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!

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 or 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.

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!!

IET Wiring Regs 18th Edition

As we’re sure you know, the BS 7671 (IET Wiring Regs) 18th Edition became mandatory as from 1 January 2019. All relevant guidance and reporting documents are available direct from the NICEIC shop on:
https://bit.ly/2sWHH3U

The main changes include new requirements for RCD protection, installation of surge protection devices (SPDs), fire resistance supports for cabling, trunking and conduits to avoid premature collapse during a fire, the recommendation for the installation of arc fault detection devices (AFDDs), and the optimisation of energy efficiency. The changes are very significant so it’s vital that all electrical engineers bring themselves up to speed with the changes. A full suite of training courses is available from NICEIC; book on-line on:
https://bit.ly/2Jwy4TO

New Electrical Safety Academy

In addition, and particularly useful for contractors in Shropshire and the West Midlands, Schneider Electrical has opened a new training academy at its UK Head Quarters in Telford. Schneider offer a complete range of courses to take electrical engineers through their life-long training requirements, including the CPD required for the 18th Edition mentioned previously. Book on-line on:
https://www.schneider-electric.co.uk/en/work/services/training/

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

GENERAL NEWS

Competent Surveys

Conway Chartered Surveyors was ordered to pay a householder £50,000 compensation and up to £90,000 towards court costs after they failed to spot Japanese knotweed at the London property. The surveyor reported that the property was “in excellent condition both internally and externally”. However, a year later, the owner’s gardener spotted the knotweed which then led to a £10,000 operation to properly eradicate the horribly invasive plant. Read the whole story on: https://bit.ly/2QyL4c1

We mention this case as it clearly demonstrates the absolute importance of ensuring that surveyors are properly qualified and competent in the field required. Many surveyors give the impression that they are competent in multiple fields, but this is not necessarily the case; their expertise is often limited and qualifications lacking, particularly in the field of asbestos.

When commissioning surveys, don’t take surveyors at face value; always, always check that they are properly competent within the field or fields required. If this isn’t done, you risk later problems (as with this case) or, worse still, life-threatening issues may have been missed (e.g. asbestos, legionella, other forms of contamination, vermin, ground instability, etc). Do feel free to contact Wenlock H & S for assistance.

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. 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 start with the still unacceptable number of fatalities and injuries resulting from falls from height:

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

  • Brown Construction Ltd was fined over £17,000 after a sub-contracted bricklayer fell 3 metres through an unprotected stairwell (photo left) 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!!!

  • Farmer, Robert Latham, was fined a total of over £4,000 after a worker fell to his death through the roof-light of a milking shed. The worker had been sent onto the roof to clear a valley gutter and no precautions at all had been taken.

How many more of these have to happen before employers realise that these risks are very real indeed?

  • Premiere Window Cleaners Ltd was fined a total of almost £7,000 after an employee fell through a roof-light whilst cleaning solar panels on a pig shed roof. No assessment had been carried out, no warning passed to the workers and no fall prevention or arrest systems supplied

The risks to the health & safety of workers apply just as much to cleaners and other workers at height as to construction – AND SO DOES THE LAW!!! However, in this case, one can also question what measures were taken to prevent future falls during the design and installation of the solar panels.

  • 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!

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!

HSE NEWS

Premises Security – Perimeter 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 premises management. Consequently, the HSE issued a safety alert last year specifically detailing the fundamental practices and precautions that are required to meet acceptable standards.

The alert relates to safety during construction work. However, there are principles within that apply:

  • throughout industry, i.e. to any business premises where public interaction is possible
  • to any company engaging contractors

It is therefore, pertinent to share the full text with our clients to ensure that all businesses are aware of how important public security is and what needs to be considered:
http://www.hse.gov.uk/safetybulletins/ladders-and-scaffold-security.htm

One of the main issue is lax security, predominantly poor standards of perimeter fencing. There can be no excuses; perimeter fencing must be, as an absolute minimum:

  • 2 metres high
  • anti-climb, e.g. 30mm close-mesh panels or, better still, smooth hoarding
  • secure e.g. double bolted immovable 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

HSE inspectors will not fail to issue enforcement if they perceive risks to the public. So take another at your perimeter security NOW…then keep looking to ensure that it remains effective over time.

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

INDUSTRY NEWS

Compressed Air

In the health & safety packs we issue to our clients, 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 PREMISES

GENERAL NEWS

Competent Surveys

Conway Chartered Surveyors was ordered to pay a householder £50,000 compensation and up to £90,000 towards court costs after they failed to spot Japanese knotweed at the London property. The surveyor reported that the property was “in excellent condition both internally and externally”. However, a year later, the owner’s gardener spotted the knotweed which then led to a £10,000 operation to properly eradicate the horribly invasive plant. Read the whole story on: https://bit.ly/2QyL4c1

We mention this case as it clearly demonstrates the absolute importance of ensuring that surveyors are properly qualified and competent in the field required. Many surveyors give the impression that they are competent in multiple fields, but this is not necessarily the case; their expertise is often limited and qualifications lacking, particularly in the field of asbestos.

When commissioning surveys, don’t take surveyors at face value; always, always check that they are properly competent within the field or fields required. If this isn’t done, you risk later problems (as with this case) or, worse still, life-threatening issues may have been missed (e.g. asbestos, legionella, other forms of contamination, vermin, ground instability, etc). Do feel free to contact Wenlock H & S for assistance.

And Competent Contractors – could this be any worse??!!

This was spotted very recently in the Wirral… how many breaches of the law can you spot?! And all in a completely unfenced publicly accessible garden area surrounding the flats. Unbelievable!!!

Can we remind ALL our clients that the safety of contract work is primarily YOUR responsibility. The law states that any business engaging any other business is responsible for ensuring the appointed party is adequately competent – and this is particularly true for any form of construction.

So, if this dreadful situation had resulted in an accident (e.g. to a resident or passer-by), the engaging party (the landlord or management company) would have been held partly responsible. Check competence BEFORE engagement!

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 in 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 throughout UK industry:

  • Control of hazardous substances, and
  • Contractor competence

Health issues – COSHH

  • Cooplands , a Scarborough-based bakery, was fined £159,000 after employees developed occupational asthma from exposure to airborne flour dust. Another case where the risks from a known hazardous substance (flour dust) was not taken seriously and just accepted as ‘part of the job’.
  • 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 tend not to 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 to provide a through-draft.

COSHH assessments are LAW; they MUST be carried out to reflect the way a company typically works with the products AND must also allow amendment on-site pre-start to ensure that 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 occupants. It is vital to check contractor competence before engagement to safeguard your own staff.

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 competent in safe demolition or compliant site management and this case is a demonstration of why it is SO important, and a legal requirement, to ensure appropriate competence both in terms of skills and health & safety systems.

As we’ve said above about others, NEVER take contractors at face value; always ask for sound evidence of experience and capabilities. And don’t forget, Wenlock H&S is here to help; use us before it’s you or your staff who gets hurt!

Work at height

  • 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.
  • Farmer, Robert Latham, was fined a total of over £4,000 after a worker fell to his death through the roof-light of a milking shed. The worker had been sent onto the roof to clear a valley gutter and no precautions at all had been taken.

How many more of these incidents have to happen before employers realise that these risks are very real indeed?

  • Premiere Window Cleaners Ltd was fined a total of almost £7,000 after an employee fell through a roof-light whilst cleaning solar panels on a pig shed roof. No assessment had been carried out, no warning passed to the workers and no fall prevention or arrest systems supplied

The risks to the health & safety of workers apply just as much to cleaners and other workers at height as to construction – AND SO DOES THE LAW!!!

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.

Inspections & maintenance!!!

  • Granite worktop manufacturer, Grantech Ltd was fined a total of almost £35,000 after failing to ensure that lifting equipment was examined and maintained to ensure safety in use. During a routine visit, the HSE discovered that examinations were only carried out when faults were reported, not at the 6-monthly intervals required by law.

Another example of how the HSE will not hesitate to prosecute, even without incident, where there is a serious breach of legislation.

Work equipment

  • Aylescott Feeds & Diers Ltd was fined a total of almost £17,500 after an employee’s hand was severely crushed in a pellet press. The worker had switched the machine off and was attempting to clear a blockage when it started up again, catching his hand in the press and seriously injuring him.

The investigation found no lock-off procedure or isolation mechanism in place – both of which are, not only required by law, but are common sense!! These horrendous and life-changing injuries (photo right) could have been so easily avoided.

  • Flory Works Ltd was fined a total of almost £13,000 after two separate incidents that led to workers’ fingers being amputated. Both related to inappropriate working methods for feeding timber into poorly guarded cutting equipment

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

COMPANY NEWS

WHS Price Increases

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

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

CITB Training Courses

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

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

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

First Aid Training

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

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

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

WHS Safety Awards

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Documents

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

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

Non-Licensed Asbestos Guidance

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

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

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

Dyslexia

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

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

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

HSE NEWS

Mis-Use of Lifting Platforms – SAFETY WARNING

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

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

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

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

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

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

Free Event

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another Free Event

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

The Vox Conference Centre
Resorts World
Birmingham
B40 1PU

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

INDUSTRY NEWS

Winter Working

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

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

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

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

Choosing Suitable Equipment for Work at Height

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

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

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

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

Site Signage

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

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

GENERAL NEWS

Digital Tax Systems – IMPORTANT

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

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

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

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

GDPR

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

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

Lead Poisoning!

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

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

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

AND FINALLY

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

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

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

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

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

Plant & vehicles

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

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

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

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

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

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

Work equipment

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

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

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

Hazardous substances

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

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

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

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

COMPANY NEWS

WHS Price Increases

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

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

CITB Training Courses

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

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

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

First Aid Training

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

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

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

WHS Safety Awards

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Documents

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

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

Non-Licensed Asbestos Guidance

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

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

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

Dyslexia

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

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

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

HSE NEWS

Mis-Use of Lifting Platforms – SAFETY WARNING

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

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

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

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

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

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

Free Event

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another Free Event

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

The Vox Conference Centre
Resorts World
Birmingham
B40 1PU

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

INDUSTRY NEWS

Winter Working

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

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

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

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

Choosing Suitable Equipment for Work at Height

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

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

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

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

GENERAL NEWS

Digital Tax Systems – IMPORTANT

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

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

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

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

GDPR

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

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

AND FINALLY

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

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

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

Plant & vehicles

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hazardous substances

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

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

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

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

COMPANY NEWS

WHS Price Increases

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

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

Training Courses – First Aid

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

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

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

WHS Safety Awards

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

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

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

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

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

The award for Commitment to Health & Safety Compliance went to

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

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

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

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

New Documents

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

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

Dyslexia

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

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

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

HSE NEWS

Mis-Use of Lifting Platforms – SAFETY WARNING

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

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

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

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

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

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

Free HSE Event

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

The Vox Conference Centre
Resorts World
Birmingham
B40 1PU

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

INDUSTRY NEWS

Winter Working

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

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

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

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

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

Choosing Suitable Equipment for Work at Height

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

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

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

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

GENERAL NEWS

Digital Tax Systems – IMPORTANT

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

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

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

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

GDPR

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

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

Lead Poisoning!

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

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

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

AND FINALLY

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

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

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

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

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

Plant & vehicles

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

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

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

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

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

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

Work equipment

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

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

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

Hazardous substances

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

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

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

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

COMPANY NEWS

New Course

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

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

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

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

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

IOSH Managing Safely

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

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

CITB Training Courses

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

First Aid Training

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

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

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

New Templates

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

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

Reporting Accidents

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

HSE NEWS

FFI Fee Rate Rise – TAKE NOTE!

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

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

So get your act together before it costs you dear!

HSE 2019 Campaigns

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

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

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

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

HSE Safety Bulletins

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

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

Joinery

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

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

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

Scaffold Advice from the HSE

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

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

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

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

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

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

INDUSTRY NEWS

Changes to CSCS cards – IMPORTANT

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

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

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

Changes to the CITB Touch Screen Test – IMPORTANT

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

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

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

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

Pay to be Paid?!

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

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

Dust Suppression

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

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

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

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

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

GENERAL NEWS

Drain Cleaner – a Warning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Employee or Contractor?

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

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

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

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

Hidden Hazards

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

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

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

HR

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

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

AND FINALLY

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

Work at height

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

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

The importance of competent design

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

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

Electrical services

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

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

Health issues

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

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