security in general dropping dramatically over recent years. With all the equipment and systems available to the contractor, there is no excuse for inadequately tight security, and also for not ensuring that items can be tracked and found if they are stolen. As above, every penny claimed on insurance results in increases in insurance costs and additional expenditure. It pays to pay for preventative measures.

And don’t forget that if, heaven forbid, a break-in results in injury, the contractor could also end up in court!

Site ‘Security’ For Small Works

Never forget that the legal requirement to ensure site ‘security’ against entry by others includes occupied domestic properties. The contractor is solely responsible for the safety of occupants and arrangements must therefore be made to ensure that no occupant (or visitor) enters the working area until work has ceased and it is made totally safe, and this can in some cases include overnight. In addition, always take extra care that arrangements are made and understood by vulnerable occupants such as the elderly, infirm or parents with young children.

Again, any accident ensuing from an unsecured working or unsafe area could result in the contractor being taken to court.

So, next time dear old Mrs. Smith asks you if she can make you a cup of tea whilst you are working in the kitchen, just politely decline and explain that it’s not very safe for her to enter just for the moment. It also may be wise to make sure she’s previously made a thermos of tea for herself to tide her over, or she may not be too happy!

Face-Fit Testing

Several of our larger contractors carry out their own ‘face-fit testing’ as is required under COSHH. The HSE’s guidance document covering the requirements of in-house face-fit testing, INDG 479 can be downloaded free of charge from: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg479.htm

However, to assist with a better understanding of how to both carry out effective testing and also safeguard the health of those being tested, the Fit2Fit organisation, which champions effective testing, has released several new guidance documents. These can be downloaded free of charge from:
https://www.bsif.co.uk/fit2fit-companions-released/
and are essential reading for all persons carrying out face-fit testing

GENERAL NEWS

Keep a Track of Your Personnel – at ALL times

There are many aspects of our health & safety laws that are aimed at ensuring the wellbeing of employees during working periods times – whether at a place of work or whilst travelling. Consequently, the visitors’ book and a sound booking-in/out system for employees, together with a tracking or monitoring system for those working remotely, are essential items in any company’s health & safety systems. And enforcing their use is also essential, even if employees are ‘just popping out’ for whatever reason.

Over the years, we have come across several occasions where employees have left the workplace and this has gone unnoticed until there is a realisation that something is wrong. In one such very disturbing case, an employee had felt unwell and left the site unnoticed to sit in his car; he had not signed out so evidently nobody actually missed him for quite a while. Unfortunately, the poor man died whilst sitting in his car and, by the time he was found, it was too late to resuscitate him.

So, a plea to ALL businesses, both site and office-based, please ensure that sound booking in/out and monitoring systems are established to cover both employees and visitors, with responsibilities clearly laid down, trialled to gauge effectiveness, and their use strictly enforced.

Safety Alert – Defibrillators

The Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency has issued a safety alert concerning uncertified defibrillators. The Medical Device Alert has been issued to all NHS and other medical bodies, but is just as relevant to any business who hold defibrillators and charities, etc., who have installed them for public use.

The alert relates to all Telefunken HR1 and FA1 defibrillators as their safety and performance is not verified by CE certification. Any of our customers who have their own defibrillators are asked to urgently check the make and model, and to remove any suspect defibrillators from use immediately. Our readers are also urged to tell others who they know have their own, or have installed public-use, equipment.

RIDDOR

The RIDDOR Regulations includes the requirement to report to the HSE any ‘incapacities’ lasting longer than 7 days, including non-work periods. Note the term ‘incapacities’ rather than ‘injuries’.

The question has arisen as to whether, if someone who is very active in his/her normal occupation (e.g. a site worker) returns to work but on very light duties only because of the medical condition, this constitutes a RIDDOR ‘incapacity’ because he/she can’t carry out his/her normal tasks. As yet, we have not received a clear response from the HSE so the WHS policy remains – that this would be reportable under RIDDOR.

We say this because, as with any issue where there could be doubt (whether it relates to RIDDOR, the F10 Notification or any other such issue requiring judgement), it is always better to err on the side of caution and notify the HSE. Always better to over report than get caught out!

Highway Code – Important Rule Changes

The Department for Transport has recently made a few significant changes to sign rules for motorways. They relate to flashing red and amber signals. As these changes affect all drivers, please relay them to all staff. Details are made clear on:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-highway-code/motorways-253-to-273#rule258

HSE Law Poster – it is Law!!

Just a gentle reminder that the display of the HSE Law Poster ‘What You Need to Know’ at each place of work (both at Head Office AND on each site) is law. It is also a legal requirement to fill in the details of your health & safety personnel in the small white box so do make sure this is done – and kept up to date!

Where companies work from home or there is another valid reason why displaying the poster isn’t possible, then employees MUST, by law, each be given the equivalent – the HSE Law Leaflet.

All WHS customers are provided with the leaflets in their health & safety packs (refer to ‘Templates – Miscellaneous’); alternatively, they can be purchased or downloaded free of charge from:
http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/lawleaflet.htm

No excuses!! One way or the other, ALL employees must be given the information; it is a legal requirement, and just remember that £159 per hour that can be levied by the HSE for any breaches!

AND FINALLY

With sincere thanks to the HSE for all photographs

We concentrate this time on prosecutions resulting from illegal work at height because, put simply, there are just so many of them! And so many of these cases involve falls through roof-lights or fragile roof materials; work at height includes falls THROUGH, as well as falls from, height; no exemptions.

We at WHS find it so disappointing that, despite having had over 14 years of the Work at Height Regulations (and more previously) which detail a very practical and sensible ‘hierarchy’ of control measures, some employers STILL demonstrate a blatant disregard for workers’ safety.

The HSE and courts are obviously totally fed up with this situation too, as demonstrated by the number of prison sentences, court orders and personal fines handed out these days.

Falls for height

  • Company directors, Karl Grice and Steven Dixon, were each given suspended prison sentences of 16 weeks and fines of £3,000, and Sean Mullen fined a total of £3,500 after a worker fell two storeys from an improvised ladder and down a stairwell onto a concrete floor, sustaining multiple fractures and brain damage. The company itself, Green Generation Renewable Services Ltd, was fined a total of well over £22,000.

This is a shocking case as Grice, Dixon and Mullen knew that the makeshift ladder to access the loft was damaged (indeed, they had actually used it themselves!) and that there was no fall protection to the stairwell. The photo says it all.

  • Foundations & Buildings Ltd was fined a total of almost £35,000 after a worker broke his back when he fell 5 metres through a fragile barn roof during the construction of an adjoining agricultural building. Although harnesses had been provided, their use was not enforced – probably because they were totally impractical.

A pertinent reminder – use of harnesses as the only control measure is a last result in law; edge protection, nets and/or other solutions to prevent falls must be used where at all possible.

  • Ashford Timber Ltd was fined over £23,000 plus costs after a worker was seriously injured when he fell 2.5 metres from an unprotected roof edge of a domestic property.
  • Company boss, Asa Hamilton, was given a suspended 12 month prison sentence and ordered to carry out 200 hours unpaid community work and pay £4,000 towards court costs, after his workers were observed working on a two-storey domestic house roof with no edge protection (see photo).

Just a gentle but very stern reminder: NO, domestic work is NOT exempt from health & safety legislation!!!!

  • Brown Construction Ltd was fined over £17,000 after a worker fell 3 metres through an unprotected second storey stairwell opening, sustaining significant injuries. No attempt had been made to protect the opening which had obviously been left to install the stairwell later. ALL open edges MUST be protected.
  • McDonald Roofing Contractors Ltd was fined a total of over £31,000 after a worker sustained serious injuries falling from a flat roof. There was no edge protection.
  • Clear Property Solutions Ltd was fined a total of over £31,000 after a worker sustained serious injuries falling from a flat roof. The company had supplied scaffolding but the access ladder onto which the worker stepped was unsecured; the ladder slipped and the worker fell. Having gone to the trouble of doing things correctly by providing the scaffold (see photo), who would have believed they would have neglected to secure the ladder?!
  • Company boss, Stephen Brennan, was given a suspended 6 month prison sentence and ordered to carry out 180 hours unpaid community work and pay costs of £14,000 after a worker fell 11.5 metres to his death through a fragile roof. The worker was actually in the process of installing edge protection but the company had failed to take the fragility of the roof sheeting into account! The company was also fined a total of over £74,000.
  • Weiser Construction Ltd was fined a total of over £150,000 and Complete Cladding Systems Ltd over £170,000 after a worker fell 9.7 metres through a roof-light into an active factory area below, sustaining serious injuries. The worker had been fixing metal cladding and capping to the gable end of an adjoining building; scaffolding previously in place had been removed and no nets had been installed beneath the work area.

Weiser has since gone into liquidation, again proving (as we continually warn) that ignoring the need for safe systems, not only risks the death of a worker, but also risks the death of the company as well.

  • Kenneth Morris, trading as K&M Pointing, was given a suspended 26 week prison sentence and ordered to carry out 180 hours unpaid community work and pay £2,000 costs, after his workers were seen pointing from a 6 metre high unguarded platform (!!). Morris had deliberately decided not to erect scaffolding to save money!
  • Self-employed plasterer, Michael Fletcher, was fined a total of almost £3,000 after a worker fell 2.4 metres from an unprotected landing, sustaining serious injuries. He had been helping the worker move plaster board from ground level to the first floor landing but had failed to ensure the fall prevention measures were in place.

And take note: No, the self-employed are NOT exempt from health & safety legislation, no matter what myths circulate; we ALL have a duty of care towards the safety of others.

AND SO IT GOES ON – HOW MANY OTHER WORKERS HAVE TO DIE OR SUSTAIN LIFE-CHANGING INJURIES FALLING FROM HEIGHT BEFORE EMPLOYERS TAKE THE RISKS SERIOUSLY AND IMPLEMENT THE CORRECT PROCTIVE MEASURES?

And lastly, a truly awful case…

  • Self-employed builder, Grzegorz Glowacki, was given a suspended prison sentence and ordered to carry out 220 hours unpaid community work and pay costs of almost £6,000 after a 3 year old girl suffered severe head injuries when timber fell 10 metres from scaffolding. The little girl was lucky to survive such a catastrophic incident; initially, the parents were told that she wouldn’t. It is not yet known whether she will make a full recovery; we all wish her well.

A flat was undergoing refurbishment and, despite scaffolding being erected, the materials were being lifted externally using only a knotted rope and pulley. There was no exclusion zone, even though the scaffolding was erected over a public pavement and a restaurant, and no appropriate equipment with which to lift materials.

This case is shocking as a little girl has suffered so dreadfully purely because of the thoughtlessness of the contractor. But, even more shockingly, we at WHS are often see this type of blazé attitude towards public safety. Plan ahead and organise the safest way to do things – NOT the cheapest or quickest!

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

Forthcoming Courses

Forthcoming dates and fees for courses for the remainder of 2019 are as follows. Please contact Vicki at Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) on 01952 885885 or vicki@wenlockhs.co.uk to book a course.

Note that all courses will be held at our offices in Jackfield, Telford

However, if any organisation requires attendance by 6 or more employees, a specific course can be arranged at a date, time and location to suit. Please contact the WHS office to discuss your requirements and agree costs.

All course fees below include tea & coffee and all course literature. However, lunch is included on some, but not all, courses; it is important to check the details below.

IOSH Managing Safely

Duration: 3 days
Dates:

22, 23 & 24 October (Tuesday – Thursday)

Cost: £395 + VAT per person
Lunch is provided

First Aid

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

Duration: 1 day Emergency First Aid (6 hours)
Dates:

21 August 2019
23 September 2019
21 October 2019 (please note that this date has changed)
26 November 2019
18 December 2019

Cost: £75 + VAT per person
Lunch is NOT provided

First Aid for Mental Health

Duration: 1 day Level 2 RQF (6 hours)
Dates:

2 October 2019 (Wednesday)

Cost: £75 + VAT per person
Lunch is provided

This is proving to be a very popular course. Both previous courses sold out immediately so please book as soon as possible to be sure of securing places.

WHS Lobbying of Your Behalf

Many people don’t realise just how much work WHS does on our customers’ behalf behind the scenes. Because we all have so much experience working within the wider world of UK industry, we understand the complexities and the pit-falls. And we are passionate about getting a better deal for our customers, whether this relates to Government legislation, industry-related guidelines, or client practices. Hence, we are is constant touch with organisations such as HSE, FSB, trade associations, local authorities and other influential bodies, etc, and we lobby hard to put right what we perceive as the wrongs within the health & safety side of industry.

So be assured that your feedback and complaints do not fall on deaf ears! If you have anything at all that you feel is unfair, unreasonable or unjust within current nationwide or local systems, do ring us and we’ll do our best to bring it to the attention of those on high – we don’t always win, but can make serious waves!!

Your Documents Are YOUR Responsibility!!

As many of you will know by now, we have recently made some significant changes to the contents of your health & safety packs as they go through their annual review and reissue. The cover letters have drawn attention to this and to the need to destroy all previous documents and templates to prevent errors.

We would like to take this opportunity to respectfully remind all our customers that the accuracy of the texts and the suitability of the templates provided are your responsibility. Yes, we ask relevant questions before we issue and re-issue documents. However (as the HSE will concur), the acceptance of the accuracy and suitability of these documents and templates is down to you, our customer.

In the same way as the purchase of a piece of equipment is the responsibility of the buyer/user to assess suitability, so it is the responsibility of the buyer and user of our services to assess the suitability of what’s provided. So please read everything thoroughly and, if there are any issues at all with the texts or suitability of what’s provided by us as your health & safety advisors, please do ring us immediately.

Please discuss anomalies now, not once it’s been picked up by the HSE or others; if something’s wrong, it needs to be put right. Do feel free to pick up the phone at any time to discuss your concerns; we are here to listen and to help.

However, equally, if we have provided texts and templates that need to be followed to satisfy the law – it’s your responsibility to do so!

HSE NEWS

Legionella

The subject of legionella is now heavily in the HSE spotlight. This is probably because of the significant rise in the number of cases over recent years. Readers of this newsletter who occupy or own buildings with water systems, water-based HVAC systems, water-based landscaping features, etc., should take note of the legal requirements as laid down in the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health 2002 and the HSE’s Approved Code of Practice, L8.

A wealth of information, together with free downloadable guidance (including L8), can be found on:
http://www.hse.gov.uk/legionnaires/

Because of the general lack of understanding related to this issue WHS will soon be offering legionella awareness training. Please contact the WHS office (01952-885885) for details.

The Cost of NOT Doing Things Properly!

Apart from the possibility of killing or causing serious harm to employees, and the threat of resultant prosecution or enforcement, WHS would gently remind our customers that the HSE charge per hour for any work they carry out in connection with breaches of legislation, including just a telling-off!

And the cost has recently risen to a staggering £154 per hour! Costs for seemingly small transgressions can very quickly escalate and, before you know it, the bill can rise to hundreds or thousands of pounds.

So, we’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: just weigh up the cost of employing our services to spot the problems before the HSE against the potential bill for not doing so. It makes sound economic sense to use the services available to you from the health & safety advisors you have engaged.

INDUSTRY NEWS

Welding Fume etc

The June 2019 newsletter covered the re-classification of welding fume as a serious carcinogen and the HSE’s subsequent safety alert (https://bit.ly/2Wig1qe). Arco, an industry leader in safety supplies, has produced an excellent advice and guidance document, ‘EXPERT GUIDE Welding Fume; An update following the HSE safety alert and the change in enforcement expectations’ which can be downloaded free of charge from: https://bit.ly/2ZkxnRT

Any business who carries out welding, or contracts any other party to do so on its premises, should review this document. And, as always, please do contact WHS for further assistance or guidance.

Face-Fit Testing

Several of our customers carry out their own ‘face-fit testing’ as is required under COSHH. The HSE’s guidance document covering the requirements of in-house face-fit testing, INDG 479 can be downloaded free of charge from: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg479.htm

However, to assist with a better understanding of how to both carry out effective testing and also safeguard the health of those being tested, the Fit2Fit organisation, which champions effective testing, has released several new guidance documents. These can be downloaded free of charge from:
https://www.bsif.co.uk/fit2fit-companions-released/
and are essential reading for all persons carrying out face-fit testing

Vibration

We have stressed and re-stressed over the years, the importance of assessing the vibration levels on all your hand-held and hand-controlled tools, and also highlighted the HSE’s on-going campaign to ensure satisfactory vibration assessments are carried out as required by law.

Since 2011, there has been a 69% increase in successful claims against employers for HAVS; in 2014 alone, there were 44,000. The costs to insurance companies of these cases obviously result in rising premiums, something that then affects all of us. And it’s a sobering fact that, for every £1 recovered in insured costs, employers will actually spend £10 covering uninsured costs – so it doesn’t make economic sense to ignore the issue.

We also continually stress that, even though some employees may never be affected, others may well contract hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) with just short-term use if not adequately controlled. HAVS can be contracted in any industry that uses any type of vibration-producing equipment. Even equipment commonly in use at home (such as strimmers, food mixers, and hair-driers) can cause symptoms and, if remaining unchecked, eventually result in HAVS or similar debilitating conditions. These photos illustrate this point. The hands belong to a young lady called Emily who contracted serious HAVS at the age of 16 from the vibration produced from nothing more than road-bike racing. Needing to grip the handlebars tightly when riding over rough terrain accentuates the levels of vibration experienced. As a result, Emily had to give up a very promising road-racing career and suffers frequently, particularly when temperatures are low. These photos were taken after she’d spent just 5 minutes hanging out washing in her garden at 12C.

Because she is passionate about preventing others suffering the same fate, Emily now works for industry specialists, Reactec, who offer a wide range of equipment to assess and monitor vibration dosages and nip the issue in the bud before it becomes a medical problem. Their systems are invaluable, particularly for those businesses whose work entails very frequent use of vibration-producing equipment. Product and contact details can be found on: https://www.reactec.com

Never forget that it is a legal requirement to safeguard your employees against all types of occupational harm. If you need advice or assistance, please contact the WHS office or consult the HSE website.

Important Footnote:

Although the spare time activities of employees do not fall under the jurisdiction of employers, it is always wise to have some idea as, what an employee does at home, may well impact on the health of that employee at work. For instance, if an employee has a second job, this may well result in tiredness and impact on his/her awareness. And, equally, if an employee is significantly exposed to vibration levels through activities outside of work (as above), this may severely increase the risk of contracting HAVS through work.

Although employers are not at liberty to pry into employees’ home lives, it is wise to explain to them the commonsense of disclosing out-of-hours activities where they may have an impact on occupational health.

And do get to know your employees so that you can gauge when something is amiss. If you suspect tiredness and other health symptoms, try to sensitively get to the bottom of exactly why this might be happening. With tiredness, it may be a serious personal issue where a sympathetic ear is needed, or as simple as a pay-rise to prevent the need for a second job!

Asbestos – the Reality of the Suffering

An interesting article about the suffering and deaths from asbestos in our local area: https://bit.ly/2YvONi0

Some of these deaths have resulted from the catastrophic fire at MOD Donnington in 1983 and this case does demonstrate clearly that the spread of airborne asbestos fibres can affect everybody in that area, not just those directly involved. Related to another catastrophic event, 9/11, (at the last count) 204 first responders who attended have died, many having been diagnosed with mesothelioma, and ALL first responders now have symptoms. But, perhaps even more shockingly, to date a total of 44,000 claims have been made by first responders and members of the public under a scheme set up to help sufferers from the 9/11 attacks; the effects of the disaster were extremely far-reaching and will continue to haunt for decades.

However, these high-profile cases fail to adequately detail the real extent of the day-to-day problem. The HSE estimates that around 5,000 people are still dying each year in this country alone from asbestos-related diseases (ref: http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/causdis/asbestos.htm). And, of course, these include many who have not contracted these terrible diseases from their work but from activities at home (DIY, etc). So, whether at home or at work, if you don’t know what’s in it, don’t touch it!!!! It could cost lives, including yours!

GENERAL NEWS

Keep a Track of Your Personnel – at ALL times

There are many aspects of our health & safety laws that are aimed at ensuring the wellbeing of employees during working periods times – whether at a place of work or whilst travelling. Consequently, the visitors’ book and a sound booking-in/out system for employees, together with a tracking or monitoring system for those working remotely, are essential items in any company’s health & safety systems. And enforcing their use is also essential, even if employees are ‘just popping out’ for whatever reason.

Over the years, we have come across several occasions where employees have left the workplace and this has gone unnoticed until there is a realisation that something is wrong. In one such very disturbing case, an employee had felt unwell and left the premises unnoticed to sit in his car; he had not signed out so evidently nobody actually missed him for quite a while. Unfortunately, the poor man died whilst sitting in his car and, by the time he was found, it was too late to resuscitate him.

So, a plea to ALL businesses, please ensure that sound booking in/out and monitoring systems are established to cover both employees and visitors, with responsibilities clearly laid down, trialled to gauge effectiveness, and their use strictly enforced.

Safety Alert – Defibrillators

The Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency has issued a safety alert concerning uncertified defibrillators. The Medical Device Alert has been issued to all NHS and other medical bodies, but is just as relevant to any business who hold defibrillators and charities, etc., who have installed them for public use.

The alert relates to all Telefunken HR1 and FA1 defibrillators as their safety and performance is not verified by CE certification. Any of our customers who have their own defibrillators are asked to urgently check the make and model, and to remove any suspect defibrillators from use immediately. Our readers are also urged to tell others who they know have their own, or have installed public-use, equipment.

RIDDOR

The RIDDOR Regulations includes the requirement to report to the HSE any ‘incapacities’ lasting longer than 7 days, including non-work periods. Note the term ‘incapacities’ rather than ‘injuries’.

The question has arisen as to whether, if someone who is very active in his/her normal occupation (e.g. a production line worker) returns to work but on very light duties only because of the medical condition, this constitutes a RIDDOR ‘incapacity’ because he/she can’t carry out his/her normal tasks. As yet, we have not received a clear response from the HSE so the WHS policy remains – that this would be reportable under RIDDOR.

We say this because, as with any issue where there could be doubt (whether it relates to RIDDOR or any other such issue requiring judgement), it is always better to err on the side of caution and notify the HSE. Always better to over report than get caught out!

Highway Code – Important Rule Changes

The Department for Transport has recently made a few significant changes to sign rules for motorways. They relate to flashing red and amber signals. As these changes affect all drivers, please relay them to all staff. Details are made clear on:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-highway-code/motorways-253-to-273#rule258

HSE Law Poster – it is Law!!

Just a gentle reminder that the display of the HSE Law Poster ‘What You Need to Know’ at each place of work (both at Head Office AND on each remote site) is law. It is also a legal requirement to fill in the details of your health & safety personnel in the small white box so do make sure this is done – and kept up to date!

Where companies work from home or there is another valid reason why displaying the poster isn’t possible, then employees MUST, by law, each be given the equivalent – the HSE Law Leaflet.

All WHS customers are provided with the leaflets in their health & safety packs (refer to ‘Templates – Miscellaneous’); alternatively, they can be purchased or downloaded free of charge from:
http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/lawleaflet.htm

No excuses!! One way or the other, ALL employees must be given the information; it is a legal requirement, and just remember that £159 per hour that can be levied by the HSE for any breaches!

AND FINALLY

With sincere thanks to the HSE for all photographs

We concentrate this time on prosecutions resulting from illegal work at height because, put simply, there are just so many of them! And so many of these cases involve falls through roof-lights or fragile roof materials; work at height includes falls THROUGH, as well as falls from, height; no exemptions.

We at WHS find it so disappointing that, despite having had over 14 years of the Work at Height Regulations (and more previously) which detail a very practical and sensible ‘hierarchy’ of control measures, some employers STILL demonstrate a blatant disregard for workers’ safety.

The HSE and courts are obviously totally fed up with this situation too, as demonstrated by the number of prison sentences, court orders and personal fines handed out these days. And take note that several of the cases below resulted in the employers themselves being prosecuted.

Falls for height

  • Director, Claudio De Falco, was personally fined a total of over £46,000 and his company, CDF Property Investment Ltd, a total of almost £93,000 after a worker fell from a tree and died two weeks later. Two men had been cutting down a large tree using a chain saw when a branch swung back and knocked one of them to the ground; neither were trained in tree surgery nor use of chain saws, and neither were wearing safety harnesses or any type of PPE! A truly appalling case of a director demonstrating a complete disregard for the safety of his workers.
  • Company directors, Karl Grice and Steven Dixon, were each given suspended prison sentences of 16 weeks and fines of £3,000, and Sean Mullen fined a total of £3,500 after a worker fell two storeys from an improvised ladder and down a stairwell onto a concrete floor, sustaining multiple fractures and brain damage. The company itself, Green Generation Renewable Services Ltd, was fined a total of well over £22,000.

This is a shocking case as Grice, Dixon and Mullen knew that the makeshift ladder to access the loft was damaged (indeed, they had actually used it themselves!) and that there was no fall protection to the stairwell. The photo says it all.

  • Foundations & Buildings Ltd was fined a total of almost £35,000 after a worker broke his back when he fell 5 metres through a fragile barn roof during the construction of an adjoining agricultural building. Although harnesses had been provided, their use was not enforced
  • Ashford Timber Ltd was fined over £23,000 plus costs after a worker was seriously injured when he fell 2.5 metres from an unprotected roof edge of a domestic property.
  • Company boss, Asa Hamilton, was given a suspended 12 month prison sentence and ordered to carry out 200 hours unpaid community work and pay £4,000 towards court costs, after his workers were observed working on a two-storey domestic house roof with no edge protection (see photo).

Just a gentle reminder to everyone: NO, domestic work is NOT exempt from health & safety legislation!!!!

  • Kenneth Morris, trading as K&M Pointing, was given a suspended 26 week prison sentence and ordered to carry out 180 hours unpaid community work and pay £2,000 costs, after his workers were seen pointing from a 6 metre high unguarded platform (!!). Morris had deliberately decided not to erect scaffolding to save money!
  • St Albans City Football & Athletic Club Ltd was prosecuted after a 71 year old volunteer fell to his death through fragile roof sheeting onto the terraces below.

Another reminder: Yes, health & safety legislation applies to employers of ALL types of workers, whether they are paid or unpaid; ALL are owed risk assessment, adequate controls and a safe place of work.

In addition, the wisdom of the Club agreeing to a 71 year old volunteer working at significant height must also be questioned. All workers must be adequately fit for the required work so, for a person of this age, assessment is essential.

  • McDonald Roofing Contractors Ltd was fined a total of over £31,000 after a worker sustained serious injuries falling from a flat roof. There was no edge protection.
  • Company boss, Stephen Brennan, was given a suspended 6 month prison sentence and ordered to carry out 180 hours unpaid community work and pay costs of £14,000 after a worker fell 11.5 metres to his death through a fragile roof. The worker was actually in the process of installing edge protection but the company had failed to take the fragility of the roof sheeting into account! The company was also fined a total of over £74,000.
  • Weiser Construction Ltd was fined a total of over £150,000 and Complete Cladding Systems Ltd over £170,000 after a worker fell 9.7 metres through a roof-light into an active factory area below, sustaining serious injuries. The worker had been fixing metal cladding and capping to the gable end of an adjoining building; scaffolding previously in place had been removed and no nets had been installed beneath the work area.
  • Farmer, Robert Latham, was fined a total of over £30,000 after a worker fell to his death through the fragile roof of a milking shed whilst cleaning gutters
  • Premier Window Cleaners Ltd was fined almost £7,000 after a worker was seriously injured when he fell 7 metres through a fragile roof-light. Three workers had been cleaning a 400-panel solar array but no attempt had been made to prevent falls through the roof-lights.

Take note: Yes, the Work at Height Regulations obviously apply to ALL industries and ALL work at height, not just construction!

  • Self-employed plasterer, Michael Fletcher, was fined a total of almost £3,000 after a worker fell 2.4 metres from an unprotected landing, sustaining serious injuries. He had been helping the worker move plaster board from ground level to the first floor landing but had failed to ensure the fall prevention measures were in place.

And take note: No, the self-employed are NOT exempt from health & safety legislation, no matter what myths circulate; we ALL have a duty of care towards the safety of others. And we ALL have a duty to ensure those we engage are legally compliant and competent to do the work safely.

AND SO IT GOES ON – HOW MANY OTHER WORKERS HAVE TO DIE OR SUSTAIN LIFE-CHANGING INJURIES FALLING FROM HEIGHT BEFORE EMPLOYERS TAKE THE RISKS SERIOUSLY AND IMPLEMENT THE CORRECT PROCTIVE MEASURES?

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

Forthcoming Courses

Forthcoming dates and fees for courses are as follows; all courses are held at the WHS training rooms. However, if any organisation requires attendance by 6 or more employees, a specific course can be arranged at a date, time and location to suit. Please contact the WHS office to discuss your requirements and agree costs.

All course fees below include tea & coffee and all course literature. However, lunch is included on some, but not all, courses; it is important to check the details below.

IOSH Managing Safely

Duration: 3 days
Dates:

9, 10 & 11 July (Tuesday – Thursday)
22, 23 & 24 October (Tuesday – Thursday)

Cost: £395 + VAT per person
Lunch is provided

First Aid

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

Duration: 1 day Emergency First Aid (6 hours)
Dates:

26 June 2019
25 July 2019
21 August 2019
23 September 2019
25 October 2019
26 November 2019
18 December 2019

Cost: £75 + VAT per person
Lunch is NOT provided

First Aid for Mental Health

Duration: 1 day Level 2 RQF (6 hours)
Dates:

15 August 2019 (Monday)

Cost: £75 + VAT per person
Lunch and refreshments included

The first of these courses sold out immediately – so book early to avoid disappointment!

CITB Courses

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)

Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week
Dates:

28 June, 5, 12, 19 & 26 July 2019 (Fridays)
6, 13, 20, 27 September & 4 October 2019 (Fridays)
11, 18, 25 November, 2 & 9 December 2019 (Mondays)

Cost: £495 + VAT per person

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

17 & 18 June 2019 (Monday & Tuesday)
5 & 6 August 2019 (Monday & Tuesday)
7 & 8 October 2019 (Monday & Tuesday)
4 & 5 December 2019 (Wednesday & Thursday)

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

  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS)

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

12 & 13 June 2019 (Wednesday & Thursday)
19 & 20 August 2019 (Monday & Tuesday)
16 & 17 October 2019 (Wednesday & Thursday)
11 & 12 December (Wednesday & Thursday)

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

  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS) Refresher

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

16 August 2019 (Friday)

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

  • CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

29 July 2019 (Monday)
9 September 2019 (Monday)
7 December 2019 (Thursday)

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

All CITB course fees include lunch.

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

HSE NEWS

Site Security – Fencing

THIS IS A PARTICULARLY IMPORTANT ISSUE WITH SCHOOL SUMMER HOLIDAYS APPROACHING

There have been a number of recent accidents and prosecutions relating to poor site security, all of which were totally preventable and seemingly caused by sloppy site management. Consequently, the HSE issued a safety alert last year specifically detailing the fundamental practices and precautions that are required to meet acceptable standards.

For the full text, which must be read, understood and adhered to by all construction site management, refer to: http://www.hse.gov.uk/safetybulletins/ladders-and-scaffold-security.htm

The main issue is lax site security, predominantly poor standards of perimeter fencing. Contractors are totally responsible under CDM for site security; CDM 2015 Reg.18(2) states:

“Where necessary in the interests of health and safety, a construction site must, so far as is reasonably practicable, and in accordance with the level of risk posed … be fenced off.”

Obviously, where works are taking place within the public realm (over footpaths, on occupied flats, in the domestic environment, etc), the likelihood of trespass is extremely high and therefore the ‘level of risk’ mentioned in CDM and expected standards of risk prevention are correspondingly extremely high. There can be no excuses; perimeter fencing must be, as an absolute minimum:

  • 2 metres high
  • anti-climb, e.g. 30mm close-mesh Heras panels or, better still, smooth hoarding
  • secure e.g. double bolted Heras panels
  • bolted or securely fixed to any structure that it abuts so no little person can squeeze through
  • on level ground throughout so no little person can squeeze beneath
  • well away from walls, trees, pillar boxes, etc so no little person can use them to breach the fence

The HSE will not fail to issue enforcement if CDM Reg.18(2) appears to have been breached so take another at your perimeter security NOW…then keep looking to ensure that it remains effective throughout the works.

However, there are other issues relating to fencing that need to be assessed in relation to public safety, mainly preventing trip hazards and fencing stability.

Where temporary fencing panels (typically Heras) are unavoidably used in or immediately next to public walkways, the feet will pose a trip hazard if placed in the traditional way at right angles to the panels. The HSE recommend turning the feet in line with the panels; however, this then poses the very real risk of instability.

Contractor, Fadil Adil, was fined a total of £22,000 after a 91 year old woman suffered broken bones when unstable Heras panels fell on her. HSE Inspector Bernardine Cooney said: “The law clearly states that all temporary works, including fences and hoardings, are properly designed, constructed and maintained by competent people to ensure they are safe.”

The HSE stresses that “The fence line must be double clipped and if necessary, braces are to be used to aid stability, particularly for areas of uneven ground to minimise the risk of the fence panel falling over. In the case where the fence panels are erected in a long line, braces or triangular sections are to be installed” (WHS emphasis)

And don’t overlook delivery! Even safety during the delivering of the temporary fencing, which is obviously the first operation on any site, is the responsibility of site management. Do make sure the panels are off-loaded and temporarily stored away from pubic walkways, and stack them safety to avoid them slipping or snagging passers-by.

Site Security – Ladders

The second main issue highlighted in the HSE safety alert is that of the security of the scaffold itself.

All contractors and scaffolders must be aware that all working platforms must be erected in such a way as to prevent public access. Site boundary fencing must sufficiently contain the scaffolding to prevent trespassers (particularly children who will fail to see the extreme danger of climbing onto the scaffold) being able to reach ladders, platforms, poles, etc. Never allow overhang beyond or very close to the site boundary, and ensure that all means of shinning up and onto the scaffold (e.g. trees, walls, pillar boxes, etc as highlighted above) are also included well within the perimeter fencing to prevent opportunistic access. As above, the contractor will be liable for any injury resulting from preventable trespass.

In addition, and this is particularly important when the site involves a domestic situation or where scaffold is erected in a public area and cannot be adequately fenced off (e.g. scaffolding over a public footpath):

  • ladders must be removed and securely stored overnight where at all possible, or
  • but only as a last resort where removal is impractical or produces additional risk, fitted with a proprietary secure ladder guard

However, if ladder guards are used, they MUST consist of a metal plate:

  • wide enough to cover the rungs across their width
  • long enough to cover at least 6 rungs
  • securely bolted to the ladder (not tied on with string as we have seen!)
  • with any carrying slots cut vertically into the plate, not horizontally where they can be used as a foothold

To illustrate the point, the HSE safety alert includes a photo of unacceptable practice. It is clear to see that the ladder guard is far too narrow to prevent little feet getting a foothold to one side of the plate, particularly as it would actually be possible to move the plate further to the right.

And here is an illustration of what can happen if contractors DON’T adhere to this advice. Westdale services Ltd was recently fined a total of over £182,000 after a 12 year old boy was able to gain access to scaffolding to a block of flats by placing his feet either side of an inadequate ladder guard and fell 10 metres to the ground, sustaining very serious life-changing injuries.

Sloppy site management almost caused the death of this young lad; he survived, albeit with horrendous injuries, but many do not. We repeat:
the contractor is ALWAYS responsible for the safety of the public

Site Security – could it be any worse??!!

This was spotted very recently in the Wirral…

We’ll leave this to you – how many breaches can you spot?! And all in a completely unfenced publicly accessible garden area surrounding the flats.

Unbelievable!!!

Platform Lifts

The HSE recently issued a safety alert concerning the use and maintenance of vertical lifting platforms which provide access between floors and are hydraulically or electrically powered.

These platforms typically operate at much slower speeds than conventional passenger lifts and, presumably to hasten operations or maintenance, the HSE has found the disabling of interlocking devices becoming all-too-common practice which has resulted, on several occasions, in workers falling down open lift wells or becoming trapped beneath platforms. For the full safety alert text refer to: https://bit.ly/2HMz5U7

We would remind ALL businesses, both in construction AND general industry, that the tampering with safety devices such as interlocks or guards is a serious breach of PUWER 1998 and will certainly result in enforcement should the HSE spot it, or prosecution if an accident results.

Welding Fume

And a last HSE safety alert for this newsletter – the re-classification of welding fume, including mild steel, as a serious human carcinogen. Therefore, with immediate effect, the HSE is tightening up on control requirements and enforcement. For the full safety alert text refer to: https://bit.ly/2Wig1qe

Demolition Safety

As we have highlighted before, the demolition industry seems to have taken a step backwards in recent years, with more and more accidents, fatalities and injuries occurring through bad practice and cutting corners. Refer also to the incident detailed in the ‘And Finally’ section below.

Whether the increase in accidents is due to incompetent contractors joining the demolition industry (as has, again, been highlighted previously) or whether client pressures are being acceded to is debateable. The airing of Channel 5’s ‘When Demolition Goes Wrong’ brought the issue to public attention as it highlighted the impact, rather than the causes, of the incidents.

Subsequently, the HSE released a series of case studies of fatalities and multiple injuries resulting from demolition or major refurbishments. They demonstrate strongly that the failure to plan, manage, provide information, monitor performance and adequately control sites are the underlying common factors. To plan, manage and monitor all construction (which, unlike what some people seem to think, includes ‘demolition’!!) is a legal requirement because it is common sense, and these case studies clearly demonstrate the dreadful results of failing to do so.

The full text of all 12 case studies can be found on the HSE’s press website: https://bit.ly/2W2XzSh

Anyone reading this newsletter who is involved in the demolition and/or refurbishment industry should read them thoroughly. And please, NEVER be tempted to get involved in something for which you do not have the appropriate level of qualifications, experience and managerial competence; it could prove fatal.

INDUSTRY NEWS

Changes to the CITB Touch Screen Test – IMPORTANT

Following on from the changes to the CITB HS&E (touch screen) test that we highlighted in the April 2019 newsletter, CITB have been working hard to ensure that the new test puts the safety of our British Construction Industry first.

Do be aware that the new test comes into force on 26 June 2019 and the changes to the test format are significant. Therefore, those of you who are booked or about to book a test MUST make sure you have the correct test revision material. Refer to the information in the two enclosures with this newsletter (one of which is in poster format to bring the changes to the attention of your workforce) and on the CITB website:
www.citb.co.uk/HSEtestdev

We thought you might also like to know that we at WHS have been working alongside CITB in the build up to the changes to help ensure the test is far more meaningful (i.e. knowledge is retained rather than just learnt by rote for the test) and user-friendly (i.e. questions are more straightforward). Our link with CITB is set to become longer-term as we hope to put our depth of knowledge and experience to good practice for the benefit of all our contractors, designers, and project managers.

So you can be assured that the feedback and complaints we continually get about various aspects of our industry does not fall on deaf ears. WHS has, for many years, put a lot of effort in behind the scenes to help improve the construction industry, and we don’t intend to stop!!

Compressed Air

In the health & safety packs we issue to our contractors, we now include a generic risk assessment for the use of compressed air. We have felt this necessary because of a horribly dangerous practice that seems be becoming more widespread, possibly spurred on by the poor example set by some DIY programmes on TV – that of cleaning dust off clothes using compressed air!

It is all too easy to resort to something that’s quick and easy when covered in dust or detritus – but this practice can be a killer as the pressure is so extreme that it can easily penetrate clothes and, of course, skin.

To illustrate the extreme danger, see what happened to a worker who was subject to totally unacceptable horseplay which resulted in severe internal injuries: https://dailym.ai/2YHVUPF
And, still worse, the same prank killed this worker: https://bit.ly/2w7JDIj

NEVER EVER DO THIS, OR ALLOW THIS TO BE DONE BY ANYONE ON YOUR SITE

Manual Handling of Kerbs

As you know (or certainly should know!), manual handling of loads exceeding 25kg is frowned upon by the HSE, with the Manual Handling Regs dictating that loads must be ‘reasonable’ in accordance with the capabilities of the individuals involved. So why are we still designing in, and manually handling, pre-cast concrete kerbs which can weigh in excess of 65kg?!

Many years ago, the HSE issued a warning to all bodies commissioning road-works that manual lifting of traditional PC kerbs is clearly unacceptable and alternatives must be found. And way back in 2005, HSE Construction Information Sheet No 57 ‘Handling kerbs: Reducing the risks of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs)’ was issued which detailed acceptable and recommended practice:
http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/cis57.pdf

But nothing seems to have changed.

As with ALL construction work since the advent of CDM in 1994, the emphasis is placed on ‘designing out risk’ where at all possible or, where not possible, reducing to a ‘reasonable’ level. However, in our recent experience, not only is the instruction from both CDM and the HSE being ignored, the industry seems to have taken a step backwards and is rarely actively exploring alternatives to PC kerbs.

There are many alternative products and methods of kerb laying out there. Under CDM, all parties (clients, designers and contractors) are responsible for designing out or reducing risk to those at the workface; if not, enforcement (and claims from injured employees) can surely be expected.

Temporary Works – so you have insurance?

As you should also all know, temporary works (which includes scaffolding, excavation shoring, falsework, etc) must always be properly designed, planned, managed and supervised (refer to your Health & Safety Manual) but how many contractors and designers think about checking their insurance for any restrictions? We have recently come across several sites where contractors’ insurance restrictions limit the height of the temporary works (i.e. the scaffolding in these cases) but this has not been noticed or has been ignored.

As with ALL insurance cover, do make sure it’s exactly what you need and takes into account both your roles on site and the nature of the work for which you are responsible. And never assume that sub-contractors’ insurance will cover you!

GENERAL NEWS

Trip Hazard – a Simple Solution

We all need to frequently plug in our mobiles to re-charge, and often (particularly in offices) this results in trip hazards with the only available sockets being near the floor. So how’s this for a very simple but ingenious solution?

To all designers who, don’t forget, have the duty to ‘design out’ or reduce even the more commonplace risks:
The Lisse range of plug sockets produced by Schneider Electrical not only looks good but vastly reduces the risk of trips by incorporating a small lip on which mobiles can sit snugly. Clever!

A Travel Warning

How many of us throw caution to the wind when we travel abroad and tend to accept situations that would most definitely be totally unacceptable at home? Because other countries, particularly those who are less developed, are lax with regard to health & safety, we (illogically) have a tendency to ignore hazards. But this can often result in serious injury, disease or death.

In April, a young Shropshire couple died when the buggy they had hired to explore Santorini plunged 200 metres into a ravine: https://bit.ly/2ZqU3jq
Another young Shropshire couple died whilst just taking a taxi in Mauritius: https://bbc.in/2JWw2M6
And we probably all remember the tragic case of the two young children who died from carbon monoxide fumes when on holiday in Corfu: https://bit.ly/2WX82fo

But here’s another equally tragic example of why we should never let our guard drop when it comes to our health & safety, even if we are in the midst enjoying some well-earned R&R in a beautiful holiday destination. In April, the girlfriend of British backpacker, Jason Lee, was horrified when she heard ‘an almighty bang’ and saw him fall several storeys to his death from a roof terrace at an Airbnb in Guatemala. His body was flown back to the UK where an autopsy found that Jason had, in all probability, touched a live high-voltage cable which threw him from the terrace. The full story can be read on: https://bit.ly/2VRdaFx

At the risk of sounding like a spoil sport, do check out your accommodation, transport, food, and local hazards as much as you can before you travel – or, better still, travel with a reputable agency. Jason and his girlfriend opted for Airbnb which, naturally, would be governed by nothing more than local regulations – and in Guatemala, it could be assumed that safety standards would be non-existent.

If you like to organise your own trips, do as much homework beforehand as possible BUT ALSO check everything out at the destination before you commit yourself; don’t just accept what could be potentially dangerous situations just because you feel obliged to. Don’t let that dream holiday turn into a nightmare.

Is There True Gender Equality with Safety?

We have certainly progressed with gender equality in the workplace since the advent of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974. Our MD comments that, when she began working in the construction industry in1975, the only PPE available to her was size 7 safety shoes (she’s a size 4 and needed safety boots, not shoes!) and size 40 overalls (she is a 34!).

Now, we are able to choose from a huge variety of, often very stylish, PPE so seem to have that problem sorted. However, as the excellent Guardian Weekend article of 23 February 2019 clearly demonstrated, the world is still ‘built for men’ to the extent that women’s safety is still at risk.

The article entitled ‘The deadly trust about a world built for men – from stab vests to car crashes’ is shocking and certainly raises awareness that we still have a long way to go, not just regarding political correctness, but far more importantly reducing risks to women both in the workplace and our general lives. The opening sentence makes reference to crash-test dummies mimicking the average male build which typifies the problem, with one police officer having to resort to surgery to be able to wear body armour which is shocking!

The article is worth reading as it makes you realise just how deeply gender inequality still exists within the basics of life: https://bit.ly/2twVa2s

AND FINALLY

With sincere thanks to the HSE for all photographs

As always, we highlight below the still unacceptable number of fatalities and injuries resulting from falls from height. But we start with two high-risk issues that are still not being taken seriously by UK industry, let alone within construction:

  • Control of hazardous substances, and
  • Contractor competence

Health issues – COSHH

  • Contractor, T Brown Group Ltd, and product supplier, Altro Ltd, were fined a total of almost £274,000 and almost £535,000 after a floor layer was overcome by toxic fumes and died at the scene whilst laying a bathroom floor.

The adhesive was found to contain dichloromethane; therefore, Altro was found not to have ensured so far as reasonably practicable that the product supplied was safe for use. T Brown Group had not properly assessed the risks of using this product in an enclosed space, nor had they supplied appropriate respiratory protection (RPE); the victim’s mask was found to be totally ineffectual.

Carpet fitters, floor layers, other similar trades who inevitably use potentially hazardous products and contractors who sub-contract to them still do not, in our experience, take the risks of fumes and vapours seriously. Most products these days will be safe for limited use provided there is good ventilation and appropriate RPE – but we continually see workers who fail to take even basic precautions such as opening a window.

COSHH assessments are LAW; they MUST be carried out to reflect the way a company typically works AND must also allow amendment on-site pre-start to ensure any unusual circumstances are taken into account. If companies fail to do this, and to provide appropriate control measures, they risk killing their own workers AND occupiers AND the companies themselves as fines will be so heavy. Be warned!!

Contractor competence!!!

  • Stephen Farnell, trading as Farnell Building Contractors, was given 120 hours community service and ordered to pay £1,500 in costs after a wall in a garage he was demolishing fell on the home owner, causing serious injuries which resulting in amputation.

Evidently, Farnell had failed to provide measures to prevent structural collapse, nor had he secured the site against entry by others. Clearly, Farnell was not capable of demolition or compliant site management and this case is a demonstration of why it is SO important, and legally required, to ensure appropriate competence both in terms of skills and health & safety compliant systems.

Work at height

  • Principal contractor, Weiser Construction Ltd, was fined a total of over £150,000 and contractor, Complete Cladding Systems Ltd a total of over £170,000 after a cladder fell 9.7 metres through a roof-light, suffering very serious injuries. Scaffolding had been removed before cladding work was complete!!

Weiser Construction is now in liquidation – a reminder that safety breaches risk both lives and livelihoods

  • St George City was fined £130,000 and sub-contractor, PHD Modular Access Services, fined £50,000 after falling scaffold poles severely injured a visiting engineer. Both companies had failed to ensure safe storage of the scaffold poles.

WHS has also recently come across similar serious carelessness; loose planks left by scaffolders fell onto a major road through Wolverhampton, causing serious risk and the road’s closure by the Police. Such carelessness CANNOT be tolerated, and it was just pure luck that nobody was travelling beneath when this happened.

  • S McMurray Ltd was fined a total of almost £18,000 after four bricklayers fell from an unsupported timber joisted floor (photo right), two of them receiving serious injuries.

We have previously highlighted the issue of the overloading of floors under construction and how important it is to (a) agree a safe method of construction and (b) take control on site to ensure that the system is followed to the letter. Floor construction systems are based on specific methodology and, to either cut corners or to allow others to ignore your requirements, risks lives.

  • Brown Construction Ltd was fined over £17,000 after a sub-contracted bricklayer fell 3 metres through an unprotected stairwell during the construction of a new-build private house.
  • Plasterer, Michael Fletcher, was fined a total of almost £3,000 after a sub-contracted labourer/plasterer fell 2.5 metres from an unprotected internal edge during the construction of a new-build private house.

The risks to the health & safety of workers apply just as much to the domestic situation as to commercial – AND SO DOES THE LAW!!!

  • Kenneth Morris, trading as K&M Pointing, was given a suspended 26 week prison sentence, and ordered to do 180 hours community work and to pay costs of £2,000 after being spotted putting his workers at risks at heights of up to 6 metres. The photo says it all!

Note that, yet again, no accident had happened (thank goodness) but the prosecution took place on the strength of the photo alone

Asbestos

  • Ashe Construction was fined £100,000 and sub-contractor, Cladcell, fined £12,000 after exposing themselves and other contractors to asbestos during a school refurbishment.
  • Shrewsbury & Telford Hospital Trust was fined a total of £34,000 after exposing contractors to asbestos in an accommodation block.

This case is all the more disturbing because it took an employee to be concerned enough to ‘blow the whistle’, after which it became necessary for him to take the Trust to a tribunal to win his case for unfair dismissal. The Trust’s behaviour with this, as supposed guardians of the public’s health, was shameful.

Electrical

  • Company partners, Russell and Stuart Haigh, and principal contractor, AJ Wadhams & Co Ltd, were both fined totals of almost £84,000 after a demolition worker employed by RB Haigh & Sons received serious electrical burns whilst removing switchgear from a factory.

The worker had been told by Wadhams that the electrical equipment had been isolated and, to reassure a colleague that the situation was safe, he threw a crowbar at it, causing a flashover, temperatures of up to 1000 degrees and a fire.

Obviously, both companies had failed to establish safe systems and provide written evidence of isolation. However, although it wasn’t covered in the HSE’s press release, clearly throwing a crowbar into electrical equipment was a gross failure of safety awareness and almost cost this worker his life. The only time anyone should ‘throw a spanner in the works’ is to refuse to proceed without conclusive evidence of isolation!

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