WENLOCK HEALTH & SAFETY Ltd EXTENDS WARMEST CHRISTMAS WISHES TO ALL OUR CLIENTS;
WE TRUST THAT 2019 WILL BE BOTH PROSPEROUS
AND SAFE!

COMPANY NEWS

Christmas Closure

Yes, it’s that time of year again! My, how time flies! May we take this opportunity to extend warm seasonal wishes to all our clients, and thank you once again for your continuing and valued custom.

Please take note that our offices will be closing from midday on Friday 21 December 2018 until 8 am on Wednesday 2 January 2019. No consultants will be available during this period to provide normal services; however, if there is an emergency situation requiring immediate attention, please contact Laura on 07791-670987 (emergencies only please!)

IMPORTANT – New Courses

We now offer the following courses; as always, please contact the WHS office (01952-885885) for further details and to book places. The following fees assume training at WHS premises; additional travel costs will be applicable to courses undertaken elsewhere:

  • IOSH Managing Safely
    Duration: 3 days
    Dates: 13, 14 & 15 February 2019 (Tuesday & Wednesday)
    Cost: £395 + VAT per person
  • UKATA Category A Asbestos Awareness
    Duration: 1/2 day
    Dates: 4 January 2019 (Friday)
    Cost: £60 + VAT per person
  • Timber Frame Safety in Construction & Design
    Duration: 1/2 days
    Dates: To your requirements
    Cost: Normal hourly rate; maximum 12 persons
  • Lead Awareness
    Duration: 1/2 days
    Dates: To your requirements
    Cost: Normal hourly rate; maximum 12 persons

 

CITB Training Courses

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

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

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)
    Duration: 5 days
    Dates: 7 – 11 January 2019 (BLOCK BOOKING Monday – Friday)
    22 Feb & 1, 8, 15 & 22 March 2019 1 day per week
    Cost: £495 + VAT per person
  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher
    Duration: 2 days
    Dates: 27 & 28 February 2019 (Wednesday & Thursday)
    Cost: £265 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)
  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS)
    Duration: 2 days
    Dates: 20 & 21 February 2019 (Wednesday & Thursday)
    Cost: £230 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)
  • CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness
    Duration: 1 day
    Dates: 30 January 2019 (Wednesday)
    Cost: £125 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

 

First Aid Training

Forthcoming 2018 / 2019 dates for the WHS 1-day Emergency First Aid courses, also held at training rooms, are as follows; the fee is just £75 + VAT per person:

  • 19 December 2018 places available
  • 21 January 2019 FULLY BOOKED
  • 26 February 2019 places available
  • 27 March 2019 places available
  • 25 April 2019 places available
  • 28 May 2019 places available

 

 

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

A Plea from WHS

Some of our clients put their Health & Safety Policy on their websites – good practice but, if that is done, then please make sure it’s kept current! We’ve seen several examples of policies on websites that are several years out of date – which doesn’t look good for either the company or us!

WHS Safety Awards

As usual, at the end of each year, WHS tries to encourage good health & safety practice by issuing awards for those companies or individuals who have demonstrated clear and proven commitment to the well-being of their employees or colleagues. This year, we are delighted to announce the following awards:

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

 

Both will receive awards for Commitment to Safety as they have demonstrated high standards of health & safety management throughout the many years of their involvement with their employing companies; examples to all businesses of how health & safety should become second nature to good effect.

  • Mick Collins – Operations & H&S Manager for Morris Site Machinery. Mick will receive an award for Proactive Safety Management as he is continually looking for mechanisms to improve the Company’s safety culture, despite that culture already being of a high standard.
  • Islabikes, and
  • Protocol Control Systems

 

Both will receive awards for Continual Improvement in Health & Safety; both companies are internally driven by management to explore new health & safety systems and documentation towards continual improvement.

  • Advanced Glass Facades – will receive an award for Commitment to Health & Safety Compliance as the Company has continually shown a strong desire to ensure a sound health & safety culture at all levels.

 

Hearty congratulations to all our winners! We’ve experienced a real mixed bag of good and (sometimes very) bad practice throughout our customer-base this year. However, the vast majority do try their best to safeguard their workforce, with those rewarded above being shining examples of how things should be done.

HSE NEWS

Beware!! New Harsher Sentencing

New sentencing guidelines came into effect on 1 November 2018, following on from previous changes resulting from the failure of previous fine and custodial levels being effective deterrents. So be warned!

These new sentencing guidelines relate to gross negligence manslaughter where the individual is proven to have had ‘such a disregard for life and the safety of others that it amounts to a crime against the state and conduct deserving punishment’. In other words, the individual is seen to have blatantly ignored his/her Duty of Care incumbent under the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974, resulting in the death/s.

And it’s important to note that the breach doesn’t have to have been the primary or only cause of death, as long as it was a contributing factor.

It is also important to note that the new guidelines apply to any offence that happened after APRIL 2010.

Prison sentences can range from 1 to a maximum of 18 years, with life sentences (18 years followed by parole) for the most serious cases. Other punishments, including director disqualifications for up to 15 years, are also possible. Full details can be found on: https://bit.ly/2OsyUjo

Any individuals can be prosecuted; they don’t have to be directors or senior management but can include health & safety managers and professionals, and others. So, if you have any problems or issues related to your role and/or responsibilities (particularly if you are in charge of health & safety in your organisation), please feel free to ring WHS to discuss further.

Note – this relates to UK law so, no matter what happens after Brexit, the Health & Safety at Work Act and the above will remain!

Latest HSE Statistics

Confirmed accident, injury and ill-health statistics were published by the HSE in October. The UK still has the best health & safety record in Europe (and probably the World, but that’s impossible to verify) and for that we should be proud rather than critical. However, there is always room for improvement and we should never become complacent or let our guard down. Every statistic relates to a person:

  • 144 workers killed at work
  • 555,000 injuries at work
  • 71,062 injuries to employees reported under RIDDOR
  • 1.4 million working people suffering from work-related ill health
  • 30.7 million working days lost due to work-related ill health and workplace injury
  • £15 billion estimated cost of injuries and ill health to the UK

 

And to Emphasise the Facts

To ram the message home about the actually costs to UK industry of accidents and ill-health (in terms of people and finance), the HSE issues an annual Vital Statistics poster, available from HSE Books.

Use it to refresh tired health and safety notice-boards with the latest statistics, raise awareness about the consequences of poor health and safety practice, and remind employees (and management) that good safety is good sense.

Targeting Vibration

A quote from a recent HSE bulletin:

“Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) is a permanent condition affecting the nerves and blood vessels of the hand. It can cause pain, tingling and numbness, making it difficult to carry out everyday tasks. The condition is caused by prolonged and regular exposure to hand arm vibration and can render a worker disabled, affecting their chances of employment.

Earlier this year, contractor Balfour Beatty Utility Solutions Ltd was fined £500,000 after exposing workers to this debilitating health condition over a nine-year period, which put them at risk of developing HAVS.

The HSE investigation found that the company failed in its legal duty to ensure the risks to workers who used these tools was kept to as low a level as reasonably practicable.

At HSE our mission is to prevent workplace death, injury and ill-health: If your workers are exposed to hand arm vibration, don’t let this happen to you.

HSE’s website has a wealth of information and advice for employers, including key messages and good practice solutions. Click here to find out more.”

The HSE has said that it will actively target the issue of vibration and HAVS from the start of 2019. WHS has already learned of many contractors who have received enforcement or FFI costs for not having vibration assessments. Vibration assessments have been a legal requirement on all hand-held or hand-controlled equipment, or where materials are worked on an abrasive wheel or similar, since 2005 – but, in our experience, it’s rarely done despite WHS emphasising the requirement time after time.

We do have some sympathy though as tools are way better than they were when it became necessary to implement the regulations in 2005, with the consequence that vibration is (usually) seen as a minor issue now. However, we do still find old or poor equipment in use and employers requiring employees to use vibrating equipment for long periods; so the need for specific vibration assessments is still there.

And it is still law – if you aren’t able to demonstrate that vibration assessment is carried out, then you can expect HSE enforcement. Or worse – as the Balfour Beatty case clearly shows.

INDUSTRY NEWS

Contractor Assessment

As we say time and time again, it is a legal requirement (through both CDM and Section 3 of the Health & Safety at Work Act) for ALL employing persons or bodies to ensure that those engaged are COMPETENT to do the job safely and without risk to either themselves or others affected. We still continually find that this is not being done by the vast majority of our customers.

And, yes, under the Health & Safety at Work Act, this covers ALL people employed, not just construction-related contractors. This includes cleaners, window cleaners, landscapers, service and repair engineers, etc, etc, and tree surgeons as the following prosecution demonstrates:

Alpha Schools was fined a total of £60,000 and ordered to pay £50,000 to the victim (a grand total of £110,000) after a tree surgeon was hit on the head by a falling branch, sustaining serious spinal injuries and permanently confining him to a wheelchair.

P&X Complete Cleaning Services had been employed at the Crown Preparatory School in High Wycombe to remove a sycamore tree ahead of later building works. Yes, the owner of P&X was given an 18-month suspended prison sentence as there had been no risk assessment carried out and no safe system of work established. But, Alpha Schools was fined because it had failed to carry out proper checks to verify the competency of the contractor it engaged.

A strong lesson to everyone – health & safety-related competency checks MUST by law be carried out before any appointment, whether it relates to construction or not. Laws are there for valid reasons!

The Importance of Failsafe Design

This recent horrendous accident is a good example of how designers (of all types) must consider the ‘what if’ scenario; what started out, presumably as a laugh, turned deadly:
https://bit.ly/2PXzUjf

The design of the roller-shutter door should not have allowed this to happen. Good garage roller-shutters have detection mechanisms built it to stop movement (opening or closing) as soon as resistance is detected. So a lesson to all designers to take account of all foreseeable risks (and this was foreseeable) and to those purchasing equipment to make sure that the equipment is designed for safety.

On that note, we would reiterate a warning given on many occasions before – it is perfectly legal for a CE-marked piece of equipment to be purchased which may not be legal to use in this country. CE marking relates to quality, not safety; just because an item is CE marked, this does not necessarily mean it is safe to use under UK law.

A stupid situation certainly but, in the UK, the onus is on the user (in this case, the landlord) to ensure that all foreseeable risks have been assessed and appropriate controls established. The secret is to risk assess the items before purchase so that future problems are not being inadvertently built in. If you have any doubts or questions about your equipment or future purchases, please don’t hesitate to contact WHS.

The Importance of Following Design in Installation

A glass balustrade panel fell recently from a feature staircase in a public building. Fortunately nobody was hurt, but the investigation showed that installation had not been undertaken in accordance with design.

The glass panels were to be installed using a propriety bracket; however, the installers omitted the locking pins, relying instead on clamping friction. Once installed, it was impossible to see whether the pins had been inserted or not; nobody had overseen the installation to ensure the operation was carried out correctly.

So, be honest, how many people reading this cut corners (whether to save time and/or money) and don’t install fixtures and fittings properly; how often do we find (e.g.) 2 screws instead of 4 holding something in place?! And who do you think would be blamed by the HSE if items not installed properly had caused injury?

The Importance of Competent Supervision
See also prosecutions section below

Again, fortunately, nobody was hurt in this recent accident but the investigation highlighted the effects of lack of competent supervision on the ground (as, indeed, did the previous case).

A set of chain blocks and a metre length of bar fell 5 metres to the ground during a lift. The chain blocks were suspended from a hook attached to a proprietary lifting anchor consisting of a cast-in bar which joined to other bars together using a coupler. The investigation showed that the anchor had not been installed in accordance with the design and the supervisor had made the decision to accept the situation without additional (competent) authority.

This is an all-too-typical case of inadequate specialist competence at the workface. Site managers and supervisors have a lot to contend with and are held to be adequately experienced and knowledgeable about construction in general. However, where specialism is required, contractors must acknowledge a deficiency and engage a suitably competent individual or company to properly supervise that specialist operation. The HSE would not see this as a sign of weakness, rather a sign of good management i.e. recognising and properly addressing deficiencies.

Asbestos (yet again!)

IOSH has been running an excellent campaign for some while now to highlight the very real necessity for a full understanding of asbestos and the extreme dangers of ignoring the issue. The ‘No Time to Lose’ campaign enables you to tap into some very valuable reference material (which can be used for tool-box talks or awareness refreshers) via:
https://www.iosh.co.uk/News/No-Time-to-Lose-asbestos.aspx
https://www.notimetolose.org.uk/
https://www.notimetolose.org.uk/free-resources/asbestos-pack-taster/

GENERAL NEWS

Planning for the Future

We all lead very busy lives, and it is typical amongst businesses across the spectrum that management ‘hasn’t got the time’ to sit down and plan properly for potential eventualities and for the future. However, the importance of this was brought home to WHS in no uncertain terms in 2010 when two of our employees were hospitalised and unable to work properly for a couple of months because of a serious car accident (which, we hasten to add, was not their fault!). The effect of suddenly losing two key employees within a small company employing just 7 was enormous in terms of both customer care and finance.

We’ve noted the latest HSE statistics above, but how many businesses plan for the very high likelihood of long-term absences such as experienced by WHS 8 years ago. According to a recent CIPD report:

  • 56% of those companies asked had experienced long-term absences due to mental health
  • 50% due to musculoskeletal injuries
  • 48% due to acute medical conditions
  • 19% due to injuries or accidents (work or non-work related)

 

So the chances of having to deal with long-term (or permanent) absence is very high for any business – and, of course, the effects are increasingly profound on smaller businesses.

Of course, the secret to a stable workforce is to ensure happy and loyal employees. All too often, employers foster discontent and stress through aggressive management, unrealistic expectations and lack of empathy. In the same CIPD report, the top 3 causes of stress amongst employees are due to:

  • 60% volume of work and unattainable expectations by management (resulting in 86% of employees admitting to working when unwell, using leave instead of calling in sick, or working during leave periods)
  • 32% management styles
  • 27% non-work related (e.g. family issues)

 

All of these can be reduced (and productivity increased) by listening and empathising with employees’ needs. We’re not all the same; not everyone can work in the same way or at the same pace. And we should all have the opportunity to relax and switch off (it’s a legal entitlement for a good reason!).

As an aside, the HSE has a ‘Talking Toolkit for Preventing & Managing Stress’; download the toolkit here.

However, the unforeseen happens; so set aside time to plan for business continuity and the ‘what if’ factor before it’s too late.

Planning for business continuity is also vital to prepare any business for hand-over as senior or key staff retire. According to the FSB, small businesses in the UK are heading for a cliff-edge in 7 or 8 years time as few of them have planned far enough ahead to be able to transfer responsibility to others. The result? Senior staff working till they drop and the eventual demise of the Company. Retirement may seem a long way off to a lot of people but, as we all know, time marches on far too quickly and there’s a huge risk of not thinking ahead and training good staff to take over until it’s too late.

‘Business continuity’ is not corporate jargon – it’s essential for all businesses. Take time to plan for the future – especially now that we’re facing an uncertain future because of Brexit!

Asbestos in Cigarettes??!!

As we’ve highlighted many times, and continually in our asbestos awareness training, that there is a strong possibility of asbestos creeping into imported goods – especially via eBay and non-UK portals. And here’s a good example of that very issue – fake cigarettes containing asbestos:
https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/bootleg-cigarettes-containing-asbestos-on-sale-in-belfast-30775111.html

So, if anyone out there is tempted to buy fake cigarettes, be warned! As always, you get what you pay for so, if it’s cheap, there’s a reason for it!

And, with the festive season upon us, the same applies to alcohol – never be tempted to buy from anyone other than reputable suppliers. There have been cases of fake spirits laced with bleach!!

AND FINALLY

Clients and contractors alike should take special note of the first accident mentioned below – a clear demonstration that, as WHS continually emphasises, British Law applies to EVERYONE working in this country, no matter where they are based.

And just look at the level of fine for the second prosecution – note there had been no accident and the prosecution was brought for failing to plan, manage and monitor the work.

Work at height

  • Contractor, Ortec BV of the Netherlands, was fined a total of almost £305,000 and sub-contractor, Mechantech Ltd, a total of over £41,000 after a worker sustained serious head injuries falling 10 metres from a racking system undergoing re-commissioning. No safe system had been established; there were no fall prevention measures in place at all, not even any harnesses as fall arrest (from 10 metres!).
  • MG Corporation Ltd was fined a total of almost £255,000 after ignoring prohibition notices and failing to improve safety. The Company was prosecuted under both the Work at Height Regs and CDM for ‘failing to plan, manage and monitor construction work under their control’.
  • Director of Brooke Ren Ltd, Jason Lycett, was fined a total of over £37,000 after the partial collapse of a building undergoing roof-work on a new build-block of flats. Lycett had been warned pre-construction that the roof needed to be designed by specialists (obviously!) but the warning was ignored. The result was that the roof structure could not withstand the loadings applied. Luckily, there were no injuries as a hoist breakdown meant that no workers were on the roof at the point of collapse. Lucky for the workers, and to some extent, Lycett himself as a fatality would almost certainly have resulted in jail.
    Asbestos
  • Pascla Huser Design & Build Ltd was fined a total of almost £21,000 for failing to obtain an asbestos survey before refurbishment work. As a result, AIB was not removed by a licensed contractor (as it should be by law), but by the Company itself without any precautions whatsoever.

 

Buried services

  • Southern Gas Networks Plc was fined a total of well over £1.2 million and contractor, Cliffe Contractors Ltd, almost £73,000 after a medium-pressure gas main was damaged and subsequently ignited, causing severe burns to two workers. Cliffe had not employing safe digging techniques so caused the damage; SGN had not followed their own procedures when called in to effect repair, causing the injuries.

 

Plant & vehicles

  • JS Wood & Son, a farm, was fined a total of £107,000 after an employee was struck and killed by a tractor as he stepped out of a calf shed. No thought had been given to how employees could safely exit the shed nor cross the busy tractor route without being struck. Yes, this case involved a farm – but ask yourself whether your own structures are safe to exit and/or have you organised safe traffic routes.
  • Lemon Groundwork Solutions Ltd was fined a total of over £106,000 after a worker suffered multiple leg injuries when a bundle of rebar fell from a fork-lift. No safe system of work had been established (to ensure the rebar didn’t slip from the forks) nor was there any person/plant segregation.
  • Whiterose Scaffolding (Leeds) Ltd was fined a total of over £62,000 after a worker was severely injured when a fork-lift overturned. The driver, who was the victim, had not been trained, nor had he been wearing his seat-belt (which would have restrained him within the ‘cockpit’ when the fork-lift overturned).

Again – laws are made for a reason, and they apply to all industries. It is LAW to wear the seat-belt to avoid just these types of crushing injuries

Health

  • Caldreys UK Ltd was fined a total of almost £65,000 for two clear breaches of health-related law:
    • Employees reported Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome after extensive use of pneumatic tools, and
    • No controls had been established to prevent inhalation of silica dusts

 

And lastly – failing to report under RIDDOR

  • Malcolm Foyle, trading as S Foyle & Son, was fined almost £3,000 for failing to report under RIDDOR. An employee received broken bones and head injuries when the dumper he was driving overturned in an excavation. Foyle was fined for failing to report the injuries and, upon investigation, also for failing to prevent the overturn of plant, falls into the excavation, or its collapse.

 

DON’T FORGET – THE PROSECUTIONS HIGHLIGHTED IN THESE NEWSLETTERS ARE JUST A FRACTION OF THOSE REPORTED. NON-COMPLIANCE TO HEALTH & SAFETY LAW WILL RESULT IN ENFORCEMENT OR PROSECUTION
AND, MORE IMPORTANTLY, RISKS KILLING OR INJURING SOMEONE

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

WENLOCK HEALTH & SAFETY Ltd EXTENDS WARMEST CHRISTMAS WISHES TO ALL OUR CLIENTS;
WE TRUST THAT 2019 WILL BE BOTH PROSPEROUS
AND SAFE!

COMPANY NEWS

Christmas Closure

Yes, it’s that time of year again! My, how time flies! May we take this opportunity to extend warm seasonal wishes to all our clients, and thank you once again for your continuing and valued custom.

Please take note that our offices will be closing from midday on Friday 21 December 2018 until 8 am on Wednesday 2 January 2019. No consultants will be available during this period to provide normal services; however, if there is an emergency situation requiring immediate attention, please contact Laura on 07791-670987 (emergencies only please!)

IMPORTANT – New Courses

We now offer the following courses; as always, please contact the WHS office (01952-885885) for further details and to book places. The following fees assume training at WHS premises; additional travel costs will be applicable to courses undertaken elsewhere:

  • IOSH Managing Safely
    Duration: 3 days
    Dates: 13, 14 & 15 February 2019 (Tuesday & Wednesday)
    Cost: £395 + VAT per person
  • UKATA Category A Asbestos Awareness
    This course should be attended by managers of building/s where construction started pre-January 2000
    Duration: 1/2 day
    Dates: 4 January 2019 (Friday)
    Cost: £60 + VAT per person
  • Lead Awareness
    Duration: 1/2 days
    Dates: To your requirements
    Cost: Normal hourly rate; maximum 12 persons

 

First Aid Training

Forthcoming 2018 / 2019 dates for the WHS 1-day Emergency First Aid courses, also held at training rooms, are as follows; the fee is just £75 + VAT per person:

  • 19 December 2018 places available
  • 21 January 2019 FULLY BOOKED
  • 26 February 2019 places available
  • 27 March 2019 places available
  • 25 April 2019 places available
  • 28 May 2019 places available

 

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

A Plea from WHS

Some of our clients put their Health & Safety Policy on their websites – good practice but, if that is done, then please make sure it’s kept current! We’ve seen several examples of policies on websites that are several years out of date – which doesn’t look good for either the company or us!

WHS Safety Awards

As usual, at the end of each year, WHS tries to encourage good health & safety practice by issuing awards for those companies or individuals who have demonstrated clear and proven commitment to the well-being of their employees or colleagues. This year, we are delighted to announce the following awards:

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

 

Both will receive awards for Commitment to Safety as they have demonstrated high standards of health & safety management throughout the many years of their involvement with their employing companies; examples to all businesses of how health & safety should become second nature to good effect.

  • Mick Collins – Operations & H&S Manager for Morris Site Machinery. Mick will receive an award for Proactive Safety Management as he is continually looking for mechanisms to improve the Company’s safety culture, despite that culture already being of a high standard.
  • Islabikes, and
  • Protocol Control Systems

 

Both will receive awards for Continual Improvement in Health & Safety; both companies are internally driven by management to explore new health & safety systems and documentation towards continual improvement.

  • Advanced Glass Facades – will receive an award for Commitment to Health & Safety Compliance as the Company has continually shown a strong desire to ensure a sound health & safety culture at all levels.

 

Hearty congratulations to all our winners! We’ve experienced a real mixed bag of good and (sometimes very) bad practice throughout our customer-base this year. However, the vast majority do try their best to safeguard their workforce, with those rewarded above being shining examples of how things should be done.

HSE NEWS

Beware!! New Harsher Sentencing

New sentencing guidelines came into effect on 1 November 2018, following on from previous changes resulting from the failure of previous fine and custodial levels being effective deterrents. So be warned!

These new sentencing guidelines relate to gross negligence manslaughter where the individual is proven to have had ‘such a disregard for life and the safety of others that it amounts to a crime against the state and conduct deserving punishment’. In other words, the individual is seen to have blatantly ignored his/her Duty of Care incumbent under the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974, resulting in the death/s

And it’s important to note that the breach doesn’t have to have been the primary or only cause of death, as long as it was a contributing factor.

It is also important to note that the new guidelines apply to any offence that happened after APRIL 2010.

Prison sentences can range from 1 to a maximum of 18 years, with life sentences (18 years followed by parole) for the most serious cases. Other punishments, including director disqualifications for up to 15 years, are also possible. Full details can be found on: https://bit.ly/2OsyUjo

Any individuals can be prosecuted; they don’t have to be directors or senior management but can include health & safety managers and other professionals. So, if you have any problems or issues related to your role and/or responsibilities (particularly if you are in charge of health & safety in your organisation), please feel free to ring WHS to discuss further.

Note – this relates to UK law so, no matter what happens after Brexit, the Health & Safety at Work Act and the above will remain!

Latest HSE Statistics

Confirmed accident, injury and ill-health statistics were published by the HSE in October. The UK still has the best health & safety record in Europe (and probably the World, but that’s impossible to verify) and for that we should be proud rather than critical. However, there is always room for improvement and we should never become complacent or let our guard down. Every statistic relates to a person:

  • 144 workers killed at work
  • 555,000 injuries at work
  • 71,062 injuries to employees reported under RIDDOR
  • 1.4 million working people suffering from work-related ill health
  • 30.7 million working days lost due to work-related ill health and workplace injury
  • £15 billion estimated cost of injuries and ill health to the UK

 

And to Emphasise the Facts

To ram the message home about the actually costs to UK industry of accidents and ill-health (in terms of people and finance), the HSE issues an annual Vital Statistics poster, available from HSE Books.

Use it to refresh tired health and safety notice-boards with the latest statistics, raise awareness about the consequences of poor health and safety practice, and remind employees (and management) that good safety is good sense.

Targeting Vibration

A quote from a recent HSE bulletin:

“Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) is a permanent condition affecting the nerves and blood vessels of the hand. It can cause pain, tingling and numbness, making it difficult to carry out everyday tasks. The condition is caused by prolonged and regular exposure to hand arm vibration and can render a worker disabled, affecting their chances of employment.

Earlier this year, contractor Balfour Beatty Utility Solutions Ltd was fined £500,000 after exposing workers to this debilitating health condition over a nine-year period, which put them at risk of developing HAVS.

The HSE investigation found that the company failed in its legal duty to ensure the risks to workers who used these tools was kept to as low a level as reasonably practicable.

At HSE our mission is to prevent workplace death, injury and ill-health: If your workers are exposed to hand arm vibration, don’t let this happen to you.

HSE’s website has a wealth of information and advice for employers, including key messages and good practice solutions. Click here to find out more.”

The HSE has said that it will actively target the issue of vibration and HAVS from the start of 2019. WHS has already learned of many businesses who have received enforcement or FFI costs for not having vibration assessments.

Note that the requirements apply to ALL industries, not just the likes of Balfour Beatty and construction. Vibration assessments have been a legal requirement on all hand-held or hand-controlled equipment, or where materials are worked on an abrasive wheel or similar, since 2005 – but, in our experience, it’s rarely done despite WHS emphasising the requirement time after time.

We do have some sympathy though as tools are way better than they were when it became necessary to implement the regulations in 2005, with the consequence that vibration is (usually) seen as a minor issue now. However, we do still find old or poor equipment in use and employers requiring employees to use vibrating equipment for long periods; so the need for specific vibration assessments is still there.

And it is still law – if you aren’t able to demonstrate that vibration assessment is carried out, then you can expect HSE enforcement. Or worse – as the Balfour Beatty case clearly shows.

INDUSTRY NEWS

Contractor Assessment

As we say time and time again, it is a legal requirement (through Section 3 of the Health & Safety at Work Act and other legislation) for ALL employing persons or bodies to ensure that those engaged are COMPETENT to do the job safely and without risk to either themselves or others affected. We still continually find that this is not being done by the vast majority of our customers.

And, yes, under the Health & Safety at Work Act, this covers ALL people employed, not just construction-related contractors. This includes cleaners, window cleaners, landscapers, service and repair engineers, etc, etc, and tree surgeons as the following prosecution demonstrates:

Alpha Schools was fined a total of £60,000 and ordered to pay £50,000 to the victim (a grand total of £110,000) after a tree surgeon was hit on the head by a falling branch, sustaining serious spinal injuries and permanently confining him to a wheelchair.

P&X Complete Cleaning Services had been employed at the Crown Preparatory School in High Wycombe to remove a sycamore tree ahead of later building works. Yes, the owner of P&X was given an 18-month suspended prison sentence as there had been no risk assessment carried out and no safe system of work established. But, Alpha Schools was fined because it had failed to carry out proper checks to verify the competency of the contractor it engaged.

A strong lesson to everyone – health & safety-related competency checks MUST by law be carried out before any appointment, whether it relates to construction or not. Laws are there for valid reasons!

The Importance of Failsafe Design

This recent horrendous accident is a good example of how designers (of all types) must consider the ‘what if’ scenario; what started out, presumably as a laugh, turned deadly:
https://bit.ly/2PXzUjf

The design of the roller-shutter door should not have allowed this to happen. Good garage roller-shutters have detection mechanisms built it to stop movement (opening or closing) as soon as resistance is detected. So a lesson to all designers to take account of all foreseeable risks (and this was foreseeable) and to those purchasing equipment to make sure that the equipment is designed for safety.

On that note, we would reiterate a warning given on many occasions before – it is perfectly legal for a CE-marked piece of equipment to be purchased which may not be legal to use in this country. CE marking relates to quality, not safety; just because an item is CE marked, this does not necessarily mean it is safe to use under UK law.

A stupid situation certainly but, in the UK, the onus is on the user (in this case, the landlord) to ensure that all foreseeable risks have been assessed and appropriate controls established. The secret is to risk assess the items before purchase so that future problems are not being inadvertently built in. If you have any doubts or questions about your equipment or future purchases, please don’t hesitate to contact WHS.

Asbestos (yet again!)

IOSH has been running an excellent campaign for some while now to highlight the very real necessity for a full understanding of asbestos and the extreme dangers of ignoring the issue.

The ‘No Time to Lose’ campaign enables you to tap into some very valuable reference material (which can be used for tool-box talks or awareness refreshers) via:
https://www.iosh.co.uk/News/No-Time-to-Lose-asbestos.aspx
https://www.notimetolose.org.uk/
https://www.notimetolose.org.uk/free-resources/asbestos-pack-taster/

Note that WHS is running an open asbestos awareness course on 4 January 2019 which is aimed at all businesses to manage buildings where construction was started pre-January 2000 (when asbestos was finally banned in the UK). So, any of our customers who own or occupy any such buildings should attend; please contact the WHS as soon as possible as places are limited.

We can’t emphasise enough that the presence and management of asbestos is not just a contractor concern; building owners and managers have clear legal duties, hence the importance of attending this course.

There’s no need to panic about the possibility, or expense, of asbestos being present as the law promotes good management and mechanisms to deal with the problem. However, as the prosecutions continually highlighted at the foot of our newsletters demonstrate, ignoring the issue could result in severe penalties!

GENERAL NEWS

Planning for the Future

We all lead very busy lives, and it is typical amongst businesses across the spectrum that management ‘hasn’t got the time’ to sit down and plan properly for potential eventualities and for the future. However, the importance of this was brought home to WHS in no uncertain terms in 2010 when two of our employees were hospitalised and unable to work properly for a couple of months because of a serious car accident (which, we hasten to add, was not their fault!). The effect of suddenly losing two key employees within a small company employing just 7 was enormous in terms of both customer care and finance.

We’ve noted the latest HSE statistics above, but how many businesses plan for the very high likelihood of long-term absences such as experienced by WHS 8 years ago. According to a recent CIPD report:

  • 56% of those companies asked had experienced long-term absences due to mental health
  • 50% due to musculoskeletal injuries
  • 48% due to acute medical conditions
  • 19% due to injuries or accidents (work or non-work related)

 

So the chances of having to deal with long-term (or permanent) absence is very high for any business – and, of course, the effects are increasingly profound on smaller businesses.

Of course, the secret to a stable workforce is to ensure happy and loyal employees. All too often, employers foster discontent and stress through aggressive management, unrealistic expectations and lack of empathy. In the same CIPD report, the top 3 causes of stress amongst employees are due to:

  • 60% volume of work and unattainable expectations by management (resulting in 86% of employees admitting to working when unwell, using leave instead of calling in sick, or working during leave periods)
  • 32% management styles
  • 27% non-work related (e.g. family issues)

 

All of these can be reduced (and productivity increased) by listening and empathising with employees’ needs. We’re not all the same; not everyone can work in the same way or at the same pace. And we should all have the opportunity to relax and switch off (it’s a legal entitlement for a good reason!).

As an aside, the HSE has a ‘Talking Toolkit for Preventing & Managing Stress’; download the toolkit here.

However, the unforeseen happens; so set aside time to plan for business continuity and the ‘what if’ factor before it’s too late.

Planning for business continuity is also vital to prepare any business for hand-over as senior or key staff retire. According to the FSB, small businesses in the UK are heading for a cliff-edge in 7 or 8 years time as few of them have planned far enough ahead to be able to transfer responsibility to others. The result? Senior staff working till they drop and the eventual demise of the Company. Retirement may seem a long way off to a lot of people but, as we all know, time marches on far too quickly and there’s a huge risk of not thinking ahead and training good staff to take over until it’s too late.

‘Business continuity’ is not corporate jargon – it’s essential for all businesses. Take time to plan for the future – especially now that we’re facing an uncertain future because of Brexit!

Asbestos in Cigarettes??!!

As we’ve highlighted many times, and continually in our asbestos awareness training, that there is a strong possibility of asbestos creeping into imported goods – especially via eBay and non-UK portals. And here’s a good example of that very issue – fake cigarettes containing asbestos:
https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/bootleg-cigarettes-containing-asbestos-on-sale-in-belfast-30775111.html

So, if anyone out there is tempted to buy fake cigarettes, be warned! As always, you get what you pay for so, if it’s cheap, there’s a reason for it!

And, with the festive season upon us, the same applies to alcohol – never be tempted to buy from anyone other than reputable suppliers. There have been cases of fake spirits laced with bleach!!

AND FINALLY

Businesses and contractors alike should take special note of the first accident mentioned below – a clear demonstration that, as WHS continually emphasises, British Law applies to EVERYONE working in this country, no matter where they are based.

Other prosecutions cited below also demonstrate that British Law applies to ALL Industries!

And just look at the level of fine for the second prosecution – note there had been no accident and the prosecution was brought for failing to plan, manage and monitor the work

Work at height

  • Contractor, Ortec BV of the Netherlands, was fined a total of almost £305,000 and sub-contractor, Mechantech Ltd, a total of over £41,000 after a worker sustained serious head injuries falling 10 metres from a racking system undergoing re-commissioning. No safe system had been established; there were no fall prevention measures in place at all, not even any harnesses as fall arrest (from 10 metres!).
  • MG Corporation Ltd was fined a total of almost £255,000 after ignoring prohibition notices and failing to improve safety. The Company was prosecuted under both the Work at Height Regs and CDM for ‘failing to plan, manage and monitor construction work under their control’.

 

Asbestos

  • Pascla Huser Design & Build Ltd was fined a total of almost £21,000 for failing to obtain an asbestos survey before refurbishment work. As a result, AIB was not removed by a licensed contractor (as it should be by law), but by the Company itself without any precautions whatsoever.

 

Lifting operations

  • Premier Hank Dyers Ltd was fined a total of over £24,000 for two offences. The first involved serious injuries being caused to a worker when his clothing became entangled in rotating parts of a machine. However, the second related to lifting operations and safe systems of work. A large tank containing boiling liquid was held in place by an overhead crane; the hook block on the crane failed, allowing the lid to drop into the tank, splashing scalding liquid onto the worker and causing serious burns.

 

Plant & vehicles

  • Devon farming partnership, MY & CEH Arthur was fined a total of over £67,000 after a worker was crushed and killed by a poorly maintained digger. Following a repeated ignition problem, the engine had been hot-wired! When the worker accessed the engine to start the digger, the digger moved and the victim was crushed between the plant and a wall.

The investigation found the fatality to be due to poor maintenance, an untrained driver and total lack of risk assessment – a reminder to ALL organisations, even family businesses, that the duty to risk assess is law.

  • Freight Movement Ltd was fined a total of almost £92,000 after a fork lift carrying a full pallet toppled over, 920kg of cardboard falling on a worker. As well as other breaches, the Company had failed to segregate plant and people, which is law (so far as reasonably practicable) for this very reason.
  • Lemon Groundwork Solutions Ltd was fined a total of over £106,000 after a worker suffered multiple leg injuries when a bundle of steel fell from a fork-lift. No safe system of work had been established (to ensure the steel didn’t slip from the forks) nor was there any person/plant segregation.
  • JS Wood & Son, a farm, was fined a total of £107,000 after an employee was struck and killed by a tractor as he stepped out of a calf shed. No thought had been given to how employees could safely exit the shed nor cross the busy tractor route without being struck. Yes, this case involved a farm – but ask yourself whether your own structures are safe to exit and/or have you organised safe traffic routes.

 

Work equipment

  • Marybelle Pur Natur Ltd was fined a total of almost £38,000 after a worker’s toe was crushed by an unguarded part of a machine. Because of faulty repair, the guard could not be properly fixed in position, with the result that the worker was able inadvertently to place his foot on the frame of the machine at the same time the a moving part was descending. A clear demonstration of how important it is to both ensure (and sign off) competent repair and to continually inspect all equipment to ensure it still functions properly and safely.
  • Director, Jonathon Gaskell, was jailed for 8 months and his company, Gaskells (North West) Ltd, fined a total of almost £800,000 after a worker was killed by a bailing machine which had the interlocking safety systems disabled to enable quicker unblocking. The worker had entered the baling chamber to dislodge a blockage and, of course, as soon as this was cleared, the equipment began operating again.

A warning to everyone throughout ALL industries; anyone caught disabling safety systems must be immediately removed from the workplace and disciplined. This is a very serious offence and, as is demonstrated above, if encouraged by management, they can expect to be blamed personally.

  • Viridor was fined a total of over £684,000 after a worker was fatally injured whilst clearing a recycling separator machine. The equipment had been switched off whilst the employee was inside carrying out maintenance; however, there had been no safe system to ensure that others didn’t switch the machine back on again. Someone did – and the consequences don’t bear thinking about.
  • Loosemores Transport Ltd was fined a total of over £20,000 after an agency worker’s hand was drawn into a waste sorting conveyor whilst he tried to remove a blockage.

Yet again, these are examples of very poor risk management which seems to be all-too-commonplace within the waste and recycling industry. In addition, as the previous example shows, employment of agency workers is also commonplace. So never forget to ensure that ALL staff, whether permanent, casual or agency must be trained and instructed to the required degree; rapid engagement of agency or casual workers almost inevitably results in lack of competence and the increased risk of injury or death.

Health

  • Caldreys UK Ltd was fined a total of almost £65,000 for two clear breaches of health-related law:
    • Employees reported Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome after extensive use of pneumatic tools, and
    • No controls had been established to prevent inhalation of silica dusts

 

Landlord duties

  • Torquay landlord, Mehmet Sevim, was given a 26 week suspended prison sentence, ordered to undertake 240 hours community service and told to pay costs of over £5,000 after engaging an unregistered gas fitter for work on one of his rental properties. Despite formerly being a gas engineer himself, and therefore fully aware of the law, Sevim wilfully failed to engage a Gas Safe registered engineer, covered up evidence by producing a fraudulent gas certificate and tried to bribe a prosecution witness! Talk about making matters worse!!

 

And lastly – failing to report under RIDDOR

  • Malcolm Foyle, trading as S Foyle & Son, was fined almost £3,000 for failing to report under RIDDOR. An employee received broken bones and head injuries when the dumper he was driving overturned in an excavation. Foyle was fined for failing to report the injuries and, upon investigation, also for failing to prevent the overturn of plant, falls into the excavation, or its collapse.

 

DON’T FORGET – THE PROSECUTIONS HIGHLIGHTED IN THESE NEWSLETTERS ARE JUST A FRACTION OF THOSE REPORTED. NON-COMPLIANCE TO HEALTH & SAFETY LAW WILL RESULT IN ENFORCEMENT OR PROSECUTION
AND, MORE IMPORTANTLY, RISKS KILLING OR INJURING SOMEONE

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

WENLOCK HEALTH & SAFETY Ltd EXTENDS WARMEST CHRISTMAS WISHES TO ALL OUR CLIENTS;
WE TRUST THAT 2019 WILL BE BOTH PROSPEROUS
AND SAFE!

COMPANY NEWS

Christmas Closure

Yes, it’s that time of year again! My, how time flies! May we take this opportunity to extend warm seasonal wishes to all our clients, and thank you once again for your continuing and valued custom.

Please take note that our offices will be closing from midday on Friday 21 December 2018 until 8 am on Wednesday 2 January 2019. No consultants will be available during this period to provide normal services; however, if there is an emergency situation requiring immediate attention, please contact Laura on 07791-670987 (emergencies only please!)

IMPORTANT – New Courses

We now offer the following courses; as always, please contact the WHS office (01952-885885) for further details and to book places. The following fees assume training at WHS premises; additional travel costs will be applicable to courses undertaken elsewhere:

  • IOSH Managing Safely
    Duration: 3 days
    Dates: 13, 14 & 15 February 2019 (Tuesday & Wednesday)
    Cost: £395 + VAT per person
  • UKATA Category A Asbestos Awareness
    Duration: 1/2 day
    Dates: 4 January 2019 (Friday)
    Cost: £60 + VAT per person

 

CITB Training Courses

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

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

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)
    Duration: 5 days
    Dates: 7 – 11 January 2019 (BLOCK BOOKING Monday – Friday)
    22 Feb & 1, 8, 15 & 22 March 2019 1 day per week
    Cost: £495 + VAT per person
  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher
    Duration: 2 days
    Dates: 27 & 28 February 2019 (Wednesday & Thursday)
    Cost: £265 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)
  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS)
    Duration: 2 days
    Dates: 20 & 21 February 2019 (Wednesday & Thursday)
    Cost: £230 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)
  • CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness
    Duration: 1 day
    Dates: 30 January 2019 (Wednesday)
    Cost: £125 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

 

First Aid Training

Forthcoming 2018 / 2019 dates for the WHS 1-day Emergency First Aid courses, also held at training rooms, are as follows; the fee is just £75 + VAT per person:

  • 19 December 2018 places available
  • 21 January 2019 FULLY BOOKED
  • 26 February 2019 places available
  • 27 March 2019 places available
  • 25 April 2019 places available
  • 28 May 2019 places available

 

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

A Plea from WHS

Some of our clients put their Health & Safety Policy on their websites – good practice but, if that is done, then please make sure it’s kept current! We’ve seen several examples of policies on websites that are several years out of date – which doesn’t look good for either the company or us!

WHS Safety Awards

As usual, at the end of each year, WHS tries to encourage good health & safety practice by issuing awards for those companies or individuals who have demonstrated clear and proven commitment to the well-being of their employees or colleagues. This year, we are delighted to announce the following awards:

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

 

Both will receive awards for Commitment to Safety as they have demonstrated high standards of health & safety management throughout the many years of their involvement with their employing companies; examples to all businesses of how health & safety should become second nature to good effect.

  • Mick Collins – Operations & H&S Manager for Morris Site Machinery. Mick will receive an award for Proactive Safety Management as he is continually looking for mechanisms to improve the Company’s safety culture, despite that culture already being of a high standard.
  • Islabikes, and
  • Protocol Control Systems

 

Both will receive awards for Continual Improvement in Health & Safety; both companies are internally driven by management to explore new health & safety systems and documentation towards continual improvement.

  • Advanced Glass Facades – will receive an award for Commitment to Health & Safety Compliance as the Company has continually shown a strong desire to ensure a sound health & safety culture at all levels.

 

Hearty congratulations to all our winners! We’ve experienced a real mixed bag of good and (sometimes very) bad practice throughout our customer-base this year. However, the vast majority do try their best to safeguard their workforce, with those rewarded above being shining examples of how things should be done.

HSE NEWS

Beware!! New Harsher Sentencing

New sentencing guidelines came into effect on 1 November 2018, following on from previous changes resulting from the failure of previous fine and custodial levels being effective deterrents. So be warned!

These new sentencing guidelines relate to gross negligence manslaughter where the individual is proven to have had ‘such a disregard for life and the safety of others that it amounts to a crime against the state and conduct deserving punishment’. In other words, the individual is seen to have blatantly ignored his/her Duty of Care incumbent under the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974, resulting in the death/s

And it’s important to note that the breach doesn’t have to have been the primary or only cause of death, as long as it was a contributing factor.

It is also important to note that the new guidelines apply to any offence that happened after APRIL 2010.

Prison sentences can range from 1 to a maximum of 18 years, with life sentences (18 years followed by parole) for the most serious cases. Other punishments, including director disqualifications for up to 15 years, are also possible. Full details can be found on: https://bit.ly/2OsyUjo

Any individuals can be prosecuted; they don’t have to be directors or senior management but can include health & safety managers and other professionals. So, if you have any problems or issues related to your role and/or responsibilities (particularly if you are in charge of health & safety in your organisation), please feel free to ring WHS to discuss further.

Note – this relates to UK law so, no matter what happens after Brexit, the Health & Safety at Work Act and the above will remain!

Latest HSE Statistics

Confirmed accident, injury and ill-health statistics were published by the HSE in October. The UK still has the best health & safety record in Europe (and probably the World, but that’s impossible to verify) and for that we should be proud rather than critical. However, there is always room for improvement and we should never become complacent or let our guard down. Every statistic relates to a person:

  • 144 workers killed at work
  • 555,000 injuries at work
  • 71,062 injuries to employees reported under RIDDOR
  • 1.4 million working people suffering from work-related ill health
  • 30.7 million working days lost due to work-related ill health and workplace injury
  • £15 billion estimated cost of injuries and ill health to the UK

 

And to Emphasise the Facts

To ram the message home about the actually costs to UK industry of accidents and ill-health (in terms of people and finance), the HSE issues an annual Vital Statistics poster, available from HSE Books.

Use it to refresh tired health and safety notice-boards with the latest statistics, raise awareness about the consequences of poor health and safety practice, and remind employees (and management) that good safety is good sense.

Targeting Vibration

A quote from a recent HSE bulletin:

“Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) is a permanent condition affecting the nerves and blood vessels of the hand. It can cause pain, tingling and numbness, making it difficult to carry out everyday tasks. The condition is caused by prolonged and regular exposure to hand arm vibration and can render a worker disabled, affecting their chances of employment.

Earlier this year, contractor Balfour Beatty Utility Solutions Ltd was fined £500,000 after exposing workers to this debilitating health condition over a nine-year period, which put them at risk of developing HAVS.

The HSE investigation found that the company failed in its legal duty to ensure the risks to workers who used these tools was kept to as low a level as reasonably practicable.

At HSE our mission is to prevent workplace death, injury and ill-health: If your workers are exposed to hand arm vibration, don’t let this happen to you.

HSE’s website has a wealth of information and advice for employers, including key messages and good practice solutions. Click here to find out more.”

The HSE has said that it will actively target the issue of vibration and HAVS from the start of 2019. WHS has already learned of many contractors who have received enforcement or FFI costs for not having vibration assessments. Vibration assessments have been a legal requirement on all hand-held or hand-controlled equipment, or where materials are worked on an abrasive wheel or similar, since 2005 – but, in our experience, it’s rarely done despite WHS emphasising the requirement time after time.

We do have some sympathy though as tools are way better than they were when it became necessary to implement the regulations in 2005, with the consequence that vibration is (usually) seen as a minor issue now. However, we do still find old or poor equipment in use and employers requiring employees to use vibrating equipment for long periods; so the need for specific vibration assessments is still there.

And it is still law – if you aren’t able to demonstrate that vibration assessment is carried out, then you can expect HSE enforcement. Or worse – as the Balfour Beatty case clearly shows.

INDUSTRY NEWS

Contractor Assessment

As we say time and time again, it is a legal requirement (through both CDM and Section 3 of the Health & Safety at Work Act) for ALL employing persons or bodies to ensure that those engaged are COMPETENT to do the job safely and without risk to either themselves or others affected. We still continually find that this is not being done by the vast majority of our customers.

And, yes, under the Health & Safety at Work Act, this covers ALL people employed, not just construction-related contractors. This includes cleaners, window cleaners, landscapers, service and repair engineers, etc, etc, and tree surgeons as the following prosecution demonstrates:

Alpha Schools was fined a total of £60,000 and ordered to pay £50,000 to the victim (a grand total of £110,000) after a tree surgeon was hit on the head by a falling branch, sustaining serious spinal injuries and permanently confining him to a wheelchair.

P&X Complete Cleaning Services had been employed at the Crown Preparatory School in High Wycombe to remove a sycamore tree ahead of later building works. Yes, the owner of P&X was given an 18-month suspended prison sentence as there had been no risk assessment carried out and no safe system of work established. But, Alpha Schools was fined because it had failed to carry out proper checks to verify the competency of the contractor it engaged.

A strong lesson to everyone – health & safety-related competency checks MUST by law be carried out before any appointment, whether it relates to construction or not. Laws are there for valid reasons!

The Importance of Failsafe Design

This recent horrendous accident is a good example of how designers (of all types) must consider the ‘what if’ scenario; what started out, presumably as a laugh, turned deadly:
https://bit.ly/2PXzUjf

The design of the roller-shutter door should not have allowed this to happen. Good garage roller-shutters have detection mechanisms built it to stop movement (opening or closing) as soon as resistance is detected. So a lesson to all designers to take account of all foreseeable risks (and this was foreseeable) and to those purchasing equipment to make sure that the equipment is designed for safety.

On that note, we would reiterate a warning given on many occasions before – it is perfectly legal for a CE-marked piece of equipment to be purchased which may not be legal to use in this country. CE marking relates to quality, not safety; just because an item is CE marked, this does not necessarily mean it is safe to use under UK law.

A stupid situation certainly but, in the UK, the onus is on the user (in this case, the landlord) to ensure that all foreseeable risks have been assessed and appropriate controls established. The secret is to risk assess the items before purchase so that future problems are not being inadvertently built in. If you have any doubts or questions about your equipment or future purchases, please don’t hesitate to contact WHS.

The Importance of Following Design in Installation

A glass balustrade panel fell recently from a feature staircase in a public building. Fortunately nobody was hurt, but the investigation showed that installation had not been undertaken in accordance with design.

The glass panels were to be installed using a propriety bracket; however, the installers omitted the locking pins, relying instead on clamping friction. Once installed, it was impossible to see whether the pins had been inserted or not; nobody had overseen the installation to ensure the operation was carried out correctly.

So, be honest, how many people reading this cut corners (whether to save time and/or money) and don’t install fixtures and fittings properly; how often do we find (e.g.) 2 screws instead of 4 holding something in place?! And who do you think would be blamed by the HSE if items not installed properly had caused injury?

The Importance of Competent Supervision
See also prosecutions section below

Again, fortunately, nobody was hurt in this recent accident but the investigation highlighted the effects of lack of competent supervision on the ground (as, indeed, did the previous case).

A set of chain blocks and a metre length of bar fell 5 metres to the ground during a lift. The chain blocks were suspended from a hook attached to a proprietary lifting anchor consisting of a cast-in bar which joined to other bars together using a coupler. The investigation showed that the anchor had not been installed in accordance with the design and the supervisor had made the decision to accept the situation without additional (competent) authority.

This is an all-too-typical case of inadequate specialist competence at the workface. Site managers and supervisors have a lot to contend with and are held to be adequately experienced and knowledgeable about construction in general. However, where specialism is required, contractors must acknowledge a deficiency and engage a suitably competent individual or company to properly supervise that specialist operation. The HSE would not see this as a sign of weakness, rather a sign of good management i.e. recognising and properly addressing deficiencies.

Asbestos (yet again!)

IOSH has been running an excellent campaign for some while now to highlight the very real necessity for a full understanding of asbestos and the extreme dangers of ignoring the issue. The ‘No Time to Lose’ campaign enables you to tap into some very valuable reference material (which can be used for tool-box talks or awareness refreshers) via:
https://www.iosh.co.uk/News/No-Time-to-Lose-asbestos.aspx
https://www.notimetolose.org.uk/
https://www.notimetolose.org.uk/free-resources/asbestos-pack-taster/

GENERAL NEWS

Planning for the Future

We all lead very busy lives, and it is typical amongst businesses across the spectrum that management ‘hasn’t got the time’ to sit down and plan properly for potential eventualities and for the future. However, the importance of this was brought home to WHS in no uncertain terms in 2010 when two of our employees were hospitalised and unable to work properly for a couple of months because of a serious car accident (which, we hasten to add, was not their fault!). The effect of suddenly losing two key employees within a small company employing just 7 was enormous in terms of both customer care and finance.

We’ve noted the latest HSE statistics above, but how many businesses plan for the very high likelihood of long-term absences such as experienced by WHS 8 years ago. According to a recent CIPD report:

  • 56% of those companies asked had experienced long-term absences due to mental health
  • 50% due to musculoskeletal injuries
  • 48% due to acute medical conditions
  • 19% due to injuries or accidents (work or non-work related)

 

So the chances of having to deal with long-term (or permanent) absence is very high for any business – and, of course, the effects are increasingly profound on smaller businesses.

Of course, the secret to a stable workforce is to ensure happy and loyal employees. All too often, employers foster discontent and stress through aggressive management, unrealistic expectations and lack of empathy. In the same CIPD report, the top 3 causes of stress amongst employees are due to:

  • 60% volume of work and unattainable expectations by management (resulting in 86% of employees admitting to working when unwell, using leave instead of calling in sick, or working during leave periods)
  • 32% management styles
  • 27% non-work related (e.g. family issues)

 

All of these can be reduced (and productivity increased) by listening and empathising with employees’ needs. We’re not all the same; not everyone can work in the same way or at the same pace. And we should all have the opportunity to relax and switch off (it’s a legal entitlement for a good reason!).

As an aside, the HSE has a ‘Talking Toolkit for Preventing & Managing Stress’; download the toolkit here.

However, the unforeseen happens; so set aside time to plan for business continuity and the ‘what if’ factor before it’s too late.
Planning for business continuity is also vital to prepare any business for hand-over as senior or key staff retire. According to the FSB, small businesses in the UK are heading for a cliff-edge in 7 or 8 years time as few of them have planned far enough ahead to be able to transfer responsibility to others. The result? Senior staff working till they drop and the eventual demise of the Company. Retirement may seem a long way off to a lot of people but, as we all know, time marches on far too quickly and there’s a huge risk of not thinking ahead and training good staff to take over until it’s too late.

‘Business continuity’ is not corporate jargon – it’s essential for all businesses. Take time to plan for the future – especially now that we’re facing an uncertain future because of Brexit!

Asbestos in Cigarettes??!!

As we’ve highlighted many times, and continually in our asbestos awareness training, that there is a strong possibility of asbestos creeping into imported goods – especially via eBay and non-UK portals. And here’s a good example of that very issue – fake cigarettes containing asbestos:
https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/bootleg-cigarettes-containing-asbestos-on-sale-in-belfast-30775111.html

So, if anyone out there is tempted to buy fake cigarettes, be warned! As always, you get what you pay for so, if it’s cheap, there’s a reason for it!

And, with the festive season upon us, the same applies to alcohol – never be tempted to buy from anyone other than reputable suppliers. There have been cases of fake spirits laced with bleach!!

AND FINALLY

Clients and contractors alike should take special note of the first accident mentioned below – a clear demonstration that, as WHS continually emphasises, British Law applies to EVERYONE working in this country, no matter where they are based.

Other prosecutions cited below also demonstrate that British Law applies to ALL Industries!

And just look at the level of fine for the second prosecution – note there had been no accident and the prosecution was brought for failing to plan, manage and monitor the work

Work at height

  • Contractor, Ortec BV of the Netherlands, was fined a total of almost £305,000 and sub-contractor, Mechantech Ltd, a total of over £41,000 after a worker sustained serious head injuries falling 10 metres from a racking system undergoing re-commissioning. No safe system had been established; there were no fall prevention measures in place at all, not even any harnesses as fall arrest (from 10 metres!).
  • MG Corporation Ltd was fined a total of almost £255,000 after ignoring prohibition notices and failing to improve safety. The Company was prosecuted under both the Work at Height Regs and CDM for ‘failing to plan, manage and monitor construction work under their control’.
  • Director of Brooke Ren Ltd, Jason Lycett, was fined a total of over £37,000 after the partial collapse of a building undergoing roof-work on a new build-block of flats. Lycett had been warned pre-construction that the roof needed to be designed by specialists (obviously!) but the warning was ignored. The result was that the roof structure could not withstand the loadings applied. Luckily, there were no injuries as a hoist breakdown meant that no workers were on the roof at the point of collapse. Lucky for the workers, and to some extent, Lycett himself as a fatality would almost certainly have resulted in jail.

 

Asbestos

  • Pascla Huser Design & Build Ltd was fined a total of almost £21,000 for failing to obtain an asbestos survey before refurbishment work. As a result, AIB was not removed by a licensed contractor (as it should be by law), but by the Company itself without any precautions whatsoever.

 

Buried services

  • Southern Gas Networks Plc was fined a total of well over £1.2 million and contractor, Cliffe Contractors Ltd, almost £73,000 after a medium-pressure gas main was damaged and subsequently ignited, causing severe burns to two workers. Cliffe had not employing safe digging techniques so caused the damage; SGN had not followed their own procedures when called in to effect repair, causing the injuries.

 

Segregation of plant, vehicles & people

  • JS Wood & Son, a farm, was fined a total of £107,000 after an employee was struck and killed by a tractor as he stepped out of a calf shed. No thought had been given to how employees could safely exit the shed nor cross the busy tractor route without being struck. Yes, this case involved a farm – but ask yourself whether your own structures are safe to exit and/or have you organised safe traffic routes.
  • Freight Movement Ltd was fined a total of almost £92,000 after a fork lift carrying a full pallet toppled over, 920kg of cardboard falling on a worker. As well as other breaches, the Company had failed to segregate plant and people, which is law (so far as reasonably practicable) for this very reason.
  • Lemon Groundwork Solutions Ltd was fined a total of over £106,000 after a worker suffered multiple leg injuries when a bundle of steel fell from a fork-lift. No safe system of work had been established (to ensure the steel didn’t slip from the forks) nor was there any person/plant segregation.

 

Health

  • Caldreys UK Ltd was fined a total of almost £65,000 for two clear breaches of health-related law:
    • Employees reported Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome after extensive use of pneumatic tools, and
    • No controls had been established to prevent inhalation of silica dusts during the stripping of furnace linings

 

And lastly – failing to report under RIDDOR

  • Malcolm Foyle, trading as S Foyle & Son, was fined almost £3,000 for failing to report under RIDDOR. An employee received broken bones and head injuries when the dumper he was driving overturned in an excavation. Foyle was fined for failing to report the injuries and, upon investigation, also for failing to prevent the overturn of plant, falls into the excavation, or its collapse.

 

DON’T FORGET – THE PROSECUTIONS HIGHLIGHTED IN THESE NEWSLETTERS ARE JUST A FRACTION OF THOSE REPORTED. NON-COMPLIANCE TO HEALTH & SAFETY LAW WILL RESULT IN ENFORCEMENT OR PROSECUTION
AND, MORE IMPORTANTLY, RISKS KILLING OR INJURING SOMEONE

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

UKATA Asbestos Awareness Course

Asbestos should be one of the issues at the forefront of our minds in the construction industry as well as other industries, Asbestos Awareness training is a must for all who may come into contact with it during their working day.

Whether you’re a builder, electrician, plumber or install blinds, do you know where you could find asbestos?

For just £60 + VAT per person, attending our UKATA Category A Asbestos Awareness course will give you the knowledge you need to ensure you’re aware of the basics and don’t get caught out. UKATA are a nationally recognised organisation, backed by the HSE, overseeing a high standard of Asbestos Awareness Training delivered by its providers.

4th January 2019
£60 + VAT per person
9am – 12.30pm
Held at our offices in Jackfield, Telford

Please contact Vicki on 01952 885885 or vicki.brown@wenlockhs.co.uk to book your places.

This UKATA course that we are offering for sale, is sold under license from SB Asbestos Management Ltd who is the UKATA approved Professional Member UK1163A, and this company is not a UKATA Professional Member for this classification of training

 

COMPANY NEWS

New Course – Lead Awareness

As with asbestos, lead is so hazardous that it requires its own regulations (i.e. the COSHH Regs are insufficient to cover the specific risks and necessary controls). It has become evident to Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) that few contractors realise the serious implications of not establishing effective controls where the use of new, or removal of old, lead products is unavoidable. And, again, exactly as with asbestos, lack of controls places both workers and others in the vicinity in danger, not only at the point of the work being carried out, but also from then onwards.

WHS has therefore developed a short course (3 hours) to warn all those who may come into contact with lead of the facts: the history of its use, lead products that are illegal, where lead products are still legal and why, health implications, and what is expected of employers in respect of legally required controls.

The course is designed for employers and employees alike; all general builders and building maintenance contractors should attend, plus all contractors or workshops who deal directly with the substance. Please contact Head Office on 01952-885885 for a quote (charged per hour as is usual for WHS short courses).

CITB Training Courses

Forthcoming 2018 / 2019 dates currently in place and fees for the CITB courses are as follows. Courses are held at the WHS training rooms and fees include lunch, refreshments and all course literature.

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

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)
    Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week
    Dates: 19, 26 November, 3, 10, 17 December 2018 (Mondays)
    BLOCK BOOKING 7 – 11 January 2019 (Monday – Friday)
    Cost: £495 + VAT per person
  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher
    Duration: 2 days
    Dates: 27 & 28 November 2018 (Tuesday & Wednesday)
    Cost: £265 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)
  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS)
    Duration: 2 days
    Dates: 12 & 13 December 2018 (Wednesday & Thursday)
    Cost: £230 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)
  • CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness
    Duration: 1 day
    Dates: 15 November 2018 (Thursday)
    Cost: £125 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

 

First Aid Training

Forthcoming 2018 / 2019 dates for the WHS 1-day Emergency First Aid courses, also held at training rooms, are as follows; the fee is just £75 + VAT per person:

  • 24 October 2018     FULLY BOOKED
  • 20 November 2018
  • 19 December 2018
  • 21 January 2019
  • 26 February 2019
  • 27 March 2019

 

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

HSE NEWS

The Accident Book – Are You GDPR-Compliant?

As you are well aware, the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) came into force in May 2018, governing the way we deal with personal data collection and storage. The HSE has updated its Accident Book format (BI 510 2018 Edition), copies of which can be purchased, singly or in packs of 10, direct from HSE (https://bit.ly/2DWBMUO).

The new-format Accident Book, however, does not differ significantly from the previous version – the one provided by the HSE and WHS – and it is therefore perfectly acceptable to continue using the existing format. What does differ (since May 2018) is the way that the information contained within the Accident Book is gathered and stored; to quote the HSE:

“The Accident Book is designed to support users in being GDPR compliant. Both the 2012 and 2018 versions provide an approved format for recording accident information. This information must then be stored in compliance with GDPR principles. Please be aware that it is the responsibility of the user of the book and their company’s data protection policies to ensure that GDPR is fully complied with.”

So, as we have stressed many times both before and after the May 2018 deadline for GDPR-compliance, your systems must meet the new strict criteria for confidentiality and the provision of essential information to those who may need to know (e.g. the HSE, WHS or insurance providers for accident investigation). It would be worth reviewing your systems.

HSE Inter-Active Catalogue

The HSE issue numerous Approved Codes of Practice, Codes of Practice and general guidance documents covering all types of issues. However, it can take time to find exactly what you need when looking at the general HSE website. So we welcome a new on-line HSE Publications and Products Catalogue which enables very quick and easy navigation through the multitude of guidance and teaching aids (including new sets of playing cards to put ‘fun’ into discussions about health & safety).

The Catalogue can be accessed through:
https://books.hse.gov.uk/gempdf/HSE_Catalogue_2018.pdf

And a handy ‘coming soon’ HSE publications website can be found on:
https://books.hse.gov.uk/Coming-Soon

However, please note that the old Accident Book format is still shown in the Catalogue so you’ll need to use the link quoted previously for the new format!

INDUSTRY NEWS

Scaffolding Again – And a Stark Warning

We have been going on and on about scaffolding recently because we find it totally inexcusable that, in 2018, standards are still so abysmally low in most cases. A further appalling example illustrates the point:

A three year old girl suffered very serious head injuries when she was struck by timber falling from scaffolding. The incident happened in Brighton in July, and two construction workers were arrested at the scene on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm – little comfort to the toddler when she was fighting for her life: https://dailym.ai/2ItIakW

And, to demonstrate just how lethal any dropped item can be, just take a look at the ‘Drops Table’ on:
http://www.dropsonline.org/assets/documents/DROPS-Calculator-Metric-A4.pdf

The Table clearly demonstrates that, for instance, a 0.75kg item dropped from a height of 10m (roughly the height in question in this case) results in a serious injury; a 1kg item dropped 10m results in fatality.

So, again we say to all scaffolders – and those employing them – please make absolutely sure that all scaffolding is designed to TG20 standards and to suit the site environment, and that everyone below, particularly the public, is properly protected. Exclude all pedestrians within the immediate area where at all possible; where this is not possible, install sound debris netting, fans or equivalent and establish an adequate ‘buffer zone’ to provide additional protection for pedestrians against dropped or projectile items.

Post-Grenfell – Lessons to be Learnt in Fire Safety

Following the truly dreadful Grenfell fire disaster a year ago, Judith Hackett’s investigatory report, entitled ‘The Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety: final report’ makes for interesting reading:
www.gov.uk/government/publications/independent-review-of-building-regulations-and-fire-safety-final-report

It quite rightly highlights decades of poor regulatory requirements and under-enforcement of building control, essentially a ‘dumbing-down’ of standards, together with a culture of inappropriate product testing which, in our view, is all too common throughout the construction products industry.

Designers, in particular, are urged to read the document and then review their currently-accepted specifications – particularly concerning products, traditional standards of products testing, and the design of buildings of 10 or more storeys. But what of buildings lower than 10 storeys? They are surely just as vulnerable – let’s lead the way and improve standards now, not later.

And this dreadful incident should remind all designers, building control officers and contractors that building safety is just as much a part of minor refurbs (e.g. window or door replacement, M&E installations, etc) on existing structures as it is of new build. Pay attention to detail when disturbing a structure e.g. replacement of fire-stopping after disturbance, fire-proofing when asbestos fire-related materials are removed, etc – lay down a fire strategy for fire-proofing ALL buildings during the design and construction stages.

Good Advice from CSCS

Most of you will have taken the CSCS ‘touch-screen test’ at some point – and those who have taken it recently will undoubtedly have read the CSCS Test Questions book. In line with advice given in previous WHS newsletters, there is a very strong message throughout the CITB and CSCS guidance – to “know when to say no”.

The Health & Safety at Work Act (and other legislation, particularly CDM of course) makes it absolutely plain that health & safety is the responsibility of everyone on site; therefore, workers must “say no” when they realise the risks are too high. Unfortunately, far too many accidents that could have been avoided when workers realise the risks, just aren’t – why? There is good advice given in the CSCS book; to quote:

“In our industry, saying no is not easy. We are fixers and do-ers. We can do.

However, a significant number of accidents on sites happen when people are doing things they are not comfortable with.

For example, many workers have been harmed by not knowing how to identify asbestos. If you think there’s any likelihood that there may be asbestos present where you are working, you must stop work and seek advice.

If you’re not properly trained, equipped or briefed, or if the situation around you changes (WHS emphasis), the result could be an accident.

Trust your instinct. If things feel beyond your control or dangerous, or if you see someone else working unsafely, stop the work immediately and inform site management why you have done so. You might prevent an injury or save a life.

Your employer should be supportive if you do this, because you have the right to say no (WHS emphasis) and a responsibility to not walk by.”

The short video called ‘Setting Out’, available on the CITB website and referred to in the CSCS book (https://citbstore.pearsonvue.com/Articles.asp?ID=254) sums up the issues and workers’ responsibilities very succinctly. Can we please urge all of our contractors to show the video to their workers to encourage them never to take risks but to report serious issues to you so that you can action improvements. To carry on regardless risks both the lives of your workers and, ultimately, the life of your company.

KNOW WHEN TO SAY NO!!!

Dangerous Wind Speeds

We’ve been experiencing some very windy conditions recently and, according to the weather forecasters, this is likely to get worse over time. So a reminder that those working at height – roofers or anyone working on multi-storey buildings – must monitor wind speeds, particularly gusting, and stop work when speeds reach unacceptable levels.

Historically, the WHS generic risk assessment for work at height has always recommended stopping work when speeds reach 28mph. However, the National Federation of Roofing Contractors has a freely downloadable guidance document, ‘Roofing & Cladding in Windy Conditions; 3rd Edition’, on their website which gives far more accurate information: https://bit.ly/2zInbb6

The document recommends safe wind speeds at various heights and for various types of work, which is obviously more meaningful than a blanket rule; our risk assessment will be updated accordingly. However, do take note and ensure that you always err on the side of caution during windy conditions. Over the years, we have seen several nasty incidents where high wind speeds had not deterred work at height; many of these resulted from principal contractors pressurising their contractors to continue to work. So, as above…

KNOW WHEN TO SAY NO!!!

Asbestos Removal at Height

Removing asbestos at height is obviously far more hazardous than working on the ground – falls from height will present a very high risk of the uncontrolled release of asbestos fibres from dropped materials. Therefore, it is imperative that all asbestos removal at height is carried out using a stable working platform accessed by stairs rather than ladders, particularly when handling significantly large or awkward ACMs such as panels. Any use of ladders must be justified in the task-specific risk assessment as being totally ‘unavoidable’ and other tight control measures specified to guard against dropped items and fibre release.

Controversially, a misconception seems to have crept into the industry that a ‘licensed’ scaffolder must be used to erect scaffolding for any asbestos removal. This may have appeared because of a 2012 memo from the industry Asbestos Liaison Group which stated, item 5.1, that “In some cases a licensed scaffolder may be necessary”. However, the memo justifies this statement by stating that the scaffolding contractor “will need to be licensed if there is the potential for asbestos to be disturbed during construction of scaffolding” which would always be the case of course.

To clear up any misconceptions, Safety & Access Ltd have issued a succinct advice note:
https://bit.ly/2IuHpId

Expect the Unexpected – a Warning with Old Structures

You may remember the dreadful case of a young female pupil in an Edinburgh school being killed when a ‘modesty wall’ erected in the changing rooms collapsed: https://bit.ly/2P5szdK

The immediate cause of the collapse appears to have been that several pupils were supporting themselves off the floor by bracing their bodies between the modesty wall and the back wall of the changing rooms. But the root of the problem was that the modesty wall was a free-standing structure built in the 1950s when building regulations were not in force. The HSE had highlighted the problem but, although everyone is well aware of the issue with external free-standing walls, it is rarely noted or investigated with internal walls.

This awful, and totally avoidable, incident must therefore serve as a wake-up call to all clients, property managers, building surveyors, designers and contractors alike to be vigilant; warn of any free-standing structures and ensure that additional support is provided before another needless fatality happens.

Checks & Maintenance

Seen recently on a very pertinent warning sign:

IF YOU DON’T SCHEDULE TIME FOR MAINTENANCE,
YOUR EQUIPMENT WILL SCHEDULE IT FOR YOU

How true! How many times have we, at WHS, heard “oh we haven’t got time for that” when we question why checks and maintenance haven’t been done? Apart from the risk of an HSE Prohibition Notice if the legally required (under PUWER) checks and maintenance regimes are not established, employers risk losing time and money or, if that is not enough, lives when machinery goes wrong.

What makes better business sense: a few minutes to carry out checks and a couple of hours for maintenance, or the possibility of lost lives and livelihoods? There is no excuse.

GENERAL NEWS

Digital Tax Systems – IMPORTANT

A reminder for those who may not have heard, the deadline for ensuring that all VAT returns are issued to HMRC through an approved on-line, real-time accounting package is April 2019. The option of using the current HMRC VAT Returns system will be withdrawn at that point.

The Government has been working its way steadily through its policy of ‘Making Tax Digital’ since 2015 (e.g. on-line self-assessment) and intends the entire tax system to be transformed by 2020 to make it “more effective, more efficient, and simpler for taxpayers”. Within the construction industry, the Government has failed to recognise that many who operate above the VAT threshold are self-employed or small businesses who won’t have the time, resources or the IT expertise to operate such a real-time on-line accounting system; therefore, this will probably result in increased costs to the sole-trader or small business as they will inevitably have to out-source their accounts if they are not doing so already.

However, for those who don’t already out-source their accounting, Sage Accounting system and various other systems (e.g. Quick Books Online and Xero) are available and approved by HMRC. It is generally recommended that cloud-based rather than desktop systems are used as these reduce on-going costs, prevent possible internet access problems and allow all accounts to be eventually interlinked in line with the long-term Making Tax Digital strategy, thus saving businesses time and money in the long run.

So view this as a positive step rather than an obstacle,

AND DO BE AWARE OF THE APRIL 2019 DEADLINE
PENALTIES WILL BE APPLIED FOR NON-CONFORMANCE OR VAT ERRORS

Federation of Small Businesses

The Federation of Small Businesses exists to lobby Government policy on behalf of small businesses.

  • Small businesses account for 99.3% of all private sector businesses; small to medium-sized businesses accounted for 99.9%
  • 4.8 million workers in the UK are self-employed, representing 15% of the total workforce
  • Total employment within SMEs (‘small to medium-sized enterprises’) equals 16.1 million, 60% of all private sector employment
  • Combined annual turnover of SMEs = £1.9 trillion, 51% of all private sector turnover

 

Yet SMEs still take second place to the whims of corporations when it comes to assistance and regulation. The FSB does an admirable job in lobbying for change and a fairer deal for SMEs.

Almost all WHS customers are classified as SMEs, and most are small businesses or self-employed status, and WHS itself is no exception. WHS originally became a member of FSB because of the benefits, and membership has literally paid for itself since we joined. We therefore urge our customers to consider how FSB can help them in any number of ways. For a small annual outlay (as little as £129 per year), you can access free debt recovery; employment, legal, cyber and tax investigation insurance and assistance; business advice; employment, tax and pension advice and assistance; business banking; insurance brokerage; and a whole host of other free services to save you time, effort and money.

Should you wish to look into the benefits of membership, Jackie can arrange a no-obligation short meeting with the local representative to explain everything – the FSB realises how busy all SMEs are so the representative won’t take up much of your time, and it will be worth it! Alternatively, find out more on the FSB website: https://www.fsb.org.uk/benefits/package-comparison
or ring FSB direct on 0808-2020888

AND FINALLY

After previously highlighting time and time again the huge number of accidents and prosecutions related to work at height, asbestos, and other high-profile issues, this newsletter is instead focusing on other cases that don’t promote so much exposure but are nonetheless just as important (whichever industry we work in).

Hazardous substances
The following cases are totally inexcusable when you consider that the COSHH Regs have been with us for over 30 years – and common sense doesn’t seem to have come into it in any of the cases.

  • Owner and director of Clearview Design & Construction Ltd, Simon Thomerson, was given an 8 month prison sentence after an explosion and fire killed two labourers; the two had been using highly flammable ‘thinners’ to remove old carpet tile adhesive. Despite warnings on the product labels, several litres had been poured across the floor, the vapours spreading to an area the size of half a tennis court; any number of ignition sources could have caused the explosion. No thought had been given to a safe system of work.
  • Harford Attachments Ltd was fined a total of almost £211,000 after two workers were killed by an explosion in its spray-booth. There was no coherent safe system of work, instruction was not communicated and, as a result, vapour produced during the cleaning of the spray gun was ignited, causing the explosion.
  • Recycling company, Ereco EMEA Corporation Ltd was fined a total of £32,000 after eight workers were injured, 5 seriously, by an explosion from ignited toner cartridge powder. Most airborne dusts can be explosive (remember the Wood Treatment Ltd explosion near Macclesfield in 2015 when 4 workers tragically lost their lives?) and it is essential that this possibility is included in both a COSHH assessment and a premises fire risk assessment, neither of which had been done in this case.
  • Boat maker, Humber Fabrications, was fined a total of over £12,500 after a 19-year old employee lost consciousness and suffered 2nd degree chemical burns from using dichloromethane to clean the inside of a boat hull. No extraction system was in place, no respiratory protection available and no attention had been paid to establishing a safe system of work.
  • Bayham Ltd was fined over £18,000 after an employee developed occupational asthma from unprotected soldering work over decades of employment. No proper extraction system was in place.

 

In addition, never forget that health & safety duties extend to safeguarding ALL those who may be affected by our actions. Risk assessment must (by law) cover ALL persons who MAY be affected; take care of the public:

  • The Western Isles local authority, Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar, was fined a total of £18,000 after the actions of its employees inflicted chemical burns on a child. The steps of a pier had been cleaned using sodium hypochlorite; when children later rested on the public steps, one of the youngsters developed severe chemical burns to his legs and was hospitalised.

 

And while we’re on the subject of public protection…

Public protection

  • Engie Regeneration (Apollo) Ltd was fined over £817,000 and its sub-contractor, Superior Roofing & Building Services Ltd, almost £312,000 after a tenant on the Du Cane Estate in London fell 5.5 metres through a fragile cement sheet walkway, seriously fracturing her pelvis (but being lucky to survive). Despite operatives partially falling through the fragile sheeting previously, no protection measures had been established by either contractor until after the fall through by the tenant! Unbelievable and totally inexcusable complacency for Engie (formerly known as Keepmoat Regeneration (Apollo) Ltd), let alone the sub-contractor.
  • Retail chain, Martin McColl Ltd, was fined a massive total of over £611,000 and shop-fitters, JMS Retail Concepts Ltd, over £43,000 after two elderly shoppers were injured (including broken bones) when they tripped over the construction of a disabled ramp whilst entering a Glamorgan store. The work was being carried out while the store remained open, something that was clearly ill-advised as the ramp under construction led directly to, and across, the store door.

Did the costs of closing the store for a couple of days, phasing the work and providing the necessary barriers really out-way the risk of something going wrong? Clearly the fines imposed sought to send a message – no they didn’t! It was just fortunate that no more serious injuries were sustained.

DON’T FORGET – THE PROSECUTIONS REPORTED IN THESE NEWSLETTERS ARE JUST A FRACTION OF THOSE REPORTED. NON-COMPLIANCE TO HEALTH & SAFETY LAW WILL RESULT IN ENFORCEMENT OR PROSECUTION
AND, MORE IMPORTANTLY, RISKS KILLING OR INJURING SOMEONE

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

COMPANY NEWS

First Aid Training

Forthcoming 2018 / 2019 dates for the WHS 1-day Emergency First Aid courses, also held at training rooms, are as follows; the fee is just £75 + VAT per person:

  • 24 October 2018     FULLY BOOKED
  • 20 November 2018
  • 19 December 2018
  • 21 January 2019
  • 26 February 2019
  • 27 March 2019

 

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

New Course – Lead Awareness

As with asbestos, lead is so hazardous that it requires its own regulations (i.e. the COSHH Regs are insufficient to cover the specific risks and necessary controls). It has become evident to Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) that few, if any, business managers or their employed contractors realise the serious implications of not establishing effective controls where the use of new, or removal of old, lead products is unavoidable. And, again, exactly as with asbestos, lack of controls places both workers and others in the vicinity in danger, not only at the point of the work being carried out, but also from then onwards.

WHS has therefore developed a short course (3 hours) to furnish all those who may come into contact with, or commission the removal or refurbishment of, lead products with the facts: the history of its use, lead products that are illegal, where lead products are still legal and why, health implications, and what is expected of employers in respect of legally required controls.

The course is designed for employers and employees alike. Managers of any business that works with lead should attend, as well as owners or managers of existing properties (commercial and domestic, particularly those built before the mid-1990s), anyone engaging maintenance contractors or considering new-build of any type.

Please contact Head Office on 01952-885885 for a quote (the course will be charged on an hourly basis as is usual for most WHS short courses).

HSE NEWS

The Accident Book – Are You GDPR-Compliant?

As you are well aware, the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) came into force in May 2018, governing the way we deal with personal data collection and storage. The HSE has updated its Accident Book format (BI 510 2018 Edition), copies of which can be purchased, singly or in packs of 10, direct from HSE (https://bit.ly/2DWBMUO).
The new-format Accident Book, however, does not differ significantly from the previous version – the one provided by the HSE and WHS – and it is therefore perfectly acceptable to continue using the existing format. What does differ (since May 2018) is the way that the information contained within the Accident Book is gathered and stored; to quote the HSE:

“The Accident Book is designed to support users in being GDPR compliant. Both the 2012 and 2018 versions provide an approved format for recording accident information. This information must then be stored in compliance with GDPR principles. Please be aware that it is the responsibility of the user of the book and their company’s data protection policies to ensure that GDPR is fully complied with.”

So, as we have stressed many times both before and after the May 2018 deadline for GDPR-compliance, your systems must meet the new strict criteria for confidentiality and the provision of essential information to those who may need to know (e.g. the HSE, WHS or insurance providers for accident investigation). It would be worth reviewing your systems.

HSE Inter-Active Catalogue

The HSE issue numerous Approved Codes of Practice, Codes of Practice and general guidance documents covering all types of issues. However, it can take time to find exactly what you need when looking at the general HSE website. So we welcome a new on-line HSE Publications and Products Catalogue which enables very quick and easy navigation through the multitude of guidance and teaching aids (including new sets of playing cards to put ‘fun’ into discussions about health & safety).

The Catalogue can be accessed through:
https://books.hse.gov.uk/gempdf/HSE_Catalogue_2018.pdf

And a handy ‘coming soon’ HSE publications website can be found on:
https://books.hse.gov.uk/Coming-Soon

However, please note that the old Accident Book format is still shown in the Catalogue so you’ll need to use the link quoted previously for the new format!

INDUSTRY NEWS

A Plea to all Businesses Engaging Scaffolders

We have been appealing to businesses recently to make absolutely sure that any scaffolders (and contractors working at height) engaged for whatever reason are sufficiently competent to do the work without posing a risk to your workers or the public. It is inexcusable in this day and age, but a fact, that standards are still so abysmally low that risks are all too commonplace. A further appalling example illustrates the point:

A three year old girl suffered very serious head injuries when she was struck by timber falling from scaffolding. The incident happened in Brighton in July, and two construction workers were arrested at the scene on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm – little comfort to the toddler when she was fighting for her life: https://dailym.ai/2ItIakW

And, to demonstrate just how lethal any dropped item can be, just take a look at the ‘Drops Table’ on:
http://www.dropsonline.org/assets/documents/DROPS-Calculator-Metric-A4.pdf

The Table clearly demonstrates that, for instance, a 0.75kg item dropped from a height of 10m (roughly the height in question in this case) results in a serious injury; a 1kg item dropped 10m results in fatality.

So, again, we say to all businesses engaging scaffolders and/or any contractors working at height at your premises – please make absolutely sure that all scaffolders are properly trained and CISRS-carded, that scaffolding is designed to TG20 (industry) standards and to suit the site environment, and that everyone below, particularly your workers and/or the public, is properly protected. They should exclude all pedestrians within the immediate area where at all possible; where this is not possible, they must install sound debris netting, fans or equivalent and establish an adequate ‘buffer zone’ to provide additional protection for pedestrians against dropped or projectile items.

Better still – call WHS well before you engage ANY contractors so that we can help ensure you appoint legally compliant companies. Ring WHS on 01952-885885 – better safe than sorry!

Post-Grenfell – Lessons to be Learnt in Fire Safety

Following the truly dreadful Grenfell fire disaster a year ago, Judith Hackett’s investigatory report, entitled ‘The Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety: final report’ makes for interesting reading:
www.gov.uk/government/publications/independent-review-of-building-regulations-and-fire-safety-final-report

It quite rightly highlights decades of poor regulatory requirements and under-enforcement of building control, essentially a ‘dumbing-down’ of standards, together with a culture of inappropriate product testing which, in our view, is all too common throughout the construction products industry.

The issues raised in the report obviously mainly concern high-rise construction but (and this should be noted by, and serve as a reminder to, ALL businesses who own or are responsible for maintaining their premises) building safety is just as much a part of minor refurbs (e.g. window replacement, M&E installations, etc) on existing structures as it is of new build.

Ensure that you, and your designers, project managers and contractors, pay attention to detail when disturbing a structure e.g. replacement of fire-stopping, fire-proofing materials where asbestos fire-related materials are removed, etc. Lay down a sound fire strategy for fire-proofing ALL buildings during the construction or refurbishment stages; it may be too late afterwards.

Good Advice – When to Say NO!

The Health & Safety at Work Act (and other legislation) makes it absolutely plain that health & safety is the responsibility of everyone in the workplace, not just employers; therefore, workers have a responsibility to “say no” when they realise the risks are too high. Unfortunately, far too many accidents that could have been avoided when workers realise the risks, just aren’t – why?

Take a look at this good advice from the CITB (a body that works alongside the HSE); to quote:

“… saying no is not easy. We are fixers and do-ers. We can do.

However, a significant number of accidents…happen when people are doing things they are not comfortable with…. If you’re not properly trained, equipped or briefed, or if the situation around you changes (WHS emphasis), the result could be an accident.

Trust your instinct. If things feel beyond your control or dangerous, or if you see someone else working unsafely, stop the work immediately and inform (your) management why you have done so. You might prevent an injury or save a life.

Your employer should be supportive if you do this, because you have the right to say no (WHS emphasis) and a responsibility to not walk by.”

Can we please urge all of our customers to encourage their employees never to take risks but to report serious issues to management so that action can be taken to make improvements. Your Employee Health & Safety Induction (provided by WHS) says as much – but the message must constantly be reiterated to avoid complacency or the ‘pressure of work’ becoming paramount in the eyes of your employees.

Whether you’re an employer or an employee, to carry on regardless of potential risks could cost both the lives of workers and, ultimately, the life of the company.

KNOW WHEN TO SAY NO!!!

Expect the Unexpected – a Warning with Old Structures

You may remember the dreadful case of a young female pupil in an Edinburgh school being killed when a ‘modesty wall’ erected in the changing rooms collapsed: https://bit.ly/2P5szdK

The immediate cause of the collapse appears to have been that several pupils were supporting themselves off the floor by bracing their bodies between the modesty wall and the back wall of the changing rooms. But the root of the problem was that the modesty wall was a free-standing structure built in the 1950s when building regulations were not in force. The HSE had highlighted the problem but, although everyone is well aware of the issue with external free-standing walls, it is rarely noted or investigated with internal walls.

This awful, and totally avoidable, incident must therefore serve as a wake-up call to all property owners or managers, building surveyors, designers and contractors alike to be vigilant; warn of any free-standing structures and ensure that additional support is provided before another needless fatality happens.

Checks & Maintenance

Seen recently on a very pertinent warning sign:

IF YOU DON’T SCHEDULE TIME FOR MAINTENANCE,
YOUR EQUIPMENT WILL SCHEDULE IT FOR YOU

How true! How many times have we, at WHS, heard “oh we haven’t got time for that” when we question why checks and maintenance haven’t been done? Apart from the risk of an HSE Prohibition Notice if the legally required (under PUWER) checks and maintenance regimes are not established, employers risk losing time and money or, if that is not enough, lives when machinery goes wrong.

What makes better business sense: a few minutes to carry out checks and a couple of hours for maintenance, or the possibility of lost lives and livelihoods? There is no excuse.

GENERAL NEWS

Digital Tax Systems – IMPORTANT

A reminder for those who may not have heard, the deadline for ensuring that all VAT returns are issued to HMRC through an approved on-line, real-time accounting package is April 2019. The option of using the current HMRC VAT Returns system will be withdrawn at that point.

The Government has been working its way steadily through its policy of ‘Making Tax Digital’ since 2015 (e.g. on-line self-assessment) and intends the entire tax system to be transformed by 2020 to make it “more effective, more efficient, and simpler for taxpayers”. Within the construction industry, the Government has failed to recognise that many who operate above the VAT threshold are self-employed or small businesses who won’t have the time, resources or the IT expertise to operate such a real-time on-line accounting system; therefore, this will probably result in increased costs to the sole-trader or small business as they will inevitably have to out-source their accounts if they are not doing so already.

However, for those who don’t already out-source their accounting, Sage Accounting system and various other systems (e.g. Quick Books Online and Xero) are available and approved by HMRC. It is generally recommended that cloud-based rather than desktop systems are used as these reduce on-going costs, prevent possible internet access problems and allow all accounts to be eventually interlinked in line with the long-term Making Tax Digital strategy, thus saving businesses time and money in the long run.

So view this as a positive step rather than an obstacle,

AND DO BE AWARE OF THE APRIL 2019 DEADLINE

PENALTIES WILL BE APPLIED FOR NON-CONFORMANCE OR VAT ERRORS

Federation of Small Businesses

The Federation of Small Businesses exists to lobby Government policy on behalf of small businesses.

  • Small businesses account for 99.3% of all private sector businesses; small to medium-sized businesses accounted for 99.9%
  • 4.8 million workers in the UK are self-employed, representing 15% of the total workforce
  • Total employment within SMEs (‘small to medium-sized enterprises’) equals 16.1 million, 60% of all private sector employment
  • Combined annual turnover of SMEs = £1.9 trillion, 51% of all private sector turnover

 

Yet SMEs still take second place to the whims of corporations when it comes to assistance and regulation. The FSB does an admirable job in lobbying for change and a fairer deal for SMEs.

Almost all WHS customers are classified as SMEs, and most are small businesses or self-employed status, and WHS itself is no exception. WHS originally became a member of FSB because of the benefits, and membership has literally paid for itself since we joined. We therefore urge our customers to consider how FSB can help them in any number of ways. For a small annual outlay (as little as £129 per year), you can access free debt recovery; employment, legal, cyber and tax investigation insurance and assistance; business advice; employment, tax and pension advice and assistance; business banking; insurance brokerage; and a whole host of other free services to save you time, effort and money.

Should you wish to look into the benefits of membership, Jackie can arrange a no-obligation short meeting with the local representative to explain everything – the FSB realises how busy all SMEs are so the representative won’t take up much of your time, and it will be worth it! Alternatively, find out more on the FSB website: https://www.fsb.org.uk/benefits/package-comparison
or ring FSB direct on 0808-2020888

AND FINALLY

After previously highlighting time and time again the huge number of accidents and prosecutions related to work at height, asbestos, faulty equipment, fraudulent gas fitters, and other high-profile issues, this newsletter is instead focusing on other cases that don’t promote so much exposure but are nonetheless just as important (whichever industry we work in).

Hazardous substances
The following cases are totally inexcusable when you consider that the COSHH Regs have been with us for over 30 years – and common sense doesn’t seem to have come into it in any of the cases.

  • Owner and director of Clearview Design & Construction Ltd, Simon Thomerson, was given an 8 month prison sentence after an explosion and fire killed two labourers; the two had been using highly flammable ‘thinners’ to remove old carpet tile adhesive. Despite warnings on the product labels, several litres had been poured across the floor, the vapours spreading to an area the size of half a tennis court; any number of ignition sources could have caused the explosion. No thought had been given to a safe system of work.
  • Harford Attachments Ltd was fined a total of almost £211,000 after two workers were killed by an explosion in its spray-booth. There was no coherent safe system of work, instruction was not communicated and, as a result, vapour produced during the cleaning of the spray gun was ignited, causing the explosion.
  • Recycling company, Ereco EMEA Corporation Ltd was fined a total of £32,000 after eight workers were injured, 5 seriously, by an explosion from ignited toner cartridge powder. Most airborne dusts can be explosive (remember the Wood Treatment Ltd explosion near Macclesfield in 2015 when 4 workers tragically lost their lives?) and it is essential that this possibility is included in both a COSHH assessment and a premises fire risk assessment, neither of which had been done in this case.
  • Boat maker, Humber Fabrications, was fined a total of over £12,500 after a 19-year old employee lost consciousness and suffered 2nd degree chemical burns from using dichloromethane to clean the inside of a boat hull. No extraction system was in place, no respiratory protection available and no attention had been paid to establishing a safe system of work.
  • Bayham Ltd was fined over £18,000 after an employee developed occupational asthma from unprotected soldering work over decades of employment. No proper extraction system was in place.

 

In addition, never forget that health & safety duties extend to safeguarding ALL those who may be affected by our actions. Risk assessment must (by law) cover ALL persons who MAY be affected; take care of the public:

  • The Western Isles local authority, Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar, was fined a total of £18,000 after the actions of its employees inflicted chemical burns on a child. The steps of a pier had been cleaned using sodium hypochlorite; when children later rested on the public steps, one of the youngsters developed severe chemical burns to his legs and was hospitalised.

 

And while we’re on the subject of public protection…

Public protection

  • Engie Regeneration (Apollo) Ltd was fined over £817,000 and its sub-contractor, Superior Roofing & Building Services Ltd, almost £312,000 after a tenant on the Du Cane Estate in London fell 5.5 metres through a fragile cement sheet walkway, seriously fracturing her pelvis (but being lucky to survive). Despite operatives partially falling through the fragile sheeting previously, no protection measures had been established by either contractor until after the fall through by the tenant! Unbelievable and totally inexcusable complacency for Engie (formerly known as Keepmoat Regeneration (Apollo) Ltd), let alone the sub-contractor.
  • Retail chain, Martin McColl Ltd, was fined a massive total of over £611,000 and shop-fitters, JMS Retail Concepts Ltd, over £43,000 after two elderly shoppers were injured (including broken bones) when they tripped over the construction of a disabled ramp whilst entering a Glamorgan store. The work was being carried out while the store remained open, something that was clearly ill-advised as the ramp under construction led directly to, and across, the store door.

Did the costs of closing the store for a couple of days, phasing the work and providing the necessary barriers really out-way the risk of something going wrong? Clearly the fines imposed sought to send a message – no they didn’t! It was just fortunate that no more serious injuries were sustained.

And pick any one of a number of prosecutions against poor or fraudulent gas engineers who seem to think nothing of endangering the public:

  • Richard Trezise was sentenced to 16 months in prison for a string of offences relating to unsafe gas work in domestic properties, resulting in gas leaks and dangerous accumulations of combustible products. Fortunately, nobody was harmed but this is yet another case of intentional fraud, with Trezise pretending to be Gas Safe registered.

 

DON’T FORGET – THE PROSECUTIONS REPORTED IN THESE NEWSLETTERS ARE JUST A FRACTION OF THOSE REPORTED. NON-COMPLIANCE TO HEALTH & SAFETY LAW WILL RESULT IN ENFORCEMENT OR PROSECUTION
AND, MORE IMPORTANTLY, RISKS KILLING OR INJURING SOMEONE

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

COMPANY NEWS

New Course – Lead Awareness

As with asbestos, lead is so hazardous that it requires its own regulations (i.e. the COSHH Regs are insufficient to cover the specific risks and necessary controls). It has become evident to Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) that few contractors realise the serious implications of not establishing effective controls where the use of new, or removal of old, lead products (e.g. lead pipework) is unavoidable. And, again, exactly as with asbestos, lack of controls places both workers and others in the vicinity in danger, not only at the point of the work being carried out, but also from then onwards.

WHS has therefore developed a short course (3 hours) to warn all those who may come into contact with lead of the facts: the history of its use, lead products that are illegal, where lead products are still legal and why, health implications, and what is expected of employers in respect of legally required controls.

The course is designed for employers and employees alike; all general builders and building maintenance contractors should attend, plus all contractors or workshops who deal directly with the substance. Please contact Head Office on 01952-885885 for a quote (charged per hour as is usual for WHS short courses).

CITB Training Courses

Forthcoming 2018 / 2019 dates currently in place and fees for the CITB courses are as follows. Courses are held at the WHS training rooms and fees include lunch, refreshments and all course literature.

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

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)
    Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week
    Dates: 19, 26 November, 3, 10, 17 December 2018 (Mondays)
    BLOCK BOOKING 7 – 11 January 2019 (Monday – Friday)
    Cost: £495 + VAT per person
  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher
    Duration: 2 days
    Dates: 27 & 28 November 2018 (Tuesday & Wednesday)
    Cost: £265 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)
  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS)
    Duration: 2 days
    Dates: 12 & 13 December 2018 (Wednesday & Thursday)
    Cost: £230 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)
  • CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness
    Duration: 1 day
    Dates: 15 November 2018 (Thursday)
    Cost: £125 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

 

First Aid Training

Forthcoming 2018 / 2019 dates for the WHS 1-day Emergency First Aid courses, also held at training rooms, are as follows; the fee is just £75 + VAT per person:

  • 24 October 2018        FULLY BOOKED
  • 20 November 2018
  • 19 December 2018
  • 21 January 2019
  • 26 February 2019
  • 27 March 2019

 

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

HSE NEWS

The Accident Book – Are You GDPR-Compliant?

As you are well aware, the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) came into force in May 2018, governing the way we deal with personal data collection and storage. The HSE has updated its Accident Book format (BI 510 2018 Edition), copies of which can be purchased, singly or in packs of 10, direct from HSE (https://bit.ly/2DWBMUO).

The new-format Accident Book, however, does not differ significantly from the previous version – the one provided by the HSE and WHS – and it is therefore perfectly acceptable to continue using the existing format. What does differ (since May 2018) is the way that the information contained within the Accident Book is gathered and stored; to quote the HSE:

“The Accident Book is designed to support users in being GDPR compliant. Both the 2012 and 2018 versions provide an approved format for recording accident information. This information must then be stored in compliance with GDPR principles. Please be aware that it is the responsibility of the user of the book and their company’s data protection policies to ensure that GDPR is fully complied with.”

So, as we have stressed many times both before and after the May 2018 deadline for GDPR-compliance, your systems must meet the new strict criteria for confidentiality and the provision of essential information to those who may need to know (e.g. the HSE, WHS or insurance providers for accident investigation). It would be worth reviewing your systems.

HSE Inter-Active Catalogue

The HSE issue numerous Approved Codes of Practice, Codes of Practice and general guidance documents covering all types of issues. However, it can take time to find exactly what you need when looking at the general HSE website. So we welcome a new on-line HSE Publications and Products Catalogue which enables very quick and easy navigation through the multitude of guidance and teaching aids (including new sets of playing cards to put ‘fun’ into discussions about health & safety).

The Catalogue can be accessed through:
https://books.hse.gov.uk/gempdf/HSE_Catalogue_2018.pdf

And a handy ‘coming soon’ HSE publications website can be found on:
https://books.hse.gov.uk/Coming-Soon

However, please note that the old Accident Book format is still shown in the Catalogue so you’ll need to use the link quoted previously for the new format!

INDUSTRY NEWS

Scaffolding Again – And a Stark Warning

We have been going on and on about scaffolding recently because we find it totally inexcusable that, in 2018, standards are still so abysmally low in most cases. A further appalling example illustrates the point:

A three year old girl suffered very serious head injuries when she was struck by timber falling from scaffolding. The incident happened in Brighton in July, and two construction workers were arrested at the scene on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm – little comfort to the toddler when she was fighting for her life: https://dailym.ai/2ItIakW

And, to demonstrate just how lethal any dropped item can be, just take a look at the ‘Drops Table’ on:
http://www.dropsonline.org/assets/documents/DROPS-Calculator-Metric-A4.pdf

The Table clearly demonstrates that, for instance, a 0.75kg item dropped from a height of 10m (roughly the height in question in this case) results in a serious injury; a 1kg item dropped 10m results in fatality.

So, again we say to all contractors who may engage scaffolders for whatever reason, and all of you who may work at height for any reason, please make absolutely sure that all scaffolding is designed to TG20 standards and to suit the site environment, and that everyone below, particularly the public, is properly protected. Exclude all pedestrians within the immediate area where at all possible; where this is not possible, install sound debris netting, fans or equivalent and establish an adequate ‘buffer zone’ to provide additional protection for pedestrians against dropped or projectile items.

Post-Grenfell – Lessons to be Learnt in Fire Safety

Following the truly dreadful Grenfell fire disaster a year ago, Judith Hackett’s investigatory report, entitled ‘The Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety: final report’ makes for interesting reading:
www.gov.uk/government/publications/independent-review-of-building-regulations-and-fire-safety-final-report

It quite rightly highlights decades of poor regulatory requirements and under-enforcement of building control, essentially a ‘dumbing-down’ of standards, together with a culture of inappropriate product testing which, in our view, is all too common throughout the construction products industry.

Designers, in particular, are urged to read the document and then review their currently-accepted specifications – particularly concerning products, traditional standards of products testing, and the design of buildings of 10 or more storeys. But what of buildings lower than 10 storeys? They are surely just as vulnerable – let’s lead the way and improve standards now, not later.

And this dreadful incident should remind all designers, building control officers and contractors that building safety is just as much a part of minor refurbs (e.g. window or door replacement, M&E installations, etc) on existing structures as it is of new build. Pay attention to detail when disturbing a structure e.g. replacement of fire-stopping after disturbance, fire-proofing when asbestos fire-related materials are removed, etc – lay down a fire strategy for fire-proofing ALL buildings during the design and construction stages.

Good Advice from CSCS

Most of you will have taken the CSCS ‘touch-screen test’ at some point – and those who have taken it recently will undoubtedly have read the CSCS Test Questions book. In line with advice given in previous WHS newsletters, there is a very strong message throughout the CITB and CSCS guidance – to “know when to say no”.

The Health & Safety at Work Act (and other legislation, particularly CDM of course) makes it absolutely plain that health & safety is the responsibility of everyone on site; therefore, workers must “say no” when they realise the risks are too high. Unfortunately, far too many accidents that could have been avoided when workers realise the risks, just aren’t – why? There is good advice given in the CSCS book; to quote:

“In our industry, saying no is not easy. We are fixers and do-ers. We can do.

However, a significant number of accidents on sites happen when people are doing things they are not comfortable with.
For example, many workers have been harmed by not knowing how to identify asbestos. If you think there’s any likelihood that there may be asbestos present where you are working, you must stop work and seek advice.

If you’re not properly trained, equipped or briefed, or if the situation around you changes (WHS emphasis), the result could be an accident.

Trust your instinct. If things feel beyond your control or dangerous, or if you see someone else working unsafely, stop the work immediately and inform site management why you have done so. You might prevent an injury or save a life.

Your employer should be supportive if you do this, because you have the right to say no (WHS emphasis) and a responsibility to not walk by.”

The short video called ‘Setting Out’, available on the CITB website and referred to in the CSCS book (https://citbstore.pearsonvue.com/Articles.asp?ID=254) sums up the issues and workers’ responsibilities very succinctly. Can we please urge all of our contractors to show the video to their workers to encourage them never to take risks but to report serious issues to you so that you can action improvements. To carry on regardless risks both the lives of your workers and, ultimately, the life of your company.

KNOW WHEN TO SAY NO!!!

Dangerous Wind Speeds

We’ve been experiencing some very windy conditions recently and, according to the weather forecasters, this is likely to get worse over time. So a reminder that those working at height – plant installers, maintenance engineers or anyone working on multi-storey buildings – must monitor wind speeds, particularly gusting, and stop work when speeds reach unacceptable levels.

Historically, the WHS generic risk assessment for work at height has always recommended stopping work when speeds reach 28mph. However, the National Federation of Roofing Contractors has a freely downloadable guidance document, ‘Roofing & Cladding in Windy Conditions; 3rd Edition’, on their website which gives far more accurate information: https://bit.ly/2zInbb6

The document recommends safe wind speeds at various heights and for various types of work, which is obviously more meaningful than a blanket rule; our risk assessment will be updated accordingly. However, do take note and ensure that you always err on the side of caution during windy conditions. Over the years, we have seen several nasty incidents where high wind speeds had not deterred work at height; many of these resulted from principal contractors pressurising their contractors to continue to work. So, as above…

KNOW WHEN TO SAY NO!!!

Asbestos Removal at Height

Removing asbestos at height is obviously far more hazardous than working on the ground – falls from height will present a very high risk of the uncontrolled release of asbestos fibres from dropped materials. Therefore, it is imperative that all asbestos removal at height is carried out using a stable working platform accessed by stairs rather than ladders, particularly when handling significantly large or awkward ACMs such as panels. Any use of ladders must be justified in the task-specific risk assessment as being totally ‘unavoidable’ and other tight control measures specified to guard against dropped items and fibre release.

Controversially, a misconception seems to have crept into the industry that a ‘licensed’ scaffolder must be used to erect scaffolding for any asbestos removal. This may have appeared because of a 2012 memo from the industry Asbestos Liaison Group which stated, item 5.1, that “In some cases a licensed scaffolder may be necessary”. However, the memo justifies this statement by stating that the scaffolding contractor “will need to be licensed if there is the potential for asbestos to be disturbed during construction of scaffolding” which would always be the case of course.

To clear up any misconceptions, Safety & Access Ltd have issued a succinct advice note:
https://bit.ly/2IuHpId

Checks & Maintenance

Seen recently on a very pertinent warning sign:

IF YOU DON’T SCHEDULE TIME FOR MAINTENANCE,
YOUR EQUIPMENT WILL SCHEDULE IT FOR YOU

How true! How many times have we, at WHS, heard “oh we haven’t got time for that” when we question why checks and maintenance haven’t been done? Apart from the risk of an HSE Prohibition Notice if the legally required (under PUWER) checks and maintenance regimes are not established, employers risk losing time and money or, if that is not enough, lives when machinery goes wrong.

What makes better business sense: a few minutes to carry out checks and a couple of hours for maintenance, or the possibility of lost lives and livelihoods? There is no excuse.

GENERAL NEWS

Digital Tax Systems – IMPORTANT

A reminder for those who may not have heard, the deadline for ensuring that all VAT returns are issued to HMRC through an approved on-line, real-time accounting package is April 2019. The option of using the current HMRC VAT Returns system will be withdrawn at that point.

The Government has been working its way steadily through its policy of ‘Making Tax Digital’ since 2015 (e.g. on-line self-assessment) and intends the entire tax system to be transformed by 2020 to make it “more effective, more efficient, and simpler for taxpayers”. Within the construction industry, the Government has failed to recognise that many who operate above the VAT threshold are self-employed or small businesses who won’t have the time, resources or the IT expertise to operate such a real-time on-line accounting system; therefore, this will probably result in increased costs to the sole-trader or small business as they will inevitably have to out-source their accounts if they are not doing so already.

However, for those who don’t already out-source their accounting, Sage Accounting system and various other systems (e.g. Quick Books Online and Xero) are available and approved by HMRC. It is generally recommended that cloud-based rather than desktop systems are used as these reduce on-going costs, prevent possible internet access problems and allow all accounts to be eventually interlinked in line with the long-term Making Tax Digital strategy, thus saving businesses time and money in the long run.

So view this as a positive step rather than an obstacle,

AND DO BE AWARE OF THE APRIL 2019 DEADLINE
PENALTIES WILL BE APPLIED FOR NON-CONFORMANCE OR VAT ERRORS

Federation of Small Businesses

The Federation of Small Businesses exists to lobby Government policy on behalf of small businesses.

  • Small businesses account for 99.3% of all private sector businesses; small to medium-sized businesses accounted for 99.9%
  • 4.8 million workers in the UK are self-employed, representing 15% of the total workforce
  • Total employment within SMEs (‘small to medium-sized enterprises’) equals 16.1 million, 60% of all private sector employment
  • Combined annual turnover of SMEs = £1.9 trillion, 51% of all private sector turnover

 

Yet SMEs still take second place to the whims of corporations when it comes to assistance and regulation. The FSB does an admirable job in lobbying for change and a fairer deal for SMEs.

Almost all WHS customers are classified as SMEs, and most are small businesses or self-employed status, and WHS itself is no exception. WHS originally became a member of FSB because of the benefits, and membership has literally paid for itself since we joined. We therefore urge our customers to consider how FSB can help them in any number of ways. For a small annual outlay (as little as £129 per year), you can access free debt recovery; employment, legal, cyber and tax investigation insurance and assistance; business advice; employment, tax and pension advice and assistance; business banking; insurance brokerage; and a whole host of other free services to save you time, effort and money.

Should you wish to look into the benefits of membership, Jackie can arrange a no-obligation short meeting with the local representative to explain everything – the FSB realises how busy all SMEs are so the representative won’t take up much of your time, and it will be worth it! Alternatively, find out more on the FSB website: https://www.fsb.org.uk/benefits/package-comparison
or ring FSB direct on 0808-2020888

AND FINALLY

After previously highlighting time and time again the huge number of accidents and prosecutions related to work at height, asbestos, and other high-profile issues, this newsletter is instead focusing on other cases that don’t promote so much exposure but are nonetheless just as important (whichever industry we work in).

Hazardous substances
The following cases are totally inexcusable when you consider that the COSHH Regs have been with us for over 30 years – and common sense doesn’t seem to have come into it in any of the cases.

  • Owner and director of Clearview Design & Construction Ltd, Simon Thomerson, was given an 8 month prison sentence after an explosion and fire killed two labourers; the two had been using highly flammable ‘thinners’ to remove old carpet tile adhesive. Despite warnings on the product labels, several litres had been poured across the floor, the vapours spreading to an area the size of half a tennis court; any number of ignition sources could have caused the explosion. No thought had been given to a safe system of work.
  • Harford Attachments Ltd was fined a total of almost £211,000 after two workers were killed by an explosion in its spray-booth. There was no coherent safe system of work, instruction was not communicated and, as a result, vapour produced during the cleaning of the spray gun was ignited, causing the explosion.
  • Recycling company, Ereco EMEA Corporation Ltd was fined a total of £32,000 after eight workers were injured, 5 seriously, by an explosion from ignited toner cartridge powder. Most airborne dusts can be explosive (remember the Wood Treatment Ltd explosion near Macclesfield in 2015 when 4 workers tragically lost their lives?) and it is essential that this possibility is included in both a COSHH assessment and a premises fire risk assessment, neither of which had been done in this case.
  • Boat maker, Humber Fabrications, was fined a total of over £12,500 after a 19-year old employee lost consciousness and suffered 2nd degree chemical burns from using dichloromethane to clean the inside of a boat hull. No extraction system was in place, no respiratory protection available and no attention had been paid to establishing a safe system of work.
  • Bayham Ltd was fined over £18,000 after an employee developed occupational asthma from unprotected soldering work over decades of employment. No proper extraction system was in place.

 

In addition, never forget that health & safety duties extend to safeguarding ALL those who may be affected by our actions. Risk assessment must (by law) cover ALL persons who MAY be affected; take care of the public:

  • The Western Isles local authority, Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar, was fined a total of £18,000 after the actions of its employees inflicted chemical burns on a child. The steps of a pier had been cleaned using sodium hypochlorite; when children later rested on the public steps, one of the youngsters developed severe chemical burns to his legs and was hospitalised.

 

And while we’re on the subject of public protection…

Public protection

  • Engie Regeneration (Apollo) Ltd was fined over £817,000 and its sub-contractor, Superior Roofing & Building Services Ltd, almost £312,000 after a tenant on the Du Cane Estate in London fell 5.5 metres through a fragile cement sheet walkway, seriously fracturing her pelvis (but being lucky to survive). Despite operatives partially falling through the fragile sheeting previously, no protection measures had been established by either contractor until after the fall through by the tenant! Unbelievable and totally inexcusable complacency for Engie (formerly known as Keepmoat Regeneration (Apollo) Ltd), let alone the sub-contractor.
  • Retail chain, Martin McColl Ltd, was fined a massive total of over £611,000 and shop-fitters, JMS Retail Concepts Ltd, over £43,000 after two elderly shoppers were injured (including broken bones) when they tripped over the construction of a disabled ramp whilst entering a Glamorgan store. The work was being carried out while the store remained open, something that was clearly ill-advised as the ramp under construction led directly to, and across, the store door.

Did the costs of closing the store for a couple of days, phasing the work and providing the necessary barriers really out-way the risk of something going wrong? Clearly the fines imposed sought to send a message – no they didn’t! It was just fortunate that no more serious injuries were sustained.

And pick any one of a number of prosecutions against poor or fraudulent gas engineers who seem to think nothing of endangering the public:

  • Richard Trezise was sentenced to 16 months in prison for a string of offences relating to unsafe gas work in domestic properties, resulting in gas leaks and dangerous accumulations of combustible products. Fortunately, nobody was harmed but this is yet another case of intentional fraud, with Trezise pretending to be Gas Safe registered.

 

DON’T FORGET – THE PROSECUTIONS REPORTED IN THESE NEWSLETTERS ARE JUST A FRACTION OF THOSE REPORTED. NON-COMPLIANCE TO HEALTH & SAFETY LAW WILL RESULT IN ENFORCEMENT OR PROSECUTION
AND, MORE IMPORTANTLY, RISKS KILLING OR INJURING SOMEONE

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

COMPANY NEWS

Wenlock Health & Safety Company Changes

Many of you will be aware that our Managing Director, Jackie Horsewood, will be retiring on 31 August 2018, after over 16 years as the driving force behind Wenlock, Health & Safety Ltd. Jackie will retain some company management for a while but will no longer be actively involved in any client interface, site or project related work. We wish her well in her (semi) retirement.

Can you please make a careful note then of the following:

  • Our opening hours at 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday. Yes, we frequently work beyond these hours but this is strictly by previous arrangement and cannot be ‘expected’
  • The Business Director is Becki Shenton; Becki oversees all WHS-related issues matters, accounts and customer care
  • The Technical Director is Laura Mort; Laura oversees all customer-related and technical matters; Laura also has, and is responsible for, her own allocated customer base

Please also note that, from now on, the out-of-hours mobile number for use for emergency contact only please will be 07791-670987

  • The additional WHS Health & Safety Consultants each have, and are responsible for, their own customer base; please contact them direct for your day-to-day requirements
  • All training bookings, invoicing and document issue is carried out by Vicki Brown
  • Credit control and subscription renewals are under the wing of Jarmila Carmier

 

First Aid Training

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

  • 23 August 2018
  • 27 September 2018
  • 24 October 2018
  • 20 November 2018
  • 19 December 2018

 

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

CITB Training Courses

Forthcoming 2018 dates currently in place and fees for the CITB courses are as follows. Courses are held at the WHS training rooms and fees include lunch, refreshments and all course literature.

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

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)
    Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week
    Dates: 19, 26 September, 3, 10 & 17 October 2018 (Wednesdays)
    19, 26 November, 3, 10, 17 December 2018 (Mondays)
    BLOCK BOOKING 7 – 11 January 2019 (Monday – Friday)
    Cost: £495 + VAT per person
  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher
    Duration: 2 days
    Dates: 10 & 11 September 2018 (Monday & Tuesday)
    27 & 28 November 2018 (Tuesday & Wednesday)
    Cost: £265 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)
  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS)
    Duration: 2 days
    Dates: 20 & 21 September (Thursday & Friday)
    12 & 13 December 2018 (Wednesday & Thursday)
    Cost: £230 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)
  • CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness
    Duration: 1 day
    Dates: 24 September 2018 (Monday)
    15 November 2018 (Thursday)
    Cost: £125 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

 

Site Safety – Bad Practices Observed

Our consultants have been extremely disappointed to note an increasing tendency to ignore some of the basics of site safety just recently – and even more disappointed that, in some cases, site management has then seen fit to challenge the consultants on the wisdom of the points they are making.

Can we please remind our customers that we are here to help you – the intention is not to hinder but to make constructive comments that either have a legal basis or highlight industry or HSE recognised best practice. We cannot help our customers if no notice is taken of our remarks, particularly if the sole intention of site management is to insist that their (unsafe) ways of working are justified.

Here are a few points commonly found on sites just recently (and we really can’t believe that we are reporting issues such as this in 2018):

Dogs on site

Can I bring my dog on site? No, this is not acceptable under any circumstances. We appreciate that owners may need to exercise their dogs and therefore an easy solution is to bring them into work. However, if this is unavoidable, the dogs must remain in the site cabin and never be taken into working areas.

Why introduce additional risks of trips and falls into an already very hazardous workplace? If a significant accident happens as a result of a dog on site, the principal contractor, the site manager and the dog owner will be prosecuted – guaranteed! You think it won’t happen? Two months ago, a dog was observed accompanying the site manager up scaffolding (!!); when challenged, the site manager did nothing until the dog fell a considerable distance to the ground. At that point, the site manager was terrified that the dog had died – no mention of the fact that the dog could have tripped, and subsequently seriously injured or killed, a worker.

Dogs must be banned on site, along with all other pets, children, and all persons who do not have a direct need to be in the working area/s

Site dusts

Standards of dust controls and respiratory protection appear to be falling for some reason, despite the HSE’s concentration on this issue and guaranteed enforcement for non-compliance.

A reminder that all potentially hazardous substances require (by law) an appropriate COSHH assessment, and site dusts (predominantly silica-based) are no exception. WHS has previously issued a generic assessment for masonry and silica dusts (refer to your annual pack); however, we now attach with this newsletter an additional risk/COSHH assessment for site dusts in general just to remind everyone of what should be done to combat the health risks.

We also include with this newsletter a generic COSHH assessment for untreated soft woods. Please read both, digest and act on the contents, and ring WHS on 01952-885885 if you have any queries or issues.

Wearing clothes!

Yes, we’ve experienced some record-breaking hot weeks – but that’s no excuse to throw caution to the wind and strip off to next to nothing! PPE is there for a reason – to protect you, whatever the weather. We have been challenged about our comments so, just to clear things up and justify our stance:

Firstly, if the rules for the site dictate the wearing of PPE items, the law says that they must be worn…full stop! The law emphasises that there is no ‘opinion’ with this; site rules must be followed. Neither site management nor workers are legally permitted to ignore these rules unless specifically amended in writing.

Secondly, just ask yourselves why each rule is there. For instance, what’s the purpose of a high-viz vest? To ensure plant and vehicle drivers can see you. Without high-viz, you are no more visible in hot sunny weather than you are in winter – in fact, you are probably even less visible if the driver has the sun in his eyes.

And lastly, it may be ‘attractive’ to get a tan in hot weather but the fact is that construction workers are many, many more times likely to get skin cancer than other workers due to the many hours of exposure to UV – and that’s not very attractive.

Equally, PPE (particularly gloves and long-clothing) is also there to protect the skin against the many hazardous substances ever-present in construction, e.g. cement. Why risk serious skin conditions? Cover up!

It’s common sense; workers run a serious risk of injury or serious long-term health issues without the necessary PPE – and don’t forget that:

  • The company and site management will be blamed (for failing to enforce site rules)
  • Health issues of all types are being targeted by the HSE, so you can expect enforcement (and the resultant costs). Refer to HSE guidance:
    http://www.hse.gov.uk/skin/employ/sunprotect.htm
    http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg147.pdf

 

So, please don’t challenge the recommendations we give about the wearing of PPE. We repeat: we are here to help, not hinder. We are here to safeguard your workers from harm and your company against enforcement. We can’t help deflect blame or enforcement if we are ignored.

There are others way of guarding against heat exhaustion other than stripping to barely nothing!

Scaffolding

As the amount of work available increases within construction, we are seeing a huge reduction in scaffolding safety – both in the standards of scaffold construction and the competence of the scaffolders themselves.

We highlighted this issue (yet again) in the June newsletter but, sad to say, since then we have seen some truly appalling practices, pitiful site management, and a number of injuries (some serious) and near-misses involving scaffolding.

If you are a scaffold company:
Why risk seriously injuring or killing someone – or indeed, killing the company as a result of a prosecution – the availability of work is no excuse for cutting corners.

If you are a principal contractor:
Just remember that you are in charge of ALL contractors brought onto your site, even specialists such as scaffolders; you have the legal responsibility to ensure they are competent and abide by all necessary legal and best practice, and their own RAMSs. You will bear part of the blame if scaffolders are not checked for competence and monitored whenever they are on your site (and, yes, that includes weekend working)

Housekeeping

Too often we hear site management accusing contractors of poor housekeeping – sorry, but this is the site manager’s issue, not just the contractors’. Site managers are there to manage; if they can’t keep a tight ship then they are not of the right calibre to be appointed at that level.

And it’s no good waiting – our consultants commonly hear, “we clear up at the end of the day”. Sorry, but accidents don’t ‘wait’ to happen! Trips, slips and falls happen at any time of the day and the chances of something serious is increased if the ‘clear up as you go’ rule is not applied.

Alternatively, try this (a tip from a larger house builder): re-charge time spent by your workers if they have to clear up the mess from plasterers, carpenters, electricians, tilers, plumbers, and any other trades. We know that time is money and that’s why the trades don’t clear up as they go – so why not charge for any time you have to spend in clearing up after them?!

First-aid and fire

We also seem to be slipping backwards as regards first-aid and fire provision on many sites. There seems to be a tendency to rely on others to provide both, with the result that contractors sit back and ignore the problem when this doesn’t happen. So a reminder:

It doesn’t matter whether you are a principal contractor or a contractor, ALL contractors (even those carrying out brief minor works) have the legal duty to ensure there is sufficient first-aid, fire and welfare provision available at each workplace. So ask the questions during the pre-start stage:

If you are a principal contractor:
Don’t assume that contractors will provide their own; if you expect them to, then say so!!

If you are a contractor:
Don’t assume that all principal contractors are conscientious (they’re not!) and will provide adequate emergency and welfare (they won’t!). Not your problem? It will be when someone gets hurt!

Donated First Aid Supplies

Yet again, a huge ‘thank you’ is extended to all WHS customers who kindly donated their unwanted first-aid materials to a deserving clinic in countries that can ill-afford medical equipment and supplies. On this latest occasion, several large bags were donated to a clinic in the depths of the Mongolia steppes – good timing too as a serious car accident had used their entire stocks a day beforehand!

Thank you to all who contributed; very much appreciated by both staff and patients.

HSE NEWS

New Sentencing Guidelines

New sentencing guidelines come into effect on 1 November 2018 for manslaughter, including cases resulting from gross negligence. Full text can be found on:
https://www.sentencingcouncil.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Manslaughter_Definitive-Guideline_WEB.pdf

 

Accident Statistics 2017/18

The HSE has released the fatality statistics for the year 2017/18, and they make disturbing reading:

  • 144 fatalities across British industry – an increase of 9% on last year
  • 38 fatalities in construction – an increase of 27% on last year!! And 4 x higher than the all-industry fatality rate

 

We all know there has been a huge increase in the amount of work available in construction but, as we’ve said above, that is no excuse for reducing standards and cutting corners. Accidents don’t win you work but will, more often than not, bankrupt the company. Competition for work is fierce; you need to win it by demonstrating high standards of health & safety compliance – not by cutting corners and becoming a liability to your employer!

But, on a more positive note, with our national safety record, we are still the best in the World and it is heartening to hear that the HSE is increasingly being asked by other countries to advise on how to achieve a better standard of health & safety throughout their industries. This is re-assuring because it bucks the current trend by our government in their attempts to downgrade the status, resources allocated and legislative requirements of health & safety in the UK, and sends a positive message that we all need to safeguard our workers as they are our most valuable resource.

INDUSTRY NEWS

The Perils of School Holidays

Apart from parental stress (!!), the school summer holidays also inevitably bring increased risks of child-trespass as construction sites are seen as wonderfully exciting playgrounds full of all sorts of obstacles to be overcome – but those obstacles can be perilous and fatal:

  • Collapsing stockpiles, pallets, stacked pipework, etc
  • Deep water in excavations, tanks, balancing ponds, etc
  • Drainage pipes than can crush or trap
  • Exposed and unprotected edges on scaffolding or structure

 

And much more. None of these hazards should remain in place on any site if uncontrolled. However, all contractors have a clear legal duty to prevent intrusion by effective means – mind those walls, trees, pillar boxes, etc which can make it easy for children to jump over the Heras fencing.

Site security is paramount, and particularly so during these summer months when temptations are at their height for energetic or bored children. The contractor (not the parents) would be held responsible for any injury to, or death of, a child on site.

CSCS Cards

There are major changes to the CSCS card scheme, apparently to fall in line with the requirements of the Construction Leadership Council (although one might question why these changes have been insisted upon at this late stage and how they actually help the industry):

  • Visitors cards are now being removed; the Council insists that people visiting (including WHS staff), rather than actually working on site, should be ‘managed’ by the principal contractor and CSCS cards are therefore not useful or beneficial
  • Black cards, which are based on ‘industry accreditation’ rather than a specific trade or professional qualification are being withdrawn
  • In future, there will be on-line application only as the CSCS call centre (administered by CITB) is being closed down.
  • The cost per card will rise from 1 September 2018 to £36 (incl. VAT); test, etc costs will be payable in addition

 

The huge increase in construction work has been highlighted above, and with it comes a lack of available skills. All contractors and developers are finding it difficult to engage appropriately skilled workers right across the spectrum of trades. As a result, many larger developers (particularly some of the major house builders) are abandoning the CSCS card scheme altogether in favour of alternative competence measures.

However, those of you who work with Highways England will need to be aware that, although HE don’t operate the CSCS card scheme, all contractors are required to hold the HE Safety Passport. Refer to:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/a-passport-to-safety
and
https://www.highwaysmagazine.co.uk/article/detail/3692

An Aging Workforce

Apart from the huge increase in the number of fatalities highlighted above, another very disturbing fact to emerge in 2017-18 is that 40% of all fatalities happen to workers over 60 years old. There may be a number of factors involved here:

  • An aging workforce generally within construction coupled with the difficulty of attracting younger people to the industry
  • Older workers not wishing to retire, or not able to financially
  • The acceptance that people have a ‘right’ to work well into old(er) age, with no appreciation by the employer that the work needs to be managed according to their (deteriorating?) capabilities
  • The worker’s insistence that they are still just as capable, and management’s acceptance of those assurances
  • Compromised ‘perception’ as workers get older – and that’s a fact. Even without visible disabilities, older people cannot see, hear, judge, attune to the hazards of the working environment as quickly as when they were younger, with the possible result that they become a liability to themselves, their colleagues and their employer.

 

So a reminder: if older workers are retained, the employer must be happy to do so. The issue must be risk assessed and managed by the employer. Ascertain their actual capabilities (not what they insist is the case), engaging health surveillance where appropriate, and allocate safe tasks. Then monitor and continue to manage the situation over time – it is the employer’s responsibility to say “yes” or (maybe finally) “no” to continuing employment.

Save Costs on PPE

Here’s a great idea for saving costs with your PPE – clean it for a fraction of the cost of purchasing replacements.

Staysafe PPE Ltd based in Alverley will deep-clean and recondition all types of PPE and materials, including cotton, nylon, polyester, Kevlar, rubber and nitrite, for pence not pounds and, consequently, have built up a huge client base in a very short time. They give free trials (‘Give us a sample of your soiled work gloves or garments and see the results for yourself’) so you’ve got nothing to lose. Refer to:
www.staysafeppe.co.uk
or ring: 01746-781027 for further details and your free trial.

How Not to Save Costs on PPE!

Trading Standards have issued a warning about fake respiratory protection (RPE) filters and the extreme dangers to health from their use. The fake filters are actually labelled 3M and fit snugly on 3M masks – but they allow through dangerous amounts of dusts and particles. So the message is, as always, buy either direct from 3M (www.3M.co.uk) or through a very reputable supplier such as Seton (www.seton.co.uk)

It will be interesting to see whether the new Personal Protective Equipment (Enforcement) Regulations 2018, which came into force on 21 April 2018 (with a transition period until 20 April 2019) has the desired positive effect on the quality of PPE / RPE supplied. The new regulations are aimed at ensuring quality, compliance, testing, labelling and information, and traceability of items supplied to all markets within the UK, Further details can be found on:

New Personal Protective Equipment Regulation


The new regulations apply to all suppliers; internet providers as well as traditional retail and wholesale outlets. They do not affect customers other than to give assurances that what they purchase actually does the job. However, given that Trading Standards are still regularly finding fake items of PPE & RPE, the point has to be raised – regulation is only as good as enforcement and, without the resources to properly monitor the industry, fakes will still creep in all too easily.

A useful ‘complete guide’ to PPE and freely downloadable booklet can be found on:

PPE: Complete guide to Personal Protective Equipment

More Warning of Fakes

And a further warning from Trading Standards – believe it or not, 98% of all non-branded Apple-compatible products have been proved to be dangerous. Vital components might be missing, or un-insulated cables or unsafe batteries used. The result has been a huge number of fires – with the inevitable and often serious consequences where the items were unattended.

Yes, branded products are expensive (and Apple would do well to lead the way towards improved safety by reducing their prices) but a short term saving may result in huge long term costs – or worse.

Employee Wellbeing

Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development have opened up their events to non-members and a local one that may interest our customers’ concerns wellbeing. We have discussed stress and mental health in previous newsletters as it recently came to the forefront in construction with the Mates in Mind initiative. This event will discuss these issues in depth, together with effective leadership and financial wellbeing.

The event is half a day, between 9am and 2pm, on 10 October 2018 at the Shrewsbury Town Football Club; the cost is £30 (incl VAT), which includes lunch – so a bargain. Booking (ends on 5 October) is via:
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/wellbeing-event-registration-45717311710

So, if you are aware of any such problems within your workplace, come along. And, if you’re not, then come along anyway to be forewarned of signs and solutions:

AND FINALLY

Take a look at this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LX28NOOm_PU
And ask yourself who is to blame – the telehandler operator, the site manager….the guys who stood around filming rather than trying to stop a potential fatality?

Recent comments from rail investigators, called in to examine a serious near-miss, illustrates the point:

“When the person in charge of a team is … a strong personality …, it can be particularly hard for … workers to challenge unsafe behaviour. We have seen this sort of unsafe behaviour before, where the wish to get the work done quickly overrides common sense and self-preservation. When we see narrowly avoided tragedies of this type it is almost always the result of the adoption of an unsafe method of work and the absence of a challenge from others in the group.” (WHS parenthesis)

If you see something hazardous, do your best to STOP it before someone is hurt or killed!

Hazardous substances

  • Director, Simon Thomerson, of contractor Clearview Design & Construction, has been jailed for 8 years (note this – 8 years) for his “wilful blindness to the risks” involved with paint thinners during refurbishment of several industrial units which resulted in two deaths. Thomerson had employed illegal immigrants to carry out the work and had failed to give any instruction or establish safe working practices, despite the warnings about safe usage being clearly displayed on the containers.

 

Three of the workers had used several litres of paint thinners (with a low flash point of 40°C) to remove old carpet tile adhesive, spreading it to an area half the size of a tennis court. The vapour were somehow ignited and the three men were engulfed in a fire ball – only one survived. A truly horrendous incident, deserving of the harsh prison sentence.

CDM

  • Property developer, Riaz Ahmad, has been jailed for 8 months and ordered to pay £65,000 in costs after the roof and part of a rear wall collapsed during demolition of one of his buildings. Ahmad, who had no previous construction experience, had employed inexperienced workers. A prohibition notice was served by a building inspector when he found the structure in a perilous state, emergency services were called and neighbouring buildings evacuated. However, before demolition could be carried out by the local authority, the building collapsed.

 

N.B. There were no casualties but who knows how many may have been killed if the building inspector had not acted promptly to safeguard lives. But this is a further warning to all those who get involved in construction with no or inadequate experience. This is a complex and dangerous industry; to dabble in it with no qualifications or experience is to invite injury or death, and certain prosecution.

  • Client, Taylor Grange Developments, was fined £4,500, principal contactor, Allied Contracts, fined £6,000 and ‘demolition contractor’, Altan Plant Hire fined £20,000 after a building collapsed during demolition in Inverclyde. All 3 were fined under CDM: the client and principal contractor for not appointing a competent demolition contractor, and the demolition contractor for accepting work for which he was not qualified or experienced, and for carrying out the work in an unsafe manner.

 

N.B. Another warning – clients should not engage plant hire companies (in particular) for demolition unless their qualifications, experience, and track record is proven. There are too many plant hire companies out there purporting to be demolition contractors but who have no idea of how to safely demolish a structure.

Work at height

  • Principal contractor, Grangewood Builders Ltd, and demolition contractor, Trenchco Ltd, were each fined a total of over £277,000 after a worker lost the use of his legs when he fell 3 metres through a fragile roof-light. No protection had been established to the roof-light. No training had been given to the Romanian worker and the company had been reliant on unofficial interpreters to relay instructions.
  • PJ Livesey Living Space (North) Ltd was fined a total of over £63,000 after two joiners fell 6.8 metres from poorly designed scaffolding around a bell tower during refurbishment. The men fell from a 2nd tier platform when it collapsed, landing on the 1st tier which then also collapsed. The HSE found that the site manager had ‘designed’ the platforms, something for which he was neither trained nor competent.

 

N.B. A reminder to everyone – ONLY properly trained and competent scaffolders can design and erect scaffold systems. And ONLY those properly conversant with TG20 can design complex structures.

  • Broadley Roofing Ltd was fined a total of almost £55,500 after a worker sustained serious injuries falling 6 metres through unprotected roof-lights during refurbishment of a warehouse roof. Boards had been ‘placed’ over the fragile roof-lights but not secured, offering little or no protection.
  • Survey Roofing Group Ltd was fined a total of over £65,500 after being observed working unsafely on a high-pitched roof at a height of 12.5 metres (were they mad??!!) during a store refurbishment. They had established no protection against falling through roof-lights or injuring the public with falling objects.
  • Principal contractor, Kier Facilities Services Ltd was fined a total of almost £206,000 and contractor, JHH Engineering Ltd, a total of almost £36,000 after a worker suffered severe injuries falling from a flat roof during refurbishment of a school. No work at height protection measures at all had been established by JHH; access to the roof was from an unsecured, damage ladder of insufficient length (how common is that still?). Kier had not assessed JHH for health & safety competence nor ensured safe working.
  • Scaffolder, Steven Connolly, was sentenced to 24 weeks in prison, suspended for 18 months, subjected to a curfew, tagged and fined £2,000 after being observed erecting scaffold in an unsafe manner. The HSE visited the site but, instead of listening to the inspector, he subjected her to a ‘torrent of abuse’ and left the scaffold in a totally unsafe condition.

 

Well, all we can say is that he certainly invited that prosecution! And how embarrassing is that – a ‘tough’ guy having to admit to his mates down the pub that he’s under curfew and tagged!

Plant & vehicles

  • TJ Smith Contracting was fined a total of £130,000 after failing to maintain their fleet of lorry-mounted MEWPs. Employees and the public had been placed at severe risk because the MEWPs failed to automatically stop before over-slewing, increasing the risk of overturn. No instruction had been given to operators about pre-start checks or maintenance.

 

Asbestos

  • Three directors of Stoke waste management company, Alsager Contractors, were personally fined totals of £46,500, £6,000 and £4,800 and ordered to pay costs of £200,000 between them for “appalling” failures to properly control asbestos waste at three of their facilities. Two of the directors, George Talbot and son, Anthony, were also disqualified as directors for periods of seven and four years respectively.

 

Alsager went into liquidation in 2016 but winding the company up does not prevent those in charge being personally prosecuted – take note! And the judge’s comments should also be noted: “I have to say I was considering a custodial sentence but have been constrained by the guidelines.”

  • SDC Builders was fined a total of over £213,000 for failing to assess, control and/or protect asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) during refurbishment work on a school. Consequently, ACMs were disturbed, potentially placing school staff, pupils, as well as SDC’s own employees, in extreme danger.
  • Thistlemoor Healthcare & Management was fined a total of almost £17,000 for failing to carry out asbestos surveys on two sites ahead of refurbishment, one of which was a medical centre. Rather ironic that a healthcare company was failing to protect people’s health!
  • Aquapac Ltd, manufacturer and distributor of furniture, was fined £6,000 for failing to assess, control, protect and provide information to staff on the presence of ACMs. Note that this was ahead of any disturbance taking place – the legally required investigation work and controls were not in place.
  • Property management consultancy, Vital Property Solutions, was fined a total of over £9,300 and ‘asbestos surveyor’ Home Inspectors Southern, over £5,700 after failing to identify insulation board (brown asbestos) and asbestos cement (white) prior to refurbishment work. Consequently, a non-licensed contractor was engaged and large quantities of ACMs removed without adequate controls.

 

N.B. Yet another warning – there are too many ‘asbestos surveyors’ out there with little or no proper training. The client was prosecuted in this case because he had failed to ask for proof of qualifications from the surveyor. So a warning to everyone who requires an asbestos survey for any reason – ensure you engage qualified, experienced and trustworthy surveyors (we’ve seen some appalling survey reports).

And do ask for our assistance with assessing surveyors and reviewing the asbestos reports; better safe than sorry!

DON’T FORGET – THE PROSECUTIONS REPORTED IN THESE NEWSLETTERS ARE JUST A FRACTION OF THOSE REPORTED. NON-COMPLIANCE WILL RESULT IN ENFORCEMENT OR PROSECUTION – AND, MORE IMPORTANTLY, RISKS KILLING OR INJURING SOMEONE.

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

COMPANY NEWS

Wenlock Health & Safety Company Changes

Many of you will be aware that our Managing Director, Jackie Horsewood, will be retiring on 31 August 2018, after over 16 years as the driving force behind Wenlock, Health & Safety Ltd. Jackie will retain some company management for a while but will no longer be actively involved in any client interface work. We wish her well in her (semi) retirement.

Can you please make a careful note then of the following:

  • Our opening hours at 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday. Yes, we frequently work beyond these hours but this is strictly by previous arrangement and cannot be ‘expected’
  • The Business Director is Becki Shenton; Becki oversees all WHS-related issues matters, accounts and customer care
  • The Technical Director is Laura Mort; Laura oversees all customer-related and technical matters; Laura also has, and is responsible for, her own allocated customer base

 

Please also note that, from now on, the out-of-hours mobile number for use for emergency contact only please will be 07791-670987

  • The additional WHS Health & Safety Consultants each have, and are responsible for, their own customer base; please contact them direct for your day-to-day requirements
  • All training bookings, invoicing and document issue is carried out by Vicki Brown
  • Credit control and subscription renewals are under the wing of Jarmila Carmier

 

First Aid Training

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

  • 23 August 2018
  • 27 September 2018
  • 24 October 2018
  • 20 November 2018
  • 19 December 2018

 

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

Workplace Safety – Bad Practices Observed

Our consultants have been extremely disappointed to note an increasing tendency to ignore some of the basics of workplace safety just recently – and even more disappointed that, in some cases, management has then seen fit to challenge the consultants on the wisdom of the points they are making.

Can we please remind our customers that we are here to help you – the intention is not to hinder but to make constructive comments that either have a legal basis or highlight industry or HSE recognised best practice. We cannot help our customers if no notice is taken of our remarks, particularly if the sole intention of management is to insist that their (unsafe) ways of working are justified.

Here are a few points commonly found just recently (and we really can’t believe that we are reporting issues such as this in 2018):

Dogs in the workplace

Can I bring my dog into the workplace? No, this is not acceptable under any circumstances. We appreciate that owners may need to exercise their dogs and therefore an easy solution is to bring them into work. However, if this is unavoidable, the dogs must remain in an office and never be taken into working areas.

Why introduce additional risks of trips and falls into an already very hazardous workplace? If a significant accident happens as a result of a dog being present, the company, company management and the dog owner will most likely be prosecuted! You think it won’t happen? Two months ago, a dog was observed accompanying the manager up scaffolding (!!); when challenged, the manager did nothing until the dog fell a considerable distance to the ground. At that point, the manager was terrified that the dog had died – no mention of the fact that the dog could have tripped, and subsequently seriously injured or killed, a worker.

Dogs must be banned from the workplace, along with all other pets, children, and all persons who do not have a direct need to be in the working area/s

Wearing clothes!

Yes, we’ve experienced some record-breaking hot weeks – but that’s no excuse to throw caution to the wind and strip off to next to nothing! PPE is there for a reason – to protect you, whatever the weather. We have been challenged about our comments so, just to clear things up and justify our stance:

Firstly, if the company rules dictate the wearing of PPE items, the law says that they must be worn…full stop! The law emphasises that there is no ‘opinion’ with this; rules must be followed. Neither management nor workers are legally permitted to ignore these rules unless specifically amended in writing.

Secondly, just ask yourselves why each rule is there. For instance, what’s the purpose of a high-viz vest? To ensure plant and vehicle drivers can see you. Without high-viz, you are no more visible in hot sunny weather than you are in winter – in fact, you are probably even less visible if the driver has the sun in his eyes.

And lastly, it may be ‘attractive’ to get a tan in hot weather when you’re working outside but the fact is that (as nobody can fail to know these days) you run a very high risk of getting skin cancer with exposure to UV – and that’s really not very attractive.

Equally, PPE is also there to protect the skin against the many hazardous substances we may need to use or encounter. Why risk serious skin conditions? Cover up!

It’s common sense; workers run a serious risk of injury or serious long-term health issues without the necessary PPE – and don’t forget that:

  • The company and management will be blamed (for failing to enforce the rules)
  • Health issues of all types are being targeted by the HSE, so you can expect enforcement (and the resultant costs). Refer to HSE guidance:
    http://www.hse.gov.uk/skin/employ/sunprotect.htm
    http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg147.pdf

 

So, please don’t challenge the recommendations we give about the wearing of PPE. We repeat: we are here to help, not hinder. We are here to safeguard your workers from harm and your company against enforcement. We can’t help deflect blame or enforcement if we are ignored.

There are others way of guarding against heat exhaustion other than stripping to barely nothing!

Housekeeping

Too often we hear management accusing workers of poor housekeeping – sorry, but this is the manager’s issue, not just the workers’. Managers are there to manage; if they can’t keep a tight ship then they are not of the right calibre to be appointed at that level.

And it’s no good waiting – our consultants commonly hear, “we clear up at the end of the day”. Sorry, but accidents don’t ‘wait’ to happen! Trips, slips and falls happen at any time of the day and the chances of something serious is increased if the ‘clear up as you go’ rule is not applied.

Dusts

Standards of dust controls and respiratory protection appear to be falling for some reason, despite the HSE’s concentration on this issue and guaranteed enforcement for non-compliance. A reminder that all potentially hazardous substances require (by law) an appropriate COSHH assessment, and dusts are no exception

We include with this newsletter a generic COSHH assessment for untreated soft woods to add to the generic already issued annually for hardwood dusts. If you work with woods, please read both, digest and act on the contents, and ring WHS on 01952-885885 if you have any queries or issues.

Donated First Aid Supplies

Yet again, a huge ‘thank you’ is extended to all WHS customers who kindly donated their unwanted first-aid materials to a deserving clinic in countries that can ill-afford medical equipment and supplies. On this latest occasion, several large bags were donated to a clinic in the depths of the Mongolia steppes – good timing too as a serious car accident had used their entire stocks a day beforehand!

Thank you to all who contributed; very much appreciated by both staff and patients.

HSE NEWS

Accident Statistics 2017/18

The HSE has released the fatality statistics for the year 2017/18, and they make disturbing reading:

  • 144 fatalities across British industry – an increase of 9% on last year

Healthy order books or budgetary controls are no excuse for reducing standards and cutting corners. Accidents don’t win you work but will, more often than not, bankrupt the company.

But, on a more positive note, with our national safety record, we are still the best in the World and it is heartening to hear that the HSE is increasingly being asked by other countries to advise on how to achieve a better standard of health & safety throughout their industries. This is re-assuring because it bucks the current trend by our government in their attempts to downgrade the status, resources allocated and legislative requirements of health & safety in the UK, and sends a positive message that we all need to safeguard our workers as they are our most valuable resource.

New Sentencing Guidelines

New sentencing guidelines come into effect on 1 November 2018 for manslaughter, including cases resulting from gross negligence. Full text can be found on:
https://www.sentencingcouncil.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Manslaughter_Definitive-Guideline_WEB.pdf

 

INDUSTRY NEWS

The Perils of School Holidays

Apart from parental stress (!!), the school summer holidays also inevitably bring increased risks of child-trespass as industrial premises can be seen as wonderfully exciting playgrounds full of all sorts of obstacles to be overcome – but those obstacles can be perilous and fatal:

  • Collapsing stockpiles, pallets, stacked materials, etc
  • Deep water in excavations, tanks, balancing ponds, etc
  • Exposed and unprotected edges either at height or with tanks, voids, and other drop downwards
    And much more. None of these hazards should remain in place in any workplace if uncontrolled anyway. However, all businesses have a clear legal duty to prevent intrusion by effective means. Ensure you have 2 metre, anti-climb, secure, undamaged fencing and gates are locked overnight – and mind those walls, trees, pillar boxes, etc which can make it easy for children to jump over the perimeter fencing.

 

Security is paramount, and particularly so during these summer months when temptations are at their height for energetic or bored children. The business (not the parents) would be held responsible for any injury to, or death of, a child within its premises.

An Aging Workforce

Apart from the significant increase in the number of fatalities highlighted above, another very disturbing fact to emerge in 2017-18 is that 40% of all fatalities happen to workers over 60 years old. There may be a number of factors involved here:

  • An aging workforce generally coupled with the difficulty of attracting younger people into certain industries
  • Older workers not wishing to retire, or not able to financially
  • The acceptance that people have a ‘right’ to work well into old(er) age, with no appreciation by the employer that the work needs to be managed according to their (deteriorating?) capabilities
  • The worker’s insistence that they are still just as capable, and management’s acceptance of those assurances
  • Compromised ‘perception’ as workers get older – and that’s a fact. Even without visible disabilities, older people cannot see, hear, judge, attune to the hazards of the working environment as quickly as when they were younger, with the possible result that they become a liability to themselves, their colleagues and their employer.

 

So a reminder: if older workers are retained, the employer must be happy to do so. The issue must be risk assessed and managed by the employer. Ascertain their actual capabilities (not what they insist is the case), engaging health surveillance where appropriate, and allocate safe tasks. Then monitor and continue to manage the situation over time – it is the employer’s responsibility to say “yes” or (maybe finally) “no” to continuing employment.

Save Costs on PPE

Here’s a great idea for saving costs with your PPE – clean it for a fraction of the cost of purchasing replacements.

Staysafe PPE Ltd based in Alverley will deep-clean and recondition all types of PPE and materials, including cotton, nylon, polyester, Kevlar, rubber and nitrite, for pence not pounds and, consequently, have built up a huge client base in a very short time. They give free trials (‘Give us a sample of your soiled work gloves or garments and see the results for yourself’) so you’ve got nothing to lose. Refer to:
www.staysafeppe.co.uk
or ring: 01746-781027 for further details and your free trial.

How Not to Save Costs on PPE!

Trading Standards have issued a warning about fake respiratory protection (RPE) filters and the extreme dangers to health from their use. The fake filters are actually labelled 3M and fit snugly on 3M masks – but they allow through dangerous amounts of dusts and particles. So the message is, as always, buy either direct from 3M (www.3M.co.uk) or through a very reputable supplier such as Seton (www.seton.co.uk)

It will be interesting to see whether the new Personal Protective Equipment (Enforcement) Regulations 2018, which came into force on 21 April 2018 (with a transition period until 20 April 2019) has the desired positive effect on the quality of PPE / RPE supplied. The new regulations are aimed at ensuring quality, compliance, testing, labelling and information, and traceability of items supplied to all markets within the UK, Further details can be found on:

New Personal Protective Equipment Regulation

The new regulations apply to all suppliers; internet providers as well as traditional retail and wholesale outlets. They do not affect customers other than to give assurances that what they purchase actually does the job. However, given that Trading Standards are still regularly finding fake items of PPE & RPE, the point has to be raised – regulation is only as good as enforcement and, without the resources to properly monitor the industry, fakes will still creep in all too easily.

A useful ‘complete guide’ to PPE and freely downloadable booklet can be found on:

PPE: Complete guide to Personal Protective Equipment

More Warning of Fakes

And a further warning from Trading Standards – believe it or not, 98% of all non-branded Apple-compatible products have been proved to be dangerous. Vital components might be missing, or un-insulated cables or unsafe batteries used. The result has been a huge number of fires – with the inevitable and often serious consequences where the items were unattended.

Yes, branded products are expensive (and Apple would do well to lead the way towards improved safety by reducing their prices) but a short term saving may result in huge long term costs – or worse.

Employee Wellbeing

Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development have opened up their events to non-members and a local one that may interest our customers concerns wellbeing. We have discussed stress and mental health in previous newsletters as it recently came to the forefront nationally. This event will discuss these issues in depth, together with effective leadership and financial wellbeing.

The event is half a day, between 9am and 2pm, on 10 October 2018 at the Shrewsbury Town Football Club; the cost is £30 (incl VAT), which includes lunch – so a bargain. Booking (ends on 5 October) is via:
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/wellbeing-event-registration-45717311710

So, if you are aware of any such problems within your workplace, come along. And, if you’re not, then come along anyway to be forewarned of signs and solutions:

AND FINALLY

Take a look at this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LX28NOOm_PU
And ask yourself who is to blame – the telehandler operator, the site manager….the guys who stood around filming rather than trying to stop a potential fatality?

Recent comments from rail investigators, called in to examine a serious near-miss, illustrates the point:

“When the person in charge of a team is … a strong personality …, it can be particularly hard for … workers to challenge unsafe behaviour. We have seen this sort of unsafe behaviour before, where the wish to get the work done quickly overrides common sense and self-preservation. When we see narrowly avoided tragedies of this type it is almost always the result of the adoption of an unsafe method of work and the absence of a challenge from others in the group.” (WHS parenthesis)

If you see something hazardous, do your best to STOP it before someone is hurt or killed!

Hazardous substances

  • Director, Simon Thomerson, of contractor Clearview Design & Construction, has been jailed for 8 years (note this – 8 years) for his “wilful blindness to the risks” involved with paint thinners during refurbishment of several industrial units, resulting in two deaths. Thomerson had employed illegal immigrants to carry out the work and had failed to give any instruction or establish safe working practices, despite the warnings about usage being clearly displayed on the containers.

 

Three of the workers had used several litres of paint thinners b(with a low flash point of 40 C) to remove old carpet tile adhesive, spreading to an area half the size of a tennis court; something ignited the vapours and three men were engulfed in a fire ball – only one survived. A truly horrendous incident, deserving of the prison sentence.

CDM

  • Client, Taylor Grange Developments was fined £4,500, principal contactor, Allied Contracts, fined £6,000 and ‘demolition contractor’, Altan Plant Hire fined £20,000 after a building collapsed during demolition in Inverclyde. All 3 were fined under CDM: the client and principal contractor for not appointing a competent demolition contractor, and the demolition contractor for accepting work for which he was not qualified or experienced and for carrying out the work in an unsafe manner

 

N.B. Another warning – clients should not engage plant hire companies for demolition unless their qualifications, experience, and track record is proven. There are too many plant hire companies out there purporting to be demolition contractors but who have no idea of how to safely demolish a structure.

Plant & vehicles

  • TJ Smith Contracting was fined a total of £130,000 after failing to maintain their fleet of lorry-mounted MEWPs. Employees and the public had been placed at severe risk because the MEWPs failed to automatically stop before over-slewing, increasing the risk of overturn. No instruction had been given to operators about pre-start checks or maintenance.
  • Bakkavor Foods Ltd was fined £176,000 after an employee died when he was struck by a stack of empty food trays. A fork-lift had made contact with the stack of trays; the company was prosecuted for failing to provide sufficient segregation between plant and employees.
  • Bartram Manufacturing Ltd was fined a total of almost £84,000 after an employee suffered multiple injuries when pinned against a work-bench by a stack of falling wooden trusses. Again, the stack had been struck by a fork-lift and again the company was prosecuted for failing to properly controlling the plant / pedestrian interface.

 

Asbestos

  • Thistlemoor Healthcare & Management was fined a total of almost £17,000 for failing to carry out asbestos surveys on two sites ahead of refurbishment, one of which was a medical centre. Rather ironic that a healthcare company was failing to protect people’s health!
  • Aquapac Ltd, manufacturer and distributor of furniture, was fined £6,000 for failing to assess, control, protect and provide information to staff on the presence of ACMs. Note that this was ahead of any disturbance taking place – the legally required investigation work and controls were not in place.
  • Property management consultancy, Vital Property Solutions, was fined a total of over £9,300 and ‘asbestos surveyor’ Home Inspectors Southern, over £5,700 after failing to identify insulation board (brown asbestos) and asbestos cement (white) prior to refurbishment work. Consequently, a non-licensed contractor was engaged and large quantities of ACMs removed without adequate controls.

 

N.B. Yet another warning – there are too many ‘asbestos surveyors’ out there with little or no proper training. The client was prosecuted in this case because he had failed to ask for proof of qualifications from the surveyor. So a warning to everyone who requires an asbestos survey for any reason – ensure you engage qualified, experienced and trustworthy surveyors (we’ve seen some appalling survey reports).

And do ask for our assistance with assessing surveyors and reviewing the asbestos reports; better safe than sorry!

 

DON’T FORGET – THE PROSECUTIONS REPORTED IN THESE NEWSLETTERS ARE JUST A FRACTION OF THOSE REPORTED. NON-COMPLIANCE WILL RESULT IN ENFORCEMENT OR PROSECUTION – AND, MORE IMPORTANTLY, RISKS KILLING OR INJURING SOMEONE.

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

To contact WHS, ring: 01952-885885

COMPANY NEWS

Wenlock Health & Safety Company Changes

Many of you will be aware that our Managing Director, Jackie Horsewood, will be retiring on 31 August 2018, after over 16 years as the driving force behind Wenlock, Health & Safety Ltd. Jackie will retain some company management for a while but will no longer be actively involved in any client interface, site or project related work. We wish her well in her (semi) retirement.

Can you please make a careful note then of the following:

  • Our opening hours at 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday. Yes, we frequently work beyond these hours but this is strictly by previous arrangement and cannot be ‘expected’
  • The Business Director is Becki Shenton; Becki oversees all WHS-related issues matters, accounts and customer care
  • The Technical Director is Laura Mort; Laura oversees all customer-related and technical matters; Laura also has, and is responsible for, her own allocated customer base

 

Please also note that, from now on, the out-of-hours mobile number for use for emergency contact only please will be 07791-670987

  • The additional WHS Health & Safety Consultants each have, and are responsible for, their own customer base; please contact them direct for your day-to-day requirements
  • All training bookings, invoicing and document issue is carried out by Vicki Brown
  • Credit control and subscription renewals are under the wing of Jarmila Carmier

 

First Aid Training

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

  • 23 August 2018
  • 27 September 2018
  • 24 October 2018
  • 20 November 2018
  • 19 December 2018

 

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

CITB Training Courses

Forthcoming 2018 dates currently in place and fees for the CITB courses are as follows. Courses are held at the WHS training rooms and fees include lunch, refreshments and all course literature.

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

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)
    Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week
    Dates: 19, 26 September, 3, 10 & 17 October 2018 (Wednesdays)
    19, 26 November, 3, 10, 17 December 2018 (Mondays)
    BLOCK BOOKING 7 – 11 January 2019 (Monday – Friday)
    Cost: £495 + VAT per person
  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher
    Duration: 2 days
    Dates: 10 & 11 September 2018 (Monday & Tuesday)
    27 & 28 November 2018 (Tuesday & Wednesday)
    Cost: £265 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)
  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS)
    Duration: 2 days
    Dates: 20 & 21 September (Thursday & Friday)
    12 & 13 December 2018 (Wednesday & Thursday)
    Cost: £230 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)
  • CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness
    Duration: 1 day
    Dates: 24 September 2018 (Monday)
    15 November 2018 (Thursday)
    Cost: £125 + VAT per person (10% discount when booking 2 or more people)

 

Site Safety – Bad Practices Observed

Our consultants have been extremely disappointed to note an increasing tendency to ignore some of the basics of site safety just recently – and even more disappointed that, in some cases, site management has then seen fit to challenge the consultants on the wisdom of the points they are making.

Can we please remind our customers that we are here to help you – the intention is not to hinder but to make constructive comments that either have a legal basis or highlight industry or HSE recognised best practice. We cannot help our customers if no notice is taken of our remarks, particularly if the sole intention of site management is to insist that their (unsafe) ways of working are justified.

Here are a few points commonly found on sites just recently (and we really can’t believe that we are reporting issues such as this in 2018):

Dogs on site

Can I bring my dog on site? No, this is not acceptable under any circumstances. We appreciate that owners may need to exercise their dogs and therefore an easy solution is to bring them into work. However, if this is unavoidable, the dogs must remain in the site cabin and never be taken into working areas.

Why introduce additional risks of trips and falls into an already very hazardous workplace? If a significant accident happens as a result of a dog on site, the principal contractor, the site manager and the dog owner will be prosecuted – guaranteed! You think it won’t happen? Two months ago, a dog was observed accompanying the site manager up scaffolding (!!); when challenged, the site manager did nothing until the dog fell a considerable distance to the ground. At that point, the site manager was terrified that the dog had died – no mention of the fact that the dog could have tripped, and subsequently seriously injured or killed, a worker.

Dogs must be banned on site, along with all other pets, children, and all persons who do not have a direct need to be in the working area/s

Site dusts

Standards of dust controls and respiratory protection appear to be falling for some reason, despite the HSE’s concentration on this issue and guaranteed enforcement for non-compliance.

A reminder that all potentially hazardous substances require (by law) an appropriate COSHH assessment, and site dusts (predominantly silica-based) are no exception. WHS has previously issued a generic assessment for masonry and silica dusts (refer to your annual pack); however, we now attach with this newsletter an additional risk/COSHH assessment for site dusts in general just to remind everyone of what should be done to combat the health risks.

We also include with this newsletter a generic COSHH assessment for untreated soft woods. Please read both, digest and act on the contents, and ring WHS on 01952-885885 if you have any queries or issues.

Wearing clothes!

Yes, we’ve experienced some record-breaking hot weeks – but that’s no excuse to throw caution to the wind and strip off to next to nothing! PPE is there for a reason – to protect you, whatever the weather. We have been challenged about our comments so, just to clear things up and justify our stance:

Firstly, if the rules for the site dictate the wearing of PPE items, the law says that they must be worn…full stop! The law emphasises that there is no ‘opinion’ with this; site rules must be followed. Neither site management nor workers are legally permitted to ignore these rules unless specifically amended in writing.

Secondly, just ask yourselves why each rule is there. For instance, what’s the purpose of a high-viz vest? To ensure plant and vehicle drivers can see you. Without high-viz, you are no more visible in hot sunny weather than you are in winter – in fact, you are probably even less visible if the driver has the sun in his eyes.

And lastly, it may be ‘attractive’ to get a tan in hot weather but the fact is that construction workers are many, many more times likely to get skin cancer than other workers due to the many hours of exposure to UV – and that’s not very attractive.

Equally, PPE (particularly gloves and long-clothing) is also there to protect the skin against the many hazardous substances ever-present in construction, e.g. cement. Why risk serious skin conditions? Cover up!

It’s common sense; workers run a serious risk of injury or serious long-term health issues without the necessary PPE – and don’t forget that:

  • The company and site management will be blamed (for failing to enforce site rules)
  • Health issues of all types are being targeted by the HSE, so you can expect enforcement (and the resultant costs). Refer to HSE guidance:
    http://www.hse.gov.uk/skin/employ/sunprotect.htm
    http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg147.pdf

 

So, please don’t challenge the recommendations we give about the wearing of PPE. We repeat: we are here to help, not hinder. We are here to safeguard your workers from harm and your company against enforcement. We can’t help deflect blame or enforcement if we are ignored.

There are others way of guarding against heat exhaustion other than stripping to barely nothing!

Scaffolding

As the amount of work available increases within construction, we are seeing a huge reduction in scaffolding safety – both in the standards of scaffold construction and the competence of the scaffolders themselves.

We highlighted this issue (yet again) in the June newsletter but, sad to say, since then we have seen some truly appalling practices, pitiful site management, and a number of injuries (some serious) and near-misses involving scaffolding.

So, whether you are a principal contractor or contractor engaging scaffolders:
Just remember that you are in charge of ALL contractors brought onto your site, even specialists such as scaffolders; you have the legal responsibility to ensure they are competent and abide by all necessary legal and best practice, and their own RAMSs. You will bear part of the blame if scaffolders are not checked for competence and monitored whenever they are on your site (and, yes, that includes weekend working)

Housekeeping

Too often we hear site management accusing contractors of poor housekeeping – sorry, but this is the site manager’s issue, not just the contractors’. Site managers are there to manage; if they can’t keep a tight ship then they are not of the right calibre to be appointed at that level.

And it’s no good waiting – our consultants commonly hear, “we clear up at the end of the day”. Sorry, but accidents don’t ‘wait’ to happen! Trips, slips and falls happen at any time of the day and the chances of something serious is increased if the ‘clear up as you go’ rule is not applied.

Alternatively, try this (a tip from a larger house builder): re-charge time spent by your workers if they have to clear up the mess from plasterers, carpenters, electricians, tilers, plumbers, and any other trades. We know that time is money and that’s why the trades don’t clear up as they go – so why not charge for any time you have to spend in clearing up after them?!

First-aid and fire

We also seem to be slipping backwards as regards first-aid and fire provision on many sites. There seems to be a tendency to rely on others to provide both, with the result that contractors sit back and ignore the problem when this doesn’t happen. So a reminder:

It doesn’t matter whether you are a principal contractor or a contractor, ALL contractors (even those carrying out brief minor works) have the legal duty to ensure there is sufficient first-aid, fire and welfare provision available at each workplace. So ask the questions during the pre-start stage:

If you are a principal contractor:
Don’t assume that contractors will provide their own; if you expect them to, then say so!!

If you are a contractor:
Don’t assume that all principal contractors are conscientious (they’re not!) and will provide adequate emergency and welfare (they won’t!). Not your problem? It will be when someone gets hurt!

Donated First Aid Supplies

Yet again, a huge ‘thank you’ is extended to all WHS customers who kindly donated their unwanted first-aid materials to a deserving clinic in countries that can ill-afford medical equipment and supplies. On this latest occasion, several large bags were donated to a clinic in the depths of the Mongolia steppes – good timing too as a serious car accident had used their entire stocks a day beforehand!

Thank you to all who contributed; very much appreciated by both staff and patients.

HSE NEWS

New Sentencing Guidelines

New sentencing guidelines come into effect on 1 November 2018 for manslaughter, including cases resulting from gross negligence. Full text can be found on:
https://www.sentencingcouncil.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Manslaughter_Definitive-Guideline_WEB.pdf

Accident Statistics 2017/18

The HSE has released the fatality statistics for the year 2017/18, and they make disturbing reading:

  • 144 fatalities across British industry – an increase of 9% on last year
  • 38 fatalities in construction – an increase of 27% on last year!! And 4 x higher than the all-industry fatality rate

 

We all know there has been a huge increase in the amount of work available in construction but, as we’ve said above, that is no excuse for reducing standards and cutting corners. Accidents don’t win you work but will, more often than not, bankrupt the company. Competition for work is fierce; you need to win it by demonstrating high standards of health & safety compliance – not by cutting corners and becoming a liability to your employer!

But, on a more positive note, with our national safety record, we are still the best in the World and it is heartening to hear that the HSE is increasingly being asked by other countries to advise on how to achieve a better standard of health & safety throughout their industries. This is re-assuring because it bucks the current trend by our government in their attempts to downgrade the status, resources allocated and legislative requirements of health & safety in the UK, and sends a positive message that we all need to safeguard our workers as they are our most valuable resource.

INDUSTRY NEWS

The Perils of School Holidays

Apart from parental stress (!!), the school summer holidays also inevitably bring increased risks of child-trespass as construction sites are seen as wonderfully exciting playgrounds full of all sorts of obstacles to be overcome – but those obstacles can be perilous and fatal:

  • Collapsing stockpiles, pallets, materials, etc
  • Unguarded tanks, boilers, etc
  • Exposed and unprotected edges on scaffolding or structure

 

And much more. None of these hazards should remain in place on any site if uncontrolled. However, all contractors have a clear legal duty to prevent intrusion by effective means – mind those walls, trees, pillar boxes, etc which can make it easy for children to jump over the Heras fencing.

Site security is paramount, and particularly so during these summer months when temptations are at their height for energetic or bored children. The contractor (not the parents) would be held responsible for any injury to, or death of, a child on site.

CSCS Cards

There are major changes to the CSCS card scheme, apparently to fall in line with the requirements of the Construction Leadership Council (although one might question why these changes have been insisted upon at this late stage and how they actually help the industry):

  • Visitors cards are now being removed; the Council insists that people visiting (including WHS staff), rather than actually working on site, should be ‘managed’ by the principal contractor and CSCS cards are therefore not useful or beneficial
  • Black cards, which are based on ‘industry accreditation’ rather than a specific trade or professional qualification are being withdrawn
  • In future, there will be on-line application only as the CSCS call centre (administered by CITB) is being closed down.
  • The cost per card will rise from 1 September 2018 to £36 (incl. VAT); test, etc costs will be payable in addition

 

The huge increase in construction work has been highlighted above, and with it comes a lack of available skills. All contractors and developers are finding it difficult to engage appropriately skilled workers right across the spectrum of trades. As a result, many larger developers (particularly some of the major house builders) are abandoning the CSCS card scheme altogether in favour of alternative competence measures.

However, those of you who work with Highways England will need to be aware that, although HE don’t operate the CSCS card scheme, all contractors are required to hold the HE Safety Passport. Refer to:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/a-passport-to-safety
and
https://www.highwaysmagazine.co.uk/article/detail/3692

An Aging Workforce

Apart from the huge increase in the number of fatalities highlighted above, another very disturbing fact to emerge in 2017-18 is that 40% of all fatalities happen to workers over 60 years old. There may be a number of factors involved here:

  • An aging workforce generally within construction coupled with the difficulty of attracting younger people to the industry
  • Older workers not wishing to retire, or not able to financially
  • The acceptance that people have a ‘right’ to work well into old(er) age, with no appreciation by the employer that the work needs to be managed according to their (deteriorating?) capabilities
  • The worker’s insistence that they are still just as capable, and management’s acceptance of those assurances
  • Compromised ‘perception’ as workers get older – and that’s a fact. Even without visible disabilities, older people cannot see, hear, judge, attune to the hazards of the working environment as quickly as when they were younger, with the possible result that they become a liability to themselves, their colleagues and their employer.

 

So a reminder: if older workers are retained, the employer must be happy to do so. The issue must be risk assessed and managed by the employer. Ascertain their actual capabilities (not what they insist is the case), engaging health surveillance where appropriate, and allocate safe tasks. Then monitor and continue to manage the situation over time – it is the employer’s responsibility to say “yes” or (maybe finally) “no” to continuing employment.

Save Costs on PPE

Here’s a great idea for saving costs with your PPE – clean it for a fraction of the cost of purchasing replacements.

Staysafe PPE Ltd based in Alverley will deep-clean and recondition all types of PPE and materials, including cotton, nylon, polyester, Kevlar, rubber and nitrite, for pence not pounds and, consequently, have built up a huge client base in a very short time. They give free trials (‘Give us a sample of your soiled work gloves or garments and see the results for yourself’) so you’ve got nothing to lose. Refer to:
www.staysafeppe.co.uk
or ring: 01746-781027 for further details and your free trial.

How Not to Save Costs on PPE!

Trading Standards have issued a warning about fake respiratory protection (RPE) filters and the extreme dangers to health from their use. The fake filters are actually labelled 3M and fit snugly on 3M masks – but they allow through dangerous amounts of dusts and particles. So the message is, as always, buy either direct from 3M (www.3M.co.uk) or through a very reputable supplier such as Seton (www.seton.co.uk)

It will be interesting to see whether the new Personal Protective Equipment (Enforcement) Regulations 2018, which came into force on 21 April 2018 (with a transition period until 20 April 2019) has the desired positive effect on the quality of PPE / RPE supplied. The new regulations are aimed at ensuring quality, compliance, testing, labelling and information, and traceability of items supplied to all markets within the UK, Further details can be found on:

New Personal Protective Equipment Regulation


The new regulations apply to all suppliers; internet providers as well as traditional retail and wholesale outlets. They do not affect customers other than to give assurances that what they purchase actually does the job. However, given that Trading Standards are still regularly finding fake items of PPE & RPE, the point has to be raised – regulation is only as good as enforcement and, without the resources to properly monitor the industry, fakes will still creep in all too easily.

A useful ‘complete guide’ to PPE and freely downloadable booklet can be found on:

PPE: Complete guide to Personal Protective Equipment

More Warning of Fakes

And a further warning from Trading Standards – believe it or not, 98% of all non-branded Apple-compatible products have been proved to be dangerous. Vital components might be missing, or un-insulated cables or unsafe batteries used. The result has been a huge number of fires – with the inevitable and often serious consequences where the items were unattended.

Yes, branded products are expensive (and Apple would do well to lead the way towards improved safety by reducing their prices) but a short term saving may result in huge long term costs – or worse.

Employee Wellbeing

Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development have opened up their events to non-members and a local one that may interest our customers’ concerns wellbeing. We have discussed stress and mental health in previous newsletters as it recently came to the forefront in construction with the Mates in Mind initiative. This event will discuss these issues in depth, together with effective leadership and financial wellbeing.

The event is half a day, between 9am and 2pm, on 10 October 2018 at the Shrewsbury Town Football Club; the cost is £30 (incl VAT), which includes lunch – so a bargain. Booking (ends on 5 October) is via:
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/wellbeing-event-registration-45717311710

So, if you are aware of any such problems within your workplace, come along. And, if you’re not, then come along anyway to be forewarned of signs and solutions:

AND FINALLY

Take a look at this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LX28NOOm_PU
And ask yourself who is to blame – the telehandler operator, the site manager….the guys who stood around filming rather than trying to stop a potential fatality?

Recent comments from rail investigators, called in to examine a serious near-miss, illustrates the point:

“When the person in charge of a team is … a strong personality …, it can be particularly hard for … workers to challenge unsafe behaviour. We have seen this sort of unsafe behaviour before, where the wish to get the work done quickly overrides common sense and self-preservation. When we see narrowly avoided tragedies of this type it is almost always the result of the adoption of an unsafe method of work and the absence of a challenge from others in the group.” (WHS parenthesis)

If you see something hazardous, do your best to STOP it before someone is hurt or killed!

Hazardous substances

  • Director, Simon Thomerson, of contractor Clearview Design & Construction, has been jailed for 8 years (note this – 8 years) for his “wilful blindness to the risks” involved with paint thinners during refurbishment of several industrial units which resulted in two deaths. Thomerson had employed illegal immigrants to carry out the work and had failed to give any instruction or establish safe working practices, despite the warnings about safe usage being clearly displayed on the containers.

 

Three of the workers had used several litres of paint thinners (with a low flash point of 40°C) to remove old carpet tile adhesive, spreading it to an area half the size of a tennis court. The vapour were somehow ignited and the three men were engulfed in a fire ball – only one survived. A truly horrendous incident, deserving of the harsh prison sentence.

Work at height

  • Principal contractor, Grangewood Builders Ltd, and demolition contractor, Trenchco Ltd, were each fined a total of over £277,000 after a worker lost the use of his legs when he fell 3 metres through a fragile roof-light. No protection had been established to the roof-light. No training had been given to the Romanian worker and the company had been reliant on unofficial interpreters to relay instructions.
  • PJ Livesey Living Space (North) Ltd was fined a total of over £63,000 after two joiners fell 6.8 metres from poorly designed scaffolding around a bell tower during refurbishment. The men fell from a 2nd tier platform when it collapsed, landing on the 1st tier which then also collapsed. The HSE found that the site manager had ‘designed’ the platforms, something for which he was neither trained nor competent.

 

N.B. A reminder to everyone – ONLY properly trained and competent scaffolders can design and erect scaffold systems. And ONLY those properly conversant with TG20 can design complex structures.

  • Broadley Roofing Ltd was fined a total of almost £55,500 after a worker sustained serious injuries falling 6 metres through unprotected roof-lights during refurbishment of a warehouse roof. Boards had been ‘placed’ over the fragile roof-lights but not secured, offering little or no protection.
  • Survey Roofing Group Ltd was fined a total of over £65,500 after being observed working unsafely on a high-pitched roof at a height of 12.5 metres (were they mad??!!) during a store refurbishment. They had established no protection against falling through roof-lights or injuring the public with falling objects.
  • Principal contractor, Kier Facilities Services Ltd was fined a total of almost £206,000 and contractor, JHH Engineering Ltd, a total of almost £36,000 after a worker suffered severe injuries falling from a flat roof during refurbishment of a school. No work at height protection measures at all had been established by JHH; access to the roof was from an unsecured, damage ladder of insufficient length (how common is that still?). Kier had not assessed JHH for health & safety competence nor ensured safe working.
  • Scaffolder, Steven Connolly, was sentenced to 24 weeks in prison, suspended for 18 months, subjected to a curfew, tagged and fined £2,000 after being observed erecting scaffold in an unsafe manner. The HSE visited the site but, instead of listening to the inspector, he subjected her to a ‘torrent of abuse’ and left the scaffold in a totally unsafe condition.

Well, all we can say is that he certainly invited that prosecution! And how embarrassing is that – a ‘tough’ guy having to admit to his mates down the pub that he’s under curfew and tagged!

Asbestos

  • SDC Builders was fined a total of over £213,000 for failing to assess, control and/or protect asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) during refurbishment work on a school. Consequently, ACMs were disturbed, potentially placing school staff, pupils, as well as SDC’s own employees, in extreme danger.
  • Thistlemoor Healthcare & Management was fined a total of almost £17,000 for failing to carry out asbestos surveys on two sites ahead of refurbishment, one of which was a medical centre. Rather ironic that a healthcare company was failing to protect people’s health!
  • Aquapac Ltd, manufacturer and distributor of furniture, was fined £6,000 for failing to assess, control, protect and provide information to staff on the presence of ACMs. Note that this was ahead of any disturbance taking place – the legally required investigation work and controls were not in place.

 

DON’T FORGET – THE PROSECUTIONS REPORTED IN THESE NEWSLETTERS ARE JUST A FRACTION OF THOSE REPORTED. NON-COMPLIANCE WILL RESULT IN ENFORCEMENT OR PROSECUTION – AND, MORE IMPORTANTLY, RISKS KILLING OR INJURING SOMEONE.

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

To contact WHS, ring: 01952-885885