COMPANY NEWS

HOURLY RATES

We’re happy to have been able to retain our current hourly rates for a number of years now. Unfortunately, due to various rising costs and the planned increases by the government from April 2022, we’ve had to make the decision to increase them just slightly for 2022. Nothing will change during the period of your current 2021/22 subscription, but the new hourly rates will begin to filter through subscription renewals from 1 January 2022; you’ll be notified in plenty of time prior to your renewal.

The rates will be changing as follows:

Old Rate New Rate
£42          £45
£50          £55

Don’t worry though, your actual subscription cost won’t be changing, and all training costs for CITB, UKATA and First Aid will be remaining the same – which is all good news.

TRAINING

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

All necessary criteria and restrictions will be personally communicated, both directly at the time of booking and again through joining instructions, ahead of planned courses. It is vital that these are understood and, particularly for the First Aid and CITB courses, relevant information clearly passed to candidates.

Please enquire about other courses available, both classroom and non-classroom based; the full range is also detailed on our website:
http://wenlockhealthandsafety.co.uk/

FIRST AID

1-day Emergency First-Aid at Work course dates are listed below; strict Covid-specific controls will still apply for the moment and will be advised within the joining instructions. Spaces are therefore limited and demand is always high, so book places as soon as possible to avoid disappointment:

Dates:

  • 29 October 2021 (Friday)
  • 24 November 2021 (Wednesday)
  • 20 December 2021 (Monday)
  • 28 January 2022 (Friday)
  • 28 February 2022 (Monday)
  • 24 March 2022 (Thursday)

 

Cost: £85 + VAT per person

CITB Courses

It must be noted that CITB attendance rules are very strict; they must be understood and are reiterated here:

  • CITB specifies that candidates must be available to attend each session within the course; failure to do so may require a repeat course.
  • And attendance is absolutely vital once booked; because of CITB rules, we may be forced to cancel a course on that morning if some candidates fail to take part, to the detriment of all candidates.
  • Covid-specific controls still apply for the time being and no lunch can be provided; candidates are to make their own provision.

 

Please also note that start and finish times have had to be adjusted to suit current strict CITB rules. Candidates must arrive by 8.15*am for registration; all courses start at 8.30 am and finish at 4.30 pm.

* Please reiterate to all candidates the absolute need to make their way up to the WHS offices and log in immediately upon arrival to avoid being charged for parking.

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)

 

Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week
Dates:

  • 15, 22, 29 November & 6, 13 December 2021 (Mondays)
  • 17, 24, 31 January & 7, 14 February 2022 (Mondays)
  • 11, 18, 25 March & 1, 8 April 2022 (Fridays)

 

Cost: £495 + VAT per person

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher

 

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

  • 4 & 5 October 2021 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 9 & 10 December 2021 (Thursday & Friday)
  • 10 & 11 February 2022 (Thursday & Friday)

 

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

  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS)

 

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

  • 25 & 26 November 2021 (Thursday & Friday)
  • 13 & 14 January 2022 (Thursday & Friday)
  • 28 & 29 March 2022 (Monday & Tuesday)

 

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

  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS) Refresher

 

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

  • 18 October 2021 (Monday)
  • 16 December 2020 (Thursday)

 

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

  • CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness

 

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

  • 1 November 2021 (Monday)
  • 17 December 2021 (Friday)
  • 4 February 2022 (Friday)

 

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

HSE NEWS

RPE & Face-fit Testing

The HSE has stressed that they are targeting the face-fit testing of respiratory protection* and beards!!

There is still a wide-spread misconception throughout construction, and UK industry as a whole, that it is a ‘human right’ to sport a beard or facial hair, even if the wearing of respiratory protection is required for the safety of that individual. It is not! And the HSE have made it perfectly plain that, if an individual refuses to shave, he cannot work on tasks requiring respiratory protection – and that’s that!

To quote the HSE:

  • • The wearer must be clean shaven to achieve a good seal between the tight-fitting respirator and the wearer’s face. This prevents inward leakage of contaminated air from around the edges of the face seal being breathed into the lungs
  • • Face fit tests should not be conducted if there is any hair growth between the wearer’s skin and face-piece seal, including stubble beard growth, beard, moustache, sideburns or a low hairline

 

The HSE has prosecuted on this point – for example, Nasmyth Technologies Ltd fined a total of £22,551 after four workers suffered severe health issues from being exposed to chemical fumes. Amongst other issues, the HSE stated that “workers were unshaven meaning their beards or stubble prevented an effective seal of the RPE to their faces”

And they continue to target this issue during inspections, including those on construction sites. So don’t fall foul of this simple (legal) principle. Health & safety overrides an individual’s right to sport a beard (or anything else which compromises PPE protection or any other safety measure); if the worker won’t remove the beard, he must be removed from that task or the company will risk prosecution.

(* not the blue surgical masks commonly used as some means of protection against covid, but all face masks, FFP3 and above, required to protect the worker against occupational respiratory harm)

WHS carries out face-fit testing, which is quick and easy to do; contact the WHS office for details.

COSHH Assessments

The HSE also stresses that, of course, the use of RPE must relate to the conclusions of COSHH assessments of sufficient depth and breadth to cover all potentially hazardous substances to be used or encountered in the work environment.

To quote the HSE once again:

In line with the COSHH regulations and the hierarchy of control, workplace exposure to hazardous substances should be prevented by:
• avoiding the use of a hazardous substance
• minimising exposure by modifying the process, and/or
• applying engineering controls, such as Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV)

Only where adequate control of exposure cannot be achieved by these means, should RPE be used in addition to these measures to control the remaining or residual risk.

There is ample advice and guidance about COSHH, RPE, legal requirements and expectations on the HSE’s website and in the WHS Health & Safety Manual; however, do feel free to contact WHS with any questions you may have.

 

Fire Safety

We have highlighted in previous newsletters that the HSE are (quite rightly) targeting fire prevention on site, particularly with multi-storey, multi-occupancy and multi-use buildings, both new-build and refurbishments.

The Construction Industry Advisory Committee (CONIAC) has produced a ‘Construction Fire Safety: Responsibility and Competence Matrix’, the purpose of which is to identify and outline the roles, responsibilities and minimum knowledge needed by duty holders involved in fire safety and fire prevention on construction projects. The matrix can be freely downloaded from: https://bit.ly/3lyLCi9

An additional and invaluable fire safety document is the latest Fire Protection Association’s ‘Fire Prevention on Construction Sites: The Joint Code of Practice on the Protection from Fire of Construction Sites and Buildings Undergoing Renovation’ (9th Edition) which is free to download from: https://bit.ly/3CqFM98
Summary guidance from the document is contained within the WHS Health & Safety Manual. Further advice can be sought from WHS, particularly in relation to which projects are required to establish a higher level of competent planning and monitoring.

INDUSTRY NEWS

New UKCA Markings

From 1 January 2022, the use of the UK Conformity Assessment (UKCA) marking will replace a number of CE-marked products in Great Britain (UKNI for products produced in Northern Ireland). Refer to BEAMA summary document: https://bit.ly/3nDoIsq

N.B. Products covered by the Construction Products Regulations are not covered by this end date and may not require UKCA markings until later.

Bite-Sized Electrical Training

As with most contractors, electricians usually find it very difficult to juggle the need for training with work commitments. Therefore, Schneider Electrical’s ‘bite-sized’ training modules may be a welcome addition to your resources. Modules range from the latest standards, mechanical & electrical applications to the latest smart-connected products. All are available when signed up to mySchneider: https://bit.ly/2YSxI2t
(Registration is free and gives access to multiple resources.)

Work at Height – Ladder Safety

Following on from the article in the August newsletter which revealed the shocking statistic that there are (on average) 99 falls from height at work each and every working day in the UK, we again draw attention to the issue and ask why this is still happening almost 50 years after the advent of the Health & Safety at Work Act, almost 30 years after CDM and 16 years after the very specific Work at Height Regulations.

Causes of falls from height include:

  • Unsafe equipment
  • Untrained users
  • Poor management

 

As with everything in health & safety, it’s all down to competent risk assessment. Ladders have never been banned and, indeed, when the correct type of ladder is selected and properly used, they can be invaluable – but only for very short duration (30 minutes total, very low risk tasks, and where the user can retain 3-points of contact at all times for stability). The right tool for the right job. The consequences can be severe if this rule is not followed; for example…

Volvo was fined £900,000 after a worker suffered serious head injuries and had to be placed in an induced coma following a fall from a step-ladder (yes, just a step ladder). The HSE found the step-ladder to be totally inappropriate for the task.
Southend High School for Boys Academy Trust was fined £24,000 after a worker fell from a ladder whilst dismantling a canopy roof and sustained multiple fractures. Again, the ladder was totally inappropriate for this type of work.

And a paratrooper who had jumped from aircraft over 40 times without a scratch but sustained serious, life-changing leg injuries when the wooden ladder he was using at home snapped.

The right tool for the right job – remember that mantra.

So how do we select the ‘right tool’, the correct type of ladder? Over and above the information provided within the WHS Health & Safety Manual, there is ample free expert guidance and advice on the internet to assist, so use it. For example:

  • HSE guidance: https://www.hse.gov.uk/work-at-height/using-ladders-safely.htm
  • Ladder Association / RoSPA guides to the safe use of ladders:
    ‘Get a Grip’:
    https://ladderassociation.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Get-a-Grip-Safety-Guide_LA-and-RoSPA.pdf
    https://ladderassociation.org.uk/sign-up/
    Safe Use of Ladders and Stepladders LA455: https://ladderassociation.org.uk/la455/
    Current ladder standards, what to use and when: https://ladderassociation.org.uk/en131/
  • And, of course, manufacturers’ guidance for that particular ladder

 

A few vital points to note (this is not an exhaustive list):

  • In general, ladders must comply with EN131. However, the standard for roof ladders is BS8634, and for step stools and small steps it’s EN14183.
  • Check the certification displayed on the item with certifying body to ensure that it is legitimate, and only buy from reputable suppliers; there are some dreadful fakes on the market, be warned.
  • EN131 requires that bases of all leaning ladders of >3m MUST be wider that the ladder width to ensure stability; stabilising bars are common but designs may vary

 

Previous newsletters have drawn attention to the invaluable resources and support available from the No Falls Foundation, including support for victims of falls, whether sustained at work or at home. The NFF produces regular newsletters which are well worth signing up to:
https://nofallsfoundation.org/index.php/sign-up-to-newsletter/

GENERAL NEWS

Driving – Highway Code Changes

You should already be aware of the recent changes in the Highway Code with respect to so-called ‘smart motorways’? But how many people are aware of forthcoming change to the status of pedestrians and cyclists which puts the onus for safety well and truly on the vehicle potentially causing the most harm?
Refer to the BBC article: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-58021450

This change will almost certainly have serious repercussions unless drivers are well informed and take their increased responsibilities to give pedestrians and cyclist priority seriously. And, of course, those employing drivers for work purposes have legal duties to ‘train’ and ‘instruct’ all their employees, including drivers. It therefore follows that employers must keep well abreast of the continually changing Highway Code (15 changes since 2015 alone) and pass all relevant information to drivers.

It’s easy to do this; sign up for email alerts about changes: https://bit.ly/3zcxccf
Or tap into all updates: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-highway-code/updates

So no excuses; don’t rely on your drivers to update themselves but lead the way and inform them.

Driving – Employer Responsibilities

Following on from above, there is ample HSE guidance and information on employers’ responsibilities in respect of driving for work, including legal requirements, planning the journeys, drivers’ health, vehicle maintenance, etc. The guidance also includes those riding in vehicles used for work, who are mostly overlooked but can often be exposed to tangible risks.

Refer to the HSE’s website: https://bit.ly/3AhabGg

The Status of Volunteers

The Birmingham Anglers Association (BAA) has been fined £66,000 plus £17,500 costs after a volunteer was struck on the head by a falling branch and subsequently died. BAA had recruited a number of volunteers to help clear vegetation along the riverbank, an operation that included the lopping of large branches. The victim had been helping with ground clearance near to where chainsaws were being used to fell the branches, one of which fell on him causing traumatic brain damage.

The investigation found that BAA had totally failed to assess, plan and manage the work properly. It had ignored guidance from the Anglers Trust, failed to produce a risk assessment or provide training and adequate instruction, provided inappropriate equipment and not established any exclusion zone beneath the fateful overhead works.

During preparation for the trial, the question arose as to whether the victim, as a volunteer, was covered by the Health & Safety at Work Act. It is WHS’s understanding that, if a person is engaged by an organisation for work in any capacity at all, whether paid or unpaid, volunteer or work experience, then they are classified as ‘workers’ and are covered as such by the Act. However, this principle is largely superfluous as the Act also dictates that organisations are wholly responsible for persons not in their employ but affected by their actions. Therefore, as in this case, volunteers are most certainly ‘affected by the actions’ of the organisation engaging them and the answer is, yes, volunteers are most certainly covered by the Health & Safety at Work Act in one form or the other.

BAA was prosecuted on this basis and also for breaching the Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations in its failure to properly assess, plan and manage the works.

AND FINALLY

Quick hitches

  • Hovington Ltd was fined a total of almost £36,000 after a serious incident resulting in a worker having a leg amputated below the knee. During new drainage works, Hovington groundworkers were breaking out ground using a 13 tonne 360 excavator with a hydraulic breaker attached to a quick hitch. The breaker became detached from the quick hitch and the breaker fell, striking the victim’s right foot and resulting in the amputation. The prosecution cited failures including lack of segregation between people and plant, no dedicated bucket changing area to ensure the organised changing of attachments, and no plant marshal to ensure a safe system of work.

 

Thankfully this type of incident is rare because the results of poor control are well known; any lack of protocol, care and attention with quick hitches can be devastating. For example, a terrible accident many years ago when a bucket became detached from a 360 and decapitated a worker whose head protruded above a trench. Do ensure the competence and supervision of all such operations; risk assessment and a closely controlled safe system of work are essential.

Work at height
(as always!)

  • Invictus Facilities & Construction Management Ltd was fined a total of over £114,000 and director, Simon Wright, ordered to undertake 150 hours in unpaid work, after a scaffold tower partially collapsed, injuring two workers. The men had been using a 6m high tower to carry out demolition, equipment that was totally unsuitable for the heavy work involved. It had been erected (by untrained employees) to a height beyond that recommended and loaded with a weight greater than the SWL stated by the manufacturer.

 

This is a reminder that all manufacturers’ guidance must be read and followed and that SWLs (Safe Working Loads) are stated therein for a very good reason and can never be exceeded. Remember also to include the weight of all persons and equipment with the weight of materials to give the total loading which, we repeat, must never exceed the SWL stated.

  • Bobby Oldham Construction Ltd was fined a total of over £11,500 after a sub-contractor fell from roof joists onto a concrete floor, sustaining very serious injuries including a broken neck. The worker had been sitting astride one of the joists when it gave way, causing him to fall.

 

The work had not been properly assessed, planned, managed or supervised and appropriate equipment had not been provided – the photo shows an unprotected trestle on the left and a ladder, the only means of access to the work at height provided.

This may only have been single storey but, as WHS continually stresses, a fall from any height onto a concrete floor can cause severe harm. The correct means of access to work at height, and edge protection to prevent falls, must be provided in ALL such situations.

  • DPM Industrial Roofing (UK) Ltd was fined a total of almost £16,500 after an employee fell 7.5m through fragile asbestos roofing onto a concrete floor, sustaining serious injuries including a fractured spine. Two workers had been cleaning valley gutters and over-sheeting damaged asbestos roofing and were using a cherry picker and crawler boards to access the workface. The victim had stepped from a crawler board onto the fragile asbestos roof sheeting, which subsequently gave way.

 

No safe system of work had been established, nor was there a sufficient risk assessment in place. No protection had been established either side of the work areas and crawler boards to prevent workers from either stepping or falling onto the fragile roof sheeting, a fundamental and legally required precaution.

  • Philip Drinkwater (trading as Prestige Roofing) and Dean Glen (trading as DDP Scaffolding) were both fined totals of over £11,000 after Drinkwater’s colleague fell 6m to his death through a gap in scaffolding erected by Glen. A 1.17m gap had been left in the edge protection at the ladder access point without fitting a scaffold gate. It was found that Glen was not properly qualified to erect scaffolding and Drinkwater, who was in charge of the roof-work, was negligent in allowing work to proceed despite the gap and unsafe ladder access.

 

A gap of this size may not appear to be a serious issue but, as this accident proves, ALL gaps large enough for a worker to fall through can be lethal. Take another look at your scaffold, particularly inside edges. Plug those gaps!

  • Nizamuddin Gorji received a suspended 12-month prison sentence and was ordered to pay costs of £3,000 after an employee fell 30 feet through a skylight, sustaining multiple serious injuries. Absolutely no fall prevention measures had been provided, and neither the operatives nor Gorji himself had undertaken any type of health & safety training!

 

Equipment safety – ALL equipment!

  • Builder Benjamin Collier-Ware was fined a total of over £6,000 after a worker’s finger was amputated by a circular saw. Whilst the worker was holding the timber joists to be cut, the saw slipped, cutting off his index finger and severely damaging other parts of his hand. Obviously, the work had not been assessed and planned properly and no consideration had been given to the extreme likelihood that an accident of this nature would happen if a worker was used to hold the joists instead of them being secured to a workbench as they should have been!
  • Blue Tyres Birmingham Ltd was fined a total of over £30,500 and its landlord, 365 Services Ltd, a total of over £4,000 after a faulty tyre lift, which was already subject to a Prohibition Notice, was found to be still in use. The safety gate (to prevent falls from height) was missing and a safety interlock and mains control panel had been bypassed, potentially lethal faults which could have easily resulted in very serious injury. Blue Tyres was held to be primarily responsible; however, 365 Services were also prosected as the lift was the property of the landlord.
  • P&D Engineering Ltd was fined a total of almost £64,000 following a terrible accident which resulted in the partial scalping of an employee who also had part of her ear torn off. These types of injuries are extremely traumatic and the poor victim subsequently underwent nine surgical operations and skin grafts to re-construct her scalp and her ear was also amputated.

 

The investigation found that there had been no guard fitted to the pillar drill (see photo), despite the Company’s risk assessment identifying the need for one, which resulted in the employee’s hair becoming entangled and wrapped around the rotating drill.

Investigation evidence also suggested that the equipment had been used in this condition for several years which proves the point that risk assessments cannot be written and then left on the shelf; they must be regularly reviewed for both accuracy and compliance. In addition, the regular PUWER equipment inspections by a suitably competent person also seem to be missing in this case, a legal requirement that could and should have identified the serious failings.

Safe systems of work required for ALL businesses, ALL employees!

  • Contractor, Northstone (NI) and security firm, Corporate Services Management, have both been prosecuted for exposing a 74-year-old wind farm security guard to several hours of ‘extreme weather conditions’ from which he died later in hospital; a second security guard had also been affected but thankfully survived. Neither company had given any thought to providing a suitable source of heating (the generator in the guard house frequently broke down) nor an adequate system of communication for use in emergencies.
  • Cambridge Glasshouse Company Ltd was fined a total of almost £335,000 after a sub-contract scaffolder came into contact with an 11kV overhead power line, sustaining burns to his legs and foot. The scaffolder had been unable to unload the scaffold poles in the vicinity of the work area because of muddy terrain, resulting in having to move them by hand from nearer the power cables. In addition, there were inadequate controls to warn of overhead cables.
  • Egger (UK), a wood recycling plant, was fined £910,000 after a self-employed lorry driver was struck and killed by a shovel loader. The victim had been standing at the rear of his trailer whilst making a routine delivery to the wood storage area when he was struck.

 

The Company had not identified or assessed the risks to pedestrians in that area, despite a large number of vehicle movements being commonplace and previous near-misses having been reported. As a result, there were no designated pedestrian walkways or safe areas, although (as the photos shows) there was ample room to do so.

 

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

HOURLY RATES

We’re happy to have been able to retain our current hourly rates for a number of years now. Unfortunately, due to various rising costs and the planned increases by the government from April 2022, we’ve had to make the decision to increase them just slightly for 2022. Nothing will change during the period of your current 2021/22 subscription, but the new hourly rates will begin to filter through subscription renewals from 1 January 2022; you’ll be notified in plenty of time prior to your renewal.

The rates will be changing as follows:

Old Rate New Rate
£42          £45
£50          £55

Don’t worry though, your actual subscription cost won’t be changing, and all training costs for CITB, UKATA and First Aid will be remaining the same – which is all good news.

TRAINING

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

All necessary criteria and restrictions will be personally communicated, both directly at the time of booking and again through joining instructions, ahead of planned courses. It is vital that these are understood and, particularly for the First Aid and CITB courses, relevant information clearly passed to candidates.

Please enquire about other courses available, both classroom and non-classroom based; the full range is also detailed on our website:
http://wenlockhealthandsafety.co.uk/

FIRST AID

1-day Emergency First-Aid at Work course dates are listed below; strict Covid-specific controls will still apply for the moment and will be advised within the joining instructions. Spaces are therefore limited and demand is always high, so book places as soon as possible to avoid disappointment:

Dates:

  • 29 October 2021 (Friday)
  • 24 November 2021 (Wednesday)
  • 20 December 2021 (Monday)
  • 28 January 2022 (Friday)
  • 28 February 2022 (Monday)
  • 24 March 2022 (Thursday)

 

Cost: £85 + VAT per person

CITB Courses

It must be noted that CITB attendance rules are very strict; they must be understood and are reiterated here:

  • CITB specifies that candidates must be available to attend each session within the course; failure to do so may require a repeat course.
  • And attendance is absolutely vital once booked; because of CITB rules, we may be forced to cancel a course on that morning if some candidates fail to take part, to the detriment of all candidates.
  • Covid-specific controls still apply for the time being and no lunch can be provided; candidates are to make their own provision.

 

Please also note that start and finish times have had to be adjusted to suit current strict CITB rules. Candidates must arrive by 8.15*am for registration; all courses start at 8.30 am and finish at 4.30 pm.

* Please reiterate to all candidates the absolute need to make their way up to the WHS offices and log in immediately upon arrival to avoid being charged for parking.

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)

 

Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week
Dates:

  • 15, 22, 29 November & 6, 13 December 2021 (Mondays)
  • 17, 24, 31 January & 7, 14 February 2022 (Mondays)
  • 11, 18, 25 March & 1, 8 April 2022 (Fridays)

 

Cost: £495 + VAT per person

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher

 

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

  • 4 & 5 October 2021 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 9 & 10 December 2021 (Thursday & Friday)
  • 10 & 11 February 2022 (Thursday & Friday)

 

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

  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS)

 

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

  • 25 & 26 November 2021 (Thursday & Friday)
  • 13 & 14 January 2022 (Thursday & Friday)
  • 28 & 29 March 2022 (Monday & Tuesday)

 

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

  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS) Refresher

 

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

  • 18 October 2021 (Monday)
  • 16 December 2020 (Thursday)

 

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

  • CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness

 

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

  • 1 November 2021 (Monday)
  • 17 December 2021 (Friday)
  • 4 February 2022 (Friday)

 

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

HSE NEWS

RPE & Face-fit Testing

The HSE has stressed that they are targeting the face-fit testing of respiratory protection* and beards!!

There is still a wide-spread misconception throughout construction, and UK industry as a whole, that it is a ‘human right’ to sport a beard or facial hair, even if the wearing of respiratory protection is required for the safety of that individual. It is not! And the HSE have made it perfectly plain that, if an individual refuses to shave, he cannot work on tasks requiring respiratory protection – and that’s that!

To quote the HSE:

  • The wearer must be clean shaven to achieve a good seal between the tight-fitting respirator and the wearer’s face. This prevents inward leakage of contaminated air from around the edges of the face seal being breathed into the lungs
  • Face fit tests should not be conducted if there is any hair growth between the wearer’s skin and face-piece seal, including stubble beard growth, beard, moustache, sideburns or a low hairline

 

The HSE has prosecuted on this point – for example, Nasmyth Technologies Ltd fined a total of £22,551 after four workers suffered severe health issues from being exposed to chemical fumes. Amongst other issues, the HSE stated that “workers were unshaven meaning their beards or stubble prevented an effective seal of the RPE to their faces”

And they continue to target this issue during inspections, including those on construction sites. So don’t fall foul of this simple (legal) principle. Health & safety overrides an individual’s right to sport a beard (or anything else which compromises PPE protection or any other safety measure); if the worker won’t remove the beard, he must be removed from that task or the company will risk prosecution.

(* not the blue surgical masks commonly used as some means of protection against covid, but all face masks, FFP3 and above, required to protect the worker against occupational respiratory harm)

WHS carries out face-fit testing, which is quick and easy to do; contact the WHS office for details.

COSHH Assessments

The HSE also stresses that, of course, the use of RPE must relate to the conclusions of COSHH assessments of sufficient depth and breadth to cover all potentially hazardous substances to be used or encountered in the work environment.

To quote the HSE once again:

In line with the COSHH regulations and the hierarchy of control, workplace exposure to hazardous substances should be prevented by:
• avoiding the use of a hazardous substance
• minimising exposure by modifying the process, and/or
• applying engineering controls, such as Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV)

Only where adequate control of exposure cannot be achieved by these means, should RPE be used in addition to these measures to control the remaining or residual risk.

There is ample advice and guidance about COSHH, RPE, legal requirements and expectations on the HSE’s website and in the WHS Health & Safety Manual; however, do feel free to contact WHS with any questions you may have.

 

INDUSTRY NEWS

New UKCA Markings

From 1 January 2022, the use of the UK Conformity Assessment (UKCA) marking will replace a number of CE-marked products in Great Britain (UKNI for products produced in Northern Ireland). Refer to BEAMA summary document: https://bit.ly/3nDoIsq

N.B. Products covered by the Construction Products Regulations are not covered by this end date and may not require UKCA markings until later.

Bite-Sized Electrical Training

As with most contractors, electricians usually find it very difficult to juggle the need for training with work commitments. Therefore, Schneider Electrical’s ‘bite-sized’ training modules may be a welcome addition to your resources. Modules range from the latest standards, mechanical & electrical applications to the latest smart-connected products. All are available when signed up to mySchneider: https://bit.ly/2YSxI2t
(Registration is free and gives access to multiple resources.)

Work at Height – Ladder Safety

Following on from the article in the August newsletter which revealed the shocking statistic that there are (on average) 99 falls from height at work each and every working day in the UK, we again draw attention to the issue and ask why this is still happening almost 50 years after the advent of the Health & Safety at Work Act, almost 30 years after CDM and 16 years after the very specific Work at Height Regulations.

Causes of falls from height include:

  • Unsafe equipment
  • Untrained users
  • Poor management

 

As with everything in health & safety, it’s all down to competent risk assessment. Ladders have never been banned and, indeed, when the correct type of ladder is selected and properly used, they can be invaluable – but only for very short duration (30 minutes total, very low risk tasks, and where the user can retain 3-points of contact at all times for stability). The right tool for the right job. The consequences can be severe if this rule is not followed; for example…

Volvo was fined £900,000 after a worker suffered serious head injuries and had to be placed in an induced coma following a fall from a step-ladder (yes, just a step ladder). The HSE found the step-ladder to be totally inappropriate for the task.

Southend High School for Boys Academy Trust was fined £24,000 after a worker fell from a ladder whilst dismantling a canopy roof and sustained multiple fractures. Again, the ladder was totally inappropriate for this type of work.

And a paratrooper who had jumped from aircraft over 40 times without a scratch but sustained serious, life-changing leg injuries when the wooden ladder he was using at home snapped.

The right tool for the right job – remember that mantra.

So how do we select the ‘right tool’, the correct type of ladder? Over and above the information provided within the WHS Health & Safety Manual, there is ample free expert guidance and advice on the internet to assist, so use it. For example:

  • HSE guidance: https://www.hse.gov.uk/work-at-height/using-ladders-safely.htm
  • Ladder Association / RoSPA guides to the safe use of ladders:
    ‘Get a Grip’:
    https://ladderassociation.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Get-a-Grip-Safety-Guide_LA-and-RoSPA.pdf
    https://ladderassociation.org.uk/sign-up/
    Safe Use of Ladders and Stepladders LA455: https://ladderassociation.org.uk/la455/
    Current ladder standards, what to use and when: https://ladderassociation.org.uk/en131/
  • And, of course, manufacturers’ guidance for that particular ladder

 

A few vital points to note (this is not an exhaustive list):

  • In general, ladders must comply with EN131. However, the standard for roof ladders is BS8634, and for step stools and small steps it’s EN14183.
  • Check the certification displayed on the item with certifying body to ensure that it is legitimate, and only buy from reputable suppliers; there are some dreadful fakes on the market, be warned.
  • EN131 requires that bases of all leaning ladders of >3m MUST be wider that the ladder width to ensure stability; stabilising bars are common but designs may vary

 

Previous newsletters have drawn attention to the invaluable resources and support available from the No Falls Foundation, including support for victims of falls, whether sustained at work or at home. The NFF produces regular newsletters which are well worth signing up to:
https://nofallsfoundation.org/index.php/sign-up-to-newsletter/

GENERAL NEWS

Driving – Highway Code Changes

You should already be aware of the recent changes in the Highway Code with respect to so-called ‘smart motorways’? But how many people are aware of forthcoming change to the status of pedestrians and cyclists which puts the onus for safety well and truly on the vehicle potentially causing the most harm?
Refer to the BBC article: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-58021450

This change will almost certainly have serious repercussions unless drivers are well informed and take their increased responsibilities to give pedestrians and cyclist priority seriously. And, of course, those employing drivers for work purposes have legal duties to ‘train’ and ‘instruct’ all their employees, including drivers. It therefore follows that employers must keep well abreast of the continually changing Highway Code (15 changes since 2015 alone) and pass all relevant information to drivers.

It’s easy to do this; sign up for email alerts about changes: https://bit.ly/3zcxccf
Or tap into all updates: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-highway-code/updates

So no excuses; don’t rely on your drivers to update themselves but lead the way and inform them.

Driving – Employer Responsibilities

Following on from above, there is ample HSE guidance and information on employers’ responsibilities in respect of driving for work, including legal requirements, planning the journeys, drivers’ health, vehicle maintenance, etc. The guidance also includes those riding in vehicles used for work, who are mostly overlooked but can often be exposed to tangible risks.

Refer to the HSE’s website: https://bit.ly/3AhabGg

AND FINALLY

Work at height
(as always!)

  • Invictus Facilities & Construction Management Ltd was fined a total of over £114,000 and director, Simon Wright, ordered to undertake 150 hours in unpaid work, after a scaffold tower partially collapsed, injuring two workers. The men had been using a 6m high tower to carry out demolition, equipment that was totally unsuitable for the heavy work involved. It had been erected (by untrained employees) to a height beyond that recommended and loaded with a weight greater than the SWL stated by the manufacturer.

 

This is a reminder that all manufacturers’ guidance must be read and followed and that SWLs (Safe Working Loads) are stated therein for a very good reason and can never be exceeded. Remember also to include the weight of all persons and equipment with the weight of materials to give the total loading which, we repeat, must never exceed the SWL stated.

  • Bobby Oldham Construction Ltd was fined a total of over £11,500 after a sub-contractor fell from roof joists onto a concrete floor, sustaining very serious injuries including a broken neck. The worker had been sitting astride one of the joists when it gave way, causing him to fall.

 

The work had not been properly assessed, planned, managed or supervised and appropriate equipment had not been provided – the photo shows an unprotected trestle on the left and a ladder, the only means of access to the work at height provided.

This may only have been single storey but, as WHS continually stresses, a fall from any height onto a concrete floor can cause severe harm. The correct means of access to work at height, and edge protection to prevent falls, must be provided in ALL such situations.

  • DPM Industrial Roofing (UK) Ltd was fined a total of almost £16,500 after an employee fell 7.5m through fragile asbestos roofing onto a concrete floor, sustaining serious injuries including a fractured spine. Two workers had been cleaning valley gutters and over-sheeting damaged asbestos roofing, and were using a cherry picker and crawler boards to access the workface. The victim had stepped from a crawler board onto the fragile asbestos roof sheeting, which subsequently gave way.

 

No safe system of work had been established, nor was there a sufficient risk assessment in place. No protection had been established either side of the work areas and crawler boards to prevent workers from either stepping or falling onto the fragile roof sheeting, a fundamental and legally required precaution.

  • Philip Drinkwater (trading as Prestige Roofing) and Dean Glen (trading as DDP Scaffolding) were both fined totals of over £11,000 after Drinkwater’s colleague fell 6m to his death through a gap in scaffolding erected by Glen. A 1.17m gap had been left in the edge protection at the ladder access point without fitting a scaffold gate. It was found that Glen was not properly qualified to erect scaffolding and Drinkwater, who was in charge of the roof-work, was negligent in allowing work to proceed despite the gap and unsafe ladder access.

 

A gap of this size may not appear to be a serious issue but, as this accident proves, ALL gaps large enough for a worker to fall through can be lethal. Take another look at your scaffold, particularly inside edges. Plug those gaps!

  • Nizamuddin Gorji received a suspended 12-month prison sentence and was ordered to pay costs of £3,000 after an employee fell 30 feet through a skylight, sustaining multiple serious injuries. Absolutely no fall prevention measures had been provided, and neither the operatives nor Gorji himself had undertaken any type of health & safety training!

 

Equipment safety – ALL equipment!

  • Builder Benjamin Collier-Ware was fined a total of over £6,000 after a worker’s finger was amputated by a circular saw. Whilst the worker was holding the timber joists to be cut, the saw slipped, cutting off his index finger and severely damaging other parts of his hand. Obviously, the work had not been assessed and planned properly and no consideration had been given to the extreme likelihood that an accident of this nature would happen if a worker was used to hold the joists instead of them being secured to a workbench as they should have been!
  • P&D Engineering Ltd was fined a total of almost £64,000 following a terrible accident which resulted in the partial scalping of an employee who also had part of her ear torn off. These types of injuries are extremely traumatic and the poor victim subsequently underwent nine surgical operations and skin grafts to re-construct her scalp and her ear was also amputated.

 

The investigation found that there had been no guard fitted to the pillar drill (see photo), despite the Company’s risk assessment identifying the need for one, which resulted in the employee’s hair becoming entangled and wrapped around the rotating drill.

Investigation evidence also suggested that the equipment had been used in this condition for several years which proves the point that risk assessments cannot be written and then left on the shelf; they must be regularly reviewed for both accuracy and compliance. In addition, the regular PUWER equipment inspections by a suitably competent person also seem to be missing in this case, a legal requirement that could and should have identified the serious failings.

Safe systems of work required for ALL businesses, ALL employees!

  • Contractor, Northstone (NI) and security firm, Corporate Services Management, have both been prosecuted for exposing a 74-year-old wind farm security guard to several hours of ‘extreme weather conditions’ from which he died later in hospital; a second security guard had also been affected but thankfully survived. Neither company had given any thought to providing a suitable source of heating (the generator in the guard house frequently broke down) nor an adequate system of communication for use in emergencies.
  • Cambridge Glasshouse Company Ltd was fined a total of almost £335,000 after a sub-contract scaffolder came into contact with an 11kV overhead power line, sustaining burns to his legs and foot. The scaffolder had been unable to unload the scaffold poles in the vicinity of the work area because of muddy terrain, resulting in having to move them by hand from nearer the power cables. In addition, there were inadequate controls to warn of overhead cables.
  • Egger (UK), a wood recycling plant, was fined £910,000 after a self-employed lorry driver was struck and killed by a shovel loader. The victim had been standing at the rear of his trailer whilst making a routine delivery to the wood storage area when he was struck.

 

The Company had not identified or assessed the risks to pedestrians in that area, despite a large number of vehicle movements being commonplace and previous near-misses having been reported. As a result, there were no designated pedestrian walkways or safe areas, although (as the photos shows) there was ample room to do so.

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

HOURLY RATES

We’re happy to have been able to retain our current hourly rates for a number of years now. Unfortunately, due to various rising costs and the planned increases by the government from April 2022, we’ve had to make the decision to increase them just slightly for 2022. Nothing will change during the period of your current 2021/22 subscription, but the new hourly rates will begin to filter through subscription renewals from 1 January 2022; you’ll be notified in plenty of time prior to your renewal.

The rates will be changing as follows:

Old Rate New Rate
£42          £45
£50          £55

Don’t worry though, your actual subscription cost won’t be changing, and all training costs for CITB, UKATA and First Aid will be remaining the same – which is all good news.

TRAINING

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

All necessary criteria and restrictions will be personally communicated, both directly at the time of booking and again through joining instructions, ahead of planned courses. It is vital that these are understood and, particularly for the First Aid courses, relevant information clearly passed to candidates.

Please enquire about other courses available, both classroom and non-classroom based; the full range is also detailed on our website:
http://wenlockhealthandsafety.co.uk/

FIRST AID

1-day Emergency First-Aid at Work course dates are listed below; strict Covid-specific controls will still apply for the moment and will be advised within the joining instructions. Spaces are therefore limited and demand is always high, so book places as soon as possible to avoid disappointment:

Dates:

  • 29 October 2021 (Friday)
  • 24 November 2021 (Wednesday)
  • 20 December 2021 (Monday)
  • 28 January 2022 (Friday)
  • 28 February 2022 (Monday)
  • 24 March 2022 (Thursday)

 

Cost: £85 + VAT per person

HSE NEWS

RPE & Face-fit Testing

The HSE has stressed that they are targeting the face-fit testing of respiratory protection* and beards!!

There is still a wide-spread misconception throughout UK industry that it is a ‘human right’ to sport a beard or facial hair, even if the wearing of respiratory protection is required for the safety of that individual. It is not! And the HSE have made it perfectly plain that, if an individual refuses to shave, he cannot work on tasks requiring respiratory protection – and that’s that!

To quote the HSE:

  • The wearer must be clean shaven to achieve a good seal between the tight-fitting respirator and the wearer’s face. This prevents inward leakage of contaminated air from around the edges of the face seal being breathed into the lungs
  • Face fit tests should not be conducted if there is any hair growth between the wearer’s skin and face-piece seal, including stubble beard growth, beard, moustache, sideburns or a low hairline

 

The HSE has prosecuted on this point – for example, Nasmyth Technologies Ltd fined a total of £22,551 after four workers suffered severe health issues from being exposed to chemical fumes. Amongst other issues, the HSE stated that “workers were unshaven meaning their beards or stubble prevented an effective seal of the RPE to their faces”

And they continue to target this issue during inspections. So don’t fall foul of this simple (legal) principle. Health & safety overrides an individual’s right to sport a beard (or anything else which compromises PPE protection or any other safety measure); if the worker won’t remove the beard, he must be removed from that task or the company will risk prosecution.

(* not the blue surgical masks commonly used as some means of protection against covid, but all face masks, FFP3 and above, required to protect the worker against occupational respiratory harm)

WHS carries out face-fit testing, which is quick and easy to do; contact the WHS office for details.

COSHH Assessments

The HSE also stresses that, of course, the use of RPE must relate to the conclusions of COSHH assessments of sufficient depth and breadth to cover all potentially hazardous substances to be used or encountered in the work environment.

To quote the HSE once again:

In line with the COSHH regulations and the hierarchy of control, workplace exposure to hazardous substances should be prevented by:

• avoiding the use of a hazardous substance
• minimising exposure by modifying the process, and/or
• applying engineering controls, such as Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV)

Only where adequate control of exposure cannot be achieved by these means, should RPE be used in addition to these measures to control the remaining or residual risk.

There is ample advice and guidance about COSHH, RPE, legal requirements and expectations on the HSE’s website and in the WHS Health & Safety Manual; however, do feel free to contact WHS with any questions you may have.

 

INDUSTRY NEWS

New UKCA Markings

From 1 January 2022, the use of the UK Conformity Assessment (UKCA) marking will replace a number of CE-marked products in Great Britain (UKNI for products produced in Northern Ireland). Refer to BEAMA summary document: https://bit.ly/3nDoIsq

Work at Height – Ladder Safety

Following on from the article in the August newsletter which revealed the shocking statistic that there are (on average) 99 falls from height at work each and every working day in the UK, we again draw attention to the issue and ask why this is still happening almost 50 years after the advent of the Health & Safety at Work Act and 16 years after the very specific Work at Height Regulations.

Causes of falls from height include:

  • Unsafe equipment
  • Untrained users
  • Poor management

 

As with everything in health & safety, it’s all down to competent risk assessment. Ladders have never been banned and, indeed, when the correct type of ladder is selected and properly used, they can be invaluable – but only for very short duration (30 minutes total, very low risk tasks, and where the user can retain 3-points of contact at all times for stability). The right tool for the right job. The consequences can be severe if this rule is not followed; for example…

Volvo was fined £900,000 after a worker suffered serious head injuries and had to be placed in an induced coma following a fall from a step-ladder (yes, just a step ladder). The HSE found the step-ladder to be totally inappropriate for the task.

Southend High School for Boys Academy Trust was fined £24,000 after a worker fell from a ladder whilst dismantling a canopy roof and sustained multiple fractures. Again, the ladder was totally inappropriate for this type of work.

And a paratrooper who had jumped from aircraft over 40 times without a scratch but sustained serious, life-changing leg injuries when the wooden ladder he was using at home snapped.

The right tool for the right job – remember that mantra.

So how do we select the ‘right tool’, the correct type of ladder? Over and above the information provided within the WHS Health & Safety Manual, there is ample free expert guidance and advice on the internet to assist, so use it. For example:

  • HSE guidance: https://www.hse.gov.uk/work-at-height/using-ladders-safely.htm
  • Ladder Association / RoSPA guides to the safe use of ladders:
    ‘Get a Grip’:
    https://ladderassociation.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Get-a-Grip-Safety-Guide_LA-and-RoSPA.pdf
    https://ladderassociation.org.uk/sign-up/
    Safe Use of Ladders and Stepladders LA455: https://ladderassociation.org.uk/la455/
    Current ladder standards, what to use and when: https://ladderassociation.org.uk/en131/
  • And, of course, manufacturers’ guidance for that particular ladder

 

A few vital points to note (this is not an exhaustive list):

  • In general, ladders must comply with EN131. However, the standard for roof ladders is BS8634, and for step stools and small steps it’s EN14183.
  • Check the certification displayed on the item with certifying body to ensure that it is legitimate, and only buy from reputable suppliers; there are some dreadful fakes on the market, be warned.
  • EN131 requires that bases of all leaning ladders of >3m MUST be wider that the ladder width to ensure stability; stabilising bars are common but designs may vary

 

Previous newsletters have drawn attention to the invaluable resources and support available from the No Falls Foundation, including support for victims of falls, whether sustained at work or at home. The NFF produces regular newsletters which are well worth signing up to:
https://nofallsfoundation.org/index.php/sign-up-to-newsletter/

GENERAL NEWS

The Status of Volunteers

The Birmingham Anglers Association (BAA) has been fined £66,000 plus £17,500 costs after a volunteer was struck on the head by a falling branch and subsequently died. BAA had recruited a number of volunteers to help clear vegetation along the riverbank, an operation that included the lopping of large branches. The victim had been helping with ground clearance near to where chainsaws were being used to fell the branches, one of which fell on him causing traumatic brain damage.

The investigation found that BAA had totally failed to assess, plan and manage the work properly. It had ignored guidance from the Anglers Trust, failed to produce a risk assessment or provide training and adequate instruction, provided inappropriate equipment and not established any exclusion zone beneath the fateful overhead works.

During preparation for the trial, the question arose as to whether the victim, as a volunteer, was covered by the Health & Safety at Work Act. It is WHS’s understanding that, if a person is engaged by an organisation for work in any capacity at all, whether paid or unpaid, volunteer or work experience, then they are classified as ‘workers’ and are covered as such by the Act. However, this principle is largely superfluous as the Act also dictates that organisations are wholly responsible for persons not in their employ but affected by their actions. Therefore, as in this case, volunteers are most certainly ‘affected by the actions’ of the organisation engaging them and the answer is, yes, volunteers are most certainly covered by the Health & Safety at Work Act in one form or the other.

BAA was prosecuted on this basis and also for breaching the Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations in its failure to properly assess, plan and manage the works.

Driving – Highway Code Changes

You should already be aware of the recent changes in the Highway Code with respect to so-called ‘smart motorways’? But how many people are aware of forthcoming change to the status of pedestrians and cyclists which puts the onus for safety well and truly on the vehicle potentially causing the most harm?
Refer to the BBC article: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-58021450

This change will almost certainly have serious repercussions unless drivers are well informed and take their increased responsibilities to give pedestrians and cyclist priority seriously. And, of course, those employing drivers for work purposes have legal duties to ‘train’ and ‘instruct’ all their employees, including drivers. It therefore follows that employers must keep well abreast of the continually changing Highway Code (15 changes since 2015 alone) and pass all relevant information to drivers.

It’s easy to do this; sign up for email alerts about changes: https://bit.ly/3zcxccf
Or tap into all updates: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-highway-code/updates

So no excuses; don’t rely on your drivers to update themselves but lead the way and inform them.

 

Driving – Employer Responsibilities

Following on from above, there is ample HSE guidance and information on employers’ responsibilities in respect of driving for work, including legal requirements, planning the journeys, drivers’ health, vehicle maintenance, etc. The guidance also includes those riding in vehicles used for work, who are mostly overlooked but can often be exposed to tangible risks.

Refer to the HSE’s website: https://bit.ly/3AhabGg

AND FINALLY

Work at height
(as always!)

  • Invictus Facilities & Construction Management Ltd was fined a total of over £114,000 and director, Simon Wright, ordered to undertake 150 hours in unpaid work, after a scaffold tower partially collapsed, injuring two workers. The men had been using a 6m high tower to carry out removals work, equipment that was totally unsuitable for the heavy work involved. It had been erected (by untrained employees) to a height beyond that recommended and loaded with a weight greater than the SWL stated by the manufacturer.

 

This is a reminder that all manufacturers’ guidance must be read and followed and that SWLs (Safe Working Loads) are stated therein for a very good reason and can never be exceeded. Remember also to include the weight of all persons and equipment with the weight of materials to give the total loading which, we repeat, must never exceed the SWL stated.

  • Bobby Oldham Construction Ltd was fined a total of over £11,500 after a sub-contractor fell from roof joists onto a concrete floor, sustaining very serious injuries including a broken neck. The worker had been sitting astride one of the joists when it gave way, causing him to fall.

 

The work had not been properly assessed, planned, managed or supervised and appropriate equipment had not been provided – the photo shows an unprotected trestle on the left and a ladder, the only means of access to the work at height provided.

This may only have been single storey but, as WHS continually stresses, a fall from any height onto a concrete floor can cause severe harm. The correct means of access to work at height, and edge protection to prevent falls, must be provided in ALL such situations.

  • Nizamuddin Gorji received a suspended 12-month prison sentence and was ordered to pay costs of £3,000 after an employee fell 30 feet through a skylight, sustaining multiple serious injuries. Absolutely no fall prevention measures had been provided, and neither the operatives nor Gorji himself had undertaken any type of health & safety training!

 

Equipment safety – ALL equipment!

  • Builder Benjamin Collier-Ware was fined a total of over £6,000 after a worker’s finger was amputated by a circular saw. Whilst the worker was holding the timber joists to be cut, the saw slipped, cutting off his index finger and severely damaging other parts of his hand. Obviously, the work had not been assessed and planned properly and no consideration had been given to the extreme likelihood that an accident of this nature would happen if a worker was used to hold the joists instead of them being secured to a workbench as they should have been!
  • Blue Tyres Birmingham Ltd was fined a total of over £30,500 and its landlord, 365 Services Ltd, a total of over £4,000 after a faulty tyre lift, which was already subject to a Prohibition Notice, was found to be still in use. The safety gate (to prevent falls from height) was missing and a safety interlock and mains control panel had been bypassed, potentially lethal faults which could have easily resulted in very serious injury. Blue Tyres was held to be primarily responsible; however, 365 Services were also prosected as the lift was the property of the landlord.
  • P&D Engineering Ltd was fined a total of almost £64,000 following a terrible accident which resulted in the partial scalping of an employee who also had part of her ear torn off. These types of injuries are extremely traumatic and the poor victim subsequently underwent nine surgical operations and skin grafts to re-construct her scalp and her ear was also amputated.

 

The investigation found that there had been no guard fitted to the pillar drill (see photo), despite the Company’s risk assessment identifying the need for one, which resulted in the employee’s hair becoming entangled and wrapped around the rotating drill.

Investigation evidence also suggested that the equipment had been used in this condition for several years which proves the point that risk assessments cannot be written and then left on the shelf; they must be regularly reviewed for both accuracy and compliance. In addition, the regular PUWER equipment inspections by a suitably competent person also seem to be missing in this case, a legal requirement that could and should have identified the serious failings.

 

Safe systems of work required for ALL businesses, ALL employees!

  • AH Worth Ltd, a food manufacturer, was fined a massive total of almost £310,000 after workers were exposed to sulphur dioxide gas released as a result of unsafe commissioning and operation of a potato processing line. In attempting to cure a known problem of gas emission, the company made modifications to the process which resulted in even more gas being emitted. On one particular day, the factory had to be evacuated and a maintenance engineer and several other fellow workers were so badly affected by the exposure that they were not able to return to work due to the effect of the gas on their lungs.

 

It was found that the commissioning had not been properly planned nor were the risks properly evaluated when problems became evident and ahead of modifications. There had been inadequate training, instruction and information given to employees and no additional PPE had been provided. All in all, there had been no attention to establishing a safe system of work.

  • Contractor, Northstone (NI) and security firm, Corporate Services Management, have both been prosecuted for exposing a 74-year old wind farm security guard to several hours of ‘extreme weather conditions’ from which died later in hospital; a second security guard had also been affected but thankfully survived. Neither company had given any thought to providing a suitable source of heating (the generator in the guard house frequently broke down) nor an adequate system of communication for use in emergencies.
  • Egger (UK), a wood recycling plant, was fined £910,000 after a self-employed lorry driver was struck and killed by a shovel loader. The victim had been standing at the rear of his trailer whilst making a routine delivery to the wood storage area when he was struck.

 

The Company had not identified or assessed the risks to pedestrians in that area, despite a large number of vehicle movements being commonplace and previous near-misses. As a result, there were no designated pedestrian walkways or safe areas, although (as the photos shows) there was ample room to do so.

 

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

COMPANY NEWS

TRAINING

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

All necessary criteria and restrictions will be personally communicated, both directly at the time of booking and again through joining instructions, ahead of planned courses. It is vital that these are understood and, particularly for the First Aid and CITB courses, relevant information clearly passed to candidates.

Please enquire about other courses available, both classroom and non-classroom based; the full range is also detailed on our website:
http://wenlockhealthandsafety.co.uk/

FIRST AID

1-day Emergency First-Aid at Work course dates are listed below; strict Covid-specific controls will still apply for the moment and will be advised within the joining instructions. Spaces are therefore limited and demand is always high, so book places as soon as possible to avoid disappointment:

Dates:

  • 27 July 2021 fully booked but a reserve list is operating
  • 5 August 2021 new date added
  • 25 August 2021
  • 16 September 2021 new date added
  • 28 September 2021 fully booked but a reserve list is operating
  • 29 October 2021
  • 24 November 2021
  • 20 December 2021

 

Cost: £85 + VAT per person

IOSH

A 3-day IOSH Managing Safely course:

Dates:

  • 7, 8 & 9 September 2021

 

Cost: £395 + VAT per person

CITB Courses

It must be noted that CITB attendance rules are very strict; they must be understood and are reiterated here:

  • CITB specifies that candidates must be available to attend each session within the course; failure to do so may require a repeat course.
  • And booked attendance is absolutely vital; because of CITB rules, we may be forced to cancel a course on that morning if some candidates fail to take part, to the detriment of all candidates.
  • Covid-specific controls still apply for the time being and no lunch can be provided; candidates are to make their own provision.

 

Please also note that start and finish times have had to be adjusted to suit current strict CITB rules. Candidates must arrive by 8.15*am for registration; all courses start at 8.30 am and finish at 4.30 pm.

* Please reiterate to all candidates the absolute need to make their way up to the WHS offices and log in immediately upon arrival to avoid being charged for parking. Parking is free for all WHS visitors but there is only a 20-minute window for our staff to register for vehicle and avoid the charges – therefore, candidates should avoid parking up too early with the intention of waiting in their vehicles!

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)

 

Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week
Dates:

  • 10, 17, 24 September & 1, 8 October 2021 (Fridays) fully booked; reserve list operating
  • 15, 22, 29 November & 6, 13 December 2021 (Mondays)

 

Cost: £495 + VAT per person

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher

 

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

  • 9 & 10 August 2021 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 4 & 5 October 2021 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 9 & 10 December 2021 (Thursday & Friday)

 

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

  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS)

 

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

  • 29 & 30 July 2021 (Thursday & Friday) fully booked; reserve list operating
  • 20 & 21 September 2021 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 25 & 26 November 2021 (Thursday & Friday)

 

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

  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS) Refresher

 

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

  • 20 August 2021 (Friday)
  • 18 October 2021 (Monday)

 

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

  • CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness

 

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

  • 6 September 2021 (Monday)
  • 1 November 2021 (Monday)
  • 17 December 2021 (Friday)

 

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

HSE NEWS

RIDDOR Reporting

The following very recent HSE prosecution serves as a warning to anyone tempted not to report serious injuries or occurrences to the HSE as required under RIDDOR:

Site manager, Paul Adams, was jailed for 6 months for failing to report an accident on his site that resulted in an amputation. A 1.7-tonne excavator had been provided for site clearance for a new house build in Surrey, equipment that was totally unsuitable for the work; the operator’s request for a 3-tonne excavator was rejected and he was pressured by Adams to use the smaller machine. The excavator tipped whilst digging, crushing his leg which later had to be amputated.

As if the accident itself wasn’t bad enough, things were made worse by Adams, who had 50 years construction experience, failing to report the ‘major injury’ to the HSE or investigate the accident properly. This was a clear breach of the RIDDOR Regs and Adams was jailed for 24 weeks and ordered to pay costs of £2,033.

SITE WIDE Safe Systems of Work

Asbestos removal contractor, Enviraz (Scotland) Ltd, was fined £150,000 after causing a gas explosion which fatally injured one employee and left another with serious injuries. The Company was commissioned to remove a boiler and pipework at the former Pastoral Centre in Wishaw and overspray walls to remove asbestos residues prior to demolition. The plan was to cut the boiler and pipework into sections for easy removal; however, the Company had failed to ensure the gas supply had been isolated, with the result that the workers cut through a live gas outlet, causing an explosion.

The risk assessment and plan of work had identified that gas services were present but the Company failed to ensure the gas supply had been isolated and pipework purged before starting work. The Company had completely failed to adequately manage the SITE WIDE risks, concentrating on asbestos alone.

There are lessons to be learned from this case. ALL contractors and project managers are legally obliged to risk assess and plan for ALL risks related to their work and to all others issues affected by their work. And ALL site managers must ensure that risk assessments and method statements presented by their contractors actually do take these into account; ALL RAMS must relate to that particular site and must include all risks and site wide issues related to and affected by their work. Generics are NOT permitted.

CONSTRUCTION SECTOR STATISTICS

The HSE has now published an A3 poster which visualises key 2020 statistics for the construction industry and clearly demonstrates the consequences of ignoring poor health & safety practices, including:

  • Fatalities
  • Working days lost
  • Work-related musculoskeletal disorders and stress
  • Lung diseases including asbestos-related
  • The annual cost of work-related injury and ill-health

 

The poster can be purchased from the HSE for just £8.33 + VAT:
https://bit.ly/3e5rxwQ

WHS strongly recommends that the poster is displayed prominently on sites and head offices to remind everyone of the appalling waste still experienced by this industry in terms of both life, livelihoods, business efficiency and costs – all of which remain staggering.

THE HSE HAVE EYES EVERYWHERE!!

Just a reminder and warning that, yes, the HSE does have eyes and ears everywhere! Non-compliant and dangerous practices can be spotted by HSE inspectors going about their normal personal business and, as we have illustrated many times in our newsletters, the public are very good at reporting breaches to the HSE as well.

To illustrate the point, enforcement was recently placed on a contractor for using a Stihl saw without dust suppression; the HSE inspector was just wandering past to fetch his lunch from Tesco! If you are working, you are on show; if you are working non-compliantly, make no mistake, you can be spotted and enforcement will follow.

INDUSTRY NEWS

SERIOUS SAFETY ALERT
With thanks to www.gov.uk for the important illustration

The UK’s national product safety regulator, the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS), has issued a Safety Alert relating to a chainsaw disc attachment being incorrectly sold for use with angle grinders.

The attachments are not designed for this type of use and reports have been received of injuries caused by kick-back when the wheel grips the surface and, as a result, turns sharply.

Anyone who has purchased these attachments are urged to withdraw them from use immediately and return them to the seller if it is believed they were marketed as being compatible with angle grinders. WHS would also suggest that sellers be reported to the OPSS if they continue to market and sell them as suitable attachments; you may be saving someone from very serious injury or death.

Further information can be found on the Government website:
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-safety-alert-issued-for-angle-grinder-chainsaw-disc-attachment

STIHL PRODUCT RECALL

Manufacturer Stihl has recalled a limited product range of cut-off equipment because of possible faulty assembly. The items in question are the TS 410 and TS 420 models but only if they are within the serial number ranges: 189442634 – 190001700

The fault relates to the possible over-tightening of the flywheel-to-crankshaft connections during assembly which may cause the flywheel to break apart during use. Anyone affected is urged to remove the item from use immediately and contact their local Stihl dealer as soon as possible for a free repair.

CUTTING EQUIPMENT SAFETY – A REMINDER

A relevant reminder to everyone who uses powered cutting equipment either on site or in workshops (or at home for that matter!). Effective guarding of blades is legally required for very good reasons – as is all health & safety legislation. The consequences of ignoring the legal requirement can, and still does, cause serious injury, misery and even death. As an example:

Borrowdale Construction Homes Ltd was fined a total of £32,567 after a worker’s hand was severed by an inadequately guarded mitre saw being used to cut skirting. The guard had been propped up, exposing the full front of the blade; during the work, the mitre saw fell forward severing part of the unfortunate worker’s hand.

This incident doesn’t bear thinking about and has obviously ruined the individual’s life. But, unbelievably in this day and age, it happens all too often that guards are removed or propped back, risking this type of accident again and again. Any worker found doing this on your site must be disciplined or removed; this cannot be tolerated – the risks are just too great for both the individual and, as this case demonstrates, to your company.

ALL EQUIPMENT WITH MOVING PARTS – ANOTHER REMINDER

The regulations and requirements do not just apply to cutting equipment; all equipment with moving parts is potentially lethal:

A worker narrowly escaped being strangled to death when his high-viz vest became entangled in an unguarded rotating spindle on a print machine. Only the quick action of a colleague saved the unconscious victim from death. The Company, Alfaplas Ltd was fined a total of over £164,000 for failing to guard dangerous parts of the equipment.

So, a reminder that the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, apply to ALL industries and require that the moving or hazardous parts of ALL work equipment MUST be properly guarded, or suitable alternative measures established to prevent any risk of contact during operation.

EDGE PROTECTION

Another reminder, which really shouldn’t be necessary in 2021:

The Work at Height Regulations 2005 requires that falls be prevented by suitable means where injury may result. Previous legislation required that all falls >2m be prevented but the mention of 2m was removed in 2005 because so many deaths and injuries were occurring from falls of below 2m. A fall of 1.5m head-first onto a concrete slab can kill! So current legislation, quite rightly, centres around the need to risk assess the tasks to be carried out, the work environment and the prevailing circumstances; suitable fall prevention and/or protection measures must then be established.

None of this will be news to anyone reading this newsletter; after all, the current legislation has been in place since 2005 (and its origins go back to 1996 and beyond).

However, a lot of contractors still don’t seem to appreciate that falls are falls wherever they can occur; injury and death can occur anywhere. This includes internal edges during the construction of structures, and excavations where the depth or what is in the excavation can result in risk. For instance, a fall onto re-bar can result in nasty puncture injuries or worse, and a fall into a slab pit filled with concrete can result in ‘drowning’ or very serious burns.

Risk assessment and the establishment of suitable controls to prevent falls is legally required – no excuses!

WORK AT HEIGHT – SHOCKING STATISTICS

Following on from above, let’s just reinforce what falls from height actually mean to the construction industry and individuals every year.

10 million people work at height in some form or another each year, and each and every one of them deserves to be able to do their job and return home safely each night. But it is an inexcusable fact that work at height STILL accounts for more occupational deaths than any other cause. The shocking statistics speak for themselves; work at height accounts for:

  • 36,000 EVERY YEAR
  • 99 falls EVERY DAY = 1 death EVERY 10 DAYS
  • 35 fatalities last year
  • £½ billion cost to industry
  • 572,000 days lost

 

Astonishing figures – but all contractors can all make a difference if we abide by the legislation and guidance that simply requires good risk assessment, selection of suitable equipment to access height and prevent falls, and adequate and appropriate training. But is that all?

No, designers and clients also have a huge part to play in ensuring work at height is considered from the outset and contractors are given the ability to work safely at height. CDM stresses that all risk situations on site are also the responsibility of designers and clients. It cannot be assumed that contractors will have to cope with whatever conditions are thrown at them, and let’s not forget that a key role of the Principal Designer is to ensure that this happens.

Health & safety must be (as is required by law) a partnership between all parties, from the client through the appointed designers, to the contractors and specialists – and one of the most important aspects of this is safe work at height.

ELECTRICAL SAFETY

Thankfully, the following accident is rare these days but is worth highlighting to illustrate that, again, legislation is there for good reason and compliance cannot be allowed to drop.

Logistex Ltd was fined a total of over £203,000 after an employee was electrocuted whilst servicing an air-compressor. The systems had not been tested or visually checked since installation and an incorrect isolation switch had not been identified. The Company had therefore failed in its duty to manage risk and were, therefore, found guilty of actually ‘creating’ the risk.

As a footnote to this awful incident, the victim wasn’t found for over an hour – an illustration of just how vital it is to ensure lone working is avoided, even in a live workshop or site environment.

FIRE RISK ASSESSMENTS

As you will all know no doubt, there is a legal requirement that all work premises (including all public buildings and sites) have suitable fire risk assessments (FRA). The level and detail to be included in the FRA will obviously vary according to the size and nature of the site or structure. However, we would remind businesses that the complexity of many structures and site circumstances may well require the assistance of suitably qualified health & safety professionals.

This is particularly true where the structures are large, have multiple occupancy, are open to the public or where fire risks may be introduced by the nature of the work being undertaken. It is not adequate in these situations (and we stress that this list is not exhaustive) for the owner or manager to do the FRA him/herself if untrained. Please contact WHS for further information.

SAFE KERB LIFTING

Everyone reading this newsletter should be using safe lifting devices for the laying of kerbs – if not, why not? The legislation has been around since 1992 and is a huge range of choice available to suit all situations. The legislation requires that kerbs, along with all other heavy items, should be lifted mechanically where at all possible and the use of manual lifters only permitted where the weight and nature of the item (plus the weight of the manual lifter) would not pose a manual handling risk. All lifting tasks must be risk assessed as usual and the choice of equipment justified.

However, the issue still arises of the safe mechanical lifting of radius kerbs. WHS has sought expert advice on this issue and been informed that much of the mechanical equipment can indeed safely lift radius kerbs, provided they are ‘front-to-back’ lifters. Users must check with the supplier that the product and set-up of the device is suitable for the intended use and the dimensions of the kerbs in question but, in general, the flexible or rubber grips can normally accommodate the radius profile. In summary, the equipment is available but the supplier must verify that it has been designed to accommodate the intended task.

With grateful thanks to the Interpave and the British Precast Concrete Federation for the expert advice given.

Having said that, lifting of all types is very much a design issue. As we’ve said earlier in this section, CDM states that all risk issues on site are not just a contractor issue but very much the responsibility of designers and clients. So maybe it’s about time that the issue is designed-out by both clients and designers not relying on standard detail but looking to innovative ideas.

RADIOS!

A plea from WHS on behalf of neighbourhoods everywhere, and safety – please keep the noise down!

There is a natural temptation during summer months to allow radios to be used outside. However, this can result in, not only noise nuisance to neighbours but also a safety issue. Low noise levels are fine; however, WHS consultants have experienced such loud levels on some sites that it would compromise verbal emergency or safety instructions by simply not being heard! If radios are allowed on your sites, just check that they are located adjacent to the working areas so that levels can remain low and do not compromise either safety or cause a public nuisance.

And one more reminder, it is not permissible to use personal audio equipment as instructions then cannot be heard; this is stated in your inductions and must be enforced.

PPE

Summer may be here but the requirement to wear appropriate PPE never goes away, despite the sun shining! PPE is there for a reason, and the removal of any of it makes the risk of personal injury go sky high. High-viz vests are worn to ensure workers can be seen – so, if you really insist that it’s too hot to wear that skimpy yellow vest, you must write a sound risk assessment to justify why and how you intend to control the risks. A failure to do that would be a double breach of the law.

And taking it off to get a tan also exposes the worker to the very real risk of sunburn and/or skin cancer. So maybe that’s a treble breach! Not worth the risk.

GENERAL NEWS

POST-COVID RETURN TO WORK

There has been an element of both confusion and belligerence right across UK industry regarding the right of employers to require their employees to return to the workplace after working from home or isolating. Some has emanated from genuine concerns about individual safety, whilst others seem to stem from a rather selfish preference to continue working from home because it suits for a variety of reasons.

In a nutshell, unless there is a genuine concern about poor Covid-prevention measures at the workplace, i.e. it’s a definite legal ‘health & safety’ issue, then the employee has no right to refuse to come into work. The employee would have been employed on the basis of that work address, so the contract still stands.

This has already been tested in court with the very recent case brought by an employee of Leeds Laser Cutting Ltd, and the employee lost his case. In the judge’s opinion, adequate Covid-safety measures had been implemented by the Company and there was no reason for the employee to consider his return to work unsafe. The judge commented “I do not consider that any belief that there were circumstances of serious and imminent danger were objectively reasonable”.

Having said that, we must remind all businesses that, despite the removal of Covid restrictions by the Government, ALL businesses remain wholly responsible for the health, safety and welfare of all employees (and others affected by their business) so the implied implication that many of the controls should remain in place would be prudent.

The requirement to isolate is still in place so the removal of controls would risk the business being disrupted still further as infection rates climb. Our message would be to be very careful before dropping your guard.

Further information, including industry-specific guidance can be found on the Companies House website:
https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support

STANDING DESKS

The use of ‘standing desks’ has been an issue for a while now as a significant number of offices use them to enable people to ‘move around’ more rather than being seated at a desk for 8 or more hours a day.

As with all work situations, the use of standing desks must be risk assessed, and with this particular issue, that risk assessment must relate to both the individual user (for obvious reasons), the suitability of the work to be undertaken in this way, and the total working environment. It must be borne in mind that standing for long periods is a risk in itself, quite apart from posture at the desk. Equally, DSE risk issues also come into play.

WHS can help with risk assessment; please contact the office. However, there is no one way to risk assess standing desks as each workplace and every employee will have different issues; therefore, your WHS will need to visit the premises to observe before an adequate assessment can be made.

AND FINALLY

This type of stupidity is all too common; when will people learn?! No wonder 99 people fall from height each day. And this was on a wet day too!

But we concentrated on work at height in the last newsletter so we’ll take a look at some of the issues which have resulted in prosecution recently.

Lead

The serious harm done by lead fume and particulates is often overlooked in construction, despite the fact that there are specific regulations (similar to the asbestos regs) requiring lead surveys, strict controls and health surveillance. Contractors dealing with lead flashings or lead paint, etc in refurbishments MUST make themselves familiar with the requirements; extensive information is contained in your WHS pack. Failure to do so may result in serious health issues or worse and prosecution; the following case relates to refurbishment.

  • John Taylor Bell Foundry (Loughborough) Ltd was fined a total of almost £20,000 after workers were exposed to lead dusts during the repair and refurbishment at a church. Rust and paint were stripped off a metal bell and frame using a power tool, producing high levels of harmful dust. The Company had failed to carry out a lead survey and risk assessment, and failed to provide appropriate equipment, PPE and training. A total failure to abide by the Lead at Work Regulations 2002, as reflected in the level of fine.

 

Excavations

  • M&S Water (Utilities) Ltd was fined a total of over £150,000 after a member of the public died falling into a deep excavation on a footpath. His body was not found until the following day.

 

The excavation had been left open for 5 days over a bank holiday weekend, protected only by plastic barriers with no suitable alternative for pedestrians. The HSE commented that a risk assessment would have identified the need for backfilling if the hole was to be left, or a minimum of secure barriers.

  • Harland Builders Ltd was fined a total of over £13,000 after a 2m excavation collapsed, trapping a ground worker and causing serious leg injuries. The worker had entered the unsupported and un-battered excavation to ‘measure the depth’ when it collapsed, putting others at risk to effect the rescue.

 

Demolition

The following two recent cases clearly demonstrate that demolition and structural stability must be properly risk assessed and adequate controls established and competently managed even on small projects:

  • Balwinder Singh Dhillon, trading as Dhillon Builders, was given a suspended jail sentence of 16 weeks and personally fined a total of almost £8,500 after an employee was serious injured when an internal wall fell on him during demolition. Dhillon had failed to ensure adequate structural support of the weaken wall.
  • Barrowbridge Construction Ltd was fined a total of over £2,500 after an employee was hit by falling masonry during the demolition of a garage. The walls were pushed over, the debris striking the worker, pushing him to the ground and covering him with masonry; he sustained leg fractures and other injuries.

 

Segregation

  • BAM Nuttall was fined £700,000 after a worker was run over by a 6-tonne dumper truck in Scotland and subsequently died. The victim had been changing a blade on a piece of equipment when he was hit. No safe system of work had been established for just such eventualities, despite there being ample room for segregation and protection on the established substation site.

 

Vehicle safety

  • Transport boss, Michael Holgate, was jailed for 15 years following a motorway accident that resulted in the deaths of 2 men. An HGV driver by Jack Beston (who was also jailed) lost control, crashing through the central barriers and ploughing into the vehicle in which the 2 victims were travelling.

 

Holgate was convicted of gross negligence manslaughter because, although faulty brakes had been reported by the driver several times, he had failed to rectify the issue. The Court found a ‘shocking picture of a company culture with a complete disregard of safety and maintenance; Judge Mr Justice Fraser said that a replacement valve would have only cost £200 and that the crash was a ‘disaster waiting to happen’.

Equipment safety

  • Young’s Seafood Ltd was fined a total of almost £821,000 after a worker was trapped in a mixing machine, resulting in a thumb and 2 fingers being severed. The machine had apparently remained running when the safety guard was lifted, the interlock system failing to work, and had failed to respond when the emergency stop button was pushed.

 

The Company was found to have both an inadequate fault reporting system and a poor and totally non-proactive maintenance regime.

ALL equipment, no matter when it is, is legally subject to regular PUWER checks and inspections. This particular equipment was a large static machine and there was no excuse at all for the lack of pro-active maintenance and thorough checks. However, PUWER applies to ALL work equipment because even small tools carry some level of risk; failure to carry out checks and inspections will result in enforcement.

And the last word…accidents happen at home as well!

  • Professor Peter Brennan admits to being “lucky to be alive” after falling from a ladder at his own home whilst cleaning gutters. He said that the ladder had large rubber feet and that he checked and double checked everything before ascent, yet the ladder slipped and he slipped 18 feet down the wall.

 

Prof. Brennan has said that “It was the most unexpected and terrifying experience of my life. I didn’t think it could happen to me…… I sustained multiple injuries and fractures, including a swollen, bruised and cut face, fractured tooth, three broken ribs, knee-cap, tibial plateau and toe. I just feel lucky to be alive.” The Professor has since posted photos of his horrendous injuries on the No Falls Foundation website as a warning to others: https://nofallsfoundation.org/index.php/2021/04/14/shattered-lives-prof-peter-brennan/

RoSPA has stated that every year approximately 6,000 people die as a result of home accidents, falls being the most common cause. Health & safety is important at home as well as at work; BE CAREFUL!

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

COMPANY NEWS

TRAINING

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

All necessary criteria and restrictions will be personally communicated, both directly at the time of booking and again through joining instructions, ahead of planned courses. It is vital that these are understood and, particularly for the First Aid and CITB courses, relevant information clearly passed to candidates.

Please enquire about other courses available, both classroom and non-classroom based; the full range is also detailed on our website:
http://wenlockhealthandsafety.co.uk/

FIRST AID

1-day Emergency First-Aid at Work course dates are listed below; strict Covid-specific controls will still apply for the moment and will be advised within the joining instructions. Spaces are therefore limited and demand is always high, so book places as soon as possible to avoid disappointment:

Dates:

  • 27 July 2021 fully booked but a reserve list is operating
  • 5 August 2021 new date added
  • 25 August 2021
  • 16 September 2021 new date added
  • 28 September 2021 fully booked but a reserve list is operating
  • 29 October 2021
  • 24 November 2021
  • 20 December 2021

 

Cost: £85 + VAT per person

IOSH

A 3-day IOSH Managing Safely course:

Dates:

  • 7, 8 & 9 September 2021

 

Cost: £395 + VAT per person

CITB Courses

It must be noted that CITB attendance rules are very strict; they must be understood and are reiterated here:

  • CITB specifies that candidates must be available to attend each session within the course; failure to do so may require a repeat course.
  • And booked attendance is absolutely vital; because of CITB rules, we may be forced to cancel a course on that morning if some candidates fail to take part, to the detriment of all candidates.
  • Covid-specific controls still apply for the time being and no lunch can be provided; candidates are to make their own provision.

 

Please also note that start and finish times have had to be adjusted to suit current strict CITB rules. Candidates must arrive by 8.15*am for registration; all courses start at 8.30 am and finish at 4.30 pm.

* Please reiterate to all candidates the absolute need to make their way up to the WHS offices and log in immediately upon arrival to avoid being charged for parking. Parking is free for all WHS visitors but there is only a 20-minute window for our staff to register for vehicle and avoid the charges – therefore, candidates should avoid parking up too early with the intention of waiting in their vehicles!

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)

 

Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week
Dates:

  • 10, 17, 24 September & 1, 8 October 2021 (Fridays) fully booked; reserve list operating
  • 15, 22, 29 November & 6, 13 December 2021 (Mondays)

 

Cost: £495 + VAT per person

  • Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher

 

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

  • 9 & 10 August 2021 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 4 & 5 October 2021 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 9 & 10 December 2021 (Thursday & Friday)

 

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

  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS)

 

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

  • 29 & 30 July 2021 (Thursday & Friday) fully booked; reserve list operating
  • 20 & 21 September 2021 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 25 & 26 November 2021 (Thursday & Friday)

 

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

  • Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS) Refresher

 

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

  • 20 August 2021 (Friday)
  • 18 October 2021 (Monday)

 

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

  • CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness

 

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

  • 6 September 2021 (Monday)
  • 1 November 2021 (Monday)
  • 17 December 2021 (Friday)

 

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

HSE NEWS

RIDDOR Reporting

The following very recent HSE prosecution serves as a warning to anyone tempted not to report serious injuries or occurrences to the HSE as required under RIDDOR:

Site manager, Paul Adams, was jailed for 6 months for failing to report an accident on his site that resulted in an amputation. A 1.7-tonne excavator had been provided for site clearance for a new house build in Surrey, equipment that was totally unsuitable for the work; the operator’s request for a 3-tonne excavator was rejected and he was pressured by Adams to use the smaller machine. The excavator tipped whilst digging, crushing his leg which later had to be amputated.

As if the accident itself wasn’t bad enough, things were made worse by Adams, who had 50 years construction experience, failing to report the ‘major injury’ to the HSE or investigate the accident properly. This was a clear breach of the RIDDOR Regs and Adams was jailed for 24 weeks and ordered to pay costs of £2,033.

SITE WIDE Safe Systems of Work

Asbestos removal contractor, Enviraz (Scotland) Ltd, was fined £150,000 after causing a gas explosion which fatally injured one employee and left another with serious injuries. The Company was commissioned to remove a boiler and pipework at the former Pastoral Centre in Wishaw and overspray walls to remove asbestos residues prior to demolition. The plan was to cut the boiler and pipework into sections for easy removal; however, the Company had failed to ensure the gas supply had been isolated, with the result that the workers cut through a live gas outlet, causing an explosion.

The risk assessment and plan of work had identified that gas services were present but the Company failed to ensure the gas supply had been isolated and pipework purged before starting work. The Company had completely failed to adequately manage the SITE WIDE risks, concentrating on asbestos alone.

There are lessons to be learned from this case. ALL contractors and project managers are legally obliged to risk assess and plan for ALL risks related to their work and to all others issues affected by their work. And ALL site managers must ensure that risk assessments and method statements presented by their contractors actually do take these into account; ALL RAMS must relate to that particular site and must include all risks and site wide issues related to and affected by their work. Generics are NOT permitted.

CONSTRUCTION SECTOR STATISTICS

The HSE has now published an A3 poster which visualises key 2020 statistics for the construction industry and clearly demonstrates the consequences of ignoring poor health & safety practices, including:

  • Fatalities
  • Working days lost
  • Work-related musculoskeletal disorders and stress
  • Lung diseases including asbestos-related
  • The annual cost of work-related injury and ill-health

 

The poster can be purchased from the HSE for just £8.33 + VAT:
https://bit.ly/3e5rxwQ

WHS strongly recommends that the poster is displayed prominently on sites and head offices to remind everyone of the appalling waste still experienced by this industry in terms of both life, livelihoods, business efficiency and costs – all of which remain staggering.

THE HSE HAVE EYES EVERYWHERE!!

Just a reminder and warning that, yes, the HSE does have eyes and ears everywhere! Non-compliant and dangerous practices can be spotted by HSE inspectors going about their normal personal business and, as we have illustrated many times in our newsletters, the public are very good at reporting breaches to the HSE as well.

To illustrate the point, enforcement was recently placed on a contractor for using a Stihl saw without dust suppression; the HSE inspector was just wandering past to fetch his lunch from Tesco! If you are working, you are on show; if you are working non-compliantly, make no mistake, you can be spotted and enforcement will follow.

INDUSTRY NEWS

SERIOUS SAFETY ALERT
With thanks to www.gov.uk for the important illustration

The UK’s national product safety regulator, the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS), has issued a Safety Alert relating to a chainsaw disc attachment being incorrectly sold for use with angle grinders.

The attachments are not designed for this type of use and reports have been received of injuries caused by kick-back when the wheel grips the surface and, as a result, turns sharply.

Anyone who has purchased these attachments are urged to withdraw them from use immediately and return them to the seller if it is believed they were marketed as being compatible with angle grinders. WHS would also suggest that sellers be reported to the OPSS if they continue to market and sell them as suitable attachments; you may be saving someone from very serious injury or death.

Further information can be found on the Government website:
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-safety-alert-issued-for-angle-grinder-chainsaw-disc-attachment

STIHL PRODUCT RECALL

Manufacturer Stihl has recalled a limited product range of cut-off equipment because of possible faulty assembly. The items in question are the TS 410 and TS 420 models but only if they are within the serial number ranges: 189442634 – 190001700

The fault relates to the possible over-tightening of the flywheel-to-crankshaft connections during assembly which may cause the flywheel to break apart during use. Anyone affected is urged to remove the item from use immediately and contact their local Stihl dealer as soon as possible for a free repair.

CUTTING EQUIPMENT SAFETY – A REMINDER

A relevant reminder to everyone who uses powered cutting equipment either on site or in workshops (or at home for that matter!). Effective guarding of blades is legally required for very good reasons – as is all health & safety legislation. The consequences of ignoring the legal requirement can, and still does, cause serious injury, misery and even death. As an example:

Borrowdale Construction Homes Ltd was fined a total of £32,567 after a worker’s hand was severed by an inadequately guarded mitre saw being used to cut skirting. The guard had been propped up, exposing the full front of the blade; during the work, the mitre saw fell forward severing part of the unfortunate worker’s hand.

This incident doesn’t bear thinking about and has obviously ruined the individual’s life. But, unbelievably in this day and age, it happens all too often that guards are removed or propped back, risking this type of accident again and again. Any worker found doing this on your site must be disciplined or removed; this cannot be tolerated – the risks are just too great for both the individual and, as this case demonstrates, to your company.

ALL EQUIPMENT WITH MOVING PARTS – ANOTHER REMINDER

The regulations and requirements do not just apply to cutting equipment; all equipment with moving parts is potentially lethal:

A worker narrowly escaped being strangled to death when his high-viz vest became entangled in an unguarded rotating spindle on a print machine. Only the quick action of a colleague saved the unconscious victim from death. The Company, Alfaplas Ltd was fined a total of over £164,000 for failing to guard dangerous parts of the equipment.

So, a reminder that the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, apply to ALL industries and require that the moving or hazardous parts of ALL work equipment MUST be properly guarded, or suitable alternative measures established to prevent any risk of contact during operation.

EDGE PROTECTION

Another reminder, which really shouldn’t be necessary in 2021:

The Work at Height Regulations 2005 requires that falls be prevented by suitable means where injury may result. Previous legislation required that all falls >2m be prevented but the mention of 2m was removed in 2005 because so many deaths and injuries were occurring from falls of below 2m. A fall of 1.5m head-first onto a concrete slab can kill! So current legislation, quite rightly, centres around the need to risk assess the tasks to be carried out, the work environment and the prevailing circumstances; suitable fall prevention and/or protection measures must then be established.

None of this will be news to anyone reading this newsletter; after all, the current legislation has been in place since 2005 (and its origins go back to 1996 and beyond).

However, a lot of contractors still don’t seem to appreciate that falls are falls wherever they can occur; injury and death can occur anywhere. This includes internal edges during the construction of structures, and excavations where the depth or what is in the excavation can result in risk. For instance, a fall onto re-bar can result in nasty puncture injuries or worse, and a fall into a slab pit filled with concrete can result in ‘drowning’ or very serious burns.

Risk assessment and the establishment of suitable controls to prevent falls is legally required – no excuses!

WORK AT HEIGHT – SHOCKING STATISTICS

Following on from above, let’s just reinforce what fall from height actually means to the construction industry and individuals every year.

10 million people work at height in some form or another each year, and each and every one of them deserves to be able to do their job and return home safely each night. But it is an inexcusable fact that work at height STILL accounts for more occupational deaths than any other cause. The shocking statistics speak for themselves; work at height accounts for:

  • 36,000 EVERY YEAR
  • 99 falls EVERY DAY = 1 death EVERY 10 DAYS
  • 35 fatalities last year
  • £½ billion cost to industry
  • 572,000 days lost

 

Astonishing figures – but all contractors can all make a difference if we abide by the legislation and guidance that simply requires good risk assessment, selection of suitable equipment to access height and prevent falls, and adequate and appropriate training. But is that all?

No, designers and clients also have a huge part to play in ensuring work at height is considered from the outset and contractors are given the ability to work safely at height. CDM stresses that all risk situations on site are also the responsibility of designers and clients. It cannot be assumed that contractors will have to cope with whatever conditions are thrown at them, and let’s not forget that a key role of the Principal Designer is to ensure that this happens.

Health & safety must be (as is required by law) a partnership between all parties, from the client through the appointed designers, to the contractors and specialists – and one of the most important aspects of this is safe work at height.

FIRE RISK ASSESSMENTS

As you will all know no doubt, there is a legal requirement that all work premises (including all public buildings and sites) have suitable fire risk assessments (FRA). The level and detail to be included in the FRA will obviously vary according to the size and nature of the site or structure. However, we would remind businesses that the complexity of many structures and site circumstances may well require the assistance of suitably qualified health & safety professionals.

This is particularly true where the structures are large, have multiple occupancy, are open to the public or where fire risks may be introduced by the nature of the work being undertaken. It is not adequate in these situations (and we stress that this list is not exhaustive) for the owner or manager to do the FRA him/herself if untrained. Please contact WHS for further information.

RADIOS!

A plea from WHS on behalf of neighbourhoods everywhere, and safety – please keep the noise down!

There is a natural temptation during summer months to allow radios to be used outside. However, this can result in, not only noise nuisance to neighbours but also a safety issue. Low noise levels are fine; however, WHS consultants have experienced such loud levels on some sites that it would compromise verbal emergency or safety instructions by simply not being heard!

If radios are allowed on your sites, just check that they are located adjacent to the working areas so that levels can remain low and do not compromise either safety or cause a public nuisance.

And one more reminder, it is not permissible to use personal audio equipment as instructions then cannot be heard; this is stated in your inductions and must be enforced.

PPE

Summer may be here but the requirement to wear appropriate PPE never goes away, despite the sun shining! PPE is there for a reason, and the removal of any of it makes the risk of personal injury go sky high.

High-viz vests are worn to ensure workers can be seen – so, if you really insist that it’s too hot to wear that skimpy yellow vest, you must write a sound risk assessment to justify why and how you intend to control the risks. A failure to do that would be a double breach of the law.

And taking it off to get a tan also exposes the worker to the very real risk of sunburn and/or skin cancer. So maybe that’s a treble breach! Not worth the risk.

GENERAL NEWS

POST-COVID RETURN TO WORK

There has been an element of both confusion and belligerence right across UK industry regarding the right of employers to require their employees to return to the workplace after working from home or isolating. Some has emanated from genuine concerns about individual safety, whilst others seem to stem from a rather selfish preference to continue working from home because it suits for a variety of reasons.

In a nutshell, unless there is a genuine concern about poor Covid-prevention measures at the workplace, i.e. it’s a definite legal ‘health & safety’ issue, then the employee has no right to refuse to come into work. The employee would have been employed on the basis of that work address, so the contract still stands.

This has already been tested in court with the very recent case brought by an employee of Leeds Laser Cutting Ltd, and the employee lost his case. In the judge’s opinion, adequate Covid-safety measures had been implemented by the Company and there was no reason for the employee to consider his return to work unsafe. The judge commented “I do not consider that any belief that there were circumstances of serious and imminent danger were objectively reasonable”.

Having said that, we must remind all businesses that, despite the removal of Covid restrictions by the Government, ALL businesses remain wholly responsible for the health, safety and welfare of all employees (and others affected by their business) so the implied implication that many of the controls should remain in place would be prudent.

The requirement to isolate is still in place so the removal of controls would risk the business being disrupted still further as infection rates climb. Our message would be to be very careful before dropping your guard.

Further information, including industry-specific guidance can be found on the Companies House website:
https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support

STANDING DESKS

The use of ‘standing desks’ has been an issue for a while now as a significant number of offices use them to enable people to ‘move around’ more rather than being seated at a desk for 8 or more hours a day.

As with all work situations, the use of standing desks must be risk assessed, and with this particular issue, that risk assessment must relate to both the individual user (for obvious reasons), the suitability of the work to be undertaken in this way, and the total working environment. It must be borne in mind that standing for long periods is a risk in itself, quite apart from posture at the desk. Equally, DSE risk issues also come into play.

WHS can help with risk assessment; please contact the office. However, there is no one way to risk assess standing desks as each workplace and every employee will have different issues; therefore, your WHS will need to visit the premises to observe before an adequate assessment can be made.

AND FINALLY

This type of stupidity is all too common; when will people learn?! No wonder 99 people fall from height each day. And this was on a wet day too!

But we concentrated on work at height in the last newsletter so we’ll take a look at some of the issues which have resulted in prosecution recently.

Lead

The serious harm done by lead fume and particulates is often overlooked in construction, despite the fact that there are specific regulations (similar to the asbestos regs) requiring lead surveys, strict controls and health surveillance. Contractors dealing with old lead pipework, etc MUST make themselves familiar with the requirements; extensive information is contained in your WHS pack. Failure to do so may result in serious health issues or worse and prosecution; the following case relates to refurbishment.

  • John Taylor Bell Foundry (Loughborough) Ltd was fined a total of almost £20,000 after workers were exposed to lead dusts during the repair and refurbishment at a church. Rust and paint were stripped off a metal bell and frame using a power tool, producing high levels of harmful dust. The Company had failed to carry out a lead survey and risk assessment, and failed to provide appropriate equipment, PPE and training. A total failure to abide by the Lead at Work Regulations 2002, as reflected in the level of fine.

 

Electrical safety

Thankfully, the following accidents are rare these days but are worth highlighting to illustrate that, again, legislation is there for good reason and compliance cannot be allowed to drop.

  • Logistex Ltd was fined a total of over £203,000 after an employee was electrocuted whilst servicing an air-compressor. The systems had not been tested or visually checked since installation and an incorrect isolation switch had not been identified. The Company had therefore failed in its duty to manage risk and were, therefore, found guilty of actually ‘creating’ the risk.

 

As a footnote to this awful incident, the victim wasn’t found for over an hour – an illustration of just how vital it is to ensure lone working is avoided, even in a live workshop or site environment.

  • Glassflake Ltd was fined a total of almost £31,000 after an employee received an electric shock whilst working in a transformer cabinet; the transformer had not been isolated. A fundamental error which almost cost the employee his life. The victim was found unconscious with significant burns through his chin to the back of his head, consistent with the electric shock passing through his head to the cabinet.

 

Equipment safety

  • Young’s Seafood Ltd was fined a total of almost £821,000 after a worker was trapped in a mixing machine, resulting in a thumb and 2 fingers being severed. The machine had apparently remained running when the safety guard was lifted, the interlock system failing to work, and had failed to respond when the emergency stop button was pushed. The Company was found to have both an inadequate fault reporting system and a poor and totally non-proactive maintenance regime.

 

ALL equipment, no matter when it is, is legally subject to regular PUWER checks and inspections. This particular equipment was a large static machine and there was no excuse at all for the lack of pro-active maintenance and thorough checks. However, PUWER applies to ALL work equipment because even small tools carry some level of risk; failure to carry out checks and inspections will result in enforcement.

And the last word…accidents happen at home as well!

  • Professor Peter Brennan admits to being “lucky to be alive” after falling from a ladder at his own home whilst cleaning gutters. He said that the ladder had large rubber feet and that he checked and double checked everything before ascent, yet the ladder slipped and he slipped 18 feet down the wall.

 

Prof. Brennan has said that “It was the most unexpected and terrifying experience of my life. I didn’t think it could happen to me…… I sustained multiple injuries and fractures, including a swollen, bruised and cut face, fractured tooth, three broken ribs, knee-cap, tibial plateau and toe. I just feel lucky to be alive.” The Professor has since posted photos of his horrendous injuries on the No Falls Foundation website as a warning to others: https://nofallsfoundation.org/index.php/2021/04/14/shattered-lives-prof-peter-brennan/

RoSPA has stated that every year approximately 6,000 people die as a result of home accidents, falls being the most common cause. Health & safety is important at home as well as at work; BE CAREFUL!

 

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

COMPANY NEWS

TRAINING

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

All necessary criteria and restrictions will be personally communicated, both directly at the time of booking and again through joining instructions, ahead of planned courses. It is vital that these are understood and relevant information clearly passed to candidates.

Please reiterate to all candidates the absolute need to make their way up to the WHS offices and log in immediately upon arrival to avoid being charged for parking. Parking is free for all WHS visitors but there is only a 20-minute window for our staff to register for vehicle and avoid the charges – therefore, candidates should avoid parking up too early with the intention of waiting in their vehicles!

Please enquire about other courses available, both classroom and non-classroom based; the full range is also detailed on our website:

Health & safety isn’t about what you spend but what you save!

FIRST AID

1-day Emergency First-Aid at Work course dates are listed below; strict Covid-specific controls will still apply for the moment and will be advised within the joining instructions. Spaces are therefore limited and demand is always high, so book places as soon as possible to avoid disappointment:

Dates:

  • 27 July 2021 fully booked but a reserve list is operating
  • 5 August 2021 new date added
  • 25 August 2021
  • 16 September 2021 new date added
  • 28 September 2021 fully booked but a reserve list is operating
  • 29 October 2021
  • 24 November 2021
  • 20 December 2021

 

Cost: £85 + VAT per person

IOSH

A 3-day IOSH Managing Safely course:

Dates: 7, 8 & 9 September 2021
Cost: £395 + VAT per person

HSE NEWS

RIDDOR Reporting

The following very recent HSE prosecution serves as a warning to anyone tempted not to report serious injuries or occurrences to the HSE as required under RIDDOR:

Site manager, Paul Adams, was jailed for 6 months for failing to report an accident on his site that resulted in an amputation. A 1.7-tonne excavator had been provided for site clearance for a new house build in Surrey, equipment that was totally unsuitable for the work; the operator’s request for a 3-tonne excavator was rejected and he was pressured by Adams to use the smaller machine. The excavator tipped whilst digging, crushing his leg which later had to be amputated.

As if the accident itself wasn’t bad enough, things were made worse by Adams, who had 50 years construction experience, failing to report the ‘major injury’ to the HSE or investigate the accident properly. This was a clear breach of the RIDDOR Regs and Adams was jailed for 24 weeks and ordered to pay costs of £2,033.

THE HSE HAVE EYES EVERYWHERE!!

Just a reminder and warning that, yes, the HSE does have eyes and ears everywhere! Non-compliant and dangerous practices can be spotted by HSE inspectors going about their normal personal business and, as we have illustrated many times in our newsletters, the public are very good at reporting breaches to the HSE as well.

To illustrate the point, enforcement was recently placed on a worker for using a Stihl saw without dust suppression; the HSE inspector was just wandering past to fetch his lunch from Tesco! If you are working, you are on show; if you are working non-compliantly, make no mistake, you can be spotted and enforcement will follow.

INDUSTRY NEWS

SERIOUS SAFETY ALERT
With thanks to www.gov.uk for the important illustration

The UK’s national product safety regulator, the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS), has issued a Safety Alert relating to a chainsaw disc attachment being incorrectly sold for use with angle grinders.

The attachments are not designed for this type of use and reports have been received of injuries caused by kick-back when the wheel grips the surface and, as a result, turns sharply.

Anyone who has purchased these attachments are urged to withdraw them from use immediately and return them to the seller if it is believed they were marketed as being compatible with angle grinders. WHS would also suggest that sellers be reported to the OPSS if they continue to market and sell them as suitable attachments; you may be saving someone from very serious injury or death.

Further information can be found on the Government website:
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-safety-alert-issued-for-angle-grinder-chainsaw-disc-attachment

STIHL PRODUCT RECALL

Manufacturer Stihl has recalled a limited product range of cut-off equipment because of possible faulty assembly. The items in question are the TS 410 and TS 420 models but only if they are within the serial number ranges: 189442634 – 190001700

The fault relates to the possible over-tightening of the flywheel-to-crankshaft connections during assembly which may cause the flywheel to break apart during use. Anyone affected is urged to remove the item from use immediately and contact their local Stihl dealer as soon as possible for a free repair.

CUTTING EQUIPMENT SAFETY – A REMINDER

A relevant reminder to everyone who uses powered cutting equipment in workshops or elsewhere (or at home for that matter!). Effective guarding of blades is legally required for very good reasons – as is all health & safety legislation. The consequences of ignoring the legal requirement can, and still does, cause serious injury, misery and even death. As an example:

Borrowdale Construction Homes Ltd was fined a total of £32,567 after a worker’s hand was severed by an inadequately guarded mitre saw being used to cut skirting. The guard had been propped up, exposing the full front of the blade; during the work, the mitre saw fell forward severing part of the unfortunate worker’s hand.

This incident doesn’t bear thinking about and has obviously ruined the individual’s life. But, unbelievably in this day and age, it happens all too often that guards are removed or propped back, risking this type of accident again and again. Any worker found doing this must be disciplined or removed; this cannot be tolerated – the risks are just too great for both the individual and, as this case demonstrates, to your company.

ALL EQUIPMENT WITH MOVING PARTS – ANOTHER REMINDER

The regulations and requirements do not just apply to cutting equipment; all equipment with moving parts is potentially lethal:

A worker narrowly escaped being strangled to death when his high-viz vest became entangled in an unguarded rotating spindle on a print machine. Only the quick action of a colleague saved the unconscious victim from death. The Company, Alfaplas Ltd was fined a total of over £164,000 for failing to guard dangerous parts of the equipment.

So, a reminder that the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, apply to ALL industries and require that the moving or hazardous parts of ALL work equipment MUST be properly guarded, or suitable alternative measures established to prevent any risk of contact during operation.

WORK AT HEIGHT – SHOCKING STATISTICS

There is a need to reinforce what falls from height mean to UK industry and individuals every year.

10 million people work at height in some form or another each year, and each and every one of them deserves to be able to do their job and return home safely each night. But it is an inexcusable fact that work at height STILL accounts for more occupational deaths than any other cause. The shocking statistics speak for themselves; work at height accounts for:

  • 36,000 EVERY YEAR
  • 99 falls on average EVERY DAY = 1 death EVERY 10 DAYS
  • 35 fatalities last year
  • £½ billion cost to industry
  • 572,000 days lost

 

Astonishing figures – and these don’t just apply to the industries traditionally involved in work at height. A large percentage of the work at height prosecutions highlighted in previous newsletters have related to general businesses asking their employees to access heights with insufficient thought and inappropriate equipment. Every business can make a difference if we just abide by the legislation that simply requires good risk assessment, suitable equipment to prevent falls, and adequate and appropriate training.

 

ELECTRICAL SAFETY

Thankfully, the following accident is rare these days but is worth highlighting to illustrate that, again, legislation is there for good reason and compliance cannot be allowed to drop.

Logistex Ltd was fined a total of over £203,000 after an employee was electrocuted whilst servicing an air-compressor. The systems had not been tested or visually checked since installation and an incorrect isolation switch had not been identified. The Company had therefore failed in its duty to manage risk and were, therefore, found guilty of actually ‘creating’ the risk.

As a footnote to this awful incident, the victim wasn’t found for over an hour – an illustration of just how vital it is to ensure lone working is avoided, even in a live workshop environment.

FIRE RISK ASSESSMENTS

As you will all know no doubt, there is a legal requirement that all work premises (including all public buildings) have suitable fire risk assessments (FRA). The level and detail to be included in the FRA will obviously vary according to the size and nature of the premises. However, we would remind businesses that the complexity of many structures and working environments may well require the assistance of suitably qualified health & safety professionals.

This is particularly true where the structures are large, have multiple occupancy, are open to the public or where fire risks may be introduced by the nature of the work being undertaken. It is not adequate in these situations (and we stress that this list is not exhaustive) for the owner or manager to do the FRA him/herself if untrained. Please contact WHS for further information.

PPE

Summer may be here but the requirement to wear appropriate PPE never goes away, despite the sun shining! PPE is there for a reason, and the removal of any of it makes the risk of personal injury go sky high.

High-viz vests are worn to ensure workers can be seen – so, if you really insist that it’s too hot to wear that skimpy yellow vest, you must write a sound risk assessment to justify why and how you intend to control the risks. A failure to do that would be a double breach of the law.

And taking it off to get a tan also exposes the worker to the very real risk of sunburn and/or skin cancer. So maybe that’s a treble breach! Not worth the risk.

GENERAL NEWS

POST-COVID RETURN TO WORK

There has been an element of both confusion and belligerence right across UK industry regarding the right of employers to require their employees to return to the workplace after working from home or isolating. Some has emanated from genuine concerns about individual safety, whilst others seem to stem from a rather selfish preference to continue working from home because it suits for a variety of reasons.

In a nutshell, unless there is a genuine concern about poor Covid-prevention measures at the workplace, i.e. it’s a definite legal ‘health & safety’ issue, then the employee has no right to refuse to come into work. The employee would have been employed on the basis of that work address, so the contract still stands.

This has already been tested in court with the very recent case brought by an employee of Leeds Laser Cutting Ltd, and the employee lost his case. In the judge’s opinion, adequate Covid-safety measures had been implemented by the Company and there was no reason for the employee to consider his return to work unsafe. The judge commented “I do not consider that any belief that there were circumstances of serious and imminent danger were objectively reasonable”.

Having said that, we must remind all businesses that, despite the removal of Covid restrictions by the Government, ALL businesses remain wholly responsible for the health, safety and welfare of all employees (and others affected by their business) so the implied implication that many of the controls should remain in place would be prudent.

The requirement to isolate is still in place so the removal of controls would risk the business being disrupted still further as infection rates climb. Our message would be to be very careful before dropping your guard.

Further information, including industry-specific guidance can be found on the Companies House website:
https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support

STANDING DESKS

The use of ‘standing desks’ has been an issue for a while now as a significant number of offices use them to enable people to ‘move around’ more rather than being seated at a desk for 8 or more hours a day.

As with all work situations, the use of standing desks must be risk assessed, and with this particular issue, that risk assessment must relate to both the individual user (for obvious reasons), the suitability of the work to be undertaken in this way, and the total working environment. It must be borne in mind that standing for long periods is a risk in itself, quite apart from posture at the desk. Equally, DSE risk issues also come into play.

WHS can help with risk assessment; please contact the office. However, there is no one way to risk assess standing desks as each workplace and every employee will have different issues; therefore, your WHS will need to visit the premises to observe before an adequate assessment can be made.

AND FINALLY

This type of stupidity is all too common; when will people learn?! No wonder 99 people fall from height each day. And this was on a wet day too!

But we concentrated on work at height in the last newsletter so we’ll take a look at some of the issues which have resulted in prosecution recently.

Lead

The serious harm done by lead fume and particulates is often overlooked in construction, despite the fact that there are specific regulations (similar to the asbestos regs) requiring lead surveys, strict controls and health surveillance. Any business dealing with lead flashings, pipework or paint, etc MUST make themselves familiar with the requirements; extensive information is contained in your WHS pack. Failure to do so may result in serious health issues or worse and prosecution.

  • John Taylor Bell Foundry (Loughborough) Ltd was fined a total of almost £20,000 after workers were exposed to lead dusts during the repair and refurbishment at a church. Rust and paint were stripped off a metal bell and frame using a power tool, producing high levels of harmful dust. The Company had failed to carry out a lead survey and risk assessment, and failed to provide appropriate equipment, PPE and training. A total failure to abide by the Lead at Work Regulations 2002, as reflected in the level of fine.

 

Segregation

  • BAM Nuttall was fined £700,000 after a worker was run over by a 6-tonne dumper truck on an established substation site in Scotland and subsequently died. The victim had been changing a blade on a piece of equipment when he was hit. No safe system of work had been established for just such eventualities, despite there being ample room for segregation and protection.

 

Vehicle safety

  • Transport boss, Michael Holgate, was jailed for 15 years following a motorway accident that resulted in the deaths of 2 men. An HGV driver by Jack Beston (who was also jailed) lost control, crashing through the central barriers and ploughing into the vehicle in which the 2 victims were travelling.

 

Holgate was convicted of gross negligence manslaughter because, although faulty brakes had been reported by the driver several times, he had failed to rectify the issue. The Court found a ‘shocking picture of a company culture with a complete disregard of safety and maintenance; Judge Mr Justice Fraser said that a replacement valve would have only cost £200 and that the crash was a ‘disaster waiting to happen’.

Equipment safety

  • Emtelle UK was fined £100,000 after an employee’s hand was crushed in the clamp of a socket machine, breaking 2 of his fingers. There was a risk assessment in place but it had not addressed the particular task being carried out by the employee.

 

Yet another example of just how important risk assessment for every type of task is vital.

  • Young’s Seafood Ltd was fined a total of almost £821,000 after a worker was trapped in a mixing machine, resulting in a thumb and 2 fingers being severed. The machine had apparently remained running when the safety guard was lifted, the interlock system failing to work, and had failed to respond when the emergency stop button was pushed.

 

The Company was found to have both an inadequate fault reporting system and a poor and totally non-proactive maintenance regime.

ALL equipment, no matter when it is, is legally subject to regular PUWER checks and inspections. This particular equipment was a large static machine and there was no excuse at all for the lack of pro-active maintenance and thorough checks. However, PUWER applies to ALL work equipment because even small tools carry some level of risk; failure to carry out checks and inspections will result in enforcement.

And the last word…accidents happen at home as well!

  • Professor Peter Brennan admits to being “lucky to be alive” after falling from a ladder at his own home whilst cleaning gutters. He said that the ladder had large rubber feet and that he checked and double checked everything before ascent, yet the ladder slipped and he slipped 18 feet down the wall.

 

Prof. Brennan has said that “It was the most unexpected and terrifying experience of my life. I didn’t think it could happen to me…… I sustained multiple injuries and fractures, including a swollen, bruised and cut face, fractured tooth, three broken ribs, knee-cap, tibial plateau and toe. I just feel lucky to be alive.” The Professor has since posted photos of his horrendous injuries on the No Falls Foundation website as a warning to others: https://nofallsfoundation.org/index.php/2021/04/14/shattered-lives-prof-peter-brennan/

RoSPA has stated that every year approximately 6,000 people die as a result of home accidents, falls being the most common cause.
Health & safety is important at home as well as at work. BE CAREFUL!
cleaning the

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

STAFF CHANGES

It is with heartfelt thanks and gratitude for his service with Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) that we say a fond farewell to Health & Safety Consultant, Charles Yates.

Charles joined our team in September 2018 and rapidly became a well-respected and valued advisor to his personal clients. He retired on 30 April 2021 but might well be seen occasionally delivering a first-aid course or two. In the meantime, all Charles’s clients will be re-allocated to either Laura (07791-670987) or Emma (07811-417888) who will become their main points of contact from now on; please ring the office (01952-885885) if you’re in any doubt.

We wish Charles a very happy and safe retirement, and sincerely thank him for the very valuable contribution he has made to the continuing and admirable reputation of WHS.

TRAINING

Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) is running a full programme of classroom-based courses at our offices or, upon request, at customers’ premises provided they can meet any necessary Covid-related controls.

WHS has taken the decision to retain some restrictions until at least June; any necessary criteria and restrictions will be personally communicated, both directly at the time of booking and again through joining instructions, ahead of planned courses. It is vital that these are understood and, particularly for the First Aid and CITB courses, relevant information clearly passed to candidates*.

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

Please enquire about other courses available, both classroom and non-classroom based; the full range is also detailed on our website:
http://wenlockhealthandsafety.co.uk/

*Some companies have evidently failed to pass on relevant covid-related information to their employees in the past about what they need to bring with them when attending courses; as a result, some candidates have been without refreshments etc. Please do ensure joining instructions are passed on to the candidates.

FIRST AID

1-day Emergency First-Aid at Work course dates are listed below; strict Covid-specific controls will still apply for the moment and will be advised within the joining instructions. Demand is expected to be high, so book places as soon as possible to avoid disappointment:

Dates:

  • 26 May 2021 fully booked but a reserve list is operating
  • 3 June 2021
  • 24 June 2021 limited spaces still available
  • 27 July 2021
  • 25 August 2021
  • 28 September 2021
  • 29 October 2021
  • 24 November 2021
  • 20 December 2021

Cost: £85 + VAT per person

IOSH

A 3-day IOSH Managing Safely course:

Dates:

  • 7, 8 & 9 September 2021

Cost: £395 + VAT per person

CITB Courses

It must be noted that CITB attendance rules are very strict; they MUST be understood and are reiterated here:

  • CITB specifies that candidates must be available to attend each session within the course; failure to do so may require a repeat course.
  • And booked attendance is absolutely vital; because of CITB rules, we may be forced to cancel a course ON THAT MORNING if some candidates fail to take part, to the detriment of all candidates.
  • Strict Covid-specific controls apply and no lunch can be offered; candidates to make their own provision.

Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)

Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week
Dates:

  • 7, 14, 21, 28 July & 4 August 2021 (Wednesdays) fully booked but a reserve list is operating
  • 10, 17, 24 September & 1, 8 October 2021 (Fridays)
  • 15, 22, 29 November & 6, 13 December 2021 (Mondays)

Cost: £495 + VAT per person

Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

  • 7 & 8 June 2021 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 9 & 10 August 2021 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 4 & 5 October 2021 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 9 & 10 December 2021 (Thursday & Friday)

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

Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS)

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

  • 29 & 30 July 2021 (Thursday & Friday)
  • 20 & 21 September 2021 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 25 & 26 November 2021 (Thursday & Friday)

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

Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS) Refresher

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

  • 25 June 2021 (Friday)
  • 20 August 2021 (Friday)
  • 18 October 2021 (Monday)

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

CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

  • 2 July 2021 (Friday) limited spaces available
  • 6 September 2021 (Monday)
  • 1 November 2021 (Monday)
  • 17 December 2021 (Friday)

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

COVID 19

RESTRICTIONS STILL APPLY!

It is important to reiterate that, despite the general feeling that things may be getting back to some normality with the declining Covid death and hospitalisation rates, some restrictions (very sensibly) still apply; any hasty loosening of controls will invite another wave, which is something that everyone is desperate to avoid.

WHS has seen a general decline in the implementation and enforcement of controls across sites – the general perception seems to be that, with the very successful and rapid roll-out of the vaccination programme, vaccinated individuals no longer need to be careful. Firstly, large numbers of workers have still not yet been vaccinated so are still vulnerable. Secondly, even those who have received the second dose can still contract and pass on the virus to colleagues, friends and family who may still be vulnerable.

Having both doses of the vaccine does not mean the guidelines and controls don’t apply; they do, and the law can still be brought to bear for violations. It’s vital that employers continue to implement and enforce the necessary controls in and around any workplace until the government advice changes; the HSE and local councils are still monitoring premises and enforcing where necessary.

To quote an excerpt from the Government website:

“After you’ve had the vaccine will you still need to follow all the infection control advice?

The vaccine cannot give you COVID-19 infection, and 2 doses will reduce your chance of becoming seriously ill. No vaccine is completely effective and it will take a few weeks for your body to build up protection.
So, you will still need to follow the guidance in your workplace, including wearing the correct personal protection equipment and taking part in any screening programmes.

To continue to protect yourself, your patients, your family, friends and colleagues you should follow the general advice at work, at home and when you are out and about:

  • practice social distancing
  • wear a face mask
  • wash your hands carefully and frequently
  • follow the current guidance”

Always refer to the Government website before both establishing and/or modifying controls:
https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

HSE NEWS

HSE COVID UPDATES & ADVICE

The HSE has published a range of Covid-related guidance and information to help keep workplaces Covid-secure as restrictions are eased and we all try to get back to some semblance of normality.

  • Equipment stored or left unused for long periods should be checked for deterioration or damage: https://bit.ly/3vUdr7V
  • Water and air-conditioning systems in buildings which have been closed or had reduced occupancy or use should be checked for stagnation or risk of legionella: https://bit.ly/3bfG0Fa
  • Ventilation and air conditioning should have sufficient air-movement and air-exchange to help reduce the spread of Coronavirus and other airborne viruses and bacteria: https://bit.ly/3bfZnhr
  • Non-HSE requirements are also covered such as workplace testing, Test & Trace and vaccinations: https://bit.ly/3tIv49z
  • Gas safety for engineers and landlords: https://bit.ly/2SwsHJO – Note – there is no specific guidance relating to electrical work but the same principles apply

And for additional and the latest current advice and information:
https://bit.ly/3hf7Jtt

And the HSE would like to remind all businesses that there is still a need for Covid to be addressed in the legally required risk assessments which must cover ALL areas of work in ALL work premises, including offices; the HSE is out enforcing this right now.

STRESS TALKING TOOLKIT

Developed specifically for the construction industry, the HSE has published a Work-Related Stress Talking Toolkit* as a valuable and user-friendly first step to promoting positive mental health, supporting those in need and preventing a potentially destructive decline in well-being.

*The Toolkit doesn’t literally talk; it’s published in pdf but encourages help through a series of face-to-face structured discussions and support.

This is the first product introduced to help with the very specific issues within the industry in mind and is aimed primarily at small to medium-sized businesses who employ or use contracted workers.

Download the Talking Toolkit from:
https://bit.ly/3hf4li5

And further HSE information about stress, recommended actions and the support available can be found on:
https://bit.ly/3o1YfTA

LUNG DISEASE

Continuing its current emphasis on the prevention of lung disease and damage, the HSE is drawing attention to the following in-depth information and guidance. Bearing in mind that the current HSE campaign can target any industry, business and/or premises where work could potentially pose a risk to the respiratory health or workers (obviously including the construction industry), it would be prudent to review all your systems and controls to ensure you and/or your sites won’t be caught out should the HSE visit.
Specific information including within the construction industry and its trades:
https://bit.ly/3uC8dNV

Basic information about lung disease, the causes and repercussions:
https://bit.ly/33uiCPI

And recognising, assessing and getting preventative help:
https://bit.ly/2RHlAOc

NOISE EXPOSURE

The HSE has recently revised its noise exposure and hearing protection calculators which are designed to help work out how much workers are or may be exposed to on a daily and weekly basis, estimate the performance of hearing protection and thereby assess/re-assess necessary controls to keep within legal limits. The ready-reckoners can be printed for easy completion by hand.

These, together with a range of invaluable information and resources, can be downloaded from:
https://bit.ly/3hbTzt3

INDUSTRY NEWS

NHBC SAFEMARK

For many years, NHBC has provided its benchmark Safemark accreditation to promote and recognise good standards of health & safety amongst its member contractors within the overriding Safety Schemes in Procurement (SSiP) scheme. However, NHBC has now taken the decision to cease this provision over the next 12 months, beginning 31 March 2021 but accepting renewals up to the deadline of 9 June 2021 (i.e. no applications for renewals will be accepted as from 10 June 2021).

Accreditation certificates will remain valid over their 12-month periods and can be used to gain alternative accreditation through the SSiP ‘deemed to satisfy’ process. Alternatively, NHBC has negotiated a 30% discount with Alcumus SafeContractor for any Safemark accredited contractors not already accredited under SafeContractor scheme.

For those of you yet to gain any type of industry health & safety accreditation, WHS can strongly recommend that this be addressed to vastly improve your marketing potential and safety standards. Schemes such as CHAS, SMAS Worksafe and SafeContractor all verify your company’s capabilities against industry and legal standards and, thus, you have a head start in gaining acceptance on the approved lists of potential clients. Feel free to contact WHS for advice, guidance and assistance to promote your company’s virtues – by engaging WHS, you already have at least a few boxes ticked!

ASBESTOS CONTINUES TO KILL

Following on from the references to lung cancer and respiratory diseases above, it is absolutely astonishing to realise that work-related cancers claim at least 742,000 lives a year worldwide (bearing in mind this is only a conservative estimate as, of course, many countries don’t document work-related deaths at all).

And even more disturbing that upward of 230,000 of these deaths relate to exposure to asbestos.

This figure, first published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health in 2018, dwarfs the previous estimate of 107,000 and, not only proves that the figure cannot be substantiated (again, this has to be a very conservative estimate as many countries still continue to extract the mineral, manufacture asbestos-based products and totally fail to control exposure), but also draws attention to the immeasurable harm done to workers and the public alike from an issue which can easily to controlled if governments and businesses have the will.

All WHS contractors, designers and developers (unless they can honestly say, hand on heart, that they will never come into contact with asbestos-related materials, ACMS, e.g. road contractors) should have, by now, have established a regular programme of asbestos awareness training (minimum) as required by the HSE; if not, ring the WHS office immediately on 01952-885885.

Training into the legally required controls and awareness of the life-threatening issues is the best way to ensure the safety of workers and those members of the public affected, and the HSE reflect this with the very high level of enforcement and prosecutions.

To help with this, and to ensure the spotlight stays on this issue of asbestos (an issue that is unlikely to go away for decades, if at all), the Institute of Occupational Safety & Health (IOSH) launched its No Time to Lose Campaign in 2018 with the aim of raising awareness throughout UK industry and beyond. The Campaign also provides very valuable and freely downloadable resources and advice about asbestos and harm prevention:
https://www.notimetolose.org.uk/

A survey conducted on the third anniversary of the Campaign found that a third of tradespeople contracted never checked the asbestos register before starting work, and half of those weren’t even aware that there has to (legally) be an asbestos register at each commercial premises and that they would be responsible for a survey when working in domestic premises.

No wonder 5,000 people die each year in this country from mesothelioma alone; total figures for deaths from all asbestos-related diseases aren’t available but are estimated at around 10,000. And all asbestos-related diseases are incurable but totally preventable. In the 21st century, it is inexcusable that anyone (worker or public) is exposed to asbestos when all the specific legislation and mechanisms for safe working have been in place for decades. Remember (to quote IOSH):

Prevention remains the only cure

SCAFFOLDING

Just a reminder that there is a wealth of freely downloadable resources available on the NASC (National Access and Scaffolding Association) website, ranging from manual handling to hazardous substances to asbestos to fall prevention to work during covid, all specifically related to the scaffolding industry:
https://nasc.org.uk/product-category/health-and-safety-guidance/

Of course, it is strongly recommended that scaffold companies sign up to the NASC; there are many benefits, not the least being part of an industry-recognised and well-respected trade body that takes pride in working alongside the HSE to develop and promote very high standards:
https://nasc.org.uk/about/

SCAFFOLD DESIGN

The new revision of TG20, the ‘bible’ for scaffold design of all types, is now available online from NASC:
https://bit.ly/2SJ1UKw

TG20:21 can be purchased on annual subscription (to ensure continual accuracy) for £300 per year, discounted to £75 for full NASC members. However, in fairness to existing users, there is a period of free access to the new software which can be accessed using the TG20:13 serial number.

WORK AT HEIGHT

We drew attention in the April newsletter to the No Fall Foundation, a new charitable body that aims to promote education and awareness of the safety issues and best practice relating to work at height, promote the work of the HSE and related industry bodies such as the NASC, IPAF, PASMA and the Ladder Association, and to support those whose lives have been changed by falls.

Anyone can subscribe to the Foundation’s newsletter (free or by making a very gratefully received donation), and there is a wealth of excellent information and experience available via the website:
https://nofallsfoundation.org/index.php/aims-objectives/

For instance, in the first of a series of articles, former HSE Principal Inspector, Ray Cooke, highlights the absolute need to properly plan, organise and manage work at height – no matter what industry you’re in!
https://bit.ly/33CBHiJ
To quote Ray, “Just take a little time and think before you begin”. It could save a life.

And read the stories of the Foundation’s Ambassadors, workers whose lives have been permanently changed by a fall from height and now do all they can to draw attention to the dreadful consequences of carelessness:
https://bit.ly/3uC36xo

LADDER SAFETY

The latest Foundation newsletter also highlighted the very disturbing story of Suffolk County Council Trading Standards’ recent interception of a very dangerous and illegal batch of imported telescopic standing ladders.
Although the ladders appeared to have the correct EN131 and some other correct safety labels, others were either missing or incorrect, prompting investigation and testing – with quite horrendous results!
https://bit.ly/3txJNnl

This story just goes to prove that all safety-related items, whether it be plant, equipment, PPE or materials, must be purchased through reputable dealers. NEVER cut corners; NEVER be tempted to buy cheap. Low prices will mean low standards and probably illegal items: low standards will risk serious harm or death.

A guide to the single legal standard for ladders, EN131, can be found on the Ladder Association’s website:
https://bit.ly/3vSzpZ6

ACCESS SAFETY IN TIGHT SPACES

Do you need to access a tight space? Do you have difficulty working out what access equipment is appropriate? The new Ecolift from JLG fits the bill perfectly, is reasonably priced and, alternatively, is widely available from plant hirers:
https://www.jlg.com/en/equipment/low-level-access/non-powered-ecolifts/ecolift70

Coming in at just 0.7m width and 1.28m length, the Ecolift can reach a platform height of up to 2.2m, giving access to heights of up to 4.2m – sufficiently small to slip into those really tight spaces. In addition, it’s called the Ecolift for very good reasons because it’s battery, power and oil free, so virtually maintenance- and running-cost-free.

It is prudent to use ‘push around vertical equipment’ where possible (to avoid the risks associated with mechanised equipment) and this, again, fits the bill perfectly being lightweight and easy to manually manoeuvre but with a safe working load of 150kg (1 person + tools). And, as an added bonus, IPAF (the International Powered Access Federation, the industry leader in powered access to height) has a specific Push Around Vertical Course (IPAF-PAV) for users.

GENERAL NEWS

TINNITUS

With the advent of the Noise at Work Regulations 2005 (not to mention the general health & safety duties within the Health & Safety at Work Act going way back to 1974), occupational hearing loss and tinnitus should be a thing of the past. Sadly, it isn’t and many are still subjected to unreasonably high levels of noise of spells of exposure. Obviously, noise exposure can occur at home as well as at work (rock concerts can still break the sound barrier!) and it’s up to all of us to take care of ourselves. But there’s no excuse these days for legal requirements to be ignored or unenforced (refer to the article above about the HSE Noise Calculator).

Noise exposure can result in, not only deafness, but a range of other debilitating conditions as well such as tinnitus (ringing in the ears). It may sound improbable but tinnitus can become so intense that it’s becomes all-consuming and, in at least one case, has resulted in suicide.

Chris Martin of Coldplay spoke out last year about how debilitating his tinnitus had become over the years. He had apparently ignored the initial signs of tinnitus, developed as a young lad listening to loud rock music, and then performed without hearing protection when he joined Coldplay in 1996. Like with so many musicians, hearing loss isn’t taken seriously but the consequences have been profound for Chris and he’s now an advocate for spreading awareness of the issue within the industry.

Admittedly, rock music is perhaps an extreme example of exposure to unreasonable noise levels – but there are still regular prosecutions against business for failing to assess and control noise exposure for their employees. Now may the time to go back and review what you have in place before it’s too late. Make sure you know the noise levels for all equipment – but also make sure you know the likely total noise levels when several pieces are working at once. How long is each employee exposed to noise and what controls are in place (remember that, legally, PPE is a ‘last resort’ only)? And is health surveillance in place?

As highlighted before, the HSE has a long-term campaign to enforce health surveillance so take notice of the HSE advice about what’s required relating to noise, as well as COSHH and vibration:
https://bit.ly/3vV4xXW

COVID FINANCIAL SUPPORT

For those self-employed workers who haven’t yet received financial support when their work has ceased due to Covid, it may be advisable to log into the Government’s gov.uk website to see whether you can claim a grant against the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS):
https://bit.ly/2RKesAA

This tranche of the grant will cover 80% of 3 months’ average trading profit and can be claimed from April 2021. If this doesn’t affect you, maybe you know of friends or relatives who could benefit? It covers all industries.

In addition, for workers who have to work from home (either normally or due to Covid) can claim tax relief of £6 per week to cover costs. Not a huge amount but every little helps, as they say!
https://www.gov.uk/tax-relief-for-employees/working-at-home

NATIONAL LIVING WAGE

There are a few increases in statutory rates from April 2021 of which everyone should be aware.

New National Living Wage (NLW) for:

23+ year olds – £8.91/hour note the threshold has decreased to include 23 and 24 year-olds
21-22 years – £8.36/hour
18-20 years – £6.56/hour
16-17 years – £4.62/hour
Apprentices – £4.30/hour

New maternity/paternity/etc – £151.97/week
New sick pay – £96.35/week

New max limit for redundancy calculations – £544/week

KICHSTART SCHEME

The Government’s Kickstart Scheme (which aims to give young people a helping hand because of obstacles through Covid) currently runs to 31 December 2021. It provides 100% NLW, NI and pension contributions for 25 hours a week work by 16-24 year-olds; employers can pay more voluntarily. However, the posts must be new; they cannot be existing roles or vacancies.
https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/kickstart-scheme

As an interesting footnote, NASC report than over 400 Kickstart places have been successfully provided by 77 of its members – a great example of the huge potential of this scheme in the construction industry:
https://nasc.org.uk/blog/article/nasc-kickstart-numbers-soar-past-400-placements/

AND FINALLY

Work at height…as usual

We usually concentrate on prosecutions; however, these alone don’t give a fair picture of just how bad the situation still is after so many years of specific work at height legislation, developed best practice and HSE campaigns. So, this time we begin by including a number (but not an exhaustive list – there are many, many more) of recent deaths and serious injuries related to work at height which are pending HSE investigation.

  • Grant Maloney, a 55-year old father of 7 who had been a roofer since he was 16, died in January after falling from a ladder in Kent: https://bit.ly/3uEvIWH
  • Michael Harrison, a 42-year old scaffolder, died when he fell from height in Holmes Chapel in February. https://bit.ly/3o3P2Km
  • A 50-year old worker died after falling from scaffolding in Gwynedd in March. https://bit.ly/3hcZnlR
  • A 36-year old worker died after falling from the roof of a building in Warrington in February. https://bit.ly/2RHaSXY
  • Two fatalities on farms. A man was killed in Cheshire in February when he fell from an unsecured wooden crate being lifted by a forklift while he carried out roof-work. A farm worker was killed in Dorset in January when he was struck on the head by falling concrete. https://bit.ly/3tzHMar
  • A contractor suffered life-changing injuries after falling 25 feet from the roof of a care home in Lincolnshire in February. https://bit.ly/3bcuDxC
  • 36-year old, Filipe Abreu, was left fighting for his life after he fell from scaffolding in Jersey in February. https://bit.ly/3haKNvk
  • A worker suffered life-changing injuries after he fell 14 feet through a sky-light in Southampton in March. https://bit.ly/3o4MMCD
  • A worker sustained a broken ankle after he fell from height in Suffolk in March; more serious injury was prevented as he ‘became stuck’ someway off the ground. https://bit.ly/3eB3SoG
  • A tree surgeon was airlifted to Southampton General Hospital after an accident that happened in a garden in the Isle of Wight in March. https://bit.ly/33vopof

Work at height…and still the prosecutions keep coming

  • In January, the governing body of Christ the King Catholic High School & Sixth Form Centre in Southport was fined a total of almost £16,000 after an employee fell 3m from a roof whilst trying to retrieve balls. A reminder that the rules apply to ALL employers in ALL circumstances for a very good reason!
  • In February, R4 Industrial Roofing Cladding Systems Ltd fined a total of almost £186,000 after an employee died falling 10m through a roof-light.
  • In March, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy was fined a massive total of over £549,600 after an agency worker fell 1.8m from a turbine blade under manufacture at its factory in Hull suffering multiple broken bones and a punctured lung.
  • Again, a reminder that the rules apply to ALL employers in ALL circumstances for a very good reason!

And in April alone:
Just note how many of these prosecutions have resulted from observations, not accidents.

  • Bradley Demolition Ltd was fined a massive total of almost £222,000 after the operator of a boom-type cherry picker became trapped between the platform rail and the roof of an industrial shed, sustaining life-changing injuries.
  • Mark Wakefield, trading as Mark Wakefield Construction, was fined a total of £3,400 after a worker fell 4m through the fragile roof-light of an agricultural building, sustaining multiple fractures to his spine.
  • Greenway Partnership Ltd was fined a total of almost £28,000 after an apprentice fell 2m from an unprotected flat roof at a school undergoing part-demolition (photo), suffering head and facial injuries.
  • The joint clients of a housing project in Canvey Island, Richard Balls and London & Essex Property Partnership Ltd, and principal contractor, Ludovic Calo, were given sentences ranging from 29-week suspended jail terms and 3-month electronic curfews (for the 2 individuals), a £20,000 fine (for London & Essex), and orders to each pay £5,000 costs after the public reported multiple safety breaches including work at height.
  • JNR Developers Ltd was fined a total of £40,000 and Director, Mehrded Chegounchei, given a 6-month suspended jail sentence and ordered to carry out 80 hours of unpaid work after being found guilty of multiple safety breaches including work at height.
  • SSF Construction Ltd was fined a total of over £51,000 after being observed during a routine HSE visit carrying out unsafe work at height.
  • Ron Richardson Construction Ltd was fined a total of over £21,000 after two employees were clearly seen working close to the unprotected edge to a flat roof (photo)

Footnote:

During April 2021 alone, there were 9 prosecutions with a total of £1,189,219 in fines alone being levied, plus significant HSE and court costs attached to each. An accident may result, not only in a death, it may also result in the death of the offending company.

And just a final note of warning, just in case anyone is tempted not to report an accident:

Paul Adams, trading as Surrey Conversions, was jailed for 24 weeks and ordered to pay costs of over £2,000 for failing to report an accident on his site that resulted in an amputation. This case demonstrates both the legal responsibility to report and the high importance placed on investigation to prevent recurrence.

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

STAFF CHANGES

It is with heartfelt thanks and gratitude for his service with Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) that we say a fond farewell to Health & Safety Consultant, Charles Yates.

Charles joined our team in September 2018 and rapidly became a well-respected and valued advisor to his personal clients. He retired on 30 April 2021 but might well be seen occasionally delivering a first-aid course or two. In the meantime, all Charles’s clients will be re-allocated to either Laura (07791-670987) or Emma (07811-417888) who will become their main points of contact from now on; please ring the office (01952-885885) if you’re in any doubt.

We wish Charles a very happy and safe retirement, and sincerely thank him for the very valuable contribution he has made to the continuing and admirable reputation of WHS.

TRAINING

Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) is running a full programme of classroom-based courses at our offices or, upon request, at customers’ premises provided they can meet any necessary Covid-related controls.

WHS has taken the decision to retain some restrictions until at least June; any necessary criteria and restrictions will be personally communicated, both directly at the time of booking and again through joining instructions, ahead of planned courses. It is vital that these are understood and, particularly for the First Aid and CITB courses, relevant information clearly passed to candidates*.

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

Please enquire about other courses available, both classroom and non-classroom based; the full range is also detailed on our website:
http://wenlockhealthandsafety.co.uk/

*Some companies have evidently failed to pass on relevant covid-related information to their employees in the past about what they need to bring with them when attending courses; as a result, some candidates have been without refreshments etc. Please do ensure joining instructions are passed on to the candidates.

FIRST AID

1-day Emergency First-Aid at Work course dates are listed below; strict Covid-specific controls will still apply for the moment and will be advised within the joining instructions. Demand is expected to be high, so book places as soon as possible to avoid disappointment:

Dates:

  • 26 May 2021 fully booked but a reserve list is operating
  • 3 June 2021
  • 24 June 2021 limited spaces still available
  • 27 July 2021
  • 25 August 2021
  • 28 September 2021
  • 29 October 2021
  • 24 November 2021
  • 20 December 2021

Cost: £85 + VAT per person

IOSH

A 3-day IOSH Managing Safely course:

Dates:

  • 7, 8 & 9 September 2021

Cost: £395 + VAT per person

CITB Courses

It must be noted that CITB attendance rules are very strict; they MUST be understood and are reiterated here:

  • CITB specifies that candidates must be available to attend each session within the course; failure to do so may require a repeat course.
  • And booked attendance is absolutely vital; because of CITB rules, we may be forced to cancel a course ON THAT MORNING if some candidates fail to take part, to the detriment of all candidates.
  • Strict Covid-specific controls apply and no lunch can be offered; candidates to make their own provision.

Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)

Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week
Dates:

  • 7, 14, 21, 28 July & 4 August 2021 (Wednesdays) fully booked but a reserve list is operating
  • 10, 17, 24 September & 1, 8 October 2021 (Fridays)
  • 15, 22, 29 November & 6, 13 December 2021 (Mondays)

Cost: £495 + VAT per person

Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

  • 7 & 8 June 2021 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 9 & 10 August 2021 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 4 & 5 October 2021 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 9 & 10 December 2021 (Thursday & Friday)

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

Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS)

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

  • 29 & 30 July 2021 (Thursday & Friday)
  • 20 & 21 September 2021 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 25 & 26 November 2021 (Thursday & Friday)

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

Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS) Refresher

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

  • 25 June 2021 (Friday)
  • 20 August 2021 (Friday)
  • 18 October 2021 (Monday)

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

CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

  • 2 July 2021 (Friday) limited spaces available
  • 6 September 2021 (Monday)
  • 1 November 2021 (Monday)
  • 17 December 2021 (Friday)

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

COVID 19

RESTRICTIONS STILL APPLY!

It is important to reiterate that, despite the general feeling that things may be getting back to some normality with the declining Covid death and hospitalisation rates, some restrictions (very sensibly) still apply; any hasty loosening of controls will invite another wave, which is something that everyone is desperate to avoid.

WHS has seen a general decline in the implementation and enforcement of controls across sites – the general perception seems to be that, with the very successful and rapid roll-out of the vaccination programme, vaccinated individuals no longer need to be careful. Firstly, large numbers of workers have still not yet been vaccinated so are still vulnerable. Secondly, even those who have received the second dose can still contract and pass on the virus so colleagues, friends and family can still be vulnerable

Having both doses of the vaccine does not mean the guidelines and controls don’t apply; they do, and the law can still be brought to bear for violations. It’s vital that employers continue to implement and enforce the necessary controls in and around any workplace until the government advice changes; the HSE and local councils are still monitoring premises and enforcing where necessary.

To quote an excerpt from the Government website:

“After you’ve had the vaccine will you still need to follow all the infection control advice?

The vaccine cannot give you COVID-19 infection, and 2 doses will reduce your chance of becoming seriously ill. No vaccine is completely effective and it will take a few weeks for your body to build up protection.
So, you will still need to follow the guidance in your workplace, including wearing the correct personal protection equipment and taking part in any screening programmes.

To continue to protect yourself, your patients, your family, friends and colleagues you should follow the general advice at work, at home and when you are out and about:

  • practice social distancing
  • wear a face mask
  • wash your hands carefully and frequently
  • follow the current guidance”

Always refer to the Government website before both establishing and/or modifying controls:
https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

HSE NEWS

HSE COVID UPDATES & ADVICE

The HSE has published a range of Covid-related guidance and information to help keep workplaces Covid-secure as restrictions are eased and we try and get back to some semblance of normality.

  • Equipment stored or left unused for long periods should be checked for deterioration or damage: https://bit.ly/3vUdr7V
  • Water and air-conditioning systems in buildings which have been closed or had reduced occupancy or use should be checked for stagnation or risk of legionella: https://bit.ly/3bfG0Fa
  • Ventilation and air conditioning should have sufficient air-movement and air-exchange to help reduce the spread of Coronavirus and other airborne viruses and bacteria: https://bit.ly/3bfZnhr
  • Non-HSE requirements are also covered such as workplace testing, Test & Trace and vaccinations: https://bit.ly/3tIv49z
  • Gas safety for engineers and landlords: https://bit.ly/2SwsHJO – Note – there is no specific guidance relating to electrical work but the same principles apply
  • And for additional and the latest current advice and information: https://bit.ly/3hf7Jtt

And the HSE would like to remind all businesses that there is still a need for Covid to be addressed in the legally required risk assessments which must cover ALL areas of work in ALL work premises, including offices; the HSE is out enforcing this right now.

STRESS TALKING TOOLKIT

Developed specifically for the construction industry, the HSE has published a Work-Related Stress Talking Toolkit* as a valuable and user-friendly first step to promoting positive mental health, supporting those in need and preventing a potentially destructive decline in well-being.

*The Toolkit doesn’t literally talk; it’s published in pdf but encourages help through a series of face-to-face structured discussions and support.

This is the first product introduced to help with the very specific issues within the industry in mind and is aimed primarily at small to medium-sized businesses who employ or use contracted workers.

Download the Talking Toolkit from:
https://bit.ly/3hf4li5

And further HSE information about stress, recommended actions and the support available can be found on:
https://bit.ly/3o1YfTA

LUNG DISEASE

Continuing its current emphasis on the prevention of lung disease and damage, the HSE is drawing attention to the following in-depth information and guidance. Bearing in mind that the current HSE campaign can target any industry, business and/or premises where work could potentially pose a risk to the respiratory health or workers (obviously including the construction industry), it would be prudent to review all your systems and controls to ensure you and/or your sites won’t be caught out should the HSE visit.

Specific information including within the construction industry and its trades:
https://bit.ly/3uC8dNV

Basic information about lung disease, the causes and repercussions:
https://bit.ly/33uiCPI

And recognising, assessing and getting preventative help:
https://bit.ly/2RHlAOc

NOISE EXPOSURE

The HSE has recently revised its noise exposure and hearing protection calculators which are designed to help work out how much workers are or may be exposed to on a daily and weekly basis, estimate the performance of hearing protection and thereby assess/re-assess necessary controls to keep within legal limits. The ready-reckoners can be printed for easy completion by hand.

These, together with a range of invaluable information and resources, can be downloaded from:
https://bit.ly/3hbTzt3

INDUSTRY NEWS

NHBC SAFEMARK

For many years, NHBC has provided its benchmark Safemark accreditation to promote and recognise good standards of health & safety amongst its member contractors within the overriding Safety Schemes in Procurement (SSiP) scheme. However, NHBC has now taken the decision to cease this provision over the next 12 months, beginning 31 March 2021 but accepting renewals up to the deadline of 9 June 2021 (i.e. no applications for renewals will be accepted as from 10 June 2021).

Accreditation certificates will remain valid over their 12-month periods and can be used to gain alternative accreditation through the SSiP ‘deemed to satisfy’ process. Alternatively, NHBC has negotiated a 30% discount with Alcumus SafeContractor for any Safemark accredited contractors not already accredited under SafeContractor scheme.

For those of you yet to gain any type of industry health & safety accreditation, WHS can strongly recommend that this be addressed to vastly improve your marketing potential and safety standards. Schemes such as CHAS, SMAS Worksafe and SafeContractor all verify your company’s capabilities against industry and legal standards and, thus, you have a head start in gaining acceptance on the approved lists of potential clients. Feel free to contact WHS for advice, guidance and assistance to promote your company’s virtues – by engaging WHS, you already have at least a few boxes ticked!

ASBESTOS CONTINUES TO KILL

Following on from the references to lung cancer and respiratory diseases above, it is absolutely astonishing to realise that work-related cancers claim at least 742,000 lives a year worldwide (bearing in mind this is only a conservative estimate as, of course, many countries don’t document work-related deaths at all).

And even more disturbing that upward of 230,000 of these deaths relate to exposure to asbestos.

This figure, first published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health in 2018, dwarfs the previous estimate of 107,000 and, not only proves that the figure cannot be substantiated (again, this has to be a very conservative estimate as many countries still continue to extract the mineral, manufacture asbestos-based products and totally fail to control exposure), but also draws attention to the immeasurable harm done to workers and the public alike from an issue which can easily to controlled if governments and businesses have the will.

All WHS contractors, designers and developers (unless they can honestly say, hand on heart, that they will never come into contact with asbestos-related materials, ACMS, e.g. road contractors) should have, by now, have established a regular programme of asbestos awareness training (minimum) as required by the HSE; if not, ring the WHS office immediately on 01952-885885.

Training into the legally required controls and awareness of the life-threatening issues is the best way to ensure the safety of workers and those members of the public affected, and the HSE reflect this with the very high level of enforcement and prosecutions.

To help with this, and to ensure the spotlight stays on this issue of asbestos (an issue that is unlikely to go away for decades, if at all), the Institute of Occupational Safety & Health (IOSH) launched its No Time to Lose Campaign in 2018 with the aim of raising awareness throughout UK industry and beyond. The Campaign also provides very valuable and freely downloadable resources and advice about asbestos and harm prevention:
https://www.notimetolose.org.uk/

A survey conducted on the third anniversary of the Campaign found that a third of tradespeople contracted never checked the asbestos register before starting work, and half of those weren’t even aware that there has to (legally) be an asbestos register at each commercial premises and that they would be responsible for a survey when working in domestic premises.

No wonder 5,000 people die each year in this country from mesothelioma alone; total figures for deaths from all asbestos-related diseases aren’t available but are estimated at around 10,000. And all asbestos-related diseases are incurable but totally preventable. In the 21st century, it is inexcusable that anyone (worker or public) is exposed to asbestos when all the specific legislation and mechanisms for safe working have been in place for decades. Remember (to quote IOSH):

Prevention remains the only cure

WORK AT HEIGHT

We drew attention in the April newsletter to the No Fall Foundation, a new charitable body that aims to promote education and awareness of the safety issues and best practice relating to work at height, promote the work of the HSE and related industry bodies such as the NASC, IPAF, PASMA and the Ladder Association, and to support those whose lives have been changed by falls.

Anyone can subscribe to the Foundation’s newsletter (free or by making a very gratefully received donation), and there is a wealth of excellent information and experience available via the website:
https://nofallsfoundation.org/index.php/aims-objectives/

For instance, in the first of a series of articles, former HSE Principal Inspector, Ray Cooke, highlights the absolute need to properly plan, organise and manage work at height – no matter what industry you’re in!
https://bit.ly/33CBHiJ
To quote Ray, “Just take a little time and think before you begin”. It could save a life.

And read the stories of the Foundation’s Ambassadors, workers whose lives have been permanently changed by a fall from height and now do all they can to draw attention to the dreadful consequences of carelessness:
https://bit.ly/3uC36xo

LADDER SAFETY

The latest Foundation newsletter also highlighted the very disturbing story of Suffolk County Council Trading Standards’ recent interception of a very dangerous and illegal batch of imported telescopic standing ladders.
Although the ladders appeared to have the correct EN131 and some other correct safety labels, others were either missing or incorrect, prompting investigation and testing – with quite horrendous results!
https://bit.ly/3txJNnl

This story just goes to prove that all safety-related items, whether it be plant, equipment, PPE or materials, must be purchased through reputable dealers. NEVER cut corners; NEVER be tempted to buy cheap. Low prices will mean low standards and probably illegal items: low standards will risk serious harm or death.

A guide to the single legal standard for ladders, EN131, can be found on the Ladder Association’s website:
https://bit.ly/3vSzpZ6

ACCESS SAFETY IN TIGHT SPACES

Do you need to access a tight space? Do you have difficulty working out what access equipment is appropriate? The new Ecolift from JLG fits the bill perfectly, is reasonably priced and, alternatively, is widely available from plant hirers:
https://www.jlg.com/en/equipment/low-level-access/non-powered-ecolifts/ecolift70

Coming in at just 0.7m width and 1.28m length, the Ecolift can reach a platform height of up to 2.2m, giving access to heights of up to 4.2m – sufficiently small to slip into those really tight spaces. In addition, it’s called the Ecolift for very good reasons because it’s battery, power and oil free, so virtually maintenance- and running-cost-free.

It is prudent to use ‘push around vertical equipment’ where possible (to avoid the risks associated with mechanised equipment) and this, again, fits the bill perfectly being lightweight and easy to manually manoeuvre but with a safe working load of 150kg (1 person + tools). And, as an added bonus, IPAF (the International Powered Access Federation, the industry leader in powered access to height) has a specific Push Around Vertical Course (IPAF-PAV) for users.

GENERAL NEWS

TINNITUS

With the advent of the Noise at Work Regulations 2005 (not to mention the general health & safety duties within the Health & Safety at Work Act going way back to 1974), occupational hearing loss and tinnitus should be a thing of the past. Sadly, it isn’t and many are still subjected to unreasonably high levels of noise of spells of exposure. Obviously, noise exposure can occur at home as well as at work (rock concerts can still break the sound barrier!) and it’s up to all of us to take care of ourselves. But there’s no excuse these days for legal requirements to be ignored or unenforced (refer to the article above about the HSE Noise Calculator).

Noise exposure can result in, not only deafness, but a range of other debilitating conditions as well such as tinnitus (ringing in the ears). It may sound improbable but tinnitus can become so intense that it’s becomes all-consuming and, in at least one case, has resulted in suicide.

Chris Martin of Coldplay spoke out last year about how debilitating his tinnitus had become over the years. He had apparently ignored the initial signs of tinnitus, developed as a young lad listening to loud rock music, and then performed without hearing protection when he joined Coldplay in 1996. Like with so many musicians, hearing loss isn’t taken seriously but the consequences have been profound for Chris and he’s now an advocate for spreading awareness of the issue within the industry.

Admittedly, rock music is perhaps an extreme example of exposure to unreasonable noise levels – but there are still regular prosecutions against business for failing to assess and control noise exposure for their employees. Now may the time to go back and review what you have in place before it’s too late. Make sure you know the noise levels for all equipment – but also make sure you know the likely total noise levels when several pieces are working at once. How long is each employee exposed to noise and what controls are in place (remember that, legally, PPE is a ‘last resort’ only)? And is health surveillance in place?

As highlighted before, the HSE has a long-term campaign to enforce health surveillance so take notice of the HSE advice about what’s required relating to noise, as well as COSHH and vibration:
https://bit.ly/3vV4xXW

COVID FINANCIAL SUPPORT

For those self-employed workers who haven’t yet received financial support when their work has ceased due to Covid, it may be advisable to log into the Government’s gov.uk website to see whether you can claim a grant against the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS):
https://bit.ly/2RKesAA

This tranche of the grant will cover 80% of 3 months’ average trading profit and can be claimed from April 2021. If this doesn’t affect you, maybe you know of friends or relatives who could benefit? It covers all industries.

In addition, for workers who have to work from home (either normally or due to Covid) can claim tax relief of £6 per week to cover costs. Not a huge amount but every little helps, as they say!
https://www.gov.uk/tax-relief-for-employees/working-at-home

NATIONAL LIVING WAGE

There are a few increases in statutory rates from April 2021 of which everyone should be aware.

New National Living Wage (NLW) for:

23+ year olds – £8.91/hour note the threshold has decreased to include 23 and 24 year-olds
21-22 years – £8.36/hour
18-20 years – £6.56/hour
16-17 years – £4.62/hour
Apprentices – £4.30/hour

New maternity/paternity/etc – £151.97/week
New sick pay – £96.35/week

New max limit for redundancy calculations – £544/week

KICHSTART SCHEME

The Government’s Kickstart Scheme (which aims to give young people a helping hand because of obstacles through Covid) currently runs to 31 December 2021. It provides 100% NLW, NI and pension contributions for 25 hours a week work by 16-24 year-olds; employers can pay more voluntarily. However, the posts must be new; they cannot be existing roles or vacancies.
https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/kickstart-scheme

As an interesting footnote, NASC report than over 400 Kickstart places have been successfully provided by 77 of its members – a great example of the huge potential of this scheme in the construction industry:
https://nasc.org.uk/blog/article/nasc-kickstart-numbers-soar-past-400-placements/

AND FINALLY

Work at height…as usual

We usually concentrate on prosecutions; however, these alone don’t give a fair picture of just how bad the situation still is after so many years of specific work at height legislation, developed best practice and HSE campaigns. So, this time we begin by including a number (but not an exhaustive list – there are many, many more) of recent deaths and serious injuries related to work at height which are pending HSE investigation.

  • Grant Maloney, a 55-year old father of 7 who had been a roofer since he was 16, died in January after falling from a ladder in Kent: https://bit.ly/3uEvIWH
  • Michael Harrison, a 42-year old scaffolder, died when he fell from height in Holmes Chapel in February. https://bit.ly/3o3P2Km
  • A 50-year old worker died after falling from scaffolding in Gwynedd in March. https://bit.ly/3hcZnlR
  • A 36-year old worker died after falling from the roof of a building in Warrington in February. https://bit.ly/2RHaSXY
  • Two fatalities on farms. A man was killed in Cheshire in February when he fell from an unsecured wooden crate being lifted by a forklift while he carried out roof-work. A farm worker was killed in Dorset in January when he was struck on the head by falling concrete. https://bit.ly/3tzHMar
  • A contractor suffered life-changing injuries after falling 25 feet from the roof of a care home in Lincolnshire in February. https://bit.ly/3bcuDxC
  • 36-year old, Filipe Abreu, was left fighting for his life after he fell from scaffolding in Jersey in February. https://bit.ly/3haKNvk
  • A worker suffered life-changing injuries after he fell 14 feet through a sky-light in Southampton in March. https://bit.ly/3o4MMCD
  • A worker sustained a broken ankle after he fell from height in Suffolk in March; more serious injury was prevented as he ‘became stuck’ someway off the ground. https://bit.ly/3eB3SoG
  • A tree surgeon was airlifted to Southampton General Hospital after an accident that happened in a garden in the Isle of Wight in March. https://bit.ly/33vopof

Work at height…and still the prosecutions keep coming

  • In January, the governing body of Christ the King Catholic High School & Sixth Form Centre in Southport was fined a total of almost £16,000 after an employee fell 3m from a roof whilst trying to retrieve balls.
  • A reminder that the rules apply to ALL employers in ALL circumstances for a very good reason!
  • In February, R4 Industrial Roofing Cladding Systems Ltd fined a total of almost £186,000 after an employee died falling 10m through a roof-light.
  • In March, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy was fined a massive total of over £549,600 after an agency worker fell 1.8m from a turbine blade under manufacture at its factory in Hull suffering multiple broken bones and a punctured lung. Again, a reminder that the rules apply to ALL employers in ALL circumstances for a very good reason!

And in April alone:
Just note how many of these prosecutions have resulted from observations, not accidents.

  • Bradley Demolition Ltd was fined a massive total of almost £222,000 after the operator of a boom-type cherry picker became trapped between the platform rail and the roof of an industrial shed, sustaining life-changing injuries.
  • Greenway Partnership Ltd was fined a total of almost £28,000 after an apprentice fell 2m from an unprotected flat roof at a school undergoing part-demolition (photo), suffering head and facial injuries.
  • Mark Wakefield, trading as Mark Wakefield Construction, was fined a total of £3,400 after a worker fell 4m through the fragile roof-light of an agricultural building, sustaining multiple fractures to his spine.
  • The joint clients of a housing project in Canvey Island, Richard Balls and London & Essex Property Partnership Ltd, and principal contractor, Ludovic Calo, were given sentences ranging from 29-week suspended jail terms and 3-month electronic curfews (for the 2 individuals), a £20,000 fine (for London & Essex), and orders to each pay £5,000 costs after the public reported multiple safety breaches including work at height.
  • JNR Developers Ltd was fined a total of £40,000 and Director, Mehrded Chegounchei, given a 6-month suspended jail sentence and ordered to carry out 80 hours of unpaid work after being found guilty of multiple safety breaches including work at height.
  • SSF Construction Ltd was fined a total of over £51,000 after being observed during a routine HSE visit carrying out unsafe work at height.
  • Ron Richardson Construction Ltd was fined a total of over £21,000 after two employees were clearly seen working close to the unprotected edge to a flat roof (photo)

Footnote:

During April 2021 alone, there were 9 prosecutions with a total of £1,189,219 in fines alone being levied, plus significant HSE and court costs attached to each. An accident may result, not only in a death, it may also result in the death of the offending company.

And just a final note of warning, just in case anyone is tempted not to report an accident:

Paul Adams, trading as Surrey Conversions, was jailed for 24 weeks and ordered to pay costs of over £2,000 for failing to report an accident on his site that resulted in an amputation.

This case demonstrates both the legal responsibility to report and the high importance placed on investigation to prevent recurrence.

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

STAFF CHANGES

It is with heartfelt thanks and gratitude for his service with Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) that we say a fond farewell to Health & Safety Consultant, Charles Yates.

Charles joined our team in September 2018 and rapidly became a well-respected and valued advisor to his personal clients. He retired on 30 April 2021 but might well be seen occasionally delivering a first-aid course or two. In the meantime, all Charles’s clients will be re-allocated to either Laura (07791-670987) or Emma (07811-417888) who will become their main points of contact from now on; please ring the office (01952-885885) if you’re in any doubt.

We wish Charles a very happy and safe retirement, and sincerely thank him for the very valuable contribution he has made to the continuing and admirable reputation of WHS.

TRAINING

Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) is running a full programme of classroom-based courses at our offices or, upon request, at customers’ premises provided they can meet any necessary Covid-related controls.

WHS has taken the decision to retain some restrictions until at least June; any necessary criteria and restrictions will be personally communicated, both directly at the time of booking and again through joining instructions, ahead of planned courses. It is vital that these are understood and, particularly for the First Aid and CITB courses, relevant information clearly passed to candidates*.

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

Please enquire about other courses available, both classroom and non-classroom based; the full range is also detailed on our website:
http://wenlockhealthandsafety.co.uk/

*Some companies have evidently failed to pass on relevant covid-related information to their employees in the past about what they need to bring with them when attending courses; as a result, some candidates have been without refreshments etc. Please do ensure joining instructions are passed on to the candidates.

FIRST AID

1-day Emergency First-Aid at Work course dates are listed below; strict Covid-specific controls will still apply for the moment and will be advised within the joining instructions. Demand is expected to be high, so book places as soon as possible to avoid disappointment:

Dates:

  • 26 May 2021 fully booked but a reserve list is operating
  • 3 June 2021
  • 24 June 2021 limited spaces still available
  • 27 July 2021
  • 25 August 2021
  • 28 September 2021
  • 29 October 2021
  • 24 November 2021
  • 20 December 2021

Cost: £85 + VAT per person

IOSH

A 3-day IOSH Managing Safely course:

Dates:

  • 7, 8 & 9 September 2021

Cost: £395 + VAT per person

COVID 19

RESTRICTIONS STILL APPLY!

It is important to reiterate that, despite the general feeling that things may be getting back to some normality with the declining Covid death and hospitalisation rates, some restrictions (very sensibly) still apply; any hasty loosening of controls will invite another wave, which is something that everyone is desperate to avoid.

WHS has seen a general decline in the implementation and enforcement of controls across sites – the general perception seems to be that, with the very successful and rapid roll-out of the vaccination programme, vaccinated individuals no longer need to be careful. Firstly, large numbers of workers have still not yet been vaccinated so are still vulnerable. Secondly, even those who have received the second dose can still contract and pass on the virus so colleagues, friends and family can still be vulnerable

Having both doses of the vaccine does not mean the guidelines and controls don’t apply; they do, and the law can still be brought to bear for violations. It’s vital that employers continue to implement and enforce the necessary controls in and around any workplace until the government advice changes; the HSE and local councils are still monitoring premises and enforcing where necessary.

To quote an excerpt from the Government website:

*After you’ve had the vaccine will you still need to follow all the infection control advice?

The vaccine cannot give you COVID-19 infection, and 2 doses will reduce your chance of becoming seriously ill. No vaccine is completely effective and it will take a few weeks for your body to build up protection.
So, you will still need to follow the guidance in your workplace, including wearing the correct personal protection equipment and taking part in any screening programmes.

To continue to protect yourself, your patients, your family, friends and colleagues you should follow the general advice at work, at home and when you are out and about:

  • practice social distancing
  • wear a face mask
  • wash your hands carefully and frequently
  • follow the current guidance”

Always refer to the Government website before both establishing and/or modifying controls:
https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

HSE NEWS

HSE COVID UPDATES & ADVICE

The HSE has published a range of Covid-related guidance and information to help keep workplaces Covid-secure as restrictions are eased and we try and get back to some semblance of normality.

  • Equipment stored or left unused for long periods should be checked for deterioration or damage: https://bit.ly/3vUdr7V
  • Water and air-conditioning systems in buildings which have been closed or had reduced occupancy or use should be checked for stagnation or risk of legionella: https://bit.ly/3bfG0Fa
  • Ventilation and air conditioning should have sufficient air-movement and air-exchange to help reduce the spread of Coronavirus and other airborne viruses and bacteria: https://bit.ly/3bfZnhr
  • Non-HSE requirements are also covered such as workplace testing, Test & Trace and vaccinations: https://bit.ly/3tIv49z
  • Gas safety for engineers and landlords: https://bit.ly/2SwsHJO Note – there is no specific guidance relating to electrical work but the same principles apply
  • And for additional and the latest current advice and information: https://bit.ly/3hf7Jtt

And the HSE would like to remind all businesses that there is still a need for Covid to be addressed in the legally required risk assessments which must cover ALL areas of work in ALL work premises, including offices; the HSE is out enforcing this right now.

STRESS TALKING TOOLKIT

Developed specifically for the construction industry, the HSE has published a Work-Related Stress Talking Toolkit* as a valuable and user-friendly first step to promoting positive mental health, supporting those in need and preventing a potentially destructive decline in well-being.

*The Toolkit doesn’t literally talk; it’s published in pdf but encourages help through a series of face-to-face structured discussions and support.

This is the first product introduced to help with the specific issues within various industries in mind and is aimed primarily at small to medium-sized businesses.

  • Download the Talking Toolkit from: https://www.hse.gov.uk/stress/assets/docs/stress-talking-toolkit.pdf
  • And further HSE information about stress, recommended actions and the support available can be found on: https://bit.ly/3o1YfTA

CAMPAIGN ON WELDING FUME etc

  • The HSE is currently carrying out a campaign targeting those businesses who carry out metal fabrication and/or welding to ensure adequate controls are in place to protect workers’ respiratory health. The following press release was issued in May: https://bit.ly/33vdV8t
  • So that there’s no excuse for lack of controls, the HSE has drawn attention to the following resources which are feely downloadable from their website: Managing the risks – Welding: Protect Your Workers: https://bit.ly/3o5NbVn
  • Protecting against the harm from metalworking fluids – COSHH essentials for machining with metalworking fluids: https://bit.ly/3f6UUi6
  • And free access to a recording of the recent Safety & Health Engineering Partnership (SHEP) Welding Fume and Metalworking Fluid Webinar: https://bit.ly/3f7Wq3t

LUNG DISEASE

And continuing its current emphasis on the prevention of lung disease and damage, the HSE is drawing attention to the following in-depth information and guidance. Bearing in mind that the current HSE campaign can target any industry, business and/or premises where work could potentially pose a risk to the respiratory health or workers (obviously including the construction industry), it would be prudent to review all your systems and controls to ensure you and/or your sites won’t be caught out should the HSE visit.

  • Specific information including within the construction industry and its trades: https://bit.ly/3uC8dNV
  • Basic information about lung disease, the causes and repercussions: https://bit.ly/33uiCPI
  • And recognising, assessing and getting preventative help: https://bit.ly/2RHlAOc

NOISE EXPOSURE

The HSE has recently revised its noise exposure and hearing protection calculators which are designed to help work out how much workers are or may be exposed to on a daily and weekly basis, estimate the performance of hearing protection and thereby assess/re-assess necessary controls to keep within legal limits. The ready-reckoners can be printed for easy completion by hand.

  • These, together with a range of invaluable information and resources, can be downloaded from: https://bit.ly/3hbTzt3

INDUSTRY NEWS

ASBESTOS CONTINUES TO KILL

Following on from the references to lung cancer and respiratory diseases above, it is absolutely astonishing to realise that work-related cancers claim at least 742,000 lives a year worldwide (bearing in mind this is only a conservative estimate as, of course, many countries don’t document work-related deaths at all).

And even more disturbing that upward of 230,000 of these deaths relate to exposure to asbestos.

This figure, first published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health in 2018, dwarfs the previous estimate of 107,000 and, not only proves that the figure cannot be substantiated (again, this has to be a very conservative estimate as many countries still continue to extract the mineral, manufacture asbestos-based products and totally fail to control exposure), but also draws attention to the immeasurable harm done to workers and the public alike from an issue which can easily to controlled if governments and businesses have the will.

All WHS contractors, designers and developers (unless they can honestly say, hand on heart, that they will never come into contact with asbestos-related materials, ACMS, e.g. road contractors) should have, by now, have established a regular programme of asbestos awareness training (minimum) as required by the HSE; if not, ring the WHS office immediately on 01952-885885.

Training into the legally required controls and awareness of the life-threatening issues is the best way to ensure the safety of workers and those members of the public affected, and the HSE reflect this with the very high level of enforcement and prosecutions.

To help with this, and to ensure the spotlight stays on this issue of asbestos (an issue that is unlikely to go away for decades, if at all), the Institute of Occupational Safety & Health (IOSH) launched its No Time to Lose Campaign in 2018 with the aim of raising awareness throughout UK industry and beyond. The Campaign also provides very valuable and freely downloadable resources and advice about asbestos and harm prevention:
https://www.notimetolose.org.uk/

A survey conducted on the third anniversary of the Campaign found that a third of tradespeople contracted never checked the asbestos register before starting work, and half of those weren’t even aware that there has to (legally) be an asbestos register at each commercial premises and that they would be responsible for a survey when working in domestic premises.

No wonder 5,000 people die each year in this country from mesothelioma alone; total figures for deaths from all asbestos-related diseases aren’t available but are estimated at around 10,000. And all asbestos-related diseases are incurable but totally preventable. In the 21st century, it is inexcusable that anyone (worker or public) is exposed to asbestos when all the specific legislation and mechanisms for safe working have been in place for decades. Remember (to quote IOSH):

Prevention remains the only cure

WORK AT HEIGHT

We drew attention in the April newsletter to the No Fall Foundation, a new charitable body that aims to promote education and awareness of the safety issues and best practice relating to work at height, promote the work of the HSE and related industry bodies such as the NASC, IPAF, PASMA and the Ladder Association, and to support those whose lives have been changed by falls.

  • Anyone can subscribe to the Foundation’s newsletter (free or by making a very gratefully received donation), and there is a wealth of excellent information and experience available via the website: https://nofallsfoundation.org/index.php/aims-objectives/
  • For instance, in the first of a series of articles, former HSE Principal Inspector, Ray Cooke, highlights the absolute need to properly plan, organise and manage work at height – no matter what industry you’re in! https://bit.ly/33CBHiJ – To quote Ray, “Just take a little time and think before you begin”. It could save a life.
  • And read the stories of the Foundation’s Ambassadors, workers whose lives have been permanently changed by a fall from height and now do all they can to draw attention to the dreadful consequences of carelessness: https://bit.ly/3uC36xo

LADDER SAFETY

The latest Foundation newsletter also highlighted the very disturbing story of Suffolk County Council Trading Standards’ recent interception of a very dangerous and illegal batch of imported telescopic standing ladders.
Although the ladders appeared to have the correct EN131 and some other correct safety labels, others were either missing or incorrect, prompting investigation and testing – with quite horrendous results!
https://bit.ly/3txJNnl

This story just goes to prove that all safety-related items, whether it be plant, equipment, PPE or materials, must be purchased through reputable dealers. NEVER cut corners; NEVER be tempted to buy cheap. Low prices will mean low standards and probably illegal items: low standards will risk serious harm or death.

A guide to the single legal standard for ladders, EN131, can be found on the Ladder Association’s website:
https://bit.ly/3vSzpZ6

ACCESS SAFETY IN TIGHT SPACES

Do you need to access a tight space? Do you have difficulty working out what access equipment is appropriate? The new Ecolift from JLG fits the bill perfectly, is reasonably priced and, alternatively, is widely available from plant hirers:
https://www.jlg.com/en/equipment/low-level-access/non-powered-ecolifts/ecolift70

Coming in at just 0.7m width and 1.28m length, the Ecolift can reach a platform height of up to 2.2m, giving access to heights of up to 4.2m – sufficiently small to slip into those really tight spaces. In addition, it’s called the Ecolift for very good reasons because it’s battery, power and oil free, so virtually maintenance- and running-cost-free.

It is prudent to use ‘push around vertical equipment’ where possible (to avoid the risks associated with mechanised equipment) and this, again, fits the bill perfectly being lightweight and easy to manually manoeuvre but with a safe working load of 150kg (1 person + tools). And, as an added bonus, IPAF (the International Powered Access Federation, the industry leader in powered access to height) has a specific Push Around Vertical Course (IPAF-PAV) for users.

GENERAL NEWS

TINNITUS

With the advent of the Noise at Work Regulations 2005 (not to mention the general health & safety duties within the Health & Safety at Work Act going way back to 1974), occupational hearing loss and tinnitus should be a thing of the past. Sadly, it isn’t and many are still subjected to unreasonably high levels of noise of spells of exposure. Obviously, noise exposure can occur at home as well as at work (rock concerts can still break the sound barrier!) and it’s up to all of us to take care of ourselves. But there’s no excuse these days for legal requirements to be ignored or unenforced (refer to the article above about the HSE Noise Calculator).

Noise exposure can result in, not only deafness, but a range of other debilitating conditions as well such as tinnitus (ringing in the ears). It may sound improbable but tinnitus can become so intense that it’s becomes all-consuming and, in at least one case, has resulted in suicide.

Chris Martin of Coldplay spoke out last year about how debilitating his tinnitus had become over the years. He had apparently ignored the initial signs of tinnitus, developed as a young lad listening to loud rock music, and then performed without hearing protection when he joined Coldplay in 1996. Like with so many musicians, hearing loss isn’t taken seriously but the consequences have been profound for Chris and he’s now an advocate for spreading awareness of the issue within the industry.

Admittedly, rock music is perhaps an extreme example of exposure to unreasonable noise levels – but there are still regular prosecutions against business for failing to assess and control noise exposure for their employees. Now may the time to go back and review what you have in place before it’s too late. Make sure you know the noise levels for all equipment – but also make sure you know the likely total noise levels when several pieces are working at once. How long is each employee exposed to noise and what controls are in place (remember that, legally, PPE is a ‘last resort’ only)? And is health surveillance in place?

As highlighted before, the HSE has a long-term campaign to enforce health surveillance so take notice of the HSE advice about what’s required relating to noise, as well as COSHH and vibration:
https://bit.ly/3vV4xXW

COVID FINANCIAL SUPPORT

For those self-employed workers who haven’t yet received financial support when their work has ceased due to Covid, it may be advisable to log into the Government’s gov.uk website to see whether you can claim a grant against the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS):
https://bit.ly/2RKesAA

This tranche of the grant will cover 80% of 3 months’ average trading profit and can be claimed from April 2021. If this doesn’t affect you, maybe you know of friends or relatives who could benefit? It covers all industries.

In addition, for workers who have to work from home (either normally or due to Covid) can claim tax relief of £6 per week to cover costs. Not a huge amount but every little helps, as they say!
https://www.gov.uk/tax-relief-for-employees/working-at-home

NATIONAL LIVING WAGE

There are a few increases in statutory rates from April 2021 of which everyone should be aware.

New National Living Wage (NLW) for:

23+ year olds – £8.91/hour – note the threshold has decreased to include 23 and 24 year-olds
21-22 years – £8.36/hour
18-20 years – £6.56/hour
16-17 years – £4.62/hour
Apprentices -£4.30/hour

New maternity/paternity/etc – £151.97/week
New sick pay – £96.35/week

New max limit for redundancy calculations – £544/week

KICHSTART SCHEME

The Government’s Kickstart Scheme (which aims to give young people a helping hand because of obstacles through Covid) currently runs to 31 December 2021. It provides 100% NLW, NI and pension contributions for 25 hours a week work by 16-24 year-olds; employers can pay more voluntarily. However, the posts must be new; they cannot be existing roles or vacancies.
https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/kickstart-scheme

As an interesting footnote, NASC report than over 400 Kickstart places have been successfully provided by 77 of its members – a great example of the huge potential of this scheme in the construction industry:
https://nasc.org.uk/blog/article/nasc-kickstart-numbers-soar-past-400-placements/

AND FINALLY

Work at height…as usual

We usually concentrate on prosecutions; however, these alone don’t give a fair picture of just how bad the situation still is after so many years of specific work at height legislation, developed best practice and HSE campaigns. So, this time we begin by including a number (but not an exhaustive list – there are many, many more) of recent deaths and serious injuries related to work at height which are pending HSE investigation.

Although the majority of these cases relate to construction, it must be reiterated that health & safety legislation, including the Work at Height Regulations 2005, applies to ALL industries. So, just stop and think before you send someone up to the gutters to inspect them, up a ladder to erect a sign, onto the roof to find that leak, onto that piece of plant for cleaning, etc., etc. Every task off the ground is covered by legislation, and prosecution will result from an accident in any industry.

  • Grant Maloney, a 55-year old father of 7 who had been a roofer since he was 16, died in January after falling from a ladder in Kent: https://bit.ly/3uEvIWH
  • Two fatalities on farms. A man was killed in Cheshire in February when he fell from an unsecured wooden crate being lifted by a forklift while he carried out roof-work. A farm worker was killed in Dorset in January when he was struck on the head by falling concrete. https://bit.ly/3tzHMar
  • A contractor suffered life-changing injuries after falling 25 feet from the roof of a care home in Lincolnshire in February. https://bit.ly/3bcuDxC
  • A worker suffered life-changing injuries after he fell 14 feet through a sky-light in Southampton in March. https://bit.ly/3o4MMCD
  • A worker sustained a broken ankle after he fell from height in Suffolk in March; more serious injury was prevented as he ‘became stuck’ someway off the ground. https://bit.ly/3eB3SoG
  • A tree surgeon was airlifted to Southampton General Hospital after an accident that happened in a garden in the Isle of Wight in March. https://bit.ly/33vopof
  • Michael Harrison, a 42-year old scaffolder, died when he fell from height in Holmes Chapel in February. https://bit.ly/3o3P2Km
  • A 50-year old worker died after falling from scaffolding in Gwynedd in March. https://bit.ly/3hcZnlR
  • A 36-year old worker died after falling from the roof of a building in Warrington in February. https://bit.ly/2RHaSXY
  • 36-year old, Filipe Abreu, was left fighting for his life after he fell from scaffolding in Jersey in February. https://bit.ly/3haKNvk

Work at height…and still the prosecutions keep coming

  • In January, the governing body of Christ the King Catholic High School & Sixth Form Centre in Southport was fined a total of almost £16,000 after an employee fell 3m from a roof whilst trying to retrieve balls. A reminder that the rules apply to ALL employers in ALL circumstances for a very good reason!
  • In February, R4 Industrial Roofing Cladding Systems Ltd fined a total of almost £186,000 after an employee died falling 10m through a roof-light.
  • In March, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy was fined a massive total of over £549,600 after an agency worker fell 1.8m from a turbine blade under manufacture at its factory in Hull suffering multiple broken bones and a punctured lung. Again, a reminder that the rules apply to ALL employers in ALL circumstances for a very good reason!

And in April alone:
Just note how many of these prosecutions have resulted from observations, not accidents.

  • Bradley Demolition Ltd was fined a massive total of almost £222,000 after the operator of a boom-type cherry picker became trapped between the platform rail and the roof of an industrial shed, sustaining life-changing injuries.
  • Mark Wakefield, trading as Mark Wakefield Construction, was fined a total of £3,400 after a worker fell 4m through the fragile roof-light of an agricultural building, sustaining multiple fractures to his spine.
  • Greenway Partnership Ltd was fined a total of almost £28,000 after an apprentice fell 2m from an unprotected flat roof at a school undergoing part-demolition (photo), suffering head and facial injuries.
  • The joint clients of a housing project in Canvey Island, Richard Balls and London & Essex Property Partnership Ltd, and principal contractor, Ludovic Calo, were given sentences ranging from 29-week suspended jail terms and 3-month electronic curfews (for the 2 individuals), a £20,000 fine (for London & Essex), and orders to each pay £5,000 costs after the public reported multiple safety breaches including work at height.
  • JNR Developers Ltd was fined a total of £40,000 and Director, Mehrded Chegounchei, given a 6-month suspended jail sentence and ordered to carry out 80 hours of unpaid work after being found guilty of multiple safety breaches including work at height.
  • SSF Construction Ltd was fined a total of over £51,000 after being observed during a routine HSE visit carrying out unsafe work at height.
  • Ron Richardson Construction Ltd was fined a total of over £21,000 after two employees were clearly seen working close to the unprotected edge to a flat roof (photo)

Footnote:

During April 2021 alone, there were 9 prosecutions with a total of £1,189,219 in fines alone being levied, plus significant HSE and court costs attached to each. An accident may result, not only in a death, it may also result in the death of the offending company.

And just a final note of warning, just in case anyone is tempted not to report an accident:

Paul Adams, trading as Surrey Conversions, was jailed for 24 weeks and ordered to pay costs of over £2,000 for failing to report an accident on his site that resulted in an amputation.

This case demonstrates both the legal responsibility to report and the high importance placed on investigation to prevent recurrence.

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

COVID 19

We at Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd realise that you must be sick of hearing about Covid and the legal restrictions that still apply. However, we have to highlight here an issue that is so vitally important to everyone’s safety but that we, to be quite honest, are sick of encountering both on site and at fixed premises.

If anyone has reason to, or is told to, get tested for Covid for any reason whatsoever, that person cannot come into work until the test result is received and is negative; that person MUST self-isolate in the meantime.

It is unbelievable just how many times our advisors have come across workers, and often management themselves, who are at work awaiting test results thus putting, not only their fellow workers at risk, but our advisors too. This is both unacceptable and illegal and employers, management and the workers involved can all be prosecuted if they ignore this legal (and common sense!) instruction.

COMPANY NEWS

TRAINING

Wenlock Health & Safety Ltd (WHS) is running a full programme of classroom-based courses at our offices or, upon request, at customers’ premises provided they can meet the necessary Covid-related controls. The courses are restricted to a maximum attendance of 8 candidates (for social-distancing) but 6 for first-aid courses with no mouth-to-mouth practical work. With severely restricted numbers, early booking is vital.

Any necessary criteria and restrictions will be personally communicated, both directly at the time of booking and again through joining instructions, ahead of planned courses. It is vital that these are understood and relevant information clearly passed to candidates.

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

LEGIONELLA AWARENESS

WHS is holding an open Legionella Awareness Course:

27th April, 9am – 1pm
£95 + VAT per person

After a period of closure, businesses need to think about a potential risk of legionella in buildings or parts of buildings that have been left dormant, as well as the ongoing risks. This is also particularly applicable for house builders who leave properties unoccupied while completing sales, as well as landlords both commercial and domestic. It is important that those people involved in assessing risk and applying precautions are competent, trained and aware of their responsibilities. Refer to the specific article later in this newsletter.

This course will cover the background of the bacteria and disease, where and how it occurs, and your legal obligations. To book a place, please email Vicki on vicki@wenlockhs.co.uk

MENTAL HEALTH

It is widely known that the problems over the last year, compounded in particular with the January – March 2021 lockdown, have produced a profound amount of emotional distress amongst people of all walks of life, whether employed or not. To assist our clients in dealing with possible mental health issues amongst the workforce (and also at home), WHS is also holding an open Mental Health First Aid Course:

Date: 21st May, 9am – 4pm
Cost: £75 + VAT per person

This 6-hour qualification is aimed at managers and supervisors, and provides learners with the knowledge to recognise a range of mental health conditions, how to start a supportive conversation, and when and how to help a person to seek appropriate professional help.

Please note that strict Covid-specific controls will apply as always and, thus, no lunch can be offered.

FIRST AID

1-day (6 hours) Emergency First-Aid at Work course dates are listed below; very strict Covid-specific controls will apply and no lunch can be offered until further notice. Demand is expected to be high, so book places as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

Dates:

  • 13 April 2021 an additional course because of high demand
  • 26 April 2021 fully booked – but names can always go on the waiting list!
  • 26 May 2021
  • 24 June 2021
  • 27 July 2021
  • 25 August 2021
  • 28 September 2021
  • 29 October 2021
  • 24 November 2021
  • 20 December 2021

Cost: £85 + VAT per person

CITB Courses

It must be noted that CITB attendance rules are very strict; they MUST be understood and are reiterated here:

  • CITB specifies that candidates must be available to attend each session within the course; failure to do so may require a repeat course.
  • And booked attendance is absolutely vital: because of CITB rules, we may be forced to cancel a course ON THAT MORNING if some candidates fail to take part, to the detriment of all candidates.
  • Strict Covid-specific controls apply and no lunch can be offered; candidates to make their own provision.

Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS)

Duration: 5 days; 1 day per week
Dates:

  • 7, 14, 21, 28 May & 4 June 2021 (Fridays)
  • 7, 14, 21, 28 July & 4 August 2021 (Wednesdays)
  • 10, 17, 24 September & 1, 8 October 2021 (Fridays)
  • 15, 22, 29 November & 6, 13 December 2021 (Mondays)

Cost: £495 + VAT per person

Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Refresher

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

  • 14 & 15 April 2021 (Wednesday & Thursday)
  • 7 & 8 June 2021 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 9 & 10 August 2021 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 4 & 5 October 2021 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 9 & 10 December 2021 (Thursday & Friday)

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

Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS)

Duration: 2 days
Dates:

  • 24 & 25 May 2021 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 29 & 30 July 2021 (Thursday & Friday)
  • 20 & 21 September 2021 (Monday & Tuesday)
  • 25 & 26 November 2021 (Thursday & Friday)

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

Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS) Refresher

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

  • 19 April 2021 (Monday)
  • 25 June 2021 (Friday)
  • 20 August 2021 (Friday)
  • 18 October 2021 (Monday)

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

CITB 1-Day Health & Safety Awareness

Duration: 1 day
Dates:

  • 2 July 2021 (Friday)
  • 1 November 2021 (Monday)
  • 17 December 2021 (Friday)

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

WHS PARKING ARRANGEMENTS

A reminder about the new parking arrangements when visiting the WHS offices; we made them plain in our last newsletter but several people have not adhered to them and were therefore charged parking fees. The arrangements are reiterated when booking courses but are evidently not being passed on to candidates. Those visiting our offices for ad-hoc reasons also please take note if you want to avoid charges. To reiterate:

WHS has negotiated FREE parking for all our visitors, but this is totally reliant on the following criteria to avoid being charged by Ironbridge Gorge Museums Trust (and there’s nothing we can do about it afterwards, sorry!).

  • It is VITAL that you give WHS your car registration number WITHIN 20 MINUTES of arrival at the car park so that we can log it with Ironbridge Gorge to allow for your free parking.
  • If you arrive early and need to bide time, park up elsewhere, NOT in our car park; the clock starts ticking the minute you enter! And obviously, DON’T HANG ABOUT! Make sure you tell us your registration number within that 20 minutes or you will be charged by Ironbridge Gorge.

HSE NEWS

Through the current Covid crisis, the HSE has continued to update its guidance to focus specifically on how best to control commonplace issues in relation to risks posed by the pandemic. A selection of recent HSE bulletins follows; a vast array of further information is available and continually updated on the HSE website:
https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/

COVID RISK ASSESSMENT

As you know (or you should do by now!), the law requires all employers to carry out sufficient risk assessments to cover every risk of element of every task undertaken at work. And, as we have said so many times before, this includes the very high risk of Covid transmission.

The HSE has issued a warning that, if an inspector visits your site or premises and does not find a specific risk assessment or assessments to cover Covid, enforcement will be issued. In our experience, all too many managers or employers think that issuing a generic Covid assessment is sufficient; it is not and the HSE are coming down heavily where they find this to be the case.

ALL risk assessments must be site and task specific

WHS has issued guidance as to what is required but please do ring us if you still don’t understand. Do be aware that we can’t help you actually write assessments without visiting your site or premises, but we can certainly discuss on the phone what is required.

If you need more clarity and/or guidance, go to the HSE’s specific guidance on:
https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/working-safely/risk-assessment.htm

OFFICIAL HSE App

The HSE has released an app designed to help organisations understand health & safety law and legal responsibilities. The app is a good tool for businesses who have little or no knowledge of health & safety law and is cheap, being available from the Apple or Google Play stores at £2.99 via: https://bit.ly/3vbFDUo

But nobody reading this newsletter should need this type of assistance other than for use as a handy reminder; everyone reading this should have been adequately trained by WHS or equivalent, and should have sufficient documentation and systems in place to be legally compliant. If you think you need the app, or feel that you may not know enough to establish compliant documentation and systems, then ring us straight away! Our advisors, as always, are more than happy to discuss requirements with you – but only you can ensure that enough is in place to be both compliant and able to prove compliance to the HSE.

NEAR-MISS BOOK

The HSE has also released a new Near-Miss Book to help record and report near-misses at work. WHS has always issued (free to our clients) our own version of near-miss report sheets to encourage formalisation of near-miss reporting and investigation to prevent future accidents. However, the new HSE book is a positive step towards encouraging a culture of investigation and, thence, improvement. Both Near-Miss Report Books and Accident Books can be purchased online for £8 each including VAT from: https://bit.ly/3qxacjW

And never forget that some serious near-misses are classified as ‘dangerous occurrences’ and MUST legally be reported to the HSE anyway: https://www.hse.gov.uk/riddor/dangerous-occurences.htm

INDUSTRY NEWS

LEGIONELLA – very important

Legionella is a naturally occurring bacteria in watercourses such as rivers and ponds. The bacteria enter a domestic water system and will thrive at temperatures between 20°C and 45°C.
During the Covid lockdown buildings, or parts of buildings, that would normally have a high-water turnover have been left dormant providing an ideal situation for Legionella bacteria to grow and thrive. There is a potential for multiple outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease caused by the Legionella bacteria (which presents similar symptoms to Covid) following the Covid lockdowns if actions taken now are not carefully considered. It is essential that when buildings, or parts of buildings, reopen following the lifting of Covid restrictions water systems are not simply put straight back to use. Simply reopening a building, or part thereof, that has stood idle without addressing the safety of the water system, is unacceptable and is likely to be in breach of the law. A comprehensive action plan should be derived and implemented using the Legionella Risk Assessment and Written Scheme. Should this not be available professional advice should be sought on the best way forward.

Any water system, with the right environmental conditions, could be a source for Legionella bacteria growth and as an employer, business owner, care provider, landlord (and many more) the right precautions need to be taken and implemented to reduce the risks of exposure to legionella. Therefore, under health and safety legislation there is a legal obligation to carry out a legionella risk assessment of the water services in any workplace or business-related premise, including both commercial and domestic rented properties.

For further information, guidance and Legionella surveys, please contact water hygiene specialists, Clira (www.clira.co.uk ), on 01743-247942 or contact Rachel Griffiths direct on rachel@clira.co.uk

TOWER SCAFFOLDING

All contractors reading this must, by now, be aware of the absolute need to ensure those who erect tower scaffolds (of all types) are properly trained and competent, and that it has been generally accepted for several decades now, both by the industry and the HSE, that this means taking a PASMA course. A quick 5-minute briefing by the supplier or a read of the instruction manual is NOT acceptable as it will not cover, amongst other things, the correct method of erection necessary to satisfy the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

We trust that everyone out there who has need to erect, alter or dismantle a tower scaffold therefore has a PASMA card – yes? Maybe not – we know from experience that many have not and therefore risk being shut down by the HSE. But how many contractors and site management realise that managers also must, by law, be trained and competent to the correct level?

It is worth reminding everyone that both the Work at Height Regulations and CDM state quite clearly that all work must be properly planned, organised and supervised by a competent person or persons, which means that any manager or supervisor in charge of those erecting, dismantling or using scaffolding must, by law, be appropriately competent and qualified to be able to supervise the work – and that includes tower scaffolds.

It is therefore prudent, if not essential, for site managers and/or supervisors to undertake the 1-day PASMA Towers for Managers course; find a course near you via: https://pasma.co.uk/training/towers-for-managers/

The course, which can be taken with or without holding a PASMA tower erection card, is aimed at ensuring managers and supervisors can recognise ‘good’ practice; it is totally insufficient (and illegal) to rely solely on the competence of the contractors or workers involved, and any site that cannot demonstrate management/supervisory competence as well will attract enforcement from the HSE.

So, what does ‘good’ look like? The course teaches managers/supervisors the principles of safe erection/dismantling including assessing ground conditions and the site environment, potential loadings, understanding the many different configurations and categories, choosing appropriate equipment, ensuring workers have the correct training and competence, and other important factors such as current and possible weather conditions. We can’t go into too much detail in this newsletter, space doesn’t permit, which is why attendance at the Towers for Managers course is vital. But several key points to note:

  • There are 7 different categories of ‘standard’ towers, from mobile access towers to linked towers, each with its own BS or EN standard, each with specific different assembly techniques and, thus, each with its own specific PASMA card.
  • In addition, there is a PASMA card for the more complex or awkward ‘non-standard’ towers.
  • It is therefore vital that those erecting anything other than a basic tower scaffold have the appropriate category of PASMA card – and it’s the legal responsibility of managers/supervisors to plan for and ensure this happens: https://pasma.co.uk/training/
  • Tower scaffolds cannot be used when wind speeds reach 17 mph, which is actually quite low. When wind speeds are likely to reach between 17 and 25 mph, towers should be tied to the structure but they still cannot be used. When wind speeds are likely to exceed 25 mph, the tower must be dismantled and re-erected later. Strict forward planning, followed by pro-active management, is therefore vital.
  • Manufacturers’ instructions must be read and strictly adhered to because these will dictate permissible loadings. Never forget that total permissible loadings will include, not only materials, but equipment and workers too. Assessment of likely loadings is essential – plus an added factor of safety!
  • Risk assessments must be both site and operation specific and must include an emergency rescue plan. The HSE will shut down operations if this emergency planning says ‘call 999’ only! The rescue plan must reflect all aspects of the work and environment, must be communicated to the workforce and, as recommended by the HSE, practiced as well.
  • And lastly a reminder that inspections of towers by competent persons are required by law before first ascent, following any alteration, move or incident that could affect the towers’ integrity, and at a minimum frequency of 7 days if they remain unmoved, unaltered and uncompromised.

Those working on the towers but who have not been involved with the erection, etc., don’t have to have a PASMA card. However, everyone working at height must be suitably trained to ‘work at height’ and PASMA also has a very useful half-day Work at Height Novice course which covers, not only use of mobile towers, but an insight into the use of all forms of access equipment: https://pasma.co.uk/training/work-at-height-novice/

A few final points which are worth mentioning:

  • Because of Covid, PASMA has re-organised training courses to enable online learning where preferred or during a lockdown. However, many of the PASMA courses focus, for obvious reasons, on the practical side; therefore, classroom-based theory can be undertaken online but completion of the courses and issue of cards will rely on practical sessions at a later date.
  • Courses can be organised on site or at customers’ premises provided that there is a Covid-safe classroom and there is a safe area well away from other work where the tower erection practical exercise can take place. PASMA trainers will not conduct a course where the environment is deemed unsuitable.
  • It is useful to sign up to both the PASMA newsletter: www.pasma.co.uk/newsletter and also to the newsletter of the No Falls Foundation, a charity which, not only carries out research etc, but also offers support for victims of falls (at work and at home) and shares stories to help others avoid accidents: www.nofallsfoundation.org/index.php/sign-up-to-newsletter. A free downloadable support pack for anyone affected by a fall can be accessed from: https://nofallsfoundation.org/index.php/support/support-after-a-fall-from-height/
  • An excellent recent PASMA/HSE webinar, succinctly summarising the points raised above and much more, can be freely downloaded from: https://bit.ly/2Q8RTot It is strongly recommended that all WHS clients who have need to use towers, or manage sites where they are used, watch the video. And, if you have any questions at all, please do contact WHS immediately. N.B. The video does not constitute training in any way.

And lastly, just one recent accident and resultant prosecution resulting from a fall from a tower is highlighted at the end of this newsletter; be warned, be alert and get trained.

CABLE AVOIDANCE

There has been an extremely disturbing increase over recent years in the number of ‘safety related incidents’ concerning cable strikes, joint or link box damage, etc. Between July and September 2020 alone, there were 475 reports of cable damage compared to 395 for the same period in 2019 and, over the last 6 years, there was a massive 700% increase in safety-related incidents reported to the HSE. We have to question why this is happening; the legal requirements haven’t changed and there is still a strict necessity for site operatives and management to be NRSW trained to the appropriate level. Therefore, the increase must be as a result of poor management on site and/or potentially from the outset. And every incident could potentially result in a fatality.

To help the situation, the Highways Authorities & Utilities Committee, HAUC(UK), has issued a useful app to help road contractors and workers to avoid damage to underground services. The app, which includes a simple, searchable copy of the Red Book, an interactive checklist and latest updates and advice from the HAUC(UK), is free from: https://app.hauc-uk.org.uk/guidance-on-use-of-the-app

Unfortunately, we are still yet to see a comprehensive, open and easy-to-access central data base of all underground services to make life so much safer, but we live in hope!

FALLOUT FROM GRENFELL

One of the aspects which attracted severe criticism during the ongoing Grenfell Tower Inquiry (https://www.grenfelltowerinquiry.org.uk/ ) is that of poor or fraudulent compliance testing. In this case, the Inquiry focused on the Building Research Establishment (BRE), an organisation responsible on behalf of the Government for certifying the safety of construction materials, which had ‘failed to report’ that fire tests on the
Kingspan insulation used at Grenfell had actually failed. In addition, Kingspan itself had used the erroneous report to write 29 desk-top studies/assessments into the use of the material – desk-top studies, not in-situ, not in the field. Therefore, failed and unreported BRE testing, in conjunction with unsupported Kingspan assessments, appear to have contributed to the 74 deaths at Grenfell.

There are several reasons for reporting this to our clients. Firstly, all parties responsible for designing and installing safety and/or quality related construction materials must be up to date with the latest requirements and must insist on seeing current and appropriate certification. All too often, WHS has witnessed project teams settling for certification which either does not cover the specific materials involved or is several years out of date. When unsure, challenge the materials suppliers; if you need safety-related advice, contact WHS.

Secondly, over recent years, testing and certification has been downgraded in many people’s minds, allowing self-certification to seep in (resulting in a number of serious accidents) and, where external verification is sought, a culture within some testing houses of ‘what result would you like?’ Testing and certification does cost money – but the consequences of going without, or accepting unchallenged what’s provided, can be dire.

The message is, therefore, that designers, project managers, contractors and installers must be properly aware of what certification and testing is required and must critically read what’s given; if in doubt about dates, content or suitability, challenge and seek expert assistance. To not do so can land some or all parties in court.

And do be aware that poor past certification can affect refurbishment of existing structures. The Health & Safety File for each structure built since CDM was enacted in 1994 should contain all relevant certification. If in doubt about the age or relevance of the existing certification (bearing in mind the many changes in Building Regulations and industry standards over the years) or, indeed, if there is no certification for whatever reason, further expert analysis may be required. The team undertaking the current refurbishment is responsible for ensuring safety and this may well include critical analysis of existing materials and upgrading where necessary.

GENERAL NEWS

MOTORWAY DRIVING

Everyone should know that, when re-joining a motorway from the hard shoulder, it is necessary to speed up to match the speed of the traffic and watch for a safe gap in the traffic before accessing the inside lane (obviously watching out for other vehicles within the hard shoulder whilst doing so). This is enshrined within the Highway Code so must be followed.

However, the advent of so-called ‘smart motorways’ has produced additional risks as the hard shoulder may well now be open for use at certain times and as indicated on the overhead gantries. Emergency areas have been provided for use on smart motorways to avoid risks to those in broken down vehicles within a ‘live’ inside lane. However, it is often impossible to reach one of these emergency areas when a vehicle breaks down; it simply happens too quickly to travel to the safe space. So what should you do?

Highways England have issued the following advice:

  • Try your best to travel safely to the left lane of the motorway
  • Call Highways England on 0300 123 5000, then your breakdown provider for assistance.

This implies that there must be a mobile phone with the vehicle and it is a proposal that having a fully charged mobile phone will be made a legal requirement in the near future, as it is in many other countries already. Apart from any future legal requirement, it is common-sense that drivers should equip themselves with a changed mobile before setting out on any journey.

But what happens when the driver does manage to reach an emergency area? Is it sufficient to contact Highways England using your mobile, and what about re-joining the motorway as there is no safe lane from which to gain speed and feed into the traffic?

Several serious accidents have occurred involving these emergency areas on smart motorways because of their limitations. It is therefore worth pointing out that drivers stopping in one of these must immediately make a call using the emergency telephone provided. This is so that the operator can immediately close off the inside lane (using the gantry signage) to ensure additional safety and to enable the driver to safely exit the emergency area into the (closed) inside lane and gather speed before entering the flow of traffic.

A further change to the Highway Code is being proposed to make it mandatory to use the emergency phone provided but, as this is still in the consultation stage, our advice would be to just do that anyway; the risks of being parked up by, and then re-entering into, live traffic cannot be underestimated.

AND FINALLY

Work at height

  • Rooffabs Direct Ltd was fined a total of £21,000 and director, Paul McMahon, ordered to complete 100 hours of unpaid community service after two workers suffered fractures to legs and ankles when they fell 2 metres from an incorrectly assembled tower scaffold. Those who erected the tower hadn’t been properly trained, guard rails were missing and no outriggers were in place.

The HSE commented that there were an estimated 36,000 falls from height last year, a shocking 99 per day. Invariably they are found to have been avoidable; most, as with this case, resulted from lack of training, planning and competent supervision.

  • Pearsons Glass was fined a total of almost £87,000 after a contractor’s worker fell 6 metres to his death through a fragile asbestos roof. No fall arrest equipment had been installed.

Note here that, although investigations are ongoing, it was the employing body, Pearson Glass, rather than the contractor who has been prosecuted so far. Under the Health & Safety at Work Act Section 3(1) states that:
“It shall be the duty of every employer to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in his employment who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety.”

Clearly, the employing body had failed to ensure that the contractor was both competent for the tasks and properly equipped to undertake the work safely. A salutary lesson for all employers.

  • Climar Scaffolding Ltd was fined a total of over £17,500 following a scaffolding collapse at the Coventry Skydome in March 2019. The large scaffold (13 metres x 4 metres) had not been designed and installed to withstand foreseeable wind loadings and had not been adequately fixed to the structure.

A reminder that all scaffold must be properly designed to TG20:13, including provision for wind loadings:
https://nasc.org.uk/product/tg2013-design-guide/

  • SolarUK Ltd was fined a total of £42,000 after a worker fell 4 metres through an unprotected skylight, sustaining multiple injuries to his wrist. Despite being fully aware of the risks, the Company had failed to plan, manage or equip the work, with workers being put at risk throughout.
  • Atec Maintenance Ltd was fined a total of £38,000 after the friend of company director, Terry Adams, fell 6 metres through a warehouse roof. Stephen Bowkett was helping Adams install netting on the roof of the warehouse; after unclipping his harness for a break, he stepped backwards and fell through the roof, suffering severe injuries to his torso. This case demonstrates that it only takes a second of carelessness for a life to be destroyed.
  • Principal Contractor, Robert Norman Construction Ltd, was fined a total of over £148,000 and its contractor, R&B Plastering Ltd, over £35,000 after an R&BH employee fell 3 metres through a hole cut in a floor of a property during refurbishment; he sustained fractures to his vertebrae and ribs, and required a back brace. Not only was R&B’s risk assessment inadequate but, despite the PC’s policy to review all contractors’ risk assessments before they were allowed to start work, this had not been done. Therefore, the inadequacy of the assessment had not been challenged, a clear failure on the PC’s part.

N.B. This is an issue that WHS advisors see on site all the time – Principal Contractors ignoring the content of contractors’ risk assessments (if, indeed, they ask for them at all!) with the result that the work cannot possibly be planned, managed or supervised properly. It is just not good enough to assume that contractors’ risk assessments are adequate – and how can Principal Contractors properly manage the site and tasks if they don’t know how contractors intend to do or control the work?!

Safe systems of work

  • PCR Steel was fined a total of almost £60,000 after an employee of South East Galvanizers was crushed to death by a 400kg balcony frame that fell from a telehandler during loading. The HSE found that there was no safe system of work in place at all. There was no lifting plan, no competent supervision and nothing to prevent persons from standing in harm’s way; nothing to assess the size, weight and security of the load, and nothing to ensure the safety of employees. The victim had been standing on the trailer bed, which says it all.
  • Calachem Ltd was fined £560,000 after an employee was severely scalded with boiling water during a cleaning operation. Without going into technical detail here, the original safe system of work requiring wash down with clean, cold water had been incrementally altered over time to facilitate a second process, but neither the process nor these changes had ever been re-assessed. The result was that boiling water, related to the second process, rushed from the vessel, scalding and disfiguring the employee.

N.B. This case clearly demonstrates that ANY change in the working method, circumstances or environment MUST be re-assessed. Each incremental change will present different and maybe additional risks and, although each may seem insignificant at the time, they may well build up over time to present a severe risk – as in this case.

Risk assessment is NOT to be done and left on the shelf; risk assessment requires continual review and revision to be sure that any foreseeable risks are controlled BEFORE they become significant.

Equally, NO method of work can be altered or modified without re-assessment and approval by management. Again, small changes may seem harmless BUT they, all too often, build up to present significant risks which remain unseen and unrecognised because management is unaware.

Identify the hazards – assess the risks – control those risks – then…..
CONTINUALLY REVIEW – RE-ASSESS & CONTROL – CONTINUE TO MONITOR
SUITABILITY & EFFECTIVENESS

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