COMPANY NEWS

Forthcoming Courses

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

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

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

First Aid

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

Duration: 1 day (6 hours)

Dates:

  • 25 February 2020
  • 26 March 2020
  • 28 April 2020
  • 27 May 2020
  • 26 June 2020
  • 28 July 2020
  • 27 August 2020
  • 25 September 2020

Cost: £85 + VAT per person
Lunch is provided

WHS can also run the full 3-day First Aid at Work course for companies who need additional skills and wish to send 4+ candidates; contact Vicki for fees. However, do initially discuss first aid requirements with your own WHS consultant to assess whether the 3-day course is actually appropriate for your circumstances.

CITB Courses

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

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

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

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)

Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week
Dates:

  • 6, 13, 20, 27 March & 3 April 2020 (Fridays)
  • 15, 22, 29 May, 5 & 12 June 2020 (Fridays)
  • 13, 20, 27 July, 3 & 10 August 2020 (Monday)
  • 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:

  • 3 & 4 February 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 1 & 2 April 2020 (Wednesday & Thursday)
  • 15 & 16 June 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 7 & 8 September 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 2 & 3 November 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:

  • 10 & 11 February 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 20 & 21 April 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 29 & 30 June 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 24 & 25 August 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 21 & 22 October 2020 (Wednesday & Thursday)
  • 7 & 8 December 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:

  • 2 March 2020 (Monday)
  • 11 May 2020 (Monday)

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

  • CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

  • 16 March 2020 (Monday)
  • 4 May 2020 (Monday)
  • 8 July 2020 (Wednesday)
  • 17 September 2020 (Thursday)
  • 16 November 2020 (Monday)

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

WHS Safety Awards

As announced in the last newsletter, we were delighted to recognise significant achievements in the field of health & safety during 2019 (within the WHS client base) by bestowing two awards. The responses from the two recipients since the announcement have been noteworthy in that, not only has internal company morale been boosted, but very positive responses have also been received from their own clients. So once again, we sincerely congratulate our winners:

  • Morris Property Ltd whose management have presided over a continuing year-on-year improvement to health & safety compliance, including an enviable record on training their workforce to the highest degree.

We see here James West and Steve Flavell accepting the award on behalf of Morris Property Ltd for Commitment to Safety from WHS Technical Director, Laura Mort.

  • Matt Kershaw of Edgebourn Building Contractors (Stourbridge) who has demonstrated a dedication to the wellbeing of Company employees, and also the safety of some of the most vulnerable members of the public with the Company’s work in social housing.

Matt is seen here accepting his award for Commitment to Continual Improvement from WHS Managing Director, Jackie Horsewood.

Hearty congratulations to both our winners! And to others we say, you too could receive an award if you can demonstrate the commitment to health & safety shown by these, and our past, winners.

Radon

WHS has issued a new generic risk assessment for Radon gas, covering the general risks, affects on health and essential controls. The generic risk assessment will filter through to all our customers over the coming months within your renewal packs; however, should anyone require a copy now, please contact the office and it can be emailed free of charge immediately.

Radon is a naturally occurring gas that can seep from rock strata, potentially causing cancers. Most architects and developers should already know the risks and requirements to prevent ill-health with new-builds; if you are unsure, request a copy of our risk assessment immediately! However, how many of us realise that this is a nationwide problem (indeed, a worldwide, problem) that can affect any of us both at work and/or at home with existing properties as well as new-builds?

The likelihood of Radon affecting our lives depends on where we work and live, and what controls are established within the building/s to prevent seepage. The information contained in the WHS risk assessment is invaluable to give you a heads-up on both the risk level in your area and how to proceed if you do find that you or your property may be at risk. In addition, go on-line for further information, particularly from Public Health England on: https://www.ukradon.org/

Keeping WHS Informed

May we reiterate once again just how important it is that we are kept informed of all accidents in or related to the workplace as soon as possible. We are still discovering instances of accidents that were either never notified to us or notified weeks or months after the event; where this happens, we cannot help you if the HSE become involved or if there is a claim made by the victim against your company.

We are here to help when there is an accident, including working out what are the possible contributory factors that led to the incident. But we cannot possibly do that if we are not allowed to see the working environment and/or persons involved or witnessing the event immediately (or at least within a short time); we cannot act on hearsay or corrupted evidence, i.e. where work has carried on and effectively over-ridden the facts on the ground.

Even if you are fully aware that health & safety on your site was not up to scratch on the day, believe us when we say that it’s best we know ahead of any HSE intervention or claim situation. We cannot assist in any shape of form in retrospect as we could never verify the facts.

N.B.
WHS issues comprehensive information about what to do when there is an accident and how to handle the aftermath. This is contained within your renewal packs.

HSE NEWS

Accident Statistics 2018/19

The HSE has issued a poster which displays, in very clear terms, the costs to both employees and employers of accidents and ill-health in the (UK) workplace during 2018/19. Displaying the poster can help to reinforce the message to employees that health & safety is everybody’s responsibility and any one of us can suffer if it’s ignored.

The cost is only £10, including VAT, and can be purchased on-line from:
https://bit.ly/302EgIn

In addition, the HSE has also issued a freely downloadable summary of the 2018/19, available on:
https://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/overall/hssh1819.pdf

This summary is a must-see for all managers. The document breaks down each figure shown in the poster to give the full and shocking overall picture, including almost half a million new cases of work-related ill-health reported during 2018/19 – half a million, and that’s only the tip of the very large iceberg because many cases go unreported for various reasons. And the 1.4 million currently suffering from work-related ill-health resulted, during 2018/19 alone, in 23.5 million working days lost to UK industry – a phenomenal figure that results in both direct and hidden costs and losses to every business in this country.

So, as we have stressed so many times before, the HSE is right to target ill-health, and businesses must ensure they implement safeguards for the health and safety of all their employees, not just because the law says so, but because it makes economic sense.

It’s also disturbing to note that stress now accounts for 44% of all reported ill-health and 54% of working days lost. So again, apart from the legal (and moral) reasons for looking after your employees, it makes total economic sense to ensure their wellbeing is looked after both at work and, where at all possible, for their home life too. Whether you’re a contractor, an architect, an engineer, a developer or working within the multitude of other professions that go to make up ‘construction’, the same applies:

Get to know your employees; take notice of changes to their moods and productivity; show empathy to anxiety, particularly where a shoulder may be needed to help with personal issues; don’t bully and don’t enforce unrealistic workloads and deadlines. We must reduce the destructive stress that is a by-product of this industry.

Accident Statistics 2019/20

In addition, it is extremely disturbing to hear (direct from the HSE) that the fatality rate in construction is rapidly escalating. It was reported to us that, by the end of November 2018/19 (i.e. 8 months into the year), there had been 24 fatalities in construction set against, for the same period this year (2019/20), 34 reported fatalities – a whopping 42% increase!!

WHS is aware that there has been an upturn in work over the last few years – but also that this seems to have levelled off or, in some parts of the country, actually declined. Neither an increase in work nor a decrease (and subsequent tussle for work) is an excuse for allowing standards to slip. It’s not a matter of compliance with the law – we are talking about people’s lives here. And for each life lost, a family has also lost either a breadwinner or a loved one, usually both – and it could involve you or your company.

WHS is here to help; we are passionate about keeping people safe. So, for those of you who (still) don’t involve us as you should – start the new decade with a pledge to do so. And for those of you who do see us regularly – well done, keep up the contact, but also do listen to what we say because we say it for good reason.

Welding Fume

Any company involved in or commissioning welding on its site must take note that the HSE is tightening up on its policy towards what they consider as appropriate control measures to avoid the serious consequences on human health of welding fume.

All welding requires good ventilation as well as appropriate respiratory protection (RPE); however, ventilation alone is totally insufficient should welding be unavoidably carried out internally. In such cases, appropriately designed and properly maintained LEV (local exhaust ventilation) systems are required, along with the correct level of good quality and properly maintained RPE. Proactive planning must establish adequate maintenance and replacement regimes, and full records must be kept for both the LEV and RPE.

If welding takes place outside, good and properly maintained RPE alone may be acceptable, ensuring that the work takes place well away from others and wind conditions are accounted for. However, and this should be obvious to everyone, risk assessments are required for all welding work, whether internal or external. WHS issues a generic risk assessment for welding where there is adequate ventilation but, as with all WHS generics, this is only meant as a starting point. All companies are responsible for carrying out site or workplace specific risk assessment to reflect the facts on the ground – how and where the work will actually take place. If you require our assistance, please do contact the WHS office.

Further details of the HSE approach to welding can be found on:
http://www.hse.gov.uk/safetybulletins/mild-steel-welding-fume.htm

And further in-depth information on how to manage welding fume can be found on the HSE’s website:
https://www.hse.gov.uk/welding/index.htm

INDUSTRY NEWS

Another Young Victim of Asbestos

This very recent report from the BBC (7 January 2020) highlights, yet again, that we can all become victims of asbestos-related diseases unless care is taken – even the very young:
https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-birmingham-51021204

Having achieved her ‘dream job’ as a bus driver in the West Midlands and, as a result of her passion and hard work, beaten 250 others to be named Bus Driver of the Year for 2018, poor Isobell Gall died on New Year’s Eve…at the age of just 29, having never worked in construction in her short life. What an awful for her family to start the new decade; may we extend our sincere sympathies.

Doctors believe Isobel may have contracted deadly mesothelioma when she was as young as 6. Although the most lethal types of asbestos were banned in the 1980s (when Isobel wouldn’t have even been a distant twinkle in her parents’ eyes) and all types finally banned completely at the turn of the century, her death is an all-too-poignant reminder that asbestos is still all around us in our daily lives, and ignoring the issue costs lives – young and old.

Transport services across the country are campaigning to raise awareness amongst the public through social media: #WeStandWithIsobel. There has always been an inexcusable lack of information presented to the general public about asbestos so they can be excused for not realising the extent of the deadly problem. But, we at WHS are still continually, quite frankly, disgusted at the general disregard for people’s safety demonstrated within a significant number of contractors and project managers alike in the UK construction industry, particularly those involved in domestic work.

So, sadly we need to start the new year – the new decade, a full 20 years after the total asbestos ban – by reminding everyone out there that asbestos is very real and very deadly and nobody, no matter who they are and what their function is, commercial or domestic, can afford to cut corners or ignore the issue. Isobel’s father asked ‘why my Isobel?’ Everyone must take this issue and the potential for exposure extremely seriously, both at work and at home, or you may be asking ‘why my child?’ yourself.

The Value of SSiP

Many of you will have gained a certificate under an SSiP awarding body such as CHAS, SMAS, Safe Contractor and the like. Well done, you have demonstrated that you have health & safety systems in place and can be legally compliant…but…

It must be realised that a certificate is only a snapshot in time of a company’s basic health & safety systems, and that the systems checked by SSiP relate to paperwork only. We are very aware that all too many contractors (and others) will complete paperwork just to get through SSiP, but will then not carry on using the necessary and legally required systems once the certificate is issued. This is unacceptable in the eyes of the law and, in fact, it can actually make things worse if there is an HSE intervention for any reason (an accident or a visit); the offending company will be sending out the message that it is wilfully ignoring compliant systems that they have in place and have been verified by SSiP.

If everyone did what they should do to keep employees safe, there would be no need for paperwork; the paperwork was established in law purely to ensure that adequate checks and records take place, and SSiP only checks the paperwork, not site safety itself. The certification and paperwork does not, in itself, prove commitment to health & safety. You can have all the checks, records and certification in the world but, if they do not relate to an adequate level of commitment on-site, they will not result in a safe site – and this has been proven in the courts on many occasions. A safe site is one where the right equipment, manpower, skills, security, time-frame, etc are provided in relation to the risks involved – nothing less.

In fact, this is now reflected in the ethos of the new ISO45001 standard which is replacing the old health & safety-related ISO18001. Previously, 18001 concentrated too much on establishing paperwork systems and adherence; it missed the point that safety at the workface is down to a multitude of other factors which result from a company’s commitment to a safe site, not just the documentation. ISO45001 now requires that safety be put into practice at the workface, and it is not reliant on paperwork alone – a massive improvement and one that WHS has been advocating for years.

So, to summarise:

  • Yes, you must get your paperwork in order; it’s legally required and you won’t get through any SSiP accreditation without it. But you must also…
  • Keep using the paperwork systems once you have your certificate, and
  • You MUST establish a safe site, regardless of whether you have a certificate or not – it is the LAW

And, if you need any further proof that SSiP does not help to keep you out of the courts, here are just 3 recent examples of ‘SSiP Approved’ contractors who were prosecuted:

  • Rose Builders Ltd was fined £225,000 + costs in October 2019 after a dumper driver was killed when the machine he was driving overturned whilst negotiating a spoil heap. Drivers had not been properly trained, instructed or supervised and, crucially, it was found to be common practice not to wear seat-belts on dumpers (as required by law).
  • Sulzer Electro Mechanical Services (UK) was fined £86,000 + costs in September 2019 after 2 workers were seriously injured by being thrown from the chuck of a large vertical boring machine. The HSE found that the interlocks on the perimeter access doors were not working and no safety checks were in place.
  • Rombalds Builders Ltd was fined £16,000 + an equal amount in costs in November after a worker fractured his spine in a staircase collapse. The staircase, which was the only means of access to the workface, was not properly supported but workers had not been notified that it should not be used.

In all these cases, paperwork (in place or lack of it) was not mentioned; in all cases, it was safety at the workface (definitely lack of it) was what counted.

So be warned, paperwork and SSiP certification is NOT the be-all and end-all of health & safety; commitment to the health & safety of employees at the workface is what counts – exactly as that demonstrated by our award winners above.

Seat Belts Must Be Worn!

As highlighted in the last prosecution case above, seat belts are essential for safety. They have been law since 1998 (over 20 years!) and are intended to hold the driver within the roll-bar (also law since 1998) and prevent him being thrown into the path of the roll.

WHS is continually seeing seat belts dangling to the sides or clipped together on the seat beneath the driver. This is totally illegal and lack of enforcement will result in the contractor being prosecuted (as above), not the driver.

To help site managers identify culprits easily and from a distance, green flashing beacons can easily be fitted to the plant; try https://www.htsspares.com/catalogue/electrical/beacons/led-seat-belt-kits A flashing green light indicates that the seat belt is engaged. However, the beacon cannot distinguish between whether the seat belt is properly engaged tight on the lap of the driver or engaged but being sat on. If an accident happens when the driver has wilfully engaged but not worn his belt, unless the practice is tolerated by site management, then the driver himself risks prosecution – assuming he lives long enough to answer for his misdemeanours!

So, yet another warning – seat belts must be worn by law (and for a very good reason), no excuses! Don’t wait till we (or the HSE) pick you up on the issue, it may be too late for a driver and for your company.

Changes to CPCS

Following on from the changes to the CSCS scheme previously mentioned, those of you who engage plant operators, either directly or indirectly, should be made aware of the following:

So-called ‘grandfather rights’ are being phased out for all CPCS categories from now on until 31 December 2024, with the intention that all plant operators must work towards an NVQ and hold it for renewals after the 2024 date. This has been in the pipeline for some while and has been highlighted previously in our newsletters.

However, there seems to have been a bit of a rebellion amongst older operators who, at their age, refuse to take a qualification when they are so close to retirement (!) so CSCS has relented somewhat and now require the minimum of a competence ‘interview’ with the operator at any test centre. The maximum charge for this (CSCS ensure us) is £160 but do note that the interview is in addition to the standard written CSCS touch screen test.

We have no further information on these changes, neither is there (currently) any information on the CSCS website. Our best advice at present is to contact CSCS direct if any of your employees are affected.

PAT & Insurance Implications

As the HSE and all other responsible health & safety-related organisations will agree, WHS strongly advocates that regular and competent PAT (portable appliance testing) is carried out on all your mobile electrical tools and equipment. The frequency will naturally depend upon the type of equipment, the frequency of use, the nature of use and the working environment; for example, we may advocate 3-month intervals for a heavy-use tool on site but may say that annual would be sufficient for the same tool in an infrequent-use and small workshop situation.

However, there is a misconception that PAT is law; it isn’t. In the same way that permits to work are not law but have become standard and accepted practice, PAT testing is a means to a (legal) end but is not law in itself. This is a very important point as it has come to our attention that some in the insurance industry may be implying it is legally required and that the insured would not be covered where the insurer’s interpretation of frequencies is not followed.

Where an insurance company dictates their terms for electrical safety and lays down in writing their required frequency for PAT testing, that obviously must be followed; it’s always vital that every business reads, understands and observes all restrictions within their insurance documents. However, where there is no such stipulation, you are quite within your rights to establish your own controls, which (and we would always advocate this) would be best to include an appropriate PAT testing regime.
What is legally required, however, is that all electrical equipment must be CE marked and non-defective when purchased, stored and handled appropriately, maintained in good working order and free from defects, checked visually before use each day with records made frequently to that effect, and withdrawn for use and repaired by suitable specialists when defects are found or suspected. Relevant regulations (so there is no excuse for not establishing proper controls) are:

  • Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974
  • The Electricity at Work Regulations of 1989
  • The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations of 1998
  • The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations of 1999

Specific information can be found on: https://www.pat.org.uk/is-pat-testing-a-legal-requirement/ To quote from the organisation’s website:

“Claims that PAT testing is required by law and that the client is breaking the law by not having it done are simply not true. The law does require however that employers, including self-employed, ensure that all electrical equipment that they provide in their business is safe and properly maintained. This means that PAT testing is a critical part of your company’s health and safety and should be considered part of a solution to your safety concerns.”

So, to summarise:

  • No, PAT is not law, but
  • Adequate controls to ensure all equipment is and remains safe for use are required by law and must be established and records established and maintained as proof
  • You will find yourself uninsured, not if you have failed to carry out PAT, but if you are in breach of the law by not ensuring your equipment is safe, so
  • It makes absolute sense to establish a PAT regime at frequencies that reflect the risks of the workplace.

Again, we are here to help; contact the WHS office for further advice and/or PAT testing itself.

EMPLOYMENT NEWS

National Minimum Wage

From 1 April 2020, the national minimum wage levels per hour for each age range are as follows:

  • 25+ £8.72
  • 21- 24 £8.20
  • 18 – 20 £6.45
  • 16-17 £4.55
  • Apprenticeships £4.15

National ‘living wage’ rates have not yet been set due to the December election.

Written Statement of Terms

From 6 April 2020, all new employees will have to the right to a ‘written statement of particulars’ from the first day of their employment.

Take note all those employers out there that don’t even give their employees proper contracts yet!! Proper and accurate employment contracts are required by law so, even if there is a delay in issuing that contract for whatever reason, from 6 April, employees must be clear about their terms of employment from day one.

Changes to Agency Workers’ Rights

From 6 April 2020, all agency workers will be (a) entitled to key information setting out their employment relationship with the employing agency and the terms & conditions of that employment.

In addition, all agency workers who have been in a company’s employment for 12 weeks or more will be entitled to the same pay as those on permanent contracts. And, all agency workers who are considered ‘employees’ will be protected against unfair dismissal.

Holiday Pay Calculations

From 6 April 2020, the reference period for calculating a week’s pay for holiday purposes will be extended from 12 to 52 weeks i.e. taking an entire year’s circumstances into account rather than a limited period.

Parental Bereavement Leave

From 6 April 2020, parents will have the right to 2 weeks leave if their child under the age of 18 dies or if they suffer a still birth from 24 weeks of pregnancy. This is a new and very welcome piece of legislation, aimed at giving parents time to grieve and reducing their stress.

GENERAL NEWS

Personal Safety

There is a very useful app for your iphone which can play a big part in ensuring your location can be immediately and accurately notified to emergency services. The ‘what3words’ app has allocated 3 specific words to each of every (yes every!) 3m x 3m square of the World so, by quoting those 3 unique words, emergency services can pinpoint your location exactly, even if you have no idea of the address.

The app is available in many different languages and can be used socially as well (find you friends, locate destinations, note where you parked your car, find your tent at Glastonbury!). However, it does tend to drain battery power as it’s operational continuously, for obvious reasons. But, despite this down-side, the app would be very useful for those of us who may visit greenfield and off-the beaten track sites, as well as densely populated areas where you may have no idea which street you’re in!

Go to the Apple app store or what3words to download.

AND FINALLY

With sincere thanks to the HSE for all photographs

Risk assess the WHOLE project!!

  • Mark Reski, trading as MR Roofwork & Leadwork was given a 6 months suspended prison sentence, fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £3,000 costs after carbon monoxide fumes leaked into the property of an elderly lady; fortunately, her life was saved by the sounding of a carbon monoxide alarm.

Reski was a roofer, not a gas engineer – so how did this happen? He had been contracted to remove and rebuild the chimney stack of the lady’s neighbour; he removed the shared stack but failed to assess the subsequent risks of not dealing with the (then) unsupported flue liner to the lady’s gas range. A flue liner left in this condition cannot function; as a result, the carbon monoxide emanating from the range entered her property. The HSE found that Reski had failed to make enquiries into what gas appliances would have been affected by his work, i.e. he had not thought further than his immediate work.

  • Unique Envelope Façade Solutions Ltd was fined a total of over £21,500 after two workers narrowed avoided electrocution but did receive serious burns by drilling into a cable while attempting to fix a pre-fabricated cowling.

The possibility of contact with existing cables housed in a cable tray had not been assessed, nor had alternative methods of fixing which did not require drilling been explored.

  • Thames Water Utilities Ltd was fined a total of almost £316,500 after three workers were swept along a sewer. None of them suffered more than minor injuries but all have been affected by traumatic stress – which is hardly surprising, they must have thought they would die.

Although pumps which controlled the level of sewage were in place as usual, nobody had considered the possibility of, and controls necessary, to prevent the workers being swept along the sewer should the worst happen and levels rise – which is exactly what happened when there was an unpredicted power cut and the pumps stopped working

N.B.
WHS is continually stressing just how vital it is to risk assess the entire project, not just individual tasks; risk assessment must take into account the whole picture, including how each task affects the others, and the effect on the works from external factors. NO EXCUSES; risk assessment must cover every aspect of the site, or serious accidents like those highlighted above will continue to happen.

Work at height

  • WD Cormack & Sons was fined £8,000 after a driver fell almost 3 metres from a trailer, sustaining severe injuries. The driver had been securing grain bags on the curtain-side trailer; no means of preventing falls from this considerable height had been considered. A reminder: ‘work at height’ relates to any work off the ground, not just confined to construction; the risks of harm are just the same.
  • Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd was fined a total of over £298,000 after a worker sustained very serious injuries falling 4.8 metres through an unprotected opening in a water tower at a property owned by Company Director, Richard McAlpine. Another reminder: health & safety controls are required whether the work is carried out at a commercial or domestic site; the risks of harm are just the same.
  • Light Power Grp Ltd was fined £80,000 and its director, Michael Webb, given a suspended 12-month sentence, and ordered to carry out 200 hours community work and pay costs of £15,000 after a worker was killed falling 7 metres through a fragile roof. The worker was Webb’s brother.
  • M&M Damproof Co. Ltd was fined a total of almost £21,000 after a worker received serious multiple fractures falling 5 metres head first from the corrugated roof of a motor vehicle workshop under repair. Two workers had accessed the pitched roof by ladder and no edge protection had been set up to prevent falls from the roof, or through the fragile sheeting or roof-lights. He was lucky not to have been killed.
  • Decorator, Ian Ramsey, was given a 12-month community order and ordered to carry out 160 hours unpaid work and pay costs of over £2,000 after one of his employees was paralysed from the waist down falling from a roof ladder. No edge protection had been set up to prevent falls, nor had adequate access equipment been provided.
  • Pearson Property Developments Ltd was fined total of almost £13,000 after a worker sustained serious eye injuries by being struck on the face by a loose tower scaffold platform. The platform had been overhanging the edge and, when the worker stepped on, it flicked up and struck him. The Company had failed to properly supervise, train workers to erect towers and ensure competent inspections were carried out before ascent. A catalogue of errors which could have cost the worker his life.

Demolition

  • Building development company, Balmonza Ltd was fined a total of £21,000 and its director, Kulvinder Singh a total of £6,000 after being observed ‘unsafely’ (or should that be recklessly?) demolishing a pub.

Just look at the incriminating video clip recorded by a member of the public:
https://youtu.be/guxU3rV6fxw
Unbelievable!!

This was a catalogue of totally irresponsible practices that could have, so easily, caused injury or death: the method of demolition, lack of public protection, services (gas and electric) had not been cut off, and who knows what was in there as regards asbestos because there was certainly no asbestos survey!

Non-compliance with enforcement

But non-compliance is only the tip of a very huge iceberg in this case!!

  • All Type Electrical & Building Ltd was fined over £65,000 and its director given an 18-week suspended prison sentence and ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work and pay over £5,000 in costs after failing to comply with 2 prohibition notices and 2 improvement notices served on a site in London.

The photos speak for themselves! There are too many serious faults to even begin to list them here!

N.B.
The conclusion has to be that, as with the demolition prosecution above, there are far too many people dabbling in construction who haven’t got a clue about safely. But, again, the law applies to everyone, no matter what the situation, for very good reason; the risks of harm are just the same.

Buried services

  • G&R Groundworks (South East) Ltd was fined a total of over £35,000 after a worker received serious burns to 50% of his body when he struck an 11kv cable with a pneumatic drill. The Company had failed to obtain service plans, nor had it provided a CAT detector and suitable training to locate electrical services.

And, yes, is just as important to do your homework for all ground disturbance; cables may be very near the surface, in unpredictable places and/or the jackhammer may slip and strike a cable nearby.

Vibration

  • Property developer and management company, Places for People Homes Ltd, was fined a total of almost £614,000 after five employees developed HAVS over a period of five years from the vibration emanating whilst using grounds maintenance equipment. The Company had failed to provide health surveillance or training, nor had it maintained and replaced tools to ensure vibration levels were reduced.

N.B.
The massive level of this fine demonstrates that vibration is not considered a minor issue by the HSE or the courts. HAVS and similar conditions are serious, debilitating and life-changing; they must be taken seriously or employees will continue to be harmed … employers will continue to end up in court.

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

COMPANY NEWS

Forthcoming Courses

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

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

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

First Aid

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

Duration: 1 day (6 hours)

Dates:

  • 25 February 2020
  • 26 March 2020
  • 28 April 2020
  • 27 May 2020
  • 26 June 2020
  • 28 July 2020
  • 27 August 2020
  • 25 September 2020

Cost: £85 + VAT per person
Lunch is provided

WHS can also run the full 3-day First Aid at Work course for companies who need additional skills and wish to send 4+ candidates; contact Vicki for fees. However, do initially discuss first aid requirements with your own WHS consultant to assess whether the 3-day course is actually appropriate for your circumstances.

CITB Courses

IMPORTANT NOTES:


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

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

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

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)

Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week
Dates:

  • 6, 13, 20, 27 March & 3 April 2020 (Fridays)
  • 15, 22, 29 May, 5 & 12 June 2020 (Fridays)
  • 13, 20, 27 July, 3 & 10 August 2020 (Monday)
  • 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:

  • 3 & 4 February 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 1 & 2 April 2020 (Wednesday & Thursday)
  • 15 & 16 June 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 7 & 8 September 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 2 & 3 November 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:

  • 10 & 11 February 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 20 & 21 April 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 29 & 30 June 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 24 & 25 August 2020 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 21 & 22 October 2020 (Wednesday & Thursday)
  • 7 & 8 December 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:

  • 2 March 2020 (Monday)
  • 11 May 2020 (Monday)

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

  • CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

  • 16 March 2020 (Monday)
  • 4 May 2020 (Monday)
  • 8 July 2020 (Wednesday)
  • 17 September 2020 (Thursday)
  • 16 November 2020 (Monday)

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

WHS Safety Awards

As announced in the last newsletter, we were delighted to recognise significant achievements in the field of health & safety during 2019 (within the WHS client base) by bestowing two awards. The responses from the two recipients since the announcement have been noteworthy in that, not only has internal company morale been boosted, but very positive responses have also been received from their own clients. So once again, we sincerely congratulate our winners:

  • Morris Property Ltd whose management have presided over a continuing year-on-year improvement to health & safety compliance, including an enviable record on training their workforce to the highest degree.

We see here James West and Steve Flavell accepting the award on behalf of Morris Property Ltd for Commitment to Safety from WHS Technical Director, Laura Mort.

  • Matt Kershaw of Edgebourn Building Contractors (Stourbridge) who has demonstrated a dedication to the wellbeing of Company employees, and also the safety of some of the most vulnerable members of the public with the Company’s work in social housing.

Matt is seen here accepting his award for Commitment to Continual Improvement from WHS Managing Director, Jackie Horsewood.

Hearty congratulations to both our winners! And to others we say, you too could receive an award if you can demonstrate the commitment to health & safety shown by these, and our past, winners.

Radon

WHS has issued a new generic risk assessment for Radon gas, covering the general risks, affects on health and essential controls. The generic risk assessment will filter through to all our customers over the coming months within your renewal packs; however, should anyone require a copy now, please contact the office and it can be emailed free of charge immediately.

Radon is a naturally occurring gas that can seep from rock strata, potentially causing cancers. Most architects and developers should already know the risks and requirements to prevent ill-health with new-builds; if you are unsure, request a copy of our risk assessment immediately! However, how many of us realise that this is a nationwide problem (indeed, a worldwide, problem) that can affect any of us both at work and/or at home with existing properties as well as new-builds?

The likelihood of Radon affecting our lives depends on where we work and live, and what controls are established within the building/s to prevent seepage. The information contained in the WHS risk assessment is invaluable to give you a heads-up on both the risk level in your area and how to proceed if you do find that you or your property may be at risk. In addition, go on-line for further information, particularly from Public Health England on: https://www.ukradon.org/

Keeping WHS Informed

May we reiterate once again just how important it is that we are kept informed of all accidents in or related to the workplace as soon as possible. We are still discovering instances of accidents that were either never notified to us or notified weeks or months after the event; where this happens, we cannot help you if the HSE become involved or if there is a claim made by the victim against your company.

We are here to help when there is an accident, including working out what are the possible contributory factors that led to the incident. But we cannot possibly do that if we are not allowed to see the working environment and/or persons involved or witnessing the event immediately (or at least within a short time); we cannot act on hearsay or corrupted evidence, i.e. where work has carried on and effectively over-ridden the facts on the ground.

Even if you are fully aware that health & safety on your site was not up to scratch on the day, believe us when we say that it’s best we know ahead of any HSE intervention or claim situation. We cannot assist in any shape of form in retrospect as we could never verify the facts.

N.B.
WHS issues comprehensive information about what to do when there is an accident and how to handle the aftermath. This is contained within your renewal packs.

HSE NEWS

Accident Statistics 2018/19

The HSE has issued a poster which displays, in very clear terms, the costs to both employees and employers of accidents and ill-health in the (UK) workplace during 2018/19. Displaying the poster can help to reinforce the message to employees that health & safety is everybody’s responsibility and any one of us can suffer if it’s ignored.

The cost is only £10, including VAT, and can be purchased on-line from:
https://bit.ly/302EgIn

In addition, the HSE has also issued a freely downloadable summary of the 2018/19, available on:
https://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/overall/hssh1819.pdf

This summary is a must-see for all managers. The document breaks down each figure shown in the poster to give the full and shocking overall picture, including almost half a million new cases of work-related ill-health reported during 2018/19 – half a million, and that’s only the tip of the very large iceberg because many cases go unreported for various reasons. And the 1.4 million currently suffering from work-related ill-health resulted, during 2018/19 alone, in 23.5 million working days lost to UK industry – a phenomenal figure that results in both direct and hidden costs and losses to every business in this country.

So, as we have stressed so many times before, the HSE is right to target ill-health, and businesses must ensure they implement safeguards for the health and safety of all their employees, not just because the law says so, but because it makes economic sense.

It’s also disturbing to note that stress now accounts for 44% of all reported ill-health and 54% of working days lost. So again, apart from the legal (and moral) reasons for looking after your employees, it makes total economic sense to ensure their wellbeing is looked after both at work and, where at all possible, for their home life too. Whether you’re a contractor, an architect, an engineer, a developer or working within the multitude of other professions that go to make up ‘construction’, the same applies:

Get to know your employees; take notice of changes to their moods and productivity; show empathy to anxiety, particularly where a shoulder may be needed to help with personal issues; don’t bully and don’t enforce unrealistic workloads and deadlines. We must reduce the destructive stress that is a by-product of this industry.

Accident Statistics 2019/20

In addition, it is extremely disturbing to hear (direct from the HSE) that the fatality rate in construction is rapidly escalating. It was reported to us that, by the end of November 2018/19 (i.e. 8 months into the year), there had been 24 fatalities in construction set against, for the same period this year (2019/20), 34 reported fatalities – a whopping 42% increase!!

WHS is aware that there has been an upturn in work over the last few years – but also that this seems to have levelled off or, in some parts of the country, actually declined. Neither an increase in work nor a decrease (and subsequent tussle for work) is an excuse for allowing standards to slip. It’s not a matter of compliance with the law – we are talking about people’s lives here. And for each life lost, a family has also lost either a breadwinner or a loved one, usually both – and it could involve you or your company.

WHS is here to help; we are passionate about keeping people safe. So, for those of you who (still) don’t involve us as you should – start the new decade with a pledge to do so. And for those of you who do see us regularly – well done, keep up the contact, but also do listen to what we say because we say it for good reason.

Welding Fume

Any company involved in or commissioning welding on its site must take note that the HSE is tightening up on its policy towards what they consider as appropriate control measures to avoid the serious consequences on human health of welding fume.

All welding requires good ventilation as well as appropriate respiratory protection (RPE); however, ventilation alone is totally insufficient should welding be unavoidably carried out internally. In such cases, appropriately designed and properly maintained LEV (local exhaust ventilation) systems are required, along with the correct level of good quality and properly maintained RPE. Proactive planning must establish adequate maintenance and replacement regimes, and full records must be kept for both the LEV and RPE.

If welding takes place outside, good and properly maintained RPE alone may be acceptable, ensuring that the work takes place well away from others and wind conditions are accounted for. However, and this should be obvious to everyone, risk assessments are required for all welding work, whether internal or external. WHS issues a generic risk assessment for welding where there is adequate ventilation but, as with all WHS generics, this is only meant as a starting point. All companies are responsible for carrying out site or workplace specific risk assessment to reflect the facts on the ground – how and where the work will actually take place. If you require our assistance, please do contact the WHS office.

Further details of the HSE approach to welding can be found on:
http://www.hse.gov.uk/safetybulletins/mild-steel-welding-fume.htm

And further in-depth information on how to manage welding fume can be found on the HSE’s website:
https://www.hse.gov.uk/welding/index.htm

INDUSTRY NEWS

How to Prevent Electrical Fires

As a specialist in your field, you are obviously very aware of how easy it is for faulty electrical circuits to produce a fire. It is thought that around 25% of primary fires in England in commercial buildings are due to electrical faults, so we all know how vital it is to ensure circuitry is checked from their installation and then regularly so that faults can be detected and rectified immediately.

But, in reality, exactly how far do you go to check a circuit for your clients, or indeed within your own premises? A very handy guide ‘Electrical Fire Prevention Discover how to mitigate risk of fire for new and existing commercial buildings’ has been produced by industry leader, Schneider Electric Ltd, and contains such topics as IP levels, insulation distances, heat dissipation, power connection and abnormal heating issues, conductor insulation failure and protection, arc faults and much more.

This, and a wealth of other valuable information is available free of charge from Scheider if you register on its web community, again completely free of charge. You don’t much for nothing these days, so it’s sensible for electricians to make use of the free resources. Register on: https://www.se.com/uk/en/

Registering also allows you to tap into their expert training and receive regular emails. Let’s face it, all of us can do with the occasional reminder and update to prevent us becoming rusty, so it’s certainly worth it.

Another Young Victim of Asbestos

This very recent report from the BBC (7 January 2020) highlights, yet again, that we can all become victims of asbestos-related diseases unless care is taken – even the very young:
https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-birmingham-51021204

Having achieved her ‘dream job’ as a bus driver in the West Midlands and, as a result of her passion and hard work, beaten 250 others to be named Bus Driver of the Year for 2018, poor Isobell Gall died on New Year’s Eve…at the age of just 29, having never worked in construction in her short life. What an awful for her family to start the new decade; may we extend our sincere sympathies.

Doctors believe Isobel may have contracted deadly mesothelioma when she was as young as 6. Although the most lethal types of asbestos were banned in the 1980s (when Isobel wouldn’t have even been a distant twinkle in her parents’ eyes) and all types finally banned completely at the turn of the century, her death is an all-too-poignant reminder that asbestos is still all around us in our daily lives, and ignoring the issue costs lives – young and old.

Transport services across the country are campaigning to raise awareness amongst the public through social media: #WeStandWithIsobel. There has always been an inexcusable lack of information presented to the general public about asbestos so they can be excused for not realising the extent of the deadly problem. But, we at WHS are still continually, quite frankly, disgusted at the general disregard for people’s safety demonstrated within a significant number of contractors and project managers alike in the UK construction industry, particularly those involved in domestic work.

So, sadly we need to start the new year – the new decade, a full 20 years after the total asbestos ban – by reminding everyone out there that asbestos is very real and very deadly and nobody, no matter who they are and what their function is, commercial or domestic, can afford to cut corners or ignore the issue. Isobel’s father asked ‘why my Isobel?’ Everyone must take this issue and the potential for exposure extremely seriously, both at work and at home, or you may be asking ‘why my child?’ yourself.

The Value of SSiP

Many of you will have gained a certificate under an SSiP awarding body such as CHAS, SMAS, Safe Contractor and the like. Well done, you have demonstrated that you have health & safety systems in place and can be legally compliant…but…

It must be realised that a certificate is only a snapshot in time of a company’s basic health & safety systems, and that the systems checked by SSiP relate to paperwork only. We are very aware that all too many contractors (and others) will complete paperwork just to get through SSiP, but will then not carry on using the necessary and legally required systems once the certificate is issued. This is unacceptable in the eyes of the law and, in fact, it can actually make things worse if there is an HSE intervention for any reason (an accident or a visit); the offending company will be sending out the message that it is wilfully ignoring compliant systems that they have in place and have been verified by SSiP.

If everyone did what they should do to keep employees safe, there would be no need for paperwork; the paperwork was established in law purely to ensure that adequate checks and records take place, and SSiP only checks the paperwork, not site safety itself. The certification and paperwork does not, in itself, prove commitment to health & safety. You can have all the checks, records and certification in the world but, if they do not relate to an adequate level of commitment on-site, they will not result in a safe site – and this has been proven in the courts on many occasions. A safe site is one where the right equipment, manpower, skills, security, time-frame, etc are provided in relation to the risks involved – nothing less.

In fact, this is now reflected in the ethos of the new ISO45001 standard which is replacing the old health & safety-related ISO18001. Previously, 18001 concentrated too much on establishing paperwork systems and adherence; it missed the point that safety at the workface is down to a multitude of other factors which result from a company’s commitment to a safe site, not just the documentation. ISO45001 now requires that safety be put into practice at the workface, and it is not reliant on paperwork alone – a massive improvement and one that WHS has been advocating for years.

So, to summarise:

  • Yes, you must get your paperwork in order; it’s legally required and you won’t get through any SSiP accreditation without it. But you must also…
  • Keep using the paperwork systems once you have your certificate, and
  • You MUST establish a safe site, regardless of whether you have a certificate or not – it is the LAW

And, if you need any further proof that SSiP does not help to keep you out of the courts, here are just 3 recent examples of ‘SSiP Approved’ contractors who were prosecuted:

  • Rose Builders Ltd was fined £225,000 + costs in October 2019 after a dumper driver was killed when the machine he was driving overturned whilst negotiating a spoil heap. Drivers had not been properly trained, instructed or supervised and, crucially, it was found to be common practice not to wear seat-belts on dumpers (as required by law).
  • Sulzer Electro Mechanical Services (UK) was fined £86,000 + costs in September 2019 after 2 workers were seriously injured by being thrown from the chuck of a large vertical boring machine. The HSE found that the interlocks on the perimeter access doors were not working and no safety checks were in place.
  • Rombalds Builders Ltd was fined £16,000 + an equal amount in costs in November after a worker fractured his spine in a staircase collapse. The staircase, which was the only means of access to the workface, was not properly supported but workers had not been notified that it should not be used.

In all these cases, paperwork (in place or lack of it) was not mentioned; in all cases, it was safety at the workface (definitely lack of it) was what counted.

So be warned, paperwork and SSiP certification is NOT the be-all and end-all of health & safety; commitment to the health & safety of employees at the workface is what counts – exactly as that demonstrated by our award winners above.

EMPLOYMENT NEWS

National Minimum Wage

From 1 April 2020, the national minimum wage levels per hour for each age range are as follows:

  • 25+ £8.72
  • 21- 24 £8.20
  • 18 – 20 £6.45
  • 16-17 £4.55
  • Apprenticeships £4.15

National ‘living wage’ rates have not yet been set due to the December election.

Written Statement of Terms

From 6 April 2020, all new employees will have to the right to a ‘written statement of particulars’ from the first day of their employment.

Take note all those employers out there that don’t even give their employees proper contracts yet!! Proper and accurate employment contracts are required by law so, even if there is a delay in issuing that contract for whatever reason, from 6 April, employees must be clear about their terms of employment from day one.

Changes to Agency Workers’ Rights

From 6 April 2020, all agency workers will be (a) entitled to key information setting out their employment relationship with the employing agency and the terms & conditions of that employment.

In addition, all agency workers who have been in a company’s employment for 12 weeks or more will be entitled to the same pay as those on permanent contracts. And, all agency workers who are considered ‘employees’ will be protected against unfair dismissal.

Holiday Pay Calculations

From 6 April 2020, the reference period for calculating a week’s pay for holiday purposes will be extended from 12 to 52 weeks i.e. taking an entire year’s circumstances into account rather than a limited period.

Parental Bereavement Leave

From 6 April 2020, parents will have the right to 2 weeks leave if their child under the age of 18 dies or if they suffer a still birth from 24 weeks of pregnancy. This is a new and very welcome piece of legislation, aimed at giving parents time to grieve and reducing their stress.

GENERAL NEWS

Personal Safety

There is a very useful app for your iphone which can play a big part in ensuring your location can be immediately and accurately notified to emergency services. The ‘what3words’ app has allocated 3 specific words to each of every (yes every!) 3m x 3m square of the World so, by quoting those 3 unique words, emergency services can pinpoint your location exactly, even if you have no idea of the address.

The app is available in many different languages and can be used socially as well (find you friends, locate destinations, note where you parked your car, find your tent at Glastonbury!). However, it does tend to drain battery power as it’s operational continuously, for obvious reasons. But, despite this down-side, the app would be very useful for those of us who may visit greenfield and off-the beaten track sites, as well as densely populated areas where you may have no idea which street you’re in!

Go to the Apple app store or what3words to download.

AND FINALLY

With sincere thanks to the HSE for all photographs

Risk assess the WHOLE project!!

  • Mark Reski, trading as MR Roofwork & Leadwork was given a 6 months suspended prison sentence, fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £3,000 costs after carbon monoxide fumes leaked into the property of an elderly lady; fortunately, her life was saved by the sounding of a carbon monoxide alarm.

Reski was a roofer, not a gas engineer – so how did this happen? He had been contracted to remove and rebuild the chimney stack of the lady’s neighbour; he removed the shared stack but failed to assess the subsequent risks of not dealing with the (then) unsupported flue liner to the lady’s gas range. A flue liner left in this condition cannot function; as a result, the carbon monoxide emanating from the range entered her property. The HSE found that Reski had failed to make enquiries into what gas appliances would have been affected by his work, i.e. he had not thought further than his immediate work.

  • Unique Envelope Façade Solutions Ltd was fined a total of over £21,500 after two workers narrowed avoided electrocution but did receive serious burns by drilling into a cable while attempting to fix a pre-fabricated cowling.

The possibility of contact with existing cables housed in a cable tray had not been assessed, nor had alternative methods of fixing which did not require drilling been explored.

N.B.
WHS is continually stressing just how vital it is to risk assess the entire project, not just individual tasks; risk assessment must take into account the whole picture, including how each task affects the others, and the effect on the works from external factors. NO EXCUSES; risk assessment must cover every aspect of the site, or serious accidents like those highlighted above will continue to happen.

Work at height

  • WD Cormack & Sons was fined £8,000 after a driver fell almost 3 metres from a trailer, sustaining severe injuries. The driver had been securing grain bags on the curtain-side trailer; no means of preventing falls from this considerable height had been considered. A reminder: ‘work at height’ relates to any work off the ground, not just confined to construction; the risks of harm are just the same.
  • Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd was fined a total of over £298,000 after a worker sustained very serious injuries falling 4.8 metres through an unprotected opening in a water tower at a property owned by Company Director, Richard McAlpine. Another reminder: health & safety controls are required whether the work is carried out at a commercial or domestic site; the risks of harm are just the same.
  • Light Power Grp Ltd was fined £80,000 and its director, Michael Webb, given a suspended 12-month sentence, and ordered to carry out 200 hours community work and pay costs of £15,000 after a worker was killed falling 7 metres through a fragile roof. The worker was Webb’s brother.
  • M&M Damproof Co. Ltd was fined a total of almost £21,000 after a worker received serious multiple fractures falling 5 metres head first from the corrugated roof of a motor vehicle workshop under repair. Two workers had accessed the pitched roof by ladder and no edge protection had been set up to prevent falls from the roof, or through the fragile sheeting or roof-lights. He was lucky not to have been killed.
  • Decorator, Ian Ramsey, was given a 12-month community order and ordered to carry out 160 hours unpaid work and pay costs of over £2,000 after one of his employees was paralysed from the waist down falling from a roof ladder. No edge protection had been set up to prevent falls, nor had adequate access equipment been provided.
  • Pearson Property Developments Ltd was fined total of almost £13,000 after a worker sustained serious eye injuries by being struck on the face by a loose tower scaffold platform. The platform had been overhanging the edge and, when the worker stepped on, it flicked up and struck him. The Company had failed to properly supervise, train workers to erect towers and ensure competent inspections were carried out before ascent. A catalogue of errors which could have cost the worker his life.

Vibration

  • Property developer and management company, Places for People Homes Ltd, was fined a total of almost £614,000 after five employees developed HAVS over a period of five years from the vibration emanating whilst using grounds maintenance equipment. The Company had failed to provide health surveillance or training, nor had it maintained and replaced tools to ensure vibration levels were reduced.

N.B.
The massive level of this fine demonstrates that vibration is not considered a minor issue by the HSE or the courts. HAVS and similar conditions are serious, debilitating and life-changing; they must be taken seriously or employees will continue to be harmed … employers will continue to end up in court.

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

COMPANY NEWS

Forthcoming Courses

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

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

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

First Aid

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

Duration: 1 day (6 hours)

Dates:

  • 25 February 2020
  • 26 March 2020
  • 28 April 2020
  • 27 May 2020
  • 26 June 2020
  • 28 July 2020
  • 27 August 2020
  • 25 September 2020

Cost: £85 + VAT per person
Lunch is provided

WHS can also run the full 3-day First Aid at Work course for companies who need additional skills and wish to send 4+ candidates; contact Vicki for fees. However, do initially discuss first aid requirements with your own WHS consultant to assess whether the 3-day course is actually appropriate for your circumstances.

Other Course

Don’t forget that WHS offers a wealth of courses to suit your needs, from standard COSHH, work at height, abrasive wheels, fire & emergency, asbestos awareness, etc to more specific courses tailored to relate to your particular type of work, such as lone working and personal safety, manual handling, etc.

Whatever your requirements, contact us first because, in most cases, costs will be extremely competitive as you will be charged per hour not per person; i.e. the cost will be the same for 10 people as 2, so get your money’s worth!

Contact Vicki at WHS to discuss you particular requirements and costs.

WHS Safety Awards

As announced in the last newsletter, we were delighted to recognise significant achievements in the field of health & safety during 2019 (within the WHS client base) by bestowing two awards. The responses from the two recipients since the announcement have been noteworthy in that, not only has internal company morale been boosted, but very positive responses have also been received from their own clients. So, we once again, we sincerely congratulate our winners:

  • Morris Property Ltd whose management have presided over a continuing year-on-year improvement to health & safety compliance, including an enviable record on training their workforce to the highest degree.

We see here James West and Steve Flavell accepting the award on behalf of Morris Property Ltd for Commitment to Safety from WHS Technical Director, Laura Mort.Matt Kershaw of Edgebourn Building Contractors (Stourbridge) who has demonstrated a dedication to the wellbeing of Company employees, and also the safety of some of the most vulnerable members of the public with the Company’s work with social housing.

  • Matt is seen here accepting his award for Commitment to Continual Improvement from WHS Managing Director, Jackie Horsewood.

Hearty congratulations to both our winners! And to others we say, you too could receive an award if you can demonstrate the commitment to health & safety shown by these, and our past, winners.

Radon

WHS has issued a new generic risk assessment for Radon gas, covering the general risks, affects on health and essential controls. The generic risk assessment will filter through to all our customers over the coming months within your renewal packs; however, should anyone require a copy now, please contact the office and it can be emailed free of charge immediately.

Radon is a naturally occurring gas that can seep from rock strata, potentially causing cancers. Most architects and developers should already know the risks and requirements to prevent ill-health with new-builds. However, how many of us realise that this is a nationwide problem (indeed, a worldwide, problem) that can affect any of us both at work and/or at home with existing properties as well as new-builds?

The likelihood of Radon affecting our lives depends on where we work and live, and what controls are established within the building/s to prevent seepage. The information contained in the WHS risk assessment is invaluable to give you a heads-up on both the risk level in your area and how to proceed if you do find you or your property may be at risk. In addition, go on-line for further information, particularly from Public Health England on: https://www.ukradon.org/

Keeping WHS Informed

May we reiterate once again just how important it is that we are kept informed of all accidents in or related to the workplace as soon as possible. We are still discovering instances of accidents that were either never notified to us or notified weeks or months after the event; where this happens, we cannot help you if the HSE become involved or if there is a claim made by the victim against your company.

We are here to help when there is an accident, including working out what are the possible contributory factors that led to the incident. But we cannot possibly do that if we are not allowed to see the working environment and/or persons involved or witnessing the event immediately (or at least within a short time); we cannot act on hearsay or corrupted evidence, i.e. where work has carried on and effectively over-ridden the facts on the ground.

Even if you are fully aware that health & safety on your workplace was not up to scratch on the day, believe us when we say that it’s best we know ahead of any HSE intervention or claim situation. We cannot assist in any shape of form in retrospect as we could never verify the facts.

N.B.
WHS issues comprehensive information about what to do when there is an accident and how to handle the aftermath. This is contained within your renewal packs.

HSE NEWS

Accident Statistics 2018/19

The HSE has issued a poster which displays, in very clear terms, the costs to both employees and employers of accidents and ill-health in the (UK) workplace during 2018/19. Displaying the poster can help to reinforce the message to employees that health & safety is everybody’s responsibility and any one of us can suffer if it’s ignored.

The cost is only £10, including VAT, and can be purchased on-line from:
https://bit.ly/302EgIn

In addition, the HSE has also issued a freely downloadable summary of the 2018/19, available on:
https://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/overall/hssh1819.pdf

This summary is a must-see for all managers. The document breaks down each figure shown in the poster to give the full and shocking overall picture, including almost half a million new cases of work-related ill-health reported during 2018/19 – half a million, and that’s only the tip of the very large iceberg because many cases go unreported for various reasons. And the 1.4 million currently suffering from work-related ill-health resulted, during 2018/19 alone, in 23.5 million working days lost to UK industry – a phenomenal figure that results in both direct and hidden costs and losses to every business in this country.

So, as we have stressed so many times before, the HSE is right to target ill-health, and businesses must ensure they implement safeguards for the health and safety of all their employees, not just because the law says so, but because it makes economic sense.

It’s also disturbing to note that stress now accounts for 44% of all reported ill-health and 54% of working days lost. So again, apart from the legal (and moral) reasons for looking after your employees, it makes total economic sense to ensure their wellbeing is looked after both at work and, where at all possible, for their home life too. Whether type of work your business does, the same applies:

Get to know your employees; take notice of changes to their moods and productivity; show empathy to anxiety, particularly where a shoulder may be needed to help with personal issues; don’t bully and don’t enforce unrealistic workloads and deadlines. We must reduce the destructive stress that is endemic in UK industry.

Welding Fume

Any company involved in or commissioning welding must take note that the HSE is tightening up on its policy towards what they consider as appropriate control measures to avoid the serious consequences on human health of welding fume.

All welding requires good ventilation as well as appropriate respiratory protection (RPE); however, ventilation alone is totally insufficient should welding be unavoidably carried out internally. In such cases, appropriately designed and properly maintained LEV (local exhaust ventilation) systems are required, along with the correct level of good quality and properly maintained RPE. Proactive planning must establish adequate maintenance and replacement regimes, and full records must be kept for both the LEV and RPE.

If welding takes place outside, good and properly maintained RPE alone may be acceptable, ensuring that the work takes place well away from others and wind conditions are accounted for. However, and this should be obvious to everyone, risk assessments are required for all welding work, whether internal or external. WHS issues a generic risk assessment for welding where there is adequate ventilation but, as with all WHS generics, this is only meant as a starting point. All companies are responsible for carrying out task or workplace specific risk assessment to reflect the facts on the ground – how and where the work will actually take place. If you require our assistance, please do contact the WHS office.

Further details of the HSE approach to welding can be found on:
http://www.hse.gov.uk/safetybulletins/mild-steel-welding-fume.htm

And further in-depth information on how to manage welding fume can be found on the HSE’s website:
https://www.hse.gov.uk/welding/index.htm

INDUSTRY NEWS

Another Young Victim of Asbestos

This very recent report from the BBC (7 January 2020) highlights, yet again, that we can all become victims of asbestos-related diseases unless care is taken – even the very young:
https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-birmingham-51021204

Having achieved her ‘dream job’ as a bus driver in the West Midlands and, as a result of her passion and hard work, beaten 250 others to be named Bus Driver of the Year for 2018, poor Isobell Gall died on New Year’s Eve…at the age of just 29, having never worked in construction in her short life. What an awful for her family to start the new decade; may we extend our sincere sympathies.

Doctors believe Isobel may have contracted deadly mesothelioma when she was as young as 6. Although the most lethal types of asbestos were banned in the 1980s (when Isobel wouldn’t have even been a distant twinkle in her parents’ eyes) and all types finally banned completely at the turn of the century, her death is an all-too-poignant reminder that asbestos is still all around us in our daily lives, and ignoring the issue costs lives – young and old.

Transport services across the country are campaigning to raise awareness amongst the public through social media: #WeStandWithIsobel. There has always been an inexcusable lack of information presented to the general public about asbestos so they can be excused for not realising the extent of the deadly problem. But, we at WHS are still continually, quite frankly, disgusted at the general disregard for people’s safety demonstrated by a large proportion of UK industry. It is law that all businesses have immediate access to health & safety advice (which is why you have engaged us) but few companies seem to ever ask their advisors, or care, about the issue of asbestos within their premises – which is inexcusable.

So, sadly we need to start the new year – the new decade, a full 20 years after the total asbestos ban – by reminding everyone out there that asbestos is very real and very deadly and nobody, no matter who they are and what their function is, commercial or domestic, can afford to cut corners or ignore the issue. Isobel’s father asked ‘why my Isobel?’ Everyone must take this issue and the potential for exposure extremely seriously, both at work and at home, or you may be asking ‘why my child?’ yourself.

PAT & Insurance Implications

As the HSE and all other responsible health & safety-related organisations will agree, WHS strongly advocates that regular and competent PAT (portable appliance testing) is carried out on all your mobile electrical tools and equipment. The frequency will naturally depend upon the type of equipment, the frequency of use, the nature of use and the working environment; for example, we may advocate 3-month intervals for a heavy-use tool but may say that annual would be sufficient for the same tool in a very infrequent-use situation.

However, there is a misconception that PAT is law; it isn’t. In the same way that permits to work are not law but have become standard and accepted practice, PAT testing is a means to a (legal) end but is not law in itself. This is a very important point as it has come to our attention that some in the insurance industry may be implying it is legally required and that the insured would not be covered where the insurer’s interpretation of frequencies is not followed.

Where an insurance company dictates their terms for electrical safety and lays down in writing their required frequency for PAT testing, that obviously must be followed; it’s always vital that every business reads, understands and observes all restrictions within their insurance documents. However, where there is no such stipulation, you are quite within your rights to establish your own controls, which (and we would always advocate this) would be best to include an appropriate PAT testing regime.
What is legally required, however, is that all electrical equipment must be CE marked and non-defective when purchased, stored and handled appropriately, maintained in good working order and free from defects, checked visually before use each day with records made frequently to that effect, and withdrawn for use and repaired by suitable specialists when defects are found or suspected. Relevant regulations (so there is no excuse for not establishing proper controls) are:

  • Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974
  • The Electricity at Work Regulations of 1989
  • The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations of 1998
  • The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations of 1999

Specific information can be found on: https://www.pat.org.uk/is-pat-testing-a-legal-requirement/ To quote from the organisation’s website:

“Claims that PAT testing is required by law and that the client is breaking the law by not having it done are simply not true. The law does require however that employers, including self-employed, ensure that all electrical equipment that they provide in their business is safe and properly maintained. This means that PAT testing is a critical part of your company’s health and safety and should be considered part of a solution to your safety concerns.”

So, to summarise:

  • No, PAT is not law, but
  • Adequate controls to ensure all equipment is and remains safe for use are required by law and must be established and records established and maintained as proof
  • You will find yourself uninsured, not if you have failed to carry out PAT, but if you are in breach of the law by not ensuring your equipment is safe, so
  • It makes absolute sense to establish a PAT regime at frequencies that reflect the risks of the workplace.

Again, we are here to help; contact the WHS office for further advice and/or PAT testing itself.

EMPLOYMENT NEWS

National Minimum Wage

From 1 April 2020, the national minimum wage levels per hour for each age range are as follows:

  • 25+ – £8.72
  • 21 – 24 – £8.20
  • 18 – 20 – £6.45
  • 16 – 17 – £4.55
  • Apprenticeships – £4.15

National ‘living wage’ rates have not yet been set due to the December election.

Written Statement of Terms

From 6 April 2020, all new employees will have to the right to a ‘written statement of particulars’ from the first day of their employment.

Take note all those employers out there that don’t even give their employees proper contracts yet!! Proper and accurate employment contracts are required by law so, even if there is a delay in issuing that contract for whatever reason, from 6 April, employees must be clear about their terms of employment from day one.

Changes to Agency Workers’ Rights

From 6 April 2020, all agency workers will be (a) entitled to key information setting out their employment relationship with the employing agency and the terms & conditions of that employment.

In addition, all agency workers who have been in a company’s employment for 12 weeks or more will be entitled to the same pay as those on permanent contracts. And, all agency workers who are considered ‘employees’ will be protected against unfair dismissal.

Holiday Pay Calculations

From 6 April 2020, the reference period for calculating a week’s pay for holiday purposes will be extended from 12 to 52 weeks i.e. taking an entire year’s circumstances into account rather than a limited period.

Parental Bereavement Leave

From 6 April 2020, parents will have the right to 2 weeks leave if their child under the age of 18 dies or if they suffer a still birth from 24 weeks of pregnancy. This is a new and very welcome piece of legislation, aimed at giving parents time to grieve and reducing their stress.

GENERAL NEWS

Personal Safety

There is a very useful app for your iphone which can play a big part in ensuring your location can be immediately and accurately notified to emergency services. The ‘what3words’ app has allocated 3 specific words to each of every (yes every!) 3m x 3m square of the World so, by quoting those 3 unique words, emergency services can pinpoint your location exactly, even if you have no idea of the address.

The app is available in many different languages and can be used socially as well (find you friends, locate destinations, note where you parked your car, find your tent at Glastonbury!). However, it does tend to drain battery power as it’s operational continuously, for obvious reasons. But, despite this down-side, the app would be very useful for those of us who may go to off-the beaten track sites, as well as densely populated areas where you may have no idea which street you’re in!

Go to the Apple app store or what3words to download.

AND FINALLY

With sincere thanks to the HSE for all photographs

Work at height

  • WD Cormack & Sons was fined £8,000 after a driver fell almost 3 metres from a trailer, sustaining severe injuries. The driver had been securing grain bags on the curtain-side trailer; no means of preventing falls from this considerable height had been considered. A reminder: ‘work at height’ relates to any work off the ground, not just confined to construction; the risks of harm are just the same.
  • Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd was fined a total of over £298,000 after a worker sustained very serious injuries falling 4.8 metres through an unprotected opening in a water tower at a property owned by Company Director, Richard McAlpine. Another reminder: health & safety controls are required whether the work is carried out at a commercial or domestic site; the risks of harm are just the same.
  • Light Power Grp Ltd was fined £80,000 and its director, Michael Webb, given a suspended 12-month sentence, and ordered to carry out 200 hours community work and pay costs of £15,000 after a worker was killed falling 7 metres through a fragile roof. The worker was Webb’s brother.
  • M&M Damproof Co. Ltd was fined a total of almost £21,000 after a worker received serious multiple fractures falling 5 metres head first from the corrugated roof of a motor vehicle workshop under repair. Two workers had accessed the pitched roof by ladder and no edge protection had been set up to prevent falls from the roof, or through the fragile sheeting or roof-lights. He was lucky not to have been killed.
  • Decorator, Ian Ramsey, was given a 12-month community order and ordered to carry out 160 hours unpaid work and pay costs of over £2,000 after one of his employees was paralysed from the waist down falling from a roof ladder. No edge protection had been set up to prevent falls, nor had adequate access equipment been provided.

Vibration

  • Property developer and management company, Places for People Homes Ltd, was fined a total of almost £614,000 after five employees developed HAVS over a period of five years from the vibration emanating whilst using grounds maintenance equipment. The Company had failed to provide health surveillance or training, nor had it maintained and replaced tools to ensure vibration levels were reduced.

N.B.
The massive level of this fine demonstrates that vibration is not considered a minor issue by the HSE or the courts. HAVS and similar conditions are serious, debilitating and life-changing; they must be taken seriously or employees will continue to be harmed … employers will continue to end up in court.

Gas work

  • Marc Murrie was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment after claiming to be Gas Safe registered on several occasions and carrying out unsafe gas work during 2016. Yet another case of a fraudulent gas engineer.

N.B.

This case related to domestic properties; however, as we repeatedly stress, any business who does not verify that the appointed gas engineer is Gas Safe registered, may be vulnerable to prosecution. As a business, it is your legal duty to ensure everyone you engage is competent. Go to: https://www.gassaferegister.co.uk/find-an-engineer/ to make sure before you appoint the engineer

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

To contact WHS, ring: 01952-885885

COMPANY NEWS

Christmas Closure

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

very happy, healthy and safe Christmas, and New Year

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

Forthcoming Courses

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

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

First Aid

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

Duration: 1 day (6 hours)

2019 dates:

  • 26 November 2019
  • 18 December 2019

Cost: £75 + VAT per person

2020 dates:

  • 27 January 2020
  • 25 February 2020

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

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

IOSH Managing Safely

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

CITB Courses

IMPORTANT NOTES:

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

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

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

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)

Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week
Dates:

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

Cost: £495 + VAT per person

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

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

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

  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS)

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

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

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

  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS) Refresher

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

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

  • CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

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

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

Safety Awards

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

  • Commitment to Safety:

Morris Property Ltd of Shrewsbury.

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

  • Commitment to Continual Improvement:

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

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

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

Help with Dyslexia

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

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

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

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

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

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

COSHH Assessment Changes

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

So some timely reminders at this point:

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

Permits to Work Changes

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

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

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

The Importance of Environmental Management

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

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

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

HSE NEWS

HSE Enforcement

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

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

But what about these?

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

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

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

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

An Important Reminder

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

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

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

Another Important Reminder

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

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

INDUSTRY NEWS

Safety on Forward Tipping Dumpers

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

Radon

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

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

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

Underground Services

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

To summarise the USAG advice:

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

However, WHS would also add:

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

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

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

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

Mental Health Awareness

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

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

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

Work at Height – Fall Arrest

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

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

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

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

Footnote:

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

GENERAL NEWS

Mobile Phones Whilst Driving

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

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

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

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

Yet Another Victim of Asbestos

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

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

AND FINALLY

With sincere thanks to the HSE for all photographs

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

Management

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

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

Work at height

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

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

Heavy lifting

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

Plant & vehicle segregation

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

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

                           

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

To contact WHS, ring: 01952-885885

COMPANY NEWS

Christmas Closure

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

very happy, healthy and safe Christmas, and New Year

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

Forthcoming Courses

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

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

First Aid

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

Duration: 1 day (6 hours)

2019 dates:

  • 26 November 2019
  • 18 December 2019

Cost: £75 + VAT per person

2020 dates:

  • 27 January 2020
  • 25 February 2020

Cost: £85 + VAT per person

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

IOSH Managing Safely

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

CITB Courses

IMPORTANT NOTES:

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

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

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

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)

Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week

Dates:

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

Cost: £495 + VAT per person

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

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

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

  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS)

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

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

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

  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS) Refresher

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

  • CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

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

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

Safety Awards

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

  • Commitment to Safety:

Morris Property Ltd of Shrewsbury.

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

  • Commitment to Continual Improvement:

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

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

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

Help with Dyslexia

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

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

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

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

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

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

COSHH Assessment Changes

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

So some timely reminders at this point:

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

The Importance of Environmental Management

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

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

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

HSE NEWS

HSE Enforcement

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

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

But what about these?

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

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

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

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

An Important Reminder

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

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

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

INDUSTRY NEWS

Mental Health Awareness

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

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

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

Work at Height – Fall Arrest

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

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

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

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

Footnote:

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

Electrical Safety and Innovation

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

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

GENERAL NEWS

Mobile Phones Whilst Driving

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

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

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

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

Yet Another Victim of Asbestos

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

AND FINALLY

With sincere thanks to the HSE for all photographs

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

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

Management

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

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

Work at height

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

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

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

                                

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

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

COMPANY NEWS

Christmas Closure

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

very happy, healthy and safe Christmas, and New Year

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

Forthcoming Courses

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

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

First Aid

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

Duration: 1 day (6 hours)

2019 dates:

  • 26 November 2019
  • 18 December 2019

Cost: £75 + VAT per person

2020 dates:

  • 27 January 2020
  • 25 February 2020

Cost: £85 + VAT per person

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

IOSH Managing Safely

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

Safety Awards

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

  • Commitment to Safety:

Morris Property Ltd of Shrewsbury.

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

  • Commitment to Continual Improvement:

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

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

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

Help with Dyslexia

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

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

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

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

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

COSHH Assessment Changes

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

So some timely reminders at this point:

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

HSE NEWS

An Important Reminder

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

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

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

GENERAL NEWS

Mobile Phones Whilst Driving

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

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

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

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

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

Radon

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

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

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

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

Yet Another Victim of Asbestos

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

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

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

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

AND FINALLY

With sincere thanks to the HSE for all photographs

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

Management

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

Footnote:

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

Work at height

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

Important footnote:

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

  • Every 7 days minimum

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

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

Plant & vehicle segregation

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

Machinery & guarding

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

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

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

COMPANY NEWS

Forthcoming Courses

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

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

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

First Aid

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

Duration: 1 day (6 hours)

2019 dates:

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

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

2020 dates:

  • 27 January 2020
  • 25 February 2020

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

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

First Aid for Mental Health

Duration: 1 day Level 2 RQF (6 hours)

Dates:

  • 2 October 2019 (Wednesday)

Cost: £75 + VAT per person
Lunch is provided

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

IOSH Managing Safely

Duration: 3 days

Dates:

  • January 2020 (date to be confirmed)

Cost: £395 + VAT per person
Lunch is provided

CITB Courses

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

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

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

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)

Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week

Dates:

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

Cost: £495 + VAT per person

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher

Duration: 2 days

Dates:

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

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

  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS)

Duration: 2 days

Dates:

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

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

  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS) Refresher

Duration: 1 day

Dates:

  • PLEASE CONTACT WHS; no date currently confirmed

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

  • CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness

Duration: 1 day

Dates:

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

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

HSE NEWS

Vibration – IMPORTANT

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

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

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

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

First-Aid – IMPORTANT

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

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

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

INDUSTRY NEWS

Why Wear Safety Eyewear?

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

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

Abrasive Wheels Training

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

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

Legionella & CDM

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

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

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

Legionella – General Comments

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

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

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

Welfare

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

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

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

Fire Plans

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

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

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

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

Telescopic Mobile Towers

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

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

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

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

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

New Guidance on Dumpers

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

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

CSCS Cards – Important Changes

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

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

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

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

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

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

GENERAL NEWS

Ensure Accuracy!

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

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

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

The Use of Drones

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

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

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

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

AND FINALLY


With sincere thanks to the HSE for all photographs

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

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

Vibration

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

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

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

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

Welfare

Following from the article above:

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

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

Hazardous substances

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

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

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

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

And, inevitably…there’s asbestos

Asbestos

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

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

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

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

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

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

COMPANY NEWS

Forthcoming Courses

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

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

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

First Aid

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

Duration: 1 day (6 hours)

2019 dates:

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

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

2020 dates:

  • 27 January 2020
  • 25 February 2020

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

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

First Aid for Mental Health

Duration: 1 day Level 2 RQF (6 hours)

Dates:

  • 2 October 2019 (Wednesday)

Cost: £75 + VAT per person
Lunch is provided

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

IOSH Managing Safely

Duration: 3 days

Dates:

  • January 2020 (date to be confirmed)

Cost: £395 + VAT per person
Lunch is provided

CITB Courses

IMPORTANT NOTES:

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

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

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

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)

Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week

Dates:

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

Cost: £495 + VAT per person

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher

Duration: 2 days

Dates:

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

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

  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS)

Duration: 2 days

Dates:

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

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

  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS) Refresher

Duration: 1 day

Dates:

  • PLEASE CONTACT WHS; no dates currently planned

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

  • CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness

Duration: 1 day

Dates:

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

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

HSE NEWS

Vibration – IMPORTANT

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

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

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

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

First-Aid – IMPORTANT

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

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

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

INDUSTRY NEWS

Why Wear Safety Eyewear?

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

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

Abrasive Wheels Training

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

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

Legionella & CDM

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

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

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

Legionella – General Comments

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

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

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

Welfare

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

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

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

Fire Plans

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

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

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

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

Telescopic Mobile Towers

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

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

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

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

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

CSCS Cards – Important Changes

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

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

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

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

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

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

GENERAL NEWS

Ensure Accuracy!

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

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

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

The Use of Drones

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

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

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

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

AND FINALLY

With sincere thanks to the HSE for all photographs

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

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

Vibration

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

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

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

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

Welfare

Following from the article above:

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

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

Hazardous substances

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

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

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

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

And, inevitably…there’s asbestos

Asbestos

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

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

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

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

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

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

COMPANY NEWS

Forthcoming Courses

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

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

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

First Aid

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

Duration: 1 day (6 hours)

2019 dates:

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

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

2020 dates:

  • 27 January 2020
  • 25 February 2020

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

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

First Aid for Mental Health

Duration: 1 day Level 2 RQF (6 hours)

Dates:

  • 2 October 2019 (Wednesday)

Cost: £75 + VAT per person
Lunch is provided

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

IOSH Managing Safely

Duration: 3 days

Dates:

  • January 2020 (date to be confirmed)

Cost: £395 + VAT per person
Lunch is provided

HSE NEWS

Vibration – IMPORTANT

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

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

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

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

First-Aid – IMPORTANT

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

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

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

INDUSTRY NEWS

Why Wear Safety Eyewear?

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

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

Abrasive Wheels Training

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

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

Welfare

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

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

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

Legionella & CDM

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

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

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

Legionella – General Comments

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

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

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

Telescopic Mobile Towers

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

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

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

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

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

GENERAL NEWS

Ensure Accuracy!

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

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

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

The Use of Drones

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

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

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

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

AND FINALLY

With sincere thanks to the HSE for all photographs

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

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

Vibration

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

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

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

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

Welfare

Following from the article above:

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

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

Hazardous substances

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

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

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

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

Asbestos

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

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

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

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

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

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

COMPANY NEWS

Forthcoming Courses

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

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

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

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

IOSH Managing Safely

Duration: 3 days
Dates:

22, 23 & 24 October (Tuesday – Thursday)

Cost: £395 + VAT per person
Lunch is provided

First Aid

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

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

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

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

First Aid for Mental Health

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

2 October 2019 (Wednesday)

Cost: £75 + VAT per person
Lunch is provided

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

CITB Courses

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

AND

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

Attendance is vital

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

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

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)

Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week
Dates:

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

Cost: £495 + VAT per person

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

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

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

  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS)

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

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

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

  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS) Refresher

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

30 August 2019 (Friday)

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

  • CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

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

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

WHS Lobbying of Your Behalf

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

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

Your Documents Are YOUR Responsibility!!

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

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

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

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

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

HSE NEWS

CDM in the Exhibition & Entertainments Industry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Legionella

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

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

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

The Cost of NOT Doing Things Properly!

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

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

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

INDUSTRY NEWS

Rescue Plans for Work at Height

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

Questions:

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

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

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

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

Welding Fume etc

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

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

Face-Fit Testing

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

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

Vibration

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

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

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

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

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

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

Important Footnote:

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

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

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

Asbestos – the Reality of the Suffering

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

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

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

Site Security

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

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

GENERAL NEWS

Keep a Track of Your Personnel – at ALL times

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

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

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

Safety Alert – Defibrillators

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

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

RIDDOR

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

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

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

Highway Code – Important Rule Changes

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

HSE Law Poster – it is Law!!

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

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

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

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

AND FINALLY

With sincere thanks to the HSE for all photographs

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

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

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

Falls for height

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And lastly, a truly awful case…

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

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

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

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

To contact WHS, ring: 01952-885885