WENLOCK HEALTH & SAFETY LTD
WISHES YOU ALL A VERY HAPPY
& HEALTHY CHRISTMAS

COMPANY NEWS

WHS CHRISTMAS BREAK

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

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

TRAINING

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

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

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

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

First Aid

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

Dates:

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

Cost: £85 + VAT per person

CITB Courses

IMPORTANT NOTES:

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

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

Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)

Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week
Dates:

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

Cost: £495 + VAT per person

Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

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

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

Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS)

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

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

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

Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS) Refresher

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

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

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

CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

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

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

A final note:

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

WHS SAFETY AWARDS

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

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

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

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

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

ACCIDENT RATE FOR 2020 DISAPPOINTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

COVID & RELATED ISSUES

COVID-19 / CORONAVIRUS

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

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

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

HSE SPOT CHECKS

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

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

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

FURTHER IMPORTANT COVID GUIDANCE

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

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

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

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

THE IMPORTANCE OF GOOD VENTILATION

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

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

OTHER HSE NEWS

RESPIRATORY INSPECTIONS

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

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

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

LOCAL EXHAUST VENTILATION

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

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

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

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

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

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

INDUSTRY NEWS

SEAT-BELTS

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

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

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

GENERAL NEWS

HIGH-RISK BUILDING SAFETY

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

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

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

MENTAL HEALTH & STRESS

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

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

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

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

AND FINALLY

With thanks to the HSE for the photographs

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

The Vital Importance of Training & Safe Systems

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WENLOCK HEALTH & SAFETY LTD
WISHES YOU ALL A VERY HAPPY
& HEALTHY CHRISTMAS

COMPANY NEWS

WHS CHRISTMAS BREAK

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

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

TRAINING

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

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

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

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

First Aid

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

Dates:

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

Cost: £85 + VAT per person

CITB Courses

IMPORTANT NOTES:


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

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

Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)

Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week
Dates:

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

Cost: £495 + VAT per person

Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

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

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

Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS)

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

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

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

Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS) Refresher

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

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

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

CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

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

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

A final note:


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

WHS SAFETY AWARDS

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

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

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

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

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

ACCIDENT RATE FOR 2020 DISAPPOINTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

COVID & RELATED ISSUES

COVID-19 / CORONAVIRUS

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

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

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

HSE SPOT CHECKS

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

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

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

FURTHER IMPORTANT COVID GUIDANCE

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

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

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

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

OTHER HSE NEWS

RESPIRATORY INSPECTIONS

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

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

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

LOCAL EXHAUST VENTILATION

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

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

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

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

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

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

GENERAL NEWS

HIGH-RISK BUILDING SAFETY

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

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

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

MENTAL HEALTH & STRESS

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

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

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

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

AND FINALLY

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

In this issue, we focus (again) on the vital importance of thoroughly training the workforce and the establishment of specifically risk assessed and sound safe systems of work:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WENLOCK HEALTH & SAFETY LTD
WISHES YOU ALL A VERY HAPPY
& HEALTHY CHRISTMAS

COMPANY NEWS

WHS CHRISTMAS BREAK

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

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

TRAINING

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

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

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

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

First Aid

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

Dates:

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

Cost: £85 + VAT per person

WHS SAFETY AWARDS

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

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

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

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

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

ACCIDENT RATE FOR 2020 DISAPPOINTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

COVID & RELATED ISSUES

COVID-19 / CORONAVIRUS

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

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

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

HSE SPOT CHECKS

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

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

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

THE IMPORTANCE OF GOOD VENTILATION

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

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

OTHER HSE NEWS

RESPIRATORY INSPECTIONS

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

It seems that the HSE has certainly followed through with this campaign; WHS has heard of a good number of our customers receiving both announced and unannounced visits. If you’ve not yet done so, it is in the interests of every business, engineer, workshop, etc to read the specific HSE guidance on controlling respiratory health risks: https://bit.ly/2RStPE4

LOCAL EXHAUST VENTILATION

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

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

It’s obvious that ensuring the competence of electrical and gas engineers, asbestos removal companies, building contractors, etc is vital to the safety of us, our employees and the future of our businesses. But how many of us actually check the qualifications, current trade requirements, and trustworthiness of companies we engage for (e.g.) dust, noise, legionella, equipment, etc maintenance, servicing and equipment supply/installs? Yet this is vital to ensure that all our equipment and systems are equipped to keep us and our employees safe.
As the safety and efficiency of LEV equipment is so important to ensure our respiratory health, this latest HSE ebulletin gives advice and guidance on both the nature of ‘competence’ in general and what is required for LEV engineers: https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/UKHSE/bulletins/2ac4af5

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

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

GENERAL NEWS

GAS SAFETY

As a postscript to the item above about competence, it is worth mentioning that 9 un-registered ‘gas engineers’ have either been sent to prison or received suspended sentences, community service or fines during 2020 to date alone. We have no idea how many are awaiting trial, but this shows just how many unqualified and unsafe gas engineers are still out there, preying on the unsuspecting!

The message must therefore be repeated that gas engineers MUST (by law and for your safety) be Gas Safe registered, both at work and at home, as an assurance to you of their current qualifications and competence; to engage any un-registered engineer is illegal and presents serious risks. You MUST check that the gas engineer you propose to use is currently logged on the Gas Safe Register before you engage him/her:
https://www.gassaferegister.co.uk/find-an-engineer/

HIGH-RISK BUILDING SAFETY

In the light of the Grenfell disaster in June 2017, the Construction Industry Council (CIC) has been working with the Government and HSE to produce a draft Building Safety Bill whereby those deemed responsible in law for the safety of higher-risk buildings and their occupants (persons such as landlords) will be required to appoint a Building Safety Manager. Buildings that fall into the ‘higher-risk’ category would include multi-occupancy residential buildings of 18 metres height or more, or six or more storeys.

Under the proposed legislation, the Building Safety Manager would require specific in-depth competencies to equip him/her to look after the day-to-day management of fire and structural safety and provide a clear point of contact for residents when issues arise.

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

MENTAL HEALTH & STRESS

We must all be aware by now that mental health has become an even more serious issue because of covid. One the one hand, it can affect those under lockdown or prevented from seeing loved ones; at the other end of the spectrum, it can affect those who are under severe strain at work, whether because of longer hours, difficult work situations, lack of company or personal income, etc. Whatever the background to people’s distress, we must all take the issue (or potential for the issue to arise) seriously and keep a watchful eye on employees and colleagues, as well as loved ones, friends, relatives, etc.

Very useful information is, as always, available from the HSE:
https://www.hse.gov.uk/stress/mental-health.htm
However, more specific and targeted tool-kits are available from Mind’s ‘Mental Health at Work’ website for a range of related situations including supporting yourself and colleagues, the challenges of working from home, dealing with staff absences, helping staff with trauma, returning to work after lockdown, etc:
https://www.mentalhealthatwork.org.uk/toolkit/

AND FINALLY

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

In this issue, we focus (again) on the vital importance of thoroughly training the workforce and the establishment of specifically risk assessed and sound safe systems of work:

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

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

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

This case starkly shows, yet again, the vital importance of both properly training the workforce and the establishment (and monitoring) of safe systems. No training had been given nor instruction material provided; as a result, the practice of clearing blockages by opening the hatch had ‘developed over time’ and management had failed to monitor the work and rectify the situation.

  • Novaflex Ltd was fined a total of over £29,000 after an agency worker’s sleeve was pulled into a spinning lathe, resulting in serious open fractures to his right arm. Yet again, there had been no training given, nor a safe system of work established (the machine had unprotected moving parts). And another case involving an agency worker.

N.B. An important reminder: AGENCY WORKERS ARE ENTITLED TO THE SAME TRAINING AS PERMANENT EMPLOYEES or you employ those already trained to the correct level if that is possible.

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

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

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

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

COMPANY NEWS

TRAINING

It is prudent to repeat the provisos that are currently essential for us, at Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS), to be able to hold our usual full complement of courses, so please take careful note of the following:

  • Maximum 6 delegates per course
  • Lunch cannot be provided
  • Full details of both the precautions we have taken and what is expected from the candidates are issued with the joining instructions for each course

Please be reassured that we have established strict measures within the building and training room to reduce risks. As they have been kept fully informed of these measures, CITB and the awarding body for first aid courses have given their full consent for all courses to take place in person.

In return, we would ask the following: As we are so severely limited to the reduced number of places for the foreseeable future, it is important for WHS to ensure full attendance. We therefore ask please that, once booked, courses and places are not cancelled.

In addition, if any organisation requires attendance at their own premises for 6 or more employees, a specific course can be arranged at a date and time to suit provided that suitable Covid-specific precautions can be agreed at the point of booking.

First Aid

WHS 1-day (6 hours) Emergency First-Aid at Work courses, run with very strict Covid-specific controls, are scheduled as follows; those who need to attain or renew first-aid certification are advised to book places as quickly as possible as, although we have included additional dates, demand will obviously be high.

Dates:

  • 15 October 2020 FULLY BOOKED
  • 27 October 2020 FULLY BOOKED
  • 25 November 2020
  • 16 December 2020
  • 27 January 2021
  • 25 February 2021
  • 30 March 2021

Cost: £85 + VAT per person

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

CITB Courses

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

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

Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)

Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week
Dates:

  • 13, 20, 27 November, 4 & 11 December 2020 (Fridays) FULLY BOOKED
  • 15, 22, 29 January, 5 & 12 February 2021 (Fridays)
  • 1, 8, 15, 22 & 29 March 2021 (Monday)

Cost: £495 + VAT per person

Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

  • 22 & 23 October 2020 (Thursday & Friday) FULLY BOOKED
  • 7 & 8 December 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 8 & 9 February 2021 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 14 & 15 April 2021 (Wednesday & Thursday)

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

Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS)

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

  • 20 & 21 October 2020 (Monday & Tuesday) FULLY BOOKED
  • 2 & 3 November 2020 (Monday & Tuesday) FULLY BOOKED
  • 11 & 12 January 2021 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 10 & 11 March 2021 (Wednesday & Thursday)

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

Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS) Refresher

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

  • 23 November 2020 (Monday)
  • 13 January 2021 (Wednesday)

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

CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

  • 16 November 2020 (Monday)
  • 7 January 2021 (Thursday)
  • 2 March 2021 (Tuesday)

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

IOSH Managing Safely

Duration: 3 days (Wednesday to Friday)
Dates:

  • 7, 8 & 9 October 2020

Cost: £395 + VAT per person

Mental Health

Duration; 1 day

Dates:

  • 2 October 2020

Cost: £75 + VAT per person

COSHH / EH40

EH40, the HSE document detailing exposure limits for hazardous substances and upon which COSHH data sheets and assessments are reliant, was updated earlier this year. WHS has now reviewed all generic COSHH assessments and an updated version of the assessment for Hardwood Dust is attached to this newsletter.

Those WHS customers who have requested specific COSHH assessments in the past will need to be guided by their WHS advisor at the point of their annual documents review; some may need a complete revision to ensure legal compliance with current COSHH standards.

COVID & RELATED ISSUES

COVID-19 / CORONAVIRUS

As you’ve obviously understood from the ever-changing Government guidance and restrictions, Covid HAS NOT GONE AWAYI!!

At this point, who can be blamed for allowing the pandemic to take such a hold in the UK is irrelevant; the facts are that the infection and death rates are still rising and likely to rapidly rise still further as the cold weather approaches. If any of you has had personal experience of a relative or friend hospitalised because of Covid, you will know just how awful this virus can be. It is NOT ‘just another flu’ and no way can patients ‘pull themselves together’ to get well; such casual talk is, not only totally inaccurate, it is hurtful to those who have lost people they love.

So let’s just get a grip; follow what the Government says (a lot of which is legally binding), but also use your common sense. The basic rules of:

  • wash hands
  • cover the face
  • leave space

STILL apply, both at work and in public places. To assist employers, ample guidance is given on the HSE’s website: https://bit.ly/3j5bNdy

Follow the guidance; if you don’t, you now run the very real risk of being shut down either by the authorities or because a Covid outbreak results; spot checks are being carried out nationwide – you have been warned!

REPORTING COVID-19 UNDER RIDDOR

Understandably, there is a lot of confusion over when to report Covid cases within the workforce under RIDDOR. The first thing to stress is that RIDDOR applies to workplace accidents, incidents and ill health; if Covid (or any other disease) is contracted from within an employee’s private environment, RIDDOR is not applicable. Having said that, if other employees then contract Covid within the workplace, RIDDOR most definitely applies.
The rules, as laid down by the HSE, for the RIDDOR reporting of Covid are summarised as follows:

  • an accident or incident at work has, or could have, led to the release or escape of coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2); this must be reported as a dangerous occurrence
  • a person at work (a worker) has been diagnosed as having COVID-19 attributed to an occupational exposure to coronavirus; this must be reported as a case of disease
  • a worker dies as a result of occupational exposure to coronavirus; this must be reported as a work-related death due to exposure to a biological agent

Further details can be found on the HSE’s website: https://bit.ly/2FMxNMe

COVID ISN’T THE ONLY THING THAT CAN KILL!

It has become evident that the emphasis on Covid has been to the detriment of other health & safety considerations. WHS has had to deal with many more accidents (some very serious) since March, and the increase in the accident rate appears to be gathering pace, particularly relating to work at height. And we’re highlighting this from our experience only; if this pattern is repeated throughout the construction industry, the number of fatalities and serious injuries will prove to be catastrophic for 2020/21.

WHS is seeing faults that hark back to 30 or 40 years ago – e.g. missing handrails and boards on scaffold, broken and slippery ladders, unsupported excavations. May we remind you that, yes, Covid is serious but so is general health & safety; the HSE is still prevalent and you will still be prosecuted if there is a serious accident. And, let’s face it, sites should now actually be safer than ever before because of the thought that’s had to go into organising the work to be Covid-safe!

LEGIONELLA

And another issue that’s reared its head in relation to Covid is Legionella. We have warned in previous newsletters that, if premises have been left empty and/or unattended because of Covid (or any other reason), it is a legal requirement incumbent on those in control of the buildings (including landlords) to ensure that it is safe to return; water systems (such as hot & cold water and air-conditioning systems) may have to be purged or otherwise checked to ensure the Legionella bacterium isn’t present. And predictably, there have now been outbreaks of legionella in the West Midlands and elsewhere, e.g: https://bit.ly/2Hgc4fN

The danger here is that Legionella symptoms are almost the same as for Covid, and therefore cases may well be wrongly diagnosed. So extra care must be taken to ensure that the risks of this equally dangerous disease are properly controlled. The HSE has issued specific guidance on their website: https://bit.ly/2HiJQB5

It reiterates quite clearly that (quote):

If your building has been closed or had reduced occupancy during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, water system stagnation can occur due to lack of use, increasing the risks of Legionnaires’ disease.
You should review your risk assessment and manage the legionella risks when you:

  • reinstate a water system or start using it again
  • restart some types of air conditioning units

If the water system is still used regularly, maintain the appropriate measures to prevent legionella growth.

Footnote:

And let’s not hear any of the ridiculous chat that has subsequently circulated on social media – that you can contract Legionella from the wearing of masks ‘because they can become damp’. There is absolutely no basis whatsoever to this ‘theory’ and this type of loose talk can only hinder the efforts to combat both Legionella and Covid. Legionella comes from a bacterium that can propagate when water systems are allowed to sit undisturbed at certain temperatures; it cannot develop on masks unless infected droplets have landed on them in the first place (i.e. from an infected water system.

Having said that, masks should not be allowed to get damp, that’s just common sense; change them regularly!

HSE NEWS

HSE INSPECTION INITIATIVE

The HSE will be carrying out targeted nationwide inspections between 5 and 30 October 2020 as part of a wider initiative to support the HSE’s strategy towards better employee health, and to help get people safely back to work and thereby support our economic recovery.

As with previous health initiatives, the focus of the inspections will be respiratory risks; however, this particular initiative will also cover Covid-security as the disease is obviously viewed as a major health risk. A specific section related to both the current initiative and to health risks in construction can be found on the HSE’s website; it is in your interests to read the contents and to download and follow all relevant guidance:
https://bit.ly/2RStPE4

SAFETY ALERT

The HSE has issued a Safety Alert concerning the use of gas detector sample tubes following a recent incident that resulted in an explosion and a fatality. Preceding hot works, a gas detector had failed to detect a flammable atmosphere because the wrong tube had been selected. Full details of the case, including action required to avoid such accidents, can be found on the HSE’s website:
https://www.hse.gov.uk/safetybulletins/failure-to-detect-dangerous-gas.htm

If you have need to use gas detection equipment, it is vital that you read the document and consult the additional guidance documents specified, particularly: https://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/gasdetector.pdf

ACCIDENT STATISTICS 2019/20

The HSE has released the final UK fatality statistics for 2019/20, and they show the lowest number of fatalities since records began; a total of 111, down from 147 the previous year.

So we should be patting ourselves on the back yes? NO, not in construction! 30 people died within the construction industry during 2018/19; but this last year showed a huge 33% increase to 40, 36% of the total (up from 20% the previously year), which is absolutely inexcusable!

And, predictably, the most common cause for fatalities was work at height.

If our observations about increasingly lax general safety standards on site (see above) are correct, we are heading for a further massive increase in construction fatalities which will, inevitably, result in more misery in terms of both human life and business costs. After all the construction industry has done since the advent of CDM (1994) to vastly improve project planning and safety standards, it is absolutely shameful that we’ve gone so drastically backwards.

METALWORKING FLUIDS

In conjunction with the UKLA, the HSE has issued a revised Good Practice Guide for the Safe Handling and Disposal of Metalwork Fluids, giving comprehensive advice on preventing ill-health, maintaining health surveillance, acting on dipslide results and much more. The guidance document is freely downloadable from: https://bit.ly/2RWwNYk

But don’t overlook the fact that any such guidance is intended for use alongside a specific COSHH assessment which must relate to how metalworking fluids are used, handled and stored safely within your premises; no generics please!

INDUSTRY NEWS

FREE PASMA TRAINING

In partnership with PASMA, One Call Training Ltd are offering anyone on Job Seekers allowance or receiving Universal Credits FREE PASMA training on any of its courses until 30 December 2020. There are no strings attached; all that is required is proof of the candidate’s situation and that there are spaces still available.

Please note though, that the company is based in Derby so location may be an issue. However, this is an altruistic and welcome offer so, if anyone is interested, please contact Doug Ball direct on 07814-422362.

ADJUSTABLE TRANSOMS

As we have highlighted above, scaffolding standards appear to have slipped dramatically even amongst some of our contractors. It is pertinent therefore to take note of the following scaffold system that aims to make work at height easier to accommodate and therefore safer.

The adjustable transom was developed to enable safe alterations to the inside edge of scaffolds in order to prevent falls of objects and people. This allows trades to continue to work on the scaffold with minimum numbers of alterations and enables inside boards to be easily added and removed by the scaffolder.

Industry leader, the NASC, has provided guidance SG32:17 Provision of Extended and Telescopic Transoms and Board Brackets which is freely downloadable from: https://bit.ly/32XWZbe

The document gives an overview of existing products and work methods available for providing an inside platform on scaffolding, and information and instruction to ensure they are used correctly. Use this guidance to decide on the appropriate method for the work required to the façade of the building and what permissible gap is required from the inside board to the façade (and if this gap needs a guardrail/toe board).

A number of scaffolders, but not all, offer this provision; shop around.

Footnote:
The inside boards should only be loaded to a maximum of 0.75 kN / m2. This allows for personnel with tools and light materials but does NOT allow materials to be stored on the boards.

OUR AGING WORKFORCE

With the advances of medical science and the loosening of retirement age restrictions, we are inevitably working longer. Employees may welcome this as a way to retain an income for longer; employers may welcome this as a way to retain skills. However, we need to be fully aware of the potential drawbacks.

All employers are duty-bound to ensure employees are ‘fit for work’, in other words they are fit and capable enough to carry out the tasks required without risks to themselves or others. If an employee develops a medical condition, inhibited eyesight or hearing, loss of strength, loss of perception, etc, this will obviously impact on his or her ability to work safely and tasks will have to be re-assessed.

Within construction, this is a particular issue as, not only do the tasks generally require a good level of fitness and capabilities, but also because almost half (47%) of the workforce is now over 45. And it’s a fact that, the older an employee is, the more likely he/she is to die at work; those between 60 and 65 are twice as likely to be killed in the workplace. And the disturbing fact is that many site workers are now aged over 65.

We all understand the sensitivity of telling an older, possibly very loyal, employee that it’s time for him/her to retire. But never forget that the employer owes the employee a legal duty of care to safeguard his/her wellbeing. So, if it is impossible to find safer tasks and retirement is the only option because of inhibited capabilities, then it has to be so. Be realistic; carry out a personal risk assessment for the employee. An accident resulting from an employee’s inhibited capabilities will result in prosecution of the employer.

THIS IMPORTANCE OF COMPETENT ADVICE

A safety consultant, Clive Weal, has been prosecuted and ordered to pay £1400 for not being suitably qualified or competent to give advice on noise, vibration and hazardous substances. Weal failed to advise that paints containing isocyanates can cause asthma and that exposure to vibration was a significant issue (recommending anti-vibration gloves as an appropriate control measure); this ‘poor and incompetent advice’ resulted in the lack of meaningful remedial action and significantly risked the health of workers.

The HSE inspector stated that how those with health & safety responsibilities “achieve competence is up to them. However, they will have to be able to satisfy employers that they have a sufficient level of competence for the job in hand”. Qualifications, membership of professional bodies and regular CPD are all essentials, and the lack of any such proof would leave the individual open to HSE criticism or (as in this case) prosecution.

WHS obviously acts externally on your behalf to establish suitable and appropriate health & safety systems; we are all highly qualified and members of relevant professional bodies, and we take great pains to keep up our CPD to enable us to do so. But engaging WHS is not the only legal responsibility that you, as the employer, have; you must:

  • Follow our guidance
  • Continually engage with us to ensure we are able to adequately advise you
  • Ensure that your own personnel are adequately trained in health & safety; this applies particularly to the person responsible within your company, whether this be a director or a specifically appointed health & safety manager

Take another look internally; is your internal health & safety management suitably competent to carry out the necessary legal duties, does he/she know what those duties are, or at least what to ask of us and when? WHS can only go so far; the rest is (under the law) up to you.

GENERAL NEWS

BLEACH

A 34-year-old cleaner, Celia Seymour, died after breathing in bleach fumes whilst cleaning the upstairs bathroom of her own property; she collapsed as her friend arrived and, despite CPR, died 4 days later. It is believed that she may have mixed two cleaning products, with the result that the fumes were found to be ‘overpowering’ and triggering a severe asthma attack.

So how is that relevant to you? Despite this being a tragic death in a domestic property, such dangers exist at work as well. We have warned many times before about the dangers of bleach and the mixing of cleaning products, and have always advised that bleach is not used at all to avoid such risks; all our customers have a COSHH assessment to that effect in their health & safety pack. And, now that we are all cleaning our workplaces more frequently (or we should be!!), there is a huge risk that such tragedies will happen at work.

This recent case should serve as a poignant warning to everyone; serious risks exist even with the most basic day-to-day functions such as cleaning, and risk assessments are legally required for ALL work for very valid reasons. Take another look at your cleaning cupboards; ensure there is no bleach, and no cleaning chemicals that can be hazardous when mixed; and ensure all cleaners are properly trained and instructed.

CARBON MONOXIDE

A colleague of ours recently highlighted just how easy it is for carbon monoxide to kill when the public are unaware of the dangers. A couple he knew had mentioned that an alarm kept going off in their caravan and, when he took a look, he found soot stains up the wall and 40,000 ppm of carbon monoxide coming from their gas fridge; it had obviously been the carbon monoxide monitor trying its best to warn them!

So, we say yet again – carbon monoxide monitors are a life-saving investment wherever there are gas appliances within any premises, particularly smaller enclosed spaces such as bedrooms, living rooms and caravans. But please do make sure the users realise what the warning alarm actually means!

And a further warning to get all gas appliances regularly serviced and certificated, particularly if Covid has prompted a lengthy period of neglect.

LOCAL AEDs

Previously notified websites advising nationwide locations of AEDs (automated external defibrillators) may no longer be functioning (because of Covid?). Unfortunately, it will be down to local knowledge alone for the moment to locate your nearest AED at any given site, so do ask around – or, better still, provide your own!

AND FINALLY

With thanks to the HSE for the photographs

Given the emphasis on work at height failings and the resultant increase in fatalities as discussed above, we concentrate (yet again) on this issue alone below. However, the threat of prosecution cannot be the only motivation for complying to the Work at Height Regulations; a life and a family are destroyed each time a worker is killed or maimed, just bear that in mind.

A timely reminder: Only a thorough and competent risk assessment will identify correct controls. WHS still sees too many generic risk assessments on site; a generic risk assessment will not keep you out of court.

Work at height

  • BAM Nuttall was fined £900,000 and sub-contractor, McNealy Brown, £65,000 (both plus costs) after a painter from a further sub-contractor, DRH, fell 3 metres through a suspended ceiling at East Croydon railway station during refurbishment work. The painter had been given induction before starting but not briefed on the risk assessments which required full body harnesses for ceiling work, nor that the materials in question were fragile. Crash decking previously installed had been removed to allow finishing work but no alternative risk mitigation measures had been established.
  • Crystal Architectural Aluminium Ltd was fined a total of over £49,000 after an employee fell from a tower scaffold whilst removing a large window frame at a school hall, knocking another off a ladder; both suffered serious injuries but survived. The tower had not been properly erected and the ladder was not suitable for the tasks in hand.
  • Colin Marshall, founder of Colin Marshall Scaffolding, and his son and business partner, James, were prosecuted after an employee fell 7 metres to his death from a flat roof whilst dismantling scaffolding. It was found that the Company wasn’t qualified for scaffolding erection, scaffolding didn’t meet safety standards, and there were no harnesses provided. Colin Marshall was given suspended 4-month prison sentence, James a suspended 8-month sentence, and both ordered to pay the costs of almost £26,000.
  • Jason Lycett, director of principal contractor Brooke Ren, was fined a total of over £37,000 after the partial collapse of the roof of a two-storey residential block, endangering several workers who luckily had only just descended from the area. Lycett had ignored pre-construction instructions that the development’s roof structure required specialist design; he engaged a specialist designer only after the incident which could have cost 3 workers their lives.

This case is just beyond belief…

  • JR Scaffold Services Ltd, was prosecuted after an employee fell 8 metres from this ‘cantilevered scaffold tower’, suffering severe and life-changing injuries.

Properly constructed towers can be cantilevered if properly designed; contact PASMA for its training course: Towers with Cantilevers.

This Company had apparently carried out a risk assessment before erecting this Third World contraption (see photo)! Clearly, the risk assessment didn’t reach the correct (and legal) conclusion!

And, just in case anyone is tempted to forge evidence…

  • Contracts manager, Mark Bray, was jailed for 2 years for, not only for failing to take reasonable care of persons on his site, but also for perverting the course of justice by forging the signature of a worker who had fallen to his death through a fragile rooflight. Bray had insisted that netting wasn’t required; the netting, which would have cost a mere £1,250 to install, would have saved Drake’s life. Bray had forged Drake’s signature to make it appear that the poor man had agreed to the work procedures.

In addition to Bray’s prison sentence, fines totalling £130,000 were levied against his employer, Roofing Consultants Ltd, and £45,000 against High Ridge Roofing Solutions Ltd who controlled the work.

And no business is immune; the Work at Height Regulations apply to ALL companies…

  • Window cleaner, Ronnie Brown (trading as Ronnie Brown Window Cleaning) was fined £20,000 plus costs after he and his employees were observed carrying out unsafe work at height 5 metres off the ground at a hair dressing salon.

The word ‘suicidal’ springs to mind!!

  • Haulage specialist, Speed Drop Logistics, was fined a total of over £81,500 after being spotted putting their own workers at risk by carrying out roof work on their factory with no protection against falls through the fragile roof sheeting.

Note that both these prosecutions resulted from observations alone; there had been no accidents.

  • Both company director of Quartz 23, Mark Harrison, and manager, Gemma Williams, were given community orders of 2 years, including 120 hours of unpaid work, after an intoxicated customer fell 40 feet to his death from an elevated service yard of Quartz Nightclub in Cannock.

Quartz 23 was also fined a total of £24,000 for obvious safety failings. The Company was found to have a poor safety culture which, amongst other failings, allowed customers to use the undesignated exit onto the service yard area which lacked appropriate controls.

  • The operator of Aberdeen Market, The Market Village Company Ltd, was fined £80,000 after an elderly man was found dead at the bottom of a fire escape stairwell. The Company had failed to maintain the lighting to the stairwell and this was found to have resulted in the gentleman’s death.

STAY SAFE – STAY ALERT

FOLLOW THE RULES – DON’T IGNORE ADVICE

SAFEGUARD YOURSELF AND THE LIVES OF THOSE YOU AFFECT

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

COMPANY NEWS

TRAINING

It is prudent to repeat the provisos that are currently essential for us, at Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS), to be able to hold our usual full complement of courses, so please take careful note of the following:

  • Maximum 6 delegates per course
  • Lunch cannot be provided
  • Full details of both the precautions we have taken and what is expected from the candidates are issued with the joining instructions for each course

Please be reassured that we have established strict measures within the building and training room to reduce risks. As they have been kept fully informed of these measures, CITB and the awarding body for first aid courses have given their full consent for all courses to take place in person.

In return, we would ask the following: As we are so severely limited to the reduced number of places for the foreseeable future, it is important for WHS to ensure full attendance. We therefore ask please that, once booked, courses and places are not cancelled.

In addition, if any organisation requires attendance at their own premises for 6 or more employees, a specific course can be arranged at a date and time to suit provided that suitable Covid-specific precautions can be agreed at the point of booking.

First Aid

WHS 1-day (6 hours) Emergency First-Aid at Work courses, run with very strict Covid-specific controls, are scheduled as follows; those who need to attain or renew first-aid certification are advised to book places as quickly as possible as, although we have included additional dates, demand will obviously be high.

Dates:

  • 15 October 2020 FULLY BOOKED
  • 27 October 2020 FULLY BOOKED
  • 25 November 2020
  • 16 December 2020
  • 27 January 2021
  • 25 February 2021
  • 30 March 2021

Cost: £85 + VAT per person

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

CITB Courses

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

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

Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)

Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week
Dates:

  • 13, 20, 27 November, 4 & 11 December 2020 (Fridays) FULLY BOOKED
  • 15, 22, 29 January, 5 & 12 February 2021 (Fridays)
  • 1, 8, 15, 22 & 29 March 2021 (Monday)

Cost: £495 + VAT per person

Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

  • 22 & 23 October 2020 (Thursday & Friday) FULLY BOOKED
  • 7 & 8 December 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 8 & 9 February 2021 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 14 & 15 April 2021 (Wednesday & Thursday)

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

Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS)

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

  • 20 & 21 October 2020 (Monday & Tuesday) FULLY BOOKED
  • 2 & 3 November 2020 (Monday & Tuesday) FULLY BOOKED
  • 11 & 12 January 2021 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 10 & 11 March 2021 (Wednesday & Thursday)

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

Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS) Refresher

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

  • 23 November 2020 (Monday)
  • 13 January 2021 (Wednesday)

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

CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

  • 16 November 2020 (Monday)
  • 7 January 2021 (Thursday)
  • 2 March 2021 (Tuesday)

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

IOSH Managing Safely

Duration: 3 days (Wednesday to Friday)
Dates:

  • 7, 8 & 9 October 2020

Cost: £395 + VAT per person

Mental Health

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

  • 2 October 2020

Cost: £75 + VAT per person

COSHH / EH40

EH40, the HSE document detailing exposure limits for hazardous substances and upon which COSHH data sheets and assessments are reliant, was updated earlier this year. WHS has now reviewed all generic COSHH assessments and an updated version of the assessment for Hardwood Dust is attached to this newsletter.

Those WHS customers who have requested specific COSHH assessments in the past will need to be guided by their WHS advisor at the point of their annual documents review; some may need a complete revision to ensure legal compliance with current COSHH standards.

COVID & RELATED ISSUES

COVID-19 / CORONAVIRUS

As you’ve obviously understood from the ever-changing Government guidance and restrictions, Covid HAS NOT GONE AWAYI!!

At this point, who can be blamed for allowing the pandemic to take such a hold in the UK is irrelevant; the facts are that the infection and death rates are still rising and likely to rapidly rise still further as the cold weather approaches. If any of you has had personal experience of a relative or friend hospitalised because of Covid, you will know just how awful this virus can be. It is NOT ‘just another flu’ and no way can patients ‘pull themselves together’ to get well; such casual talk is, not only totally inaccurate, it is hurtful to those who have lost people they love.

So let’s just get a grip; follow what the Government says (a lot of which is legally binding), but also use your common sense. The basic rules of:

  • wash hands
  • cover the face
  • leave space

STILL apply, both at work and in public places. To assist employers, ample guidance is given on the HSE’s website: https://bit.ly/3j5bNdy

Follow the guidance; if you don’t, you now run the very real risk of being shut down either by the authorities or because a Covid outbreak results; spot checks are being carried out nationwide – you have been warned!

REPORTING COVID-19 UNDER RIDDOR

Understandably, there is a lot of confusion over when to report Covid cases within the workforce under RIDDOR. The first thing to stress is that RIDDOR applies to workplace accidents, incidents and ill health; if Covid (or any other disease) is contracted from within an employee’s private environment, RIDDOR is not applicable. Having said that, if other employees then contract Covid within the workplace, RIDDOR most definitely applies.
The rules, as laid down by the HSE, for the RIDDOR reporting of Covid are summarised as follows:

  • an accident or incident at work has, or could have, led to the release or escape of coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2); this must be reported as a dangerous occurrence
  • a person at work (a worker) has been diagnosed as having COVID-19 attributed to an occupational exposure to coronavirus; this must be reported as a case of disease
  • a worker dies as a result of occupational exposure to coronavirus; this must be reported as a work-related death due to exposure to a biological agent

Further details can be found on the HSE’s website: https://bit.ly/2FMxNMe

COVID ISN’T THE ONLY THING THAT CAN KILL!

It has become evident that the emphasis on Covid has been to the detriment of other health & safety considerations. WHS has had to deal with many more accidents (some very serious) since March, and the increase in the accident rate appears to be gathering pace, particularly relating to work at height. And we’re highlighting this from our experience only; if this pattern is repeated throughout the construction industry, the number of fatalities and serious injuries will prove to be catastrophic for 2020/21.

WHS is seeing faults that hark back to 30 or 40 years ago – e.g. missing handrails and boards on scaffold, broken and slippery ladders, unsupported excavations. May we remind you that, yes, Covid is serious but so is general health & safety; the HSE is still prevalent and you will still be prosecuted if there is a serious accident. And, let’s face it, sites should now actually be safer than ever before because of the thought that’s had to go into organising the work to be Covid-safe!

LEGIONELLA

And another issue that’s reared its head in relation to Covid is Legionella. We have warned in previous newsletters that, if premises have been left empty and/or unattended because of Covid (or any other reason), it is a legal requirement incumbent on those in control of the buildings (including landlords) to ensure that it is safe to return; water systems (such as hot & cold water and air-conditioning systems) may have to be purged or otherwise checked to ensure the Legionella bacterium isn’t present. And predictably, there have now been outbreaks of legionella in the West Midlands and elsewhere, e.g: https://bit.ly/2Hgc4fN

The danger here is that Legionella symptoms are almost the same as for Covid, and therefore cases may well be wrongly diagnosed. So extra care must be taken to ensure that the risks of this equally dangerous disease are properly controlled. The HSE has issued specific guidance on their website: https://bit.ly/2HiJQB5

It reiterates quite clearly that (quote):

If your building has been closed or had reduced occupancy during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, water system stagnation can occur due to lack of use, increasing the risks of Legionnaires’ disease.
You should review your risk assessment and manage the legionella risks when you:

  • reinstate a water system or start using it again
  • restart some types of air conditioning units

If the water system is still used regularly, maintain the appropriate measures to prevent legionella growth.

Footnote:

And let’s not hear any of the ridiculous chat that has subsequently circulated on social media – that you can contract Legionella from the wearing of masks ‘because they can become damp’. There is absolutely no basis whatsoever to this ‘theory’ and this type of loose talk can only hinder the efforts to combat both Legionella and Covid. Legionella comes from a bacterium that can propagate when water systems are allowed to sit undisturbed at certain temperatures; it cannot develop on masks unless infected droplets have landed on them in the first place (i.e. from an infected water system.

Having said that, masks should not be allowed to get damp, that’s just common sense; change them regularly!

HSE NEWS

HSE INSPECTION INITIATIVE

The HSE will be carrying out targeted nationwide inspections between 5 and 30 October 2020 as part of a wider initiative to support the HSE’s strategy towards better employee health, and to help get people safely back to work and thereby support our economic recovery.

As with previous health initiatives, the focus of the inspections will be respiratory risks; however, this particular initiative will also cover Covid-security as the disease is obviously viewed as a major health risk. A specific section related to both the current initiative and to health risks in construction can be found on the HSE’s website; it is in your interests to read the contents and to download and follow all relevant guidance:
https://bit.ly/2RStPE4

SAFETY ALERT

The HSE has issued a Safety Alert concerning the use of gas detector sample tubes following a recent incident that resulted in an explosion and a fatality. Preceding hot works, a gas detector had failed to detect a flammable atmosphere because the wrong tube had been selected. Full details of the case, including action required to avoid such accidents, can be found on the HSE’s website:
https://www.hse.gov.uk/safetybulletins/failure-to-detect-dangerous-gas.htm

If you have need to use gas detection equipment, it is vital that you read the document and consult the additional guidance documents specified, particularly: https://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/gasdetector.pdf

ACCIDENT STATISTICS 2019/20

The HSE has released the final UK fatality statistics for 2019/20, and they show the lowest number of fatalities since records began; a total of 111, down from 147 the previous year.

So we should be patting ourselves on the back yes? NO, not in construction! 30 people died within the construction industry during 2018/19; but this last year showed a huge 33% increase to 40, 36% of the total (up from 20% the previously year), which is absolutely inexcusable!

And, predictably, the most common cause for fatalities was work at height.

If our observations about increasingly lax general safety standards on site (see above) are correct, we are heading for a further massive increase in construction fatalities which will, inevitably, result in more misery in terms of both human life and business costs. After all the construction industry has done since the advent of CDM (1994) to vastly improve project planning and safety standards, it is absolutely shameful that we’ve gone so drastically backwards.

INDUSTRY NEWS

BRITISH STANDARDS CONSULTATION

British Standards are inviting comments on the proposed changes to BS7671:2018 Requirements for Electrical Installations IET Wiring Regulations (Chapters 1-45). It is proposed that Regulation 133.1.3 (selection of equipment) be modified and that certain usage of equipment will need to be recorded of the appropriate electrical certification in Part 6. The deadline for comments is 11 December 2020.

FREE PASMA TRAINING

In partnership with PASMA, One Call Training Ltd are offering anyone on Job Seekers allowance or receiving Universal Credits FREE PASMA training on any of its courses until 30 December 2020. There are no strings attached; all that is required is proof of the candidate’s situation and that there are spaces still available.

Please note though, that the company is based in Derby so location may be an issue. However, this is an altruistic and welcome offer so, if anyone is interested, please contact Doug Ball direct on 07814-422362.

OUR AGING WORKFORCE

With the advances of medical science and the loosening of retirement age restrictions, we are inevitably working longer. Employees may welcome this as a way to retain an income for longer; employers may welcome this as a way to retain skills. However, we need to be fully aware of the potential drawbacks.

All employers are duty-bound to ensure employees are ‘fit for work’, in other words they are fit and capable enough to carry out the tasks required without risks to themselves or others. If an employee develops a medical condition, inhibited eyesight or hearing, loss of strength, loss of perception, etc, this will obviously impact on his or her ability to work safely and tasks will have to be re-assessed.

Within construction, this is a particular issue as, not only do the tasks generally require a good level of fitness and capabilities, but also because almost half (47%) of the workforce is now over 45. And it’s a fact that, the older an employee is, the more likely he/she is to die at work; those between 60 and 65 are twice as likely to be killed in the workplace. And the disturbing fact is that many site workers are now aged over 65.

We all understand the sensitivity of telling an older, possibly very loyal, employee that it’s time for him/her to retire. But never forget that the employer owes the employee a legal duty of care to safeguard his/her wellbeing. So, if it is impossible to find safer tasks and retirement is the only option because of inhibited capabilities, then it has to be so. Be realistic; carry out a personal risk assessment for the employee. An accident resulting from an employee’s inhibited capabilities will result in prosecution of the employer.

THIS IMPORTANCE OF COMPETENT ADVICE

A safety consultant, Clive Weal, has been prosecuted and ordered to pay £1400 for not being suitably qualified or competent to give advice on noise, vibration and hazardous substances. Weal failed to advise that paints containing isocyanates can cause asthma and that exposure to vibration was a significant issue (recommending anti-vibration gloves as an appropriate control measure); this ‘poor and incompetent advice’ resulted in the lack of meaningful remedial action and significantly risked the health of workers.

The HSE inspector stated that how those with health & safety responsibilities “achieve competence is up to them. However, they will have to be able to satisfy employers that they have a sufficient level of competence for the job in hand”. Qualifications, membership of professional bodies and regular CPD are all essentials, and the lack of any such proof would leave the individual open to HSE criticism or (as in this case) prosecution.

WHS obviously acts externally on your behalf to establish suitable and appropriate health & safety systems; we are all highly qualified and members of relevant professional bodies, and we take great pains to keep up our CPD to enable us to do so. But engaging WHS is not the only legal responsibility that you, as the employer, have; you must:

  • Follow our guidance
  • Continually engage with us to ensure we are able to adequately advise you
  • Ensure that your own personnel are adequately trained in health & safety; this applies particularly to the person responsible within your company, whether this be a director or a specifically appointed health & safety manager

Take another look internally; is your internal health & safety management suitably competent to carry out the necessary legal duties, does he/she know what those duties are, or at least what to ask of us and when? WHS can only go so far; the rest is (under the law) up to you.

GENERAL NEWS

BLEACH

A 34-year-old cleaner, Celia Seymour, died after breathing in bleach fumes whilst cleaning the upstairs bathroom of her own property; she collapsed as her friend arrived and, despite CPR, died 4 days later. It is believed that she may have mixed two cleaning products, with the result that the fumes were found to be ‘overpowering’ and triggering a severe asthma attack.

So how is that relevant to you? Despite this being a tragic death in a domestic property, such dangers exist at work as well. We have warned many times before about the dangers of bleach and the mixing of cleaning products, and have always advised that bleach is not used at all to avoid such risks; all our customers have a COSHH assessment to that effect in their health & safety pack. And, now that we are all cleaning our workplaces more frequently (or we should be!!), there is a huge risk that such tragedies will happen at work.

This recent case should serve as a poignant warning to everyone; serious risks exist even with the most basic day-to-day functions such as cleaning, and risk assessments are legally required for ALL work for very valid reasons. Take another look at your cleaning cupboards; ensure there is no bleach, and no cleaning chemicals that can be hazardous when mixed; and ensure all cleaners are properly trained and instructed.

LOCAL AEDs

Previously notified websites advising nationwide locations of AEDs (automated external defibrillators) may no longer be functioning (because of Covid?). Unfortunately, it will be down to local knowledge alone for the moment to locate your nearest AED at any given site, so do ask around – or, better still, provide your own!

AND FINALLY

With thanks to the HSE for the photographs

Given the emphasis on work at height failings and the resultant increase in fatalities as discussed above, we concentrate (yet again) on this issue alone below. However, the threat of prosecution cannot be the only motivation for complying to the Work at Height Regulations; a life and a family are destroyed each time a worker is killed or maimed, just bear that in mind.

A timely reminder: Only a thorough and competent risk assessment will identify correct controls. WHS still sees too many generic risk assessments on site; a generic risk assessment will not keep you out of court.

Work at height

  • BAM Nuttall was fined £900,000 and sub-contractor, McNealy Brown, £65,000 (both plus costs) after a painter from a further sub-contractor, DRH, fell 3 metres through a suspended ceiling at East Croydon railway station during refurbishment work. The painter had been given induction before starting but not briefed on the risk assessments which required full body harnesses for ceiling work, nor that the materials in question were fragile. Crash decking previously installed had been removed to allow finishing work but no alternative risk mitigation measures had been established.
  • Crystal Architectural Aluminium Ltd was fined a total of over £49,000 after an employee fell from a tower scaffold whilst removing a large window frame at a school hall, knocking another off a ladder; both suffered serious injuries but survived. The tower had not been properly erected and the ladder was not suitable for the tasks in hand.

No business is immune; the Work at Height Regulations apply to ALL companies…

  • Window cleaner, Ronnie Brown (trading as Ronnie Brown Window Cleaning) was fined £20,000 plus costs after he and his employees were observed carrying out unsafe work at height 5 metres off the ground at a hair dressing salon.

The word ‘suicidal’ springs to mind!!

  • Haulage specialist, Speed Drop Logistics, was fined a total of over £81,500 after being spotted putting their own workers at risk by carrying out roof work on their factory with no protection against falls through the fragile roof sheeting.

Note that both these prosecutions resulted from observations alone; there had been no accidents.

And, just in case anyone is tempted to forge evidence…

  • Contracts manager, Mark Bray, was jailed for 2 years for, not only for failing to take reasonable care of persons on his site, but also for perverting the course of justice by forging the signature of a worker who had fallen to his death through a fragile rooflight. Bray had insisted that netting wasn’t required; the netting, which would have cost a mere £1,250 to install, would have saved Drake’s life. Bray had forged Drake’s signature to make it appear that the poor man had agreed to the work procedures.

In addition to Bray’s prison sentence, fines totalling £130,000 were levied against his employer, Roofing Consultants Ltd, and £45,000 against High Ridge Roofing Solutions Ltd who controlled the work.

We’ll leave you with this case, which is just beyond belief…

  • JR Scaffold Services Ltd, was prosecuted after an employee fell 8 metres from this ‘cantilevered scaffold tower’, suffering severe and life-changing injuries.

Properly constructed towers can be cantilevered if properly designed; contact PASMA for its training course: Towers with Cantilevers.

This Company had apparently carried out a risk assessment before erecting this Third World contraption (see photo)! Clearly, the risk assessment didn’t reach the correct (and legal) conclusions!

STAY SAFE – STAY ALERT

FOLLOW THE RULES – DON’T IGNORE ADVICE

SAFEGUARD YOURSELF AND THE LIVES OF THOSE YOU AFFECT

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

COMPANY NEWS

TRAINING

It is prudent to repeat the provisos that are currently essential for us, at Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS), to be able to hold our usual full complement of courses, so please take careful note of the following:

  • Maximum 6 delegates per course
  • Lunch cannot be provided
  • Full details of both the precautions we have taken and what is expected from the candidates are issued with the joining instructions for each course

Please be reassured that we have established strict measures within the building and training room to reduce risks. As they have been kept fully informed of these measures, CITB and the awarding body for first aid courses have given their full consent for all courses to take place in person.

In return, we would ask the following: As we are so severely limited to the reduced number of places for the foreseeable future, it is important for WHS to ensure full attendance. We therefore ask please that, once booked, courses and places are not cancelled.

In addition, if any organisation requires attendance at their own premises for 6 or more employees, a specific course can be arranged at a date and time to suit provided that suitable Covid-specific precautions can be agreed at the point of booking.

First Aid

WHS 1-day (6 hours) Emergency First-Aid at Work courses, run with very strict Covid-specific controls, are scheduled as follows; those who need to attain or renew first-aid certification are advised to book places as quickly as possible as, although we have included additional dates, demand will obviously be high.

Dates:

  • 15 October 2020 FULLY BOOKED
  • 27 October 2020 FULLY BOOKED
  • 25 November 2020
  • 16 December 2020
  • 27 January 2021
  • 25 February 2021
  • 30 March 2021

Cost: £85 + VAT per person

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

IOSH Managing Safely

Duration: 3 days (Wednesday to Friday)
Dates:

  • 7, 8 & 9 October 2020

Cost: £395 + VAT per person

Mental Health

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

  • 2 October 2020

Cost: £75 + VAT per person

COSHH / EH40

EH40, the HSE document detailing exposure limits for hazardous substances and upon which COSHH data sheets and assessments are reliant, was updated earlier this year. WHS has now reviewed all generic COSHH assessments; an updated version of the assessment for Hardwood Dust is attached to this newsletter for those who may require it. Those WHS customers who have requested specific COSHH assessments in the past will need to be guided by their WHS advisor at the point of their annual documents review; some may need a complete revision to ensure legal compliance with current COSHH standards.

COVID & RELATED ISSUES

COVID-19 / CORONAVIRUS

As you’ve obviously understood from the ever-changing Government guidance and restrictions, Covid HAS NOT GONE AWAYI!!

At this point, who can be blamed for allowing the pandemic to take such a hold in the UK is irrelevant; the facts are that the infection and death rates are still rising and likely to rapidly rise still further as the cold weather approaches. If any of you has had personal experience of a relative or friend hospitalised because of Covid, you will know just how awful this virus can be. It is NOT ‘just another flu’ and no way can patients ‘pull themselves together’ to get well; such casual talk is, not only totally inaccurate, it is hurtful to those who have lost people they love.

So let’s just get a grip; follow what the Government says (a lot of which is legally binding), but also use your common sense. The basic rules of:

  • wash hands
  • cover the face
  • leave space

STILL apply, both at work and in public places. To assist employers, ample guidance is given on the HSE’s website: https://bit.ly/3j5bNdy

Follow the guidance; if you don’t, you now run the very real risk of being shut down either by the authorities or because a Covid outbreak results; spot checks are being carried out nationwide – you have been warned!

REPORTING COVID-19 UNDER RIDDOR

Understandably, there is a lot of confusion over when to report Covid cases within the workforce under RIDDOR. The first thing to stress is that RIDDOR applies to workplace accidents, incidents and ill health; if Covid (or any other disease) is contracted from within an employee’s private environment, RIDDOR is not applicable. Having said that, if other employees then contract Covid within the workplace, RIDDOR most definitely applies.

The rules, as laid down by the HSE, for the RIDDOR reporting of Covid are summarised as follows:

  • an accident or incident at work has, or could have, led to the release or escape of coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2); this must be reported as a dangerous occurrence
  • a person at work (a worker) has been diagnosed as having COVID-19 attributed to an occupational exposure to coronavirus; this must be reported as a case of disease
  • a worker dies as a result of occupational exposure to coronavirus; this must be reported as a work-related death due to exposure to a biological agent

Further details can be found on the HSE’s website: https://bit.ly/2FMxNMe

COVID ISN’T THE ONLY THING THAT CAN KILL!

It has become evident that the emphasis on Covid has been to the detriment of other health & safety considerations. WHS has had to deal with many more accidents (some very serious) since March, and the increase in the accident rate appears to be gathering pace, particularly relating to work at height. And we’re highlighting this from our experience only; if this pattern is repeated throughout UK industry, the number of fatalities and serious injuries will prove to be catastrophic for 2020/21.

May we remind you that, yes, Covid is serious but so is general health & safety; the HSE is still prevalent and you will still be prosecuted if there is a serious accident. And, let’s face it, workplaces should now actually be safer than ever before because of the thought that’s had to go into organising the work to be Covid-safe!

LEGIONELLA

And another issue that’s reared its head in relation to Covid is Legionella. We have warned in previous newsletters that, if premises have been left empty and/or unattended because of Covid (or any other reason), it is a legal requirement incumbent on those in control of the buildings (including landlords) to ensure that it is safe to return; water systems (such as hot & cold water and air-conditioning systems) may have to be purged or otherwise checked to ensure the Legionella bacterium isn’t present. And predictably, there have now been outbreaks of legionella in the West Midlands and elsewhere, e.g: https://bit.ly/2Hgc4fN

The danger here is that Legionella symptoms are almost the same as for Covid, and therefore cases may well be wrongly diagnosed. So extra care must be taken to ensure that the risks of this equally dangerous disease are properly controlled. The HSE has issued specific guidance on their website: https://bit.ly/2HiJQB5

It reiterates quite clearly that (quote):

If your building has been closed or had reduced occupancy during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, water system stagnation can occur due to lack of use, increasing the risks of Legionnaires’ disease.

You should review your risk assessment and manage the legionella risks when you:

  • reinstate a water system or start using it again
  • restart some types of air conditioning units

If the water system is still used regularly, maintain the appropriate measures to prevent legionella growth.

Footnote:

And let’s not hear any of the ridiculous chat that has subsequently circulated on social media – that you can contract Legionella from the wearing of masks ‘because they can become damp’. There is absolutely no basis whatsoever to this ‘theory’ and this type of loose talk can only hinder the efforts to combat both Legionella and Covid. Legionella comes from a bacterium that can propagate when water systems are allowed to sit undisturbed at certain temperatures; it cannot develop on masks unless infected droplets have landed on them in the first place (i.e. from an infected water system.

Having said that, masks should not be allowed to get damp, that’s just common sense; change them regularly!

HSE NEWS

HSE INSPECTION INITIATIVE

The HSE will be carrying out targeted nationwide inspections between 5 and 30 October 2020 as part of a wider initiative to support the HSE’s strategy towards better employee health, and to help get people safely back to work and thereby support our economic recovery.

As with previous health initiatives, the focus of the inspections will be respiratory risks; however, this particular initiative will also cover Covid-security as the disease is obviously viewed as a major health risk. Go to the HSE’s website for specific advice on respiratory safety, Covid and all other health issues: hse.gov.uk

METALWORKING FLUIDS

In conjunction with the UKLA, the HSE has issued a revised Good Practice Guide for the Safe Handling and Disposal of Metalwork Fluids, giving comprehensive advice on preventing ill-health, maintaining health surveillance, acting on dipslide results and much more. The guidance document is freely downloadable from: https://bit.ly/2RWwNYk

But don’t overlook the fact that any such guidance is intended for use alongside a specific COSHH assessment which must relate to how metalworking fluids are used, handled and stored safely within your premises; no generics please!

INDUSTRY NEWS

OUR AGING WORKFORCE

With the advances of medical science and the loosening of retirement age restrictions, we are inevitably working longer. Employees may welcome this as a way to retain an income for longer; employers may welcome this as a way to retain skills. However, we need to be fully aware of the potential drawbacks.

All employers are duty-bound to ensure employees are ‘fit for work’, in other words they are fit and capable enough to carry out the tasks required without risks to themselves or others. If an employee develops a medical condition, inhibited eyesight or hearing, loss of strength, loss of perception, etc, this will obviously impact on his or her ability to work safely and tasks will have to be re-assessed.

And it’s a fact that, the older an employee is, the more likely he/she is to die at work; those between 60 and 65 are twice as likely to be killed in the workplace. And the disturbing fact is that many workers are now aged well over 65.

We all understand the sensitivity of telling an older, possibly very loyal, employee that it’s time for him/her to retire. But never forget that the employer owes the employee a legal duty of care to safeguard his/her wellbeing. So, if it is impossible to find safer tasks and retirement is the only option because of inhibited capabilities, then it has to be so. Be realistic; carry out a personal risk assessment for the employee. An accident resulting from an employee’s inhibited capabilities will result in prosecution of the employer.

THIS IMPORTANCE OF COMPETENT ADVICE

A safety consultant, Clive Weal, has been prosecuted and ordered to pay £1400 for not being suitably qualified or competent to give advice on noise, vibration and hazardous substances. Weal failed to advise that paints containing isocyanates can cause asthma and that exposure to vibration was a significant issue (recommending anti-vibration gloves as an appropriate control measure); this ‘poor and incompetent advice’ resulted in the lack of meaningful remedial action and significantly risked the health of workers.

The HSE inspector stated that how those with health & safety responsibilities “achieve competence is up to them. However, they will have to be able to satisfy employers that they have a sufficient level of competence for the job in hand”. Qualifications, membership of professional bodies and regular CPD are all essentials, and the lack of any such proof would leave the individual open to HSE criticism or (as in this case) prosecution.

WHS obviously acts externally on your behalf to establish suitable and appropriate health & safety systems; we are all highly qualified and members of relevant professional bodies, and we take great pains to keep up our CPD to enable us to do so. But engaging WHS is not the only legal responsibility that you, as the employer, have; you must:

  • Follow our guidance
  • Continually engage with us to ensure we are able to adequately advise you
  • Ensure that your own personnel are adequately trained in health & safety; this applies particularly to the person responsible within your company, whether this be a director or a specifically appointed health & safety manager

Take another look internally; is your internal health & safety management suitably competent to carry out the necessary legal duties, does he/she know what those duties are, or at least what to ask of us and when? WHS can only go so far; the rest is (under the law) up to you.

GENERAL NEWS

BLEACH

A 34-year-old cleaner, Celia Seymour, died after breathing in bleach fumes whilst cleaning the upstairs bathroom of her own property; she collapsed as her friend arrived and, despite CPR, died 4 days later. It is believed that she may have mixed two cleaning products, with the result that the fumes were found to be ‘overpowering’ and triggering a severe asthma attack.

So how is that relevant to you? Despite this being a tragic death in a domestic property, such dangers exist at work as well. We have warned many times before about the dangers of bleach and the mixing of cleaning products, and have always advised that bleach is not used at all to avoid such risks; all our customers have a COSHH assessment to that effect in their health & safety pack. And, now that we are all cleaning our workplaces more frequently (or we should be!!), there is a huge risk that such tragedies will happen at work.

This recent case should serve as a poignant warning to everyone; serious risks exist even with the most basic day-to-day functions such as cleaning, and risk assessments are legally required for ALL work for very valid reasons. Take another look at your cleaning cupboards; ensure there is no bleach, and no cleaning chemicals that can be hazardous when mixed; and ensure all cleaners are properly trained and instructed.

CARBON MONOXIDE

A colleague of ours recently highlighted just how easy it is for carbon monoxide to kill when the public are unaware of the dangers. A couple he knew had mentioned that an alarm kept going off in their caravan and, when he took a look, he found soot stains up the wall and 40,000 ppm of carbon monoxide coming from their gas fridge; it had obviously been the carbon monoxide monitor trying its best to warn them!

So, we say yet again – carbon monoxide monitors are a life-saving investment wherever there are gas appliances within any premises, particularly smaller enclosed spaces such as bedrooms, living rooms and caravans. But please do make sure the users realise what the warning alarm actually means!

And a further warning to get all gas appliances regularly serviced and certificated, particularly if Covid has prompted a lengthy period of neglect.

LOCAL AEDs

Previously notified websites advising nationwide locations of AEDs (automated external defibrillators) may no longer be functioning (because of Covid?). Unfortunately, it will be down to local knowledge alone for the moment to locate your nearest AED at any given premises, so do ask around – or, better still, provide your own!

AND FINALLY

With thanks to the HSE for the photographs

As the vast majority of occupational fatalities and serious injuries still result from work at height failings, we concentrate (yet again) on this issue alone below. However, it must be said that the threat of prosecution cannot be the only motivation for complying to the Work at Height Regulations; a life and a family are destroyed each time a worker is killed or maimed, just bear that in mind.

And no business is immune; the Work at Height Regulations apply to ALL companies…

Work at height
Note that the first 2 prosecutions resulted from observations alone; there had been no accidents.


Note that the first 2 prosecutions resulted from observations alone; there had been no accidents.

  • Window cleaner, Ronnie Brown (trading as Ronnie Brown Window Cleaning) was fined £20,000 plus costs after he and his employees were observed carrying out unsafe work at height 5 metres off the ground at a hair dressing salon.
  • The word ‘suicidal’ springs to mind!!
  • Haulage specialist, Speed Drop Logistics, was fined a total of over £81,500 after being spotted putting their own workers at risk by carrying out roof work on their factory with no protection against falls through the fragile roof sheeting.
  • Both company director of Quartz 23, Mark Harrison, and manager, Gemma Williams, were given community orders of 2 years, including 120 hours of unpaid work, after an intoxicated customer fell 40 feet to his death from an elevated service yard of Quartz Nightclub in Cannock.

Quartz 23 was also fined a total of £24,000 for obvious safety failings. The Company was found to have a poor safety culture which, amongst other failings, allowed customers to use the undesignated exit onto the service yard area which lacked appropriate controls.The operator of Aberdeen Market, The Market Village Company Ltd, was fined £80,000 after an elderly man was found dead at the bottom of a fire escape stairwell. The Company had failed to maintain the lighting to the stairwell and this was found to have resulted in the gentleman’s death

And, just in case anyone is tempted to forge evidence…

  • Contracts manager, Mark Bray, was jailed for 2 years for, not only for failing to take reasonable care of persons under his control, but also for perverting the course of justice by forging the signature of a worker who had fallen to his death through a fragile rooflight. Bray had insisted that setting netting beneath roof work wasn’t required; the netting, which would have cost a mere £1,250 to install, would have saved Drake’s life. Bray had forged Drake’s signature to make it appear that the poor man had agreed to the work procedures.

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

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

COMPANY NEWS

TRAINING

Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) is now holding our usual full complement of courses; however, due to the necessary Covid-19 restrictions, it is important to note the following:

  • Maximum 6 delegates per course
  • Lunch cannot be provided
  • Full details, of both the precautions we have taken and what is expected from the candidates, are issued with the joining instructions for each course

Please be reassured that we have established strict measures within the building and training room to reduce risks. As they have been kept fully informed of these measures, CITB and the awarding body for first aid courses have given full consent for all courses to take place in person.

In return, we would ask the following. As we are so severely limited to the number of places for the foreseeable future, it is important for WHS to ensure full attendance. We therefore ask please that, once booked, courses or places are not cancelled.

In addition, if any organisation requires attendance at their own premises for 6 or more employees, a specific course can be arranged at a date and time to suit provided that suitable Covid-specific precautions can be agreed at the point of booking.

First Aid

Please note that all certificates expiring on or after 16 March 2020 will have their expiry dates extended until 30 September 2020 to give everyone a fair chance to attend a course.

WHS 1-day (6 hours) Emergency First-Aid at Work courses, run with very strict Covid-specific controls, are scheduled as follows; those who need to attain or renew first-aid certification are advised to book places as quickly as possible as, although we have included additional dates, demand will obviously be high.

Dates:

  • 28 July 2020 FULLY BOOKED
  • 27 August 2020 LIMITED PLACES AVAILABLE
  • 24 September 2020
  • 27 October 2020
  • 25 November 2020
  • 18 December 2020

Cost: £85 + VAT per person

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

CITB Courses

IMPORTANT NOTES:

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

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

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)

Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week
Dates:

  • 31 July, 7, 14, 21 & 28 August 2020 (Fridays) ADDITIONAL COURSE
  • 14, 21, 28 September, 5 & 12 October 2020 (Mondays)
  • 13, 20, 27 November, 4 & 11 December 2020 (Fridays)

Cost: £495 + VAT per person

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

  • 24 & 25 August 2020 (Monday & Tuesday) FULLY BOOKED
  • 22 & 23 October 2020 (Thursday & Friday)
  • 7 & 8 December 2020 (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:

  • 7 & 8 September 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 2 & 3 November 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)

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

  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS) Refresher

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

  • 25 September 2020 (Friday)

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

  • CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

  • 17 September 2020 (Thursday)
  • 16 November 2020 (Monday)

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

IOSH Managing Safely

Duration: 3 days (Wednesday to Friday)
Dates:

  • 7, 8 & 9 October 2020

Cost: £395 + VAT per person

INDUSTRY NEWS

Covid-19 / Coronavirus

No, the serious and life-threatening issue of Covid-19 has not gone away, and is unlikely to disappear worldwide in the foreseeable future. So the message is: we must ALL get used to the ‘new normal’ and carry on taking sensible precautions, even though the infection rate is diminishing.

‘Necessity is the mother of invention’, as they say. And we have certainly seen some very innovative and pro-active systems established on site to reduce the risk of contracting Covid to a minimum. For example:

  • Bowmer & Kirkland have installed temperature sensors at entrances to turnstiles which are manned all day. If a person’s temperature reads above normal, he/she is asked to go back outside to cool down for a few minutes; if the reading is still high at the second check, the person is refused entry.

Others have set up stand-alone temperature check stations (an example of these was shown in the June newsletter)

Still more have linked them to doors and barriers to make sure entry is denied to anyone with an above-normal temperature

  • Redrow has extended its induction to include an excellent video on its Covid systems

In general, WHS has found a good 85% of contractors doing their best to comply with both the Government and industry guidelines, and seeking advice when they are unsure. Most have put the relevant paperwork in place including the legally required documents being risk assessments). However, our consultants have found the following tendencies to be increasingly prevalent on many sites:

  • Risk assessments are not site-specific, they tend to be generic. WHS has issued a short-form generic assessment, but this is only intended as a starting point. ALL risk assessments must, BY LAW, be site or operation-specific, and dealing with Covid is no exception. There has been ample guidance issued by WHS, HSE and the industry to help employers build on the generics, and WHS is here to help as always. But we repeat, anything short of specific is NOT adequate.
  • Risk assessments are often ignored on site (which is often the case, regardless of the Covid issue!). WHS has found complacency from top to bottom within companies and site staff, coupled with a degree of scepticism of the risks. The age-old attitude still prevails on many sites: ‘well we have to work, don’t we?’ The answer to that is, yes we all do; but no work will be done by those who die from Covid.
  • Deadlines are exacerbating this attitude as clients push for completions after several months of jobs being on hold. Remember, CDM states that time must be allowed to complete the job safely; this is a legal requirement for ALL circumstances, including during the Covid crisis. So challenge your clients if pressure is put on you to complete in unrealistic time-frames; Covid was unforeseen so clients must (legally) behave reasonably and responsibly by allowing adequate time for your work to be carried out without safety or health being compromised
  • Lack of monitoring and enforcement of the rules e.g. distancing, frequent use of sanitiser, making sure doors and windows are open for ventilation, the wearing of face masks, etc, particularly with the control of sub-contractors.
  • Social distancing not being enforced. The 1 metre distance can only be allowed when 2 metres isn’t possible, and then only if adequate alternative controls are implemented. The relaxing of the 2 metre rule was meant to be a pragmatic approach to impossible situations; it was NOT meant as a license to reduce controls.
  • Face masks and coverings; refer also to the HSE section below. Whatever the current rules say, these are meant as minimum precautions and NOT total solutions. As we in construction have had drummed into us over many years, face masks save lives – so why treat the current Covid threat any differently? If anyone out there has experienced the total devastation caused to the body of a loved one by Covid, they would certainly not be questioning the use of masks.
  • And another plea NOT to take any notice of the disinformation being posted on social media; this can only serve to harm us all by belittling the extreme seriousness of the virus.

FOOTNOTE

Just in case anyone reading this newsletter is still not convinced that Covid is or has been an issue at work:

On 11 May 2020, the very day that the Prime Minister stated that construction workers should be “actively encouraged to go to work”, the Office for National Statistics revealed that those very workers are more likely to die from the virus than ‘nursing assistants, care workers and ambulance drivers’. One industry campaigner even called this ‘social murder’.

WHS predicted that our industry would be hard hit from the beginning and we recommended lockdown of all sites – from a professional health & safety viewpoint totally unrelated to political persuasion. Our predictions have been proved to be horribly accurate. So, please, don’t listen to social media, don’t be misled by misinformation or bravado, but do listen to our professional advice. We have only the wellbeing of you and employees at heart.

Asbestos

The vast majority of contractors have done the right thing through the Covid pandemic; most have written risk assessments and trained their staff, at the very least via the induction process, into the dangers of the virus and necessary control systems – all for the well-being of their employees.

So why is it that we still don’t find the same level of effort and commitment in controlling the risks from asbestos? Covid is a pandemic that will eventually diminish, if not disappear completely. Asbestos is out there perennially and potentially kills up to 10,000 people a year in the UK alone; nothing short of an epidemic. Yet we still find employers of all types either paying lip-service to establishing controls or just ignoring the issue completely.

Wake up! Covid will pass; asbestos won’t for decades, if at all. You MUST train your employees and properly control the risks from asbestos as required by law. Contact WHS for advice and assistance.

Black Mould

Many old or unkempt buildings suffer from mould, generally due to damp (e.g. flooding or poor damp-proofing). All moulds have the capacity to harm, usually through the spores attacking the respiratory system, particularly those who are asthmatic or have respiratory issues. This is not uncommon (and suggests a possible cause for the so-called ‘sick building syndrome’ but does not detract from the necessity to ensure occupants’ (and others’) wellbeing by remedying the situation.

However, there are some moulds that can be extremely dangerous by producing mycotoxins, potentially causing serious damage to neurological systems and possibly death. There is also some suggestion that the mycotoxins can also cause cancers, but evidence for this is weak.

WHS will be issuing a full risk assessment in due course but, in the meantime, all clients designers and project managers should be aware that a full environmental (safety) survey will be required if there is any evidence of significant black mould, and possibly a specialist clean. And all project and site managers must alert senior management and/or the client should there be any sign of any mould. Most cases will be relatively harmless with a thorough clean and use of respiratory protection, but other cases may require a lot more; let the experts ascertain the degree of risk. Don’t take this issue lightly

HSE NEWS

Covid HSE news & guidance

The HSE has, over the months, built up a strong portfolio of information and guidance to assist businesses to control the risk of contracting Covid-19 whilst still being able to work. Some examples are as follows; these and many more can be found on www.hse.gov.uk:

  • Covid Q&As: https://bit.ly/2DNMJIF
  • Risk assessment: https://bit.ly/3h4UNTI
  • General advice: https://bit.ly/2OpRiKW
  • Social distancing: https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/social-distancing/index.htm
  • Use of hand sanitiser and surface disinfectants: https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/hand-sanitiser/index.htm

The HSE has also endorsed a great deal of industry-led guidance, such as:

Construction Leadership Council guidance (currently Version 4):
https://bit.ly/38VQbMI

Gov.uk:
https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-reopening
https://bit.ly/3h2e08u (for construction)
https://bit.ly/390cml2 (for vehicles)
https://bit.ly/2DKSy9C (for offices)

Examples of best practice:
https://bit.ly/3eCDR5m

HSE Enforcement

As we have highlighted previously, and many of you will have heard through media, the HSE has been given additional funds with which to enforce Covid regulation in the workplace. A full press release was issued in early July drawing attention to the expectations of the HSE towards Covid-secure compliance, and the warning of enforcement for any transgressors:
https://press.hse.gov.uk/2020/07/02/hse-urges-businesses-to-become-covid-secure/

Face Masks & Coverings

The HSE has stated that ‘face coverings…are not an effective way to manage the risks from Covid-19 and you should not rely on them’. HSE stresses that face coverings ‘are not classified as PPE’ for obvious reasons, and therefore the risk of infection should be controlled by social distancing, hand washing and other means.

The HSE has also stated that ‘surgical face masks….are not generally considered to be PPE in non-healthcare situations’ as they are designed to ‘limit the spread of infection’ only.

WHS agrees with all these comments. Nothing short of the full FFP3 and other risk-appropriate masks are considered PPE, and face-fit testing is mandatory for the use of these to ensure a tight seal and their effectiveness. In addition, a reminder that ANY PPE is considered a ‘last resort’ in the hierarchy of controls in the workplace. Therefore, surgical face masks and face coverings cannot ever be considered the only solution to controlling the risk of infection in the workplace. Additional Covid-specific controls must be established such as distancing, one-way systems, hand washing, placing sanitisers close to hand, etc.

However, in exactly the same way as use of FFP3 masks are advantageous even where engineering controls are in place (damping down, particle collection, etc), our professional recommendation is that, unless employees are working by themselves or at some distance (2+ metres) in the open air, it is still wise to further protect them by the use of masks.

One word of warning though, improvised face coverings can present risks in themselves; any excess material (e.g. scarves tied around the face) may well present snagging hazards. Managers must ensure that there is no improvisation and that any face masks are worn correctly.

Accident Statistics

The HSE has issued the accident statistics for 2019/20 which show a very encouraging downward trend with UK industry as a whole: 111 workers were killed – a reduction of 24.5% on 2018/19

Further more detailed will obviously be issued once full analysis has been completed.

However, provisional figures for the number of fatalities in construction show a disturbing and dangerous trend upwards: 40 workers were killed 2019/20 compared to 31 the previous year – an increase of 29% and full 36% of the total number of UK workplace fatalities.

To be honest, the industry should be ashamed of itself. After 25 years of CDM and 45 years of the Health & Safety at Work Act, what is it going to take to get the message across that construction workers deserve (and are owed by law) the same standards of safety as any other industry?

And the current emphasis on Covid-19 will not, and cannot be allowed to, detract from the need for exemplary safety standards on site; do NOT let your guard down. You have legal duties against which you can, and will, be prosecuted after a fatality; but more importantly, you have a moral duty to ensure your employees go home safely at night. We are here to help; allow us to help.

Health & Safety – the Financial Case

And, if you’re still thinking about money over people’s wellbeing, the HSE has put the case for the financial health of businesses being a sound reason for complying with health & safety law in its HSG245 document:
https://bit.ly/2WmtA74

The document clearly shows that, for every £1 spent on insurance by a business, it stands to lose between £8 and £36 in uninsured costs. Take a look at your insurance documents and do the maths – commitment to health & safety makes economic as well as moral sense!

Work at Height

The Construction Industry Advisory Committee (CONIAC) together with the Access Industry Forum have developed an excellent series of guidance documents to assist all parties involved with work at height to develop sound strategies. See https://bit.ly/2AZFr3d

Safety Steps has 5 parts, each written for a specific sector, and includes how to eliminate, plan, manage, monitor and train for work at height. Document/s relevant to you can be requested free of charge from:

  • Designer https://bit.ly/2Ch4IGT
  • Client https://bit.ly/3gZz3sa
  • Manager https://bit.ly/391c5xS
  • Supervisor https://bit.ly/2OucEa6
  • Operative https://bit.ly/3epRqF2

GENERAL NEWS

Stress & Anxiety

Claims have been made that the rate of suicides has increased by 200% during the Covid lockdown compared to previous years. Whilst this claim is completely unsubstantiated, there is no doubt that stress and anxiety levels have risen in general because of a wide variety of factors affecting people’s personal lives, and we should all be sensitive to the needs of those around us who may be finding current conditions difficult to cope with.

However, as the threat of redundancy looms ever larger for a significant proportion of the population, there is quite likely to be a repeat of the additional stresses experienced when so many lost their jobs in the economic crash of 2008. We all have a part to play in helping support family, friends and work colleagues experiencing hardship and mental distress during this time. Keep a watch at work and at home for tell-tale signs and lend a hand before, not as a result of, things going too far.

And a plea to employers – if redundancies are eventually unavoidable, do it with care not belligerence. It doesn’t take much to tip someone over the edge in normal times; in current circumstances, it will be worse. Please do contact WHS for advice on both mental awareness and HR at the first sign it may be needed.

AND FINALLY

Obviously, the number of cases going through court has been minimal over recent months because of Covid-19 restrictions. However, that doesn’t mean that there are fewer prosecutions in the pipeline; it just means that the agony of going through the investigation and waiting for the court appearance is prolonged!!

The following are a snapshot of recent cases:
(with thanks to the HSE for the photographs)

Work at height

  • Modus Workspace Ltd was fined £1.1 million with costs of over £68,000 after a worker was seriously injured falling 3 metres from a ladder. He had been inspecting a sprinkler system when the ladder slipped from under him.

This may have appeared to be a quick job so why go the expense of providing appropriate access equipment? Because there is no justification at all for risking a man’s life and costing the company well over £1.1 million, no matter how quick the work, that’s why!

  • JWB (Mersea) Ltd was fined £1,000 and Company Director, Jason Whitling, given a suspended 6-month prison sentence, ordered to do 240 hours of unpaid work and pay full HSE costs of £25,627 after a worker was seriously injured by a pack of roof trusses toppled over.

Not only was the work found to be un-assessed, unplanned and unmanaged, particularly the lifting of a pack of trusses rather than individually, the site was found to have absolutely no provision for working at height

  • Stan England Builders Ltd was fined £6,000 after a worker suffered serious injuries falling 2.5 metres from a platform to a first floor mezzanine.

So first floor level isn’t that high, is it? There’s no need to erect handrails to that platform, is there? Yes, there is a real need to erect fall protection in a situation like this, of course there is! That floor is hard and 2.5 metres is a long drop! Again, there is no justification at all for risking a man’s life and costing the company, what would have been to them, a significant fine, no matter what the height!

  • Phoenix Roofing & Cladding Ltd was fined £20,000 after a self-employed roofer was seriously injured falling through a roof-light to the suspended ceiling below.

It can be seen from the photo just how flimsy and degraded the roof-light was; it should have been evident to Phoenix that, regardless of the legal requirement to do so, covering or barriers were required to prevent falls through.

Equipment safety

  • Viridor Waste Management Ltd was fined £400,000 after a banksman was crushed by a 22.5 tonne loading shovel and suffered life changing injuries. The Company had failed to organise the workplace properly (no vehicle/person segregation) with the result that the machine reversed over the worker, knocking him to the ground and driving over the lower half of his body.
  • Metalart Fabrication Ltd was fined a total of over £20,000 after an 8 year old girl was crushed by a bespoke sliding gate that fell on her.

The investigation found that the design was poor; the mechanism to prevent the sliding gate from overrunning was insufficient for the purpose and there were no end-stops. Consequently, at the time of the incident, the gate had disengaged from the rollers; what the HSE called ‘an accident waiting to happen’.

A reminder to all designers and manufacturers of their legal duty to ensure safety through design.

  • IFG Drake Ltd was fined a total of over £390,000 after a worker became entangled in a synthetic fibre manufacturing machine, suffering fatal crush injuries; he had been attempting to remove materials from rollers.

The Company had failed to provide guarding to dangerous parts of the machine, costing a man his life.

  • Browns Manufacturing Ltd was fined £120,000 and £190,000 for two separate incidents (in 2016 and 2019) each resulting in workers’ fingers being amputated by insufficiently guarded machinery.

For a serious accident to happen once is bad enough; for the same thing to happen twice (i.e. management have demonstrated no commitment at all to the welfare of employees) is nothing short of indefensible.

News just in – crane collapse

A woman died and four people seriously injured when a 20 metre crane collapsed onto houses and a block of flats in Bow, London:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-53348366

A truly horrific incident and our hearts go out the families of the dead and injured.

STAY SAFE – STAY ALERT

FOLLOW THE RULES – DON’T IGNORE ADVICE

HELP SAFEGUARD THE LIVES OF THOSE YOU AFFECT

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

COMPANY NEWS

TRAINING

Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) is now holding our usual full complement of courses; however, due to the necessary Covid-19 restrictions, it is important to note the following:

  • Maximum 6 delegates per course
  • Lunch cannot be provided
  • Full details, of both the precautions we have taken and what is expected from the candidates, are issued with the joining instructions for each course

Please be reassured that we have established strict measures within the building and training room to reduce risks. As they have been kept fully informed of these measures, CITB and the awarding body for first aid courses have given full consent for all courses to take place in person.

In return, we would ask the following. As we are so severely limited to the number of places for the foreseeable future, it is important for WHS to ensure full attendance. We therefore ask please that, once booked, courses or places are not cancelled.

In addition, if any organisation requires attendance at their own premises for 6 or more employees, a specific course can be arranged at a date and time to suit provided that suitable Covid-specific precautions can be agreed at the point of booking.

First Aid

Please note that all certificates expiring on or after 16 March 2020 will have their expiry dates extended until 30 September 2020 to give everyone a fair chance to attend a course.

WHS 1-day (6 hours) Emergency First-Aid at Work courses, run with very strict Covid-specific controls, are scheduled as follows; those who need to attain or renew first-aid certification are advised to book places as quickly as possible as, although we have included additional dates, demand will obviously be high.

Dates:

  • 28 July 2020 FULLY BOOKED
  • 27 August 2020 LIMITED PLACES AVAILABLE
  • 24 September 2020
  • 27 October 2020
  • 25 November 2020
  • 18 December 2020

Cost: £85 + VAT per person

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

CITB Courses

IMPORTANT NOTES:


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

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

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)

Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week
Dates:

  • 31 July, 7, 14, 21 & 28 August 2020 (Fridays) ADDITIONAL COURSE
  • 14, 21, 28 September, 5 & 12 October 2020 (Mondays)
  • 13, 20, 27 November, 4 & 11 December 2020 (Fridays)

Cost: £495 + VAT per person

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

  • 24 & 25 August 2020 (Monday & Tuesday) FULLY BOOKED
  • 22 & 23 October 2020 (Thursday & Friday)
  • 7 & 8 December 2020 (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:

  • 7 & 8 September 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 2 & 3 November 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)

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

  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS) Refresher

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

  • 25 September 2020 (Friday)

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

  • CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

  • 17 September 2020 (Thursday)
  • 16 November 2020 (Monday)

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

IOSH Managing Safely

Duration: 3 days (Wednesday to Friday)
Dates:

  • 7, 8 & 9 October 2020

Cost: £395 + VAT per person

INDUSTRY NEWS

Covid-19 / Coronavirus

No, the serious and life-threatening issue of Covid-19 has not gone away, and is unlikely to disappear worldwide in the foreseeable future. So the message is: we must ALL get used to the ‘new normal’ and carry on taking sensible precautions, even though the infection rate is diminishing.

‘Necessity is the mother of invention’, as they say. And we have certainly seen some very innovative and pro-active systems established on site to reduce the risk of contracting Covid to a minimum. For example:

  • Bowmer & Kirkland have installed temperature sensors at entrances to turnstiles which are manned all day. If a person’s temperature reads above normal, he/she is asked to go back outside to cool down for a few minutes; if the reading is still high at the second check, the person is refused entry.

Others have set up stand-alone temperature check stations (an example of these was shown in the June newsletter)

Still more have linked them to doors and barriers to make sure entry is denied to anyone with an above-normal temperature

  • Redrow has extended its induction to include an excellent video on its Covid systems

In general, WHS has found a good 85% of contractors doing their best to comply with both the Government and industry guidelines, and seeking advice when they are unsure. Most have put the relevant paperwork in place including the legally required documents being risk assessments). However, our consultants have found the following tendencies to be increasingly prevalent on many sites:

  • Risk assessments are not site-specific, they tend to be generic. WHS has issued a short-form generic assessment, but this is only intended as a starting point. ALL risk assessments must, BY LAW, be site or operation-specific, and dealing with Covid is no exception. There has been ample guidance issued by WHS, HSE and the industry to help employers build on the generics, and WHS is here to help as always. But we repeat, anything short of specific is NOT adequate.
  • Risk assessments are often ignored on site (which is often the case, regardless of the Covid issue!). WHS has found complacency from top to bottom within companies and site staff, coupled with a degree of scepticism of the risks. The age-old attitude still prevails on many sites: ‘well we have to work, don’t we?’ The answer to that is, yes we all do; but no work will be done by those who die from Covid.
  • Deadlines are exacerbating this attitude as clients push for completions after several months of jobs being on hold. Remember, CDM states that time must be allowed to complete the job safely; this is a legal requirement for ALL circumstances, including during the Covid crisis. So challenge your clients if pressure is put on you to complete in unrealistic time-frames; Covid was unforeseen so clients must (legally) behave reasonably and responsibly by allowing adequate time for your work to be carried out without safety or health being compromised
  • Lack of monitoring and enforcement of the rules e.g. distancing, frequent use of sanitiser, making sure doors and windows are open for ventilation, the wearing of face masks, etc, particularly with the control of sub-contractors.
  • Social distancing not being enforced. The 1 metre distance can only be allowed when 2 metres isn’t possible, and then only if adequate alternative controls are implemented. The relaxing of the 2 metre rule was meant to be a pragmatic approach to impossible situations; it was NOT meant as a license to reduce controls.
  • Face masks and coverings; refer also to the HSE section below. Whatever the current rules say, these are meant as minimum precautions and NOT total solutions. As we in construction have had drummed into us over many years, face masks save lives – so why treat the current Covid threat any differently? If anyone out there has experienced the total devastation caused to the body of a loved one by Covid, they would certainly not be questioning the use of masks.
  • And another plea NOT to take any notice of the disinformation being posted on social media; this can only serve to harm us all by belittling the extreme seriousness of the virus.

FOOTNOTE

Just in case anyone reading this newsletter is still not convinced that Covid is or has been an issue at work:

On 11 May 2020, the very day that the Prime Minister stated that construction workers should be “actively encouraged to go to work”, the Office for National Statistics revealed that those very workers are more likely to die from the virus than ‘nursing assistants, care workers and ambulance drivers’. One industry campaigner even called this ‘social murder’.

WHS predicted that our industry would be hard hit from the beginning and we recommended lockdown of all sites – from a professional health & safety viewpoint totally unrelated to political persuasion. Our predictions have been proved to be horribly accurate. So, please, don’t listen to social media, don’t be misled by misinformation or bravado, but do listen to our professional advice. We have only the wellbeing of you and employees at heart.

Asbestos

The vast majority of contractors have done the right thing through the Covid pandemic; most have written risk assessments and trained their staff, at the very least via the induction process, into the dangers of the virus and necessary control systems – all for the well-being of their employees.

So why is it that we still don’t find the same level of effort and commitment in controlling the risks from asbestos? Covid is a pandemic that will eventually diminish, if not disappear completely. Asbestos is out there perennially and potentially kills up to 10,000 people a year in the UK alone; nothing short of an epidemic. Yet we still find employers of all types either paying lip-service to establishing controls or just ignoring the issue completely.

Wake up! Covid will pass; asbestos won’t for decades, if at all. You MUST train your employees and properly control the risks from asbestos as required by law. Contact WHS for advice and assistance.

Black Mould

Many old or unkempt buildings suffer from mould, generally due to damp (e.g. flooding or poor damp-proofing). All moulds have the capacity to harm, usually through the spores attacking the respiratory system, particularly those who are asthmatic or have respiratory issues. This is not uncommon (and suggests a possible cause for the so-called ‘sick building syndrome’ but does not detract from the necessity to ensure occupants’ (and others’) wellbeing by remedying the situation.

However, there are some moulds that can be extremely dangerous by producing mycotoxins, potentially causing serious damage to neurological systems and possibly death. There is also some suggestion that the mycotoxins can also cause cancers, but evidence for this is weak.

WHS will be issuing a full risk assessment in due course but, in the meantime, all clients designers and project managers should be aware that a full environmental (safety) survey will be required if there is any evidence of significant black mould, and possibly a specialist clean. And all project and site managers must alert senior management and/or the client should there be any sign of any mould. Most cases will be relatively harmless with a thorough clean and use of respiratory protection, but other cases may require a lot more; let the experts ascertain the degree of risk. Don’t take this issue lightly

HSE NEWS

Covid HSE news & guidance

The HSE has, over the months, built up a strong portfolio of information and guidance to assist businesses to control the risk of contracting Covid-19 whilst still being able to work. Some examples are as follows; these and many more can be found on www.hse.gov.uk:

  • Covid Q&As: https://bit.ly/2DNMJIF
  • Risk assessment: https://bit.ly/3h4UNTI
  • General advice: https://bit.ly/2OpRiKW
  • Social distancing: https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/social-distancing/index.htm
  • Use of hand sanitiser and surface disinfectants: https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/hand-sanitiser/index.htm

There is also specific guidance, as the procedure can be potentially extremely dangerous, on the restarting of pressure system after being left dormant: https://bit.ly/3ewizWS

The HSE has also endorsed a great deal of industry-led guidance, such as:

Construction Leadership Council guidance (currently Version 4):
https://bit.ly/38VQbMI

Gov.uk:
https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-reopening
https://bit.ly/3h2e08u (for construction)
https://bit.ly/390cml2 (for vehicles)
https://bit.ly/2DKSy9C (for offices)

Examples of best practice:
https://bit.ly/3eCDR5m

HSE Enforcement

As we have highlighted previously, and many of you will have heard through media, the HSE has been given additional funds with which to enforce Covid regulation in the workplace. A full press release was issued in early July drawing attention to the expectations of the HSE towards Covid-secure compliance, and the warning of enforcement for any transgressors:
https://press.hse.gov.uk/2020/07/02/hse-urges-businesses-to-become-covid-secure/

Face Masks & Coverings

The HSE has stated that ‘face coverings…are not an effective way to manage the risks from Covid-19 and you should not rely on them’. HSE stresses that face coverings ‘are not classified as PPE’ for obvious reasons, and therefore the risk of infection should be controlled by social distancing, hand washing and other means.

The HSE has also stated that ‘surgical face masks….are not generally considered to be PPE in non-healthcare situations’ as they are designed to ‘limit the spread of infection’ only.

WHS agrees with all these comments. Nothing short of the full FFP3 and other risk-appropriate masks are considered PPE, and face-fit testing is mandatory for the use of these to ensure a tight seal and their effectiveness. In addition, a reminder that ANY PPE is considered a ‘last resort’ in the hierarchy of controls in the workplace. Therefore, surgical face masks and face coverings cannot ever be considered the only solution to controlling the risk of infection in the workplace. Additional Covid-specific controls must be established such as distancing, one-way systems, hand washing, placing sanitisers close to hand, etc.

However, in exactly the same way as use of FFP3 masks are advantageous even where engineering controls are in place (damping down, particle collection, etc), our professional recommendation is that, unless employees are working by themselves or at some distance (2+ metres) in the open air, it is still wise to further protect them by the use of masks.

One word of warning though, improvised face coverings can present risks in themselves; any excess material (e.g. scarves tied around the face) may well present snagging hazards. Managers must ensure that there is no improvisation and that any face masks are worn correctly.

Accident Statistics

The HSE has issued the accident statistics for 2019/20 which show a very encouraging downward trend with UK industry as a whole: 111 workers were killed – a reduction of 24.5% on 2018/19

Further more detailed will obviously be issued once full analysis has been completed.

However, provisional figures for the number of fatalities in construction show a disturbing and dangerous trend upwards: 40 workers were killed 2019/20 compared to 31 the previous year – an increase of 29% and full 36% of the total number of UK workplace fatalities.

To be honest, the industry should be ashamed of itself. After 25 years of CDM and 45 years of the Health & Safety at Work Act, what is it going to take to get the message across that construction workers deserve (and are owed by law) the same standards of safety as any other industry?

And the current emphasis on Covid-19 will not, and cannot be allowed to, detract from the need for exemplary safety standards on site; do NOT let your guard down. You have legal duties against which you can, and will, be prosecuted after a fatality; but more importantly, you have a moral duty to ensure your employees go home safely at night. We are here to help; allow us to help.

Health & Safety – the Financial Case

And, if you’re still thinking about money over people’s wellbeing, the HSE has put the case for the financial health of businesses being a sound reason for complying with health & safety law in its HSG245 document:
https://bit.ly/2WmtA74

The document clearly shows that, for every £1 spent on insurance by a business, it stands to lose between £8 and £36 in uninsured costs. Take a look at your insurance documents and do the maths – commitment to health & safety makes economic as well as moral sense!

Work at Height

The Construction Industry Advisory Committee (CONIAC) together with the Access Industry Forum have developed an excellent series of guidance documents to assist all parties involved with work at height to develop sound strategies. See https://bit.ly/2AZFr3d

Safety Steps has 5 parts, each written for a specific sector, and includes how to eliminate, plan, manage, monitor and train for work at height. Document/s relevant to you can be requested free of charge from:

  • Designer https://bit.ly/2Ch4IGT
  • Client https://bit.ly/3gZz3sa
  • Manager https://bit.ly/391c5xS
  • Supervisor https://bit.ly/2OucEa6
  • Operative https://bit.ly/3epRqF2

GENERAL NEWS

Stress & Anxiety

Claims have been made that the rate of suicides has increased by 200% during the Covid lockdown compared to previous years. Whilst this claim is completely unsubstantiated, there is no doubt that stress and anxiety levels have risen in general because of a wide variety of factors affecting people’s personal lives, and we should all be sensitive to the needs of those around us who may be finding current conditions difficult to cope with.
However, as the threat of redundancy looms ever larger for a significant proportion of the population, there is quite likely to be a repeat of the additional stresses experienced when so many lost their jobs in the economic crash of 2008. We all have a part to play in helping support family, friends and work colleagues experiencing hardship and mental distress during this time. Keep a watch at work and at home for tell-tale signs and lend a hand before, not as a result of, things going too far.

And a plea to employers – if redundancies are eventually unavoidable, do it with care not belligerence. It doesn’t take much to tip someone over the edge in normal times; in current circumstances, it will be worse. Please do contact WHS for advice on both mental awareness and HR at the first sign it may be needed.

AND FINALLY

Obviously, the number of cases going through court has been minimal over recent months because of Covid-19 restrictions. However, that doesn’t mean that there are fewer prosecutions in the pipeline; it just means that the agony of going through the investigation and waiting for the court appearance is prolonged!! The following are a snapshot of recent cases:
(with thanks to the HSE for the photographs)

Work at height

  • Modus Workspace Ltd was fined £1.1 million with costs of over £68,000 after a worker was seriously injured falling 3 metres from a ladder. He had been inspecting a sprinkler system when the ladder slipped from under him.

This may have appeared to be a quick job so why go the expense of providing appropriate access equipment? Because there is no justification at all for risking a man’s life and costing the company well over £1.1 million, no matter how quick the work, that’s why!

  • Stan England Builders Ltd was fined £6,000 after a worker suffered serious injuries falling 2.5 metres from a platform to a first floor mezzanine.

So first floor level isn’t that high, is it? There’s no need to erect handrails to that platform, is there? Yes, there is a real need to erect fall protection in a situation like this, of course there is! That floor is hard and 2.5 metres is a long drop! Again, there is no justification for risking a man’s life and costing the company, what would have been to them, a significant fine, no matter what the height!

  • Phoenix Roofing & Cladding Ltd was fined £20,000 after a self-employed roofer was seriously injured falling through a roof-light to the suspended ceiling below.

It can be seen from the photo just how flimsy and degraded the roof-light was; it should have been evident that, regardless of the legal requirement to do so, covering or barriers were required to prevent falls through.

STAY SAFE – STAY ALERT

FOLLOW THE RULES – DON’T IGNORE ADVICE

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

TRAINING

Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) is now holding our usual full complement of courses; however, due to the necessary Covid-19 restrictions, it is important to note the following:

  • Maximum 6 delegates per course
  • Lunch cannot be provided
  • Full details, of both the precautions we have taken and what is expected from the candidates, are issued with the joining instructions for each course

Please be reassured that we have established strict measures within the building and training room to reduce risks. As they have been kept fully informed of these measures, awarding bodies have given full consent for all courses to take place in person.

In return, we would ask the following. As we are so severely limited to the number of places for the foreseeable future, it is important for WHS to ensure full attendance. We therefore ask please that, once booked, courses or places are not cancelled.

In addition, if any organisation requires attendance at their own premises for 6 or more employees, a specific course can be arranged at a date and time to suit provided that suitable Covid-specific precautions can be agreed at the point of booking.

First Aid

Please note that all certificates expiring on or after 16 March 2020 will have their expiry dates extended until 30 September 2020 to give everyone a fair chance to attend a course.

WHS 1-day (6 hours) Emergency First-Aid at Work courses, run with very strict Covid-specific controls, are scheduled as follows; those who need to attain or renew first-aid certification are advised to book places as quickly as possible as, although we have included additional dates, demand will obviously be high.

Dates:

  • 28 July 2020 FULLY BOOKED
  • 27 August 2020 LIMITED PLACES AVAILABLE
  • 24 September 2020
  • 27 October 2020
  • 25 November 2020
  • 18 December 2020

Cost: £85 + VAT per person

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

IOSH Managing Safely

Duration: 3 days (Wednesday to Friday)
Dates: 7, 8 & 9 October 2020

Cost: £395 + VAT per person

INDUSTRY NEWS

Covid-19 / Coronavirus

No, the serious and life-threatening issue of Covid-19 has not gone away, and is unlikely to disappear worldwide in the foreseeable future. So the message is: we must ALL get used to the ‘new normal’ and carry on taking sensible precautions, even though the infection rate is diminishing.

‘Necessity is the mother of invention’, as they say. And we have certainly seen some very innovative and pro-active systems established on site to reduce the risk of contracting Covid to a minimum. For example:

  • Temperature sensors installed at entrances to premises which are manned all day. If a person’s temperature reads above normal, he/she is asked to go back outside to cool down for a few minutes; if the reading is still high at the second check, the person is refused entry.
  • Others have set up stand-alone temperature check stations (an example of these was shown in the June newsletter)
  • Still more have linked them to doors and barriers to make sure entry is denied to anyone with an above-normal temperature

In general, WHS has found a good 85% of our customers doing their best to comply with both the Government and industry guidelines, and seeking advice when they are unsure. Most have put the relevant paperwork in place including the legally required documents being risk assessments). However, our consultants have found the following tendencies to be increasingly prevalent:Risk assessments are not specific, they tend to be too generic. WHS has issued a short-form generic assessment, but this is only intended as a starting point. ALL risk assessments must, BY LAW, be operation- or premises-specific, and dealing with Covid is no exception. There has been ample guidance issued by WHS and the HSE to help employers build on the generics, and WHS is here to help as always. But we repeat, anything short of specific is NOT adequate

  • Risk assessments are often ignored at the workface (which is often the case, regardless of the Covid issue!). WHS has found complacency from top to bottom within companies and staff, coupled with a degree of scepticism of the risks. The age-old attitude still prevails in some cases: ‘well we have to work, don’t we?’ The answer to that is, yes we all do; but no work will be done by those who die from Covid.
  • Lack of monitoring and enforcement of the rules e.g. distancing, frequent use of sanitiser, making sure doors and windows are open for ventilation, the wearing of face masks, etc.
  • Social distancing not being enforced. The 1 metre distance can only be allowed when 2 metres isn’t possible, and then only if adequate alternative controls are implemented. The relaxing of the 2 metre rule was meant to be a pragmatic approach to impossible situations; it was NOT meant as a license to reduce controls.
  • Face masks and coverings; refer also to the HSE section below. Whatever the current rules say, these are meant as minimum precautions and NOT total solutions. As we have had drummed into us over many years, face masks save lives – so why treat the current Covid threat any differently? If anyone out there has experienced the total devastation caused to the body of a loved one by Covid, they would certainly not be questioning the use of masks.
  • And another plea NOT to take any notice of the disinformation being posted on social media; this can only serve to harm us all by belittling the extreme seriousness of the virus.

Asbestos

The vast majority of businesses have done the right thing through the Covid pandemic; most have written risk assessments and trained their staff into the dangers of the virus and necessary control systems – all for the well-being of their employees.

So why is it that we still don’t find the same level of effort and commitment in controlling the risks from asbestos? Covid is a pandemic that will eventually diminish, if not disappear completely. Asbestos is out there perennially and potentially kills up to 10,000 people a year in the UK alone; nothing short of an epidemic. Yet we still find employers of all types either paying lip-service to commissioning surveys and establishing controls, or just ignoring the issue completely.

Wake up! Covid will pass; asbestos won’t for decades, if at all. You MUST properly assess and control the risks from asbestos as required by law. Contact WHS for advice and assistance.

Black Mould

Many old or unkempt buildings suffer from mould, generally due to damp (e.g. flooding or poor damp-proofing). All moulds have the capacity to harm, usually through the spores attacking the respiratory system, particularly those who are asthmatic or have respiratory issues. This is not uncommon (and suggests a possible cause for the so-called ‘sick building syndrome’) but does not detract from the necessity to ensure occupants’ (and others’) wellbeing by remedying the situation.

However, there are some moulds that can be extremely dangerous by producing mycotoxins, potentially causing serious damage to neurological systems and possibly death. There is also some suggestion that the mycotoxins can also cause cancers, but evidence for this is weak.

WHS will be issuing a full risk assessment in due course but, in the meantime, all premises owners and managers should be aware that a full environmental (safety) survey will be required if there is any evidence of significant black mould, and possibly a specialist clean. Most cases will remain relatively harmless with a thorough clean and the use of respiratory protection, but other cases may require a lot more; let the experts ascertain the degree of risk. Don’t take this issue lightly

HSE NEWS

Covid HSE news & guidance

The HSE has, over the months, built up a strong portfolio of information and guidance to assist businesses to control the risk of contracting Covid-19 whilst still being able to work. Some examples are as follows; these and many more can be found on www.hse.gov.uk:

  • Covid Q&As: https://bit.ly/2DNMJIF
  • Risk assessment: https://bit.ly/3h4UNTI
  • General advice: https://bit.ly/2OpRiKW
  • Social distancing: https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/social-distancing/index.htm
  • Use of hand sanitiser and surface disinfectants: https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/hand-sanitiser/index.htm
  • In manufacturing: https://bit.ly/2ZxJdum

There is also specific guidance, as the procedure can be potentially extremely dangerous, on the restarting of pressure system after being left dormant: https://bit.ly/3ewizWS
See also the Government’s advice on Gov.uk:
https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-reopening
https://bit.ly/390cml2 (for vehicles)
https://bit.ly/2DKSy9C (for offices)

HSE Enforcement

As we have highlighted previously, and many of you will have heard through media, the HSE has been given additional funds with which to enforce Covid-19 regulation in the workplace. A full press release was issued in early July drawing attention to the expectations of the HSE towards Covid-secure compliance, and the warning of enforcement for any transgressors:
https://press.hse.gov.uk/2020/07/02/hse-urges-businesses-to-become-covid-secure/

Face Masks & Coverings

The HSE has stated that ‘face coverings…are not an effective way to manage the risks from Covid-19 and you should not rely on them’. HSE stresses that face coverings ‘are not classified as PPE’ for obvious reasons, and therefore the risk of infection should be controlled by social distancing, hand washing and other means.

The HSE has also stated that ‘surgical face masks….are not generally considered to be PPE in non-healthcare situations’ as they are designed to ‘limit the spread of infection’ only.

WHS agrees with all these comments. Nothing short of the full FFP3 and other risk-appropriate masks are considered PPE, and face-fit testing is mandatory for the use of these to ensure a tight seal and their effectiveness. In addition, a reminder that ANY PPE is considered a ‘last resort’ in the hierarchy of controls in the workplace. Therefore, surgical face masks and face coverings cannot ever be considered the only solution to controlling the risk of infection in the workplace. Additional Covid-specific controls must be established such as distancing, one-way systems, hand washing, placing sanitisers close to hand, etc.

However, in exactly the same way as use of FFP3 masks are advantageous even where engineering controls are in place (damping down, particle collection, etc), our professional recommendation is that, unless employees are working by themselves or at some distance (2+ metres) in the open air, it is still wise to further protect them by the use of masks.

One word of warning though, improvised face coverings can present risks in themselves; any excess material (e.g. scarves tied around the face) may well present snagging hazards. Managers must ensure that there is no improvisation and that any face masks are worn correctly.

Accident Statistics

The HSE has issued the accident statistics for 2019/20 which show a very encouraging downward trend with UK industry as a whole: 111 workers were killed – a reduction of 24.5% on 2018/19

An A-Z of the latest statistics, to enable you to check your own industry, can be found on:
https://bit.ly/2OtPKQo
Further more detailed will obviously be issued once full analysis has been completed.

And the current emphasis on Covid-19 will not, and cannot be allowed to, detract from the need for exemplary safety standards on site; do NOT let your guard down. You have legal duties against which you can, and will, be prosecuted after a fatality; but more importantly, you have a moral duty to ensure your employees go home safely at night. We are here to help; allow us to help.

Health & Safety – the Financial Case

And, if you’re still thinking about money over people’s wellbeing, the HSE has put the case for the financial health of businesses being a sound reason for complying with health & safety law in its HSG245 document:
https://bit.ly/2WmtA74

The document clearly shows that, for every £1 spent on insurance by a business, it stands to lose between £8 and £36 in uninsured costs. Take a look at your insurance documents and do the maths – commitment to health & safety makes economic as well as moral sense!

GENERAL NEWS

Stress & Anxiety

Claims have been made that the rate of suicides has increased by 200% during the Covid lockdown compared to previous years. Whilst this claim is completely unsubstantiated, there is no doubt that stress and anxiety levels have risen in general because of a wide variety of factors affecting people’s personal lives, and we should all be sensitive to the needs of those around us who may be finding current conditions difficult to cope with.

However, as the threat of redundancy looms ever larger for a significant proportion of the population, there is quite likely to be a repeat of the additional stresses experienced when so many lost their jobs in the economic crash of 2008. We all have a part to play in helping support family, friends and work colleagues experiencing hardship and mental distress during this time. Keep a watch at work and at home for tell-tale signs and lend a hand before, not as a result of, things going too far.

And a plea to employers – if redundancies are eventually unavoidable, do it with care not belligerence. It doesn’t take much to tip someone over the edge in normal times; in current circumstances, it will be worse. Please do contact WHS for advice on both mental awareness and HR at the first sign it may be needed.

AND FINALLY

Obviously, the number of cases going through court has been minimal over recent months because of Covid-19 restrictions. However, that doesn’t mean that there are fewer prosecutions in the pipeline; it just means that the agony of going through the investigation and waiting for the court appearance is prolonged!! The following are a snapshot of recent cases:
(with thanks to the HSE for the photographs)

Work at height

  • Modus Workspace Ltd was fined £1.1 million with costs of over £68,000 after a worker was seriously injured falling 3 metres from a ladder. He had been inspecting a sprinkler system when the ladder slipped from under him.

This may have appeared to be a quick job so why go the expense of providing appropriate access equipment? Because there is no justification at all for risking a man’s life and costing the company well over £1.1 million, no matter how quick the work, that’s why!

  • Stan England Builders Ltd was fined £6,000 after a worker suffered serious injuries falling 2.5 metres from a platform to a first floor mezzanine.

So first floor level isn’t that high, is it? There’s no need to erect handrails to that platform, is there? Yes, there is a real need to erect fall protection in a situation like this, of course there is! That floor is hard and 2.5 metres is a long drop! Again, there is no justification at all for risking a man’s life and costing the company, what would have been to them, a significant fine, no matter what the height!

  • Phoenix Roofing & Cladding Ltd was fined £20,000 after a self-employed roofer was seriously injured falling through a roof-light to the suspended ceiling below.

It can be seen from the photo just how flimsy and degraded the roof-light was; it should have been evident to Phoenix that, regardless of the legal requirement to do so, covering or barriers were required to prevent falls through.

Equipment safety

  • De La Rue International Ltd was fined a total of over £311,000 after an employee suffered life-changing injuries, resulting in facial reconstruction surgery, when his head became trapped in a paper-making machine. There had been no safe system of work established for when paper was removed from the machine, just employees’ assumptions of usual practices.

A reminder that risk assessment is mandatory for ALL businesses, of sufficient detail and number to cover all aspects of their work.

  • Viridor Waste Management Ltd was fined £400,000 after a banksman was crushed by a 22.5 tonne loading shovel and suffered life changing injuries. The Company had failed to organise the workplace properly (no vehicle/person segregation) with the result that the machine reversed over the worker, knocking him to the ground and driving over the lower half of his body.
  • Metalart Fabrication Ltd was fined a total of over £20,000 after an 8 year old girl was crushed by a bespoke sliding gate that fell on her.

The investigation found that the design was poor; the mechanism to prevent the sliding gate from overrunning was insufficient for the purpose and there were no end-stops. Consequently, at the time of the incident, the gate had disengaged from the rollers; what the HSE called ‘an accident waiting to happen’.

A reminder to all designers and manufacturers of their legal duty to ensure safety through design.

  • IFG Drake Ltd was fined a total of over £390,000 after a worker became entangled in a synthetic fibre manufacturing machine, suffering fatal crush injuries; he had been attempting to remove materials from rollers.

The Company had failed to provide guarding to dangerous parts of the machine, costing a man his life.

  • Browns Manufacturing Ltd was fined £120,000 and £190,000 for two separate incidents (in 2016 and 2019) each resulting in workers’ fingers being amputated by insufficiently guarded machinery.

For a serious accident to happen once is bad enough; for the same thing to happen twice (i.e. management have demonstrated no commitment at all to the welfare of employees) is nothing short of indefensible.

STAY SAFE – STAY ALERT

FOLLOW THE RULES – DON’T IGNORE ADVICE

HELP SAFEGUARD THE LIVES OF THOSE YOU AFFECT

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

CORONAVIRUS / COVID-19

Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd has previously issued advice and links to all clients to keep you abreast of industry guidance related to Covid-19; refer in particular to the interim short-form ‘newsletter’ issued in April and subsequent emails which gave further sound advice on how to approach Covid-19 risk assessment and management. It does appear (judging by phone calls received) that few clients are reading these communications; it is important that you take note of all past and future communications from WHS to ensure that you are completely up to date with what is expected of both employers and employees.

In addition, it is vital at this point that you also log into the ‘Clients Area’ of our website (using your specific company log-in details) to access the following very important Covid-related documents:

  • CITB Covid-specific documents

cc01: site operating procedures compliance checklist
cc03: tool-box talk for construction workers
cc04: weekly site operating procedures checklist

  • WHS Covid-specific documents:

Risk assessment and general advice
Generic short-form risk assessment

In addition, the link to the latest Construction Leadership Council (the overriding industry body) guidance is:
https://bit.ly/3da5faP

And a wealth of additional information and general guidance is available from the HSE on:
https://bit.ly/3gv8UCg
https://bit.ly/2Bbvvn5 (relating the use of PPE and face masks)
https://bit.ly/2ZQUTcd (relating to the use of hand sanitisers and surface cleaners)

Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) is available to advise on how to organise and run your sites in accordance with the current, very comprehensive, guidance issued by CITB and other industry bodies; please contact Laura Mort on 07791-670987.

However, as with all risk issues, we must remind all clients that we cannot advise on specific procedures unless we actually see the site and working areas for ourselves. During April and most of May, to ensure that we have not put our staff at risk during the peak of the epidemic, we have been carrying out ‘virtual site inspections’ only. We have now returned to carrying out actual site visits; again, please contact Laura.

Despite falling infection and death rates, the virus is still out there and will carry on killing people unless we are all careful. To this end, we will currently only agree to site inspections and/or visits to any premises if:

  • The WHS advisor or member of staff can drive to the site / premises; we are not yet permitting use of public transport; this will obviously be reviewed periodically as the epidemic subsides.
  • Adequate precautions have been established at your site/premises; we reserve the right to leave the site/premises should the member of WHS staff deem the situation at any place of work to potentially put him/herself at risk.
  • The site/premises is happy for us take our own precautions (as detailed below).

We respectfully ask for your co-operation in helping to reduce the risk of virus transmittal to WHS staff, as far as possible, by adhering to the following:

  • We will limit contact with others to the prescribed 2m distance, both on site and in office circumstances, where at all possible. Site inspections do not necessarily demand close contact; in most cases, we will be able to observe and comment easily from that distance.
  • We will write reports etc. using our own pens and only whilst sitting in our own vehicles or an unoccupied (or reasonably unoccupied) area. We will allow site management to read reports from a distance but will not require them to touch or sign reports if they prefer not to; rather, we will insert a name and ‘Covid-19’ in the signature space once we have their agreement to do so.
  • No member of staff experiencing, or even suspecting, they have Covid-19 symptoms will be permitted to visit any site or premises (including our own!) until the prescribed 14 days’ quarantine is complete and they declare themselves symptom-free.

And, before anyone comments that the risks are overblown and there’s no need for all these precautions, just take a look at this very sobering article from Building online magazine:
https://bit.ly/2ZJ4Sjz

The article starkly shows that construction workers have been amongst the worst hit by Covid-19, with more recorded deaths (particularly amongst tradesmen) than most other industries. The main reason is obvious – many sites did not shut down when the virus was at its peak, something we warned about and have been proved right. But we also think that there may be a second underlying reason – that many in the construction industry already have lung damage through inhalation of dusts (etc) and the predominance of smokers.

This is worth mentioning as it, yet again, suggests that not taking care of your health and the health of your employees may well have knock-on effects in the future. So employers – provide good, appropriate and face-fitted dust masks. And employees – wear those masks and stop smoking!!

And, on that note, use of dust masks still requires face-fit testing; contact WHS to arrange testing, under strictly controlled conditions, either on site or at our premises.

Important Footnotes

  • To assist with early recognition of the virus at the workplace, Contour Heating Products Ltd has developed a ‘Health Check Station’ which can be easily installed and used at any workplace. This is an excellent addition to any employer’s Covid controls systems. Full details and price request can be found on: https://www.contourheating.co.uk/health_check_station
  • In additon, many organisations have provided freely downloadable posters to assist with social distancing etc. For those in our local area, Telford & Wrekin Council, who have been extremely proactive throughout this crisis, have several available on: https://bit.ly/2zCFLnV
  • As we have said previously, health & safety law and industry best practice still applies, nobody is exempt because of the current crisis. Laws and regulations designed to ensure workers don’t fall from height, get crushed by plant or are subjected to health risks from dusts or fumes (etc) apply no matter what the circumstances, for very good reason. If businesses are operating, their workers MUST be able to work safely and there is no reason why this should be compromised by the current situation. In addition, the legislation regarding welfare still applies; full welfare facilities must be provided on each site regardless of size or nature. However, during this epidemic, site management must think carefully about how best to organise the use and cleaning of the facilities that can satisfy both the law and the current Covid-specific requirements; as they say – ‘necessity is the mother of invention’!
  • Please do contact WHS, either through Laura or when one of our staff visits your site or premises, should you need to discuss what is or isn’t acceptable. The HSE are out in force and have been given extra Government funds to carry out Covid-specific inspections; so don’t let your guard down, we are here to help as much as we can.

COMPANY NEWS

TRAINING

The Government has reiterated that businesses can organise online training for employees, whether furloughed or not, during the lock-down to ensure that valuable productive time isn’t lost to essential training once we’re all back at work.

CITB have already extended expiry dates to suit the current circumstances and are allowing WHS to run a limited number of essential courses, as detailed below.

Asbestos Awareness On-Line

In addition, and to ensure that companies can resume adherence to the law as closely and quickly as possible, WHS is running a further open on-line:

Asbestos Awareness course (2.5 – 3 hours)
Monday 22 June at 1pm
£40 + VAT per person

Please email enquiries@wenlockhs.co.uk or vicki@wenlockhs.co.uk to book places as soon as possible; places are obviously limited due to the logistics of online training.

First Aid

We are advised by our first-aid awarding body, Nuco, that we still cannot resume first-aid courses until the Government announces that the ‘Coronavirus Threat Level’ is at level 3 in England (expected early June if all goes well. However, Nuco have stated that all certificates that expire on or after 16 March 2020 will have their expiry dates extended until 30 September 2020 to give everyone a fair chance to attend a course.

To that end, WHS 1-day (6 hours) Emergency First-Aid at Work courses, to be run with very strict Covid-specific controls, are scheduled as follows; those who need to attain or renew first-aid certification are advised to book places as quickly as possible as, although we have included additional dates, demand will obviously be high.

Dates:

  • 26 June 2020
  • 3 July 2020
  • 28 July 2020
  • 27 August 2020
  • 24 September 2020 (this is an amended date)
  • 27 October 2020
  • 25 November 2020
  • 18 December 2020

Cost: £85 + VAT per person

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

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 provided that suitable Covid-specific precautions can be agreed at the point of booking.

IOSH Managing Safely

Please note that the IOSH Managing Safely 3-day course due to take place 14-16 July 2020 has been postponed and will be re-scheduled at a later date.

CITB Courses

IMPORTANT NOTES:


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

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

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)

Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week
Dates:

  • 13, 20, 27 July, 3 & 10 August 2020 (Monday) NOTE: this SMSTS course will take place on-line unless circumstances change
  • 14, 21, 28 September, 5 & 12 October 2020 (Mondays)
  • 13, 20, 27 November, 4 & 11 December 2020 (Fridays)

Cost: £495 + VAT per person

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

  • 24 & 25 August 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 22 & 23 October 2020 (Thursday & Friday)
  • 7 & 8 December 2020 (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 June 2020 (Monday & Tuesday) NOTE: this SSSTS course will take place on-line unless circumstances change
  • 7 & 8 September 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 2 & 3 November 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)

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

  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS) Refresher

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

  • 17 July 2020 (Friday)

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

  • CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

  • 8 July 2020 (Wednesday) NOTE: this H&SA course will take place on-line unless circumstances change
  • 17 September 2020 (Thursday)
  • 16 November 2020 (Monday)

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

GENERAL NEWS

Legionella

Businesses (including landlords) may be unaware that Covid-19 can produce secondary effects such as a very real risk of legionella within premises or equipment not occupied or operated through the lockdown. Examples would include hot and cold water systems, air-conditioning units, water features, spas, hot tubs and showers.

As this is such as serious issue, the HSE has issued specific guidance to remind those responsible of their duties. The bulletins and advice must be read and followed, particularly if equipment has been shut down for a week or more, to avoid resultant health issues (and possible deaths) for which the business would be held fully responsible:
https://www.hse.gov.uk/news/legionella-risks-during-coronavirus-outbreak.htm
https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/UKHSE/bulletins/28c2163

HSE NEWS

COSHH – Isocyanates

We covered welding and welding fume in the April 2020 newsletter following the issue of updated of the HSE advice and guidance. The HSE and the HSE Science & Research Centre have now issued updated advice regarding the control of the very real risks from isocyanates:
https://bit.ly/3gvb6cR

The information covers, not just the facts about health risks and the required control measures, but also the consequences of cutting corners such as ‘visor flipping’ (https://bit.ly/2Acb74T) and the need to observe clearance times in spray booths (https://bit.ly/2TLkuiK).

And prosecutions can be severe, for example:

Car retailer Harwood Ltd was fined a total of almost £123,000 after an employee who worked in a spray booth developed occupational asthma. To quote the investigating HSE inspector:

“This serious health condition could so easily have been avoided by simply implementing correct control measures and appropriate working practices. Controlling employee exposure to hazardous substances is a legal requirement on employers and HSE provides guidance on how control can be achieved. “Appropriate controls could include use of a spray booth to carry out the paint spraying, use of a suitable air-fed respirator, checks to ensure equipment was adequately maintained and training provided to ensure the employee knew the risks and how to control them.”

EMPLOYMENT NEWS

Covid Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme

On 26 May, the Government launched its Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme, which allows employers to recover Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) payments made to their employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. It will allow small and medium-sized employers to apply to HMRC to recover the costs of paying coronavirus-related SSP.

Employers are eligible to receive repayments at the relevant rate of SSP (paid to current, or former employees) on or after 13 March 2020 if they operate a PAYE payroll scheme started before 28 February 2020 and had fewer than 250 employees at that point. The repayment can cover up to two weeks of SSP if an employee has been unable to work because they either have COVID-19 or are legitimately self-isolating.

Definitive information from gov.uk can be found on: https://bit.ly/3gxXxcs

ENVIRONMENTAL NEWS

EA Annual Report

The latest Environment Agency’s (EA) annual Regulating for People, Environment and Growth (RPEG) report states that greenhouse gas emissions from industry have been cut by half in the last 10 years and compliance rates of energy efficiency and emissions trading schemes are above 98%: https://bit.ly/2ztx7rZ

However, waste crime (which seems to be endemic within a certain ‘cowboy’ sector in construction) continues to blight communities, cause environmental harm, and undercut legitimate business. The EA continues to target and prosecute those who flout the rules with enforcement action. The report highlights the need for businesses to do more, citing for 2018:

  • 533 serious pollution incidents, 14% fewer than 10 years ago, but 27% more than in 2017
  • 912 illegal waste sites closed down by the EA, a 12% increase on previous year
  • 896 new illegal waste sites discovered

Environmental Bill

A new Environmental Bill is currently going through Parliament although the current Covid crisis has postponed the Committee Stage report until late June 2020.

The Bill includes legally binding environmental improvements targets and a new independent Office for Environmental Protection which will scrutinise environmental policy and law, investigate complaints and take enforcement action against public authorities, if necessary, to uphold our environmental standards. The office’s powers will cover all climate change legislation and hold the Government to account on its commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

Brexit & 2020 Legislation Consultations

Various new pieces of legislation, mostly mirroring existing regulations, are currently sitting in the wings waiting to be triggered when we leave the EU. However, it is unclear as to exactly how changes will be achieved (if at all, given the current situation which has resulted in significant stalling); watch this space!

The Government has also said that there will be consultations on various legislation for England, such as WEEE, waste tracking and a new Waste Management Plan. We suspect that these have also stalled but will, no doubt, come to fruition in due course.

Environmental Prosecutions

The majority of environmental prosecutions during 2019 appear to have been waste management offences, and sentencing has been severe; for example:

  • Jamil Rehman, director at Electronic Waste Specialists Ltd (EWS), was sentenced to 5 years 4 months in prison and banned from being a director, and his brother, Saleem, given a 16 month suspended sentence after fraudulently generating £1.48 million in claims for 10,600 tonnes of fictitious electronic waste recycling.
  • Kennelpak Ltd paid over £75,000 to the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust and the Erewash Canal Preservation & Development Association (50/50) for its past failures to meet its packaging recycling obligations. The Company was unaware that, as they were handling over 50 tonnes of packaging waste, they had obligations under The Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regs 2007.
  • Clifford Shee was fined a total of over £10,900 for failing to comply with legal requirements for 3 waste activities (storing mixed waste, storing hazardous waste and keeping detailed waste transfer documentation) and for storing 99 45-gallon drums of pollutant, combustible and hazardous waste near a potential water course and railway line
  • Shropshire farmer, Keith Wilson, was fined a total of £6,800 after illegally burying waste dust on his land near Market Drayton; no controls against local ground contamination had been taken and no environmental permit had been sought.

Yes, the UK waste management and permitting regulations apply to EVERYONE, not just big business; do NOT be tempted to bury or ‘manage’ any waste without knowing what you are doing!

If you don’t yet have a WHS Environmental Management System, now is the time to contact us; for the very reduced rate of £150 + VAT, you will be provided with everything you need to know about environmental law (including waste management and permitting, as well as the basis for sound environmental site management) and a policy to prove your commitment

AND FINALLY

And finally, we return to the Covid-19 virus. These photos were taken in, what must be described as, an exemplary site in Shropshire. Everything was laid out perfectly to keep workers apart, including some very new and effective ways of logging people in and out of work areas, so much so that social distancing seemed to be done naturally by everyone on site without a second thought.

The notice by the pedestrian gate tells workers to wait until the person in front is 2m away, and fencing and reminders are plentiful and well positioned:

To ensure that only one person enters a property at any one time, workers sign in and out on the board:

And, just to keep the public informed and prevent calls to the HSE (which has happened locally!):

STAY SAFE – STAY ALERT

FOLLOW THE RULES – DON’T IGNORE ADVICE

HELP SAFEGUARD THE LIVES OF THOSE YOU AFFECT
(after all – it is, and always has been, written into the Health & Safety at Work Act!!)

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